Emissions are another major focus of the Environmental Protection program. Through the Clean Air Agenda, the Government of Canada has been working towards making major improvements in Canada’s environment by addressing the challenges of climate change and air pollution. To this end, the department is working on a number of fronts to help reduce emissions:

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Aviation Emissions

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The Government of Canada has committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from federal government operations by 17 per cent nationally by 2020, compared to the 2005 base year. Part of this national target will be reached through Theme IV – Shrinking the Environmental Footprint – Beginning with Government. Emissions from federal government operations originate from two main sources: building operations and vehicle fleet.

Each federal department is responsible for setting its own emissions reduction target based on previous data and potential opportunities using existing resources. Transport Canada’s operations represent five per cent of the total greenhouse gas inventory. Based on Transport Canada’s 2005/06 greenhouse gas performance data, our target is to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 21 per cent by 2020/21.

Environmental Protection is responsible for reporting Transport Canada’s progress in meeting its greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, as set by the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy. Environmental Protection helps regional staff and other Transport Canada groups, to ensure consistency and accuracy in reporting. We also prepare the department’s annual Progress Report for Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction.

Air Quality

The Canadian Environmental Protection Act has defined Federal Ambient Air Quality Objectives for numerous pollutants with which airports should adhere. Carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone and total hydrocarbons are among those chemicals associated with airport and aircraft activities that are subject to these objectives.

Transport Canada has conducted emissions assessments at airports since the 1970s, when concerns were first raised regarding airport source impacts on ambient air quality. A Review of Ambient Air Quality at Major Canadian Airports (TP 9606) outlines the results of 16 studies completed over a 15-year period. These studies were conducted as part of a commitment to ensure that national environmental objectives were being met.

ASCENT - Aviation Sustainability Center

In 2003, the United States Federal Aviation Association (FAA) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration established Partnership for AiR Transportation Noise and Emissions Reduction known as "PARTNER", a Research Centre of Excellence for aircraft noise and aviation emissions mitigation. In 2004, Transport Canada, Environmental Management, joined the Federal Aviation Association and National Aeronautics and Space Administration as a sponsor. The Centre is a research organization that leverages a broad range of stakeholder capabilities to foster breakthrough advances in the area of aircraft noise and emission mitigation.

In 2013, the FAA created a new Centre of Excellence for Alternative Jet Fuels and the Environment entitled the Aviation Sustainability Center (ASCENT), which will replace PARTNER. ASCENT will explore ways to meet the environmental and energy goals including noise, air quality, and climate change. Some of the areas of research will include new aircraft technologies and sustainable alternative aviation jet fuels.

Transport Canada is a contributing member of ASCENT.

Commuter Options

Environmental Protection manages and promotes the Commuter Options program by offering a Commuter Options Guide to small, medium or large employers anywhere within Canada. The guide presents practical and proven ways for employees to increase their use of commuting options, other than driving alone to work. The program focuses on providing information on commuter options, including active transportation, public transit, carpooling and teleworking for any workplace.

The guide comes with materials that business groups, government agencies or non-profit organizations can use to deliver a one-day training workshop to interested employers.

The Commuter Options Guide and workshop are designed for small, medium or large employers anywhere in Canada, in both the public and private sectors. 

To learn more about Transport Canada’s Commuter Options program or to request the guide and/or workshop materials, please email env@tc.gc.ca.

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