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ARCHIVED - Questions and Answers on the Federal Questions and Answers on the Federal Sulphur in Diesel Fuel Regulations

General Questions

  1. What are the penalties if I do not comply with the Sulphur in Diesel Fuel Regulations?

    Compliance with regulations is mandatory. Environment Canada's Compliance and Enforcement Policy for CEPA 1999 sets out the criteria for responses by Environment Canada enforcement officers to alleged violations. Under subsections 272 and 273 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999), every person who is found guilty of contravening or failing to comply with the Act or its regulations is subject to fines, imprisonment or other court orders.

    A copy of Environment Canada's Enforcement and Compliance Policy is available on request from the address listed below:

    Chief Enforcement Officer
    Enforcement Branch
    Environment Canada
    200 Sacré Coeur
    Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0H3

    You may also obtain a copy of the policy at the CEPA Environmental Registry1.

    In addition to financial and administrative penalties, if there is a contravention of the regulation, the Minister may require a producer, processor, importer, retailer or distributor to take any or all of the following measures:

    • provide notification of the relevant characteristics of the fuel and of any danger to the environment or to human life or health that might be posed by the fuel;
    • replace the fuel with fuel that meets the applicable requirement;
    • accept return of the fuel from the purchaser and refund the purchase price;
    • take other measures to mitigate the effect of the contravention on the environment or on human life or health; and
    • report on the steps taken.
  2. Why is sulphur in diesel fuel being regulated?

    Sulphur occurs naturally in crude oil and so is found in diesel fuel. It is directly emitted from vehicles as sulphur dioxide and sulphate particles. Emissions caused by high sulphur levels affects the health of Canadians. Reduction of sulphur to 15 mg/kg in on-road diesel fuel is required to enable the efficient operation of advanced exhaust emission control technologies needed to comply with the requirements of the new heavy-duty diesel vehicle emission regulations that are expected to come into effect for the 2007 model year.

    Sulphur in diesel is currently regulated in other jurisdictions. Many countries currently regulate a maximum sulphur level of 500 mg/kg for on-road diesel fuel. In December 2000, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency adopted regulations that reduce sulphur to 15 mg/kg throughout the U.S. starting June 2006. In May 2001, the European Union proposed to introduce "zero" sulphur (defined as less than 10 mg/kg sulphur) on-road diesel fuel commencing January 1, 2005.

    In February 2001, Canada's federal Minister of the Environment published a Notice of Intent on Cleaner Vehicles, Engines and Fuels (NOI) that set out planned federal initiatives to control emissions from these sources. With respect to on-road diesel fuel, the NOI indicated that Environment Canada intended to align with the U.S. level and timing for sulphur in on-road diesel fuel (i.e. 15 mg/kg 2 sulphur limit starting June 1, 2006). The Canadian Sulphur in Diesel Fuel Regulations were passed on July 31, 2002. The regulations align Canadian requirements for the allowable level of sulphur in on-road diesel fuel with those of the U.S..

  3. Why is only sulphur in diesel fuel for use in on-road vehicles being reduced?

    Reduction of sulphur to 15 mg/kg in on-road diesel fuel is required to enable the efficient operation of advanced exhaust emission control technologies needed to comply with the requirements of the new heavy-duty diesel vehicle emission regulations that are expected to come into effect for the 2007 model year. Environment Canada also plans to recommend a regulatory limit for sulphur in off-road diesel. The limit would be established in the same time frame that the U.S. EPA plans for developing limits for sulphur in U.S. off-road diesel. Note, off-road diesel reports and records are required.

  4. To whom do the regulations apply?

    The regulations apply to every person who produces, imports or sells diesel fuel.

  5. Is there any diesel fuel that is not subject to the regulations?

    Diesel fuel that meets the following criteria is exempt from the regulations, provided that it is accompanied by written evidence establishing that it meets the defined criteria:

    • Diesel fuel that is in transit through Canada, from a place outside of Canada to another place outside of Canada;
    • Diesel fuel that is produced in Canada or sold for export;
    • Imported diesel fuel that exceeds sulphur concentrations and that will be further processed to meet the sulphur limit .

    Persons seeking to avail themselves of these exemptions have to ensure that the diesel fuel is accompanied by written evidence establishing that it meets the defined criteria.

    Diesel fuel that is being imported in a fuel tank that supplies the engine of conveyance is also not subject to the regulations.

  6. What are the sulphur limits and associated timing under the regulations?

    For production and imports of diesel fuel for on-road use:

    • up to and including May 31, 2006, not greater than 500 mg/kg of sulphur - limit applies throughout Canada;
    • as of June 1, 2006, not greater than 15 mg/kg sulphur - limit applies throughout Canada.

    For sales of and offers to sell diesel fuel for on-road use in all of Canada except in the northern supply area:

    • up to and including August 31, 2006, sulphur content no greater than 500 mg/kg;
    • as of September 1, 2006, sulphur content no greater than 15 mg/kg.

