Environment Ministers move forward with new approach on air quality

Federal, provincial and territorial Environment
Ministers are moving forward with a new collaborative air
management approach to better protect human health and the

The decision was announced today in a
communique issued following a meeting of the Canadian Council of
Ministers of the Environment in St. John’s Newfoundland.

“Air pollution has a huge impact on the environment, human
health and the economy,” said Charlene Johnson, Newfoundland and
Labrador’s Minister of Environment and Conservation, and CCME

A study released by the Canadian Medical Association in 2008
calculated that the costs of illness caused by air pollution
exceeded $8 billion annually in Canada.  Air pollution also
has adverse effects on aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, reduces
agricultural and forestry production and damages building

“This new management approach is comprehensive, and will improve
air quality in Canada.  This initiative builds upon existing
federal, provincial and territorial actions to manage air quality,”
said Minister Johnson.  “Setting clear standards will ensure
closer links between strong economic development and a sustainable,
healthy environment.”

The proposed new air quality management system would include
more ambitious Canadian air quality standards and consistent
industrial emissions standards across the country. The nature of
provincial and territorial participation in the system will be
subject to individual jurisdictional approval.  It would
establish regionally coordinated airsheds and air zones within
individual provinces and territories. 

Under the new system, Canadians would have ready access to
information about air quality through new public reporting,
modeling and monitoring mechanisms.  This system would
facilitate discussions with the United States on air pollution that
crosses the Canada-US border.

Ministers have established milestones for progress and initiated
work on the first steps of the new system. They committed to a
collaborative process and will continue to engage
stakeholders.  The Ministers directed officials to develop the
major elements of the system in 2011.  Implementation will
begin in 2013. 

The system is based on a proposed model developed by a committee
of experts from governments, non-government organizations and
industry.  Ministers acknowledged the excellent work of the
multi-stakeholder committee over the last two years and thanked all

Ministers also approved a Water Action Plan that will begin in
January 2011. The three-year plan sets deliverables and outcomes
under five strategic goals adopted by ministers at their last
meeting.  These goals will help ensure that Canadians have
access to clean, safe and sufficient water to meet their needs in
ways that also maintain the integrity of ecosystems. Initial
activities under the Water Action Plan include developing:

  • A Canada-wide framework for sustainable management of

  • Guidance documents on sharing of ground and surface water data,
    climate change vulnerability assessments for watersheds and
    assessing water monitoring networks for climate change adaptation;

  • Canada-wide principles for Integrated Water Resource Management
    and sharing best management practices.

Ministers also announced the completion of a new country-wide
standard for compostable products and packaging developed by the
Bureau de normalisation du Québec, a standards

Under this voluntary program, manufacturers will be able to use
a special “Compostable” logo on their products to indicate they can
be composted in participating municipal or industrial
facilities.  The standard sets out criteria that products and
packaging must meet to prove that the material is compostable.

CCME is the primary minister-led intergovernmental forum for
collective action on environmental issues of national and
international concern.

Source: www.ccme.ca

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