On March 13, 1991, the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Canada signed
the Canada-United States Air Quality Agreement. The stated purpose of the Agreement was to
establish “a practical and effective instrument to address shared concerns regarding
transboundary air pollution”.
Under Article VIII of the Agreement, the governments established a bilateral Air Quality Commit-
tee composed of an equal number of members representing each government. The committee is
responsible for assisting with implementation of the Agreement, reviewing progress made,
preparing and submitting periodic progress reports to the governments and releasing the progress
reports to the public. Environment Canada and the United States Environmental Protection
Agency are the lead agencies on the Air Quality Committee.
In December 2000, the Ozone Annex (Annex III) to the Air Quality Agreement was signed by the
governments of Canada and the United States. The Annex commits to emission reductions of
nitrogen oxides (NO ) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), the precursors to ground-level
ozone and contributors to transboundary air pollution. The commitments in the annex are ex-
pected to achieve significant reductions in these pollutants, thereby reducing smog and assisting
the countries to attain their air quality goals to protect human health and the environment.
Article IX of the 1991 Agreement assigns the International Joint Commission (IJC) a Reference for
the purpose of assisting the governments in the implementation of the Agreement. The following
responsibilities are assigned to the IJC:
to invite comments on each progress report prepared by the Air Quality Committee;
to submit to the Parties a synthesis of the views received as well as the record of such
views if either Party so requests; and
to release the synthesis of views to the public after its submission to the Parties.
The 2002 Progress Report by the United States and Canadian Governments’ Air Quality Commit-
tee is the sixth progress report under the Agreement. In addition to building on previous progress
reports, it includes the first reporting on progress under the Ozone Annex. The report also in-
cludes the Air Quality Committee’s second five-year review of the Agreement which is called for
under Article X of the Agreement.
Following release of the 2002 Progress Report by the governments in November 2002, the
International Joint Commission invited public comment on the report through a number of
means, including:
notices in the U.S. Federal Register and Canada Gazette;
media releases in both countries;
notices in the IJC’s newsletter Focus;
request for comments prominently displayed on the Commission’s web site;
letters sent to about 170 groups and individuals in both countries;
notice in the 2002 Progress Report;
notice on the EPA and Environment Canada web sites along with the Progress Report;
telephone calls to selected individuals; and
meetings with non-government organizations in Ottawa on February 7, 2003 and in
Toronto on February 19, 2003.