Newfoundland and Labrador: Environment profile


This information was current as of November 2015.

Flag of Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) in brief

Hon. Paul Davis (Progressive Conservative Party)
527,000 (Sept. 2014)
Total Area:
405,212 km 2
373,872 km 2
31,340 km 2
Real GDP (gross domestic product) 2013:
$29.6 billion (in 2007 dollars)
Contribution to real Canadian GDP 2013:

NL budget 2015-16

Budgeted total expenditures:
$8.1 billion
Funds Allocated to DoE:
$25 million
  • 0.3% of total budget
  • Decrease of 13% from 2014-15

Key environmental federal-provincial agreements

  • Canada-NL Agreement on the Transfers of Federal Gas Tax Revenues 2006-2015
  • Canada-NL Climate Stations and Programs Agreement

Climate change

Department responsible for climate change:
Department of Environment and Conservation; Office of Climate Change, Energy Efficiency and Emissions Trading (within Executive Council)
Minister responsible for climate change:
Hon. Dan Crummell
Legislation and regulations:
Sustainable Development Act, Air Pollution Control Regulations

Newfoundland and Labrador GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions and targets

Line graph for Newfoundland and Labrador's GHG emissions and targets


  • National Inventory Report, 2015
  • 2020 Target: NL 2011 Climate Change Strategy
  • 2030 Target: New England Governors/Eastern Canadian Premiers resolution adopted Aug. 31, 2015
Long description

Figure 1 presents a single time series line graph with the horizontal axis spanning years 1990 to 2030 in five year increments. The vertical axis is in megatons of carbon dioxide equivalent and spans five to ten Mt in increments of 1.0. The line begins at 9.8 Mt CO2 equivalent in 1990 and falls steadily until reaching 9.3 Mt around 2000, reaching 10.3 Mt around 2005, declining to 9.8 Mt in 2010 and  8.6 Mt around 2013. The graph also indicates that the 2020 emissions target is 8.8 Mt and that the 2030 emissions target range is 5.4-6.3 Mt.

Provincial GHG emissions reduction targets

  • 10% below 1990 levels by 2020
  • 35-45% below 1990 levels by 2030
  • 75-85% below 2001 levels by 2050
  • 2020 target equivalent to a 2005 baseline: 15% below
  • 2030 target equivalent to a 2005 baseline: 39-48% below

NL sources of GHG emissions, 2013

Pie chart for Newfoundland and Labrador's sources of GHG emissions, 2013

Source: National Inventory Report, 2015

Long description

Figure 2 presents a pie chart of the distribution of major greenhouse gas sources in Newfoundland and Labrador.

  • Stationary combustion sources: 44%
  • Transport: 38%
  • Fugitive sources: 6%
  • Industrial processes: 2%
  • Agriculture: 2%
  • Waste: 8%
  • Climate Change Strategies: Charting our Course (2011); Moving Forward: Energy Efficiency Action Plan (2011)
  • Total NL emmissions, 2013: 8.6 Mt (Source: National Inventory Report)
  • NL contribution to total Canadian GHG emissions, 2013: 1.2%
  • Ranked 9th highest GHG emitter among Canadian provinces and territories in 2013
  • GHG per capita, 2012: 16.6 tonnes; ranked 7th highest GHG emitter per capita, 2012
  • The Energy Efficiency Action Plan sets target of reducing energy consumption in 2020 by 20% below business-as-usual projected consumption.
  • A Green Fund, cost-shared with the federal government, supports climate change and energy efficiency-related initiatives including energy efficiency projects, small scale wind turbines, biofuels, and waste methane capture.
  • NL anticipates that 98% of its energy will be provided by clean renewable sources once the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project becomes operational in 2017.
  • NL subscribes to the GHG reduction targets adopted by the New England Governors/Eastern Canada Premiers Conference.


Departments responsible for water:
Department of Environment and Conservation
Minister responsible for water:
Hon. Dan Crummell
Legislation and regulations:
Environmental Protection Act, Water Resources Act, Well Drilling Regulations, Water Power Rental Regulations, Environmental Control Water and Sewage Regulations
  • Water strategies: Drinking Water Quality Monitoring and Reporting for Public Supplies, Policy Guidelines for Land and Water Related Developments
  • Newfoundland and Labrador administers the majority of its water-related authority under the Water Resources Act.
  • The Water Resources Management Division, Department of Environment and Conservation, is responsible for water resources management as per provisions of the Environmental Protection Act and the Water Resources Act.
  • The Division acts as a lead government agency in drinking water quality monitoring reporting, regulates public wastewater systems, provides operator education, training and certification to water and wastewater operators, manages groundwater resources, manages allocation of water use and grants water rights, participates in environmental assessments, operates and maintains hydrometric, climate and water quality networks, conducts hydrological modelling studies and conducts water use studies for all sectors.
  • Other departments with water-related responsibilities include: Natural Resources (manages water-related impacts associated with forests, minerals, oil and gas) Municipal Affairs (finances community water infrastructure); and Health and Community Services (supports water quality monitoring and testing).
  • Key water priorities include improving wastewater treatment, ensuring energy demands are met through hydroelectric projects, proper flood plain management, and monitoring drinking water quality.

Environment Canada and NL collaboration on water

  • Canada-Newfoundland Water Quality Monitoring Agreement
  • Canada-Newfoundland Water Quantity Surveys Agreement

Biodiversity and wildlife

Department responsible for biodiversity and wildlife:
Department of Environment and Conservation
Minister responsible for biodiversity and wildlife:
Hon. Dan Crummell
Sustainable Development Act, Endangered Species Act, Environmental Protection Act, Lands Act, Provincial Parks Act, Wildlife Act, Wilderness and Ecological Reserves Act
  • Biodiversity and Conservation Strategies: Caribou Strategy, Policy Regarding the Conservation of Species at Risk
Species at Risk in NL
(SARA "Schedule 1" Status)
  Extirpated Endangered Threatened Special Concern
Total: 29
Source: Species at Risk Public Registry
January 2015
1 11 8 9
  • NL plans to protect and conserve species and risk by implementing recovery plans, consider environment impacts on endangered, threatened, and vulnerable species when conducting environmental assessments, and consult the Inuit and Innu on the management, conservation, protection and recovery of those species in areas under current land claims negotiations.
  • NL does not have a biodiversity strategy or a broader strategy for which biodiversity is a subcomponent; however, the Canadian Biodiversity Strategy has been integrated into many provincial planning processes, such as development of a sustainable forest management strategy, and protected areas planning.
  • Percentage of freshwater and land protected in NL: 4.6% (Source: Canadian Environment Sustainability Indicators, 2013).
  • Environment Canada maintains 3 protected areas in NL, all Migratory Bird Sanctuaries, comprising over 1,000 hectares of NL's protected lands and waters. Currently there are no National Wildlife Areas in NL.
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