B.C. Air Quality

Air Quality Regulatory Framework

Air quality in B.C. is managed through a range of provincial acts and regulations (laws). The federal government also plays an important role, along with regional and municipal governments.

The Environmental Management Act and the Waste Discharge Regulation are the principal pieces of legislation for air quality and other environmental issues in British Columbia. Flowing from them are regulations that address specific air quality issues. These regulations set conditions on how certain classes of activities (e.g., a type of industry or business) may be undertaken. For information on obtaining an authorization to discharge waste to the environment, see Waste Discharge Authorizations.

The Government of B.C. consults with the public, business and industry, nongovernmental organizations and other interested parties in developing legislation. Local governments can also pass bylaws to control emissions from activities such as backyard burning.

Air quality management involves other processes and legislation. This includes the environmental assessment process under the Environmental Assessment Act. Proposed projects may need to undergo a formal environmental assessment, if required by criteria in federal or provincial legislation. This process identifies and assesses the potential impacts of a proposed project and develops measures to eliminate, minimize or manage those impacts. For more information, visit the Environmental Assessment Office website.

The government has passed crucial acts and regulations aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and addressing climate change. Regulations under these acts are being developed. Since air quality and climate change are interrelated, these laws will help decrease emissions that contribute to air pollution. To find out more, see the Ministry of Environment's website: Policy, Legislation & Programs.

Airshed planning (management), which involves a variety of government jurisdictions and other stakeholders, is another important way governments address air pollution.

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