Provincial 

Environment: Data Definitions and Sources

Nitrogen oxides emissions

2014 data for Canada and provinces; 2012 data for international peers.

Nitrogen oxides (NOx) are a major air pollutant. NOx emissions are composed of nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). The indicator is measured in kilograms per capita and excludes emissions from open sources, such as from wildfires and agricultural activities.

Sources: Environment and Climate Change Canada, Air Pollutant Emission Inventory; Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD.Stat; provincial and Canadian population data are from CANSIM table 051-0001, Estimates of Population, by Age Group and Sex for July 1, Canada, Provinces, and Territories.

Sulphur oxides emissions

2014 data for Canada and provinces; 2012 data for international peers.

Sulphur oxides (SOx) contribute to poor air quality. These emissions are mostly formed during industrial processes. The indicator is measured in kilograms per capita and excludes emissions from open sources, such as from wildfires and agricultural activities.

Sources: Environment and Climate Change Canada, Air Pollutant Emission Inventory; OECD, OECD.Stat; provincial and Canadian population data are from CANSIM table 051-0001, Estimates of Population, by Age Group and Sex for July 1, Canada, Provinces, and Territories.

Volatile organic compounds emissions

2014 data for Canada and provinces; 2012 data for international peers.

Volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions contain one or more carbon atoms with high vapour pressures. They evaporate readily into the atmosphere to form smog. This indicator is measured in kilograms per capita and excludes emissions from open sources, such as from wildfires and agricultural activities.

Sources: Environment and Climate Change Canada, Air Pollutant Emission Inventory; OECD, OECD.Stat; provincial and Canadian population data are from CANSIM table 051-0001, Estimates of Population, by Age Group and Sex for July 1, Canada, Provinces, and Territories.

Particulate matter emissions

2014 data for Canada and provinces; 2012 data for international peers, except for the United States, where data are from 2011.

Particulate matter (PM) consists of airborne particles that contribute to pollution. Here, we compare PM10 emissions (emissions of PM with a diameter less than or equal to 10 microns, or micrometres). This indicator is measured in kilograms per capita and excludes emissions from open sources, such as from wildfires, agricultural activities, and dust from roads and construction.

Sources: Environment and Climate Change Canada, Air Pollutant Emission Inventory; OECD, OECD.Stat; PM10 emissions for the United States were calculated independently using data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Air Emission Sources: Particulate Matter; provincial and Canadian population data are from CANSIM table 051-0001, Estimates of Population, by Age Group and Sex for July 1, Canada, Provinces, and Territories.

Municipal waste generation

2012 data for Canada and provinces; 2013 data or most recent year available for international peers: Australia (2009), Austria (2012), Ireland (2012), Japan (2010), United States (2012).

This indicator measures the amount of municipal waste generated per capita, in kilograms. It includes waste that has been disposed of, recycled, or composted from residential and non-residential sources. Residential non-hazardous waste includes solid waste produced by all residences and picked up by the municipality (either using its own staff or through contracting firms), as well as waste from residential sources that is self-hauled to depots, transfer stations, and disposal facilities. Non-residential non-hazardous solid waste is generated by all sources except the residential waste stream. It includes industrial materials generated by manufacturing and by primary and secondary industries and managed off-site from the manufacturing operation. It also includes commercial materials generated by commercial operations such as shopping centres, restaurants, and offices. And it includes institutional materials generated by institutional facilities such as schools, hospitals, government facilities, seniors’ homes, and universities. However, it does not include waste from construction, renovation, and demolition sources.

For Canada and the provinces, the waste data include privately collected waste, because Statistics Canada does not distinguish between municipal and non-municipal waste. The waste for Canada thus includes all non-hazardous waste generated, including waste from construction, renovation, and demolition sources.

Sources: Statistics Canada, CANSIM table 153-0041, Disposal of Waste, by Source, Canada, Provinces, and Territories; OECD, OECD.Stat; provincial and Canadian population data are from CANSIM table 051-0001, Estimates of Population, by Age Group and Sex for July 1, Canada, Provinces, and Territories.

Water withdrawals

Data for Canada and the provinces are estimated for 2013, and for international peers, data are from 2012 or the most recent available year: Australia (2011), Austria (n.a.), Belgium (2009), Finland (2006), Germany (2010), Ireland (2009), Japan (2009), Norway (2007), Sweden (2010), United States (2010).

