Canada Air Quality Index (AQI) and Air Pollution information | IQAir (2023)

What is the air quality forecast for Canada?

Canada is a large country located in the northern part of North America. The area covers almost 10 million square kilometres which makes it the second-largest country by total area. It shares a southern and western border with the United States. A 2020 census estimated the population to be in the region of 38 million people. Ottawa serves as Canada’s capital city.

At the beginning of 2021, Canada was experiencing “Good” quality air with a US AQI figure of 32. This classification is in line with the recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

What is the government doing about air pollution in Canada?

The plan hopes to encourage businesses to invest in green technologies, which will produce concrete benefits for the environment, both now and in the future.

In order to make this possible, the plan will set national emission caps for four air pollutants commonly associated with smog and acid rain, namely nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides, volatile organic compounds and particulate matter. Limits will also be set for other air pollutants, such as mercury from fuel-based electricity generation and benzene from the natural gas and steel industries.

The plan will also impose the maximum level of pollutants that a given area can emit in a year. The national limits will be calculated by adding the different sectoral ceilings set for each pollutant.

Businesses will also be able to take part in a Canadian emissions trading system, and purchase credits if they do not meet their nitrogen oxides or sulphur oxides reduction targets. Even if the trading system is not yet fully operational, trade will be limited in areas where air quality is poor. Only in this way can a minimum level of air quality be assured at the local or regional level.

What are the main causes of air pollution in Canada?

Natural sources of air pollution include forest fires, volcanoes, and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from vegetation. Human sources of air pollution include activities that rely on the use of carbon-based or fossil fuels (for example, transportation, off-road vehicles and mobile equipment, as well as power generation), industrial processes such as those related to the production of oil and gas as well as certain products, such as paints and solvents.

(Video) How is Canada's air quality? | Ask A Scientist

Concentrations of pollutants in the outdoor air can be influenced by many factors, including the number of air pollutants released from sources, proximity to sources, and weather conditions, such as air temperature, air stability and wind speed and direction. Some pollutants can be carried by the wind and affect the air quality in places thousands of kilometres from their source of origin.

The growth of Canada’s population and economy increases the demand for the production and supply of goods and services, transportation and housing. The energy required to meet these demands mainly comes from fossil fuels, which affects the quality of the air that we breathe. The growth of the economy includes the growing demand for Canadian exports (particularly from the oil and gas industry), which also generates the release of air pollutants.

Even with this increased demand, emissions of many air pollutants have generally declined in Canada over the past few years. Various means have contributed to these reductions, including the implementation of regulations and non-regulatory instruments and the technological improvement of vehicles and industrial processes. The adoption by consumers and businesses of more environmentally sustainable practices, such as the use of public transit and carpooling, and the optimisation of production processes to make them more energy-efficient, have also contributed to the observed decrease.

What can be done to improve air quality in Canada?

The Government of Canada is taking action to reduce overall levels of air pollution. Emissions of air pollutants are subject to a number of regulations developed and implemented under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (1999). These regulations aim to limit the number of pollutants released into the atmosphere each year.

Whenever possible, instead of taking a car, choose public transport, walk or cycle when it is safe to do so.Choose alternatives to devices and vehicles powered by fossil fuels such as hybrid or zero-emission vehicles. Choose to use a rowing boat or sailing craft instead of a motorised vessel, or a manual lawnmower instead of a gas-powered mower.

Think about fuel economy when buying a vehicle. Keep all of your vehicles in good repair to make sure they are running efficiently.

Reduce your energy consumption by making your home more energy-efficient. Keep radiators, gas, oil and wood-burning appliances and stoves in good repair or replace them with new, cleaner combustion models. Buy products that contain little or no VOCs or other contaminants.

(Video) Why is it Important to Understand Air Quality Index (AQI)?

Plant trees to increase the urban canopy, provide shade, and improve air quality.

The Canadian government is taking immediate action to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide, that cause climate change. Their plan is both rigorous and realistic, and it will translate into real improvements for the climate and the environment.

In future, all major industrial activity will have to comply with strict limits to reduce greenhouse gases and air pollutants. Emissions from cars and light trucks must be reduced. The range of energy-efficient products must be increased and the quality of indoor air must be improved.

What are the health risks associated with Canada’s air quality?

