Minister Aglukkaq highlights government action to improve Canadian air quality

Government of Canada is supporting Canadian families by protecting our air quality

TORONTO, May 1, 2014 /CNW/ - Today, Minister Aglukkaq shared Canada's accomplishments in improving air quality for Canadians through a keynote address at the Asthma Society of Canada's Respiratory Health and Environment Summit.

The Government of Canada is committed to keeping Canada's air clean and continuing action on its strong record on air quality in Canada. Building on this record, this summer Minister Aglukkaq plans to announce more than $1.4 million in additional funding for clean air projects to increase our understanding of clean air and climate change issues.

Clean air is essential to Canadian families' health and quality of life, and the economy. Many Canadians suffer from asthma and respiratory illnesses and they will see the real benefits of better quality air. The Government of Canada is working to maintain Canada's good air quality, and to put in place measures to improve air quality on an ongoing basis. Over the last two decades, Canada has made significant progress in reducing emissions that cause smog and acid rain, which are harmful to human health.

Environment Canada, in collaboration with Health Canada, has partnered with provinces and territories, municipal governments, stakeholders from industry, health, environmental and aboriginal organizations, and local health authorities to develop and deliver the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) for communities across Canada. The AQHI is a public information tool that helps Canadians understand what air quality means to their health and make informed choices about their outdoor activities.

Similar collaboration has also led to the development of the Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards (CAAQS), which help ensure that outdoor air quality is improved and that good outdoor air quality is maintained. The CAAQS are the first step in implementing the Air Quality Management System (AQMS). The AQMS enables all levels of governments to work collaboratively and efficiently to respond to the different air quality challenges across the country. These standards set objectives, based on health considerations, for outdoor air concentrations of fine particulate matter and ground-level ozone, which are the two major components of smog.

Quick Facts

  • In September 2011, Canada's air quality was ranked second place out of 38 countries by the World Health Organization.
  • Since 1990, Canada's emissions of key air pollutants have decreased considerably, some by more than half.
  • The Air Quality Health Index provides air quality information for 79 communities across Canada.

Quotes

"Our government is committed to cleaner air for Canadians—for today, and for future generations. We provide Canadians with first-rate information on the quality of air we breathe, how to protect ourselves from the effects of air pollution, and ways to reduce air pollution. We will continue to work closely with our partners such as the Asthma Society to make great strides in reducing air pollution."

- The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council

"The Asthma Society of Canada has enjoyed a strong partnership with the Ministry of the Environment. Our collaboration on the Air Quality Health Index in promoting public awareness of the health impact of poor air quality is leading to a better quality of life for Canadians with asthma and respiratory allergies. More importantly, the on-going work that the Minister is promoting for cleaner air will lead to better breathing for all Canadians."

- Dr. Robert Oliphant, President and CEO, Asthma Society of Canada

Related Products

For more information and to view a backgrounder on this announcement, please visit the Web site of Environment Canada.

Associated Link

Asthma Society of Canada's Respiratory Health and Environment Summit

SOURCE: Environment Canada

For further information:

Amanda Gordon
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of the Environment
819-997-1441

Media Relations
Environment Canada
819-934-8008

Environment Canada's Twitter page

Environment Canada's Facebook page


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