The possibility of new compulsory obligations for employers concerning asbestos fibers:

    Visual Inspection of buildings every two years
    Keep and update a register containing  the information on the presence of asbestos
    Disclosure of information

The possibility of new compulsory obligations for employers concerning asbestos fibers:

  1.     Visual Inspection of buildings every two years
  2.     Keep and update a register containing  the information on the presence of asbestos
  3.     Disclosure of information

RCC OBJECTIVES

  1.     Inform members as to their new obligations if this draft regulation is adopted as is.
  2.     Obtain feedback and information on the impact of the bill, in order to articulate RCC’s position for future representations.
  3.     Considering the draft regulation does not target the appropriate clientele, advocate for RCC members against this increased burden targeting the wrong clientele.

BACKGROUND

The Board of Directors of the Commission de la Santé et sécurité au travail du Québec (CSST) has tabled a draft regulation to protect workers in buildings in which they perform work.

No timeline has been set, but comments on the proposed regulation are expected. The government has already received support from unions and from two business associations, who are members of the CSST Board of Directors.

The regulation proposes to add new security measures concerning the management of asbestos, including the localization of flocking and heat insulating material containing asbestos in all building built respectively before February 15, 1990 and May 20th, 1999. 
Employers have a delay of two years, commencing when this proposed regulation takes effect, to fulfill their obligations.

CURRENT STATUS

Extract from the draft regulation
The draft regulation adds the following obligations:
Inspection:
It is the employer’s responsibility (and not the building owner’s, as in Ontario) to locate flocking and heat insulating material in respect of any building under the employer’s authority: 

  1.     Every building built before 15 February 1990 must be inspected in order to locate flocking containing asbestos.
  2.     Every building built before 20 May 1999 must be inspected in order to locate heat insulating material containing asbestos.

Presumed asbestos in buildings:
Flocking and heat insulating material are presumed to contain asbestos unless demonstrated otherwise through:

  1.     Verifiable documentary information,
  2.     A compliance sampling report carried out according to one of the methods specified in the Sampling Guide for Air Contaminants in the Workplace.

The employer must obtain a sampling report where samples are taken for analysis from flocking and heat insulating material. This report must contain specific information, mentioned in the draft regulation.

Frequency of inspections: The employer must check, during the initial inspection and every two years thereafter.

Where flocking or heat insulating material is liable to produce asbestos dust emissions, the employer must remove it, enclose it, coat it or soak it in a binder, or cover it with material resistant to fibers.

Unless able to demonstrate that the work to be carried out is not liable to produce asbestos dust emissions, the employer must take the required measures to control them before undertaking work on materials or products.

Before undertaking this work, the employer must train and inform the worker of the risks, prevention methods and safe working methods relevant to the work to be carried out.

Recording and register:
The employer must keep and update a register and make it available to workers and their representatives working in its establishment.

Information:
The employer must disclose to every person who plans to or will carry out work liable to produce asbestos dust emissions the entries relevant to that work that are noted in the register, so that the person may plan and implement the required measures.

POTENTIAL IMPACT
If adopted as is, this proposed draft will have impact on all RCC members who have activities in Québec – renters or owners of buildings, especially those who are renting establishments in Québec.

Given the proposed obligations, linking the register to the employer and not to the building or the owner will have financial and legal repercussions.

In our preliminary discussions with the government, it appears that they were under the impression that its draft regulation was “lighter" than the Ontarian regulation with which it compares itself. We do not share this analysis. The Ontarian approach targets buildings, not employers, although it covers more materials, including the stone floors of vinyl or sealing of windows.

NEXT STEPS

  1.     Obtain feedback from members.
  2.     Confirm a position in order to make representations to the government (Ministre du travail) and the president of the CSST (Commission de la santé et de la sécurité au travail)
  3.     Report results of representations back to members.
  4.     Table comments to the CSST

Should you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Jean-Guy Côté at 514-982-0267 ext. 332 or at [email protected]

The draft regulation may be accessed here.