OTTAWA, Ontario — Canada's ban on the manufacture, import, export, sale and use of asbestos and asbestos-containing products — including brake pads — will come into force on Dec. 30, the Canadian government noted recently.
After years of debate on the matter, the Canadian federal government issued proposed new regulations in January to prohibit the use, sale, import and export of asbestos and products that contain it, as well as the manufacture of products containing the cancer-causing mineral.
Some products and uses are excluded from these new regulations and they do not apply to asbestos-containing products in use before the day on which the regulations come into force — such as brake pads already installed in vehicles, according to the Automotive Industries Association of Canada (AIA-C).
The use or sale of products remaining in inventory, however, will be prohibited when the regulations come into force, the trade group said.
"It is expected that automotive stakeholders would comply with the regulations by switching from imports of friction materials containing asbestos to asbestos-free friction materials, such as ceramic brake pads or materials with synthetic fibers," according to a federal government statement.
Using average import data from 2013 to 2016 for friction materials containing asbestos, it is estimated that 333,000 brake pads containing asbestos are imported on an annual basis, the AIA-C said.
Assuming that there is a $5 incremental difference in price between brake pads containing asbestos and asbestos-free brake pads, it is expected that the automotive industry would carry operating costs of approximately $21 million (Canadian) over the time frame of analysis, the group said.
The federal government has projected that some of the costs to industry will be passed down to customers. The extent to which businesses are able to pass on the incremental costs to consumers through higher prices would determine the ultimate distribution of costs between businesses and consumers.
Asbestos-containing products will need to be disposed of. To identify disposal practices, please refer to provincial/ territorial workplace health and safety and/or labor regulations, the AIA-C recommended.