The BC Government released an asbestos exposure report on January 3, 2019.
The report was prepared by a working group led by the Ministry of Labour and included the ministries of environment and energy, health and municipal affairs and housing as well as WorkSafeBC.
Input was gathered from the construction industry, contractors, workers and employers, homeowners, local governments and union locals. BCCA provided construction industry feedback through our leadership role in the Council of Construction Associations (COCA).
The government report lists 16 recommended actions, and government is asking for further public feedback until Feb. 15, specifically on:
- options for increasing material disposal capacity
- the possibility of a licensing or certification requirement for consultants, surveyors and contractors;
- opportunities to create an incentive-based program for safe asbestos removal practices from buildings;
- and opinions on a provincially recognized set of standards and programs for training asbestos abatement workers
BCCA and COCA are generally in agreement with the report’s recommendations, which on balance is very good and represents the diverse opinions of the organizations that participated. However, there is a concern that instituting mandatory certification of Asbestos contractors may drive the cost of these services up (as contractors will have to pay more to remain compliant if new standards are added). This in turn may inadvertently fuel the illegal underground economy (the lowest price argument). The reality is professional abatement contractors are already easily identified and on balance are in full compliance with the regulations. We asked the question, does it make sense to focus on professional contractors? Shouldn’t the system focus on those who are not compliant?
COCA stressed the need for government to help by developing incentives to encourage homeowners to choose professional contractors through a grant or tax incentive.
Read the full report here.
Updates & Statements