Velocity Inc., in Valleyfield, Quebec, and Stéphane Poirier, its President, were fined $37,200 after pleading guilty to illegally importing 600 cylinders of a popular refrigerant chlorodifluoromethane (HCFC-22, or R?22).
R-22 is one of many refrigerants whose import, export, use and sale in developed countries is controlled under the Montreal Protocol, the world’s most successful international environmental agreement. Canada implements the Protocol through under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 and the Ozone-Depleting Substances Regulations, 1998.
R-22 may only be imported with a licence. The black market in R-22 is expanding as regulatory restrictions on it tighten, and as it becomes ever easier to order Chinese refrigerants over the Internet.
The company was fined $30,000, and its President $7,200. The fines, which totaled $37,200, will be directed to the Environmental Damages Fund.
Phaseout Schedule for HCFCs Including R-22
Under the terms of the Montreal Protocol, developed countries agreed to meet certain obligations by specific dates that will affect the residential heat pump and air-conditioning industry:
January 1, 2004:
The Montreal Protocol required the OECD countries to reduce their consumption of HCFCs by 35% below their baseline cap.
January 1, 2010:
The Montreal Protocol requires the OECD to reduce their consumption of HCFCs by 75% below their baseline. Allowance holders may only produce or import HCFC-22 to service existing equipment. Virgin R-22 may not be used in new equipment. As a result, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system manufacturers may not produce new air conditioners and heat pumps containing R-22.
January 1, 2015:
The Montreal Protocol requires the OECD to reduce their consumption of HCFCs by 90% below their baseline.
January 1, 2020:
The Montreal Protocol requires the OECD to reduce their consumption of HCFCs by 99.5% below their baseline. Refrigerant that has been recovered and recycled/reclaimed will be allowed beyond 2020 to service existing systems, but chemical manufacturers will no longer be able to produce R-22 to service existing air conditioners and heat pumps.