Proposed Regulations Will Finally Bring Volatile Organic Compound Concentration Limits to Canada

The Government of Canada is revising regulations it proposed for Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) concentration limits set for certain products in 2008. VOCs present in personal products participate in photochemical reactions that contribute to ground level ozone (O3), the major component of smog.

A consultation document published on January 21, 2013, outlined these revisions and discussed the regulatory developments set to follow. Proposed regulations for certain products will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, in the summer of 2014.

Regulations coming into force will be expected to be, by and large, aligned with California’s current Consumer Products Regulations. Proposed incentives and programs are currently being discussed to relieve some of the burden on manufacturers and importers being affected by the regulations. These programs will include the Averaging and Trading Program (ATP), which will allow companies to manufacture/import products exceeding VOC limits by using credits earned from reformulating products below VOC limits or by buying/trading credits from other companies. There is also a proposal to grant temporary permits allowing above limit VOC concentrations for products in cases where their VOC levels cannot be reduced to regulatory limits because of economic or technical reasons.

Although manufacturers and importers are strongly encouraged to test their products for compliance, there is no intention of enforcing testing. Environment Canada will soon publish guidance document on testing methods that will be used in enforcement.

Stakeholders have until March 7, 2013 to give their input in writing to Environment Canada. Comments will be taken into consideration when drafting the proposed regulations.

What to Do:

  • If you are a manufacturer or importer of products containing VOCs, contact FPR to prepare for the looming implementation of the proposed regulations.

If you have any questions about requirements for the sale of a Natural Health Product, please contact us at 905-271-2709.