Sulphur in Diesel Fuel Regulations

Maximum Sulphur Limits for Diesel Fuel

The Sulphur in Diesel Fuel Regulations set maximum limits for sulphur in diesel fuel for use on-road, off-road, in rail (locomotive), vessels, and stationary engines. The current and upcoming maximum sulphur limits and effective dates for production, import and sales of diesel fuel in Canada are summarized in the table below.

Maximum sulphur limits for categories of diesel fuel
Diesel fuel for use in:Regulated ActivitySulphur Limit (mg/kg)Effective Date
Large Vessels (Marine Diesel)Production, import or sales1000June 1, 2014
Large Stationary EnginesProduction, import or sales1000June 1, 2014
Non-large VesselsProduction or import15June 1, 2012
Non-large VesselsSales500October 1, 2007
Non-large VesselsSales15June 1, 2014
Small Stationary EnginesProduction, import or sales15June 1, 2014
Rail (locomotive)Production or import15June 1, 2012
Rail (locomotive)Sales500October 1, 2007
Off-road EnginesProduction, import or sales15Since 2010
On-road VehiclesProduction, import or sales15Since 2006

The goal of the Sulphur in Diesel Fuel Regulations is to ensure that the level of sulphur in diesel fuel used in Canada will not impede the effective operation of advanced emission control technologies installed on vehicles and engines.


Reporting Forms

The reporting forms are available in the Compliance Promotion Information Package for the CEPA 1999 Fuels Regulations.

12-hour Advance Notification of Imports

The Regulations require that importers intending to import at any one time more than 100 m3 of diesel fuel or more than 1 000 m3 into a province in one day, notify Environment Canada at least 12 hours in advance of imports.

Schedule 1 - Annual Report of Sulphur Concentration in Diesel Fuel

The Annual Report of Sulphur Concentration in Diesel Fuel (Schedule 1) must be submitted separately for each facility at which a person produces diesel fuel and for each province or territory into which a person imports diesel fuel. This report  is required to be submitted 45 days after the end of the calendar year, on February 14th.

Schedule 2 - Registration Report

A Registration Report (Schedule 2) must be submitted no later than 5 days before the day on which a person produces or imports diesel fuel for the first time.  The person must notify Environment Canada in writing of any changes in the information that was provided in Schedule  2, no more than five days after the change. If typical annual volume changes, no update is required.

Test Methods

The Regulations specify ASTM D 5453-09, Standard Test Method for Determination of Total Sulfur in Light Hydrocarbons, Spark Ignition Engine Fuel, Diesel Engine Fuel, and Engine Oils by Ultraviolet Fluorescence as the reference test method for measuring sulphur. As of August 19, 2012, equivalency will have to be demonstrated using ASTM International standard ASTM D6708-08, Standard Practice for Statistical Assessment and Improvement of Expected Agreement Between Two Test Methods that Purport to Measure the Same Property of a Material. (The test method is available from ASTM International.)

The Regulations include provisions for equivalent methods to be used for reporting purposes. A producer or importer of diesel fuel proposing to use an equivalent test method for reporting purposes must provide to Environment Canada at least 60 days before using the method a description of the method and evidence that it is equivalent. Please refer to the Regulations for specific requirements.

Until August 19, 2012, producers or importers proposing to use the above test methods for reporting under the Regulations may refer to this information in respect of the required evidence of equivalency.

As of August 19, 2012, new requests to use equivalent methods must be demonstrated using ASTM D6708-08.

Equivalency for reporting purposes has been demonstrated in accordance with the Regulations for the following methods:

  • ASTM D-7039: Standard Test Method for Sulfur in Gasoline and Diesel Fuel by Monochromatic Wavelength Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometry - for sulphur concentrations in diesel fuel in the range of 2 to 500 mg/kg
  • ASTM D-2622-98: Standard Test Method for Sulfur in Petroleum Products by Wavelength Dispersive X-Ray Fluorescence
  • CAN/CGSB-3.0 No. 16.0-95: Standard Test Method for Sulfur in Diesel Fuel by Energy Dispersive X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometry (EDXRF) - for sulphur concentrations in diesel fuel greater than 500 mg/kg.

Sulphur in Liquid Fuels Reports

Environment Canada produces annual reports on reported levels of sulphur in fuels, including diesel fuel: