Redesigning Ontario’s Drive Clean Motor Vehicle Emission Testing Program

ERO number
013-3867
Notice type
Policy
Act
Environmental Protection Act, R.S.O. 1990
Posted by
Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Notice stage
Decision
Decision posted
Comment period
September 28, 2018 - October 28, 2018 (30 days) Closed
Last updated

This consultation was open from:
September 28, 2018
to October 28, 2018

Decision summary

The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks has ended the Drive Clean light vehicle program and will be proposing changes to the heavy diesel commercial motor vehicles program and strengthened on-road enforcement.

Decision details

1. Winding down the light vehicle emissions testing requirements

The requirement for light passenger vehicle owners to obtain an emissions test was removed on April 1, 2019.

Note that the rules related to emission control systems still apply to light passenger vehicles – it was merely the requirement to be tested that was removed. Emission control systems are still required to be present and operating.

2. Redesigning the heavy vehicle emissions testing program

As committed to in the Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan, we are moving forward with a new enhanced emissions testing program to target the biggest polluters on our roads, heavy diesel commercial motor vehicles, such as commercial transport trucks. The Ministry will be proposing a number of changes for heavy diesel commercial motor vehicles to tighten emissions control standards and testing requirements and to clarify what vehicles are subject to emissions control standards and testing.

Please refer to 019-0416to read the regulatory proposal and to submit a comment.

In addition to changes that will be proposed for the emissions testing program, the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks and the Ministry of Transportation are aiming to integrate the existing heavy diesel commercial motor vehicle emissions testing program with the commercial motor vehicle safety inspection program for heavy vehicles that is administrated by Ministry of Transportation. Under the proposed new integrated program, heavy diesel commercial motor vehicle owners will be able to get an emissions and safety inspection at the same time and location — one test, with one digital result. Future proposed changes to support the development and implementation of an integrated vehicle safety and emissions inspection for commercial vehicles would include:

  • Alignment to the Ministry of Transportation’s Periodic Mandatory Commercial Vehicle Inspection requirement for vehicle test age and test frequency. The safety and emissions inspection would be required annually starting when a vehicle is first registered in Ontario.
  • Strengthening the annual inspection of emission components to identify and deter both physical and electronic emission system tampering and emission defeat devices.
  • The use of a computer-based electronic emissions diagnostic test to ensure emission control systems are operating as intended for all commercial vehicles that have a registered gross weight of more than 4,500 kgs.
  • Allowing vehicles six years of age and newer to forego the smoke opacity emissions test if they are in compliance with the computer-based electronic diagnostic test and the emission component inspection.

3. Clarifying and strengthening the on-road enforcement of emissions standards for both light and heavy vehicles

We are also proposing regulatory changes that will enhance on-road enforcement activities, resulting in stronger enforcement of emissions standards.

Please refer to 019-0416 to read the regulatory proposal and to submit a comment.

Stakeholder considerations

We will establish an external multi-stakeholder working group to provide advice on additional program implementation options, including the design of appropriate incentives and burden reduction measures for business and industry who consistently demonstrate cleaner vehicle fleets and strategies for older diesel vehicles that were manufactured without emissions control equipment or on-board diagnostic systems.

Comments received

Through the registry

201

By email

13

By mail

0
View comments submitted through the registry

Effects of consultation

What we heard

We considered all feedback received during the comment period for this posting. We received comments from a wide range of interested parties, including:

  • individual members of the public
  • business and industry associations
  • non-governmental environmental and health organizations
  • vehicle emissions testing facilities owners and staff
  • municipalities
  • bus and transit associations
  • research and academic organizations

Below is a brief summary of the comments received for each of the proposals and how we considered them.

Comments are grouped based on the policy proposal.

Winding down the light vehicle emissions testing requirements

Comments received on this proposal were mixed. Many comments agreed with the ending of the program for light vehicles, while others commented on the need for some type of enforcement to address:

  • tampering of emissions systems
  • older/ smoking vehicles
  • light diesel vehicles

Others commented that the program was an effective method to ensure proper vehicle maintenance and some suggested a safety type program as an ideal replacement.

Response

Even though the Drive Clean program has ended, motorists are still required to maintain their emissions control systems for their light passenger vehicles.

