OTTAWA | A lighting designer died in excruciating pain because he was exposed to asbestos in the old Radio-Canada tower, but the public channel refuses to compensate his widow.
“In the family, we were proud to say that Réal worked at Radio-Canada. Now we are no longer. He would still be there if he had worked elsewhere, ”breathes Linda Grandmont, widow of Réal Truchon.
Mr. Truchon was a lighting technician, lighting designer and technical instructor at Maison de Radio-Canada in Montreal.
Ragethe goodbye, the hour of glorythe RDI information center… has been on all the sets and has won several awards, including a Gémeau.
“Variety show dance of lights, it was him, that,” says M.I Grandmont.
Entered at the age of 18 in the great tower of the René-Lévesque boulevard, this enthusiast spent his entire life at the service of the public channel until his retirement. He died in October 2020.
He died of peritoneal mesothelioma, a rare and extremely destructive cancer most often caused by the ingestion of asbestos fibers. She was 64 years old.
Photo Chantal Poirier
The public broadcaster no longer uses the Radio-Canada tower in Montreal today.
ten months of suffering
Less than ten months passed between the appearance of the first symptoms, in January 2020, and his last breath.
Meanwhile, I was living on morphine, the pain was so unbearable.
“It was scary,” says Mr.I Grandmont, a sob in her voice. The morphine, the hospital bed in the ward, the showers twice a week with the help of the CLSC… I don’t want anyone to go through that. »
Shortly after Mr. Truchon’s death, the Commission for Standards, Equity, Health and Safety at Work (CNEST) ruled in two decisions that he had been contaminated at work.
“He was exposed directly and indirectly to asbestos for about 25 years as part of his work as a lighting technician,” says the CNESST in the file obtained by The newspaper.
Mr. Truchon set up and broke down television studios and designed the lighting there. To do this, he spent his time with his nose in the false ceilings and walls, with both hands on the electrical cables.
Although the decisions of the CNESST are based on the expertise of the doctors who treated Mr. Truchon, Radio-Canada questions them, because it considers them “ill-founded in fact and in law.”
The state corporation thus prevents the widow from receiving the death benefit to which the CNESST decisions entitle her.
Therefore, the retiree had to hire a lawyer to defend herself in court.
“I can’t grieve because of endless paperwork,” he says. I myself ended up in the hospital two months ago with depression. »
METERI However, Grandmont is determined to see it through to the end.
“I will not let him go. My spouse wanted his file to go above and beyond to help his colleagues who might be in the same situation,” he said.
The union is shocked and concerned.
The Radio-Canada communications union denounces the ruthlessness of the employers against the widow of a deceased worker and is concerned about the health of other employees who may also have been in contact with asbestos.
“We find this challenge particularly shocking and ask Radio-Canada not to add additional stress to Mr. Truchon’s widow,” said the Trunk union president, Pierre Tousignant.
“We have already asked the Radio-Canada management on several occasions not to persist in this file,” he insists.
“We challenge the file because it is a file of professional illness and unfortunately we have a very short period provided by law to analyze the file and protect our rights,” justifies the station’s spokesman, Marc Pichette.
Other potential victims
The case is even more sensitive as Mr. Truchon may not be Radio-Canada’s only asbestos victim.
Thousands of people have worked in the building on Montreal’s René-Lévesque Boulevard since its construction in 1973. Some 3,000 people were working there when the public channel moved into its new premises between 2020 and 2021.
“We have also asked them to take serious measures so that there are no other similar cases,” said Mr. Tousignant, who regrets that the union’s demands in this file remain unanswered.
Mr. Pichette assures that the public channel respects “all current regulations to protect employees and contractors.”
The Société Radio-Canada is well aware of the presence of asbestos in its old building.
“Due to the presence of asbestos and obsolete technologies in many studies, it would have cost us 170 million [de dollars] to update the tower,” said SRC Vice President Michel Bissonnette, to justify the sale of the building in 2017.
The Mach group, which acquired the tower for $42 million, intends to build offices and homes there.
- Rare cancer that develops in the peritoneal cavity, the membrane that lines the inside of the abdomen and covers various organs. Exposure to asbestos in the workplace is the most common cause.
- Men: 0.5 to 3 cases per million
- Women: 0.2 to 2 cases per million
- Median age of onset: 50 years
- Median survival time: 1 year
- abdominal enlargement
- abdominal pain
- Occurrence of a symptomatic hernia
Sources: Cancer Care Ontario, National Reference Center for Rare Peritoneal Tumors
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