Environmental Code of Practice for elimination of fluorocarbon emissions


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, they continue to be found in systems such as 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, at federal works and undertakings, as well as 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 1996 code of practice reflects 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 2014 Environmental Code of Practice for the Elimination of Fluorocarbon Emissions from Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Systems, issued under subsection 208(1) of CEPA 1999, replaces the 1996 code of practice. The 2014 Code of Practice covers the design, installation and servicing of stationary and mobile refrigeration and air conditioning systems. It also covers training requirements. The 2014 Code of Practice is a complement to federal, provincial and territorial measures with a goal to minimize and eliminate emissions of certain halocarbons by introducing best practices in the cooling industry.

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