The Ministry will continue to use on-road enforcement to ensure vehicle emission control systems are present and operating.

Redesigning the heavy diesel vehicle emissions testing program

Comments received on this proposal were mostly supportive of the proposed changes and the items for review. There is agreement that:

  • diesel emissions pose large environmental and health risks to Ontarians
  • it is the responsibility of owner/operators of the heavy vehicle fleet to ensure their vehicles are well maintained and not emitting excessive pollutants

program stakeholders voiced their concerns regarding

  • the amount of tampering with emission components
  • the use of defeat devices on emission control systems
  • the use of glider kit and rebuilt vehicles without modern effective emission control systems
  • polluting out-of-province heavy vehicles

The Ministry has heard these concerns negatively impact not only the health and environment in Ontario, but also responsible Ontario businesses that strive to have clean and safe vehicle fleets.

Response

As committed to in the Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan, we are moving forward with a new enhanced emissions testing program to target the biggest polluters on our roads, heavy diesel commercial motor vehicles, such as commercial transport trucks.

The changes proposed to the heavy diesel commercial motor vehicles testing program will strive to maintain a balance between a healthy environment and a healthy economy.

As a result of the policy review and public consultation process, the Ministry is proposing a number of changes that would come into effect in 2020 to:

  • tighten emissions control standards and testing requirements
  • clarify what heavy diesel commercial motor vehicles are subject to emissions control standards and testing

We are also aiming to propose further changes that will integrate the existing heavy vehicle emissions testing program with the commercial motor vehicle safety inspection program for heavy vehicles, which is administrated by Ministry of Transportation. The proposed integrated inspection will aim to be a one-test, one-result inspection, which will benefit both the environment and businesses in the transportation industry.

Strengthening the on-road enforcement of emissions standards for both light and heavy vehicles

Comments received on this proposal were mostly in agreement with the proposed changes. We received suggestions that there be an easier way to identify, notify and enforce violations regarding tampered and smoking vehicles.

Response

The Ministry will continue to require all motorists to maintain their vehicle's emission control systems and will use on-road enforcement to ensure emission control systems are present and operating. In addition, the Ministry will review and improve the process for the public to report incidents of polluting vehicles.

As a result of the policy review and public consultation process, we are proposing regulatory changes that will support on-road enforcement activities, resulting in stronger enforcement of emissions.

Stakeholder considerations

In addition to the consultation through the Environmental Bill of Rights, the ministry held a stakeholder workshop with a broad range of external stakeholders. You can read a summary of the workshop by referring to the supporting materials.

Supporting materials

View materials in person

Some supporting materials may not be available online. If this is the case, you can request to view the materials in person.

Get in touch with the office listed below to find out if materials are available.

Program Management Branch
Address

40 St. Clair Avenue West
Toronto, ON
M4V 1M2
Canada

Office phone number

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Original proposal

ERO number
013-3867
Notice type
Policy
Act
Environmental Protection Act, R.S.O. 1990
Posted by
Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change
Proposal posted

Comment period

September 28, 2018 - October 28, 2018 (30 days)

Proposal details

Proposed actions

We are seeking public comments on this proposal including:

  1. winding down the light duty vehicle emissions testing requirements
  2. redesigning the heavy duty vehicle emissions testing program
  3. strengthening the on-road enforcement of emissions standards for both light and heavy duty vehicles

While Drive Clean was efficient at reducing emissions, industry standards have significantly improved since the program was created in 1999. The result is a steady decrease of passenger cars that fail emissions tests. Redesigning the Drive Clean program will allow for a more efficient use of public funds by targeting the biggest polluters on Ontario’s roads. The changes will focus resources in a way to ensure the program continues to protect the province’s air quality which in turn will benefit the heath of all Ontarians.

1. Winding down the light duty vehicle emissions testing requirements

The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) is ending the requirement for light duty vehicle owners to obtain an emissions test prior to vehicle registration renewal as of April 1, 2019.

