Recognizing that asbestos can cause life-threatening diseases, such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer, the Government of Canada announced the final step to ban asbestos and asbestos‑containing products in the country.
“This is the final step to ban asbestos in Canada. We have followed through on our promise to deliver new, tougher rules to stop the import, use, sale, and export of asbestos in Canada. These measures will protect our communities and the health and safety of all Canadians,” said Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change.
These new regulations are part of the government-wide strategy announced in 2016 to protect Canadians from exposure to asbestos. They reflect consultations with Canadians and stakeholders across the country. The new regulations 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 to ban asbestos will come into force on December 30, 2018. They will protect the health of all Canadians by preventing new asbestos and asbestos-containing products from entering the Canadian market.
“This is a critical step on the long road to banning asbestos, and will, without a doubt, save lives for generations to come,” said Hassan Yussuff, president of the Canadian Labour Congress.
Asbestos is the leading cause of workplace-related death in Canada. Deaths from mesothelioma, a rare respiratory cancer caused almost exclusively from asbestos exposure, increased 60 percent between 2000 and 2012. Experts estimate 150,000 Canadians are exposed to asbestos at work, particularly in construction and trade industries.