Around the world, most construction companies have long since abandoned the use of asbestos in their building efforts, but that still obviously leaves a lot that needs to be removed. This, of course, means that asbestos removal companies, and those that specialize in cleaning up other hazardous materials, will likely be in operation for quite a while. However, the owners of those companies should also be ready to consistently review their insurance options to make sure the coverage they carry is up to snuff with both their needs and regulatory controls.
Interestingly, though, it seems that the Canadian government as a whole still allows for the use of asbestos and related materials on federal construction projects, according to a report from CBC News. This is true, at least, of the Canada Revenue Agency and Public Services and Procurement Canada, despite the understanding that asbestos is a toxic carcinogen. Further, Denis St-Jean, national health and safety officer with the Public Service Alliance of Canada, notes that the nation still imports construction materials containing asbestos on a regular basis.
"It's appalling, but unfortunately, it's not surprising," Laura Lozanski, occupational health and safety officer at the Canadian Association of University Teachers, a group pushing for the removal of asbestos from public buildings, told the news organization. "That they're continuing to use a known carcinogen in the workplace is just unbelievable."
Who does this impact?
Federal infrastructure projects in both Quebec and Ontario have recently seen increases in use of asbestos cement pipes in the last few years, the report said. This comes as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently received a letter from a group called Ban Asbestos Canada asking for discontinuation of its use, import, and export. Other major countries around the globe have already taken similar steps, and advocates say there is no reason Canada can't do the same. Further, others have also asked for the federal government to create a national registry of buildings that contain asbestos and related materials.
For its part, though, the Canadian government says that the use of these products is extremely limited, and tightly controlled, the report said. But experts say even use of "non-friable forms" constitutes a risk over time, and indeed, cases of mesothelioma – the form of cancer most associated with asbestos exposure – continues to hold steady even as fewer people are supposed to have been exposed to it in recent years.
What does this mean for removal companies?
As a consequence of all this, Quebec-based businesses that specialize in the removal of asbestos may be able to get more work in the near future, especially if federal bans on the use of the material go into place. However, they should also continue to examine their insurance needs on an ongoing basis to make sure that the risk they – as well as their workers and clients – face on a regular basis is minimized. That kind of diligence could save money and avoid major issues in the long run.