Canada putting a freeze on greenhouse gas emissions from refrigeration systems with launch of new Offset Credit System Protocol

News release

February 24, 2023 – Toronto, Ontario

Taking action to reduce harmful pollution from cooling ice rinks, shopping centres, and grocery stores is important as Canada continues to reduce emissions and build a resilient economy and a cleaner future.

Today, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, announced a second project type eligible to generate offset credits under Canada’s Greenhouse Gas Offset Credit System. The new protocol, Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Refrigeration Systems, encourages businesses to upgrade their refrigeration and air-conditioning systems to ones that use refrigerants with lower global warming potentials by rewarding them with offset credits that they can sell to generate revenue.

Commercial or industrial facilities that may want to participate in the federal offset system using the new protocol include: food processing plants, ice rinks, shopping centres, office buildings, industrial parks, retail grocery stores, and cold storage warehouses.

When one of these businesses upgrades or replaces their refrigeration or air-conditioning system, they may be eligible to earn a credit. Each credit represents one tonne of emissions and is tradeable to facilities regulated under the federal pollution pricing system for industrial emitters (the Output-Based Pricing System) to help these facilities with compliance costs and maintain business competitiveness. Credits can also be sold to others who will use them to meet voluntary emission reduction targets or net-zero commitments.

This new protocol builds on the existing protocol published in June 2022 for Landfill Methane Recovery and Destruction, which supports projects that actively recover and destroy landfill gas.

The Federal Greenhouse Gas Offset Credit System is among several measures that Canada is taking to reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions by 40 to 45 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, and delivers on a commitment in Canada’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan.

For more information on Canada’s Greenhouse Gas Offset Credit System, eligible activities, and how to submit an application to register an offset project, please visit


“You need ice to play Canada’s national sport, giving hockey a direct connection to tackling climate change. Indoor hockey rinks can help the environment by using more climate-friendly refrigerants to keep their ice frozen. The new Greenhouse Gas Offset System for refrigerants encourages all sorts of companies to upgrade their refrigeration and air-conditioning systems to ones that are better for the environment, while rewarding them with a tradeable credit in the process. This is just one more way in which we’re working with Canadians to build competitive local economies and resilient communities.”

– The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“The Canadian Greenhouse Gas Offset System promotes investment into technologies that achieve greenhouse gas emission reductions across multiple sectors. The Refrigeration Systems Protocol as part of Canada’s Greenhouse Gas Offset System will incentivize businesses to convert existing high-Global Warming Potential refrigeration systems to new low-Global Warming Potential refrigeration systems and encourage new facility owners to implement the latest and most environmentally friendly technologies at the onset. This offset system, and the offset market, provide an excellent opportunity for businesses to address broad environmental goals while also achieving economic growth.”

– Tooraj Moulai, Vice President, Anew Climate

Quick facts

  • Canada’s Greenhouse Gas Offset Credit System provides an incentive for businesses, municipalities, Indigenous communities, foresters, farmers, and other project developers in sectors such as waste, forestry, agriculture, and advanced technology to undertake domestic projects that reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.

  • To be eligible to earn credits, offset project activities must achieve real, additional, quantified, verified, unique, and permanent greenhouse gas emission reductions or removals. For example, the greenhouse gas reductions or removals to be counted in the federal offset system must result from activities that go beyond legal requirements and business-as-usual practices, and that are not already incentivized by carbon pollution pricing.

  • Each federal offset credit represents one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) reduced or removed from the atmosphere. Credits will only be issued and become available for use after the project has been implemented and proponents have submitted their first project reports, if all requirements are met.

  • Canada’s Greenhouse Gas Offset Credit System creates economic opportunities for Indigenous communities, and encourages the development of Indigenous-led, nature-based solutions to climate change. A Greenhouse Gas Offset Toolkit is available in several languages, including Ojibwe, Mi’kmaq, and Woods Cree.

  • Other protocols currently under development include: Improved Forest Management on Private Lands; Livestock Feed Management; Direct Air Carbon Dioxide Capture and Sequestration; and Enhanced Soil Organic Carbon. Work on a protocol for Anaerobic Digestion will also kick off in spring 2023. 

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Kaitlin Power
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Media Relations
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Twitter page

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Facebook page

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