This page has been archived on the Web

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

Skip booklet index and go to page content

ARCHIVED - CEPA Annual Report for the Period April 1995 to March 1996

CEPA Part V: International Air Pollution

Part V of CEPA covers activities related to domestic sources of air contaminants that create air pollution in other countries or violate international agreements.

Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) Protocols

Canada has signed two protocols for managing SO2 emissions under the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution. Canada has exceeded both of these commitments.

In 1995, national SO2 emissions were estimated to be 2.6 million tonnes, or 19% below the agreed to national cap of 3.2 million tonnes. Emissions in a region of southeastern Canada referred to as the Sulphur Oxide Management Area (SOMA) were estimated to be 1.3 million tonnes, or 26% below the SOMA cap set at 1.75 million tonnes for the year 2000. These emissions reductions were largely achieved as a result of the federal-provincial Eastern Canada Acid Rain Program, which capped provincial SO2 emissions in the seven easternmost provinces. Provincial regulations ensured that the caps were met on time. Some western provinces also set stringent emission requirements on certain major new sources, such as natural gas plants, to minimize the growth in emissions.

However, even with full implementation of both the Eastern Canada Acid Rain Program and the U.S. Acid Rain Program, Canada will continue to receive harmful levels of acid deposition. As a result, Canada is working with the provinces to develop, by 1997, a new National Strategy on Acidifying Emissions to further protect the environment and human health.

The Atlantic Region completed a feasibility study respecting emissions trading for sulphur dioxide management in Atlantic Canada.

Nitrogen Oxide (NOX) and Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Protocols

Under UNECE agreements, Canada has signed protocols for both NOX and VOC reductions. Canada has met the commitments of the First Nitrogen Protocol, freezing NOX emissions at 1987 levels beginning in 1994. The Second Nitrogen Protocol is currently being developed. The VOC Protocol commits Canada to a freeze on VOC emissions at 1988 levels beginning in 1997 and a 30% reduction in the Lower Fraser Valley (LFV) of British Columbia and in the Windsor-Quebec Corridor (WQC). Canadian VOC emissions are being reduced and additional control measures are being developed to further reduce emissions in the LFV and WQC.

Because a majority of the ozone smog in Canada is the product of pollutants transported from the United States, Canada is closely following U.S. actions to cut smog-producing emissions, as well as working with the U.S. to move towards binational actions on smog.

Progress is also being made on implementing a transboundary, open market Pilot Emission Reduction Trading program for NOX emission sources in Ontario. There may also be an opportunity for Canada to link with an interstate budget/trading framework for large stationary sources that has been developed by the 37-state Ozone Transport Assessment Group (OTAG) in the United States.

Implementation of recommendations from the CCME "Cleaner Vehicles and Fuels Initiative" will harmonize Canadian control standards for vehicles with those in the U.S. and introduce low-emission vehicle technology and reformulated vehicle fuels to the Canadian market.

National and Regional Smog Management Plans

As originally anticipated in the 1990 NOX/VOC Management Plan, a second phase of additional measures need to be implemented to consistently meet the 82 parts per billion (ppb) ozone objective.

This Next Steps Smog Plan will contain a review of the smog issue, including the relevant scientific advancements, the results of the 1990 measures and the additional requirements to meet the 82 ppb objective. It will also describe the regional plans for the LFV, the Ontario and Quebec portions of the WQC and the Southern Atlantic Region (SAR). These areas have been identified as having the most serious smog problems in Canada. Preliminary work has begun on the development of Regional Plans for the Ontario and Quebec segments of the WQC and for the SAR. The LFV has had a smog reduction plan in effect for several years. The Next Steps Smog Plan will be presented to the CCME in 1997.

Canada-United States Air Quality Agreement

The Canada-United States Air Quality Agreement was signed in 1991 to protect both countries from transboundary air pollution. While the Agreement provide a framework to deal with all transboundary air pollution, it currently only contains commitments for SO2 and NOX emissions, aimed at reducing the acid rain problem.

The Agreement reiterates Canada's commitments to cap national SO2 emissions at 3.2 million tonnes. It also calls for a 10% reduction in NOX emissions from stationary sources by the year 2000 and NOX emission controls on mobile sources equivalent to those in the U.S.. Canada has met its SO2 commitments, as discussed under "Sulphur Dioxide Protocols," and will achieve the NOX commitments.

The U.S. is committed to reducing its SO2 emissions by 40% from 1980 levels by 2010, and its NOX emissions by 10% by 2000. It is on track to meet these commitments.

In 1995, as per the Agreement, Canada and the U.S. completed a five-year review of the Air Quality Agreement, with input from the public. Both countries concluded that the Agreement is largely working as intended but that a few differences still remain. They also acknowledged that control of transboundary air pollution has not occurred to the extent necessary to protect the environment, particularly for acid sensitive areas. Canada and the U.S. are currently determining what follow-up action is required. The review will be published in the 1996 Progress Report on the Air Quality Agreement scheduled for release in the fall of 1996.

With respect to the Canada/U.S. Regional Ozone Study Area (ROSA), Ontario Region prepared an analysis of 1995 ground-level ozone season in Ontario, including the preparation of back trajectories for source region analysis during specific episodes of poor air quality.

The Ontario Region also participated in discussions between Canada and the U.S. to investigate the feasibility of, and interest in, establishing an agreement on an air quality management plan for protected spaces within the Great Lakes Basin. Further discussions are planned.

Date modified: