New requirements expected to protect asbestos workers

ASBESTOS abatement contractors who operate in B.C. must be licensed by January 1, 2024, making B.C. the first jurisdiction in Canada to implement a licensing requirement for this work.

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, says the Province.


Learn More:

Find out more about asbestos licensing and certification:

Learn more about WorkSafeBC’s Asbestos Initiatives Program:


Facts about asbestos abatement

* Asbestos abatement work includes removing, repairing, transporting and disposing of asbestos or materials that may contain asbestos.

* An asbestos abatement contractor is an employer who carries out the business of asbestos abatement work.

* Asbestos abatement contractors must have a licence to perform asbestos abatement work and must ensure workers performing this work at their workplace are trained and hold a valid certificate.

* 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.

* Contact WorkSafeBC’s prevention information line 24 hours, seven days a week to report any unsafe work conditions, toll-free in Canada: 1 888 621-7233