Addressing Air Pollution Horizontal Initiative

The aim of the Addressing Air Pollution Horizontal Initiative is to reduce air pollution. This initiative will help ensure that Canadians have clean air. It will also reduce the impacts of air pollution on human health, the environment, and the economy.

Air pollution can:

  • affect human health; for example, smog can increase asthma and breathing problems, cause other health concerns, and lead to early death
  • harm the environment through acid rain, which can affect plants and wildlife, acidify soil and waterways, and impair the environment
  • lead to high economic costs; for example, it can result in workplace sick days due to health problems and harm agriculture

The Addressing Air Pollution Horizontal Initiative includes activities to address domestic and international air pollution sources and to improve indoor air quality. These activities are listed below.

Reducing domestic air pollution and tracking air quality in Canada will be done through the following:

  • implement the Air Quality Management System (AQMS), which is a system for all levels of government to work together to improve air quality
  • develop air quality standards to limit the amount of pollution in outdoor air
  • review existing ways and develop new ways to reduce air pollution
  • develop and implement regulatory and non-regulatory instruments to reduce air pollutant emissions from industry, transportation, and some consumer and commercial products

Reducing transboundary air pollution will be done through the following:

  • work with the U.S. through the Canada-U.S. Air Quality Agreement
  • work with the U.S. and other countries through the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution

Improving indoor air quality will be done through the following:

  • provide Canadians with better information to help them reduce their radon exposure
  • contribute to measures for better indoor air quality

Activities under the Addressing Air Pollution Horizontal Initiative directly support 2 goals of the 2016 to 2019 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy:

  • “Safe and Healthy Communities” by reducing outdoor air pollution
  • “Effective Action on Climate Change” by reducing impacts of greenhouse gases along with air pollution because similar emissions sources are targeted

Environment and Climate Change Canada, Health Canada, and the National Research Council of Canada will implement the Addressing Air Pollution Horizontal Initiative.

Reducing air pollution is one of the priorities in the Minister of Environment and Climate Change’s mandate letter. The letter indicates the Minister’s responsibility to “work with provinces and territories to set stronger air quality standards, monitor emissions, and provide incentives for investments that lead to cleaner air and healthier communities.”

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