To protect human health and the environment, the Canadian Ministers of the Environment (CCME), including the Government of Alberta (GoA), committed to implement an Air Quality Management System (AQMS) in 2012 to manage air emissions across Canada.

Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards (CAAQS) are the component of the AQMS used to drive air quality improvement. CAAQS were developed through a collaborative process led by the CCME and cover four air quality parameters: sulphur dioxide (SO2), fine particulate matter (PM2.5), and ozone (O3), and more recently nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Forecasts indicate that most Alberta air zones will likely reach the orange CAAQS level for annual NO2 in 2021, and for this reason, managing this pollutant is of interest for Alberta.

NO2 is primarily formed through burning of fossil fuels. Conventional oil and gas represents almost half of NO2 emissions in Alberta; other major sources include transportation, oil sands, and electric power. It is important to begin addressing the elevated NO2 levels in Alberta in a timely manner as high concentrations of NO2 lead to adverse environmental impacts (e.g. smog, acidification, eutrophication and phytotoxicity) and health issues (e.g. respiratory problems).

Project Scope

This work focused on engaging CASA members to:

  • compile and summarize existing knowledge related to CAAQS emissions and exceedances at the orange and red levels,
  • fill knowledge gaps around air emissions where CAAQS exceedances are expected,
  • share the information gathered and confirm understanding with a broader audience, and
  • develop recommendations, approaches, and, solutions to reduce NOx emissions and minimize CAAQS exceedances.

Project Goal

The goal of the project was to promote stakeholder awareness of, and gather cross-sector perspectives on, NO2 CAAQS air quality issues and to identify and collaboratively develop potential approaches and solutions that have the support of implementers to manage NOx emissions to prevent CAAQS exceedances.

Project Objectives:

Objective 1

Summarize the Province’s experience and approaches related to O3 and PM2.5 CAAQS and former Canada-wide Standards (CWS) implementation at the orange and red levels, including possible applicability to the NO2 CAAQS.

Objective 2

Host one or more webinars to present the information from the background document to a broader audience.

Objective 3

Host one or more workshops to identify recommendations, potential approaches, and solutions on how to reduce NOx emissions in Alberta.

Objective 4

Evaluate and recommend management actions and/or next steps to reduce NOx emissions in Alberta based on the outcomes of Objectives 1 to 3.

Objective 5

Develop and implement a strategy and action plan for communicating the work of the project team.


Reading and Other Materials


The team’s final deliverables were approved by the board in September 2022. The final report will be publicly released in the coming months. For more information about this work, contact Project Manager Alec Carrigy at