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Emission Standards

Canada: Off-Road Engines

Regulatory Background

The federal authority for regulating emissions from off-road engines such as those found in construction, mining, farming and forestry machines is based on the Canadian Environmental Protection Act 1999 (CEPA 1999). Under the December 2000 Ozone Annex to the 1991 Canada-United States Air Quality Agreement, Canada committed to establishing emission regulations under CEPA 1999 for new off-road engines that aligned with the US federal EPA requirements.

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  • In 2000, before any regulations were promulgated, Environment Canada signed MOUs with 13 engine manufacturers. Under the terms of these MOUs, manufacturers agreed to supply off-road diesel engines designed to meet US EPA Tier 1 standards.
  • The Off-Road Compression-Ignition Engine Emission Regulations [SOR/2005-32] were promulgated on February 23, 2005. These regulations introduced emission standards for model year 2006 and later diesel engines used in off-road applications. These regulation encompassed the US EPA Tier 2 and Tier 3 standards.
  • In November 2011, the regulations were amended [SOR/2011-261] to align with the US EPA Tier 4 standards.
  • In December 2020, the regulations were recast, with minor changes, into the Off-road Compression-Ignition (Mobile and Stationary) and Large Spark-Ignition Engine Emission Regulation [5161] that additionally set emission standards for large spark-ignition engines and for stationary diesel engines.

The off-road compression-ignition engine emission regulations apply to “reciprocating, internal combustion engines, other than those that operate under characteristics significantly similar to the theoretical Otto combustion cycle and that use a spark plug or other sparking device”. This definition is not exactly the same as the definition of a diesel engine used in the On-Road Vehicle and Engine Emission Regulations where a diesel engine is defined as one “that has operating characteristics significantly similar to those of the theoretical Diesel combustion cycle. The non-use of a throttle during normal operation is indicative of a diesel engine”. The off-road regulations focus on the ignition mechanism while the on-road regulations focus on the load control mechanism in distinguishing the engine type.

The regulations specifically exempt engines:

  • designed exclusively for competition
  • regulated by the On-Road Vehicle and Engine Emission Regulations;
  • designed to be used exclusively in underground mines;
  • with a per-cylinder displacement of less than 50 cm3;
  • for military machines used in combat or combat support;
  • being exported and not sold or used in Canada;
  • designed to be used in a vessel and for which the fuel, cooling and exhaust systems are integral parts of the vessel.

While not specifically exempted by the regulation, Environment Canada does not have legislative authority to regulate emissions from railway locomotive engines.

The Canadian off-road diesel emission regulations do not include an optional averaging, banking and trading program as do the US EPA regulations.

Mining Engines. Emissions from engines used exclusively in underground mining equipment fall under provincial jurisdiction. While emissions from these engines are not directly regulated, provincial regulations exist for ventilation rates in mines were these engines are used. Canadian Standards Association (CSA) standards have been established that describe the technical requirements and procedures necessary for the design, performance, and testing of new or unused non-rail-bound, diesel-powered, self-propelled machines in underground mines (MMSL02-043). Testing carried out according to these CSA standards establish the minimum ventilation rate required for any engine to keep air quality at an acceptable level. Some provinces base their ventilation requirements on the results of testing according to the CSA standards.

Tier 2/3 Standards

The Canadian Off-Road Compression-Ignition Engine Emission Regulations align the engine certification values with those of the US EPA Tier 2 and Tier 3 values, Table 1. The implementations dates, however, were later. In the US, compliance with Tier 2 requirements was mandatory as early as model year 2001 and with Tier 3 starting with model year 2006. Compliance in Canada with US EPA Tier 2 requirements was not mandatory until the 2006 model year.

Table 1
Canadian Tier 2/3 Off-Road Compression-Ignition Engine Emission Standards, g/kWh
Power (P), kWTierYearNMHC + NOxCOPM
P <8Tier 220067.58.00.80
8≤ P <19Tier 220067.56.60.80
19≤ P <37Tier 220067.55.50.60
37≤ P <75Tier 220067.55.00.40
Tier 320084.75.00.40
75≤ P <130Tier 220066.65.00.30
Tier 320074.05.00.30
130≤ P <225Tier 320064.03.50.20
225≤ P <450Tier 320064.03.50.20
450≤ P <560Tier 320064.03.50.20
P >560Tier 220066.43.50.20

Tier 4 Standards

On November 17, 2011, Environment Canada adopted amendments to the Off-Road Compression-Ignition Engine Emission Regulations which align Canadian emission standards with the US EPA Tier 4 standards for nonroad engines, including the emission limits, testing methods and effective dates. Most of these requirements are defined by reference to the pertinent sections of the US regulations. The Canadian Tier 4 standards came into force on January 16, 2012 and apply to engines of the 2012 and later model years manufactured on and after January 16, 2012.

For US EPA-certified engines, an EPA emission label is accepted as a proof of compliance, provided at least one engine of the same family is sold concurrently in the United States and Canada. If no engine of the same family is sold concurrently in the USA or if the engine is not US EPA-certified, an emission approval must be obtained from Environment Canada and a Canadian emission label must be affixed to the engine.