Time to Plan your Path to Compliance with MSAPR – Part 1: Boilers and Heaters


The Multi-Sector Air Pollutants Regulations (MSAPR) was registered by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) in June 2016 with the objective to achieve consistent Canada-wide performance standards for certain industrial facilities and equipment.   Boilers and heaters are one type of equipment targeted under the MSAPR, specifically Part 1.  MSAPR establishes a process for registering, monitoring, testing and reporting of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions and provides NOx emission intensity limits (g NOx / GJ) which are phased in over time.

Part 1 applies to boilers and heaters that meet the definition in MSAPR, are at regulated industrial sectors including oil and gas facilities, are > 10.5 gigajoules per hour (GJ/hr) of input capacity and that combust gaseous fossil fuel. This includes equipment that is pre-existing, transitional, or modern. Part 1 sets out nitrogen oxides (NOX) emission intensity limits (g NOx/GJ) as well as compliance testing, operation and maintenance and reporting requirements.

The requirements and timelines that apply to a boiler or heater depend on its commissioning date (pre-existing, transitional, or modern), its type of fuel (natural gas or alternative gaseous fossil fuel), capacity, and for pre-existing equipment, one (1) of three (3) classes based on NOX emission intensity, specifically:

  • Class 40: ≤ 70 g NOx/GJ – no specific future NOx emission intensity limit will apply
  • Class 70: > 70 but ≤ 80 g NOx/GJ – generally a future limit of 26 g NOx/GJ will apply starting 2036*
  • Class 80: > 80 g NOx/GJ – generally a future limit of 26 g NOx/GJ will apply starting 2026*

Note: * certain actions including Major Modifications may trigger a speed-up, there is also the potential for some relief (i.e. slightly higher future limit) provided specific documentation is submitted

The boiler or heater classification can be determined by a number of options including but not limited to stack testing or an arbitrary election as Class 80.  The first compliance benchmark of Part 1 was to submit on-line a classification report for pre-existing boilers and heaters by June 17, 2017.  At the time the future limits apply, compliance must be demonstrated by conducting an initial stack test and reporting and ongoing annual compliance stack testing and reporting requirements may also apply.

Modern and transitional boilers and heaters are subjected to emission intensity limits of 16-40 g NOx/GJ depending on circumstance and equipment type. Modern and transitional equipment must have an initial stack test on or after the date on which it begins to combust gaseous fossil fuel and before the earlier of the passing of six (6) months or May 25 of the following year. Ongoing annual compliance stack testing requirements may also apply.

What are the Next Steps on the Path to Compliance?:

Now is the time to formulate a Compliance Plan for MSAPR Part 1.  A lower NOx emission intensity limit could apply in 2026 or earlier if Major Modifications are planned.   Projects to lower the NOx emission intensity can be capital intensive and time consuming so forward planning is highly recommended.  Suggested next steps in the development of a Compliance Plan should consider:

  • A detailed analysis of facilities to confirm pre-existing boilers or heaters are indeed subject to MSAPR Part 1 as well as availability/suitability of site conditions for future stack testing;
  • A detailed analysis of timelines and mitigation or other measures required to ensure compliance including possible implications and actions required in the event of future Trigger Events such as changes in fuel or Major Modifications such as replacement of burners;
  • An assessment of opportunities for synergies or efficiencies of the activities required in support of the MSAPR and other compliance activities such as those required in support of a provincial environmental permit;  and   
  • Facilities which have chosen to arbitrarily elect pre-existing boilers or heaters as Class 80 have an opportunity to reclassify by conducting stack testing or by means of a Continuous Emission Monitoring (CEM) test before December 2022.  There are distinct advantages should this reclassification testing confirm a class lower than Class 80 (i.e. Class 70 would have 10 more years to meet the future limit and Class 40 has no specific limit).   Reclassification testing should be conducted sooner rather than waiting until 2022 as should the testing confirm that the boiler or heater is indeed Class 80, this would provide only approximately four (4) years (from 2022 to 2026) to implement a strategy to meet the future lower NOx emission intensity limit.

Look for the next ORTECH newsletter which will discuss MSAPR Part 2 – Spark Ignition Engines.         

For more information on ORTECH MSAPR service offerings, click here.