New regulation for vehicle emissions

ERO number
019-0416
Notice type
Regulation
Act
Environmental Protection Act, R.S.O. 1990
Posted by
Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Notice stage
Decision Updated
Decision posted
Comment period
October 9, 2019 - November 23, 2019 (45 days) Closed
Last updated

Update Announcement

This decision notice has been updated to reflect an amendment to the regulation to change the date for requiring a heavy diesel commercial motor vehicle to pass a mandatory computer-based electronic emissions diagnostic test as part of the vehicle emissions inspection. The on-board diagnostic test will become a mandatory requirement to pass the emissions test beginning on July 1, 2021.

September 23, 2020

This consultation was open from:
October 9, 2019
to November 23, 2019

Decision summary

A new vehicle emission regulation under the Environmental Protection Act and amendments to the Vehicle Permits Regulation under the Highway Traffic Act will be in effect January 1, 2020, which will clarify and strengthen on-road vehicle emissions requirements and set out rules around the testing of emissions from heavy diesel commercial vehicle.

Decision details

Update

The ministry did not consult on this amendment. The amendment is considered predominantly administrative in nature. The ministry consulted on the environmentally significant aspects of the regulation during the consultation period held between October 9, 2019 - November 23, 2019. In support of the government’s plan to promote economic recovery and gradually reopen the province, the ministry is delaying the implementation date for making the on-board diagnostic test a requirement for heavy diesel commercial vehicles to pass their emissions test.

Currently all commercial diesel vehicle owners and operators are expected to ensure their vehicles are in good repair and are required to pass the emissions test. The on-board diagnostic test (a computer-based test that ensures emission control systems are operating as intended) will become a mandatory requirement to pass the emissions test beginning on July 1, 2021.

Delaying this requirement from October 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021 will:

  • provide additional time for heavy diesel commercial vehicle owners and emissions testing facilities (who are often small business owners) to prepare for the implementation of this new requirement
  • allow the collection and analysis of additional advisory computerized emissions inspection test data to prepare effective communications for the impacted regulated community

Strengthening on-road enforcement of emissions standards and reducing emissions from heavy diesel commercial motor vehicles remain key commitments in the government’s Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan to protect and preserve our air and ensure polluters are held accountable.

Original decision notice

To protect Ontario’s air and reduce smog-causing pollutants while saving taxpayers’ money and modernizing services for drivers and businesses, Ontario is developing a new enhanced emissions testing program for the biggest polluters on our roads such as commercial trucks and buses and integrating the new program with the existing annual safety Motor Vehicle Inspection Station program in 2021.

In support of these changes, we will move forward with the following actions:

1. Revoke Regulation O. Reg. 361/98: Motor Vehicles under the Environmental Protection Act. R.S.O. 1990. c. E. 19

2. Make a new Regulation for Vehicle Emissions under the Environmental Protection Act. R.S.O. 1990. c. E. 19

There are no changes to the on-road enforcement proposal. The new regulation effective January 1, 2020 will:

  • clarify that on-road emission standards apply to all motor vehicles on Ontario's highways, including out-of-province vehicles
  • ensure a vehicle’s originally installed emission control systems are present and operating as intended, by clarifying existing laws that prohibit emission system tampering
  • clarify existing requirements related to emissions control defeat devices and introducing a new prohibition for the sale of such devices
  • tighten the visible emissions prohibition from fifteen (15) seconds in five minutes to five (5) seconds in a one-minute period
  • tighten the current opacity standard for 2008 and newer heavy diesel vehicles to 20% from 30%

There is no change to the proposal for the Heavy Diesel Commercial Motor Vehicle Emissions Program. The new regulation effective January 1, 2020 will:

  • tighten the current smoke opacity inspection standard for 2008 and newer heavy diesel commercial motor vehicles to 20% from 30%
  • require an informational computer-based electronic emissions diagnostic inspection to help identify whether emission control systems are operating as intended for heavy diesel commercial motor vehicles that have a registered gross weight of between 4,500 kg and 6,350 kg
  • align definitions so that heavy diesel commercial motor vehicles that are required to have an emissions report for permit renewal are also eligible to have emissions inspection performed

In addition, the following change will come into effect on July 1, 2020:

  • require passing a mandatory computer-based electronic emissions diagnostic inspection to ensure emission control systems are operating as intended for heavy diesel commercial motor vehicles that have a registered gross weight of between 4,500 kg and 6,350 kg

3. Amendments to R.R.O. Regulation 628: Vehicle Permits under the Highway Traffic Act. R.S.O. 1990. c. H. 8

The implementation dates for these changes differ from the original proposed implementation date of January 1, 2020.

