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Questions and answers

The following is a list of questions and answers regarding the amendments made to the Regulation respecting halocarbons that went into force on April 16, 2020.

Questions on the Regulation respecting halocarbons, by section

Section 1
Section 5
Section 11
Section 13
Section 17.1
Section 18
Section 19
Section 20
Section 21.1
Section 21.2
Section 22
Section 39
Section 44
Section 51
Section 54
Section 57.1 

When will the amended version of the Regulation be available on LégisQuébec?

It may take a few months for the Ministère de la Justice to incorporate the amendments and publish the Regulation. However, an administrative version has been drafted and is available hereThis hyperlink will open in a new window..

This version has no legal value. The order published on April 1 prevails.

Section 1 

Has the scope of the Regulation been amended to exclude air conditioning?

No, because the Regulation’s general measures must continue to apply to air conditioning units. Additionally, in 2025, the global warming potential (GWP) will be limited for new chillers that are sold, distributed, and installed, including refrigeration and air conditioning applications.

Section 5

Will purge units installed in systems operating under vacuum be permitted? Section 27 only mentions chillers.

Yes, they are permitted if they release less than 0.1 kg of halocarbons per kilogram of expelled air. Section 5 states:

“5. No person may directly or indirectly emit a halocarbon or cause or allow a halocarbon to be emitted into the atmosphere.

The emission of a halocarbon inside an immovable that is not equipped with a system preventing, in a durable manner, the migration of that substance outside the immovable is considered to be an emission into the atmosphere.

The prohibition in the first paragraph does not apply to halocarbon emissions resulting from:

1° the operation of an air extraction system of a refrigeration or air conditioning unit whose emissions into the atmosphere do not exceed the limit set by the first paragraph of section 27.”

It is therefore permitted to operate a purge system on a refrigeration or air conditioning system if it does not exceed the limit set at 0.1 kg of halocarbons per kilogram of expelled air.

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Section 11

Section 11 stipulates that leaks must be stopped on equipment with a power rating of over 20 kilowatts (kW). What should we do with smaller systems? Can we let them leak?

No, it is prohibited to let equipment leak, regardless of its power rating. Section 5 of the Regulation states:

“No person may directly or indirectly emit a halocarbon or cause or allow a halocarbon to be emitted into the atmosphere.”

Section 11 pertains to equipment with a power rating equal to or greater than 20 kW, but it does not merely prescribe stopping the leak. The second paragraph contains the following requirement:

“The owner must also, within 48 hours of becoming aware of the defect, have the halocarbon in the part of the unit where the leak has been detected recovered.”

This means that when a leak is detected on equipment with power equal to or greater than 20 kW, the halocarbon must be recovered within 48 hours, which is not the case for equipment with power that is less than 20 kW.

Section 13

If it is necessary to add more than 10 kg of halocarbon during the annual maintenance of a system, does it have to be stated in the annual report with the maintenance date?

If the date of the release is not known, it is perfectly acceptable to indicate the maintenance date.

Who should report the release: the owner or the contractor?

It is the owner of the equipment who is targeted by this measure.

Can enterprises that have several sites produce a single consolidated report that accounts for all sites?

Yes, several sites can be accounted for in a single report. The location of each release must be indicated in the report.

Do leaks over 10 kg that occurred before April 16, 2020, need to be included in the 2020 annual report due by March 31, 2021?

Yes, they must be included in the report.

Will you provide a template or standardized platform for preparing the annual release report?

A form for this purpose is provided on the Ministère’s website in the Forms section.

Each form must be sent electronically to the regional officeThis hyperlink will open in a new window. for your region

Do gaseous releases need to be reported immediately?

No, they just need to be declared in the annual report. On the other hand, liquid releases must be declared immediately and subsequently entered in the annual report.

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Section 17.1

Does section 17.1 apply to transport refrigeration?

No, this measure does not cover transport refrigeration.

Can you provide us with a standard model to use for the label?

No model is provided by the Ministère.

Concerning the date on which the information is up-to-date, is a serial number with the encoded date sufficient?

Yes, as long as the date entered is easy to read and understand.

How can equipment that must be labeled be identified?

This measure covers the air conditioning and refrigeration equipment referred to in section 18, with the exception of transport refrigeration. The following types of equipment are covered:

  • Refrigeration units designed for commercial, industrial or institutional use;
  • Air conditioning units designed for commercial, industrial or institutional use;
  • Refrigerated vending machines;
  • Chillers.

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Section 18

Within the meaning of the Regulation, what constitutes equipment designed for commercial, industrial or institutional use?

The expression “designed for” means that the equipment was manufactured specifically to meet a usage need. For example:

  • A household refrigerator, whether used in a home or in a rest area for employees, was not designed for commercial, industrial or institutional use. On the other hand, a refrigerator equipped with glass doors for displaying cold drinks for sale is a product designed for commercial use;
  • A water cooler equipped with an 18 litre jug was not designed for industrial use, even if it is used by employees in a factory. On the other hand, a water fountain built into a wall to provide water for clients in an institution constitutes equipment designed for that institutional use;
  • A window air conditioner, whether installed in an apartment or a small office, is not designed for commercial use. On the other hand, rooftop air conditioning equipment is designed for such use.

As a general rule, if the same equipment can be installed in a home as well as in a business, it was not designed for commercial use.

Section 19

Is there a cut-off date for the use of old appliances containing HCFC?

No, there is no cut-off date for the use of equipment containing HCFC.

Is there a cut-off date for refilling equipment with HCFC?

No, there is no cut-off date for refilling equipment with HCFC.

Section 20

Does a chiller containing CFC that is part of a piece of scientific equipment used in a laboratory need to be replaced before October 16, 2020?

Yes, the cut-off date for using any equipment containing CFC is October 16, 2020.

Section 21.1

Is it possible to add a compressor to a system that uses R-22 and has a GWP above 150 in a supermarket?

Yes, repairing, transforming or modifying a unit is permitted.

What is the definition of “power”? Does the 50 kW standard apply to a refrigeration unit or system?

The Regulation defines the power rating as follows:

“the total power rating of all the motors connected to the compressors in the same cooling system of a refrigeration or air conditioning unit, calculated from the power of each motor as specified by its manufacturer and expressed in or converted into kilowatts.”

If a unit has a maximum power of 50 kW but only uses 35 kW to operate, can it be installed?

The power calculation is derived from the power of each motor as specified by its manufacturer.

Is a chiller that is used for food conservation covered by section 21.1 or section 21.2 (subparagraph 3)?

If the chiller’s power is greater than 50 kW, it is covered by 21.1. Otherwise, it is covered by the third subparagraph of section 21.2.

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Section 21.2

Are new measures planned for limiting the GWP of air conditioning units?

At the moment, the only measures that apply to air conditioning units are those that are planned for chillers in 2025. Other air conditioning equipment is not covered. Before such measures are implemented, there will need to be a new public consultation.

The Regulation does not provide definitions for distinguishing between air conditioning and refrigeration equipment, and air conditioning equipment is no longer covered by the prohibition in section 21.2. However, the pieces of equipment that are used in buildings are extremely numerous and complex. What definition have you adopted to differentiate between these two types of equipment?

In general, air conditioning is used to control the ambient temperature and humidity of a room or building for the comfort of its occupants, while refrigeration is used to significantly lower the temperature in order to preserve goods. Generally, we speak of medium or low temperatures for refrigeration.

What about air conditioning units used for purposes other than comfort? A unit used to air condition a server room, for example. Would the unit be subject to the Regulation?

If the unit is not a chiller, it will not be subject to the Regulation since it constitutes air conditioning equipment.

The second paragraph of section 21.2 introduces exceptions to the measures in the first paragraph. What equipment is covered by the second subparagraph: “meets the conditions set out in section 66 of the Ozone-depleting Substances and Halocarbon Alternatives Regulations (SOR/2016-137)”?

This refers to equipment that is subject to an essential purpose permit issued by Environment and Climate Change Canada under the Ozone-depleting Substances and Halocarbon Alternatives Regulations.

Therefore, if a piece of equipment has been imported or manufactured under a permit issued for an essential purpose, it is not subject to the sale, distribution or installation prohibition.

Is a “variable refrigerant flow” (VRF) system considered a chiller?

A chiller is defined in the Regulations as:

“a refrigeration or air conditioning unit that uses the refrigerant characteristics of a halocarbon to lower the temperature of a secondary cooling liquid circulating in the pipes.”

Therefore, if the system uses a secondary refrigerant, it is a chiller.

How is the GWP of a halocarbon determined? Several different GWP values exist for the same refrigerant. Does the Regulation specify according to which standard the GWP of a refrigerant is determined?

