Frequently asked questions – PCB Regulations

The frequently asked questions (FAQs) below are meant to provide Canadians and businesses with basic information about Environment Canada’s regulations. The PCB Regulations are among Environment Canada’s most frequently accessed regulations on the Web.

PCB Regulations

  1. What is the purpose of these regulations?
  2. What are the key elements of these regulations?
  3. How do these regulations affect Canadian businesses?
  4. What is the timeline for implementation?
  5. Where can I get more information?

1. What is the purpose of these regulations?

The purpose of the PCB Regulations (the Regulations) is to protect Canada’s environment and the health of Canadians by minimizing the risks posed by the use, release and storage of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and by accelerating the phasing out and eventual elimination of these substances.

The Regulations also implement Canada’s international commitments on PCBs as set out in the Stockholm Convention.

2. What are the key elements of these regulations?

The PCB Regulations establish prohibitions on the release, manufacture, export, import, offer for sale, sale, processing and use of PCBs and products containing PCBs. The Regulations also specify storage, labelling and record keeping requirements for PCBs and products containing PCBs. The reporting requirements help the Government of Canada track progress towards ending PCB use and storage, and their destruction.

3. How do these regulations affect Canadian businesses?

The Regulations may apply to various business sectors in Canada, including electrical utilities, mining and mineral extraction and processing, iron and steel mills, food and feed processing, manufacturing enterprises, drinking water plants, building management, municipalities, schools, universities, daycares, senior citizens homes, and hospitals.

Regulatees are required to report annually on the status of their PCBs and PCB equipment in use, in storage, sent to a transfer site, sent to a destruction facility or destroyed. As well, all releases of PCBs to the environment must be reported. Reports on use, storage, transfers and destruction are made to Environment Canada’s PCB Reporting System.

The owner of PCBs or products containing PCBs, persons engaged in the manufacture, processing, use, sale, offer for sale, storage, import or export of PCBs or products containing PCBs, and the owner or operator of a PCB storage site are required to maintain records for a minimum of five years after the destruction of the PCBs.

4. What is the timeline for implementation?

The PCB Regulations, made under the authority of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, came into force on September 5, 2008. They were amended on March 11, 2010, December 8, 2011, and April 23, 2014. Recent amendments adjusting certain end-of-use timelines will come into force on January 1, 2015. Regulatees are required to report on the status of their PCBs and PCB equipment for each calendar year, by March 31 of the following year. They are also required to submit a written report to the PCB Reporting System on any release of PCBs to the environment.

The following tables list regulatory timelines for the use of PCBs and equipment containing PCBs.

Table 1. General requirements
PCB ItemPCB ConcentrationEnd-of-use Deadline
Electrical equipment and liquids for servicing PCB equipment500 mg/kg or moreDecember 31, 2009
Electrical equipment (if the equipment is not located within 100 m of a prescribed site, e.g., hospitals, child care facilities, schools)50 mg/kg to less than 500 g/kgDecember 31, 2025
Electrical equipmentLess than 50 mg/kgNo end-of-use date

 

Table 2. Exceptions
PCB ItemPCB ConcentrationEnd-of-use Deadline
Electrical equipment and liquids for servicing PCB equipment with a granted extension500 mg/kg or moreUp to December 31, 2014
Current transformers, potential transformers, circuit breakers, reclosers and bushings500 mg/kg or moreAs of January 1, 2015, end-of-use date will be December 31, 2025
Electrical equipment in prescribed locations50 mg/kg to less than 500 mg/kgDecember 31, 2009
Lamp ballasts and pole top transformers50 mg/kg or moreDecember 31, 2025


5. Where can I get more information?

More information on PCBs and the PCB Regulations can be found on:

Inquiries to the Environment Canada PCB Program can be made by emailing PCBProgram@ec.gc.ca or by phoning 1-844-815-6418.

This document is intended to provide contextual information on the PCB Regulations. It does not replace the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 or the PCB Regulations. In the event of any inconsistencies, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 and the PCB Regulations shall prevail.

For more information

To learn about upcoming or ongoing consultations on proposed federal regulations, visit the Canada Gazette and Consulting with Canadians websites.

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