Canadians spend 90 per cent of their time indoors, where they are exposed to various types of pollutants. Some of these pollutants percolate in from the outside, while others come from sources such as mould, heaters, stoves and furnaces that are poorly maintained or have a faulty exhaust system. The very fabric of the building can also have adverse effects. Poor indoor air quality is one of the top five risks to public health.

Atmospheric pollution can harm our health, the environment, buildings, structures and the economy. Air pollution problems, such as smog and acid rain, are the result of the presence and interaction of various pollutants released into the atmosphere by both natural processes and human activities.

As a victim of air pollution, you may experience tiredness, headache and/or dizziness, coughing and sneezing, difficulty breathing and have a feeling of dryness and irritation in the eyes, nose and throat. You may see these symptoms after a few minutes or hours and then feel better after leaving the affected space. You'll notice them more if you haven't spent a lot of time in this space. For example, you might notice a difference after the holidays.

People with lung or heart disease may experience more frequent and severe symptoms. They may also need more medicine to reduce these symptoms.

(Video) What Is the Air Quality Index?

The severity of the symptoms depends on several factors such as the level and type of pollutants suspended in the air. The length of time exposed to the pollution and the frequency of such occurrences all play a part in the effects.

What is Canada doing about transportation and the pollution it causes?

Transportation is one of the main sources of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. Cars, trucks, trains and aeroplanes all contribute to air pollution, and they are responsible for more than a quarter of all greenhouse gases and air pollutant emissions in Canada.

Fuel consumption of cars and light trucks will be regulated, to make sure they use fuel efficiently. The adopted standard will be governed by the rigorous North American standard. We will work intensively with the United States to create a Clean Auto Pact, which will instigate an environmentally ambitious North American standard for cars and light trucks, in Canada.

Air pollution rules will be established for vehicles and engines that are sources of smog and will include motorcycles, personal watercraft, snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles. They will be synchronised with those in the United States, which are some of the most rigorous in the world. Rail, maritime and air sectors also need to be monitored in such a way that their emissions can be improved.

Even relatively small savings were made when incandescent light bulbs were replaced by LEDs. Household appliances need to be inspected to make sure that they are as energy-efficient as they can be.

What are the side effects of breathing Canada’s polluted air?

Long-term exposure to air pollution is a major cause of death and disease throughout the world. This exposure to outdoor air pollution causes approximately 4.2 million premature deaths per year. In Canada, air pollution is linked to approximately 14,600 premature deaths each year.

Exposure to nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulphur dioxide (SO2) can irritate the lungs, impair lung function and increase susceptibility to allergens in people with asthma. Both nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide are also precursors of fine particulate matter PM2.5 and contribute to the formation of smog and acid rain.

(Video) Keeping It Green - The Air Quality Index

Fine particles and ground-level ozone (O3) are the main components of smog and are associated with irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, shortness of breath, exacerbation of respiratory problems and allergies, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma as well as an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death. Children under the age of 14 years, senior citizens, people with pre-existing respiratory problems and those living near cities are more vulnerable to these effects than others.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is the product of incomplete combustion of fossil fuels. It can have a significant impact on human health by entering the bloodstream through the lungs, which impedes the blood's ability to carry oxygen to organs and tissues. It is particularly harmful to people with heart disease and people with respiratory problems. It can also affect healthy people by impairing exercise capacity, visual perception, manual dexterity, learning functions and the ability to perform complex tasks.

Ground-level ozone (O3) can affect the growth and productivity of some crops, damage flowers and shrubs, and contribute to forest decline in parts of Canada. It can also modify ecosystems since some plant species that are more resistant to ozone can displace those that are less resistant.

Ammonia (NH3) is a colourless gas generated mainly by the management of livestock waste and the production of fertilisers. It is toxic if inhaled in large amounts and is irritating to the eyes, nose and throat in small amounts. It has a very strong, distinctive smell, so it is relatively easy to be aware of. Ammonia can contribute to the nitrification and eutrophication of aquatic systems.

Nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulphur dioxide (SO2) can cause or accelerate corrosion and spoiling of certain materials and contribute significantly to acid rain. Acid rain damages soils and water bodies and is a stressor for plant and animal species. The interactions between acid rain, ultraviolet rays and climate change can amplify its effects.

Smog is a yellowish haze, originating from a mixture of air pollutants that limits visibility in the atmosphere. It is mainly made up of fine particles and ground-level ozone.

What can Canadian citizens do to help improve air quality?

