STOP YORK U's Mature Student Housing project, involving ASBESTOS exposure & health risks!

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Note: If you do not need to read all the details and just want to support students' health at York University, in Toronto Ontario, then all the info you need to read is written in bold. For those who want more details, keep reading.

YORK U HOUSING IS NOT FOLLOWING ALL 2018 ONTARIO ASBESTOS SAFETY LAWS, OR THE TENANCY AGREEMENT ACT, AND HAS BEGUN A CONSTRUCTION PROJECT WHICH INVOLVES DRILLING (WITH POWER TOOLS) INTO THE WALLS (WHICH CONTAIN DANGEROUS ASBESTOS MATERIAL) OF STUDENT RENTED SUITES. THEY HAVE BEGUN THIS PROJECT WITHOUT FOLLOWING ALL OF THE LEGAL SAFETY PROCEDURES, ACCORDING TO ONTARIO LAW, AND HAVE WITHHELD INFORMATION THAT TENANTS ARE ENTITLED TO.

OUR HEALTH IS SERIOUSLY AT RISK, IF THIS PROJECT CONTINUES. YORK MUST STOP THIS PROJECT IMMEDIATELY, UNTIL ALL OF THE PROPER SAFETY PROCEDURES HAVE BEEN ORGANIZED AND ALL OF THE TENANTS HAVE BEEN GIVEN DETAILED INFORMATION REGARDING EXACTLY HOW (AND WHERE) THE WORK WILL BE CONDUCTED IN EACH SUITE.

PLEASE SIGN OUR PETITION, so that we ( the students who live in the Atkinson and Assiniboine Mature Student apartments, at York University) are not put into a seriously frightening situation of unnecessary health risks (ie: developing deadly illness, such as lung cancer, which could develop for many of us in 10 to 30 years, if this project is not put on hold immediately)!!!

To read more details, the following information below (in quotations) has been copied directly from a concerned student post, which was written to other students, who all reside in the York U Mature Student Apartments. The post is located on York U's Mature Student Housing "Community Life" Facebook page, which is not viewable by members of the public (York Housing has set the privacy settings of the Facebook group, so that the concerns and complaints of us Mature Students, are not publicly viewable information.) The truth needs to come out NOW!

Our future health, and our lives, are at stake! York U Housing needs to be held accountable for the huge risks they are taking--not just with our health, but also regarding the laws and safety regulations (specifically related to construction work that involves Asbestos exposure) of which York U Housing Management is neglecting to follow. We must stop thIs project immediately, and demand for it to stay on hold until York Housing creates a transparent and publicly available plan to go about this project properly, legally, and with the highest possible standards of care for the tenants' short term and long term, mental and physical, health.

"It has come to my attention, from one tenant (who is having her walls drilled this week) that she came home to her suite and there was dust from the drilling everywhere (linens, floor, clothing, etc.) Her health is being hugely compromised now, and this is totally illegal to have asbestos dust like this getting around her living space and into the air.

Clearly drills with HEPA filter bags attached to them, which should then be connected to a HEPA air filtration system, are not being used. And, according my mother, who is a Registered Nurse, and who has knowledge about the safety measures that must be taken, not ONE speck of dust (from walls with asbestos in them) should be entering the suite. It isn't even a matter of vacuuming it up afterward. It should not enter the air.

This tenant's experience is terrifying.

I have also been notified by another tenant (who spoke to the housing manager Nicole) that this is being treated as a Type 1 risk situation (according to York's totally outdated Asbestos information document from 2014, which should have been updated by 2016, and then updated again this year). This is obviously NOT a Type 1 risk though.

It says in York's outdated asbestos document, that a project is only a Type 1 risk if non power tools are used on Asbestos containing materials (ie: our walls). And, the project is Type 2 if a HEPA filter bag and air purifier is attached to a power tool, such as a drill (to prevent any dust from getting into the air). And, if the contractors fail to use that air HEPA filtration system on the drills (which creates a serious risk of asbestos getting into the air) then it is classified as a Type 3 risk.

York's contractors are using drills on Asbestos Containing Materials. So, that puts this into Type 2 or Type 3. And, because we know now that dust from the Asbestos containing walls got everywhere in this tenant's apartment (York has since cleaned up that dust from the drilling, but it's too late), this tells us that a HEPA filter system was not used on the drill. And, without that, we then know that this is a Type 3 risk.

This first tenant shouldn't even be in her apartment right now. I am not sure what all of the safety measures are, which need to be taken to make the air safe to breathe again; but, she would, in the very least, need to be out of her suite and have a high powered HEPA air filtration system going for a long time before coming back and breathing that air.

If York Housing is treating this as a Type 1 issue, according to their outdated Asbestos document (when it is actually a Type 3 situation), then what they are doing is both illegal and very dangerous for us. This is SERIOUS; and, this project needs to be put on hold IMMEDIATELY.

I have also heard from the second tenant I spoke with that York Housing did not answer the safety questions related to this project (which I posted on this [Facebook] page [last week]), because management didn't even have a lot of the information I asked! They actually started this project without even getting that! This isn't just scary. It's absurd. When I had asked all those questions, I was assuming I would just review it, see that things were being done properly, and then put this whole thing aside. Had I realized that York Housing was not actually knowledgeable, or following current Ontario law or safety procedures, I would have asked for that info months ago and started fighting this whole thing much earlier. This is SUPER illegal. I have also heard that York Housing is only trying NOW to collect all of the safety info and details of how the work is being done in each suite... only this week! Long after the project has started!

It is ALSO illegal for air quality testing to not be conducted before a tenant can re-enter the suite, for any Type 3 operation, and if York is treating this falsely as a Type 1 risk factor (when it appears to be pretty obvious that it is a Type 3 risk (based on the info I received from these other tenants), then that means they aren't even doing the mandated air quality tests before we re-enter our suites each day.

I do NOT give my consent for this project to happen in my suite next week.

This is breaking WAY too many laws, and the risks are potential deadly illnesses down the road.

This project MUST be put on hold until all of the safety procedures are changed and made accurate, applicable to the work being done.

York also needs to update its Asbestos information package from 2014 and refer to the new legal information on the government of Canada website to do so (before this continues). From what I read, much of the newer regulations were updated in 2017, but York Housing has apparently not even stayed up to date--even though this puts all Assinboine and Atkinson tenants' lives at risk.

Simply put: This project must stop, immediately. It is illegal, period.

If you are having your suite worked on this week, then refusing to leave the apartment and telling the contractors that they must go away, is your legal right, as too many safety procedures have been broken by York Housing and they are not following Ontario law (and apparently haven't even educated themselves enough to know what that is)!

This is the future of your lungs we are talking about here. York Housing might not care if you are still breathing in 35 years; but, I care, and you should too!

York Housing needs to organize a new plan; but, first, they need to educate themselves on all 2018 Ontario laws, regarding Asbestos, before they can legally continue this project."

-Holly Jonson (a very concerned, Atkinson resident).



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