New Federal Regulations Bring More Stringent Standards for Heavy Vehicles and Engines

The Government of Canada has adopted new regulations reinforcing greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions standards for heavy-duty vehicles and engines. These regulations, the Regulations Amending the Heavy-duty Vehicle and Engines Greenhouse Gas Emissions Regulations and Other Regulations Made Under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (“Regulations”), will come into force in November 2018.

The Regulations introduce more stringent GHG emission standards that begin with the 2021 model year for on-road heavy-duty vehicles and engines. These vehicles are generally defined as on-road vehicles weighing more then 3 856 Kg, or having a basic frontal area of more then 4.2m2, and the engines designed to power such vehicles. In practice, this definition includes most commercial trucks, buses, and school buses, but excludes passenger vehicles designed to carry 15 passengers or fewer. Further, the amendments introduce new GHG emissions standards that apply to trailers hauled by on-road transport tractors manufactured on or after January 1, 2020. The majority of the standards introduced by the Regulations will become more stringent between 2021 and 2027.

The amendments also introduce minor modifications to two other regulations enacted under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, ensuring uniformity throughout Canada as well as compliance with existing on-road vehicle and engine emission regulations in the United States, thus ensuring that vehicles and trailers meeting GHG emissions standards in Canada are compliant for travel within the United States.

Companies that manufacture, import or distribute on-road heavy-duty vehicles and engines for sale in Canada will need to adapt to these new amendments by adopting more efficient technologies regarding vehicle emissions. Devices to reduce aerodynamic drag, low rolling resistance tires, lightweight components, tire pressure monitoring and automatic tire inflation systems are technologies that could be used to reduce GHG emissions.

This article was prepared by McCarthy Tétrault’s Transportation and Logistics Group. For more information, please contact David F. Blair or Brian Lipson.

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