They could use public transportation to help reduce traffic congestion and air pollution in the cities and greenhouse gas emissions that impact our climate, thereby benefiting from the government's tax credit for passes on public transport. A greener vehicle would be a good choice when replacing the current one. Perhaps a hybrid or an all-electric? Generous rebates of up to $2,000 are available when changing your car to an environmentally friendly one.

(Video) AQI and Air Pollution Advisories

Does poor air quality affect the economy?

Health effects of PM2.5 and ground-level ozone can result in economic costs due to decreased productivity, increased health care needs, decreased quality of life and increased risk of premature death. These effects cost the Canadian economy a considerable amount of money every year. The total economic estimate of the health effects attributable to air pollution in Canada is $ 114 billion per year.

Rising levels of ozone also reduce the growth of crops, other plants and trees, resulting in economic losses for the agriculture and forestry sectors. The resulting loss of production costs Canadian farmers millions of dollars each year.

Smog accelerates the discolouration, fading and tarnishing of materials (e.g. rubber, textiles, special surface coatings) and thereby increases the required frequency of replacement or cleaning or maintenance.


What is air quality index in Canada? ›

The real-time air quality in Canada is 21 GOOD AQI now.

How can we solve air pollution in Canada? ›

phasing out traditional coal-fired electricity by 2030. developing a proposed Clean Fuel Standard to promote clean technology and lower carbon fuel use in transportation across the country.

Is Canada air polluted? ›

In Canada, air pollution is linked to an estimated 15 300 premature deaths every year.

What causes air pollution in Canada? ›

Air pollution in Canada is contributed by industrial and vehicular emissions, agriculture, construction, wood burning and energy production.

Is Canada's air quality good? ›

Our air is consistently ranked among the cleanest in the world, according to the World Health Organization. This is largely due to federal, provincial and territorial governments working together to reduce air pollution from vehicles, power plants, and industries across the country.

Where is the best air quality in Canada? ›

Real-time Canada Cleanest city ranking
#cityUS AQI
1Athabasca, Alberta0
2Bassano, Alberta0
3Beaumont, Alberta0
4Bonnyville, Alberta0
6 more rows
31 Oct 2022

What are main causes of air pollution? ›

Vehicle emissions, fuel oils and natural gas to heat homes, by-products of manufacturing and power generation, particularly coal-fueled power plants, and fumes from chemical production are the primary sources of human-made air pollution.

What are 5 ways we can stop air pollution? ›

What you can do about air pollution
  • Drive your car less. ...
  • Keep your car in good repair. ...
  • Turn off your engine. ...
  • Don't burn your garbage. ...
  • Limit backyards fire in the city. ...
  • Plant and care for trees. ...
  • Switch to electric or hand-powered lawn equipment. ...
  • Use less energy.

Is Canada a clean country? ›

Canada's air quality, on the other hand, was rated relatively clean on a global scale, ranking 90th on the list of 98 countries in terms of poor air quality. Canada lands within the World Health Organization's target.

What is the biggest pollution problem in Canada? ›

Canada's Oilsands

The single largest source of carbon emissions in the country is Canada's oil industry, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada. The federal department found that oil and gas accounts for a quarter of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions. Of that, the oilsands is the most carbon intensive.

What are the 3 major pollution issues in Canada? ›

These pollutants, which include methane, ozone, and black carbon, contribute to many of the major environmental issues for Canada and the world.

Where is the most polluted place in Canada? ›

#1 Windsor, Ontario

Windsor, a city located along the Detroit River, has an average of 8.3 micrograms of PM2. 5per cubic metre. Individuals with lung or heart disease should consult Environment Canada's Air Quality Health Index before taking up physical activities on days of increased air pollution.

How is air quality measured in Canada? ›

The Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) is based on measurements of air quality from monitoring stations across Canada. For most communities, the AQHI value is produced by averaging information from the air monitoring stations in the local area.

How does air pollution affect humans? ›

Exposure to air pollution can affect everyone's health. When we breathe in air pollutants, they can enter our bloodstream and contribute to coughing or itchy eyes and cause or worsen many breathing and lung diseases, leading to hospitalizations, cancer, or even premature death.

Which country air quality is best? ›

Countries with the Best Air Quality
  • Norway.
  • Estonia.
  • New Zealand.
  • Iceland.
  • Canada.
  • Andorra.
  • Australia.
  • The Bahamas.
11 Mar 2022

Is the air better in Canada? ›

Canada ranks as one of the best places on Earth for air quality.

Which country has the best air quality 2022? ›

Australia topped the list as the least polluted country in the world, with 7 cities in the top 25. Of the 25 least polluted cities in the world with the best air quality, Nordic countries (Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland) dominated the rankings with some of the cleanest air in the world in 2022.

Which is the cleanest city in Canada? ›

Calgary, Canada, is considered to be the cleanest city in the world.

Who monitors air quality in Canada? ›

Environment and Climate Change Canada, working with the provinces and territories, monitors air pollution across Canada with networks of air quality measurement stations.

Who is responsible for pollution? ›

Who is responsible for the plastic pollution? There are three parties that bear this responsibility. Governments that can make and enforce rules, companies that produce or use plastics, and consumers. Each party has its own responsibility.

Who died from air pollution? ›

The combined effects of ambient air pollution and household air pollution is associated with 7 million premature deaths annually. Sources of air pollution are multiple and context specific.

What is good air quality? ›

The higher the AQI value, the greater the level of air pollution and the greater the health concern. For example, an AQI value of 50 or below represents good air quality, while an AQI value over 300 represents hazardous air quality.

What are the effects of pollution? ›

Exposure to high levels of air pollution can cause a variety of adverse health outcomes. It increases the risk of respiratory infections, heart disease and lung cancer. Both short and long term exposure to air pollutants have been associated with health impacts.

What is pollution explain? ›

Pollution is the introduction of harmful materials into the environment. These harmful materials are called pollutants. Pollutants can be natural, such as volcanic ash. They can also be created by human activity, such as trash or runoff produced by factories. Pollutants damage the quality of air, water, and land.

Why air is important in our life? ›

Air is important for living things.

Breathing is part of a process called respiration. During respiration, a living thing takes in oxygen from the air and gives out carbon dioxide. This process gives animals and plants the energy to eat, grow, and live life!

What are the 10 effects of air pollution? ›

Effects of Air Pollution
  • Harming Human Health. ...
  • Harming Animals and Plants. ...
  • Causing Acid Rain. ...
  • Reducing Sunlight. ...
  • Making a Hole in the Ozone Layer. ...
  • Adding Too Much Nitrogen to the Land. ...
  • Effects of Greenhouse Gas Pollution.

What is the causes and effects of air pollution? ›

The burning of fossil fuels releases harmful gases such as nitrogen oxides and sulphur oxides in the air. The water droplets combine with these pollutants, become acidic and fall as acid rain which damages human, animal and plant life.

Why is Canada No 1 country? ›

It ranks among the highest in international measurements of government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic freedom, education, gender equality and environmental sustainability. It is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration.

Is Canada a good country to live? ›

In many ways, Canada is a good country to live in. The quality of life is high, and there are plenty of job opportunities. But the cost of living can be expensive, and the winters can be harsh. As a Canadian, I've enjoyed my time living in Canada for the diversity, the culture, and the opportunities.

Is Canada suitable for living? ›

It is seen as an ideal place for those who are looking for a better quality of life and money. Canada is well known for its high standard of living and amazing quality of life. Not only does it have the right balance between work and play, but also the perfect environment to enjoy both.

Is pollution a crime in Canada? ›

Water-Pollution Control

Steep penalties are provided (a fine of up to $1 million and up to 3 years' imprisonment); each day on which the violation continues is considered a separate offence.

How much pollution does Canada have? ›

Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2022) National Inventory Report 1990-2020: Greenhouse Gas Sources and Sinks in Canada.
Key results.
YearTotal greenhouse gas emissions (megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent)
27 more rows
26 May 2022

Is Canada water polluted? ›

Pollution is one of the most significant threats to aquatic ecosystems in Canada because of its presence in our lives and in our environment.

Is Toronto very polluted? ›

This shows that the quality of air in Toronto is indeed very good, however it has a few small aspects to it as a whole that can causes some health issues related to pollution, as well as accumulations of smoke and fumes during certain times of the year, which will be discussed in short.

How does air pollution affect Canada? ›

Health Canada estimates that above-background air pollution, including air pollution from human sources in North America, contributes to 15,300 premature deaths per year in Canada. This includes an estimated 6,600 premature deaths in Ontario, 4,000 in Quebec, 1,900 in British Columbia and 1,400 in Alberta.

How air quality is tested? ›

Air quality is measured with the Air Quality Index, or AQI. The AQI works sort of like a thermometer that runs from 0 to 500 degrees. However, instead of showing changes in the temperature, the AQI is a way of showing changes in the amount of pollution in the air.