The elimination of the existing 20% visible smoke opacity threshold that allowed vehicles to skip an inspection cycle will now be effective January 1, 2021. This change from the original proposal will ensure that the incentive will be honoured for any 2019 inspection result through to the end of calendar year 2020.

The elimination of the exemption for diesel hybrid vehicles will now be April 1, 2020. This change from the original proposal will allow all information technology systems to be updated and fully tested prior to implementation of the change.

Comments received

Through the registry

46

By email

4

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
  • school bus and transit associations
  • academic organizations

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

Comments are grouped based on the regulatory proposal.

Changes for on-road enforcement for all vehicles being driven on Ontario roads

Many comments were received about enforcement actions regarding the tampering or defeating of emission control systems. Mixed comments were received from individuals, with some in support and some opposed. Some vehicle operators that voiced opposition to enforcement against tampered vehicles indicated that they have or operate vehicles with tampered emission control systems. They state that enforcement actions will have a negative financial impact on them.

In general, key program stakeholders supported efforts to increase on-road enforcement actions against the tampering or defeating of vehicle emission control systems.

Other respondents commented about:

  • the removal of the regulatory definitions for “kit car” and “hot rod”
  • the cost of emission related repairs
  • the change in the visible emissions standards

Response:

Regarding tampering and emission defeat devices:

The practice of deleting, tampering or defeating emission control systems is already illegal in Ontario and all neighboring jurisdictions. Ontario is taking measures to clarify and enforce the laws against this practice that harms human health and negatively impacts compliant businesses.

A vehicle’s emission control systems are designed to reduce both visible particulate matter (soot and black carbon) as well as non-visible emissions such as nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide (smog causing pollutants). Tampering with, defeating or deleting emissions control systems results in more pollution, which harms the environment and the health of Ontarians.

In addition, the failure to comply with emission control system requirements by some of the trucking industry is creating an unlevel playing field within the transportation industry.

Regarding the definitions for “kit car” and “hot rod”:

These definitions are removed from regulation as their purpose in regulation was to define the procedure for the Drive Clean light vehicle emissions inspection. The legal requirements related to on-road standards and emission components for assembled vehicles and motor replacements are consistent between the old and the new regulation.

In keeping with current rules around kit cars, if a vehicle is assembled from various component parts, the motor must have all the systems and devices to prevent or lessen the discharge of any contaminant that would usually be installed, attached or incorporated by the manufacturer of the motor.

In keeping with current rules around engine replacements (i.e. hot rods), the new regulation clarifies that if a motor is replaced, the replacement motor must meet emission standards at least as stringent as those met by the original motor and must have all emissions control equipment attached and functioning.

Regarding the cost of emissions related repairs:

We are working with vehicle and engine manufacturers to ensure that a newly designed electronic inspection is reliable and effective. Concerns regarding issues with vehicle emissions systems will be shared with the manufacturers to ensure that these vehicles are reliable and can be fixed in a timely and efficient manner.

Regarding the change in visible emissions standards:

This change was made to align how an on-road enforcement officer assesses vehicle emissions with the precondition for visible emissions for the existing emissions inspection.

Changes to the Heavy Diesel Commercial Motor Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program

Comments that were received:

  • supported the tightening of smoke opacity standards
  • voiced concern about the use of the computerized emissions diagnostic inspection
  • relayed that the program should only focus on older or polluting vehicles
  • suggested that there be program exemption for certain types of vehicles (i.e. personal use, service vehicles)
  • Recommended incentives for clean fleets

Stakeholders supported the use of the computerized emission inspection.

Response:

Regarding the on-board diagnostic inspection:

We are working with vehicle and engine manufacturers to ensure that a newly designed electronic inspection is reliable and effective. Concerns regarding issues with vehicle emissions systems will be shared with the manufacturers to ensure that these vehicles are reliable and can be fixed in a timely and efficient manner.

Regarding the emissions inspection for older vehicles:

The proposed regulation does not change the frequency or model year requirements for the emissions inspection program. The ministry will ensure that the appropriate emission inspection is conducted for a vehicle based on the vehicle’s age and its original emission system requirements.

Regarding request to exempt personal use vehicles:

The exemption for personal use vehicles up to 6,500 kg only applies to the Ministry of Transportation’s Commercial Vehicle Safety inspection.

We will consider these comments in the design of the integrated vehicle safety and emission inspection program.

Regarding the request to exempt service vehicles (i.e. tow trucks):

There will be no change.

Regarding program incentives:

We are working with key stakeholders to design appropriate incentives for the future program. The current smoke opacity incentive will cease in 2021. Vehicles inspected in 2019 may still qualify for the incentive in 2020.

