Environment Canada clarifies that pizza ovens don’t meet pollutant threshold

Environment Canada announced that it does not plan to regulate emissions from wood-fired ovens, used predominantly by pizzerias and bagel shops after several media outlets, including True North, picked up the story from the Montreal Gazette.  

The Gazette piece alleged that a branch of Environment and Climate Change Canada, called the National Pollutant Release Inventory, had been in contact with several Montreal restaurants that use wood-fired ovens to determine whether or not they meet the emission-reporting threshold for pollutants.

The NPRI is a public inventory that tracks over 3,000 pollutants across Canada but does not set emission limits or enforce compliance, it only collects the data. 

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre addressed the story on social media, saying that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had launched “a crusade against pizza ovens.”

“Don’t worry about your 100% increase or the fact you can’t feed yourself,” said Poilievre, while speaking in a Vancouver pizza restaurant on Monday. “Justin Trudeau is spending your money going after pizza ovens here and everywhere and he will not stop until this crisis is resolved.”

Health Canada warned of the effects of wood smoke for carrying pollutants like carbon monoxide on its website. 

Environment Canada spokesperson Amelie Desmarais released a statement to clarify the work the NPRI team was doing. 

The department had been contacting pizzerias and bagel shops across Canada that use wood-fired ovens to determine if they meet the program’s reporting thresholds. 

However, “no wood-fired pizzeria or bagel shop has been identified as meeting the emissions threshold for reporting under published reporting requirements,” reads the statement, which went on to say that no in-person inspections were conducted.  

The statement also said that Environment Canada does not anticipate that “pizza shops or bagel shops will be pursued for further compliance promotion activities.”The Association of Restauration Quebec vice-president Martin Vézina told Global News that to his knowledge, no members of the group had reported being contacted by the federal government.

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