Guidance document for Off-Road Small Spark-Ignition Engine Emission Regulations: chapter 3

3. Engines Subject to the Regulations

The Regulations prescribe standards for off-road engines that

  1. operate under characteristics significantly similar to the theoretical Otto combustion cycle;
  2. use spark plugs or other sparking devices; and
  3. do not develop more than 19 kW of power.

These engines typically use gasoline but liquefied petroleum gas or natural gas can also be used. Small spark-ignition engines are typically found in lawn and garden machines (hedge trimmers, brush cutters, lawnmowers, garden tractors, snowblowers, etc.); in light-duty industrial machines (generator sets, welders, pressure washers, etc.); and in light-duty logging machines (chainsaws, log splitters, shredders, etc.).

The Regulations apply to engines manufactured in Canada and "transported within Canada" (i.e., transported between provinces) and to engines imported into Canada.

Section 3.4 of this guidance document identifies categories of small spark-ignition engines that are not subject to these Regulations.

3.1  What is an off-road engine?

An off-road engine is defined as an internal combustion engine that is used or designed to be used:

  1. by itself and that is capable of being carried or moved from one location to another;
  2. in or on a machine that is designed to be or capable of being carried from one location to another (e.g. a portable generator);
  3. in or on a machine that is self-propelled (e.g. a go-kart);
  4. in or on a machine that serves a dual purpose by both propelling itself and performing another function (e.g. a garden tractor); or
  5. in or on a machine that is intended to be propelled while performing its function (e.g. a lawn mower).

Under section 149 of CEPA 1999, engines designed to propel an aircraft or rolling stock (e.g., a locomotive) or compression-ignition engines rated at 37 kW and above designed to propel a vessel (i.e., a boat, ship or craft designed, used or capable of being used solely or partly for navigation in, on, through or immediately above water) are not within the scope of Part 7, Division 5 of CEPA 1999 and are not engines under the Regulations.

3.2  What is a machine?

"Machine" means anything, including a vehicle, device, appliance or implement that is powered by an engine. A chainsaw, a lawn mower, a garden tractor, or a portable generator powered by a small spark-ignition engine would be considered a machine for the purpose of these Regulations. In the CFR, the words "equipment" or "nonroad vehicle" generally have the same meaning as "machine" in the Regulations.

While most provisions of the Regulations cover specifically engines, machines are also impacted to the extent that the machine contains an engine covered by these Regulations.

3.3  What is the difference between "equipment" and "machine"?

The word "equipment" is often used in everyday language as a general descriptor for tools or machinery powered by off-road engines, such as in the expression "lawn and garden equipment".

Section 149 of CEPA 1999 assigns a specific meaning for the word "equipment" as "any prescribed equipment that is designed for use in or on a vehicle or engine". The legislative meaning of "equipment" is intended to address engine accessories including but not limited to catalytic converters or fuel systems. The Regulations use the term "machine" to designate a vehicle, device, appliance or implement powered by an engine.

3.4  Which categories of off-road small spark-ignition engines are excluded from the Regulations?

The following small spark-ignition engines are not subject to the Regulations:

  1. engines designed exclusively for competition and with features not easily removed and with characteristics that render their use other than in competition unsafe, impractical or unlikely;
  2. engines regulated by the On-Road Vehicle and Engine Emission Regulations;
  3. engines designed to be used exclusively in underground mines;
  4. engines designed to power snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, and off-highway motorcycles;
  5. hobby engines designed to be used in reduced-scale models of vehicles that are not capable of transporting a person;
  6. engines designed to be used exclusively in emergency and rescue machines;
  7. engines designed to be used in machines designed for use in military combat or combat support;
  8. engines designed to propel a vessel (i.e., a boat, ship or craft designed, used or capable of being used solely or partly for navigation in, on, through or immediately above water); and
  9. engines that are being exported and that are accompanied by a written statement establishing that they will not be sold or used in Canada.

3.5  Which small spark-ignition engines do not have to conform to some provisions of the Regulations?

The following engines do not have to conform to some of the provisions of the Regulations:

  1. engines that are imported into Canada solely for purposes of exhibition, demonstration, evaluation or testing;
  2. engines that are being imported exclusively for use by a visitor to Canada or by a person passing through Canada to another country;
  3. engines that are in transit through Canada, from a place outside Canada to another place outside Canada;
  4. engines that do not meet the requirements of the Regulations at importation or when leaving a factory but that will meet these requirements before they leave the possession or control of the company1, such as incomplete engines;
  5. replacement engines as this term is defined in subsection 13(1) of the Regulations; and
  6. engines for which the Governor-in-Council has granted an exemption.

Additional details on special provisions in respect of these engines are given in Chapter 10 of this guidance document.

3.6  When do the Regulations come into force?

The Regulations come into force on January 1, 2005, except for the sections related to the national emissions mark which come into effect on the date the Regulations were registered. Additional details on the national emissions mark are provided in Chapter 5 of this guidance document.

The standards apply to engines of the 2005 and later model years.

3.7  What is a model year?

Model year is the year determined by the manufacturer to designate the period of production of a particular model of an engine and is defined in section 4 of the Regulations.

The model-year can span a period of up to two calendar years less one day but can include only one January 1. The model year corresponds to the calendar year during which production occurred or the calendar year during which January 1 fell. For example a line of engines produced between March 1, 2006 and January 31, 2007 would correspond to 2007 model year engines.

1 Chapter 4 of this guidance document provides details on the exact meaning of "company" under CEPA 1999.

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