The Government of Canada has finalized national regulations that will reduce pollution from petroleum and petrochemical facilities across the country, including in Sarnia, Mississauga, Montréal, Burnaby, Prince George, Saint John, and many communities in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

“The pandemic has reminded us how important access to nature and fresh air is to our everyday life and well-being,” said Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Jonathan Wilkinson. “Our government is proud to be working directly with cities, Indigenous communities, industries, and all Canadians on solutions to protect our air quality. These new regulations will contribute to the health of Canadians while ensuring the prosperity of our economy and protecting jobs today.”

Harmful airborne substances — known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) —emitted from these facilities contribute to premature deaths and more frequent and severe asthma symptoms, and they force workers and nearby residents to interrupt their daily activities.

The federal government worked with industry to provide many compliance options to minimize costs. As a result, industries can find the most effective ways to reduce their pollution. Many of the new requirements to reduce air pollution are already in place for similar facilities in the US. These measures support competitiveness as the petroleum and petrochemical sectors begin to recover from the economic downturn and low energy prices.

The regulations also support clean growth in Canada’s energy sector and complement the commitment to meet and exceed the country’s 2030 emissions-reduction target and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

Copies of the final regulations are available in the Canada Gazette, Part II.

The regulations are expected to lead to $192 million in health benefits from 2021 to 2037. Health benefits include an estimated 34 fewer premature deaths; almost 6,900 fewer days without asthma symptoms; and over 33,600 fewer days of restricted activity.

Furthermore, by inspecting and repairing leaks, the oil and gas industry will avoid losing valuable fuel products, which are also released with VOC emissions. Stopping the leaks will generate revenue of around $49 million for the oil and gas industry, between 2021 and 2037.

Canada’s carbon-pollution pricing system and the Clean Fuel Standard (in development) include emissions-credit-trading systems that will also help to drive down greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas facilities.

For further information on these regulations, click here.

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