“Consumers, builders, and renovators are subject to government agencies establishing rules and regulations for construction and the use of labour and materials.

The federal government oversees and funds the National Research Council responsible for the National Building Code, and Canadian Construction Materials Centre (CCMC). CCMC offers a national evaluation service for building materials and products. Contractors and consumers depend on their evaluations.

The federal government is also responsible for minerals and mining, including asbestos, determined to be a hazardous substance used extensively in building materials mostly prior to 1990.

Asbestos can be found in stucco, drywall and drywall mud, roof shingles, window putty, vinyl and linoleum floor tiles, electrical wires, insulation, cement, and more. In the 1970’s and 80’s, the government’s Canadian Home Insulation Program (CHIP) offered grants for installation of asbestos insulation such as Zonolite in homes.

Consumers and contractors relied on the government to ensure these products were safe, which in hindsight, was not the case.

WorkSafeBC has established very stringent and expensive regulations for renovations, demolitions, and handling of building materials that may contain asbestos.

These regulations include employee training, hiring consultants, testing materials, and hazardous materials management procedures. The cost to consumers is thousands of dollars.

A rebate program is necessary to help consumers with the cost of expensive asbestos mitigation in renovations and demolitions.

The federal government, which supported the use of asbestos in Canadian homes, should step up to address this important and costly issue.

An asbestos removal rebate for consumers would be a good start.”

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