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Underground contractors threaten asbestos ban

January 26, 2018

A wild card in the recent federal ban on asbestos is the unregulated black market in renovations, according to industry groups.
The federal government moved to prohibit the use, sale, import and export of asbestos and products containing asbestos on January 5.
Environment Canada has published proposed Prohibition of Asbestos and Asbestos Products Regulations under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, and also introduced amendments to the Export of Substances on the Export Control List Regulations.
Under the new regulations, the use or sale of any asbestos-containing products that exist in inventories would be prohibited, and any stockpiled materials would need to be disposed of.
Feedback is being sought on the regulations by March 22.
But, while leading construction groups have welcomed the ban of a product that was declared a carcinogen by the World Health Organization more than 30 years ago, there is concern that some underground contractors may ignore it.
Hassan Yussuff, president of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), said a potential problem is unscrupulous contractors who don’t follow federal, provincial or municipal rules for exposure.
In a 2017 report, CAREX Canada—a national body that estimates the number of Canadians exposed to substances associated with cancer—estimated that 52,000 workers are occupationally exposed to asbestos in Ontario alone annually and that 91 per cent of occupational exposure occurs in construction, primarily during building renovations.



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