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Emission Standards

Canada: Off-Road Small Spark-Ignition Engines


The Off-Road Small Spark-Ignition Engine Emission Regulations [3524] were adopted in 2003. The regulations apply to engines that use spark plugs and develop no more than 19 kW (25 hp) of power. The engines are divided into classes based on engine displacement and usage in either a handheld or non-handheld application, based on the corresponding US EPA classifications.

The regulations adopted in 2003 were harmonized with the US EPA Phase 2 standards for small utility engines. The emission standards applied to off-road engines of model years 2005-2018.

In 2017, Environment Canada adopted amendments to the regulations [3525] that harmonized the Canadian requirements with the US EPA Phase 3 (2009) standards, effective from 2019.

Emission Standards

Phase 2 and Phase 3 emission standards are summarized in Table 1 and Table 2, respectively. The Phase 3 regulation tightened HC+NOx emission standards for non-handheld engines (Class I and II); all other standards remained unchanged.

Table 1
Phase 2 emission standards for small spark-ignition engines, g/kWh
ClassEngine TypeDisplacement (D), cm3DateHC + NOxbNMHC + NOxCO
I-ANon-handheldD <66200550-610
I-B66≤ D <10020054037610
I100≤ D <2252005116.1a-519a
IID ≥225200512.111.3610
IIIHandheldD <20200550-805
IV20≤ D <50200550-805
VD ≥502005119-603
a Standards apply only when the engine is new
b Some engine classes include a combined NMHC+NOx standard that applies only when the engine is fueled by natural gas
1 For models already in production at coming into force of the Regulations
2 For models initially produced after coming into force of the Regulations
Table 2
Phase 3 emission standards for small spark-ignition engines, g/kWh
ClassEngine TypeDisplacement (D), cm3DateHC + NOxCO
INon-handheldD < 225201910.0610a
IID ≥ 22520198.0610a
IIIHandheldD < 20201950805
IV20 ≤ D < 50201950805
VD ≥ 50201972603
NMHC for NG engines; total HC equivalent (THCE) for alcohol engines; THC for other engines.
a 5.0 g/kWh for marine generator engines

Engines must meet the emission standards throughout their useful life (with the exception of pre-2005 Class I engines, as indicated in the table). At the time of engine certification, a manufacturer can select one of three specified useful life periods, which range from 50 to 1000 hours depending on the engine class. For example, for a class I engine, the useful life can be 125, 250 or 500 hours. The selection of useful life duration must be supported by technical information. Longer useful lives, which entail a higher manufacturing cost, are typically found in commercial equipment while home consumer products are often designed for shorter useful lives.

Alternative less stringent emission standards, consistent with those available under the US CFR, are available:

  • For HC+NOx levels for engines in machines used exclusively in wintertime, such as ice augers and snow-blowers. These engines are subject to the applicable CO standard.
  • For replacement engines which are engines manufactured exclusively to replace an existing engine in a machine for which no current model year engine with physical or performance characteristics necessary for the operation of the machine exists;
  • Phase 2 standards also included a flexibility for Canada-only ‘niche’ products—for class III, IV and V when less than 2,000 engines of a particular model were sold in total in Canada. This provision was removed by the 2017 (Phase 3) amendments.

In addition to tailpipe emission standards, engines must meet evaporative emission standards and certain crankcase ventilation requirements.