Comments unrelated to the regulatory proposal

Some comments were received that are related to the proposed integration of safety and emissions inspection programs that would be administered by the Ministry of Transportation.

Response:

We also received questions, comments, and recommendations related to the design of the integrated vehicle safety and emission inspection program.

We will consider these comments in the design of the new program.

We will be posting our proposed program design for public comment on the Environmental Registry in 2020.

Supporting materials

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Important notice: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, viewing supporting materials in person is not available at this time.

Please reach out to the Contact listed in this notice to see if alternate arrangements can be made.

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
019-0416
Notice type
Regulation
Act
Environmental Protection Act, R.S.O. 1990
Posted by
Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Proposal posted

Comment period

October 9, 2019 - November 23, 2019 (45 days)

Proposal details

1. Proposal to Revoke Regulation O. Reg. 361/98: Motor Vehicles under the Environmental Protection Act. R.S.O 1990. c. E. 19

2. Proposal to Make a new Regulation for Vehicle Emissions under the Environmental Protection Act. R.S.O 1990. c. E. 19

This government is taking action to improve programs that protect Ontario’s air and reduce smog-causing pollutants while saving taxpayers money and modernizing services to make life more convenient for drivers and businesses.

(a) Proposed changes for on-road enforcement for all vehicles being driven on Ontario roads (these amendments are proposed to come into effect January 1, 2020):

  • Clarify that on-road emission standards apply to all motor vehicles on Ontario's highways, including out-of-province vehicles.
  • Ensure a vehicle’s originally installed emission control systems are present and operating as intended, by clarifying existing laws that prohibit emission system tampering.
  • Clarify existing requirements related to emissions control defeat devices and introducing a new prohibition for the sale of such devices.
  • Tighten the visible emissions prohibition from fifteen (15) seconds in five minutes to five (5) seconds in a one-minute period.
  • Tighten the current opacity standard for 2008 and newer heavy diesel vehicles to 20% from 30%. The new threshold is more appropriate for newer vehicles which were manufactured with emission systems designed to minimize smoke and soot from the diesel engine.

(b) Proposed changes to enhance and strengthen the Heavy Diesel Commercial Motor Vehicle Emissions Testing Program (these amendments are proposed to come into effect on January 1, 2020):

  • Consistent with the proposed changes to the on-road opacity standards, tighten the current smoke opacity test standard for 2008 and newer heavy diesel commercial motor vehicles to 20% from 30%. The new threshold is more appropriate for newer vehicles which were manufactured with emission systems designed to minimize smoke and soot from the diesel engine.
  • Require an informational computer-based electronic emissions diagnostic test to help identify whether emission control systems are operating as intended for heavy diesel commercial motor vehicles that have a registered gross weight of between 4,500 kgs and 6,350 kgs.
  • Align definitions so that heavy diesel commercial motor vehicles that are required to have an emissions report for permit renewal are also eligible to have emissions tests performed. This will provide clarity for vehicles such as fire trucks and ambulances.

This amendment is proposed to come into effect on July 1, 2020:

  • The requirement to pass a mandatory computer-based electronic emissions diagnostic test to ensure emission control systems are operating as intended for heavy diesel commercial motor vehicles that have a registered gross weight of between 4,500 kgs and 6,350 kgs.

3. Proposal to Amend R.R.O Regulation 628: Vehicle Permits under the Highway Traffic Act. R.S.O 1990. c. H. 8

The following proposals will further strengthen the heavy diesel commercial motor vehicle emission testing program (these amendments are proposed to come into effect on January 1, 2020):

  • Elimination of the existing 20% visible smoke opacity threshold that allowed vehicles to skip a test cycle.
  • Elimination of the exemption for diesel hybrid vehicles.

Regulatory impact statement

A costing analysis was carried out by the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks with the support of tools provided by the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. It was found that the financial impacts of the proposed regulatory changes (both the test fee and administrative costs) will impact the MUSH sector (municipalities, universities, school boards, hospitals) at an estimated cost of $236,000 in 2020; and $118,000 in the first six months of 2021. The analysis indicates negligible impacts to businesses in the regulated community.

In April 2019, when the Drive Clean light vehicle program was cancelled, there was an estimated savings of $40 million. Both business and the MUSH sector would have benefited from the cancelling of the light vehicle program through the removal of administrative costs associated with having their vehicles tested in the Drive Clean Program. Costs to the MUSH sector may also be reduced through continuing the option to allow municipalities to conduct fleet self testing and avoiding the market rate test fee.

Supporting materials

View materials in person

Important notice: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, viewing supporting materials in person is not available at this time.

Please reach out to the Contact listed in this notice to see if alternate arrangements can be made.

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 October 9, 2019
to November 23, 2019

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