Prevention System Updates

Federal government to ban asbestos and asbestos-containing products by 2018

Release Date:  Jan 03, 2017

Fulfilling an election promise to Canadians, the federal government has announced a national strategy to protect people from health risks posed by exposure to asbestos.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral once used widely in building materials. Improper handling of products containing asbestos can release asbestos fiber into the air. There is no safe level of exposure to airborne asbestos fibers. Inhaling them can cause serious illnesses, including lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma. The time period between exposure and the development of asbestos-related disease can range from 15 to 55 years.

The federal government's strategy includes:

  • creating new regulations that ban the manufacture, use, import and export of asbestos under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 - the legislative framework that protects the public from the risks associated with hazardous substances such as asbestos,
  • working in collaboration with provincial and territorial partners to change the national, provincial and territorial building codes to prohibit the use of asbestos in new construction and renovation projects,
  • establishing new federal workplace health and safety rules that will drastically limit the risk of people coming into contact with asbestos on the job,
  • raising awareness of the health impacts of asbestos to help reduce the incidence of asbestos-related diseases,
  • expanding the current online list of asbestos-containing buildings owned or leased by the federal government.

The federal government will work in consultation with the health, labour, trade and commercial sectors, among others, to ban asbestos by 2018. The regulatory process will involve consultations with multiple stakeholders, including provinces, territories, communities, industry, scientists and health professionals.

Learn more about asbestos on Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS) resource page and Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) fact sheet.

Do you think you may have asbestos in your workplace? Speak with a WSPS technical consultant. We can conduct an assessment and help you identify essential next steps to protect your employees and your business.

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