The Government of Canada takes measures to ban asbestos and asbestos‑containing products

News release

October 18, 2018 – Ottawa, Ontario

Protecting the environment, our communities, and the health and safety of Canadians from harmful substances and pollution is a priority for the Government of Canada.

Recognizing that asbestos can cause life-threatening diseases, such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, today announced the final step to prohibit asbestos and asbestos‑containing products in Canada.

These new regulations are part of the government-wide strategy announced in 2016 to protect Canadians from exposure to asbestos. They reflect what we heard during 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 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.

Quotes

“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.”

– Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“When it comes to asbestos, the science is clear: breathing in asbestos fibres can cause serious health problems, including cancer. These regulations will help protect Canadians by ensuring that there is no market for asbestos or products containing asbestos, in Canada.”

– Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health

“Protecting the health and safety of Canadians is our top priority. That’s why we implemented a government-wide approach to banning asbestos, enacting new health and safety rules to protect workers and banning the use of asbestos in government construction.”

– Kirsty Duncan,  Minister of Science and Sport

Quick facts

  • 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.

  • 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 under “associated links.”

Associated links

Contacts

Caroline Thériault
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
613-462-5473
caroline.theriault2@canada.ca

Media Relations
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)
ec.media.ec@canada.ca

Thierry Bélair
Office of Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health
613-957-0200

Media Relations
Health Canada
613-957-2983

Public Inquiries
Health Canada
613-957-2991 or 1-866-225-0709 (toll-free)

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Twitter page

Environment and Natural Resources in Canada’s Facebook page


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