May 3, 2004

Revisions would give HCFC users flexibility in adapting to new reduction scheme

Proposed amendments to the federal Ozone-depleting Substances (ODS) Regulations under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) set out a number of options whereby users of HCFCs who are unable to switch to non-ozone-depleting alternatives would still have access to these compounds but would not undermine Canada's overall consumption reduction commitment. The draft regulations were published in the April 3, 2004 Canada Gazette Part I for a 60-day comment period ending June 4, 2004.

Canada's commitment under the Montreal Protocol calls for a phaseout in HCFC consumption according to a five-stage schedule, beginning with a 35% reduction which came into effect on January 1, 2004. To meet this commitment, Canada's consumption must decline from a baseline calculated level of 887 ozone-depleting potential (ODP) tonnes to 577 ODP tonnes.

In 2001, it was determined that the two main HCFC-consuming sectors (cooling, and other applications) were still close to their maximum allowed consumption levels, indicating that some users would not be ready to switch to non-ODS alternatives by the January 1, 2004 deadline.

Accordingly, the proposed amendments provide options for transferring or retiring consumption allowances, and set out a new period for calculating HCFC consumption levels in 2004 and 2005. This provision would enable Environment Canada to redistribute, in 2007, consumption allowances which have been retired.

The draft amendments also include a prohibition on the export of CFCs and halons, except for destruction or essential purposes. Export for reclamation and import back into Canada, as well as the re-export of CFCs or halons imported for reclamation, would still be allowed.

The proposed regulatory revisions are designed to provide affected parties more flexibility in adapting to the 35% required reduction in HCFC consumption. They would have more options for managing their allowances, while customers of allowance holders would still have access to some HCFCs until their conversion to non-ODS alternatives is complete.

Comments should be directed to Jacinthe Girard, acting head, ozone protection programs section, National Office of Pollution Prevention, Environment Canada, Gatineau, Que K1A 0H3, 819/953-4168, E-mail jacinthe.girard@ec.gc.ca, or CÈline LabossiËre, policy manager of Environment Canada's regulatory and economic analysis branch at the same address, 819/997-2377, E-mail celine.labossiere@ec.gc.ca.

Revisions, mainly administrative in nature, have also been proposed to the Vinyl Chloride Release Regulations under CEPA 1999. The draft amendments appeared in the April 3, 2004 Canada Gazette Part I as well.

The proposed amendments are required to improve the clarity of the current Vinyl Chloride Release regulations, as well as to achieve consistency between the English and French versions of the regulations. In addition, to ensure consistency in record-keeping procedures between these and other existing regulations, Section 12 is being amended to require an operator to retain plans and reports for five years and to make them available to enforcement officers upon request.

The current Vinyl Chloride Release regulations limit the release of vinyl chloride and polyvinyl chloride into ambient air by plants in Canada. They also contain requirements regarding malfunctions/breakdowns, the testing of emissions and reporting procedures.

Comments on these amendments are due by June 4, 2004 and should be directed to Art Stelzig, senior technical advisor, sustainable consumption division, Environment Canada, Gatineau, Que K1A 0H3, 819/953-1131, E-mail art.stelzig@ec.gc.ca, or Ms LabossiËre at the co-ordinates above.

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