Backgrounder Article from  Environment and Climate Change Canada

Archived - Government of Canada Takes Further Action to Reduce Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) and Air Pollution from Cars and Trucks

Archived Content

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

The Government of Canada is committed to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and providing clean air for Canadians—for today, and for future generations.

The transportation sector is responsible for nearly a quarter of the GHG emissions and is a major source of smog-forming air pollutant emissions. That is why the Government of Canada has made regulations for the transportation sector a key part of its action on climate change and for cleaner air for Canadians.

Final GHG Regulations to Further Reduce GHG Emissions from Cars and Light Trucks

The Regulations Amending the Passenger Automobile and Light Truck Greenhouse Gas Emission Regulations will establish progressively more stringent greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards for Canadian vehicles of model years 2017 and beyond. They build on the existing standards covering model years 2011 through 2016.

The Canadian automotive industry has made significant investments in new technologies to comply with the existing regulations, resulting in significant GHG reductions. Continued advances in vehicle, engine and emission control technologies provide the opportunity to build on past successes and introduce a new generation of vehicles having even lower GHG emissions.

The Government of Canada’s regulations for cars and light trucks will lead to significant reductions in GHG emissions. As a result of our action, 2025 model year cars and light trucks will consume up to 50 per cent less fuel than 2008 vehicles leading to significant savings at the pump and will emit about half as many GHGs as 2008 models.

Over the lifetime operation of 2017 to 2025 model year vehicles, the Regulations Amending the Passenger Automobile and Light Truck Greenhouse Gas Emission Regulations are projected to deliver total GHG reductions of 174 megatonnes—roughly equivalent to one year of GHG emissions from Canada’s entire transportation sector.

Intent to Further Regulate GHGs from Heavy-Duty Vehicles and Engines

The Government of Canada has announced the intent to further regulate GHG emissions for post-2018 model year heavy-duty vehicles and engines, building on the final regulations already in place for model years 2014 to 2018.

The planned regulations would significantly improve the GHG emission performance of post-2018 model year heavy-duty vehicles and engines. Types of heavy-duty vehicles covered include, but are not limited to, full-size pick-up trucks and vans, tractors and buses as well as a wide variety of vocational vehicles such as freight, delivery, service, cement and dump trucks.

As a result of the existing regulations covering model years 2014-2018, GHG emissions from 2018 model-year heavy-duty vehicles will be reduced by up to 23 per cent. New regulations would build on these reductions for post-2018 model year heavy-duty vehicles.

Proposed Regulations to Align with U.S. Tier 3 Standards on Vehicle Emissions and Sulphur in Gasoline

Over the last few decades, the Canadian automotive and petroleum industries have made significant investments in new technologies and upgrades for new vehicles and refineries to comply with current Canadian regulations and reduce air pollutant emissions. Continued advances in vehicle engine and emission control technologies provide the opportunity to build on past successes and introduce a new generation of vehicles with even cleaner emission performance.

Environment Canada has proposed to strengthen the current On-Road Vehicle and Engine Emission Regulations and the Sulphur in Gasoline Regulations to match the new U.S. Tier 3 standards. The proposed Tier 3 emission standards would apply to new passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and certain heavy-duty vehicles (such as delivery vans). The standards would be introduced with the 2017 model year and increase in stringency until fully implemented in the 2025 model year. Once fully phased-in, the Tier 3 exhaust emission standards would be as much as 80 per cent lower than current Tier 2 emission standards.

Amendments to the Sulphur in Gasoline Regulations would reduce the average sulphur content of gasoline by nearly 70 per cent to 10 parts per million from the current level of 30 parts per million beginning in 2017. Lower levels of sulphur in gasoline would also lead to reductions in air pollutant emissions from vehicles already on Canadian roads and enable new vehicle technologies or strategies to improve vehicle greenhouse gas emission performance

The Government of Canada has estimated that the proposed Tier 3 standards are expected to result in:

  • Cumulative health and environmental benefits of $7.3 billion and cumulative net benefits for Canadians of $4.7 billion by 2030, representing a benefit to cost ratio of almost 3:1;
  • Air quality improvements in Canada that are expected to prevent approximately 1,400 premature deaths, nearly 200,000 days of asthma symptoms, and 2.8 million days of acute respiratory problems related to air pollution by 2030; and
  • Total estimated reductions in on-road vehicle fleet emissions of sulphur dioxide (43%), carbon monoxide (22%), volatile organic compounds (15%), nitrogen oxides (13%), fine particulate matter (8%) in 2030, and certain other air pollutants on the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, List of Toxic Substances (Schedule 1). 

Alignment with the U.S.

These actions build on a long history of cooperation between Canada and the U.S. in reducing both GHG and air pollutant emissions from the transportation sector. Canada is continuing to work with the U.S. to align transportation emission regulations, and remains committed to reducing pollutants from the transportation sector through the Canada-U.S. Air Quality Agreement.

Given the integrated nature of the North American economy, alignment of Canada-U.S. Tier 3 and GHG standards provides significant health and environmental benefits, direct economic benefits to consumers in the form of fuel savings, and supports the competitiveness of Canadian automotive and fuel refining sectors.  Alignment also provides regulatory certainty to the industry, and lower costs for Canadian companies and minimizes the administrative and compliance burden.


Search for related information by keyword

Environment and Climate Change Canada Transport Nature and Environment

Date modified: