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Ambient Air Quality Objectives

Alberta's Ambient Air Quality Objectives are intended to provide protection of the environment and human health to an extent technically and economically feasible, as well as socially and politically acceptable. The following document summarizes these objectives.

Use of Objectives

The objectives are used to:

  • Assess compliance near major industrial air emission sources
  • Establish approval conditions for regulated industrial facilities
  • Evaluate proposals for constructing facilities
  • Guide special ambient air quality surveys
  • Inform Albertans on air quality through an air quality index
  • Report on the state of Alberta's atmospheric environment

Alberta Environment and Parks ensures that emissions from human activities will be minimized and that air quality continues to be better than the Ambient Air Quality Objectives.

Factors Objectives are Based on

These objectives are based on scientific, social, technical and economic factors that include:

  • Monitoring
    Can the substance be routinely monitored in the atmosphere?
  • Natural levels and fluctuations
    Do substances fluctuate as they enter the atmosphere from natural but uncontrollable sources (e.g. forest fires)?
  • Sensitive receptors
    Is one component of the environment or one stage in an organism's development more sensitive than another?
  • Substance behaviour in the atmosphere
    What reactions do a substance undergo and how long is the substance in the air?
  • Substance behaviour in the environment
    Can the substance bioaccumulate or biodegrade after entering the environment?
  • Technological availability
    What is the cost and availability of technology to control or avoid emissions?


The department has been reviewing ambient air quality objectives by multi-stakeholder consultation since 2000. Alberta now has air quality objectives for more than 30 substances that could be released to the atmosphere.

Any proposed new objective is posted for public review.

Ambient Air Quality Objectives Mailing List

The department has an automatic emailing system that will distribute information on ambient air quality objectives to those who subscribe to the list. Subscription to this list is open to all department staff, industry, NGOs and consultants, as well as members of the general public.

Please check that your email address is correct before you subscribe. If you do not receive a confirmation email after you have subscribed your subscription was not successful.

Subscription Form

Your email address: 



Personal Information Collection and Use Notification

The email address you provide to Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) is collected under the authorization of Section 8 (1) (2) of the Government Organization Act, and is being managed in accordance with Section 33 (c) of the Alberta Freedom of Information & Protection of Privacy Act. Submitting this information is strictly voluntary and by providing your email address you are giving AEP your permission to use your email address to subscribe to updates on AEP Ambient Air Quality Objectives Mailing List. Your email address will be shared in confidence with direct line Manager, Director and System Administrator. Your personal information will not be used or disclosed for any other purpose without your consent by AEP. Should you wish to have your personal information removed, changed or have any further questions or concerns, please contact:

  • Laura Blair, Air Policy
  • Tel: 780 427-4979


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Updated: Dec 21, 2018