Smog/Heat/Weather Alerts

For the protection of Oakville residents and town staff, the town implements Smog, Heat and Extreme Weather Protocols on days when the local air quality and weather may impact health.

If a Smog, Heat or Extreme Weather alert is called after business hours, on a weekend or statutory holiday — please visit the Halton Region website.

If a Heat Alert is issued, please visit the Heat Alert page for information on our cooling centres.

What are the health effects of smog?

  • Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat
  • Reduced lung capacity and tightness in the chest
  • Worsened conditions of asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema and heart trouble
  • Remember, contact your physician or go to your nearest hospital if you experience any breathing difficulties or respiratory complications

What should I do to protect myself on a Smog or Heat Alert Day?

At home:

  • Protect those most affected (e.g., children, elderly, asthmatics) 
  • Those with breathing and heart problems should pay special attention to increased symptoms
  • Avoid strenuous exercise in the heat of the day
  • Stay indoors if you can –– a cool, moist atmosphere is best
  • Leave mowing the lawn for another day
  • Don't use oil-based products such as paints, solvents or cleaners if you can avoid them –– they contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which contribute to smog
  • Don't use the barbecue
  • Turn down the air conditioning
  • Avoid using your car and take public transit, walk or cycle as able
  • Do not let your car or any other engine idle for long periods
  • Restrict your use of gasoline-powered equipment

At work:

  • Take public transit, or better yet, walk or cycle to work as able
  • If you use a car, car pool 
  • Consider teleconferencing instead of travelling to meetings
  • Turn down the air conditioning and put a casual summer dress code in place

      What is the town doing to improve local air quality and protect human health?

      The town’s 2010 Clean Air Strategy (pdf, 1.65 MB) outlines year-round actions to improve air quality and actions that are put in place during alerts. This strategy will be updated to reflect improved corporate actions and protocols. 

      The town’s response to heat, smog and extreme weather includes:

      Smog Alert Day Actions:

      • Post local air quality information throughout town owned facilities to alert both staff and residents
      • Suspend the use of non-essential fuel powered equipment such as lawn mowers
      • Suspend the use the use of permitted pesticides, paints, solvents and cleaners 
      • Suspend duties such as road resurfacing

      Heat/Humidity Alert Day Actions:

      • Stay cool at one of our facilities such as recreation centres, libraries and pools 
      • Implement and improve upon many of the Smog Alert Day actions
      • Promote the use of the Air Quality Health Index to vulnerable populations and people with existing health problems

      Related links

      Halton Region Health Department 
      Air Quality Ontario
      Air Quality Health Index
      Environment Canada – Weather Office
      The Weather Network 
      Air Quality Glossary

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