    For sales of and offers to sell diesel fuel for on-road use in the northern supply area:

    • up to and including August 31, 2007, sulphur content no greater than 500 mg/kg ;
    • as of September 1, 2007, sulphur content no greater than 15 mg/kg.
  7. I only import or produce diesel fuel that is not for use in on-road vehicles. Do the regulations apply to me?

    Yes, while the sulphur limits apply only to diesel fuel for use in on-road vehicles. , you are required to submit schedule 2 (Identification Information) and to report quarterly as per Section 5. There are also records requirements as per Section 6.

  8. If I only buy diesel fuel, but do not refine or import myself, what requirements do the regulations require me to meet?

    If you buy diesel fuel from others and do not produce or import it, then the regulations only apply to you if you sell the diesel fuel. Up to and including August 31, 2006, you can only sell diesel fuel for use in on-road vehicles that has a sulphur level no greater than 500 mg/kg, except in the northern supply area. The limit as of September 1, 2006 is 15 mg/kg, except in the northern supply area (subsection 3(2)).

    Within the northern supply area, you can sell diesel fuel for use in on-road vehicles with a sulphur level no greater than 500 mg/kg until August 31, 2007. The limit as of September 1, 2007 is 15 mg/kg.

  9. How do these regulations relate to the federal Fuels Information Regulations No. 1?

    The federal Fuels Information Regulations, No. 1 require that refiners and importers of fuels report annually on the average levels of sulphur in all liquid fuels, including diesel fuel, for each quarter of the year. They also require one-time notification of any changes in the use of additives in liquid fuels. The Fuels Information Regulations No. 1 do not limit the sulphur concentration in fuels. Those regulations are separate from the Sulphur in Diesel Fuel Regulations, which have both reporting requirements and limits on sulphur concentration in diesel fuel for use in on-road vehicles. Both regulations must be complied with.

  10. How do these regulations relate to the federal Diesel Fuels Regulations?

    The federal Sulphur in Diesel Fuel Regulations replace the federal Diesel Fuel Regulations effective January 1, 2003.

  11. How do these regulations relate to provincial diesel fuel regulations?

    Some provinces require that the Canadian General Standards Board's (CGSB) standard for automotive low-sulphur diesel fuel (on-road diesel) be met. Both provincial and federal regulations must be complied with.

  12. How do these regulations relate to the proposed On-Road Vehicle and Engine Emission Regulations?

    The properties of a fuel can have a direct impact on the resulting vehicle emissions. In some cases, the performance of the vehicle emission control systems can be impaired without the right type of fuel. Therefore, the development of effective regulations, policies and programs to reduce vehicle emissions must consider the fuels and vehicle/engine as an integrated system. Low sulphur diesel fuel is required to enable the introduction and effective performance of advanced emission control systems for on-road diesel engines. The Sulphur in Diesel Fuel Regulations which reduce the allowable level of sulphur in on-road diesel fuel to 15 mg/kg are therefore essential to accompany the new vehicle emission standards under the proposed regulations that are expected to be in place in the 2007 model year.

  13. Do the regulations include labelling requirements at the pump for diesel fuel that is sold?

    No.

  14. The "Minister" is referred to throughout the Regulation. Who is the "Minister"?

    The "Minister" is the federal Minister of Environment. Note that where the regulations require information to be submitted to the Minister, it should be sent to the Regional Director of the applicable regional office of Environment Canada, who acts on behalf of the Minister in this regard. The addresses of these offices are provided in Appendix A.

  15. What are the important dates in the regulations?
    A list of important dates in the regulations is presented below:
  • January 1, 2003
    Sulphur in Diesel Fuel Regulations come into force and the Diesel Fuel Regulations are repealed. Limit for sulphur in diesel fuel for use in on-road vehicles does not change. Some changes in administrative provisions (eg. reporting, record keeping).
  • March 2, 2003
    Every person who produces or imports diesel fuel must submit registration information as set out in Schedule 2 of the regulations.
  • May 15, 2003
    Every person who produces or imports diesel fuel must submit first quarterly report under the new regulations providing the information prescribed by subsection 5(1). Future reports are due no later than 45 days after the end of each quarter.
  • January 1, 2004
    Reference method for measuring the concentration of sulphur in diesel changes from CAN/CGSB-3.0 No. 16.0-95 to ASTM D 5453-00. Method for reporting concentration of sulphur in diesel are ASTM D 5453-00 or an equivalent method if the conditions of 5(2)(f) are met
  • June 1, 2006
    15 mg/kg limit for concentration of sulphur in diesel fuel for use in on-road vehicles comes into effect for production and imports of diesel fuel.
  • September 1, 2006
    15 mg/kg limit for concentration of sulphur in diesel fuel for use in on-road vehicles comes into effect for sales and offers to sell of diesel fuel (except in northern supply area).
  • September 1, 2007
    15 mg/kg limit for concentration of sulphur in diesel fuel for use in on-road vehicles comes into effect for sales and offers to sell of diesel fuel in the northern supply area.



Footnotes

1 From the CEPA Registry introductory page, click on the heading "Policies" found at the left-hand side of the screen and then click on the title of the CEPA 1999 Compliance and Enforcement Policy.
2 100 mg/kg = 100 parts per million (ppm) = 0.0100% by weight.

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