OTTAWA – The federal government has announced the final step to prohibit asbestos and asbestos‑containing products in Canada.
Asbestos was declared a human carcinogen by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, in 1987. At the height of its use, asbestos was found in more than 3,000 applications worldwide.
New regulations are part of the government-wide strategy announced in 2016 to protect Canadians from exposure to asbestos. They prohibit the import, sale, and use of asbestos as well as the manufacture, import, sale, and use of asbestos-containing products, with a limited number of exclusions.
In addition, exports of asbestos and asbestos-containing products are now prohibited, with a limited number of exceptions, and the existing Export of Substances on the Export Control List Regulations and schedule 3 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 were amended to reflect that.
The new regulations and related amendments will come into force on December 30, 2018. They will prevent new asbestos and asbestos-containing products from entering the Canadian market.
The regulations do not apply to residues left from mining asbestos. However, these asbestos-mining residues cannot be sold for use in construction or landscaping without provincial authorization, and they cannot be used to make a product that contains asbestos. The mining of asbestos in Canada ceased in 2011.
Risks related to asbestos-containing products that are already in use or installed—such as in existing buildings, equipment, and vehicles—will continue to be managed by existing federal, provincial, and municipal rules and regulations. There are no significant health risks if asbestos fibres are enclosed or tightly bound, in good condition, and left undisturbed.
The use, sale, and export of any asbestos-containing products that exist in inventories but that have not yet been installed are prohibited under the new regulations and related amendments.
The current Asbestos Products Regulations under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act will be repealed as these new regulations are more comprehensive.
The regulations include a limited number of exclusions. The list can be found here.