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Ontario's Air Quality Improving

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Ontario's Air Quality Improving

McGuinty Government Helping To Clean Up The Air Ontario Families Breathe

Ontario is helping to improve air quality and protect the health of families.

According to Ontario's 2009 Air Quality Report emissions of common air pollutants are decreasing. Since 2003 nitrogen oxide decreased by 21 per cent or equivalent to taking three million cars off the road per year, carbon monoxide decreased by 14 per cent or equivalent to taking 350,000 cars off the road per year and sulphur dioxide decreased by 28 per cent.

In addition, since 2003 there has been a 17 per cent decrease in fine particulate matter in the air, such as smoke, fumes, dust, and pollen.

The strong actions Ontario has taken to help improve air quality include:

  • Turning off dirty coal-fired generation and replacing that power with cleaner energy sources
  • Introducing 59 new or updated air standards - the biggest move on air standards in 30 years
  • Reducing smog-causing emissions from cars and trucks through Drive Clean testing
  • Putting tough limits on nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide - two major smog-causing pollutants.

The province has an Open Ontario plan to build a strong, sustainable economy while protecting the environment and the health of Ontarians.

Quick Facts

  • In 2009 the province had just three smog advisories over five days.
  • Transboundary air pollution from the United States accounts for approximately 50 per cent of smog in Ontario.
  • Industrial and transportation emissions are decreasing compared to emissions from other increasing sources, such as residential.

Additional Resources


“Clean air is critical to protect our health. Our efforts to reduce industrial emissions, increase public transit and phase out coal plants are producing results. We are seeing those results in the improved quality of the air Ontario families breathe.”

John Wilkinson

Minister of the Environment

“I am glad to see the government's efforts to improve air quality in Ontario are working. Taking pollutants out of the air we breathe is good news for the environment and for our health.”

Dr. Rick Smith

Executive Director of Environmental Defence

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