Prince Edward Island: Environment profile


This information was current as of November 2015.

Flag of Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island (PEI) in brief

Hon. Wade MacLauchlan (Liberal Party)
146,300 (2014)
Total Area:
5,660 km 2
5,660 km 2
0 km 2
Real GDP (gross domestic product) 2013:
$5.0 billion (in 2007 dollars)
Contribution to real Canadian GDP 2013:

PEI budget 2015-16

Budgeted total expenditures:
$1.7 billion
Funds allocated to DoE:
$20.3 million
  • 1.2% of total budget
  • 4.2% increase over 2014-15

Key environmental federal-provincial agreements

  • Memorandum of Agreement on Water and Clean Water Funding Priorities (EcoAction)
  • Memorandum of Agreement on Water between Canada and Prince Edward Island

Climate change

Department responsible for climate change:
Department of Communities, Land and Environment
Minister responsible for climate change:
Hon. Robert Mitchell
Legislation and regulations:
Renewable Energy Act

Prince Edward Island GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions and targets

Line graph for Prince Edward Island’s GHG emissions and targets


  • National Inventory Report (2015)
  • 2020 Target: New England Governors/Eastern Canadian Premiers Conference Climate Change Action Plan
  • 2030 Target: NEG/ECP 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 1.0 to 2.2 Mt in increments of 0.2.The line begins at 2.00 Mt CO2 equivalent in 1990 and rises steadily until reaching a peak of 2.19 Mt around the year 2001, dropping under 2.00 Mt around 2009, rising to 2.11 Mt in 2011 and dropping to 1.80 Mt around 2013. The graph also indicates that the 2020 emissions target is 1.8 Mt and that the 2030 target range is 1.1 to 1.3 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
  • *PEI has not officially stated an individual provincial target but subscribes to the targets adopted by the New England Governors/Eastern Canada Premiers Conference

PEI sources of GHG emissions, 2013

Pie chart for Prince Edward Island’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 Prince Edward Island.

  • Stationary combustion sources: 31%
  • Transport: 41%
  • Fugitive sources: 0%
  • Industrial processes: 2%
  • Agriculture: 18%
  • Waste: 8%
  • Climate Change Strategies: PEI and Climate Change—A Strategy for Reducing the Impacts of Global Warming (2008); PEI Energy Strategy (2008); Island Wind Energy—Securing Our Future (2008)
  • Total PEI Emissions, 2013: 1.8 Mt (Source: National Inventory Report, 2015)
  • PEI Contribution to total Canadian GHG Emissions, 2013: 0.25%
  • Ranked 10th largest GHG emitter among Canadian provinces and territories in 2013
  • GHG per Capita, 2012: 13.4 tonnes; ranked 4th lowest GHG emitter per Capita, 2012
  • PEI’s climate change strategy focuses on lowering GHG emissions, enhancing carbon sinks, helping to prepare for the impacts of climate change, and increasing public awareness.
  • Actions to date have focused on improving energy efficiency and increasing production of renewable energy (wind, solar, biomass).
  • A 5-year energy accord with the Maritime Electric Company Ltd. came into force in 2011 and includes the goal of increasing reliance on locally owned wind power.


Departments responsible for water:
Department of Communities, Land and Environment
Minister responsible for water:
Hon. Robert Mitchell
Legislation and regulations:
Environmental Protection Act, Watercourse and Wetland Protection Regulations, Drinking Water and Wastewater Facility Operating Regulations
  • Water Strategies: Water Extraction Policy (2013), Drinking Water Strategy (2001), Wetland Conservation Policy (2003), Stewardship and Sustainability: a Renewed Conservation Strategy for Prince Edward Island (1994), Prince Edward Island Watershed Strategy (2015)
  • The Department of Communities, Land and Environment is responsible for the sustainable management, protection, and enhancement of PEI’s drinking water, groundwater, inland surface water and coastal estuaries.
  • The Provincial Watershed Strategy was released in June 2015.
  • A White Paper for consultation on the development of a Water Act was released in July 2015. The new Act is expected in Fall 2016.
  • Key water priorities for PEI include sewage collection and treatment, watershed management, on-shore oil and gas exploration, coastal management, and fish kills.
  • A sustainable development strategy is currently under development. One of the goals for sustainable land use is “to protect the quality and quantity of our water.”
  • PEI’s Wetland Conservation Policy formalizes the development process in pursuit of its objective of managing human activity on or near wetlands in a manner which will achieve no net loss of wetlands and wetland function.
  • PEI’s Drinking Water Strategy takes a multi-barrier approach to protecting drinking water, focusing on source protection, system design and operation, and monitoring and reporting.

Environment Canada and PEI Collaboration on Water

  • Memorandum of Agreement on Water
  • Atlantic Ecosystem Initiative

Biodiversity and wildlife

Department responsible for biodiversity and wildlife:
Department of Communities, Land and Environment
Minister responsible for biodiversity and wildlife:
Hon. Robert Mitchell
Environmental Protection Act, Forest Management Act, Wildlife Conservation Act, Natural Areas Protection Act
  • Biodiversity and Conservation Strategies: Stewardship and Sustainability, A Renewed Conservation Strategy for Prince Edward Island (1994), Wildlife Policy for Prince Edward Island (1995), Significant Environmental Areas Plan (1991)
Species at Risk in PEI
(SARA "Schedule 1" Status)
  Extirpated Endangered Threatened Special Concern
Total: 14
Source: Species at Risk Public Registry
January 2015
0 5 4 5
  • PEI does not have a biodiversity strategy. Its history of settlement and land clearing has contributed to the loss of biodiversity at all levels.
  • PEI began work on a sustainable development strategy in 2012 with the release of the discussion paper Planning for a Sustainable Future. The intention is to develop provincial land use policies and a conservation strategy using sustainable development principles, as recommended in the 2009 Report of the Commission on Land and Local Governance.
  • To help inform the development of new provincial land use policies, PEI’s Environmental Advisory Council identified a set of guiding principles to direct decision-making, protection and sustainable development of PEI’s land and resources (Principles of Sustainable Development, 2013).
  • 90% of PEI’s land base is privately owned. In 2010, land use in PEI was 44 % forest, 38% agriculture, 7% urban, recreational, residential and transportation development, 7% sand dune and wetlands, and 4% abandoned agriculture. (Source: Report of the Task Force on Land Use Policy, 2014).
  • Percentage of freshwater and land protected in PEI: 2.8% (Source: Canadian Environment Sustainability Indicators, 2013).
  • Environment Canada maintains one protected area on PEI, the Black Pond Migratory Bird Sanctuary, comprising about 100 hectares of PEI’s protected lands and waters.
  • PEI’s 1991 Significant Environmental Areas Plan established a goal to set aside 7% of the province for conservation.
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