Why Make a Compensation Claim?
Because you deserve it.
Asbestos-related diseases are widely uncompensated. Mesothelioma – a rare form of cancer caused only by asbestos exposure – is recognised as a compensable disease. Starting in 2004, The BC Cancer Agency sent letters to physicians of newly-diagnosed mesothelioma patients. This letter campaign increased compensation rates by 15% for those patients whose physicians received a letter. This demonstrated that many victims of asbestos-related disease aren’t aware they are entitled to compensation.
In 2008, a joint study conducted by WorkSafeBC and the University of British Columbia showed less than half of diagnosed cases of asbestos-related lung cancer were compensated by WorkSafeBC.
Because the dangers of asbestos have been known since the Second World War.
Many people believe the dangers of exposure to asbestos were only discovered t quite recently. Some Canadians who know they were made ill by asbestos, do not seek compensation because they believe nobody knew better, and thus no one is at fault.
It’s simply not true. Heads of industry have known about the dangers since WWII and decided rather than stop the consumption of it, they would rather compensate people as they required help and gave us the compensation board.
To be clear: it was cheaper to compensate the victims than find a replacement for asbestos. (As demonstrated in Defending the Indefensible: The Global Asbestos Industry and its Fight for Survival, Jock McCulloch & Geoffrey Tweedale, Oxford University Press, 2008,pps. 267-272.)
Because asbestos-related illnesses, including mesothelioma, are on the rise.
According to the BC and Yukon Construction Trades Council, about 300 workers will die from asbestos-related diseases every year from 2009 to 2014. That’s 1,500 unnecessary deaths. Those numbers are growing. According to WorkSafe BC, over half of work-related deaths are as a result of occupational disease
You have options.
If you or a member of your family has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or an asbestos-related disease, you may be eligible for compensation. Even if exposure took place years ago, or abroad.
To get started fill out the CanSAV Compensation Information form which will prepare you for meeting the criteria required by the various compensing bodies.
If you have any questions, call CanSAV toll free 877-922-6728.
Following are some of the bodies to apply for compensation.
WorkSafeBC Disability Pension
If you are under 65, WorkSafeBC compensates victims of a broader range of occupational diseases. Besides mesothelioma and lung cancer, asbestosis is compensated for workers under 65 years of age and a survivor benefit of roughly $900 per month is available to the spouse.
Under current BC legislation, workers over 65 are not eligible for WorkSafe disability payments for occupational diseases. In this case, another option is filing with US bankruptcy trusts. (See below.)
Note: You CANNOT collect full pensions from both WorkSafeBC and the Canada Pension Plan.
Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Disability
If your regular income has been interrupted because of a recognized and diagnosed long-term disability, CPP pays monthly benefits of up to $800. Additional benefits of $214 per month are available for any dependent children under 18, or those between 18 and 25 enrolled full-time in school.
To qualify for CPP disability benefits, you must be under age 65, and have made enough valid contributions to the Canada Pension Plan at the time you are considered disabled. All applications must be in writing; download the information and application forms here.
Individual CPP forms can be downloaded below:
Note: If the claim is for a terminal case, mark URGENT boldly on the application. Otherwise, the application process requires approximately 4 months for review, and up to 8 months before funds are delivered.
Veteran Affairs Disability Pension
If you were in the navy, Veterans Affairs is obligated to compensate veterans and their families who have contracted disease as a result of exposure to asbestos. Merchant marines can also be compensated if the ships that they sailed on were known to have contained asbestos. In practice – but not exclusively – this means navy veterans exposed to asbestos onboard their ships.
Download the application forms here.
US Bankruptcy Trusts
Several companies involved in asbestos have filed for bankruptcy. Under Chapter 11 of the US bankruptcy code, actions against a company which files for bankruptcy are suspended pending a decision(s) by a Bankruptcy Court. Workers diagnosed with mesothelioma and some lung cancers may file a claim against these companies.
You do NOT have to be American or under 65 to be eligible to file a claim. If you worked in Canada, the US, or both and you, or someone in your family was exposed to asbestos that caused a terminal illness, you might consider this route.
To file with the various US bankruptcy trusts, workers typically need work history record(s); two employment witness letters; medical records and doctors’ letters. You will also need a US lawyer.
NOTE: If you have filed a claim WorkSafe BC, it may NOT be advisable to also pursue a claim with US bankruptcy trusts – despite ads from US law firms you may have seen claiming otherwise Many US law firms are not familiar with provincial compensation legislation, and may be unaware of potential costs associated with subrogation issues.
If you decide to look into this compensation, fill out this form which prepares you for the process.
For more information on US Bankruptcy Trusts, contact CanSAV.
Class Action Suits
Another potential compensation option available to Canadians living in the US is suing their current or former employer. A class action lawsuit is filed on behalf of people – usually a group of people – who have been injured or harmed by the actions of a company. This includes illnesses contracted as a result of asbestos exposure at work.
Note: To join a class action lawsuit, it is usually necessary to sign papers forfeiting the right to sue the company as an individual. (You cannot sue the company twice as part of a group and then later as an individual.)
For more information, contact CanSAV.
If you became ill as a result of asbestos exposure while working in the UK, you may be eligible for compensation there.
There are several groups available in the UK which can assist you through the process. In Scotland, sufferers of pleural plaques – the most common condition associated with asbestos exposure – are compensable.
UK Support Groups and Asbestos-related Support Links:
Clydebank Asbestos Group
8 Crown Avenue
Contact: Jimmy Cloughley, Bob Dickie
Phone: 0141 951 1008
Clydeside Action on Asbestos
245 High Street
Contact: Phyllis Craig
Phone: 0141 552 8852
Fax: 0141 552 8352
Greater Manchester Asbestos Victims Support Group
Windrush Millennium Centre
70 Alexandra Road
Moss Side, Manchester
Contact: Tony Whitson
Tel: 0161 636 7555
Fax: 0161 636 7556
Merseyside Asbestos Victim Support Group
Suite 32, 2nd Floor Oriel Chambers
14 Water Street
L2 8TD Map
Contact: John Flanagan, Chief Training and Information Officer
Tel: 015 -236 1895
MacMillans Cancer Care
Contact: Thomas Gorman
John Pickering and Associates
Contact: Paul Glanville
COMPENSATION FREEPHONE: 0800 854201
Other Financial Information
- Federal Income Tax Claim T2201 Form
- Provincial Disability Claim Form: BC – Deduction is $7058 if claiming T2201 (as of 2010)
- Tax Claim ALL medical expenses Prescription and over-the-counter
- Tax Claim one of Medical Claims or Attendant care (whichever is higher). Example, disability care is NOT refundable, if you pay for care it is a medical expense and a direct deduction.
To download CanSAV's detailed information form, click HERE.