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Canada Proposes Amendments to Regulations Controlling Products Containing Mercury

SafeGuardSHardgoods, Electrical & ElectronicsJanuary 19, 2023

SG 08/23

Canada’s Department of Health and Department of Environment is proposing amendments to its regulations governing products containing mercury. If accepted, they will lower limits for certain fluorescent lamps and end exemptions for most other mercury-containing lamps and catalysts used to make polyurethane.

Exposure to mercury is of major concern in Canada. This heavy metal is present in many different forms in the environment and can be carried over long distances in the atmosphere before being deposited. When it is transformed into the naturally occurring compound methylmercury, it is toxic and can bioaccumulate in the aquatic food chain.

Canada’s Products Containing Mercury Regulations (SOR/2014-254) (the Regulations) manages these risks. Published on November 19, 2014, before coming into force on November 8, 2015, it prohibits the manufacture and import of products containing mercury or any of its compounds. However, these regulations do not fully align with all the requirements of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which Canada ratified in 2017. On December 24, 2022, the Department of the Environment and the Department of Health published amendments – Amending the Products Containing Mercury Regulations – to enable Canada to meet requirements for mercury-containing products under the Minamata Convention.

The highlights of the proposed amendments are summarized in Table 1:

New AmendmentsPotential Effective DateAdditional Requirement
  • Lower current mercury content limits for straight fluorescent lamps for general lighting purposes, cold cathode fluorescent lamps and external electrode fluorescent lamps
  • Prohibit the use of mercury-containing catalysts in polyurethane manufacturing, from January 1, 2028
  • End the exemption for most mercury-containing lamps and create three new categories of exempted lamps used for growing plants and air and water treatments
  • Under the proposed changes, most lamps used for general lighting purposes will be prohibited by January 1, 2024, while high-pressure sodium vapor lamps are prohibited by January 1, 2029
  • Most specified replacement lamps are allowed for a three-year period to allow products already in use to be changed
  • Proposed amendments clarify when exemptions on replacements apply to only the mercury-containing component of a product rather than the product as a whole

Additionally, other exemptions for products no longer in use in Canada, and references to products with expired exemption periods, would be remove.

  • Manufacturers and importers of most mercury-containing products would have to submit annual reports to the environment ministry. The first round of reports, covering products made or imported in 2022, will be due by March 31, 2023
  • The proposal would also update regulatory labelling requirements

Table 1

There is a 75-day consultation period for these proposed amendments, until March 9, 2023, during which the public can submit relevant opinions.

SGS is committed to providing information about development in regulations for consumer products as complimentary services. Through a global network of laboratories, SGS provides a wide range of services including physical/mechanical testing, analytical testing and consultancy work for technical and non-technical parameters applicable to a comprehensive range of consumer products. Contact us for more information or visit our website. In the end, it’s only trusted because it’s tested.

For enquiries, please contact:

Ethan Zhang
Technical Supervisor, EET, RSTS
t: (86) 574 8776 7006 ext. 6007

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