Options for Managing Industrial Air Pollution in Canada discusses how industrial emitters are responsible for a large proportion of emissions of smog and acid-rain-causing pollutants. The current approach to reducing the emissions of air pollutants at the provincial/territorial level in Canada largely consists of command and control regulations, with some exceptions; this, and the need to continue to make improvements in air quality, suggest that there is scope for the greater adoption of economic instruments for air quality management.

Key Messages

  • Improving air quality continues to be a challenge in Canada, especially in urban and industrial areas. Industrial emitters are responsible for a large proportion of emissions of smog and acid-rain-causing pollutants.
  • The current approach to reducing the emissions of air pollutants at the provincial/ territorial level in Canada largely consists of command and control regulations, with some exceptions; this suggests that there is scope for the greater adoption of economic instruments for air quality management.
  • Command and control mechanisms may be necessary for some pollutants, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulate matter (PM), due to human health considerations. However, sulphur dioxide (SO2) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions can be cost-effectively managed through emissions trading systems. Another option not yet explored in Canada, though in place in several countries in Europe, is emissions charges.
  • Various approaches to air quality management can achieve the desired air quality outcomes with the right design elements in place, though market-based approaches may do so at a lower cost.