Overview

Clearing the Air: Alberta’s Renewed Clean Air Strategy was released in 2012, and outlines strategic directions to enhance Alberta’s Air Quality Management System.

An action plan was also developed in conjunction with the Strategy. This action plan outlines short, medium and long-term actions.

To view both of these documents, please visit the Open Government Portal at:

Alberta has also developed province-wide management frameworks for acid deposition and electricity emissions management.

Industrial Management

Management of emissions from industrial facilities is an important aspect of air quality management in Alberta.

Ambient Air Monitoring

Ambient air monitoring in Alberta serves a number of purposes including:

  • Assessing impact of releases on the environment
  • Ensuring pollution control technologies are operating effectively
  • Providing data for tracking trends in environmental performance and effects

There are two main forms of ambient air monitoring in Alberta:

  • Community monitoring uses strategically located permanent monitoring stations to measure the level of air pollution where people live and to track trends over time
  • Perimeter (or fenceline) monitoring involves discrete sampling of substances at various locations along an industrial facility's property boundary to measure the level of pollution leaving a facility

The Environmental Monitoring and Science Division (EMSD), airsheds, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and industry operate a comprehensive network of about 110 air quality monitoring stations across Alberta that measure the ambient air quality.

Air quality data collected from ambient air quality monitoring stations are available electronically from Alberta’s air data warehouse.

Monitoring Air Quality During Wildfires

Air quality is monitored by Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) and Alberta’s airsheds year-round using continuous air monitoring stations located in more than 30 communities across Alberta. Real-time data from these continuous stations inform Albertans on current air quality conditions through the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI).

To monitor air quality during wildfires, the ministry deploys additional portable air quality monitors in areas not covered by continuous air monitoring stations. These instruments measure and report one-hour concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), one of the major components of smoke that poses risks to human health.

Accessing Air quality data during the 2019 wildfire season

Alberta’s wildfire season began in March 2019. Smoke from several active wildfires in northern Alberta is causing poor air quality and reducing visibility.

Alberta Environment and Parks has deployed eight portable monitoring systems that measure fine particulate matter in the High Level and Peace River regions. The data collected by these monitors provides the public, emergency response personnel and health authorities with up-to-date air quality conditions in the affected regions. A summary of the data collected since May 23, 2019 is available at: http://aemeris.alberta.ca/library/Dataset/Details/730

Real-time air quality data collected from the network of continuous monitoring stations is available through the AQHI tool at http://airquality.alberta.ca/map.

Learn more about the effects of wildfire smoke on air quality

This fact sheet (PDF, 431 KB) summarizes information about wildfire smoke and its effect on air quality in Alberta. More information on air quality monitoring in Alberta. More information about research on wildfire smoke in Alberta is also available at: http://environmentalmonitoring.alberta.ca/wildfire/wildfire-smoke-impacts-on-air-quality-in-alberta/