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Evaluation of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) Pilot Project on Reducing Emissions from Vehicles and Engines (PPRE)

2.0 Background

The SPP is an Industry Canada-led initiative that provides a flexible means for dialogue, priority setting, collaboration and action on issues affecting the security, prosperity and quality of life of Canadians, Americans and Mexicans. It addresses diverse issues, such as border facilitation, the environment, food and product safety, and includes measures to improve overall North American competitiveness.

A total of $39.2 million was allocated to the SPP over three years (2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11). Of this allocation, $6.2 million was provided to Environment Canada for three projects:

  1. Chemicals assessment ($4 million)
  2. A North American air emissions inventory ($1 million)
  3. The PPRE ($1.2 million)

An overview of the funding provided to Environment Canada can be viewed in Table 1 below.

Table 1: SPP Funding to Environment Canada
Chemicals Assessment$1,190,000$1,390,000$1,420,000$4M
N.A. Emissions Inventory$163,000$418,000$419,000$1M

This evaluation relates solely to the PPRE.

Table 2 summarizes the resources allocated to the Transportation Division for PPRE activities.

Table 2: Resources allocated to the Transportation Division for PPRE activities
Funded ActivitiesFiscal YearTotal
Employee Benefits$10,109$21,553$21,553$53,215
G&C $323,664$323,664$647,328
PWGSC Accommodation$6,572$14,010$14,010$34,592

2.1 Profile

The PPRE complements the Clean Air Regulatory Agenda (CARA) by addressing emissions from existing vehicles and engines that could remain on Canada’s roads for up to 20 years.1 It targets on-road heavy-duty diesel (HDD) vehicles such as trucks and school buses, and explores how best to voluntarily reduce their emissions (greenhouse gases [GHGs] and criteria air contaminants [CACs]). Emissions from these pre-2007 diesel engines contribute significantly to local, regional and global air pollution. The Government of Canada carries out various emission reduction programs targeting HDD vehicles (mainly Class 8 freight vehicles), such as Transport Canada’s ecoFREIGHT program and Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan’s) FleetSmart program. This initiative complements these programs by focusing on Canada’s existing on-road public HDD vehicles, such as municipal fleet vehicles.

2.1.1 Objectives and Expected Outcomes

The objective of the PPRE, as noted in its program design, is as follows: “Environment Canada and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) will collaborate on initiatives to reduce emissions from vehicles and engines to better utilize the capabilities of each agency, as well as share information on innovative programs such as retrofitting diesel engines for lower emissions. Funding is required to work on collaborative initiatives with the U.S. EPA, and to work with stakeholders to reduce emissions from diesel buses and heavy-duty trucks that are currently on the road.”

The first year of the SPP pilot (2008-09) was dedicated to developing the program design, which included consultations with Transport Canada, NRCan and the U.S. EPA to gain knowledge and advice on how the pilot project should be designed. These consultations allowed Environment Canada to better understand what work was already being carried out in this area (e.g., ecoFREIGHT and FleetSmart) and gaps or opportunities that could be addressed through the pilot project. Based on this design phase, two initiatives emerged:

Reducing Emissions from Canada’s On-Road Heavy-Duty Diesel Municipal Fleet

The objective of this project was to increase knowledge, awareness and supporting tools for municipalities to reduce their emissions of GHGs and CACs, by highlighting emission reduction opportunities and identifying barriers and challenges to be overcome during the implementation of emission reduction strategies for fleet vehicles. To realize this objective, Environment Canada signed a Contribution Agreement with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) in January of 2010, in order to enable the following activities:

  • Establish partnerships with municipal fleet managers’ networks, federal and provincial agencies, environmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and private sector organizations.
  • Create a baseline of the municipal heavy-duty fleet within Canada, including a fleet profile, an overview of best practices, and identification of barriers and challenges for initiatives to green fleets.
  • Identify and create an online resource in both official languages for municipal fleet managers to access information on best practices available to achieve emission reductions.
  • Promote in both official languages the online resource and other products and services (e.g., publications) to reduce HDD emissions.
  • Deliver education and training workshops in collaboration with partners to increase the capacity of municipal fleet managers to make decisions about reducing HDD emissions within their fleet profile.
  • Develop a business case for emission reduction initiatives in heavy-duty fleets, to be included in a resources guide for fleet managers.

In addition to the work completed with the FCM, Bronson Consulting was contracted to conduct a scoping study of Canadian school bus fleet characteristics, in order to identify key considerations in the development of any clean air programs for school bus fleets.

