• It’s easy
  • It’s healthy
  • It’s educational

The Air Quality Flag Program is the first of its kind in Canada and is being offered at a select number of BC elementary schools. Participating takes a few minutes each day and encourages students, staff and parents to think more about air, its connection to health, and how to be better stewards of air.

The Air Quality Flag Program is based on reporting through the Air Quality Health Index or AQHI. Flag colours correspond with the health risk categories in the AQHI: blue for low health risk, grey for moderate risk, brown for high risk and red for very high risk.  Learn more about risks associated with air pollution.

Some people react more to air pollution than others. Children are more at risk because they are often active outside, have less developed lungs and inhale more often and deeper compared to adults. The Air Quality Flag Program informs schools about local air quality through online resources and curriculum-linked material.

Fly a blue flag to tell your school it’s a good air day for everyone to get active outside.

A grey flag means it’s a good air day for most people to get active.

Fly a brown flag to tell your school it’s an OK air day for some, but others might feel symptoms if they are getting active.

A red flag means there is a lot of air pollution today. Everyone should take it easy.

The Air Quality Flag Program for schools encourages outdoor activity when the air quality is good, and provides school communities with ideas on how to remain active if the air quality is poor.

The Air Quality Flag Program for schools is the first of its kind in Canada, and will be piloted in communities across British Columbia.

Blog Posts

  • Take advantage of a good air day!

    Air Quality Flags help us learn more about the effect air quality has on our health. The flag colours – blue in particular – remind us to get active on good air quality days, which are frequently recorded in BC. Each day, students log in to their school page on airqualityflags.ca to raise the Air Quality Flag – sharing what kind of air day it is in their community. The school page has a blog, which students can use to share their thoughts on the day itself, or the topic of air quality. How students use the blog is up to them. Students in Brentwood Bay, BC, use it to share the kinds of daily activities they take part in on the playground. Here are some posts from the Brentwood Elementary blog: “Today is a blue flag day. It is 5.1 degrees Celsius. It is a good day to get moving and have fun. You could play soccer or baseball. It is a cloudy day in Brentwood Bay.” “8.7 degrees Celsius today. No rain for once!!!! It’s a great day to play capture the flag or manhunt outside.” “It’s a grey, cloudy, rainy day in Brentwood Bay today. At 4.1 degrees Celsius, it’s a great day to get hot chocolate. Let’s get outside and play soccer, rugby or ride our bikes in the rain!” The colour of the flag you raise each day... Read more →

  • Air Quality: Fact or Fiction?

    Learning something new always raises a few questions. As students learn more about air quality – it’s a great time to consider some common thoughts about the air and whether they are, indeed, facts. Air quality isn’t as bad during the winter. Fact:  Cooler air in winter can trap pollutants. Winter months are known as inversion months. Inversion is caused by warmer air moving over cooler, denser air, which stays trapped – keeping the cooler air closer to the earth’s surface. When that happens, particles in the air have a harder time dispersing (spreading) and stay closer to the ground, too. Inversions can continue for hours – even days. Temperature affects air quality. Fact: Temperature plays a role in the quality of the air. During hotter days in the summer, for example, the air closer to the earth’s surface can be much warmer than the air above. Sometimes large volumes of this warm air will rise and mix with the air farther away from the earth’s surface. When a small amount of polluted air mixes with a large amount of clean air, it can help disperse the pollution – leading to cleaner air. The rain washes the air. Fact: Rain can “wash” the dirt away.  Precipitation, especially rain, improves air quality by capturing particles and dissolving gases on its way to the earth’s surface. I live next to a park – the air... Read more →