Interim Plan 2001 on Particulate Matter and Ozone: chapter 2.3

2.3 Industrial Sectors

Pollution Prevention

Reducing emissions from industrial sectors and other stationary sources will be a coordinated effort at the national and regional levels. A key component of effective reduction is preventing pollution from occurring in the first place. Many industries have developed effective pollution prevention programs, and this will be further encouraged. For instance, in Quebec, partnerships have been established with selected small and mid-sized industrial installations (Enviroclubs) to implement in-plant pollution prevention projects, and this work will continue. In addition, in cooperation with industry, pollution prevention projects aimed at reducing VOC emissions will be identified and implemented in the wood finishing (furniture) sector in Quebec.


The use of paints, solvents and other industrial, commercial and consumer products is a major source of VOC that contribute significantly to air pollution across Canada. A ten-year plan, similar to the Action Plan for Cleaner Vehicles and Fuels, will be developed to reduce VOC emissions from consumer products and from the use of paints, solvents and other products in industrial and commercial processes. Reductions will require a mixture of strategies and measures, as there is a wide range of products, companies and uses. Foundation analysis will include comparisons with the United States and a review of the current Canadian measures as the basis for national multi-stakeholder consultations on the ten-year plan. Following these consultations, prevention and control measures will be developed for a number of key sectors.

Facility-based Environmental Performance Agreements

Voluntary tools, known as Facility-based Environmental Performance Agreements, are being pursued with industries and others. These are multi-pollutant, multi-media agreements for beyond-compliance commitments by individual facilities. Two such agreements have been signed in Ontario with Dofasco Inc. and Algoma Steel Inc. Under these agreements, the companies are committed to reducing pollutants such as benzene and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and have further agreed to other measures such as facility-wide air inventories and the development of waste management plans. The companies report to Environment Canada and to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment on their progress, and the reports are also made available to the public.

Canadian-wide Standards and Multi-Pollutant Emission Reduction Strategies

In June 2000, federal, provincial and territorial Ministers agreed to a set of joint initial actions under the Canadawide Standards for Particulate Matter (PM) and Ozone, including the development of multi-pollutant emission reduction strategies (MERS) for key industrial sectors. These include electric power, iron and steel, base metals smelting and others, chosen by Ministers because they are major emitters common to several jurisdictions. Similar actions are under way in Quebec to match the level of protection in other provinces and territories.

The MERS will complement and support the development of emission reduction actions in jurisdictional implementation plans, and provide the basis for a national projection of each sector's potential contribution toward meeting ambient air standards. The MERS process will provide opportunities for partnership and dialogue among governments and with stakeholders. Regional analysis will be conducted in Quebec to complement the national MERS.

Work is already under way in the electric power generation sector. The CCME organized a workshop in January 2001 with representation from provinces, industry, environmental non-government organizations, and consumer and health groups. Areas were identified for national multi-pollutant analysis and consultation as input to the development of emission reduction initiatives, and a process was developed for undertaking the work. The federal government will work in partnership with provinces and stakeholders over the coming months to gather information and analysis in areas such as options and costs, industry competitiveness, energy policy perspectives and policy instruments.

Wood-burning Appliances

Wood stoves and fireplaces are significant sources of fine PM and VOC emissions in every province and territory in Canada. Therefore, the Government of Canada is participating in new initiatives to reduce emissions from residential wood-burning appliances, including:

  • developing standards for new wood-burning appliances;
  • exploring options for a national regulation for new clean-burning residential wood heating appliances;
  • developing and launching a social marketing and public education campaign on residential wood combustion;
  • conducting a program to evaluate the impact of residential wood combustion on air quality in residential areas in Quebec; and
  • collaborating with public health organizations in the Montreal area to assess people's exposure to pollutants resulting from residential wood combustion.

Farm Emissions

Increasing attention is being directed at farm emissions of primary particulates such as airborne soil from cultivation and wind erosion, and PM precursors such as ammonia from livestock manure and chemical fertilizers. Farmers, as longstanding environmental stewards, have always emphasized the protection and conservation of the resources on which their livelihood depends, and as good neighbours have been conscientious about minimizing off-site environmental effects of farming operations.

Oil and Gas

Environmental assessment reviews, particularly those relating to major new oil and gas development proposals in Alberta and the North, will contribute to understanding the potential impacts of these developments on air quality, and to establishing measures to reduce those impacts. Federal participation with provinces and stakeholders on project teams addressing a variety of air issues will also assist in reducing emissions. For instance, federal representatives in the Clean Air Strategic Alliance in Alberta are involved in intensive work on PM and ozone emissions, acidifying emissions, flaring/venting and other areas that will respond to both clean air and climate change concerns.

Possible future areas of action

  • The MERS processes would be undertaken for the iron and steel, base metals smelting, pulp and paper,wood and allied wood products industries, and concrete batch and asphalt mix plants.Measures to reduce emissions could be developed for the petroleum sector and for key consumer and industrial sources of VOC emissions. Each MERS would be tailored to a specific sector and developed with a variety of components: competitiveness, best practices by industries in Canada and abroad, technologies and policy instruments.
  • Green power is also an important area for future action that would not only help to achieve clean air objectives, but also address climate change emissions. The federal Action Plan 2000 on Climate Change includes a number of complementary initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by shifting to cleaner sources of electricity (e.g., wind power).The procurement of green power for federal facilities, and the development and expansion of green power in the market,will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In an effort to speed up the use of green power, a renewable low impact electricity guideline under the Environmental ChoiceM Program for green power producers and consumers will be published in 2001.
  • Other areas for future action:
    • Analysis may be undertaken to better characterize pollutants from paved roads and their sources in several major communities across Canada, and to assist in developing prevention and control instruments based on best practices.
    • Work with the Alberta government could scope out a multi-pollutant air management strategy for the upstream oil and gas sector.The work would build on current research partnerships with Alberta and with other governments on developing model emission management measures for use by all Canadian jurisdictions to reduce emissions from the construction and demolition sectors.
    • Options for a national wood stove change-out program may be assessed, and a national public education program developed in partnership with provinces and stakeholders.
    • Prevention and control instruments, including an education program with hospitals, could be further developed to reduce emissions of PM and other substances from waste incineration that are considered toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.
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