In 2011, the City initiated a series of local air quality studies to evaluate the presence of pollutants and the potential cumulative health impacts of these pollutants on local communities. The studies are conducted by City's Environment & Energy Division and Toronto Public Health, in partnership with the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC).
- identify the sources and concentrations of 30 pollutants that have the most potential to affect local air quality
- determine which of the 30 substances (if any) exceed air quality standards (AAQC and CWS)
- assess the cumulative health impacts of the 30 substances (see below) on local residents
- Set priorities and determine strategies to reduce exposure and improve the health of Toronto residents.
The study includes emissions data from Toronto, Southern Ontario and the northeastern United States, and from all sources - including industrial, commercial, residential, transportation-related, agricultural, and natural. A computer model is used to calculate and map the concentrations of 30 air pollutants in specific areas of Toronto.
In the two studies completed to date, the key sources of emissions affecting local air quality were:
- Road vehicles
- Fuels used to heat and cool homes and businesses.
Detailed Study Findings
Upcoming Study Areas
- Wards 8, 9, and 10 (York West - York Centre)
- Wards 39, 40, and 41 (Scarborough Agincourt and Rouge River)
- Wards 26, 29, and 31
In addition to the local air quality studies, actions that the Environment & Energy Division are leading on behalf of the City include:
- Community Facilitators - The City hired Community Facilitators to help local residents, community groups and businesses initiate projects that will help to green our neighbourhoods and reduce emissions. The community outreach program ended in 2015.
- Advocacy: Federal emission standards - In November 2014, the Environment and Energy Division and Toronto Public Health responded to the Federal Government's consultation on Regulations Amending the On-Road Vehicle and Engine Emission Regulations and Other Regulations Made Under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (proposed ORVEER amendments, Canada Gazette Part I). The City asked the federal government to improve the regulation to reduce heavy-duty vehicle emissions. A disproportionate amount of transportation-related air pollution comes from heavy-duty vehicles. Based on Government of Canada data, in 2009 heavy-duty vehicles, which account for 1.5% of vehicles in Canada, were responsible for almost 80% of PM2.5 emissions and over half of NOX emissions from vehicles in Ontario.
- Advocacy: Provincial regulations and programs - In March, 2015, as part of its submission to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change's Climate Change Discussion Paper, the Environment & Energy Division encouraged the province to provide regulations and programs to retire conventional diesel and gasoline heavy duty vehicles and engines and support alternatives, innovation and technological research in urban goods movement delivery including transportation information systems, low carbon last mile goods delivery vehicles, and public transit options for goods movement.
- Clean Air Council - The Clean Air Council is a network of 28 municipalities and health units from across the Greater Toronto, Hamilton and Southern Ontario Area who work collaboratively on the development and implementation of clean air and climate change mitigation and adaptation actions. The City of Toronto has been a member and financial supporter of the CAC since 1991.
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