Asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral, has been widely used in various industries due to its fire-resistant properties and durability. However, extensive research has linked asbestos exposure to serious health risks, including lung cancer and mesothelioma. To protect workers, both Ontario and the federal government of Canada have implemented legislation regarding asbestos in workplaces. In this blog, we will explore the key differences between asbestos legislation in Ontario provincially regulated workplaces and federally regulated workplaces in Canada.


Ontario Provincial Legislation:

In Ontario, workplace safety falls under the jurisdiction of the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development. The key legislation governing asbestos in provincially regulated workplaces is the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and its associated regulations, including the Asbestos Regulation (O. Reg 278/05). These regulations set out specific requirements for the handling, removal, and disposal of asbestos-containing materials (ACMs).


Under the OHSA, employers are responsible for identifying and assessing the presence of asbestos in the workplace, developing an asbestos management program, and providing adequate training to workers who may come into contact with ACMs. Additionally, employers must ensure that proper engineering controls, such as ventilation systems, are in place to minimize asbestos exposure.


Federally Regulated Workplaces:

Federally regulated workplaces in Canada, such as those in telecommunications, banking, and transportation sectors, are governed by the Canada Labour Code (CLC). Part II of the CLC, specifically the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations (COHSR), addresses asbestos-related hazards. See Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations.


The COHSR sets out similar requirements to the Ontario regulations, such as identifying and assessing the presence of asbestos, developing an asbestos management plan, and providing training to workers. However, there are some notable differences. For example, the COHSR requires employers to establish a written asbestos control program and conduct air monitoring to ensure compliance with exposure limits.


Moreover, the federal regulations also include specific provisions for the transportation and disposal of asbestos-containing waste materials, ensuring that these hazardous materials are handled safely and in accordance with federal legislation.


Collaboration and Harmonization:

While there are differences between the provincial and federal legislation, it is important to note that efforts have been made to harmonize asbestos regulations across Canada. The federal government has been working closely with provinces and territories to align their legislation with the national standards set by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS).


The CCOHS provides comprehensive guidelines and resources for employers and workers regarding asbestos management, including best practices for handling ACMs and conducting risk assessments. These resources serve as a valuable reference for both provincial and federally regulated workplaces, fostering a collaborative approach to asbestos safety.



Asbestos legislation in Ontario provincially regulated workplaces and federally regulated workplaces in Canada share many similarities, such as the need for risk assessment, management plans, and worker training. However, there are also differences in specific requirements and regulations. It is crucial for employers and workers to stay updated on the legislation applicable to their workplace and follow best practices outlined by regulatory bodies like the CCOHS. By doing so, we can ensure the safety and well-being of workers in all industries across the country.

Let IES Consulting Group guide you in the right direction. Give us a call today.


author avatar
Chris Croft Technical Specialist

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