QUEBEC -- The presence of asbestos in Quebec's environment is a cause for concern for the Coalition Avenir Quebec government, which has requested that the Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement (BAPE) investigate the situation.

The government wants the independent environment watchdog to provide a report on the state of asbestos in Quebec, which it says will leave it better informed and positioned to make decisions on various projects related to asbestos, which has been linked to cancer.

Quebec Environment Minister Benoit Charette on Monday mandated the BAPE to study and report on the asbestos situation in Quebec at the request of the province's health minister, Danielle McCann.

The BAPE will specifically focus on scientific studies of asbestos that could shed more light on the health impacts of asbestos and its waste residue.

It is also being asked to recommend to the government ways to safely dispose of asbestos present in Quebec.

The BAPE is expected to issue its report by July 24, 2020.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 28, 2019.