Products Containing Mercury Regulations 2016 summary report: key results

This first report is based on data submitted for the 2016 calendar year (reporting year 2016) under the Products Containing Mercury Regulations (the regulations) and summarizes key results and observations that emerged from the analysis of the data. It also serves as an update on the preliminary analysis that was published in 2018 in Annex 2 of the consultation document on the proposed amendments to the regulations.

The regulations broadly prohibit the import and manufacture in Canada of products containing mercury or any of its compounds. There are some exemptions for essential products that have no technically or economically viable alternatives. Under the regulations, manufacturers and importers of products containing mercury that are exempted (that is, listed in the schedule of the regulations) or allowed by permit are required to report to the Government of Canada every three years.

Data collection

In 2017, manufacturers and importers of exempted and permitted products containing mercury were required to submit their reports electronically through the online reporting system hosted within the Single Window Information Management (SWIM) system. As prescribed in the regulations, reports included:

The online reporting system also provided manufacturers and importers the option to voluntarily report their exports of products containing mercury.

Data analysis

The scope of the analysis is limited to reports submitted for the reporting year 2016. To ensure the reliability and accuracy of the results, the process for analysis included the following steps:

The analysis highlights the distribution of reporting organizations by activity sector, as well as the number of products and quantity of mercury contained in those products for the reporting year 2016. Values are given in kilograms (kg) for ease of comprehension.

Some of the information reported was considered to be confidential business information and therefore is reported in a way to protect confidentiality. For example, by aggregating data or by providing quantity ranges. Sensitive information such as names of submitters and their organizations or any information that could identify a submitter is also not included.

Summary of results

Data was provided from 125 organizations on products containing mercury for the reporting year 2016 as follows:

Forty (40) organizations also provided export data. Export data is reported on a voluntary basis and therefore total amount exported are not certain. Overall, the data indicates that the presence of mercury in products in Canada is primarily from imports.

Figure 1: number of reports by type of commercial activities

Figure 1. Number of reports by type of commercial activities
Long description for figure 1

The horizontal bar graph presents the number of reports by type of commercial activities. As indicated in the body of the text, a total number of 125 reports were submitted.

Activities by number of reports
Type of commercial activities Number of reports
Import only 117
Manufacture only 5
Import and manufacture 3

The analysis indicates that a total of 66 360 813 products containing mercury were imported and manufactured in Canada in 2016, the vast majority being lamps (64 426 348). Total mercury in all products reported was 1104 kg. Of the total quantity reported, 147 kg of mercury was voluntarily reported as being exported out of the country, bringing the total known quantity of mercury in products that remained in Canada in 2016 below 1 metric ton, at 957 kg.

While lamps were the biggest class of products in terms of quantity imported and manufactured, they accounted for 38% (423 kg) of the total mercury in products. More than half of the mercury in products came from dental amalgams only at 57% (632 kg), and all other products accounted for 5% (49 kg). Imports represented 84% (approx. 929 kg) of mercury in products, while manufactures represented 16% (approx. 176 kg).

Figure 2: quantity of mercury in products by categories and number of companies that reported each category

Figure 2. Quantity of mercury in products by categories and number of companies that reported each category
Long description for figure 2

The horizontal bar graph compares the quantity of mercury in four products groupings and the number of companies that reported for each grouping. A total quantity of 1104 kg of mercury in all products has been reported. Since some companies have reported importing of manufacturing products containing mercury from multiple products grouping, the total number of reports (that is, 125) does not correspond to the sum of the number of companies that reporting in each grouping.

Product groupings by quantity by number of companies
Type of products grouping Quantity of mercury in kg Number of companies
Dental amalgam 632.03 5
Lamps 423.14 113
Measuring instruments and reference material 15.28 14
Other 33.85 5

It should be noted that dental amalgam disposal is managed in Canada through a pollution prevention planning notice which encourages dental facilities to implement best management practices. This has resulted in a 97% adoption rate for dental amalgam separators at these facilities. For more information on this initiative, you can consult the performance report developed by Environment and Climate change Canada (ECCC). Lamp disposal is managed by several provincial recycling programs and is targeted by a National Strategy for Disposal of Lamps Containing Mercury, which aims to ensure their safe disposal and recovery.


The 1104 kg of mercury in products reported in 2016 represents an 86% reduction from 2008 estimates,Footnote 1  which estimated that 8100 kg of mercury had entered the Canadian marketplace in products that year. When considering the voluntary export data received, the reduction grows to 88% with the known remaining quantity of mercury in products dropping to 957 kg. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that the regulations are working towards meeting the objective of protecting human health and the environment by reducing releases of mercury from products used in Canada to the lowest level that is technically and economically feasible.

The analysis also reveals that, for 8 product categories listed in the schedule of exempted products in the regulations, no report was submitted in 2016. ECCC is considering the removal of these exemption categories with the proposed amendments to the regulations.

This was the first reporting year after the coming into force of the regulations and this data sets the baseline for the next reporting year planned for March 2020 (using 2019 data).

If you have any questions regarding this report, please contact the Products Division at 819-938-4483/1-888-391-3426 or by email at

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