Sulphur in diesel fuel regulations factsheet

Amendments to the Sulphur in Diesel Fuel Regulations: Cleaner Marine Fuel Means Cleaner Air for Canadians

Amendments to the Sulphur in Diesel Fuel Regulations

Clean air is important to everyone, and the Government of Canada is working domestically, continentally and internationally to deliver the best air quality possible for Canadians.

Air pollution from ships does not just affect Canadian and American ports and coastlines. It is also carried hundreds of kilometres inland, affecting more than 60% of Canada's population.
Photo of a large cargo vessel

Environment Canada’s Regulations Amending the Sulphur in Diesel Fuel Regulations are now in force and create a new standard for the allowable sulphur levels in marine diesel fuel available for large ships.

Large ships are currently using bunker fuel with up to 35 000 parts per million of sulphur. The new diesel fuel standards will allow for supply of a cleaner shipping fuel with no more than 1000 parts per million of sulphur in 2015.

Canada and the United States have already implemented stringent emission controls on land-based sources of air pollution.

North American Emission Control Area

Map of North American Emission Control Area

In recent years, Canada and the U.S. worked with the International Maritime Organization to designate an Emission Control Area in North American coastal waters. The emission control area establishes a 200-nautical-mile zone around North American coastlines and imposes stricter standards on emissions from large ships including oil tankers, cargo ships and cruise ships when they are operating in this zone. The Emission Control Area comes into effect on August 1, 2012, and is expected to reduce emissions of sulphur oxides by 96%.

The amendments enable Canada to move forward with the Emission Control Area requirements and align Environment Canada's diesel fuel program with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards. The amendments will protect the environment and health of Canadians, and ensure a level playing field across the highly integrated North American fuel market.

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