Views on Issues in Canada
Canada’s Air Quality Index (AQI) program needs to be enhanced and designed to give citizens
reliable information they can use and understand to protect their health. The importance of
real-time reporting of ambient air quality for all Canadians was stressed. The undefined
timeline for ongoing coordination and implementation of changes to the AQI was highlighted
as being unacceptable and the recommendation was made that the process be given top
priority by decision makers. (27)
Support was indicated for the government of Canada’s passage of On-Road Vehicle and
Engine Emission Regulations and Sulphur in Diesel Fuel Regulations and the Thermal Power
Generation Emissions National Guidelines for New Stationary Sources, but the question was
raised with respect to the application of the latter only to new plants and not refurbished ones.
The Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, while stating that his mandate does not extend
to commenting on binational agreements, provided copies of sections of his most recent
Annual Report for 2001-2002 on decisions of the Ontario government relating to air quality.
These included comments on: caps on airborne emissions from the electricity sector, emissions
trading, monitoring and reporting on emissions of airborne contaminants, changes in the Drive
Clean Program, control orders for Sudbury smelters and update on air issues. (5)
Views on Prevention of Deterioration and Visibility
Respondents noted one exception to the otherwise upbeat tone of the Progress Report is
contained in the twice printed statement “However, the United States continues to be con-
cerned that prevention of the deterioration of air quality and the presence of visibility are
required programs in the United States while Canada does not have comparable require-
ments”. To date there is no evidence that the Canada Wide Standard process has played any
role in reducing power plant emissions. (17)
The Conclusion of Section VI of the 2002 Progress Report (dealing with the five-year review of
the Agreement) states “The United States continues to be concerned that prevention of air
quality deterioration and protection of visibility are required programs in the United States
while Canada does not have comparable requirements”. Also noted is the Parties’ different
interpretations of the commitments to assess and mitigate the specified pollutants. The OMA
believes that Canada’s approach to the attainment of air quality standards is less stringent than
that of the United States and may be less protective of the population’s health. They suggest
that this weaker regulatory stance will make it more difficult for Canada to ask for greater
emission reductions from the United States. (26)
The Georgian Bay Association suggests that a similar program to the U.S. program under the
Clean Air Act of Prevention of Significant Deterioration and protection of visibility needs to
begin in Canada, note ozone haze offshore over the Georgian Bay. Canada and Ontario need
to move to prevent significant deterioration of this ecologically significant wilderness area.
Protection of visibility is an important issue for over 4,000 families in the area. Replacing
existing coal-fired generators with cleaner fuel would go a long way toward reducing ground-
level air pollution and greenhouse gases.