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Canada Inching Closer Towards Full-Fledged Asbestos Ban

In December of last year, the Government of Canada finally followed through on its promise to announce a comprehensive nationwide ban of asbestos. The deadly substance – known for its role in causing mesothelioma and other fatal respiratory diseases – is set for a complete abolishment from the country in 2018.

Of course, “abolishment” means the ceasing of any importing or exporting of the product. What we do about the asbestos that is currently in our country is another story altogether. Thankfully, there is some good news to report coming out of Gatineau, Quebec. Earlier this month, the federal government announced that it was lowering the acceptable level of workplace exposure to airborne chrysotile asbestos to as close to zero as possible.

As reported by Jeff Cottrill on OHSCanada.com, the move took effect on July 12th, and was announced via news release from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). Patty Hajdu is the federal Minister of Employment at Workforce Development and Labour. In the release, she shares her sentiments about the nation’s responsibility to keep its workers as safe from harm as possible.

“Every employee has the right to a safe workplace,” declares Hajdu, “I’m proud to be announcing these long-overdue regulatory changes on asbestos, a key element of our government’s comprehensive ban.”

Kirsty Duncan is the Federal Science Minister. She too had some words to say about the federal government’s duty to keep Canadians free from harm in the workplace. “Canadians can be confident my colleagues and I will continue to work hard to ensure that families, workers and communities will be protected from the harmful impacts of asbestos exposure, so they may lead healthy, secure lives,” Duncan shared.

“The move is part of the federal government’s ongoing strategy to ban all asbestos and asbestos-containing products by next year,” writes Cottrill, “Canada’s occupational health and safety law regulations require exposure to airborne asbestos to follow the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists Threshold Limit Values at 0.1 fibres per cubic centimetre, according to a backgrounder on the ESDC website.”

Never one to be quiet about the subject of asbestos, Canadian Labour Congress president, Hassan Yussuff, was also vocal about Canada’s recent step towards better protection against asbestos exposure in the workplace. The CLC has long lobbied for the complete ban of asbestos in Canada. Yussuff agrees that the recent move towards lowering acceptable exposure levels at work is a step in the right direction.

“We welcome the action of the government,” said Yussuff. “There’s always going to be argument on what level of threshold is acceptable for workers to be exposed, and we believe no amount of asbestos fibres is safe. So lowering the threshold certainly brings us one step closer to the inevitable situation that the government already announced, a complete ban of both import and export of asbestos.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we applaud the actions being taken by the Canadian government to reduce the potential for asbestos to cause more illnesses and deaths in our country. Of course, we’re mindful that much work still needs to be done in order to keep all Canadians safe.

For more information about our Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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