The negotiations centre on the 1991 Canada-US Air Quality Agreement’s Ozone Annex.

Between 35 and 90% of the ground level ozone detected in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia originates from the US Midwest and eastern seaboard, the Canadian Government claims.

Joint computer modelling estimates indicate that the implementation of a proposed US emissions reduction programme will improve air quality results by up to 56% in some areas of Ontario.

“The challenge for us over the course of this year is to reach an effective agreement which will benefit Canadians and Americans,” said Lloyd Axworthy, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Three key objectives of the Ozone Annex are:

  • reduce transboundary flows of ground-level ozone and precursor emissions
  • improve ambient air quality
  • reduce risks to health

The various Canadian provincial governments agreed national standards for ozone and particulate matter in November last year. The Canada-wide Standards are expected to be signed in Spring 2000.

Last month in Washington, both countries announced their commitment to take action to tackle health and environmental hazards on both sides of the border.

“The responsibility for clean air lies with all of us and I am committed to a strong agreement to be completed this year,” said Canadian Environment Minister David Anderson. “The Ozone Annex is a key element to achieve Canada’s air quality goals and an important component to manage ground-level ozone in Canada.”

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