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Health and Medicine in Northern BC

Guide highlights archival materials in the Northern BC Archives on health and medicine in Northern BC.

Cassiar Asbestos Corporation Ltd. fonds

2000.1.1.4.1.050 - Prime Minister Trudeau outside with Cassiar employeesEstablished in 1951 by Conwest Exploration Company Ltd. CAC opened the asbestos mine and mill in 1952 in northern BC and constructed a townsite for its workers. For 40 years Cassiar was a thriving one-industry town of 1200+ people, with an operation as an open-pit mine, but in 1988 it began construction of an underground mine which became operational in 1990. The unprofitability of this underground operation contributed to Cassiar Asbestos Mining Corporation (CAMC)’s bankruptcy in 1992. Most employees were laid off and the entire town, mine, and mill infrastructure were auctioned off. UNBC acquired the records in 1992.

CAMC is UNBC’s single largest archiving holding consisting of 1625+ bankers boxes of textual records; 7000 photographic items (6100+ photographs, 900 slides, microfilm); 1500+ cartographic items; electronic holdings, and sound & moving image holdings relating the history of this asbestos company and townsite.

Image: 2000.1.1.4.1.050 - Prime Minister Trudeau outside with Cassiar employees

Research Significance of Holdings

Cassiar Hospital health care staff and othersThe Cassiar records has the potential to provide new research areas related to the health impacts of industrial developments in Northern Canada in the latter part of the 20th century. Records are applicable to academic research in both Humanities and Social Science disciplines (i.e. History, Geography, Environmental Planning, Health Research, particularly environmental impacts on health).

Possible research topics include:

  • Examination employee records including health and accident records (300+ X-rays)
  • Case study on the litigation against CAMC and/or its parent company regarding work related injuries and environmental related diseases
  • Examination of a town’s development with materials on construction of municipal services and buildings such as the hospital

Access Restrictions: Due to the personal nature of some of the information captured archival records, some files may be restricted in full or in part. To apply for access to this restricted material an Application to Restricted Records will be required to be reviewed and approved by the University FOIP/OP Officer. Contact the archives for more details.

Image: 2000.1.1.3.07 - Cassiar Hospital health care staff and others