Up until the 1990s, asbestos was used for fireproofing and insulating buildings and homes against cold weather and noise.
It is now well-documented that airborne particulate asbestos can cause adverse health effects on building occupants and those handling asbestos-containing materials during installation, maintenance or demolition. These materials could release particulate asbestos when damaged, cut or drilled.
The Government of Canada recognizes that breathing in asbestos fibres can cause cancer and other diseases, and that the health risks related to asbestos containing materials are no longer tolerated by the Canadian public. The Prohibition of Asbestos and Products Containing Asbestos Regulations became enforceable on December 30, 2018.
Changes to the 2015 editions of the National Building Code and the National Plumbing Code were submitted for public review in fall 2017. The respective standing committees reviewed the comments received and recommended to remove all references to asbestos-containing materials as an acceptable solution in code requirements and appendices. The Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes’ Standing Committee on Heating, Ventilation, and Air-conditioning and Plumbing is currently reviewing a new standard from the CSA Group to replace asbestos-cement pipe and fittings for use in a drain, waste or vent system with the intent to introduce the new standard in the next editions of Codes Canada publications, planned for 2020.