Updated regulations affecting emissions from off-road small spark-ignition engines

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What's happening?

Canadian regulations concerning off-road small spark-ignition (SSI) engines have been updated. The two main changes are:

  1. establishing more-stringent standards for air pollutants from exhaust systems in non-handheld machines, and
  2. introducing standards for air pollutants formed when gasoline evaporates from the fuel systems in handheld and non-handheld machines.

Certain administrative practices are also changing. For example, only companies or individuals that import 50 or more SSI engines into Canada each year will be required to submit importation declarations to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and importers will need to declare imports annually. Also, some labelling requirements are changing along with other improvements to the regulations.

Man using a chainsaw to cut a tree

Do these new regulations affect you?

The new regulations will affect manufacturers, distributors, and importers. The regulations could affect you if you:

  • manufacture SSI engines in Canada;
  • install the complete fuel system or any portion of it (for example, the fuel line or fuel tank) on SSI engines in Canada;
  • distribute for resale SSI engines obtained from a Canadian manufacturer;
  • import SSI engines into Canada to sell them; or
  • import SSI engines into Canada for personal use.

Small spark-ignition engines power many common machines

Small spark-ignition engines power a variety of machines that use a sparkplug or similar sparking device and produce no more than 19 kilowatts of power. These machines are typically used for yard work, light-duty industrial jobs, and light-duty logging. You'll often find SSI engines in the following types of machines:

  • Hedge trimmers, brush cutters, lawnmowers, garden tractors, and snowblowers
  • Generators, welders, and pressure washers
  • Chainsaws, log splitters, and shredders

When will the new regulations take effect?

Most of the changes will take effect on March 22, 2018. However, changes related to the more-stringent emission standards will apply only to the engines of 2019 and later model years.

How will the new regulations be enforced?

Environment and Climate Change Canada has a number of enforcement and compliance options. These options include warnings, orders, tickets, injunctions, prosecution, and civil suits to recoup damages. Companies or individuals that do not meet their regulatory requirements are subject to Environment and Climate Change Canada's Compliance and Enforcement Policy.

Why are these new regulations needed?

These changes are required for two reasons. First, they will reduce smog-forming air pollution emissions from SSI engines. Air pollution increases risks of heart and lung diseases. It also damages forests, crops, and wildlife; impairs visibility; and soils building surfaces.

Second, the changes will ensure that Canada and the U.S. use the same air pollutant standards for SSI engines. Aligned standards help machine-manufacturing companies in Canada and the U.S. to compete fairly.

How can you get more information?

  1. Check out the Regulations Amending the Off-Road Small Spark-Ignition Engine Emission Regulations.
  2. You can consult the Step-by-Step Guide to Compliance. This guide will help you find out if and how the updated regulations may apply to your company
  3. Contact Environment and Climate Change Canada's Regulatory Administration Section of the Transportation Division

What should you do next?

Make sure that your business meets the new standards. If it doesn't, you'll need to take the necessary steps to comply.


This document is for information purposes only and does not in any way supersede or modify the Off-Road Small Spark-Ignition Engine Emission Regulations and any amendments, or offer any legal interpretation of those Regulations.

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