KITCHENER — The provincial Ministry of Labour has laid 36 asbestos-related charges in connection with a renovation project at the former Budds store in downtown Kitchener.
The charges all pertain to alleged offences under the Occupational Health and Safety Act that occurred in the fall of 2016 at 165 King St. W.
Among the three counts laid against the owner — identified as a numbered company, 1888181 Ontario Inc. — the ministry alleges that it failed to ensure that prospective constructors received a copy of a list of all designated substances that are present at the site, and failed to ensure that any demolition work should only be carried out or continue “only when any asbestos-containing material that may be disturbed during the work has been removed to the extent practicable.”
A total of 15 charges were laid against an employer and constructor, identified as Canadian Apparel Inc., relating to advising and informing workers on the location and nature of asbestos-containing material, isolating certain work areas, and the use of respirators, warning signs and appropriate containers. Other charges relate to required instruction and training.
An additional 18 charges — many identical to those laid against Canadian Apparel Inc. — were laid against an unnamed individual in their role as a “constructor, employer and supervisor.” Others include allegations that the individual failed to advise workers of the existence of potential or actual dangers, and failed to take reasonable precautions to protect workers.
The charges were laid in September; the next court date for the matter is Nov. 20 at Kitchener’s Ontario Court of Justice.
Widely used for decades in building materials ranging from insulation and siding to floor and ceiling tiles, asbestos fibres — if breathed in — can cause cancer and other diseases including asbestosis. According to Health Canada, it’s not considered a significant health risk if materials containing asbestos are sealed off or left undisturbed.
The former Budds store building was bought in 2016 by Jay Shah, director of the Velocity incubator, and his father, Kamal, following the store’s closure. A downtown institution, Budds had operated in that location since its go there in 1933.
Shah has said he’d like the repurposed property to contain two storefronts and offices in the two storeys above (the original third storey, lost to fire years ago, will be rebuilt).
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