Consultation document on proposed revisions to Federal Halocarbon Regulations: chapter 1

Background

Halocarbons

Halocarbons are synthetic chemical compounds used as refrigerants, fire-extinguishing agents, solvents, foam-blowing agents and fumigants. Common halocarbons include chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons, hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

Most halocarbons deplete the ozone layer and all are greenhouse gases. Therefore, preventing halocarbon emissions provides a dual benefit for both ozone layer protection and climate change mitigation.

A list of halocarbons is found in Annex 1.

National Action Plan

The use and handling of halocarbons in refrigeration, air-conditioning, fire-extinguishing and solvent systems are regulated in Canada by the provinces, territories and the federal government in accordance with the National Action Plan for the Environmental Control of Ozone-Depleting Substances (ODS) and their Halocarbon Alternatives (NAP).

Published in 2001, the NAP provides a national framework for a harmonized approach by the federal, provincial and territorial governments to implement an ozone layer protection program. It identifies tasks necessary to ensure that consistent, progressive actions take place to control all aspects of pollution prevention and all industry sectors using halocarbons.

The following tasks outlined in the NAP should be incorporated into each jurisdiction’s controls on halocarbons:

  1. Prohibit release and mandate recovery of CFCs, HCFCs, HFCs and all their isomers and blends from closed systems and limit dispersive uses.
  2. Mandate leak testing and repair prior to top up of systems.
  3. Mandate use of refillable containers.
  4. Prohibit recharging mobile air-conditioning systems with CFCs.
  5. Prohibit refilling in the mobile refrigeration sector with CFCs.
  6. Prohibit refilling commercial refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment with CFCs.
  7. Require conversion or replacement of CFC-containing chillers at the next overhaul.
  8. Limit releases of CFCs from low pressure chiller purges to less than 0.1 kg/kg of air.
  9. Prohibit refilling of portable halon-containing fire extinguishers, except for critical uses.
  10. Prohibit refilling of fixed halon-containing fire protection systems, except for critical uses.

Federal Halocarbon Regulations, 2003

The Federal Halocarbon Regulations, 2003 (FHR 2003) implement the NAP regulatory tasks related to the use of halocarbons in refrigeration, air-conditioning, fire-extinguishing and solvent systems that are:

  • Owned by federal departments, boards and agencies, Crown corporations or federal works and undertakings; or
  • Located on aboriginal or federal lands.

Revising the FHR 2003 presents an opportunity to reduce administrative burden and to address certain interpretation issues that have arisen since the Regulations were published in 2003.

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