• Environment Canada has issued a smog warning for several regions across Southern Quebec, including Montreal and Laval.
  • The government is asking people to avoid idling their vehicles and burning wood.
  • The Air Quality Index issued by the City of Montreal shows some regions to be quite bad.

While it is tempting to leave your car idling in your driveway for 15 minutes every morning to let it warm up, the impact on the environment is real. That's why Environment Canada is asking people in Montreal to think twice about letting "car engines idle unnecessarily," considering a smog warning has been issued for Montreal, Laval and several other areas throughout Southern Quebec.

The warning that was issued early this morning notes that the Island of Montreal, Châteauguay, La Prairie, Laval, Longueuil and Varennes will all have "high concentrations of fine particulate matter" in the air, which is "expected to persist" late into the morning. 

In addition to car engine exhaust, Environment Canada actually notes that wood heating is the "main source of fine particles that contribute to smog during winter."

Because burning wood produces such a large number of these particulates, Environment Canada suggests limiting the use of fireplaces and wood-burning stoves, in addition to using public transit, reducing driving speeds and not idling.

There are several other regions in Quebec that are also under a smog warning, in addition to the Metro Montreal region, including Saguenay and Lac-Saint-Jean, which have been under the warning since yesterday.

While Ontario is dealing with snow squalls, all of the regions in Southern Quebec that are highlighted in red, below, are under a Smog warning.

These regions include

  • Lac-Saint-Jean
  • Lachute
  • Saint-Jérôme
  • Lanaudière
  • Montreal
  • Laval
  • Richelieu Valley
  • Saint-Hyacinthe
  • Saguenay
  • Vaudreuil
  • Soulanges
  • Huntingdon

READ ALSO: Montreal Is Going To Be Colder Than Moscow This Week With 3 Straight Days Of Snow

The City of Montreal also surveils the air quality in the city on their Environment page, where they have also issued a smog warning for the city today.


The city is divided into sectors that each have their own Air Quality Index (AQI), which is measured by individual stations in each sector.

The AQI is updated every hour and the colours indicate the quality, with green being good, yellow being acceptable and red being poor.

You can follow Environment Canada's Montreal-specific Twitter page at @ECAlertQC147 to keep track of any warnings and to know when the Smog warning has been lifted.

Environment Canada notes in their warning that "smog especially affects asthmatic children and people with respiratory ailments or heart disease."

They suggest that these people "avoid intense physical activity outdoors until the smog warning is lifted."

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