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Canada aligns regulations with United States to cut air pollution from vehicles and gasoline

July 29, 2015 – Ottawa, Ontario – Environment Canada

Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq announced today that the Harper Government has aligned new vehicle and fuel standards with the United States to cut air pollution from on-road vehicles as part of its ongoing commitment to improve air quality for Canadians.

Canada's Tier 3 regulations will introduce more stringent air pollutant emission standards for new passenger cars, light-duty trucks and certain heavy-duty vehicles (such as delivery vans) starting with the 2017 model year. They will also lower limits on the allowable sulphur content of gasoline beginning in 2017, aligning Canadian standards with the United States.

Common Canada–United States standards deliver significant health and environmental benefits, while maintaining our economic competitiveness and protecting good, high-paying jobs in integrated sectors, including automotive manufacturing and refining.

The transportation sector is responsible for nearly a quarter of Canadian greenhouse gas emissions and is a major source of smog-forming air pollutant emissions. Regulating air emissions from this sector is a key part of the Government of Canada's plan to address climate change and provide cleaner air for Canadians.

Air pollutant emissions from vehicles and fuels continue to decrease as a result of regulatory actions. Specifically, total emissions of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds from passenger vehicles and light trucks operated on Canadian roads have decreased by almost 40 percent from 2006 to 2013.

Quick Facts

  • Smog refers to a noxious mixture of gases and particles that often appears as a haze in the air and it has been linked to a number of adverse effects on health and the environment. Emissions from vehicles contribute to the formation of smog.
  • The final Tier 3 regulations will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, on July 29, 2015.
  • Once the Tier 3 vehicle standards reach full stringency with the 2025 vehicle model year, the new standards will represent a reduction of up to 80 percent in smog-forming air pollutant emissions for new vehicles compared to the current Tier 2 vehicle standards.
  • Amendments to the Sulphur in Gasoline Regulations will reduce the allowable sulphur content of gasoline by nearly 70 percent beginning in 2017. Lower sulphur gasoline will enable the effective operation of advanced emission-control technologies used to comply with the more stringent vehicle air pollutant emission standards and will also lead to reductions in air pollutants from vehicles already on Canadian roads.
  • By 2030, it is estimated that the Tier 3 vehicle and fuel standards will result in cumulative health and environmental benefits of $7.5 billion and cumulative fuel and vehicle related costs of $2.7 billion. Accordingly, the projected benefits would exceed the projected costs by a ratio of almost 3:1.
  • The projected health benefits from the Tier 3 vehicle and fuel standards are significant. Between 2017 and 2030, it is estimated that reductions in air pollutants from vehicles will prevent about 1,400 premature deaths, nearly 200,000 days of asthma symptoms and 2.8 million days of acute respiratory problems in Canada.


“Our Government is continuing to move forward with responsible regulatory measures that reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector while maintaining Canada's economic competitiveness and protecting good, high-paying jobs in sectors of the economy integrated with the United States. Our Tier 3 regulations will cut air pollution and protect the health and environment of Canadians by establishing the most stringent national standards in the world for air pollutant emissions from new cars and light trucks.”

– The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council

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