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October 24, 2012
For immediate release
Environment Ministers take steps to improve air quality in Canada
Environment, Labour and Justice
Federal, provincial and territorial environment ministers are taking further action to protect the health of Canadians and the environment with measures to improve air quality in Canada, through a comprehensive new Air Quality Management System (AQMS), says Janice Sherry, Minister of Environment, Labour and Justice.
“Islanders enjoy excellent air quality but, like all Canadians, we depend on government to protect this resource for the good of the environment and of human health,” said Minister Sherry. “The AQMS builds on measures that jurisdictions already have in place, allows for regional-based responses and helps coordinate the actions of federal, provincial and territorial governments as we deal with air quality issues.”
The new AQMS system, which was approved at recent intergovernmental meetings in Lake Louise, Alberta, will assist jurisdictions to ensure good air quality outcomes while maintaining competitiveness in all regions of Canada.
The AQMS includes:
• Standards for outdoor air quality management across the country;
• Industrial emission requirements for major industries in Canada;
• A framework for air zone management within provinces and territories that enables action tailored to specific sources of air emissions in a given area;
• Regional airsheds that facilitate coordinated action when air pollution crosses a border; and
• An intergovernmental working group to improve collaboration and develop a plan to reduce emissions from the transportation sector.
Governments have agreed on new standards under the AQMS for fine particulate matter and ozone, the two main components of smog. Work has also begun on new standards for sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. The AQMS will include monitoring and reporting of outdoor air quality conditions and emissions from major industrial sources in Canada.
Minister Sherry also noted that three years of work with major retailers, the restaurant and food sector, brand owners, and the packaging industry has led to an industry-driven approach to reduce packaging in Canada. Together these initiatives will reduce Canada’s packaging footprint.
Over the next year, the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) will continue to work together to improve the environment by addressing water, air and waste issues. The next meeting of CCME will be hosted by Nunavut.
Please visit www.CCME.ca for additional information.