Furthermore, Environment Canada’s Ontario Region provided funds to two not-for-profit groups to conduct similar activities:

  1. The Clean Air Partnership (CAP) – Funding was allocated to CAP to update information about the level of awareness of school bus emissions and actions that Ontario groups have taken to address these emissions. CAP also examined projects undertaken by the federal government and provincial governments, and policies adopted by school boards in other provinces, to reduce emissions and exposures associated with school buses.
  2. My Sustainable Canada (MSC) – Funding was allocated to MSC to implement two diesel-retrofit pilot programs in Ontario (for small municipal school buses and garbage trucks).

The expected outcome for this pilot project was2: Increased implementation by Canadian municipalities of actions to reduce emissions from municipal on-road HDD vehicles.

The main performance indicator for this outcome was: “Population weighted count of municipalities that participate or report through the FCM that they are implementing greening fleet initiatives consistent with the pilot project (i.e., pre-2007 HDD vehicles).”

Table 3 outlines the resources allocated to this initiative.

Table 3: Allocated Resources
Funded ActivitiesFiscal YearTotal
* 0.1 FTE for the evaluation
** Includes $21,000 for the evaluation
Reducing Emissions from Canada’s On-Road HDD Municipal Fleet
FTEs0.5 FTE0.6 FTE*0.6 FTE* 
G&C $148,664$148,664$297,328

Advancing Regulatory Action to Reduce Vehicle and Engine Emissions

Canada and the United States have agreed to work together under the Canada-U.S. Air Quality Agreement to reduce transportation-related emissions. Under the SPP, Environment Canada and the U.S. EPA proposed options to improve information sharing and build upon existing informal mechanisms through the Agreement.

The objective of this initiative was to reduce emissions from vehicles and engines, while enhancing pre-regulatory cooperation between Canada and the United States. Furthermore, this project aimed to demonstrate how pre-regulatory collaborative work between Canada and the United States could work, as well as whether there are lessons that could apply to future regulatory work completed by both countries. More specifically this project aimed to identify and complete testing and technical assessments for reducing emissions from vehicles and engines. Based on emerging priorities and the recognized importance of complementary policy and regulatory regimes for North America’s transportation sector, this project was designed to support the alignment of future regulatory measures for the on-road vehicle fleet.

The expected outcome of this project was intended to be:

  • Canada and United States collaboration on technical studies to support future regulatory actions for the on-road fleet.
    • Performance Indicator: Number of technical studies developed in collaboration with the U.S. EPA to support future regulatory actions for the on-road fleet.

Table 4 outlines the resources for this initiative.

Table 4: Allocated Resources
Funded ActivitiesFiscal YearTotal
Advancing Regulatory Action to Reduce Vehicle and Engine Emissions
Salaries 0.4 FTE0.4 FTE 
G&C $175,000$175,000$350,000

Given that the grants and contributions (G&C) funding mechanism could not be used and that regulatory alignment with the U.S. EPA on the heavy-duty fleet was quickly evolving into a major focus of work for Environment Canada (i.e., collaborative work and information sharing between the two governments was already taking place under the Canada–U.S. Air Quality Agreement), a decision was taken to not implement this project and to transfer some of the funds to the first initiative.

2.1.2 Stakeholders and Beneficiaries

The PPRE aims to reduce emissions from on-road HDD vehicles and engines within Canada. Its reach extends to a broad range of stakeholders and beneficiaries that include:

  • Canadian municipalities who own and operate fleets
  • Environment Canada staff and management involved with vehicle regulatory development and policy analysis
  • Canadian environmental NGOs
  • Other government departments (including Transport Canada and NRCan)

2.2 Governance

The PPRE was implemented and managed by Environment Canada’s Transportation Division, Energy and Transportation Directorate (ETD). The project was implemented by a policy analyst from the Strategic Transportation and Policy and Analysis Section hired as part of the PPRE, and management oversight was provided by the Manager, Strategies and Outreach, Strategic Transportation and Policy and Analysis Section.

No separate committee or management structure was established within Environment Canada to further oversee or coordinate the PPRE initiatives.

The overall accountability structure for this pilot is the same as for other Transportation Division programs, i.e., this project reports through the Director General, ETD, to the Environmental Protection Board. Results are included in the Program Activity Architecture (PAA) element:

  • Strategic Outcome 3, Clean Environment
  • Program Activity 3.2, Climate Change and Clean Air
  • Program Sub-Activity 3.2.1, Climate Change and Clean Air Regulatory Program
  • Program Sub-Sub-Activity, Transportation Sector Emissions

1 In response to the Government of Canada’s On-Road Vehicle and Engine Emission Regulations,which introduced a new regulatory framework under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, emission-reduction technologies have been introduced on HDD engines (starting with the 2007 model year). New HDD engines will emit significantly fewer air pollutants, including particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). However, diesel vehicles built before 2007 will continue to emit comparatively high levels of NOx and PM over the next 20 years.

2 A Results Based-Management Framework was not developed for this program; therefore a logic model does not exist.

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