Prohibition of Asbestos and Asbestos Products Regulations
In a press release on December 15, 2016 the Government of Canada announced that it would move forward on its commitment to ban asbestos and asbestos containing products by 2018. Following up on that commitment the government published proposed regulations in Canada Gazette Part I (CGI) in January 2018.
Under the authority of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, the Federal Government published a regulatory proposal titled Prohibition of Asbestos and Asbestos Products Regulations in Canada Gazette Part 1 on January 6th 2018.
The proposed regulations would prohibit the import and use of asbestos and products containing asbestos in Canada, with limited exclusions. As the proposed regulations are more comprehensive than existing Asbestos Products Regulations (APR) made under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act, the government proposes to repeal the APR.
Why should labs care?
Section 7 of the proposed regulations addresses the laboratory use of asbestos. Laboratories will be allowed to use asbestos or products containing asbestos in a laboratory in scientific research, for sample characterization or as an analytical standard but if a laboratory uses processed asbestos fibre in scientific research or as an analytical standard the laboratory must prepare and implement an asbestos management plan that meets the requirements of the regulations.
If a laboratory imports processed asbestos fibre or a product containing asbestos for allowed uses (i.e. research or as an analytical standard), the laboratory must submit a notification to the Minister 60 days before the importation and provide the information required in subsection 7(6) of the regulations.
After using processed asbestos fibre or a product that contains asbestos, that was imported after the coming into force of the regulations, the laboratory must submit a report to the minister before March 31st of the following year, including the elements listed in subsection 7(7) of the regulations.
A summary of what these regulations mean for laboratories.
You can continue to use asbestos for research, sample characterization or as an analytical standard. You may import or sell it for such use. (Section 7(1) of the regulations)
If you use asbestos, you must prepare and implement an asbestos management plan that meets the requirements of Schedule 1 of the regulations. (Section 7(2) and Schedule 1 of the regulations)
If you plan on importing asbestos, you must notify the Minister 60 days before the date of importation and provide the information listed in 7(6) of the regulations. (Section 7(3) and 7(6) of the regulations)
If you use asbestos that was imported after the coming into force of the regulations you must submit to the Minister a report before March 31st of the following calendar year, that includes the information listed in 7(7) of the regulations. (Section 7(4) and 7(7) of the regulations)
Please note: In the above summary asbestos means asbestos or a product that contains asbestos. The sections of the regulations cited are the sections from the draft regulations published in January 2018. The section numbers may change in the final regulations.
When will the regulations come into force?
The regulations come into force 90 days after the final regulations are registered, that is about 3 months after the final regulations are published in Canada Gazette Part II. If the government is to meet its commitment to implement the asbestos ban by 2018, or come close to meeting the commitment, the final regulatory package will likely be published in Canada Gazette Part II in the October to December 2018 timeframe. That means the regulations will come into force in early 2019. Labs have some time to prepare but don't wait too long.