Nfld. & Labrador

Former N.L. asbestos miners will get registry

In a long-awaited move, the government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced Friday it has established a registry for former miners who have asbestos-related diseases.

In a long-awaited move, the government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced Friday it has established a registry for former miners who have asbestos-related diseases.

The registry will keep a record of miners who worked in the Baie Verte Asbestos Mine in Central Newfoundland and will track down health information on the nearly 3,000 people who worked there during the mine's lifespan.

The mine, which was developed in the 1950s, passed through several owners before closing in 1995.

A spokesperson from the United Steelworkers Union, which represents the workers, said establishing a registry is a turning point in sorting out compensation claims for the former miners.

The registry will include information on the former miners' health, including whether they have contracted asbestos-related diseases.

The province announced its intention in 2006 to set up the registry, after years of urging by the United Steelworkers Union.

At least 140 former miners have developed some form of cancer. Some people with lung cancer have received workers' compensation, while others have not.

In the late 1970s, workers at the mine conducted what was called Canada's longest strike over health issues. The strikers were not fighting for better pay, but for better occupational health and safety provisions.