Canada Gears Up For New Refrigerant Testing

May 4, 2002
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WINNIPEG, MB, Canada — Like their counterparts in the United States, contractors and technicians in Canada have been required to carry government cards to purchase and use refrigerants.

When the Canadian Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP) program went into effect in the mid- 1990s, there was every intention of having cardholders undergo upgraded training and a retest every few years. But over the years, the upgrades and retests never came about. Extensions were simply granted.

Now, new training and a new test appear to be in the offing. During the recent Refrigeration Service Engineers Society of Canada (RSES Canada) annual conference, RSES member Gary Struhar of Windsor, ON, reported that the estimated 55,000 technicians in the province of Ontario are being put on a mandatory three-year cycle to get the new training and take the new test. He said those in Ontario whose last names begin with letters A through G would have to complete the training and testing by this December. (This represents about 15,000 people, according to Struhar.) Those whose last names begin with the letters H through Q will have a deadline of December 2003, and R through Z would have to complete the process by the end of 2004.

That is good news for RSES Canada, said Struhar, who is the association’s CFC administrator. He noted the association has been approved to offer the 2-1/2-hour course of study (called “environmental awareness training”) that precedes the 1-1/2-hour test. (There is also an option for self-directed study, followed by the test under the supervision of a proctor.) Individuals within the industry drafted the test, which has been approved by the Ministry of Environment in Toronto.

The original course and test was a national program modified somewhat by individual provinces to account for situations unique to that province. Struhar said other provinces are expected to follow Ontario in requiring similar refresher courses and retests.

“With the new Ontario regulations, there may be an increase in Federal ODP courses,” he said. He noted RSES has chapters through the country providing possible sites for training and testing.

At the RSES Canada conference, Struhar reported that so far 14 individuals had been taught how to provide the training. He admitted that the response from contractors and technicians to taking the course and test has been slow. “One hundred training manuals have been sold this spring. People are not too receptive to this course, but they must comply.”

REFRIGERANT MANAGEMENT

In a related development coming prior to the conference, Refrigerant Management Canada (RMC) announced that it had begun “accepting surplus recovered and virgin CFC refrigerants from the stationary refrigeration and air conditioning industry for disposal.”

The action by the governing agency is designed to step up the phaseout of the use of CFC refrigerants even if systems using such refrigerants are still operating.

One of the first provinces to sign on to the program was British Columbia. The BC Ministry of Water, Land & Air Protection labeled the program as “an acceptable stewardship plan that meets the province’s Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) regulation.” The BC regulations “require suppliers and manufacturers of ODS to submit a plan demonstrating how these substances will effectively be collected and disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner.”

Publication date: 05/06/2002

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