An Importer’s Guide to Emission Regulations for Small Spark-Ignition Engines

Importing Small Spark-Ignition Engines: Emission Regulations
Trade Talk Blog • January 27, 2022


s a Canadian importer, you need to be aware of emission regulations that apply when importing Off-Road Small Spark-Ignition Engines into Canada. Since the introduction of the Single Window Initiative (SWI), the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), in conjunction with Emissions and Climate Control Canada, now requires that engine emissions be reported at the time of importation and that they are not considered bulk imports (over 50 engines per year).

So, whether you need a new engine for a lawnmower, snowblower, garden tractor or even for a pressure washer, you must ensure compliance with the regulations set by CBSA. All these engine types are considered Off-Road Small Spark-Ignition Engines and are subject to engine emission regulations as stipulated in CBSA’s Memorandum D19-7-4 and Memorandum D19-12-1.

While personal shipments are exempt from these regulations, they apply if you import engines for commercial use. Read on the find out what you need to know to import Off-Road Small Spark-Ignition Engines.

What are Off-Road Small Spark-Ignition Engines?

Engines imported into Canada fall under two categories; Small Off-Road Engines (SORE) and Engines for Use in Motor Vehicles. Off-Road Small Spark-Ignition (SII) Engine Regulations state that a Small Off-Road Engine (SORE) must operate as a combustion cycle engine, use spark plugs or other sparking devices, and not develop more than 19 kW of power. These engines are mostly used in lawn and garden equipment or other outdoor power equipment and specialty vehicles.

Here are some examples of machinery/engines that are considered Off-Road Small Spark-Ignition Engines and require emission information to be filed:

  • Hedge trimmers
  • Brush cutters
  • Lawnmowers
  • Garden tractors
  • Snowblowers
  • Bicycle engines
  • Generator sets
  • Welders
  • Pressure washers
  • Chainsaws
  • Log splitters
  • Light duty logging machines

There are some exclusions, though. Engines that are not considered Off-Road Small Spark-Ignition Engines include:

  • Competition engines for racing
  • On-Road engines
  • Engines for use in underground mines
  • Snowmobile, all-terrain vehicle, and off-highway motorcycle engines
  • Hobby engines (reduced scale model engines) that are not capable of transporting a person
  • Emergency and rescue machine engines
  • Engines for use in military or combat machines

What is the information I need to provide to import Small Spark-Ignition Engines?

The information you must provide to CBSA when importing Small Spark-Ignition Engines is listed in the form below. This form has been made available for your use by the Government of Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada. Besides providing this information, you will need to maintain your records for a period of eight years.


The SSI Regulations require importers to provide the ECCC with a signed Import Declarations Form for off-road small spark-ignition engines. If your company imported 50 or more engines in 2021 and declared ‘bulk’ reporting, you must submit your declaration form to the ECCC before February 1, 2022. If you submitted your declaration form through the SWI, you could expect a follow-up email confirming what was imported in 2021.

Why are there regulations on engine emissions?

Canada is committed to lowering air pollutants such as nitrogen oxide, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter from off-road engines. These pollutants contribute to environmental issues as well as to human health problems.

According to Part 1, Volume 15, Number 10 of the Canada Gazette, Canadian emission standards align with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to create a level playing field in the Canada-U.S. market for engine importers and manufacturers. The proposed regulations for importing engines into Canada will result in emission reductions of:

  • 179,500 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2);
  • 26,900 tons of nitrogen oxides (NOX);
  • 10,600 tons of volatile organic compounds (VOCs);
  • 19 600 tons of non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC) + NOX;
  • 900 tons of PM; and
  • 133,000 tons of CO2 equivalent, valued at approximately $7.8M.

The reduction in these emissions is expected to contribute to protecting human health and the environment in Canada, in line with the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.

What are the emission regulations that apply?

Exhaust emission regulations are divided into seven classes based on engine displacement and usage in either handheld or non-handheld applications. These standards, shown in Table 2 below, aim to establish a maximum level of pollutants permitted.


If you need guidance with import requirements and compliance with engine emission regulations, you can contact our Global Trade Services (GTS) team. Our team can also help you file the required information to ensure a seamless importation process.


Cheryl Bedarf | GHY’s Corporate Trainer

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