The ozone layer is a thin protective layer located in the stratosphere about 25km from the Earth’s surface. While ozone can be found throughout the entire atmosphere, approximately 90 percent of ozone is produced naturally in the stratosphere and the greatest concentration in the atmosphere occurs in the ozone layer.
Ozone depletion is the term commonly used to describe the thinning of the ozone layer in the stratosphere. Ozone depletion occurs when the natural balance between the production and destruction of ozone in the stratosphere favors destruction.
The ozone layer acts as a natural filter, absorbing most of the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays. Stratospheric ozone depletion leads to an increase in the amount of ultraviolet radiation that reaches the earth's surface. An increase in ultraviolet radiation is linked to skin cancers, eye cataracts, weakening of the immune system, crop damage and inhibited plant and plankton growth as well as other biological process interruptions and material degradations.
Ozone-depleting substances are often called halocarbons as they generally contain carbon, a halogen (e.g. chlorine, fluorine, bromine) and sometimes hydrogen. Specific groups of ozone-depleting substances include chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), hydrobromofluorocarbons (HBFCs) or halons. These substances are mainly used in the refrigeration, air-conditioning and fire extinguishing sectors.
This summary information was sourced from the Environment Canada website. More detailed information and links to other information sources related to ozone can be found on the Environment Canada website.
As one of the early signatories to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer in 1987, Canada has made significant progress in reducing the emissions of ozone-depleting substances through control measures implemented by federal, provincial and territorial governments, changes in technologies and voluntary actions by industry.
Newfoundland and Labrador regulates the use of ozone depleting substances and some of the alternatives through the Halocarbon Regulations. The Halocarbon Regulations are compatible with many other provincial governments and attempt to address measures set out in the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) 2001 National Action Plan for the Environmental Control of Ozone-Depleting Substances (ODS) and their Halocarbon Alternatives and Canada’s Strategy to Accelerate the Phase-out of CFCs and Halons Uses and to Dispose of the Surplus Stocks .
The Halocarbon Regulations require that service of equipment be conducted in accordance with applicable codes of practice. There are two codes of practice defined in the Halocarbon Regulations, the “CFC Code of Practice” and the “Halon Code of Practice”. The most recent versions of these documents are:
The Halocarbon Regulations also require that releases of halocarbons in excess of 10kg be reported to the Department of Environment and Conservation. Reports can be made to: