2008 Air Pollutant Emission Summaries and Historical Emission Trends
National, provincial and territorial emission summaries for key air pollutants are now available for the 2008 calendar year, together with historical national emission trends data. Background information, data highlights, resources for accessing the data, and important considerations for its use are available below.
Air pollutant emission summaries and trends are
- Inform Canadians about pollutants that affect their health and the environment
- Identify priorities for action;
- Develop and track progress on air quality management strategies, policies and regulations; and
- Fulfill Canada’s domestic and international reporting obligations.
These emission summaries and trends are based on information reported to the National Pollutant Release Inventory by industrial and other facilities under Section 46 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999), as well as emission estimates for other sources such as motor vehicles, agricultural activities and forest fires. Air emissions summaries and trends are available for criteria air contaminants as well as certain heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants.
Overall, air emissions of criteria air contaminants, certain heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants declined between 1990 and 2008, with the exception of emissions from open and natural sources. For natural and open sources there have been slight year-to-year increases since 1990 for some pollutants, such as particulate matter emissions from construction and agriculture due to growth in these activities, and from road dust due to growth in vehicle kilometres travelled.
Emissions from Mobile, Industrial, Commercial and Residential Sources (1990–2008)
- Sulphur oxide (SOx) emissions declined by 46%, with reductions from fossil fuel-fired electricity generating utilities and base metal smelters.
- Nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions decreased by 15%, with emission decreases from on-road vehicles partially offset by increases from oil and gas extraction.
- Volatile organic compound (VOCs) emissions decreased by 25%, due to reductions from mobile sources and small reductions from many industries.
- Emissions of Particulate Matter less than or equal to 2.5 Microns (PM2.5) decreased by 31%. Large reductions occurred from fossil fuel-fired electricity generating utilities, wood products and pulp and paper industries, and from mobile sources.
- Air emissions of ammonia decreased by 14% factoring in reductions from industrial sources and increases from mobile sources.
- Lead and cadmium emissions declined by 79% and 75% respectively due primarily reductions from the nonferrous (base metal) smelting and refining sector. Lead emissions from aviation fuel use also decreased.
- Dioxins and furan emissions decreased by 89%, primarily due to large reductions from incineration activities, the iron and steel sector and the pulp and paper sector.
- Emissions of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)* declined by 58%. Reductions from mobile sources as well as the aluminum and iron and steel sectors were partially offset by increases from residential wood combustion.*
- Hexachlorobenzene emissions decreased due to reductions from municipal incineration and fossil fuel-fired electricity generating utilities.
- Emissions from open and natural sources such as road dust, construction, agricultural activities and forest fires increased between 1990 and 2008. In Canada, natural and open sources are the largest sources of emissions of particulate matter, volatile organic compounds and ammonia.
*Note: Comprehensive air emissions information is available for the following four PAHs: Benzo[a]pyrene, Benzo[b]fluoranthene, Benzo[k]fluoranthene, and Indeno[1,2,3-cd]pyrene. NPRI facility-reported data is available for additional PAHs. For more information, see the NPRI Substance List and query tool.
Considerations When Using NPRI Data:
There are a number of important factors to keep in mind when using and interpreting NPRI data. For more information, please review the Considerations when using NPRI data page.
Information on Compilation of the air pollutant emission summaries and trends is also available.
Resources for Accessing NPRI Data:
- NPRI Online Data Search:
- Downloadable NPRI Datasets
- Date Modified: