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ARCHIVED - Off-Road Compression-Ignition Engine Emission Regulations - Fact Sheet

Air Quality Issues in Canada

Air pollution is a serious problem in Canada and the burning of fuels in vehicles and engines is a major contributor, particularly in big cities. Air pollution is harmful to the environment and the health of Canadians.

Vehicles and engines release various air pollutants including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), particulate matter (PM), carbon monoxide (CO) and sulphur oxides (SOx), which are collectively referred to as Criteria Air Contaminants (CACs). Both NOx and VOCs contribute to the formation of ground- level ozone, which is one of the major components of smog, often to be seen as a haze over urban centres.

In 2000, emissions of NOx and VOCs from the diesel engines that powered construction, mining, farming and forestry machines were equivalent to those produced by about 480,000 heavy duty diesel trucks and buses. Approximately 700,000 of such vehicles were on the road in the same year. As well, these engines contributed about 13 percent of the total NOx emissions in Canada and, when compared to other off-road sources, the bulk of SOx, and specific PM emissions.

Governement of Canada's Action to Improve Air Quality

In 2001, the Minister of the Environment announced that the Government of Canada would make significant investments to accelerate action on clean air. A key component of this strategy is the Federal Agenda on Cleaner Vehicles, Engines and Fuels. The Agenda sets out a series of regulatory and non-regulatory measures to be developed and implemented over the next decade to further protect the health of Canadians and the environment by reducing emissions from vehicles, engines and fuels. As part of this Agenda, Environment Canada is developing emission regulations for off-road engines under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. Whereas on-road vehicles such as passenger cars have been subject to progressively more stringent emission standards for over 30 years, the off-road sector has not been subject to emission standards. The new regulations establish Canadian emission standards for off-road engines aligned with those of the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

The Off-Road Compression-Ignition Engine Emission Regulations cover the class of engines found in construction, mining, farming and forestry machines such as back- hoes, tractors, excavators and log skidders. They were published in the Canada Gazette, on February 23, 2005, and establish exhaust emission requirements for companies and persons in the business of manufacturing, distributing or importing for sale in Canada off-road diesel engines and machines, and to persons who import these engines and machines for their own use. The Regulations come into force on January 1, 2006.

These Regulations are the second in a series to control emissions from the off-road engines, each regulation targeting a different industry. Others include:

  • the Off-Road Small Spark-Ignition Engine Emission Regulations introduced emission standards for small gasoline-powered engines such as those typically found in lawn and garden machines starting in 2005;
  • the Marine Spark-Ignition Engine and Off-Road Recreational Vehicle Emission Regulations, which are expected to be formally proposed in 2005, will introduce emission standards for outboard engines, personal watercraft, all-terrain vehicles and off-road motorcycles starting in 2007; and
  • future planned regulations will address large spark-ignition engines, which are typically gasoline or propane powered engines, that are used in industrial applications such as forklifts and ice re-surfacing machines. Formal proposal of these regulations is planned for 2006.

In addition to engine regulations, the Government of Canada is demonstrating its commitment to reducing smog pollutants by introducing fuel regulations. Amendments to the Sulphur in Diesel Fuel Regulations, which were proposed in October 2004, address sulphur content in diesel fuel used in off-road, rail, and marine diesel engines. The reduction of sulphur in off-road diesel fuel is necessary to ensure new emissions-control technology required for the upcoming North American emissions standards for off-road diesel-powered engines. A final regulation is expected to be published in the summer of 2005.

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