Ontario’s Asbestos Removal & Disposal Regulations
What is the Purpose of Asbestos Removal Regulations?
To begin with, why is asbestos removal controlled at all? What makes it so risky?
Asbestos, on the other hand, is a dangerous substance. It’s really straightforward.
Asbestos is a mineral that occurs naturally. It literally disintegrates and comes apart in fragments or strands as it falls apart. When it becomes airborne, it poses a threat to humans.
That’s what there is to it. It’s for this reason that it’s regulated.
I mean, asbestos has been used for years, and it’s a fantastic weapon. Its ability to combine fire, electricity, and other elements is what made it so common, but the truth is that they didn’t know how dangerous it was until it was too late.
This was a material that had been used for decades in Canada before being outlawed in the mid-1980s.
Since then, it’s been a never-ending loop of having to delete it. We’ve kind of gotten ourselves into a position where we’ve spent decades building this material and are now spending decades removing it.
Furthermore, the removal procedure is much more complex and time-consuming than the installation procedure.
Asbestos Removal Regulations in Ontario
What particular asbestos removal laws do you need to be aware of if you live in Ontario?
It all depends on where you are in the project’s lifecycle.
If you’re a land owner or developer in the province, the Occupational Health and Safety Act specifies how and when you must detect asbestos. This is the first step.
Understanding the Occupational Health and Safety Act in Ontario
The Occupational Health and Safety Act has a section that deals with designated substances.
There are several types, but for the purposes of this series, we’ll focus on asbestos. Asbestos, mold, lead, and other similar substances are the most common.
According to the law, any building over two floors or non-residential in the province must undergo a prescribed substance survey, also known as a DSS.
You’ll need a trained person to help you with this, and in this situation, an environmental consultant makes the most sense. There are plenty of them out there, and I would strongly suggest anyone mentioned on the EACO website. There is a comprehensive list of certified environmental consultants available.
The act explicitly specifies how a DDS should be performed. It informs you that:
- How many samples should be taken?
- How it is put to the test;
- Also, how to locate any designated substances inside the structure.
So that anyone doing repairs or doing maintenance on the building has the right to know whether they will come into contact with any of these hazardous materials, whether they are considering demolishing the structure, repositioning it, or removing those finishes and reinstalling them.
Keep in mind that this person must be wearing the proper personal protective equipment (PPE).
This helps them to properly set up the field.
They have instructions on how to extract the material, treat it, dispose of it, and so on, depending on the substance, length, and how the containment looks.
Trying to understand Asbestos Regulation 278/05 in Ontario
Then, if we’re talking about asbestos directly, we’ll have to look at Ontario Regulation 278/05, which covers how asbestos is removed in great detail.
Since it is so dangerous to the people who disturb it and remove it, asbestos is treated differently than lead, PCBs, or any other substance.
You must take some precautions to protect yourself as a worker, as well as residents in nearby or adjacent areas that could be exposed to asbestos and fiber dust if it is kicked up during removal.
But that’s the abatement law, and there are others that deal with how it’s disposed of.
Asbestos Disposal Regulations in Ontario
Asbestos can only be disposed of in Ontario’s designated dump sites.
Most municipalities may have a portion of their local disposal facility where household hazardous materials or locally produced hazardous materials can be disposed of.
Mostly, everything that is generated at a bigger scale will get shipped to some specific facilities within the province, and there is a whole procedure for doing that.
To properly dispose asbestos you should be aware and knowledgeable about:
- The custody chain
- That the asbestos is correctly treated
- That it’s shipped in sealed containers
- And that it is simply buried after it has been dropped off at a particular location to be disposed of.
Ontario’s Abatement Regulations Difficulties
What obstacles do you face when it comes to Ontario’s abatement regulations? Is there something they’re missing when it comes to asbestos removal?
In all, there is always space for change.
The Ontario ministries supporting the legislation — the Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of Environment, Conservation, and Parks — are a finite resource with a limited number of employees.
I just wish they had a greater ability to identify those businesses — those firms — that are causing the most issues and casting a negative light on an industry that should be celebrated.
The Occupational Health and Safety Act of Ontario has certain limitations
Do you have any concerns about the designated substance survey (DSS) that you mentioned?
Second, one of my main concerns is the compulsory designated drug surveys under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
One issue that the industry is currently facing is that once the DSS is created, organizations or companies may mistakenly hand it off as a scope of work when it was not intended for that purpose.
A DSS detects the presence of these materials in a structure.
To address this issue, I wish there was legislation requiring a trained individual — such as a licensed environmental consultant — to create a proper scope of work and decide what needs to be done.
The qualified professional will then decide if the demolition is partial or interior, and whether the removal of those materials in this area is “because we’re renovating this”.
The aim is to minimize the amount of mistakes made, the number of asbestos and other materials accidentally exposed, and to establish a safe and healthy project checklist that everyone can obey.
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