Many people diagnosed with mesothelioma in Canada may have been exposed to asbestos in another country. In the 1960s and 1970s, migration to Canada from other parts of the Commonwealth (England, Scotland, Ireland) was very high and many people diagnosed with mesothelioma may have been exposed in their early working lives in these countries. There are entitlements to compensation in other countries that can be accessed by people living in Canada, regardless of whether they also had some exposure to asbestos in Canada. Many countries have “no fault” compensation schemes where the government pays compensation to all people diagnosed with mesothelioma as a recognized industrial disease. Further, civil claims through the court system are also available in a number of countries such as the UK, USA and Australia for people exposed in those countries.
Example: John was born in England and worked as an apprenticed electrician in power stations from the age of 15-20 years of age. He was exposed to asbestos in the course of this work when working in close proximity to boilermakers and laggers who were applying asbestos insulation to pipes and boilers. He moved to Canada in 1970 and also had some exposure to asbestos when working for a construction company in Ontario. He developed mesothelioma as a result of these exposures. In this situation, John would have rights under UK law to compensation as well as having entitlements in Canada1. The UK law would allow him to receive a lump sum Industrial Injuries Disease Benefit (IIDB) from the government and he would also have a right to sue his former employer. Compensation through the court system may be for a significant amount, and is dependant on the facts of each case and the circumstances of the injured person (age, occupation, loss of income, etc). In most countries where civil claims are available, there are law firms who act on a “no win no fee” basis so that there are no costs or charges involved if a claim does not succeed. Time limits may apply to these claims so it is important to obtain advice as soon as possible.
Note: Compensation from other countries may be taxable in Canada. That is to say, if you receive compensation from outside of Canada, you may be charged taxes by the Canadian government. Whether or not you will be charged taxes is based on which country the compensation originates from, whether or not Canada has a tax treaty with the country, the terms of conditions of the tax treaty, and a variety of other tax legislation in Canada. To find out if the compensation scheme you are seeking is taxable, contact the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) at 1 800 959 8281. You may be assigned a special CRA agent who can provide more information specific to your case.
- As noted in the previous section of this site, if you elect to pursue a claim through the WCB in your province and receive compensation for your claim from the WCB, your right to pursue other forms of compensation may be affected. For this reason if you are looking for compensation, speaking to a lawyer about which route is best for you and your family sooner rather than later may help you make your decision.