Government of Canada publishes volatile organic compound concentration limits for certain consumer products

In keeping with its commitments to restrict volatile organic compounds (VOCs), the Government of Canada has published VOC concentration limits for certain consumer products.  Failure to abide by these regulations will result in penalties for manufacturers and importers.

Following consultations with industry stakeholders the Volatile Organic Compound Concentration Limits for Certain Products Regulations: SOR/2021-268 has been published in Canada Gazette Part II, January 5th, 2022.These regulations aim to reduce VOC emissions by setting concentration limits on products imported to Canada or manufactured in Canada to protect the environment as well as Canadians’ health.

VOCs are a large group of organic chemicals that can be emitted from different natural and anthropogenic sources. VOCs are released from a diverse range of products including paints, varnishes, cosmetics, as well as cleaning, disinfecting, and degreasing products. In 2003, VOCs were added to the List of Toxic Substances (Schedule 1) under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA) due to their role as precursors in the formation of ground-level ozone and particulate matter, two main components of smog.

The regulations would come into force on January 1st, 2023, with the VOC concentration limits coming into force on January 1st, 2024, for all product categories, except disinfectants, which come into effect on January 1st, 2025. The disinfectants product category has an additional year to comply, to allow time for reformulation of products and, if necessary, approval from the Department of Health.

The concentration limits for certain consumer products will apply to Canadian manufacturers and importers and will establish VOC concentration limits for approximately 130 product categories and subcategories. This will include personal care products, automotive and household maintenance products, adhesives; adhesive removers; sealants and caulks; and other miscellaneous products.

A person that manufactures or imports a product that belongs to a product category set out in column 1 of the table to Schedule 1 may elect to participate in a compliance unit trading system and apply for a permit to participate and subject to annual reporting.

Product categories and VOC concentration limits apply to the following;

Schedule 1: personal care products i.e. shaving, fragrance, deodorant, nail polish remover, hair color products, hair styling products, hand or soap cleaner, astringent, toner or clarifier products, maintenance products i.e. various cleaning and vehicle products and disinfectants, floor  and fabric maintenance, thinner/viscosity reducer, adhesives, adhesive removers, sealants and caulks, anti-static product, non-stick aerosol cooking spray.

Schedule 2: Charcoal lighter products, single-use dryer  

Inquires can be sent to Environment Canada

Products Division
Environment and Climate Change Canada

351 Saint-Joseph Boulevard

Gatineau, Quebec

K1A 0H3


For additional information, please refer to this resource:

Volatile organic compounds in consumer and commercial products