Drive Clean’s testing of light duty vehicles was effective at reducing vehicle pollution, however industry standards have significantly improved since the program was created in 1999. The retirement of older vehicles, the introduction of vehicles with cleaner emissions control technologies and fuel improvements were significant contributing factors that helped reduce emissions from light duty vehicles. We have found a steady decrease in the number of passenger cars that fail the emissions test from 16% in 1999 down to 5% in 2017 as well as a declining impact on air quality and smog.

The Auditor General of Ontario has also commented in the past to the effectiveness on the light duty program.

The ministry still requires that motorists maintain their vehicle's emission control systems and will support this through improved on-road enforcement of all vehicles on Ontario's roads.

2. Redesigning the heavy duty vehicle emissions testing program

We are also proposing changes to heavy duty vehicle testing to target heavy duty diesel vehicles such as commercial transport trucks while ensuring that Ontario continues to lead Canada in reducing harmful smog-causing pollutants.

Key proposed program design changes for the heavy-duty vehicle emissions testing include:

  • a mandatory test of a vehicle’s on board diagnostic (OBD) computer based emissions controls. OBD testing is the right test for today’s highly computerized heavy duty vehicles because it relies on vehicles’ own computer systems to assess the state of their emissions systems. This test will be included as part of the emissions test, alongside the current smoke meter opacity test
  • reviewing the appropriate vehicle test age and test frequency. Currently vehicles seven years and older are tested annually. Heavy duty vehicles are driven longer distances and subject to more wear and tear, which could result in higher emissions if poorly maintained
  • reviewing the test standard for visible emissions opacity. The current opacity test standard for newer vehicles is 30%. Vehicles achieving 20% visible smoke density are currently allowed to skip a test cycle. The standard and exemption should be reviewed to assess its applicability for all heavy duty vehicles
  • increased enforcement of existing anti-tampering restrictions with regard to emission control systems that are in current regulations
  • providing incentives to industry who consistently demonstrate cleaner fleets

The heavy duty program design will also look at ways to reduce costs to taxpayers.

3. Strengthening the on-road enforcement of emissions standards for both light and heavy duty vehicles

Key proposed program design changes for the stronger on-road enforcement of emissions standards include:

  • strengthen on-road enforcement of both light and heavy duty vehicles on Ontario's highways to ensure domestic and out-of-province vehicles are not polluting
  • strengthen anti-tampering restrictions with regard to emission control systems

Purpose of the proposal

The direct objectives of the proposed changes to the program are to ensure:

  • protection of Ontario’s air quality
  • an effective program that provides value for taxpayers
  • reduced human exposure to dangerous diesel emissions, including particulate matter, nitrogen oxides (NOx), hydrocarbons and other pollutants; and reduce emissions of black carbon, a short lived climate change agent
  • an effective testing program that maximizes emissions reductions from on-road heavy-duty diesel vehicles while balancing the need to reduce regulatory burden on impacted transportation industries
  • that both light duty and heavy duty vehicles owners are properly maintaining their vehicles and that the emissions control systems are functioning as intended

The overall purpose of the proposed changes to the program is to:

  • provide benefits in air quality and human health through reductions in emissions from heavy duty diesel vehicles
  • achieve full compliance by the on-road light duty and heavy duty vehicle fleet with Ontario Environmental Protection Act
  • create a fair and a level playing field where all industry partners contribute to reducing heavy-duty diesel emissions and improving air quality

Program goals

  • public acceptance: Achieve a high degree of public acceptance where there is a high degree of certainty that on-road heavy duty diesel vehicles are meeting provincial emissions standards and that the program is contributing to protecting Ontario’s air quality
  • industry acceptance: Achieve a high degree of industry acceptance where all on-road heavy duty diesel vehicles are adhering to the on-road environmental emissions standards, including the prohibition against the tampering with emissions systems
  • compliance standards: Achieve the highest standard of compliance for all services that are provided as part of a Performance Contract by Drive Clean Facilities

Supporting materials

View materials in person

Some supporting materials may not be available online. If this is the case, you can request to view the materials in person.

Get in touch with the office listed below to find out if materials are available.

Program Management Branch
Address

40 St. Clair Avenue West
Toronto, ON
M4V 1M2
Canada

Office phone number

Comment

Commenting is now closed.

This consultation was open from September 28, 2018
to October 28, 2018

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