Frequently Asked Questions

Canada's Standard for Efficient Light Bulbs

Why is the Government of Canada phasing out traditional incandescent light bulbs?

Why is the Government of Canada proposing an amendment?

How will Canada’s lighting standards compare to the United States?

Why are you proposing to revise standards introduced in 2008?

How do the proposed revised standards compare to the standards that were approved in 2008?

What is the impact of the revision to the standards on Canadians, on business, on the environment?

What is being phased out and when?

What will happen on January 1, 2014 if the revised standards are not in force? Will there be an impact on consumers? Will this cause a problem for manufacturers?

Are there exemptions where incandescent lighting products will still be allowed for sale?

What will be available for Canadians to buy after the phase-out?

I’ve heard energy efficient light bulbs are unsafe. Is this true?

I’ve heard efficient light bulbs are bad for the environment because they contain mercury. Is this true?

How do Canada’s lighting standards benefit Canadians?

How do Canada’s lighting standards benefit business and industry?

What is the difference between standard incandescent bulbs and utility bulbs and how do the standards affect them?

British Columbia has implemented standards consistent with the 2008 standards and Ontario has approved such standards. Will the revised standard apply in those provinces?

Why does Canada have Energy Efficiency Regulations?

Why is the Government of Canada phasing out traditional incandescent light bulbs?

The Government of Canada is introducing standards to improve the efficiency of typical residential light bulbs being sold in Canada. Improving energy efficiency reduces the amount of energy used and thus reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

Why is the Government of Canada proposing an amendment?

This amendment will provide consumers with more choice among energy efficient lighting options. This will also align Canadian standards with the United States, making it easier for Canadian business and industry to supply an integrated North American market.

How will Canada’s lighting standards compare to the United States?

The proposed amendment to the lighting performance standards in Canada will be the same as those in the United States. The United States started implementing their standards in 2012, but by the end of 2014 both countries will have the same standards in effect.

Why are you proposing to revise standards introduced in 2008?

In November 2011, the Government of Canada made a decision to provide more time for the market to prepare for lighting standards including allowing for innovations in technology and giving consumers time to familiarize themselves with the various lighting options available to them. The new proposed standards provide consumers with an additional lighting option, and they align with standards in the United States.

How do the proposed revised standards compare to the standards that were approved in 2008?

With this revision, Canadians will have more choice among energy efficient lighting options. A form of incandescent halogen lamp, along with light-emitting diodes (LEDs), and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), will now be able to meet the minimum energy performance set out by the standards.

What is the impact of the revision, to the standards on Canadians, on business, on the environment?

  • The revised standards will provide Canadians with another replacement lighting option at a more affordable price.
  • Manufacturers and retailers that operate in both Canada and the United States can expect decreased costs because they can distribute the same products to both markets.
  • The revised standards will result in lower energy use, smog and greenhouse gas emissions than if there were no standard at all.

What is being phased out and when?

With this revision, the standards will allow light bulbs that use at least 28 percent less electricity to be imported into Canada, or shipped between provincial-territorial borders, if they are manufactured on or after the effective dates of January 1, 2014 for replacements for 75 and 100 watt bulbs, and on December 31, 2014 for replacements for 40 and 60 watts bulbs.

What will happen on January 1, 2014 if the revised standards are not in force? Will there be an impact on consumers? Will this cause a problem for manufacturers?

We do not anticipate that an interval between implementation of the revised standards and the original standards will cause any impact on consumers. The standards apply to 100 and 75 watt replacement bulbs manufactured after January 1, 2014, and there is likely to be an adequate inventory in distribution channels of bulbs manufactured prior to that date. Any interval would be minimal. It should be recognized that the standards for the most popular 60 and 40 watt replacement bulbs will not come into effect until December 31, 2014.

Are there exemptions where incandescent lighting products will still be allowed for sale?

There are many exemptions from the standards where an alternative for an efficient bulb is not available; including oven lights, decorative lamps (light bulbs), appliance bulbs, 3-way fixtures, chandeliers and rough service/utility bulbs. For a complete list of exemptions visit our Website at http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/regulations/products/11476.

What will be available for Canadians to buy after the phase-out?

Consumers will be able to choose from a variety of light bulbs such as incandescent halogen, LED, and fluorescent in various shapes and sizes, light outputs (brightness) and light appearances (colour temperatures). Canada’s standards are performance standards. All bulbs that meet the new standards will be permitted.

I’ve heard energy efficient light bulbs are unsafe. Is this true?

As with any electrical product sold in Canada, all bulbs must meet specific requirements for electrical safety, fire and shock hazard. Any bulb that carries the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or Underwriters Laboratory (UL) safety certification mark on its package or on the bulb itself has passed these tests.

A study conducted by Health Canada in 2009 concluded that CFLs do not pose a health hazard to the general population from either the ultraviolet radiation or the associated electric and magnetic fields.

I’ve heard efficient light bulbs are bad for the environment because they contain mercury. Is this true?

One type of efficient light bulb, the CFL, does have a small amount of mercury—less than would fit on the tip of a pen. However, efficient bulbs use far less electricity than traditional bulbs. By decreasing electricity powered from fossil fuels, efficient lighting also reduces greenhouse gas emissions and the mercury levels from power production. Canada’s lighting standards permit several mercury-free lighting options to be available to Canadians.

How do Canada’s lighting standards benefit Canadians?

Lighting standards save Canadians time and money. Lighting accounts for approximately 10 percent of a home’s electricity use, so replacing old incandescent bulbs with new efficient bulbs can make a big difference. Energy efficient bulbs last as long as or longer, and use less electricity, than traditional incandescent bulbs.

How do Canada’s lighting standards benefit business and industry?

Energy efficient lighting standards eliminate the least efficient products on the market and help put Canada on par with the rest of North America. This helps lighting retailers and manufacturers deliver and promote the same products on both sides of the border. This also increases the supply of efficient lighting products, which decreases the cost for everyone.

What is the difference between standard incandescent bulbs and utility bulbs and how do the standards affect them?

A standard incandescent bulb is the traditional, rounded light bulb we have been using in our homes for years for all kinds of uses. A utility bulb, also known as a rough service bulb, is a similar bulb that has been built with more robustness to be able to sustain vibrations. It is designed for use in garages, barns, workplaces and other sites where a bulb might be especially prone to breakage.

Utility bulbs do not currently have a high efficiency option and are exempted from the minimum performance standards. They will still be available for sale after the standards go into force.

British Columbia has implemented standards consistent with the 2008 standards and Ontario has approved such standards. Will the revised standards apply in those provinces?

British Columbia and Ontario both have efficiency regulations. It is yet to be determined if they will revise their standards to align with the amendments.

Why does Canada have Energy Efficiency Regulations?

In 2010, Canadians spent $163 billion on energy – to heat homes and offices, to run equipment and to fuel cars. Energy efficiency is a means to reduce energy costs, and save Canadians money. Canada's energy efficiency regulations are a low cost measure to increase energy efficiency. In addition, regulations will help Canada meet environmental goals like reducing smog and greenhouse gas emissions. The Government of Canada has energy performance standards in place for over 40 products including appliances, furnaces, air conditioners and electronics.