In 2007, the City of Toronto established a target to reduce locally-generated air pollutants by 20% by 2012, in comparison to 2004 levels. While Toronto did not meet its 2012 target, air quality in the city has improved overall. Policies and programs implemented at all levels of government over the past decade, notably the coal phase-out in Ontario and emission reduction strategies used in power plants in the U.S., have reduced emissions and related health impacts. A report by the Environment and Energy Division to City Council in 2014 showed that air pollution emissions were only 2.8% lower than the 2004 benchmark. Air pollution continues to be a significant cause of illness in Toronto, and there is much work to be done to reduce harmful emissions.
In 2007, the City of Toronto Council adopted the Climate Change, Clean Air & Sustainable Energy Action Plan, establishing Toronto’s greenhouse gas and air quality emission reduction targets. The City initiated a number of actions to cut greenhouse gas emissions, clean the air and create a more livable and sustainable urban environment. Some of the many projects run by the City of Toronto to address local air quality include: Toronto Public Health, an online library of public health reports. The City of Toronto is assessing local air quality at the ward level, with studies now completed for Wards 5,6, 30 and 32 to better understand how to support air quality improvement measures. Other initiatives include Greater Toronto Clean Air Council, 20/20 The Way to Clean Air , ChemTrac, City of Toronto Idling Control By-law , Smart Commute , City of Toronto Bike Plan, BikeShare program, and the Toronto Walking Strategy