Canada's EnerGuide comparative labeling program, initiated in 1978, is the oldest energy labeling program in the world. Labels are mandatory for major household appliances and room air conditioners and voluntary for other equipment including furnaces, central air conditioners, and gas fireplaces. In 2001, Canada signed an agreement with the U.S. to administer the international ENERGY STAR program in Canada. Since then, Canada has been managing a voluntary ENERGY STAR labeling program to help Canadian consumers select the most energy efficient products in a wide variety of product categories.
The development and enforcement of regulations concerning minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) for energy-using products is done under the Energy Efficiency Act (1992 and amended in 2009). The first regulations under the Act came into effect in 1995 following extensive consultations with provincial governments, affected industries, utilities, consumer representatives, environmental groups and other stakeholders. The regulations often reference Canadian Standards Association (CSA) standards that are developed through a consensus process.
As a world leader in the use of energy efficiency standards, Canada is committed to harmonizing standards and labeling requirements with those developed in other jurisdictions. The performance requirements in the Regulations are similar to those in the six Canadian provinces that currently regulate energy-using equipment manufactured and sold within their borders. This alignment is achieved because governments reference national, consensus-based performance standards and participate in national stakeholder consultations. In certain instances, due to provincial policy or market considerations, provincial requirements do differ from national standards.
Because the North American market is highly integrated, Canada's energy performance requirements for many products are strongly aligned with regulations in the United States.
The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) is accredited by the Standards Council of Canada, which has a mandate to promote efficient and effective standardization in Canada. The CSA, a not-for-profit membership-based association, develops standards and test procedures through a consensus process and are often the basis for Canadian energy performance regulations.
Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) monitors and enforces the Energy Efficiency Act and Energy Efficiency Regulations in Canada.
Legislative S&L History
The Energy Efficiency Act (the Act) of 1992 gives the Government of Canada the authority to make and enforce regulations that prescribe standards and labeling requirements for energy-using products that are imported to Canada or shipped across provincial borders for lease or sale. The Act was amended in 2009, making it possible to prescribe standards not only for additional energy-using products but also for products, such as thermostats, that affect energy use. The Energy Efficiency Regulations (the Regulations) came into effect in February 1995, after extensive consultations with provincial governments, affected industries, utilities, environmental groups and others.
Canada regularly amends the Regulations to strengthen the minimum energy performance requirements for prescribed products when the market has achieved a higher level of efficiency. The Regulations are also amended to add new products, harmonize minimum energy performance requirements with those of other jurisdictions, and update testing methodologies and labeling requirements.
Regulations have been established for more than 40 products including major household appliances, water heaters, heating and air conditioning equipment, automatic icemakers, dehumidifiers, dry-type transformers, electric motors, commercial refrigeration, and some lighting products. The Regulations apply to these products even if they are incorporated in a larger unit or machine that is not regulated.
S&L Regulatory Process
When NRCan is considering implementing standards or labeling requirements for a product, there are many steps that must be completed before developing or amending the Regulations.
Figure 1: The Canadian Federal Regulatory Process
- Conception of a regulatory proposal:
- NRCan develops regulatory proposals based on consultation with stakeholders, consultation with other jurisdictions, and energy and emissions savings potential.
- Surveys and market studies:
- In consultation with stakeholders, NRCan conducts studies to determine how the proposed performance standard will affect the market. A key criterion for amending the Regulations is that the standard must have a positive economic and environmental impact.
- Development of a regulatory proposal:
- NRCan and the Department of Justice draft a proposed regulation, including a communications plan and a regulatory impact analysis statement. The regulatory impact analysis statement provides an evaluation of the consumer and environmental impact of the proposed amendment. The Department of Justice and Minister of NRCan approve the proposal.
- Central Agency Review:
- Proposed regulations are approved by the Treasury Board, a Committee of Cabinet with delegated responsibility for regulatory affairs.
- Proposed regulations are pre-published in the Canada Gazette, Part I to provide an opportunity for interested stakeholders to provide comments. A 75-day comment period is required for amendments to the Energy Efficiency Regulations.
- Address issues:
- Once the comment period is closed, NRCan and the Department of Justice make any necessary changes to the proposed regulation.
- Making of Regulations:
- The Governor in Council, acting through the Treasury Board, approves the Regulation.
- Regulations must be registered with the registrar of Statutory Instruments within seven days of being made. The Clerk of the Privy Council officially records the title of the regulation.
- Coming into force:
- Regulations that must be registered come into force on the day they are registered or other prescribed dates.
- Regulations must be published in the Canada Gazette, Part II within 23 days of having been registered.