August 30, 2017

Earlier this year, Environment and Climate Change Canada developed a new Code of Practice for the Reduction of Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Emissions from Cutback and Emulsified Asphalt. The objective of the Code is to protect the environment and the health of Canadians while maintaining road safety by recommending best practices that encourage, when suitable, the use of low VOC emitting asphalt.

The Code applies to any person involved in the manufacture, import, offer for sale, sale or use of cutback asphalt or emulsified asphalt, including:

  1. Manufacturers and distributors;
  2. Procurement enablers; and
  3. End-users (paving companies).

As municipalities engage in road construction and infrastructure projects, the Code may apply to municipal activities. 

All recommended practices included in the Code relate to paving material, construction and maintenance operations of roads, streets, highways, parking lots or driveways. By providing guidance to manufacturers, importers, sellers and users of asphalt through this Code, the Government of Canada has targeted a reduction of VOC emissions from the asphalt by at least 40% over a 6-year period. 

Between May 1 and September 30, the Code recommends that cutback asphalt that is imported, sold or used in paving and construction projects, have a VOC content less than or equal to 0.5% by volume of what evaporates at or below 260 degrees Celsius, and the recommended VOC content limit for emulsified asphalt during this timeframe is 3.0% by volume of what evaporates at or below 260 degrees Celsius.

More information regarding cutback asphalt and emulsified asphalt is available here.

Enquiries may be directed to:

Tasha Blumenthal
Policy Analyst

Kim Heyman
Director, Advocacy & Communications

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