Canada’s air quality

Canada’s air quality has improved significantly over the last several decades as our air pollutant emissions continue to mainly decline. Canada’s air quality is consistently ranked among the cleanest in the world, according to the World Health Organization. The Government of Canada has implemented measures to reduce air pollution and maintain our air quality by reducing air pollution from vehicles, power plants and other industries, as well as consumer and commercial products.  We work closely with provincial and territorial governments to implement Canada’s Air Quality Management System. We also recognize the important contribution from municipalities and the daily actions Canadians are making that are helping to protect the air we breath.

The latest air pollutant emissions report shows an overall steady decline in most air pollutant emissions since 1990. Despite this progress, almost one third of Canadians still live in areas where the air quality does not meet one of the Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards. More remains to be done, and we are committed to working with other stakeholders to lower emissions. For example, since 2022’s Clean Air Day, the Government of Canada has introduced proposed regulations that will require 100% of new vehicles sold by 2035 to be zero-emissions. Canada is also helping homeowners reduce their emissions through the Greener Homes Grants program that provides rebates up to $5000 for switching away from home heating oil to cleaner sources of heating.

Learn about Canada’s air quality, sources of air pollution, and air quality health indicators:

Air quality

Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators

Active transportation

With more opportunities to travel by foot and on bike, Canadians can spend more time outdoors enjoying nature and fresh air while improving their health as they get from point A to point B. Active transportation is vital to our economy and tourism sectors. It also plays an essential role in connected and consistent multi-modal transportation systems that support more equitable, vibrant, livable communities. It will also reduce healthcare costs, noise pollution, and improve air quality. Increasing active transportation will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to Canada's response to climate change.

Smoke and air quality

Smoke from wildfires and residential burning can impact air quality in communities of all sizes across Canada as it contains toxic air pollutants. This pollution contains fine particles (that are not visible to the human eye) that penetrate deep into our lungs and bloodstream and can lead to serious health effects and premature death.

Wildfire season in Canada typically runs from early April to late October. In a changing climate, wildfire seasons are becoming longer and more severe. As wildfire burns through forests and grasslands, it produces dense smoke that can travel hundreds or thousands of kilometres from the fire. For more information on how to protect yourself and your family, visit Wildfire smoke and air quality.

Smoke from woodstoves and fireplaces can impact air quality both indoors and outdoors. In some areas, smoke from backyard burning may also affect air quality, particularly during the fall and spring. Ways to reduce the health and environmental impacts of wood smoke are available on the Woodsmoke page.

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