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Canada Set To Implement Asbestos Ban By Year’s End…Sort Of

For the first half of 2018, the DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. Blog covered the story of Canada’s proposed asbestos ban quite extensively. It has been nearly two years since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that our nation would finally be joining the many others that have outlawed the toxic substance. However, things seemed to come to a standstill this year. As a result, we haven’t blogged about the asbestos ban since the beginning of May.

Originally, the ban was intended to take full effect this year.

However, it appears as if it won’t be fully implemented until the end of the year – to some degree. As The Canadian Press reported last week via Global News, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna has announced that the asbestos ban will come into effect by year’s end. However, it won’t apply to residues that have been left over from mining asbestos.

While the ban will prohibit the import, sale and use of processed asbestos fibres and the products that contain them, Quebec towns, where approximately 800 million tonnes of residue exist, will receive an exemption. “As much as 40 per cent of the leftover rock still contains asbestos,” reads The Canadian Press report.

The ban has been “watered down”.

Elizabeth Thompson of CBC News elaborates on the “watered down” regulations regarding the nationwide ban on asbestos. “The final regulations include new exemptions to allow the military, nuclear facilities and chlor-alkali plants to continue using the hazardous substance for several years,” she reveals.

She also offers some insight from Kathleen Ruff, who has long campaigned against asbestos. “They seem to have, if anything, weakened their proposed regulations and succumbed to lobbying by vested interests,” Ruff is quoted as saying, “I would give them huge credit for finally moving to ban asbestos…But I’m troubled by the fact that there are these weaknesses and gaps and, if anything, they seem to have gotten worse.”

McKenna, however, has downplayed the idea that there will be health implications due to the new exemptions. Instead, she stands pat on her belief that the federal government is keeping the promise it made back in 2016. “None of these exemptions will impact on human health,” McKenna insists, “These regulations ban the import, the sale, the use and the export of asbestos and products containing asbestos in Canada, as well as the manufacture of products containing asbestos.”

The impact of asbestos should not be taken lightly.

As we’ve reported in numerous blogs of past, asbestos is the number one cause of workplace death in Canada. “Since 1996, almost 5,000 approved death claims stem from asbestos exposure, making it by far the top source of workplace death in Canada,” reveals Tavia Grant of The Globe and Mail. Thompson also highlights the far-reaching and disastrous effects of asbestos exposure on the Canadian public.

“In its regulations, the government estimates that asbestos exposure was responsible for approximately 1,900 lung cancer cases in 2011 and 430 cases of mesothelioma — a cancer that affects a layer of tissue that covers many internal organs,” she reports.

The DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. team is disappointed to learn of the exceptions made to the nationwide ban of asbestos, but still can’t wait for it to officially come into effect. As always, we remain dedicated to helping Canadians remove asbestos from their homes and places of work. For 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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