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Healthy Environment

Air Quality Health Index



The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) is making it easier for people, including Simcoe Muskoka residents, to keep informed of the health risks associated with poor air quality. The new Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) provides real-time air quality measurements and forecasts, ranking air quality from 1 to 10+, similar to the way the UV index protects people from the harmful effects of too much sun. The lower the number, the lower the risk.

By knowing what the ranking of the air quality is, people can take action to protect their health by modifying or changing outdoor activities. Advice is provided for both the general public as well as vulnerable populations. 

Poor air quality is associated with thousands of premature deaths and hospitalizations in Canada each year. Air pollution worsens heart problems and aggravates lung conditions, such as asthma and bronchitis.  In healthy people, air pollution reduces lung function and irritates the eyes, nose and throat.

Prior to the expansion of the program, Barrie was the only region in Simcoe Muskoka that had monitoring for the AQHI available.

See the website, or the Qs and As below for more information. 


  • What is air pollution?

  • How does air pollution affect my health and the health of my family?

  • How do I know if I am at risk?

  • What is the Air Quality Health Index?

  • What can the AQHI tell me about the health risks I may experience due to the current local air quality? How does it work?

  • How should I respond to AQHI information about health risks?

  • How is the AQHI calculated?

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