What is a DSS & Do I Need One if I Live in Toronto?

What is a Designated Substances Survey?

Designated Substance Survey

A DSS, also known as a Designated Substances Survey, includes a visual survey for 11 substances, materials, or components named as “designated substances” by the Ontario Ministry of Labour. Designated substances surveys also include physical sampling of materials suspected of containing asbestos or lead for laboratory analysis.

What is the benefit of a DSS? 

A Designated Substances Survey provides you with the information that you need to protect against liability for losses and/or damages associated with the discovery of the presence of these substances down the line in the project.
Upon completion, a Designated Substances Report is provided that can be shared with contractors, subcontractors, workers, as well as the Ministry of Labour, if requested. This is done to ensure that any workers that are involved in the project

What are considered Designated Substances?

Under Ontario’s legislation, there are currently 11 designated substances:

  1. Acrylonitrile
  2. Arseni
  3. Asbestos
  4. Benzene
  5. Coke Oven Emissions
  6. Ethylene Oxide
  7. Isocyanates
  8. Lead
  9. Mercury
  10. Silica
  11. Vinyl Chloride
With this said, out of the 11 Designated Substances, only asbestos, lead, silica, benzene, and mercury are likely to be present on a typical residential construction site


Why do I need a Designated Substances Survey?

The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OSHA) and its Regulations requires the owner of a project to determine the presence of designated substances on a project. The regulation also applies to all constructors, employers (contractor or subcontractor), and workers that are involved in the project.
Owners or contractors that fail to comply with this requirement are liable for any losses or damages that result from a contractor discovering that these materials are present on the project site.

Shouldn’t my contractor take care of this for me?

Many contractors may be unaware of the Ministry of Labour requirement of a pre-renovation or pre-demolition DSS. Some may even be aware, but may roll the dice and proceed with renovations or demolition without a Designated Substances Report, with the hope that the the project is finished without the Ministry of Labour stepping in and placing a work stoppage on the project.
Regardless, as the homeowner that owns the project, the onus and the liabilities fall on you to have a DSS performed to make sure that all workers and occupants involved with the project are aware of the presence of designated substances before work begins so they are able to take the proper measures to adequately protect themselves from exposure to hazardous materials that may be present, as well as follow proper guidelines for their removal.

Contact us now to have your home, or business, surveyed for potential designated substances before the rebuilding process.


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