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Designated Substances

The following 11 designated substances are identified by the Ministry of Labour:


  • Acrylonitrile (used in industrial chemical processes)
  • Arsenic (certain wood preservatives, occurs naturally in rock formations, metallurgy)
  • Asbestos (old pipe insulation, old ceiling tiles)
  • Benzene (solvent found in petroleum products)
  • Coke oven emissions
  • Ethylene oxide (used in industrial chemical processes)
  • Isocyanates (used to produce pesticides)
  • Lead (old paint and old plumbing solder)
  • Mercury (found in thermometers)
  • Silica (fine sand dust from concrete)
  • Vinyl chloride (precursor to polymers)


The Ministry of Labour enforces the use of the designated substances through regulations made under theOntario Occupational Health & Safety Act.

When do the Designated Substances Regulations Apply?

Before a construction job is allowed to begin, the contractors and construction workers need to be made aware of the designated substances in the building. The workers will then be informed and can take measures to limit their exposure. People working in a building must be made aware of designated substances, so precautions can be taken to limit their exposure.


JFM services include the sampling and analysis of materials suspected to contain designated substances, and the preparation of inventories of the substances for purposes of their subsequent management under their respective regulations.


Once identified, depending upon the materials in question and their physical condition, designated substances generally require removal, repair, encapsulation and / or ongoing periodic management to mitigate the potential liability of the property owner with respect to persons who may come into contact with these substances. In addition to abatement and removal services JFM provides ongoing management services for ensuring that any substances found to exist on a client’s property and not removed are dealt with in the appropriate manner under regulatory requirements.


Where lead or asbestos removal is either mandated under the regulations or represents the best economic solution with respect to the long-term management of the property, JFM offers:

  • independent inspection services of the work of any third party contractors engaged to remove the lead or asbestos;
  • These services include the monitoring of air quality outside the removal or deconstruction area, to evidence and document for liability limitation purposes that acceptable safe air quality conditions existed elsewhere within the affected building during abatement operations.


Acceptable levels of asbestos fibres in air are dictated by Occupational Health & Safety regulations in Ontario. Establishing an independent record of the air quality outside an asbestos work enclosure is fundamental to limiting a client’s long tail liability that might otherwise potentially become associated with an asbestos removal operation. Although a removal contractor may elect to take such air quality measurements themselves for their own purposes, an independent record obtained on behalf of the property owner can be invaluable because of the contractor’s inherent conflict of interest in policing their own operations.


Once an abatement project reaches its final stages, JFM will inspect and further document the completeness and adequacy of the contractor’s work. In conjunction with the independently obtained air quality record, JFM is then in a position to report back to the client that any substances in question have been properly removed in accordance with the terms of the removal contract and the applicable regulatory requirements, thereby satisfying the due diligence obligations of the client.