Canada Plans to Lower Paint VOC Limits


Working from a U.S. template, Canada is proposing Volatile Organic Compound concentration limits for paints, coatings, paint removers, paint thinner, and other consumer products.

Environment Canada, a government ministry whose jurisdiction includes air quality, has published Revisions to the Proposed Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Concentration Limits for Certain Products Regulations.

The limits would extend to some automotive coatings and paint-removal products; products to remove traffic paint; adhesive removers used as paint strippers; and some sealing and caulking compounds.

The release followed an announcement by Canada's paint makers that they would operate a post-consumer paint recycling program in Ontario.

Leveling the Playing Field

The ministry says that it is required to act on VOC emissions in order to improve Canada's air quality and that it plans to align its new rules with those of the U.S. "where possible."

"The proposed regulations could help to provide a 'level playing field' for manufacturers and importers of certain products," according to Environment Canada.

"A regulatory approach provides assurance, for the purposes of business decision making, that all manufacturers and importers must meet the same requirements for the products to be regulated."

Canadian Paint Shipments & Imports

About 32,800 jobs are tied directly or indirectly into the construction and automotive refinishing sector in Canada, coating manufacturers say.

The change could have a significant impact on Canada's $6 billion paint and coatings industry. According to the the Canadian Paint and Coatings Association, half of the paint products in all categories are manufactured in 261 production establishments across Canada and the rest is imported for sale in Canada.

About 32,800 jobs are tied directly or indirectly into the construction and automotive refinishing sector in Canada, CPCA says.

ACA's Participation

The American Coatings Association, which represents U.S. coating makers, has been working with the CPCA  "to streamline the U.S. and Canadian regulatory framework for consumer products in Canada," ACA reports on its site.

Environment Canada issued the document Jan. 21 and hosted a public meeting Thurday (Feb. 7) on the proposed regulations. ACA will also be submitting written comments on the proposal by the March 7 comment deadline.

Key Provisions

The proposed rule includes the 3 percent VOC limit for Paint Thinners and Multipurpose solvents from the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) Consumer Product Rule. ACA said its comments would urge Environment Canada to keep its regulation as consistent as possible with the CARB rule.

Environment Canada is also considering combining the architectural and industrial maintenance (AIM), consumer product, and auto-refinish rules into one rule to reduce administrative burden—a plan that U.S. coating makers do not like.

"In general, ACA opposes this approach since it could be confusing and definitions could overlap," the association said. 

Contact ACA’s Heidi McAuliffe for more information.


Tagged categories: American Coatings Association (ACA); Architectural coatings; Automotive coatings; Canadian Paint and Coatings Association; Coatings Technology; Maintenance coating work; Regulations; VOC emissions

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