Asbestos is a designated substance in Ontario. Handling/disturbance of the material during construction or renovation is required to be done in compliance with O. Reg 278/05. https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/050278
Asbestos material in Ontario must be disposed of at a landfill that has Ministry of Environment approval to accept asbestos waste. Transport to one of these facilities can only be completed by a carrier approved by the Ministry of Environment with a proper bill of lading.
Each situation is different depending on the extent of the disturbance, where it occurred and the length of time since the disturbance took place. A consultant may be required to determine the potential for contamination and the requirement for cleanup. This requires individual phone discussion to determine the next steps. Power Environmental/Power Vac Services can provide this service at no cost.
There are so many building materials that have the potential to contain asbestos. Some of the most common ones are:
Vinyl floor tile and its mastic (glue)
Vinyl sheet flooring (linoleum)
Texture coat finishes (popcorn ceiling)
Drywall joint compound
Boiler and hot water heating pipe insulation
HVAC duct insulation
The ONLY way to determine for certain that a material contains asbestos is to have it tested in a laboratory. In Ontario, the minimum number of samples required for testing in most cases is 3, with the exception of plaster where it can be 3, 5 or 7. There are some materials that may be ASSUMED to contain asbestos though as they are consistently found to contain asbestos. These are things like certain pipe insulation, duct insulation and flooring.
The first asbestos regulation in Ontario was not published until 1985, and restricted the use of asbestos material installation. However, asbestos material has been found in building materials well beyond this time frame (into the 1990s). Asbestos in building material reached is peak of use from the 1905s to the 1970s. Buildings built or renovated during this time frame have a high likelihood of containing asbestos containing materials.
There should be no reason that you cannot be on site during asbestos removal work if space allows for access to an area outside the containment structure. Proper asbestos procedures protect the location outside the removal area from contamination.