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National Renovation Tax Credit Needed to Address Asbestos

The Canadian government supported the use of asbestos in Canadian homes for decades and should now step up with a tax credit rebate to address this expensive health and safety issue.

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 tax credit program is necessary to help consumers with the cost of expensive asbestos mitigation in renovations and demolitions. It would also promote their health and safety, since there is little regulation protecting homeowners undertaking their own renovations.

According to BC’s Ministry of Environment, “The management of waste asbestos, including transportation and disposal, from residential buildings is within the ministry’s jurisdiction, but the decision to remove and the removal process is not.”

It’s time for the Canadian government to take responsibility and offer a renovation tax credit to mitigate the costs of a health and safety problem they helped to create and fund.

30 responses to "National Renovation Tax Credit Needed to Address Asbestos"

  1. Audrey young Nov 14, 2016 at 15:54

    Is there a tax credit for first time home buyers to help with the cost of removing asbestos
    Financial aid available

    Reply

  2. Audrey young Nov 14, 2016 at 15:54

    Is there a tax credit for first time home buyers to help with the cost of removing asbestos
    Financial aid available

    Reply

  3. VRBA Nov 15, 2016 at 10:49

    There is no tax credit specifically for asbestos removal, however we have heard rumours of an upcoming federal tax credit for energy efficiency. VRBA has been advocating restoration of a reno tax credit for several years. It should apply to all renovations including asbestos removal.

    Reply

  4. Roberta Capener Nov 20, 2016 at 09:33

    This house is in southern On. 1970ish may cost over5000.00 to remove or more

    Reply

  5. Sad news Nov 24, 2016 at 15:28

    I need serious help with asbestos removal… just purchased a home as a first time home buyer with asbestos wrapped ducts throughout the finished basement . Asbestos was not disclosed and wasn’t even pointed out by our home inspector!! Now we need a furnace and nobody will touch it because the ductwork above the furnace is wrapped with asbestos and we are looking at huge demolition of basement ceilings, asbestos removal, replacing ductwork… how can I pay for all this?!?!?!

    Reply

    • VRBA Nov 25, 2016 at 12:32

      Unfortunately, no political party, including the Green Party, NDP, Liberals, Conservatives, has shown any interest in assisting Canadians with this toxic product that was subsidized by the federal govt to insulate Canada’s homes. We suggest homeowners write to the PM, your MP and MLA!

      Reply

    • Kash Ramjohn Aug 22, 2019 at 13:15

      Need assistance and advise to remove asbestos from my ceiling.

      Reply

  6. Elaine Astles Dec 18, 2016 at 08:54

    My house which was built in 1938 is heated by hot water register heat. The basement pipes are insulated with asbestos. If that asbestos is removed what materials would be used to insulate the pipes to keep the water hot?

    Reply

    • VRBA Jan 03, 2017 at 11:26

      Before installing any new product, contact a hazardous materials contractor to remove asbestos materials. Also, speak with an insulation company about replacing asbestos insulation with products such as high R value foam.

      Reply

      • Lorraine Apr 17, 2017 at 15:39

        If you get the rebate for asbestos removal would that trigger a home owner to pay tax when selling house. I forget what it is called.

        Reply

        • VRBA Apr 19, 2017 at 09:00

          Not aware of any tax credits triggering paying tax on the sale of a personal property. If that were the case, the popular national reno tax credit of a few years ago would have had few takers. Regardless, there is no tax credit for removing asbestos at this time.

          Reply

    • Georgr Nov 21, 2018 at 04:19

      How much did it end up costing to remove all the asbestos from that 1938 home.

      Reply

  7. Terrence and Letitia Banks Jan 05, 2017 at 19:08

    The government supported the use of asbestos in Canadian homes for decades and should now step up with a tax credit rebate to address this expensive health and safety issue Is there a tax credit for home Owners to help with the cost of removing asbestos. We are seniors and we realize if you don’t disturb it its OK but if we want to sell our home down the road due to ill health we can not afford that extra cost.

    Reply

  8. Dave Kine Jan 08, 2017 at 16:48

    We completely agree with and support VRBA’s statement (above) calling for a national renovation tax credit to support homeowners in removing asbestos from their homes.

    Reply

  9. Nelf Jan 11, 2017 at 00:30

    It astounds me that we Canadians allow the government to sell us dangerous goods and then charge us even more to get rid of the crap! Something seriously wrong here.

