Air quality monitoring

Air quality monitoring in Yukon

The government monitors air quality by measuring specific pollutants. When these pollutants are above certain concentrations, they can affect human health.

Yukon has an outdoor air quality monitoring station in downtown Whitehorse. This station is part of the Environment and Climate Change Canada’s National Air Pollution Surveillance (NAPS) network. Data from this station feeds into a Canada-wide air quality database, and also provides us with a real-time air quality health index (AQHI) and forecast for the Whitehorse area. The measurements tell us about health risks associated with the current air quality. The AQHI’s risk index ranges from 1 (low) to 10 (very high).

See the Whitehorse AQHI or download the app for Android or iPhone and iPad and the Guide to Air Quality Health Index forecasts for more information about air quality in Whitehorse.

Whitehorse air quality monitoring study

This 2015 study monitored fine particulate matter like pollen, woodsmoke and dust. There were 9 air quality monitors set up in Whitehorse neighbourhoods. Data gathered informs our recommendations for health and environment issues. See the results of this study.

This project started as a pilot to complement data from the NAPS station and to address concerns about pollution in Whitehorse neighbourhoods. Air quality monitoring is continuing in Whitehorse and Dawson City, where air quality may be a concern. Data and experience from current air quality monitoring helps inform and plan for future monitoring and program development.

Why the government monitors air quality

Poor air quality can affect the natural environment and public health. We monitor air quality so we can understand the potential health impacts of air pollution on Yukoners.

Emissions from wood stoves, forest fires, vehicles, diesel generators, clearing land, burning garbage or waste and other commercial and industrial activity all produce air pollution.

Controlling air emissions

We regulate the release of air emissions and the use of ozone depleting substances and other halocarbons (ODS&OH) in Yukon. You will need a permit for both activities.