The Current

Electrician says government hid potential asbestos exposure

For years, electrician Denis Lapointe drilled the holes and threaded the cables through the ceilings, floors and walls of the Canada Revenue Agency's headquarters. But Denis discovered, long after his breathing problems began and he couldn't work, that he was supposed to be warned of potential exposure to asbestos.
Denis Lapointe worked for 16 years at the Canada Revenue Agency building in Ottawa and says he wasn't told about potential asbestos exposure. (Julie Ireton/CBC)
Denis Lapointe filed access to information requests to try to find out what he might have been exposed to in the workplace, which may have led to health problems. (Julie Ireton/CBC)

Denis Lapointe wants to know if the toxins in his former workplace made him sick. It just so happens his former workplace is a Government of Canada building - in the heart of the Nation's Capital.

I was exposed. I wasn't properly protected and here I was walking through this place and using the air hoses and blowing it to other people and its like I have a conscience.- Denis Lapointe

After years on the job, Mr. Lapointe has only just discovered the building he worked in contains hazards - most notably Asbestos. No one ever warned him. He was forced to figure it out on his own. Now he wonders about hundreds of other employees who worked in that building and who also may have been inadvertently exposed to asbestos.

CBC reporter Julie Ireton is based in Ottawa. She spent months investigating Mr. Lapointe's story and the building where he worked. She brings us her documentary, "875 Heron Road."

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