2009 Air Pollutant Emission Summaries and Historical Emission Trends
National, provincial and territorial emission summaries for key air pollutants are now available for the 2009 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 published to:
- 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.
The data includes emissions of the key air pollutants contributing to smog, acid rain and poor air quality, and/or which affect human health. Emissions from most industrial and commercial sectors decreased in 2009 compared to 2008. In the longer term, overall, emissions of smog precursors, certain heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants declined between 1990 and 2009, with the exception of emissions from open and natural sources such as forest fires and agriculture.
Highlights of Key Air Pollutant Emissions (1990–2009, excluding natural and open sources):
- Sulphur oxide (SOx) emissions declined by 54%, including reductions from fossil fuel-fired electricity generating utilities and base metal smelters, factoring in two facility closures in 2009.
- Nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions decreased by 19%, mainly due to emission decreases from on-road vehicles. However, these reductions were partially offset by emission increases from the oil and gas extraction sector.
- Volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions decreased by 29% due to reductions from mobile sources and small reductions from various sectors.
- Hexachlorobenzene emissions decreased by 93% due to reductions from municipal incineration and fossil fuel-fired electricity generating utilities.
- 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 four polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)* declined by 64%. Reductions from mobile sources as well as the aluminum and iron and steel sectors were partially offset by increases from residential wood combustion.
- Emissions of particulate matter less than or equal to 2.5 microns (PM2.5) decreased by 34%. 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 15%, factoring in reductions from industrial sources and increases from mobile sources.
- Lead and cadmium emissions declined by 80% and 78% respectively due primarily to reductions from the nonferrous (base metal) smelting and refining sector. Lead emissions from aviation fuel use also decreased.
- Mercury emissions decreased by 84% primarily due to large reductions in the base metals sector and reductions from fossil fuel fired electricity generating utilities and incineration.
*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 Online Data Search application.
A Guide to Using and Interpreting 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 Guide to using and interpreting 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: