A Metro Vancouver employer who repeatedly exposed unprotected workers to asbestos has been sentenced to 60 days in jail for disobeying a court order, but labour leaders say justice won't be served unless he's criminally charged.

The B.C. Supreme Court ordered contractor Arthur Moore to halt all demolition projects in August 2010 after WorkSafe BC discovered employees as young as 14-years-old were handling the deadly carcinogen without protective clothing.

Within 24 hours of receiving the order, Moore's employees were back on the job, according to court documents. He operated by issuing fake certificates claiming homes were asbestos-free before sending workers inside.

Despite multiple orders and court hearings, Moore continued to operate under various company names such as "Tri City Hazmat," "Surrey Hazmat" and "BC Hazmat." The Workers' Compensation Board launched contempt of court proceedings against him, and he was found guilty in October 2011.

Justice Richard Goepel issued Moore a two-month prison term on Tuesday, ruling he had "deliberately flaunted for an extended time a court order intended to protect worker safety."

Goepel said the court rarely hands down jail time for breaching its orders, but "it sometimes must do so."

Brianna Lansimaki, one of Moore's former employees, told reporters after the sentencing that she's disappointed by the length of the jail term, and fears for her future.

"I got pregnant after I worked for him, so hopefully it didn't affect my kid," Lansimaki said. "It's kind of scary."

B.C. Federation of Labour president Jim Sinclair called the punishment important, but insufficient, and urged Crown prosecutors to aggressively pursue criminal charges in cases like Moore's.

"If there ever was a case for criminal charges, here it is," Sinclair said. "Sending people in with no protection even though you know there's asbestos [is] sentencing them to wait for the next 10 to 20 years to find out if they're going to die from asbestosis."

Moore has yet to be punished directly for endangering his employees, Sinclair added.

"He's not going to jail because of his behaviour, he's going to jail because he didn't stop," he said. "And it's only 60 days."

Lee Loftus of the Insulators Union Local 118 said roughly 50 workers per year die from cancer and other illnesses caused by asbestos exposure in B.C. alone.

"This is a death sentence for somebody that worked for him," he said. "I mean ultimately, the end of the day, their lives are going to be shortened."

But Crown prosecutors in the province have hesitated to proceed with criminal charges, Loftus said, despite clear Criminal Code provisions about exposing employees to undue risk.

"Other provinces have, but not here in B.C.," he said. ‘The message is that those who want to operate like Mr. Moore can do so, but the jail time is only a couple of months."