Regulatory Framework for Air Emissions

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IV. Actions on Consumer and Commercial Products

A. Energy Efficiency Standards

To reduce air emissions from consumer and commercial products, the government is developing and will implement regulations under the Energy Efficiency Act. The government has begun work to strengthen energy efficiency standards for those products. The Minister of Natural Resources will introduce amendments to the Energy Efficiency Regulations under the Energy Efficiency Act. The amendments will include:

These actions will result in significant reductions in air emissions from the products used daily by households and businesses across Canada.

A list of proposed products to be included in the amendments to the Energy Efficiency Regulations has been established. As well, a proposed schedule for implementation of the amendments has been developed.

Performance standards for lighting

The government commits to setting performance standards for all lighting that would phase out the use of inefficient incandescent light bulbs in common applications by 2012.

A consultative regulatory process will take place over the next eight months to determine exact performance standards and details, such as exemptions and scope. Timelines will be established to allow industry time to develop effective alternatives and to establish the infrastructure to deal with the rapid changeover of the Canadian stock of inefficient lights.

The target date for delivering the standards would be the end of 2007.

B. Volatile Organic Compound Emissions

Volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from the manufacture and use of consumer and commercial products, such as cleaning products, personal care products, paints and printing inks, and other products, contribute significantly to the formation of smog. The government is therefore taking action to reduce VOC emissions from consumer and commercial products.

Significant reductions of VOC emissions can be achieved by minimizing the amount of solvents used in consumer and commercial products. In Canada, solvents account for over 21% of urban VOC emissions and the consumer and commercial products sector represents nearly half of all solvent-related VOC emissions.

In December 2006, the government published 2-Butoxyethanol Regulations.14 2-Butoxyethanol is found in various commercial and consumer products (such as cleaners, paints, and coatings). The 2-Butoxyethanol Regulations will protect the health of Canadians by setting limits for the concentration of 2-butoxyethanol in commercial and consumer products designed for indoor use.

In 2007, the government will bring forward three regulations to limit VOC content in architectural and industrial maintenance coatings, automotive refinish coatings, and selected consumer products in Canada. The proposed measures will align the VOC content limits, where appropriate, with requirements in the United States. This will also increase opportunities for the Canadian industry to compete in the North American market on an equal footing.

The government will develop other regulatory and non-regulatory measures to reduce VOC emissions from consumer and commercial products. A strategic plan is being developed to guide action in other consumer and commercial products sectors for the 2007-2010 period.

14 2-Butoxyethanol Regulations, Canada Gazette, Part II, December 27, 2006, Vol. 140, No. 26 at page 2224, available at