Auto Service World
Feature   August 1, 2009   by Auto Service World

Canadian Low-VOC Refinish Deadlines Finalized

The Canadian government has finalized the regulations on low-VOC refinish product usage, giving manufacturers to mid-2010 to stop manufacturing or importing non-compliant products for use in Canada and till December 2010 to stop selling them.

While the technical details on which products would comply with the “Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Concentration Limits for Automotive Refinishing Products Regulations” have been set for some time, the implementation date has been, till now, a moving target.

Though the regulation does not apply specifically to refinish shops, the implementation dates make December 19, 2010 the de facto deadline to convert to compliant technology, as this is the final date when shops would be able to purchase non-compliant product.

According to the executive summary published in Gazette II–which marks the registration date of the new regulation as June 18, 2009– “The Regulations are made pursuant to subsection 93(1) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) and will come into force one year after the Regulations are registered.

“This will allow a one-year transition period for automotive refinishing product manufacturers and importers.

“In addition, for each automotive refinishing product category, there would be an 18-month sell-through period after the Regulations are registered. The sell-through period is intended to provide the industry with time to sell automotive refinishing products manufactured or imported and to provide sufficient time to all repair shops to transition to low-VOC automobile refinishing products prior to the coming into force date as set out in the Regulations. This change is expected to allow automotive repair shops adequate time to convert their equipment to use low-VOC automotive refinishing products.

“These revisions to the coming into force dates of the Regulations have been made in response to comments from industry.”

Specifically, the regulations give manufacturers until June 18, 2010 to stop manufacturing for sale in Canada or importing refinish products that do not comply with the VOC limits.

The regulation also allows for a six-month sell-through period following this date, ending in December 2010, to use up all non-compliant products in the distribution channel.

While the regulation does not mention a specific technology, in practice most manufacturers have put waterborne product into their offering in Canada to meet the regulation.

While the six-month sell-through and December 2010 date will provide shops with more time than initially thought (January 2010 was initially expected to be the deadline), those shops which have not already converted should be concerned about their ability to access all products needed for the paint system they may be using prior to the final deadline.

The complete regulation is available in Gazette II Part II, July 8, 2009, Vol. 143, No. 14, available at VOC regulation portion begins on page 200.