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News Release

Harper Government Delivers on Clean Air Commitments for Canadians

TORONTO, Ont. - May 24, 2013- Canadians will soon benefit from improved air quality, Environment Minister Peter Kent and Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq announced today, as a result of the new Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards (CAAQS).

"We are implementing a new system to improve outdoor air quality for all Canadians, in collaboration with the provinces and territories," said Minister Kent. "These new air quality standards are proof of our commitment to environmental protection, today and for generations to come."

The new standards lower short-term limits and introduce new limits for long-term exposure for particulate matter and ground-level ozone, which are two major components of smog. The CAAQS set objectives, based on health considerations, for outdoor air concentrations for these pollutants. They were developed collaboratively by Environment Canada, Health Canada, the provinces and territories, stakeholders from industry, and health, environmental and aboriginal organizations. The CAAQS are more stringent and more comprehensive than the current Canada-wide Standards for fine particulate matter and ground-level ozone.

"The quality of the air we breathe can have a direct impact on our health," said Minister Aglukkaq. "These new air quality standards are an important part of Health Canada's mandate to protect the health of Canadians."

These new air quality standards are the first concrete step towards implementing Canada's new Air Quality Management System (AQMS), which has been agreed to by provincial, territorial and federal environment ministers at the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment. It allows all levels of governments to work collaboratively and efficiently to respond to the different air quality challenges across the country.

Related document:

Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards [Backgrounder 2013-05-24]

For more information, please contact:

Mary Ann Dewey-Plante
Director of Communications
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

Cailin Rodgers
Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
Federal Minister of Health
613-957-0200

Health Canada Media Relations
613-957-2983

Health Canada Public Enquiries:
613-957-2991
1-866-225-0709