Government of Canada actions to reduce air pollution

Many sources of air pollution also produce greenhouse gas emissions. We are taking steps to reduce air pollution and fight climate change through establishing national air quality standards, making investments in cleaner technologies, and putting in place regulations. Our scientists and researchers assess the health and environmental impacts of air pollutants and their sources. Their work helps inform action by the Government of Canada to further reduce the risks from air pollution.

Protecting Canadians against the adverse effects of air pollution

Everyone deserves clean air to breathe. Each year, poor air quality is costing Canadians their lives, not to mention $120 billion due to illness and lost productivity. Reducing emissions improves air quality and quality of life.

The Government of Canada is committed to protecting Canadians from the adverse effects of air pollution, including wildfire smoke. We are doing this through:

Lowering emissions

The Government of Canada is taking bold and immediate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to fight climate change, while strengthening our economy with sustainable jobs and clean industrial growth.

We are doing this through initiatives under the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan. This is an ambitious and achievable roadmap that outlines a sector-by-sector path for Canada to reach its emissions reduction target of 40 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050.

In line with this plan, we are helping Canadians lower emissions of air pollutants by:

Reducing harmful emissions across various industries and operations, including emissions from transportation, and from consumer and commercial products through:

These actions are having an impact, and we are making good progress - most air pollutants in Canada show a declining trend. Our most recent data indicates that Canada has met its 2020 targets under the Gothenburg Protocol for SO2, NOx, PM2.5 and VOC emissions.

Increasing our climate ambition and improving air quality

Addressing climate change and ensuring clean air for Canadians is a top priority for the Government of Canada. As Canada advances on its journey towards our 2030 Paris Agreement climate target and towards net-zero emissions in 2050, our economy will become cleaner, with significant reductions in air pollutant emissions expected.  For example, recent research suggests particulate matter—one of the most damaging air pollutants—could be reduced by as much as 88 per cent, with societal health benefits of about $7 billion a year.

To fight climate change and reach net-zero emissions, Canada has committed to planting 2 billion trees by 2030. The carbon sequestration and storage resulting from planting 2 billion trees will slow the rise of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and provide a host of co-benefits to communities and the environment, including improving air quality.

More information on how climate changing is impacting the air quality in Canada and the health of Canadians can be found in the recent report the Health of Canadians in a Changing Climate: Advancing our Knowledge for Action.

Protection against wildfire smoke

Protecting Canadians from air pollution and wildfire smoke impacts by:

Research on air pollution impacts

Conducting research and assessments to better understand air pollution impacts on human health and the environment by:

International agreements and partnerships

Working to address air pollution from outside Canada and short-lived climate pollutants through international agreements and partnerships such as:

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