Asbestos abatement contractors in B.C. must be licensed starting in 2024
Legislation Asbestos british columbia
Asbestos abatement contractors who operate in British Columbia must be licensed by Jan. 1, 2024, making B.C. the first jurisdiction in Canada to implement a licensing requirement for this work, the province said.
To further ensure the safety of asbestos abatement workers, amendments to the Workers Compensation Act were made in spring 2022 to require contractors who perform this work to be licensed, and to ensure those contractors must only use trained and certified workers to perform asbestos abatement work.
Starting in September 2023, WorkSafeBC will begin to accept licence applications from contractors performing asbestos abatement work throughout the province. A registry of licensees will be published by the end of 2023.
Additionally, changes to the act provide WorkSafeBC with the authority to administer a certification program for people conducting asbestos abatement work. The required training for worker certification is scheduled to begin this summer.
Since the new protections were announced in spring 2022, WorkSafeBC has been developing its framework for the asbestos certification and licensing program and making policy and regulatory changes to align with the legislative changes. WorkSafeBC continues to meet with employer and worker groups to brief them on the new requirements.
Bringing in stricter laws and controls around asbestos abatement work is essential for protecting people and the environment from the dangers of asbestos.
Diseases caused by exposure to asbestos remain the top cause of workplace death in B.C. In 2022, asbestos exposure was a contributing factor in 61 of 181 workplace deaths. Over the past decade, WorkSafeBC accepted more than 500 claims for workers who were killed by occupational disease related to asbestos exposure.