Municipal Affairs and Environment

Canada-wide Standards (CWS) for Particulate Matter and Ozone

In June 2000, in accordance with the 1998 Canada-wide Accord on Environmental Harmonization and its Canada-wide Environmental Standards Sub-Agreement, the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME), except for Quebec, endorsed a CWS Agreement for Particulate Matter (PM2.5) and ozone in air. The Agreement established numerical ambient concentration targets for PM2.5 and ozone that are to be met by the year 2010.

Numerical Targets and Timeframes

The CWS and related provisions for PM2.5 are:

  • A CWS for PM2.5 of 30μg/m3, 24 hour average, by 2010;
  • Achievement to be based on the annual 98th percentile ambient measurement, averaged over 3 consecutive years; and
  • Annual data set is complete if at least 75% of the scheduled sampling days in each quarter have valid data.

The CWS and related provisions for ozone are:

  • A CWS of 65 ppb, 8-hour running average, by 2010;
  • Achievement to be based on the 4th highest measurement annually, averaged over 3 consecutive years; and
  • Annual data set is complete if daily maximum 8-hour average concentrations are available for at least 75% of the days during the combined 2nd and 3rd quarters of the year.

Newfoundland and Labrador CWS Reporting Communities

The CWS requires all communities with a population greater than 100,000 to report on achievement. Based on the 2011 census, the St. John's census metropolitan area, with a population of 196,966, is the only community which is required to report on achieving the standards. The St. John's census metropolitan area includes St. John's, Mount Pearl, Paradise, Torbay and other surrounding areas.

Additionally, the CWS Agreement allows individual jurisdictions to establish CWS reporting locations in communities which have a population less than 100,000. Consequently additional monitoring locations have been established in Corner Brook and Grand Falls-Windsor.

Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Stations

Monitoring of ambient air quality in Newfoundland and Labrador occurs through a government monitoring network. The National Air Pollution Surveillance (NAPS) monitoring network is a joint program of the federal and provincial governments to monitor and assess the quality of the ambient air in Canadian urban centers. The NAPS network in Newfoundland and Labrador currently consists of four stations as detailed in Table 1.

Table 1 - Location of NAPS Monitors in NL
Location Station Start Year
St. John's 1991
Corner Brook 2001
Mount Pearl 2002
Gran Falls - Winsor 2003

Tables 2 and 3 detail the historical ambient levels of PM2.5 and ozone. Owing to the requirement to have a 75% data validation per quarter for PM2.5, if any particular quarter does not meet the criteria, then a 3-year average which incorporates the quarter in question cannot be generated. As such, 3-year averages could not be generated for St. John's, Mount Pearl and Grand Falls-Windsor. A 3-year average could be calculated for the Combined St. John's area however, which incorporates data from both St. John's and Mount Pearl. For all stations with reportable data, the CWS has not been exceeded.

Table 2 - Ambient PM2.5 Levels in Newfoundland
Annual 98th Percentile of the Daily 24-Hour PM2.5 (μg/m3) 3-Year Average of Annual 98th Percentile of the Daily 24-Hour PM2.5 (μg/m3)
St. John's Combined
Reporting Area
Corner Brook St. John's Combined
Reporting Area
Corner Brook
2001 17.7 - - -
2002 10.4 15.7 - -
2003 11.8 13.5 13.3 -
2004 9.1 11.9 10.4 13.7
2005 10.0 12.0 10.3 12.5
2006 7.6 10.2 8.9 11.4
2007 7.1 9.2 8.2 10.5
2008 9.7 ND 8.1 -
2009 12.6 ND 9.8 -
2010 11.2 11.2 11.2 -
2011 10.7 13.8 11.5 -
2012 8.4 13.2 10.1 12.7
CWS Criteria 30 30

ND = Insufficient data was collected during one of the quarters during the year rendering the year incomplete.
Data completeness of 75% in each quarter is necessary for accurate reporting.

Table 3 - Ambient Ozone Levels in Newfoundland
3-Year Average of 4th Highest 8-Hour Ozone (ppb)
St. John's Mount Pearl St. John's Combined
Reporting Area
Corner Brook Grand Falls - Winsor
1999 41.7 - 41.7 - -
2000 41.5 - 41.5 - -
2001 51.5 - 51.5 - -
2002 50.8 - 52.1 - -
2003 53.0 - 55.8 - -
2004 46.9 53.7 53.7 53.8 -
2005 45.1 52.7 52.7 52.0 -
2006 45.1 60.3 60.3 53.3 54.5
2007 49.4 60.5 60.5 51.4 51.5
2008 49.3 60.5 60.5 51.2 56.6
2009 48.8 51.5 51.5 48.9 56.6
2010 47.9 48.9 50.6 46.7 56.5
2011 48.3 48.6 50.3 46.9 49.0
2012 49.9 50.0 51.6 49.9 49.1
CWS Criteria 65 65 65 65 65

Status of Activities Related to PM2.5 and Ozone Implementation

Newfoundland and Labrador is in achievement of the CWS for PM2.5 and ozone. It was recognized in the drafting of the CWS for PM2.5 and ozone that in most areas of Canada, ambient levels are lower than the numerical standards that have been established. As a result, Ministers included in the CWS, provisions on environmental management in areas where ambient air quality is “better” than the levels set out in the standards. These provisions are called Continuous Improvement (CI) and Keeping Clean Areas Clean (KCAC).

The CWS levels are only a first step to subsequent reductions towards the lowest observable effects levels. Continuous Improvement consists of taking remedial and preventative actions to reduce emissions from anthropogenic sources towards the long-term goal of reducing overall ambient concentrations of PM2.5 and ozone below the CWS levels.

Keeping Clean Areas Clean refers to preventative measures applied either across a jurisdiction or within a specified area that are intended to avoid or minimize degradation in overall ambient concentrations of PM2.5 and ozone in areas not significantly affected by local sources of emissions. Polluting “up to a limit” is not acceptable.

As Newfoundland and Labrador is in achievement of the CWS for PM2.5 and ozone, all actions taken to reduce ambient PM2.5 and ozone are by definition CI or KCAC actions. Provincial, national and federal initiatives have been developed that will act in concert to improve ambient levels of PM2.5 and ozone within the province. A summary of these provincial regulatory initiatives, per the Air Pollution Control Regulations, 2004 are found in Table 4.

Table 4 - Regulatory Initiatives to Achieve the CWS for PM2.5 and Ozone
Direct Initiative Indirect Initiative
Ambient air quality standards for PM2.5 and ozone
which are more stringent than the CWS
Ambient air quality standards for NO2, SO2 and NH3 which
are precursors to PM2.5 formation
Installation of best available control technology in new or modified works Provincial annual SO2 emission cap
Limitation on the opacity of visual emissions NOx standards for fossil fired boilers and heaters
Prohibition of the burning of specific materials in an open fire Hydrocarbon emission standards for light duty motorized vehicles
Limitations on the burning of used oil, waste products or other materials in combustion process equipment under certain conditions Adoption of CCME Environmental Code of Practice for Vapour Recovery in Gasoline Distribution Networks
Prohibition of the manufacture and sale of residential wood compliance appliances that do not meet the CSA or EPA emission standards Adoption of CCME Environmental Guidelines for Controlling Volatile Organic Compounds from Aboveground Storage Tanks
Opacity standards for diesel fuelled heavy duty motorized vehicles Sulphur limits on the combustion of fuel of grades 4, 5 and 6

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