Air Quality

Air quality and the discharge of air contaminants are regulated at the Federal, Provincial and Metro Vancouver levels.

Air Quality

What are the air quality regulatory requirements?

Air quality and the discharge of air contaminants are regulated at the Federal, Provincial and Metro Vancouver levels.

Federal Requirements

The National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) Program is Canada’s legislated, publicly-accessible inventory of pollutant releases (to air, water and land), disposals and transfers for recycling from industrial, institutional and commercial facilities across the country. Under the authority of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, owners or operators of facilities that meet published reporting requirements are required to report to the NPRI.

Provincial Regulations

The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Target Act (GGRTA) sets aggressive legislated targets for reducing greenhouse gases (GHG). Under the Act, B.C.’s GHG emissions are to reduce by at least 33 per cent below 2007 levels by 2020. Interim reduction targets of six per cent by 2012 and 18 per cent by 2016 will guide and measure progress. A further emission-reduction target of 80 per cent below 2007 levels is required for 2050.

The BC Carbon Neutral Government Regulation 392, 2008 requires all public sector organizations to measure, reduce and offset GHG emissions from buildings, vehicle fleets and paper use.

Metro Vancouver Regulations

The regulation of emissions from industrial, commercial and institutional stationary sources aims to minimize emissions, thereby avoiding adverse health impacts and environmental degradation.

The Air Quality Management Bylaw 1082, 2008 (PDF), prohibits the discharge of air contaminants from an industry, trade or business unless authorized by permit or regulation. The bylaw provides exemptions for certain activities, describes the management of permits and approvals, bylaw enactment, issuance of orders, powers of inspection, fees and costs, offences and penalties.

The Process Heaters Emission Regulation Bylaw 1087, 2008 (PDF), the “Boiler Regulation”, regulates air emissions from boilers fuelled with biomass, natural gas, or propane with a facility capacity of 50MW or less. The bylaw specifies requirements for registration, fees, biomass fuel management plans, emission limits, stack design, dispersion modelling, stack testing, continuous monitoring, record keeping, reporting, and maintenance tune-ups.

The Non-Road Diesel Engine Emission Regulation Bylaw 1161, 2012 (PDF), aims to reduce diesel emissions from industrial and construction machines – “diesel soot” (particulate matter) emissions are responsible for 67% of the lifetime cancer risk from air pollution in Metro Vancouver and are linked to several serious heart and lung diseases. The bylaw specifies requirements for registration, labelling, low-use, emission reduction measures; prohibits operation of never registered NRDE at points in time; restricts opacity and idling; and sets fines for contraventions.

^ Back to Top

What operations and activities are affected by air quality regulations?

Learn which UBC operations and activities are affected by air quality regulations, and what you need to do to maintain compliance.

^ Back to Top

What is UBC’s most current National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) report?

The Canadian National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) collects and publishes information about substances that may pose a risk to the environment and health. The NPRI is used for identifying and monitoring sources of pollution and developing indicators for air, land, and water quality. Under this legislation, the University provides Environment and Climate Change Canada with an annual report of air emissions from UBC Utilities. The substances of interest are known as Part 4 Criteria Air Contaminants (CACs) and Part 5 Speciated Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), commonly released from combustion sources that can cause or contribute to air issues such as smog and acid rain.

View the most recent NPRI annual report summary for CACs released by the UBC Bioenergy Research Demonstration Facility (BRDF) and Campus Energy Centre (CEC). Note: the bolded values in the BRDF column show contaminants above threshold values, which require reporting. UBC voluntarily reports for the CEC.

Contaminant BRDF – 2022 Releases from Wood-based Biomass & Natural Gas Combustion (Tonnes) CEC – 2022 Releases from Natural Gas & Diesel Combustion (Tonnes) NPRI Reporting Threshold – Annual Air Release Qty (Tonnes)
Carbon Monoxide 9.8 14.2 20
Nitrogen Oxides (expressed as NO2) 21.2 5.6 20
Sulphur Dioxide 1.5 0.91 20
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) 4.5 0.93 10
Speciated VOC’s 1.2 (Butane)

1.4 (Pentane)

Total Particulate Matter (PM) 0.13 0.11 20
PM10 0.13 0.077 0.5
PM2.5 0.13 0.049 0.3


^ Back to Top