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FAQs: What You Need to Know About Formulating to Meet the New Canadian VOC Regulations for HI&I

Formulating to meet new CDN VOC Reg for HI&I

How to navigate the new standards and transition to low and VOC-free products.

What are VOCs and why are they being regulated?

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are compounds that participate in atmospheric photochemical reactions. They are organic chemicals that can easily evaporate into the air and contribute to air pollution.

The Canadian government’s new VOC regulations are meant to protect human health and reduce environmental impact by limiting VOC content in various products.

What are the key implementation dates?

  • January 1, 2024: manufactured or imported products, except disinfectants, must comply with all regulatory requirements.
  • January 1, 2025: disinfectant products must meet all regulatory requirements.

What products are being regulated?

This regulation establishes VOC concentration limits for approximately 130 product categories and subcategories including: personal care products, automotive, household maintenance and cleaning products, adhesives, adhesive removers, sealants and caulks, and other miscellaneous products.

To comply with the regulations, the manufacturer or importer must ensure that products meet concentration limits of applicable product categories, that products are labelled with the date of manufacture and that records are kept and maintained for at least five years.


What are alternative compliance options if you are unable to meet the regulations by the deadline?

Here are three alternative compliance options:

  1. Permit – technical or economic non-feasibility. Application must include evidence, and a plan and timeline to reach compliance.
  2. Permit – product whose use results in lower VOC emissions. Allows innovative products to exceed the VOC concentration limit if, as a result of product design, formulation, delivery or other factors, it results in lower total VOC emissions than a comparable compliant product when used according to manufacturer’s written instructions.
  3. VOC compliance unit trading system that allows companies to balance emissions from products that exceed the concentration limits with compliance units earned from products that were reformulated to have VOC concentration lower than the regulatory limits. The program also allows companies to trade compliance units with other companies.


What products are available that are VOC compliant for the HI&I market?

Collaborating with Esti-Chem, INEOS, and other partners, Quadra provides alternative solutions to Canada’s chemists, which include:

  • Ester-based solvents from EstiChem that allow for reduced VOC, VOC-free and/or hydrocarbon free formulations. ESTISOL can be applied in solvent-based formulas as:
    • booster solvents to enhance the solvent power of a degreaser formulation.
    • alternatives to d-limonene.
    • alternatives to aromatic hydrocarbons.
    • base-solvents in non-hydrocarbon degreasers.
    • “polymer-friendly” base-solvents to partially replace low-price methyl esters and thereby reduce negative impact on plastic, rubber, and painted surfaces.
  • Glycol Ethers are common solvents used for cleaning formulas. Some are either VOC-exempt or fall under the low-VOC category. Which ones to choose depends on your formulation and the solvency or evaporation needed. Quadra has several VOC-compliant Glycol Ethers that we provide with INEOS.


Where can I get further guidance on the VOC regulation and concentration limits?

The VOC landscape is large and dependent on each formula. To get more guidance, visit Schedule 2 on the Volatile Organic Compound Concentration Limits for Certain Products Regulations: SOR/2021-268 on the Canadian Government website. To contact them directly, email or call 819-938-4483 / 1-888-391-3426.

Get in touch with us today for guidance in the low or VOC-free product landscape and our team can provide compliant solutions.

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