How AQI is measured? ›

The AQI is calculated from air quality data relating to the five pollutants that are monitored in the ACT. For each pollutant, the AQI is the data value expressed as a percentage of the level specified by the National Environment Protection Measure for Ambient Air (NEPM) standard.

Why is pollution a problem? ›

Pollution stunts economic growth, exacerbates poverty and inequality in both urban and rural areas and significantly contributes to climate change. Poor people, who cannot afford to protect themselves from the negative impacts of pollution, end up suffering the most.

What Air Quality Index is safe to breathe? ›

AQI values at and below 100 are generally considered to be satisfactory. When AQI values are above 100, air quality is considered to be unhealthy, at first for members of populations at greatest risk of a health effect, then for the entire population as AQI values get higher (greater than 150).

What is a good air quality index? ›

The higher the AQI value, the greater the level of air pollution and the greater the health concern. For example, an AQI value of 50 or below represents good air quality, while an AQI value over 300 represents hazardous air quality.

What is a good level of air quality? ›

Good 0-50 Air quality is considered satisfactory, and air pollution poses little or no risk. Moderate 51-100 Air quality is acceptable; however, for some pollutants there may be a moderate health concern for a very small number of people who are unusually sensitive to air pollution.

How does air quality affect health? ›

Poor air quality can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat, cause shortness of breath, aggravate asthma and other respiratory conditions, and affect the heart and cardiovascular system. Breathing polluted air for long periods of time can cause more serious problems.

What affects air quality? ›

Sunshine, rain, higher temperatures, wind speed, air turbulence, and mixing depths all affect pollutant concentrations. National Weather Service provides model forecast guidance for ozone, dust and fine particulate matter twice daily and smoke predictions once daily for next 48 hours.

Where is the healthiest air quality? ›

Hawaii has, on average, the cleanest air in the USA overall. It has an AQI value of 21.2, which is in the healthy range set by the EPA. The American Lung Association ranks two cities in Hawaii in the top 25 cleanest US cities for year-round particle pollution.

Which is the most polluted city in the world 2022? ›

New Delhi: Despite a ban on firecrackers, the air quality in Delhi on Diwali was recorded in the 'very poor' category, making it the most polluted city in the world. According to a report, the national capital was the most polluted city in the world on Monday (October 24, 2022), followed by Pakistan's Lahore.

Which city has highest AQI? ›

Rank100 Most Polluted CitiesAQI
1Vrindavan, India492
2Birganj, Nepal407
3Hathras, India364
4Peshawar, Pakistan349
46 more rows

Which city has best air quality? ›

Cleanest Cities | State of the Air
Altoona-Huntingdon, PAaltoona-huntingdon-pa.html1
Tupelo-Corinth, MStupelo-corinth-ms.html1
Urban Honolulu, HIurban-honolulu-hi.html1
Virginia Beach-Norfolk, VA-NCvirginia-beach-norfolk-va-nc.html1
Waco, TXwaco-tx.html1
59 more rows

Which country has the cleanest air in the world? ›

Countries Which Have The Cleanest Air
  • Iceland. ​The country has one of the cleanest airs as it's the least population density and the greenery combines with the scenic beauty makes this one of the most popular travel destinations for people. ...
  • Canada.
  • Finland. ...
  • Brunei. ...
  • Estonia.

Why is air quality so important? ›

Air pollution can trigger heart attacks or strokes. In fact, one in three Americans has heart disease which can be worsened by air pollution. Breathing clean air can lessen the possibility of disease from stroke, heart disease, lung cancer as well as chronic and acute respiratory illnesses such as asthma.

How AQI is calculated? ›

Our air quality index is calculated based on averages of all pollutant concentrations measured in a full hour, a full 8 hours, or a full day. To calculate an hourly air quality index, we average at least 90 measured data points of pollution concentration from a full hour (e.g. between 09:00 AM and 10:00 AM).


1. Be Air Aware - Air Quality and Health Index
(BC Lung Foundation)
2. Air Quality Index: What It Means for You
(Monterey Bay Air Resources District)
3. Air Quality Health Index - English
(Alberta Environment and Protected Areas)
4. What is the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI)?
(Ottawa Public Health)
5. How we measure air quality
(EPA Victoria)
6. Delhi Air Quality Now "Severe", Most Polluted Day Of The Season So Far
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