Asbestos will be banned in new buildings and renovations from 2018 and pressure is mounting for property owners across Canada to remove dangerous asbestos from their homes and businesses. There is already a registry of all asbestos containing government buildings putting pressure on the government to look to immediate asbestos remediation.
In British Columbia the Victoria Residential Builders Association are lobbying the federal government for a federal wide tax credit to assist owners of older homes to assess and deal with asbestos risk. Earthquake activity in the Vancouver Island region is highlighting the risks even more as older properties suffer damage from recent quake activity. They also suggest the tax credit would create a paper trail for asbestos removal. That is would also encourage property owners to choose professional, registered remediation firms rather than cutting corners with amateurs. The increase in asbestos remediation activity would create skilled jobs in every part of Canada as the country wide removal of asbestos progresses.
No plans are in place as yet to force asbestos removal however home and business owners are increasingly aware of the risk to their families, employees and visitors from dangerous asbestos fibres.
Asbestos is safe if completely sealed in a building preventing the cancer causing fibres being released and breathed in. However any form of renovation, damage or deterioration to a property can result in the release of, and exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is proven to cause cancer and other fatal or debilitating illnesses. A businesses which even unwittingly exposes its employees to asbestos fibres is likely to be found libel for said illness or even death.
Something as simple as drilling a hole in a wall can release asbestos. Earthquake damage, even minor creates a high risk of asbestos containing materials being exposed.
Asbestos is simply not worth the risk. There is no doubt that the asbestos ban in Canada, and subsequent legislation to deal with removal of existing asbestos,will mean asbestos must be dealt with by property owners. A federal wide tax credit would certainly contribute to making homes and businesses safer, and property owners more likely and more able to deal with the problem.