Air quality in Yukon

Poor air quality can harm people's health. Smoke from forest fires, wood stoves, vehicle emissions, burning garbage and industrial activity all contribute to air pollution.

Air Quality Health Index for Whitehorse

The Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) is a tool that relates outdoor air quality to health, using a scale from 1 to 10+. The higher the number, the higher the health risk.

AQHI data is collected by Environment and Climate Change Canada. On the Government of Canada website, you’ll find the AQHI for Whitehorse, as well as readings for communities in other provinces and territories.

You can also download the AQHI Canada App to get air quality information on your mobile device. Get hourly AQHI readings and daily forecasts for communities across Canada, including Whitehorse.

Air quality and your health

Air quality has an impact on the health of the general public, especially the at-risk population: children, seniors, those with lung disease, heart disease or diabetes and people participating in sports or strenuous work outdoors.

Depending on the length of time you are exposed, your health status and the concentration of pollutants, air pollution can irritate your lungs, make it harder to breathe, and worsen chronic conditions.

The AQHI provides health information for each level of risk, and can be used to plan outdoor activities, especially if you are in an at-risk group, or care for someone who is at-risk.

AQHI data collection

The federal government’s National Air Pollution Surveillance Program (NAPS) provides standardized air quality data across Canada. As part of this program, the Department of Environment partnered with Environment and Climate Change Canada to operate an ambient air monitoring station in downtown Whitehorse. Data is collected for three pollutants that have the potential to cause an adverse effect to the environment and public health: particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide and ground level ozone. These measurements are used to report the Air Quality Health Index.

Whitehorse air quality monitoring study

In November 2015, the Yukon government launched a study to monitor fine particulate matter, and has installed nine air quality monitors in different parts of Whitehorse. Monitoring targeted air-emissions will provide a better understanding of air quality throughout Whitehorse, and help the government make recommendations for health and environment issues. The study is expected to be completed in March 2017.

For further information:

back to top

Air Emissions Regulations

The Air Emissions Regulations under Yukon's Environment Act protect both human health and the environment from harmful air pollutants by:

back to top

Ozone Depleting Substances Regulation

The Ozone Depleting Substances Regulations control and minimize the release of damaging ozone depleting substances into our atmosphere by:

          icon image - this is a pdf file69 KB

back to top


Air emissions permits are required for:

Permit application forms

back to top

The permitting system under the Environment Act was updated in 2014. For more information review the Permitting System web page.

Air quality standards


Additional resources

back to top

Contact Environmental Programs
Phone: 867-667-5683
Toll-free (in Yukon, NWT & Nunavut):
1-800-661-0408 ext. 5683
Fax: 867-393-6213
Email: envprot@gov.yk.ca
Address: Box 2703 (V-8) Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada Y1A 2C6