Canada: Heavy-duty: GHG

Note: Similar to the U.S. Phase 2 GHG rulemaking, Canada’s second-phase regulations added trailers as a category for regulated emissions standards. In response to the ongoing legal challenge in the U.S., Environment and Climate Change Canada has issued interim orders that suspend the enforcement of the trailer-related provisions in their Phase 2 regulation.


Heavy-duty Vehicle and Engine Greenhouse Gas Emission Regulations in Canada were most recently updated in 2018, adopting U.S. HDV Phase 2 equivalent standards.

Standard type
GHG emission limits

All on-road vehicles with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) rating ≥ 3,856kg (8,500 lbs.)


In 2012, Canada officially announced a proposed greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standard for the heavy-duty sector. This first-phase standard was finalized in 2013 and is closely aligned with the United States’ HDV Fuel Consumption and GHG standards.

The standards were implemented beginning with Model Year (MY) 2014 vehicles and engines and were fully phased in by 2018. They required COemission reductions ranging from 6% to 23% in the MY 2017 timeframe (as compared to an MY 2010 baseline), as well as limits on N2O and CH4 emissions and A/C leakage. The regulatory design mirrors that of the U.S. HDV program, and the rule is best understood as three separate standards linked to specific provisions for tractor trucks, heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans, and vocational vehicles, with additional separate standards for the engines that power tractor trucks and vocational vehicles. The individual components of the regulations are summarized below.

Summary of key elements of the regulations
Regulatory category Regulatory subcategories Compliance assessment
Tractor trucks Nine subcategories based on weight, cab configuration, and roof height GEM simulation
Inputs: aerodynamics, tire rolling resistance, weight reduction, idle reduction, vehicle speed limiter
Heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans •Diesel
Chassis dynamometer testing
Vocational vehicles •Light heavy-duty (Classes 2B-5)
•Medium heavy-duty (Classes 6 and 7)
•Heavy heavy-duty (Class 8)
GEM simulation
Inputs: tire rolling resistance
Engines for tractors and vocational vehicles •Light heavy-duty (Classes 2B-5)
•Medium heavy-duty (Classes 6 and 7)
•Heavy heavy-duty (Class 8)
•Gasoline and spark-ignited engines (all classes)
Engine dynamometer testing

In 2018, Canada published final standards to reduce GHG emissions from new on-road heavy-duty vehicles. The new regulation is part of Canada’s economy-wide commitment to reduce GHG emissions by 30% in 2030, compared to the 2005 baseline. This new round of requirements applies to MY 2021–2027 trucks and buses and MY 2020–2027 commercial trailers. The preceding Phase 1 regulation, finalized in 2013, affected commercial vehicles MY 2014–2017. Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Phase 2 regulation closely aligns with the U.S. national standards.

Key differences between US and Canadian HDV GHG regulation

Canada’s HDV GHG regulation is closely aligned with U.S. regulations in terms of regulatory design, vehicle groupings, limit values, and timing.

However, there are a few notable differences:

  • The U.S. standard is a joint fuel consumption and GHG emission standard, whereas the Canadian standard only covers GHG regulation.
  • Any engine that is certified by the EPA may be sold in Canada without demonstrating compliance based on Canada sales-weighted averaging if they meet certain sales thresholds, which depend on a ratio of the number of engines sold in Canada and the United States

A technical summary of Canada’s HDV GHG standards through MY 2027 is available here.

Technical Standards


The affected heavy- and medium-duty fleet incorporates all on-road vehicles rated at a GVW ≥ 3,856 kg (8,500 lbs.), and the engines that power them, except those covered by the Passenger Automobile and Light Truck Greenhouse Gas Emission Regulations.

CO2 standards are applicable to three categories of vehicles: tractor trucks (Classes 7 and 8), heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans (Class 2b and 3), vocational vehicles (Classes 2b to 8).In addition, there are engine-specific CO2 requirements for the engines of tractor trucks and vocational vehicles. In the second phase of the standards, a new category was added for commercial trailers.

While these categories largely align with the categories in the U.S. Phase 2 GHG regulations, an important difference is ECCC’s regulation of tractor-trailers greater than 120,000 lbs. due to a larger presence of larger tractors in Canada than in the United States. Tractor trucks with GVW between 120,000 and 140,000 lbs. are referred to as “Class 8 heavy line haul tractors” and those > 140,000 lbs. are referred to as “heavy haul tractors.” Standards for tractors > 120,000 lbs. are optional in the U.S. but are mandatory in Canada.

CO2 standards

Heavy-duty Vehicles

Companies must group all Class 2B and Class 3 heavy-duty vehicles and heavy-duty incomplete vehicles of the 2014 and subsequent model years (excluding those referred to in the definition “vocational vehicle”) into a fleet based on model year and must ensure that the fleet average CO2 emission value calculated for that fleet does not exceed the applicable fleet average CO2 emission standard calculated for that fleet for the model year in question. CO2 standards are in the form of a set of target standard curves and are based on a “work factor” that combines a vehicle’s payload, towing capabilities, and whether or not it has 4-wheel drive. The standards will phase in with increasing stringency in each model year from 2014 to 2018. The standards include a separate standard to control air conditioning system leakage.

