Canada Environment

Feds finalize regulations to improve air quality and protect human health

New national regulations to reduce air pollution from the petroleum and petrochemical sectors will improve air quality for nearby communities and workers. (Environment and Climate Change Canada)

OTTAWA – The federal government introduced national regulations to reduce air pollution from the petroleum and petrochemical sectors, saying it will improve air quality for nearby communities and workers.

Government of Canada finalized national regulations to reduce pollution from petroleum and petrochemical facilities across the country, including in Alberta, Saskatchewan Sarnia, Mississauga, Montréal, Burnaby, Prince George, and Saint John.

“The pandemic has reminded us how important access to nature and fresh air is to our everyday life and well-being,” said The Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Jonathan Wilkinson. “These new regulations will contribute to the health of Canadians while ensuring the prosperity of our economy and protecting jobs today.”

The regulations will lead to $192 million in health benefits from 2021 to 2037. Health benefits include an estimated 34 fewer premature deaths, almost 6,900 fewer days without asthma symptoms, and more than 33,600 fewer days of restricted activity.

Harmful airborne substances—known as volatile organic compounds—emitted from these facilities contribute to premature deaths and more frequent and severe asthma symptoms, and they force workers and nearby residents to interrupt their daily activities.

The Government of Canada worked closely with industry to provide many compliance options to minimize costs. Many of the new requirements to reduce air pollution are already in place for similar facilities in the U.S. These measures support competitiveness as the petroleum and petrochemical sectors begin to recover from the economic downturn and low energy prices.

The regulations also support clean growth in Canada’s energy sector and complement the commitment to meet and exceed the country’s 2030 emissions-reduction target and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

By inspecting and repairing leaks, the oil and gas industry will avoid losing valuable fuel products, which are also released with volatile-organic-compound emissions. Stopping the leaks will generate revenue of around $49 million for the oil and gas industry, between 2021 and 2037.

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