On January 1, 2024, regulatory limits for VOCs associated with the manufacture and import of certain products in Canada will come into effect. Among the products listed as “certain products” within the regulatory limits are adhesives, adhesive removers, sealants, and caulks used in households and by institutional and commercial consumers. 

January 5, 2022, the Volatile Organic Compound Concentration Limits for Certain Products Regulations were published in the Canada Gazette. The regulations apply to manufacturers and importers and establish concentration limits for VOCs in approximately 130 product categories and subcategories. The objective of the regulations is to protect the environment and health of Canadians from the effects of air pollution by reducing VOC emissions.

The regulations establish maximum VOC limits for the manufacture and import of over 130 categories and subcategories of products. The regulations prohibit the manufacture and import of products with VOCs over their respective category-specific limits unless a permit is obtained. To view the complete list of products, click here.

The regulations include three alternative options to provide flexibility in complying with the regulations. These options include two permits, one for technical or economic non-feasibility, and one for a product whose use results in lower VOC emissions. The third option is the VOC Compliance Unit Trading System. This allows companies to balance emissions from products that exceed the concentration limits with compliance units earned from products that were reformulated to have VOC concentration lower than the regulatory limits. The program also allows companies to trade compliance units with other companies.

The Canadian government has offered information and guidance on how to comply with the new regulations. The Regulatory Fact Sheet provides an overview of the key aspects of the regulations and further guidance on the manufacturing and processing exemption. Additionally, a laboratory test method, Analytical Methods for Determining VOC Concentrations and VOC Emission Potential methodology will be used by enforcement personnel to determine compliance with the regulatory provisions.

The regulations do not require companies to submit reports or conduct product testing to comply with the regulations. However, the responsibility is on companies to ensure that the products they import or manufacture meet the regulatory limits. The determination of VOC concentration for the purposes of these regulations must be performed by an accredited laboratory.

To learn more, visit www.canada.ca/en/environment