The main refrigerants and their respective GWPs are listed in Schedule 1 of the Regulation. Mixtures are not listed, but a mixture’s GWP can be calculated based on the GWP of each refrigerant and their proportion in the mixture. These GWPs, drawn from the fourth report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), must therefore be used to calculate the GWP.

If a product’s GWP is not indicated in the fourth IPCC report, since it did not exist at the time of publication (as is the case with some HFOs), the first report mentioning it will be taken into account. For example, the GWP of HFO-1234yf in Schedule 1 of the Regulation is taken from the fifth report.

For air conditioning, will the cut-off date for using R-410A be January 1, 2021, or does that date apply only to refrigeration applications?

GWP limitation measures do not apply to air conditioning units but rather to chillers and refrigeration equipment. In addition, there is no limit on the use of HFCs. The prohibition only applies to the sale, distribution, and installation of a unit.

How is a unit defined? Is it possible to change only the evaporator or a compressor?

A unit represents all its components, i.e., the compressor, condenser, and evaporator. When a breakdown occurs, for example, it is possible to change only the evaporator of the system, while keeping the same refrigerant in order to comply with the GWP limit. An equipment can be repaired, modified or transformed.

Are heat pumps that are designed for heating subject to GWP limitation measures?

The measures in section 21.2 cover refrigeration units and chillers.

Will a building owner who installs a chiller that uses a halocarbon with a GWP greater than 750 between now and 2025 be able to use the chiller over its entire service life? Does that owner run the risk of having to replace the chiller before the end of its service life, given that the halocarbon has a GWP that exceeds the limit set by the Regulation?

The Regulation sets no restriction on using a system that exceeds the GWP limit. A unit with a refrigerant that exceeds the limit can be repaired and maintained. The measure prohibits sale, distribution, and installation.

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Section 22

Is the maximum time allowed between two leak detection tests 365 days?

The Regulation prescribes one test per year. So once in 2020, once in 2021, once in 2022, etc.

The owner of a unit that was repaired following the detection of a leak must conduct another leak test one month after the unit is reactivated. Would a test conducted immediately after the repair or within 30 days of repair be acceptable?

The goal of the Regulation is to ensure that a piece of equipment that has been put back in operation after reparation is no longer leaking and that the repair is effective. Conducting the test one month after it is put back in operation meets that objective.

Is the leak test for units over 20 kW mandatory on an annual basis, regardless of the refrigerant charge?

Yes, that’s correct.

Section 39

Will manufacturers of polystyrene insulation boards be able to continue to manufacture and sell products made with prohibited gases after the date stipulated in the Regulation?

Products subject to a permit issued by Environment and Climate Change Canada for essential purposes may be manufactured and sold beyond the dates stipulated in the Regulation.

By “plastic foam,” do you mean rigid polyurethane foam, for example? Does the term include styrofoam insulation panels used in the construction sector and foams injected directly into walls?

Yes, those are all examples of plastic foams.

Does the manufacturing prohibition also apply to products intended for export?

Yes, it will be prohibited to manufacture those products after January 1, 2021.

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Section 44

Is a technician who holds an attestation issued in another Canadian province required to apply for an equivalent attestation from Emploi-Québec or the Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ)?

Yes, the worker will have to apply for a qualification attestation, but the training will be recognized and he will not need to undergo new training.

Section 51

Suppose a person buys a halocarbon directly from a manufacturer and has it sent directly from the manufacturer to a worker who has an environmental qualification attestation. Does that person need to have an environmental qualification attestation?

The Regulation states: “A person who sells or supplies halocarbons must ensure that the person or enterprise wishing to purchase or otherwise obtain halocarbons holds a labour force environmental qualification attestation issued or recognized in accordance with this Chapter or employs a person who is the holder of such an attestation.”

Therefore, it is possible to buy a halocarbon that will be used by someone you employ and who has the attestation.

Section 54

Does the 45-day cut-off date begin when the recovery cylinder is full, regardless of the time needed to fill it?

Yes, the cut-off date begins when the cylinder is filled to its maximum capacity.

Does a halocarbon that is recovered and that will be used in other equipment belonging to the same owner need to be treated before being charged into the new equipment?

No, a halocarbon can be reused in another piece of equipment that belongs to you without undergoing any further treatment.

Section 57.1

Does the purchase report also apply when purchasing equipment containing halocarbons directly from outside Québec for one’s commercial or industrial “personal use,” or does it apply only to halocarbons “alone”?

This measure applies only to the importation of bulk halocarbons and not to imported systems that are already filled.