    Reply

  10. Christina Hunt Feb 26, 2017 at 17:59

    Selling my house, last subject to be removed was testing of vermiculite. It’s tested positive for asbestos. Cost of removal: $15,600.00. This was never disclosed when I bought the house in 2000. 1/2 of this now coming off selling price. There should be a way to be reimbursed through government grant.

    Reply

  11. Colin Mar 23, 2017 at 07:00

    We purchase our first house 9 years ago. After a leak in the kitchen, we discovered the house was insulated with asbestos. It will cost $10,000 + for removal of which we do not have. During the inspection when we bought the house, the home inspector did not want to put a hole in the wall to check for asbestos. Now my family is breathing it in everyday as our house is falling apart with leaks and mold and we have no where to go or no options. I wish we made that inspector put a hole in the wall 9 years ago. We never would have bought it. I wish there was more help for people like us.

    Reply

  12. Alan Apr 18, 2017 at 19:23

    I have asbestos in linoleum that is in my mobile home. Does anyone one know if their is a federal government grant for asbestos removal.

    Reply

    • VRBA Apr 19, 2017 at 09:02

      We have been advocating a tax credit for asbestos removal for a number of years. Homeowners should write to their MP to make this a reality.

      Reply

  13. MJS May 28, 2017 at 14:12

    Our house had vermiculite insulation which was installed courtesy of a government grant. The government also gave grants for urea formaldehyde insulation (UFI). It was discovered that UFI out gassed toxicity and the government then paid for its removal. In doing so I believe they established a legal precedent. The out gassing was not permanent. However asbestos riddled vermiculite from Libby, Montana is friable. The renovation tax credit for seniors does not cover it. However I have put in a claim and informed them that it now allows “accessibility” for contractors. You have a legal responsibility to inform any contractor that asbestos is in the house. If I try to sell the house I must disclose that there was or is asbestos in the house. I paid $8 per sq ft and paid $8,000 for same. However because it is friable it works it way down behind the walls. The draft of anyone walking in a hallway sucks it out into the house as a fine dust….even after it has been removed from the attic.

    I expect my claim to be denied but I want this in writing. In order to deny my claim, which I made separate from my income tax return, they must put it in writing! Perhaps I will get lucky and get 15% of the cost but I doubt it. If I am successful I will see it as a legal admission of responsibility and set about organizing a class action suit. Canada is the largest producer of asbestos in the world by volume, yet the 2nd exporter. Where is the rest going if it isn’t in Canada? I have saved this page link and will inform you of the results of my claim whichever way it goes.

    Reply

    • Sandra Jun 17, 2017 at 20:27

      I just purchased a home built in 1905. It was an estate sale and the house sold “as is”. I was aware there could be issues but loved it too much to pass it by. While having an electrician give me a quote to remove the last little bit of knob and tube in the house, he discovered Vermiculite in the attic. That’s one problem that wasn’t on my radar. Yes, probably should have been but it wasn’t. I now can’t get rid of the knob and tube until I get rid of the vermiculite. Reading these comments makes me want to get together with others out there who can’t afford the removal of this and have our government give some kind of help for the removal. I was not aware that the government had given grants to have this installed and now we have to pay thousands of dollars to have it removed. Please tell me how I can become a louder voice together with others. Is anyone collecting signatures? What can we do?

      Reply

      • VRBA Jun 20, 2017 at 08:35

        You can start an e-petition to Canada’s House of Commons at https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Home/Index and ask your local MP to sponsor it. If you do, let us know and we will support it. It’s amazing that with all of this talk about being “green” the asbestos issue is entirely ignored by the major political parties.

        Reply

  14. Inge Jul 20, 2017 at 11:58

    After googling asbestos siding and finding only information that said it was alright if in good condition, and that it was actually a good thing as a fire retardant; I firmed up my offer to purchase. At the last moment the Mortgage company said they needed the siding removed and that I could not get title insurance. Neither Real Estate Agent or Lawyer advised me of this. I got three estimates for abatement, more estimates to replace with vinyl siding, on and on. Closing has been held up and costing even more, if I don’t close I lose deposit, mort fees, estimate costs, lawyer fees, lab testing cost (20% Chrysolite) and I don’t get the house I want. I will suffer a loss of more than $8000. I did not find this removal requirement info on any Government website, not even my local MP gets me info. No one No where … told me this could happen to me. Thanks a lot. I am stressed to the beyond.

