Asbestos

The Government of Canada recognizes that breathing in asbestos fibres can cause cancer and other diseases. The Government is taking action by implementing regulations to help protect Canadians from asbestos exposure.

Asbestos minerals have historically been used to make products strong, long-lasting and fire-resistant. Before 1990, asbestos was mainly used for insulating buildings and homes against cold weather and noise. It was also used for fireproofing. Industry, construction and commercial sectors have used asbestos in products like:

Regulations prohibiting asbestos

In October 2018, the final Prohibition of Asbestos and Products Containing Asbestos Regulations were published in the Canada Gazette, Part II: Vol.152, No. 21. These regulations prohibit the import, sale and use of asbestos, as well as the manufacture, import, sale and use of products containing asbestos, with some exceptions. These regulations are published under the authority of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999), and come into force on December 30, 2018.

The proposed regulations were published in January 2018 in the Canada Gazette, Part I for a 75-day public comment period.  Comments and information received during the comment period were considered in the development of the final regulations, and are summarized in the Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement .

Because these regulations are more stringent than existing regulatory controls under the Asbestos Products Regulations made under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act, the Asbestos Products Regulations will be repealed when the Regulations Prohibiting Asbestos and Asbestos Products come into force.

In addition, the Export of Substances on the Export Control List Regulations have been amended to list all forms of asbestos on the Export Control List (Schedule 3 to CEPA 1999).  An order amending Schedule 3 to CEPA 1999 was published in the Canada Gazette, Part II: Vol. 152, No. 21 – October 17, 2018 . These amendments support the Regulations Prohibiting Asbestos and Asbestos Products by adding new provisions to prohibit (with some exceptions) the export of asbestos and products containing asbestos. They also ensure that Canada is compliant with its export obligations under international conventions, including the Rotterdam Convention.

Consultation document

In April 2017, Health Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada published a consultation document on the proposed regulatory approach to prohibit asbestos and products containing asbestos.

The objective of this consultation document was to inform stakeholders of the proposed regulatory approach, solicit their comments and request additional information. Comments and submissions were requested by June 4, 2017.

Comments and information received in response to the consultation document were considered in the development of the proposed regulations.

Notice of intent to develop regulations respecting asbestos

In December 2016, a notice of intent was issued in the Canada Gazette, Part I: Vol. 150, No. 51 - December 17, 2016 indicating that the Department of the Environment and the Department of Health were initiating the development of proposed regulations under CEPA 1999. These new regulations would seek to prohibit all future activities respecting asbestos and products containing asbestos, including, the manufacture, use, sale, offer for sale, import and export. There was a 30-day consultation period associated with this publication. Comments received on this publication were considered in the development of the consultation document.

Mandatory section 71 notice

In December 2016, a notice was issued in the Canada Gazette, Part I: Vol. 150, No. 51 - December 17, 2016 under section 71 of CEPA 1999. The notice applied to all 6 types of asbestos: crocidolite asbestos, chrysotile asbestos, amosite asbestos, actinolite asbestos, anthophyllite asbestos and tremolite asbestos. Every person to whom the notice applied was required to comply no later than January 18, 2017.

The purpose of the section 71 notice was to obtain information on the manufacture, import, export and use of asbestos and products containing asbestos for the 2013 to 2015 calendar years, as well as socio-economic information. This data was considered in the development of the regulations and will ensure that future decision-making is based on the best available information.

Background

Asbestos is currently on the List of Toxic Substances found in Schedule 1 to CEPA 1999, and the listing covers all 6 types of asbestos.

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