Draft Environmental Code of Practice for Elimination of Fluorocarbon Emissions from Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Systems

PDF Version (2.00 Mb)

Chemicals Sector Directorate
Environment Canada

July 2011

Marie-France Nguyen, P.Eng
Chemical Production Division
Environmental Stewardship Branch
Environment Canada

Prepared by:
John Critchley, M.A.Sc, EP, CEA, EMS(LA), P.Eng
i14000.com Inc.

Aussi disponible en français


The preparation of this document would not have been possible without cooperation and assistance from many individuals representing the refrigeration and air conditioning industry, industry associations, organized labour, federal, provincial, and territorial governments, product manufacturers, and environmental groups. Environment Canada greatly acknowledges their contributions.

  • Alberta Environment
  • British Columbia Ministry of Environment
  • Génération HaloCAREbure Ltée
  • Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Institute (HRAI)
  • Manitoba Conservation
  • Manitoba Ozone Protection Industry Association Inc. (MOPIA)
  • New Brunswick Department of Environment
  • Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Environment
  • Northwest Territories Department of Environment and Natural Resources
  • Nova Scotia Department of Environment
  • Nunavut Department of Environment
  • Ontario Ministry of the Environment
  • Prince Edward Island Department of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Environment
  • Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et des Parcs de Québec
  • Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment
  • Yukon Department of Environment

Disclaimer: The Environmental Code of Practice for Elimination of Fluorocarbon Emissions from Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Systems does not set out all norms and obligations from legislation, nor does it fully set out those norms and obligations it mentions. For a full perspective of the law, refer to the applicable legislation.


In 1987, Canada signed an international multilateral environmental treaty, the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (Montreal Protocol). The Montreal Protocol has universal participation, having been signed and ratified by 196 countries. Under the Montreal Protocol, parties have been phasing out the production and consumption of a wide range of chemicals that are known to contribute to ozone depletion, including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). The phase-out of these ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) has resulted in an increase in the use of halocarbon alternative substances such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and perfluorocarbons (PFCs), which are now known to be potent greenhouse gases (GHGs).

At the federal level, Canada controls the production, import, export, sale, offer for sale and certain uses of ,ODSs through the provisions of the Ozone-depleting Substances Regulations, 1999. While the production and importation of virgin ODSs are controlled and largely phased out, sizeable volumes continue to exist in equipment such as large commercial building chillers, domestic appliances and mobile air conditioning. The federal government enacted the Federal Halocarbon Regulations, 2003 to reduce the emissions of refrigerants at federal facilities and on federal and Aboriginal lands. At the provincial and territorial level, there is legislation applicable to all sectors to prevent the release of ODSs, as well as addressing the recovery of refrigerants during servicing and the reuse of refrigerants. Moreover, there are many Standards relating to the design, operation, maintenance and decommissioning of refrigeration equipment.

Man writingThe Environmental Code of Practice for Elimination of Fluorocarbon Emissions from Refrigeration and Air Conditioningwas published in 1991 to provide guidelines for the reduction of atmospheric emissions of CFCs used in air conditioning and refrigeration applications. The Code was later updated in 1996.

This current version of the Code updates the phase-out of CFCs and HCFCs, the technologies and techniques (best practices) to reduce emissions of refrigerants, and alternate means and/or refrigerants to provide cooling.1 It also considers the global warming implications of refrigerants and their use. GHG emission reductions are not simply the result of reducing emissions in the operation and servicing of refrigerative equipment, but also the indirect result of using equipment that is more efficient and designing facilities to reduce the capacity of refrigerative equipment (and therefore reduce the volumes of refrigerants to spill). To fully appreciate and examine the efficiency of equipment, it is necessary to examine the costs of ownership (both acquisition and over the life cycle). These factors are addressed in this revised Code. In addition, due to the flammability of some newer refrigerants, more attention has been placed on safety. The focus of this Code is the responsible and safe use of refrigerants and refrigerative energy. 

Other initiatives are being considered in the near future that will undoubtedly influence the direction provided in this Code. Nonetheless, passages in this Code with respect to existing and proposed non-halocarbon refrigerants such as ammonia, carbon dioxide (CO2) and hydrocarbons (HC) may be useful and provide alternatives to leapfrog over HFCs in transitions from HCFCs directly to more sustainable solutions. 

This Code addresses the design, installation, operation, servicing, maintenance2 and decommissioning of cooling systems. It does not include fire-fighting halocarbons such as Halons and applications other than cooling. This Code does not replace regulations, Codes and Standards. These are to be reviewed and implemented in conjunction with this Code.

Table of Contents

1The terms “cooling” and “refrigerative” are used throughout this document to include both air conditioning and refrigeration.

2The term “maintenance” in this document includes preventive maintenance, repairs, overhauls and refurbishment.

Date modified: