New changes to the Energy Efficiency Act have given the federal government more tools and greater flexibility to create consistency in standards across the country, and ensure that Canada’s energy efficiency standards can align more effectively with trading partners, like the United States or the European Union. Three changes were made to the Energy Efficiency Act in December 2017:
- A Ministerial authority (article 20.1) to make technical and administrative changes to regulations to maintain harmonization with another jurisdiction: this authority would reduce the amount of time to align with changes.
- An authority to incorporate by reference technical standards documents (article 20.2) to harmonize with another jurisdiction: this authority would provide an effective tool, in addition to direct incorporation of another jurisdiction’s regulation or standards developed by a third party.
- Removing the mandatory requirement to pre-publish regulations in the Canada Gazette, Part I (section 26 repealed): this eliminates duplication, since the Cabinet Directive on Regulatory Management already dictates consultation requirements including the publication of draft regulations in the Canada Gazette.
These changes are important because unnecessary differences in energy efficiency standards across jurisdictions can create added burden on businesses, for example, because they may have to pay for certification testing of the same product more than once to comply with different standards. Greater standards harmonization across Canada can benefit consumers, as compliance costs are minimized for the manufacturers of appliances and equipment.
These changes to the Act would only be implemented in future amendments to the Energy Efficiency Regulations; stay tuned.