In October of last year, an advisory from Environment Canada pinpointing Diwali fireworks as a probable cause for deteriorating air quality was dispatched, despite recurring advisories from several staff members indicating its discriminative nature.
Prompt redactions were made to the advisory and an apology was rendered with immediate effect, as objections flowed into the national weather service on the morning the annual festival of lights, celebrated prevalently by the Indian community, was set to commence.
A collection of emails, retrieved via an access-to-information request, reveal the conversations that took place before the issuance of the advisory on October 24, 2022.
Two meteorologists, in particular, flagged concerns that associating Diwali with diminished air quality might interpret as discrimination.
Several of the grievances registered that day dubbed the national agency as racist. They pointed out that similar advisories weren’t declared for air quality affected by Canada Day fireworks.
From the recorded data, the air pollution advisory launched for Diwali appeared to be the debut of Environment Canada marking a holiday with potential air quality threats due to fireworks. However, the agency seemed determined to extend its vigilance to monitor air quality surrounding other holiday-firework events and strategize future advisories.