Combination tractors

CO2 emissions standards for Class 7 tractors and Class 8 day and sleeper tractors are identical to the Phase 2 EPA CO2 emissions standards with the only difference being the tractor rules.

Below are Canada-specific tractor rules; other CO2 requirements for other classes can be found on the U.S. Heavy-duty GHG Emissions page:

CO2 limits for combination tractors
Class Type Gross vehicle weight MY 2027
  g CO2/ton-mile
Class 8 heavy line haul tractor (day)
Low roof 120,000 to 140,000 lbs. 48.9
Mid roof 50.8
High roof 48.6
Class 8 heavy line haul tractor (sleeper) Low roof 42.4
Mid roof 44.7
High roof 41.0
Heavy haul tractor 140,000 lbs. and greater 48.3

Identical to the U.S. standards, Canada’s standards also specify emissions standards for engines installed in tractors and can be found on the U.S. Heavy-duty GHG Emissions page.

Heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans (Class 2b and 3)

Standards for heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans for Canada are identical to the U.S. CO2 standards and can be found on the U.S. Heavy-duty GHG Emissions page.


Trailers are a newly regulated category added for Canada’s second-phase regulations. The standards are identical to the U.S. CO2 standards and can be found on the U.S. Heavy-duty GHG Emissions page. Since 2017, there has been a U.S. court-ordered stay on the enforcement of these trailer standards, and the legal challenge has not yet been resolved.

Useful life

CO2 emissions must be met over the engine and vehicle’s useful life. The useful life definitions for engines and vehicles that use the respective engine categories are identical to those defined for criteria pollutant standards for MY 2004 and later heavy-duty engines:

  • Light Heavy Class 2b–5: 150,000 miles or 15 years
  • Medium Heavy Class 6–7: 185,000 miles or 10 years
  • Heavy Heavy Class 8: 435,000 miles or 10 years
  • Trailers: 10 years

Other standards and provisions

N2O and CH4 standards

N2O and CH4 standards introduce emission standards for nitrous oxide and methane:

  • Engine testing: N2O = 0.10 g/bhp-hr; CH4 = 0.10 g/bhp-hr
  • Chassis testing: N2O = 0.05 g/mi; CH4 = 0.05 g/mi

Testing requirements start from MY 2014, consistent with N2O/CH4 requirements for light-duty vehicles. The standards were designed to cap emissions at current levels to prevent N2O and CH4 emission increases in future engines.

A/C leakage

The standards assure that low-leakage components are used in air conditioning systems designed for heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans, and semi-trucks. The standard for larger A/C systems (capacity above 734 g) is measured in percent total refrigerant leakage per year, while the standard for smaller A/C systems (capacity of 734 g or less) is measured in grams of refrigerant leakage per year.

Canada-specific provisions

Averaging, banking, and trading

In terms of flexibility provisions, the regulations allow manufacturers and importers of heavy-duty vehicles and engines to meet the standards based on sales and averaging (where emissions are averaged over groups of vehicles owned by a company, rather than regulating emissions for individual vehicles) in the Canadian market by participating in a CO2 emission credit system. To minimize the administrative burden on manufacturers and importers, Environment Canada has developed streamlined reporting procedures that are coordinated with the U.S. EPA.

An important exception to these ABT provisions is the case for importers and manufacturers of U.S. EPA-certified engines, which are not required to demonstrate compliance based on Canada-specific sales if they meet certain sale thresholds, which depend on a ratio of the number of engines sold in Canada and in the United States.

Concurrent sales

Engines that are certified by the U.S. EPA can be sold concurrently in Canada without demonstrating compliance based on Canada sales-weighted averaging (i.e., U.S. EPA-certified engines that are sold in Canada do not count towards fleet average emissions limits, potentially allowing more engines that emit higher levels of CO2 levels than the standard to be sold in Canada). However, a key stipulation to prevent the development of high-emitting niche engines for the Canadian market is that the higher-emitting engines must be sold in greater quantities in the U.S, than in Canada. For an engine certified at CO2 levels higher than the standard, if the number of engines sold in Canada (1) is more than 1,000 and exceeds the number of engines of the same engine family that is sold in the U.S., or (2) is between 101 and 1,000 and is more than twice the number of engines sold in the US, that engine must participate in the CO2 emission credit system based on sales in Canada.

Additional flexibility provisions

To minimize the regulatory burden on industry, ECCC has proposed a number of additional flexibility provisions, including:

  • Exemption for manufacturers or importers that sell less than 200 combined tractors and vocational vehicles in Canada in a given model year;
  • Additional exemptions from CO2 limits and reporting requirements for the engines sold in the exempted tractors and vocational vehicles;
  • One-year temporary exemption for small volume manufacturers or importers that sell less than 100 trailers in Canada in 2020; and
  • Transitional flexibility for all manufacturers or importers of MY 2018 to 2026 trailers, who can choose to exempt 20% of their trailers sold from the regulation. This 20% value is capped at less than 25 for box trailers and less than 20 for non-box trailers.

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