Code of Practice to eliminate halocarbon emissions from refrigeration and air conditioning systems: preface


In 1987, Canada signed an international multilateral environmental treaty, the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (Montreal Protocol). This Protocol has universal participation, having been signed and ratified by 197 countries to date. Under the Montreal Protocol, parties have been phasing out the production and consumption of a wide range of chemicals that are known to contribute to the depletion of the ozone layer, including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). The phase-out of these ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) has resulted in an increase in the use of halocarbon alternative substances such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and perfluorocarbons (PFCs), which are now known to be greenhouse gases. Alternative substances are available today, and thus a proactive approach to pollution prevention continues to be necessary.

At the federal level, Canada controls the production, import, export, sale, offer for sale and certain uses of ODSs through the provisions of the Ozone-depleting Substances Regulations, 1998. While the production and importation of virgin ozone-depleting substances are controlled and largely phased out, sizeable volumes continue to exist in systems such as large commercial building chillers, domestic appliances and mobile air conditioning systems. The federal government enacted the Federal Halocarbon Regulations, 2003 to prevent and reduce the releases of halocarbons at federal facilities and on federal and Aboriginal lands. Provinces and territories also have measures in place to minimize releases of ODSs.

The Code of Practice for the Reduction of Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) Emissions from Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Systems, published in March 1991 (1991 code of practice), was the first edition of Environment Canada's code of practice. Its publication was part of an action plan implemented by Environment Canada that aimed to reduce CFC emissions by major industries. It covered the following three types of systems: commercial and industrial, residential, and mobile air conditioning. It was based mainly on a document published by the Commission of European Communities (Report EUR 9509 EN). Its development was also guided by the Refrigerants Order of the National Swedish Environmental Protection Board (draft; October 1988) and the Action Guidelines of the Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada, and it reflected input from various Canadian industrial and governmental bodies.

The Environmental Code of Practice for Elimination of Fluorocarbon Emissions from Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Systems, published in 1996 (1996 code of practice), replaced the 1991 code of practice. It covered two additional types of systems: mobile refrigeration and heavy-duty mobile air conditioning. It also added a section on strategic planning. The 1991 code of practice was revised to reflect the national and global commitment to pollution prevention as well as the objectives of the National Action Plan for the Environmental Control of Ozone-Depleting Substances (ODS) and their Halocarbon Alternatives. It was expanded to include HCFCs and HFCs, and it was meant to be a guideline for manufacturers, contractors, service providers, environmental monitors and regulators. The 1996 code of practice was developed in consultation with stakeholders from various sectors.

The 2013 draft of the Environmental Code of Practice for the Elimination of Halocarbon Emissions from Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Systems updates and replaces the 1996 code of practice. As with the earlier versions, it is a complement to federal, provincial and territorial measures to minimize and eliminate emissions of certain halocarbons by introducing best practices in the cooling industry. The 2013 draft code covers the design, installation and servicing of stationary and mobile refrigeration and air conditioning systems. It also covers training requirements.

This code applies to stationary and mobile refrigeration and air conditioning systems that use halocarbons at federal facilities and on Aboriginal land. In some jurisdictions, the code of practice is incorporated into regulations, resulting in some or all of the sections of the code becoming mandatory requirements. Under the Federal Halocarbon Regulations, 2003, a person who installs, services, leak tests, charges or performs work that may result in the release of a halocarbon must do so in accordance with the current code of practice.

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