The head of a union representing public servants says managers with the Canada Revenue Agency abruptly cancelled a meeting about asbestos in a government building yesterday, just hours after the CBC published a story about workers' concerns.

CBC reported on Thursday that 20 information technology workers at the Ottawa taxation facility were filing complaints about potential asbestos exposure.

Debi Daviau, the president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service, is now looking into the issues at 875 Heron Rd.

She said it's unfortunate management cancelled the meeting given managers were supposed to provide valuable advice to workers who fear for their health.

"At the last minute the meeting was cancelled," said Daviau. "Our members were expecting to receive some critical information on the asbestos information."

She said her office is working to make sure the meeting is rescheduled.

Reminiscent of Conservatives

The employees worked at 875 Heron Rd. for years, pulling cables and wires through ceilings, false floors and shafts. The government recently confirmed in a MERX bid document that the ceilings in that building contain asbestos materials.

Ceiling pipe, 875 Heron Rd.

Ceiling pipe covered in asbestos-containing material at 875 Heron Rd. (MERX document (government of Canada))

Some workers told CBC they were constantly covered in dust and debris in the course of their work and often suffered from nose bleeds and persistent coughs.

Daviau said the union has seen a notable change in the culture and attitude towards public servants since the new government came to power. The decision to cancel the meeting was reminiscent of the former Conservative government, Daviau said.