Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards: industrial emission requirements

The Government of Canada is committed to clean air for Canadians. Air pollution presents a significant risk to human health and the environment. Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and ozone, the major components of smog, affect health at all concentration levels, even in areas of the country with very good air quality. While air pollution can affect all Canadians, it is especially a concern for children and seniors, and those with existing heart and lung disease and diabetes. Air pollution contributes to hospital admissions, medical visits and premature mortality, and is associated with significant economic costs.

The federal government has been working with provinces, territories, industry and non-governmental organizations to address this issue and is moving forward to implement the Air Quality Management System, which will provide a comprehensive coordinated national approach to improve air quality. Updated more-stringent Canadian ambient air quality standards and limits on air pollution from industrial sources are the cornerstones of this approach.

The Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards set limits, based on health considerations, for outdoor air concentrations of fine particulate matter and ground-level ozone to ensure that poor outdoor air quality improves. They will provide an important indication of where further action on air quality might be needed across the country.

The industrial air pollutant emission requirements will help ensure a consistent minimum level of good environmental performance for industrial sources across the country. The industrial emission requirements will result in noticeable reductions in nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulphur dioxide (SO2), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from targeted sectors/equipment types. This will contribute to improvements in ambient levels of ground-level ozone and fine particulate matter, which will have positive environmental and health impact for Canadians.

By reducing the above-mentioned air emissions of pollutants through implementation of industrial requirements and by updating the Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards, this initiative will support the following Federal Sustainable Development Strategy goals and targets:

  • Goal 2: Air Pollution - Minimize the threats to air quality so that the air Canadians breathe is clean and supports healthy ecosystems.
  • Target 2.1: Air pollutants - Reduce air pollutants in order to maintain or improve air quality across the country and achieve the emission targets which are currently under development in consultations with provinces and stakeholders.

Relevant Links:

Clean Air Regulatory Agenda - Funding in 2011-2016 supports the Clean Air Regulatory Agenda (CARA), including development of proposed regulations and other measures to address domestic industrial air emissions, including greenhouse gases and air pollutants, and efforts to improve outdoor and indoor air quality. CARA funding also supports relevant policy, monitoring and reporting, and science activities.

Minister Peter Kent announces the new Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards

Multi-Sector Air Pollutants Regulations (MSAPR) Backgrounder The MSAPR impose mandatory national performance standards on specific sector/equipment groups in order to establish consistent emissions limits for regulated industries across the country. The proposed regulations include requirements for stationary spark-ignition gas-fired engines, non-utility boilers and heaters, and the cement manufacturing sector.

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