    Reply

  15. JR Jan 17, 2018 at 18:55

    Many thanks to the VRBA for maintaining this inspiring article. We are lobbying our MP this week! For the second time in two years we’ve had a positive lab test for asbestos in flooring in our 1959 home. The first was bad enough (1-5% non-friable in original 9*9 vinyl tile; cost of removal $6K). The second has come in at 40-45% friable in more recent sheet kitchen vinyl; removal estimates coming in this week. Affordable, safe and appropriate removal and disposal options must be made available to Canadians; while safety has been addressed by WorkSafeBC, affordability has moved out of reach for most homeowners. Fingers crossed for at least tax credits, if not grants!

    Reply

    • VRBA Jan 19, 2018 at 16:30

      Thank you, federal and provincial govts and the major parties have been ducking this issue. Voters must get engaged to get their attention.

      Reply

  16. Janine mackenzie Feb 07, 2018 at 15:42

    Id love to see some sort of monetary assistance for asbestos removal. My house was built in 1925 and we have been slowly realizing what building materials have asbestos. We are a low income family, me on permanent disability. How the hell are we supposed to afford any kind of safe removal. We have small kids!!! The government should have some support for this considering they allowed it to be used!!

    Reply

  17. Ljuba Djurdjevic Mar 23, 2018 at 12:41

    I have vermiculite in my house in Toronto – as do most of my neighbours – and it will cost about $10,000 to have it removed so I can add insulation in my roof (to conserve energy as the govt urges us to do!) No contractor will do the insulation work until the asbestos is removed. I will be claiming the removal cost as ‘health expense’ and if CRA denies it, I will appeal all the way to the courts. However, I think a class action is also a good idea.

    Reply

  18. Mila Sep 01, 2018 at 11:40

    I have asbestos siding on my house. It is starting to fall off and expose wood. I cannot afford to replace it as it is so costly. I have been told that it could just be covered and then new siding. Wondering if that is safe for inside the house. I have done all the major renovations already except that, new boiler, roof, all wiring, foundation, new water pipes, windows and doors. Now the house across the street has a large hazard sign on the door for asbestos. Now I am worried.

    Reply

  19. Harry Lewis Oct 19, 2018 at 20:17

    Just coming to terms with finding asbestos in the vermiculite insulation in our 1912 house.
    All work on renovation has ceased … we can only see more delays and more expense going forward.
    Certainly sympathize with all those who’ve faced the same problem through no fault of their own, and agree its time for some kind of government support.

    Reply

  20. N Bear Nov 15, 2018 at 18:30

    Hello everyone, I definitely empathize with all of you. Last year I purchased my first home, basically the perfect starter home for me and my significant other. The house was built in 1960, was in desperate need of some updates, but was definitely not by any means a complex fix. Upon getting the home inspection completed, our inspector identified zonolite insulation in the attic. He basically brushed it off, minimized the health risk and proceeded to tell me that it was no worry to have someone put more insulation in the attic as my attic is below the recommended R-value. He made me feel safe and that it posed no risk as long as I didn’t remove any walls.. After my possession date, I called an insulation company looking for a quote who basically laughed in my face saying they wouldn’t touch it till the zonolite was gone. Complete blindside. Fast forward a month later into heavy renovations and I’m getting quotes for removal ranging at the top to 22,000 to the lowest 12,000. Luckily that 12,000 quote includes removal and reinsulating the attic, the first price is only a quote for removal! As it was causing so much stress we decided not to worry about the attic last year and deal with it in the spring. Now our second winter is coming and we still have not addressed the situation. Also, if you have ever experienced winter in Saskatchewan, you know they are not the easiest on your heating bills. I sure find it extremely hypocritical of government to emphasize how we need to take care of our health because it is costing so much on the healthcare system when THEY funded a program that put extremely hazardous materials in our homes that are contributing to our health issues. Nevertheless, the need to address cutting energy costs to help the environment. This house is supposed to be a means to make a better future for me and my significant other and any children we may have. I understand that I made a decision to buy this property and in hindsight should have looked into this further. I’m young, I was eager, but I was also mislead and did not put this in my home by choice. I invested in this province and I work everyday for this province. This page has inspired me to write to my local MLA. I stand with you all and wish you all the best in this all too familiar situation we find ourselves in.

    Reply

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