Environment Canada

Environment Canada

June 06, 2008 14:09 ET

Government Takes Action for Cleaner Air: Air Quality Alert System Expanded to 5.3 Million People Living in the Greater Toronto Area

BURLINGTON, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 6, 2008) - Mike Wallace, Member of Parliament for Burlington, on behalf of Canada's Environment Minister John Baird, and Health Minister Tony Clement, today announced that the world's first Air Quality Health Index is being expanded to six communities in the Greater Toronto Area.

"Canadians are entitled to clean air, to know the quality of the air they breathe and what they can do to reduce harmful impacts of air pollution," said Mr. Wallace. "A year ago our Government announced $30 million to establish an alert system across the country to provide Canadians with the tools they need to make the right decisions for their families. This investment, combined with our Turning the Corner plan to cut air pollution from industry by 50 per cent, shows how serious we are about cleaning up the air we breathe and improving the health of Canadians."

Canada's Air Quality Health Index, found at www.airhealth.ca, provides real time information to Canadians on the quality of the air they're breathing. It is a key tool in preventing injury and illness to those with asthma or other respiratory illnesses. The project is supported jointly by the Governments of Canada and Ontario, along with Toronto Public Health. In July 2007, the Government of Canada announced the 18-month pilot project for Toronto.

"Ontario is a world leader when it comes to fighting air pollution and protecting the health of its citizens," said Ontario Environment Minister John Gerretsen. "As a province, we support the pilot Air Quality Health Index because we want citizens in the Greater Toronto Area and other cities to have access to the most accurate information possible on the health risks of poor air."

Today's announcement is part of a clean air initiative across Canada where Member of Parliament Ed Fast announced that the British Columbian pilot project is moving from a pilot program to full implementation. British Columbians in 14 communities across the province will now have access to the most up to date air quality information available.

With federal funding of $30 million over four years, the Air Quality Health Index will be rolled out to other mid- and large-sized communities across the country. Federal partnerships with municipal and provincial and governments and non-governmental organizations partnerships are key to the program's success In Ontario, essential air quality monitoring data and assistance with forecasting the health index is provided by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.

This announcement compliments the Governments other clean air initiatives including the launch of a national vehicle scrapage program to get smog-producing cars off the road, tough new emissions standards to reduce air pollution from cars and limits on smog-producing chemicals in everyday products.

For more information about the Government of Canada's environmental initiatives, please visit: http://www.ecoaction.gc.ca

Egalement offert en francais

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of Health
    Laryssa Waler
    Press Secretary
    613-957-0200
    or
    Office of the Minister of the Environment
    Eric Richer
    Press Secretary
    819-997-1441
    or
    Health Canada
    Media Relations
    613-957-2983
    or
    Environment Canada
    Media Relations
    819-934-8008 or 1-888-908-8008
    or
    For Air Quality Health Index
    Claude Cote (French)
    506-452-4166
    or
    Mike Howe (English)
    506-451-6015