B.C. Air Quality

Objectives and Standards for Industry

Air quality objectives and standards are nonstatutory limits on contaminants in the ambient air. They are used to guide decisions on acceptable emissions from industrial facilities. For example, if a new industrial facility is proposed, dispersion modelling can determine the anticipated ambient air impacts and the potential for meeting air quality objectives. An informed decision can therefore be made for allowing a new facility to be built and under what conditions.

These objectives and standards are set by the provincial and federal governments to protect human health and the environment. They usually include a numeric pollutant concentration, averaging time, rules or guidance on sampling methodology, and how the objectives or standards are to be applied. They may also be referred to as "air quality criteria" or "guidelines."

The province has adopted air quality objectives for a number of contaminants, including: PM10, PM2.5 (interim), ozone, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide. It has also adopted the Canada-wide Standards for Particulate Matter (PM) and Ozone.

A listing of the above criteria can be found in Air Quality Objectives and Standards for British Columbia and Canada (PDF: 78 KB/1 page).

New ambient air quality criteria for PM2.5 have been adopted by the Province of British Columbia. See New Ambient Air Quality Criteria for PM2.5. To guide implementation of these criteria, the ministry has released Guidance on Application of Provincial Air Quality Criteria for PM2.5 (PDF: 182 KB/18 pages).

For more information, see Objectives and Standards and The Legislative Framework.

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