Water withdrawals are measured by annual freshwater withdrawals, measured in cubic metres per capita. Withdrawals refer to the gross amount of water extracted from any freshwater source. For this indicator, we excluded water used to cool thermal-powered electricity generation plants, as this water is typically returned to the same watershed it is withdrawn from, albeit it at a warmer temperature. Because the OECD does not report water withdrawals used for this purpose explicitly for the international peer countries, we summed together the other components of the total water abstractions reported by OECD (public water supply; agriculture, forestry, and fishing; manufacturing) and assumed that the residual water consumption is used only to cool thermal power plants.

To estimate Canadian and provincial freshwater withdrawals, withdrawals from industrial, agricultural, and municipal use were summed, and well-water use was extrapolated from municipal use based on population size. In some instances, water withdrawals are reported regionally (e.g., for Atlantic Canada), rather than by province. In these cases, the shares consumed by each province were estimated based on industry size (for industry withdrawals) or the area of farmland in each province (for agricultural withdrawals).

Sources: Statistics Canada, CANSIM table 153-0127, Potable Water Use by Sector and Average Daily Use for Canada, Provinces, and Territories; CANSIM table 153-0050, Water Intake in Manufacturing Industries, by Source and North American Industry Classification System (NAICS); CANSIM table 153-0051, Water Intake in Manufacturing Industries, by Source and by Provinces, Territories, and Drainage Regions; CANSIM table 153-0086, Water Intake in Mineral Extraction and Thermal-Electric Power Generation Industries, by Purpose of Initial Use and Region; CANSIM table 153-0079, Water Use Parameters in Mineral Extraction and Thermal-Electric Power Generation Industries, by Region; CANSIM table 153-0082, Water Intake in Mineral Extraction and Thermal-Electric Power Generation Industries, by Source and Region; CANSIM table 153-0134, Irrigation Volume by Month, Province, and Drainage Region; OECD, OECD.Stat; provincial and Canadian population data are from CANSIM table 051-0001, Estimates of Population, by Age Group and Sex for July 1, Canada, Provinces, and Territories.

Wastewater treatment

2009 data for Canada and provinces; 2012 data for international peers.

We measure wastewater treatment by calculating the proportion of wastewater that is given at least primary treatment before it is returned to a watershed. This is calculated by multiplying the proportion of sewered wastewater that receives at least primary treatment by the proportion of the population that receives sewerage.

Sources: Environment and Climate Change Canada, Municipal Water Use Data; Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy, 2014 Environmental Performance Index, Water Resources.

Use of forest resources

2013 data for Canada and provinces.

Use of forest resources measures a province’s timber harvest in cubic metres as a per cent of the province’s annual allowable cut (AAC). It is a measure of the intensity of use of forest resources.

Source: National Forestry Database, National and Regional Tables.

GHG emissions

2013 data.

Total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions excluding land-use and land use change and forestry (LULUCF) divided by population. The unit of measurement is tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per capita.

LULUCF refers to changes in GHG emissions due to human activities related to land use, land management, and forestry. This includes wildfires, controlled burning, and cropland conversions. LULUCF is excluded from the GHG emissions data used here because of significant fluctuations in annual LULUCF emissions.

Sources: Environment and Climate Change Canada, National Inventory Report, 1990–2013; United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), National Inventory Submissions 2015; provincial and Canadian population data are from CANSIM table 051-0001, Estimates of Population, by Age Group and Sex for July 1, Canada, Provinces, and Territories; international population data are from OECD, OECD.Stat.

Low-emitting electricity production

2014 data for Canada, provinces, and all international peers.

This indicator measures the share of low-GHG-emitting electricity production in total domestic electricity production. Low-emitting electricity production includes nuclear, hydro, geothermal, wind, solar, and other renewables.

Sources: Statistics Canada, CANSIM table 127-0007, Electric Power Generation, by Class of Electricity Producer; International Energy Agency, Monthly Electricity Statistics.

Energy intensity

2014 data for Canada and provinces; 2013 data for international peers.

Energy intensity measures final energy demand per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) measured in tonnes of oil equivalent (TOE) per US$1,000 GDP. This excludes energy products that are consumed for non-energy use. (An example of non-energy use of an energy product would be metallurgical coal or crude oil being used as components of steel and plastic, respectively.)

Sources: Statistics Canada, CANSIM table 128-0016, Supply and Demand of Primary and Secondary Energy in Terajoules; International Energy Agency, Energy Balances of OECD Countries, 2015; GDP data for Canada and provinces were obtained from CANSIM table 384-0038, Gross Domestic Product, Expenditure-Based, Provincial and Territorial; international GDP data, currency conversion factors, and purchasing power parity conversion factors were obtained from the World Bank.