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For companies manufacturing, importing or otherwise using the lubricant additive BNST (Benzenamine, N-phenyl, Reaction Products with Styrene and 2, 4, 4-Trimethylpentene), there is still time to obtain permission to continue to use BNST in Canada. The Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012 (the “Regulations”) declared BNST a “toxic substance” under Environment Canada’s Chemical Management Plan but granted companies a two-year window in which to phase out their use of BNST. BNST is commonly used in gasoline and electric motors and motorized devices and equipment for consumer and industrial purposes such as:

  • vehicle engines;
  • heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment;
  • audio/video equipment such as DVD players; and
  • computer equipment.

The prohibition on using BNST extends to its manufacture, use, sale, offer to sale or importation of BNST in Canada beyond March 14th, 2015. Continued use of BNST beyond this date without the approval of Environment Canada constitutes a violation of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and may attract significant penalties against both companies and individuals authorizing or acquiescing in the use of BNST.

In recognition of the challenges that industry has faced in finding suitable alternatives to BNST, the Regulation does provide companies with an ability to obtain renewable 1-year permits for the continued use of BNST upon satisfying certain conditions which satisfy Environment Canada that the dissemination of BNST will be controlled and that the applicant company has a plan to transition to an alternative to BNST in its motors.


Jonathan Cocker heads Baker McKenzie’s Environment & Environmental Markets Practice Group in Toronto, where he also serves as chair of the Pro Bono Committee. He authored the Global Climate Change Law Guide, and has worked with the Management Board Secretariat of the Government of Ontario. Mr. Cocker has represented a wide range of clients before various administrative boards, the Superior Court of Justice and the Federal Court of Canada, among others.

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