Reporting greenhouse gas emissions data: technical guidance 2020

Guidance for reporting data to the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP).

Table of contents

Reporting requirements of 2020 greenhouse gas emissions

In the Canada Gazette notice entitled Notice with respect to reporting of greenhouse gases (GHGs) for 2020 (the 2020 GHGRP Notice), published in February 2021, Environment and Climate Change Canada released the GHG reporting requirements for the calendar year 2020. This notice supports the annual mandatory reporting of GHG emissions by facilities under Environment and Climate Change Canada’s GHG Reporting Program (GHGRP).

All facilities that emit the equivalent of 10 000 tonnes (10 kilotonnes) or more of GHGs in carbon dioxide equivalent units (CO2 eq) per year are required to submit a report. Expanded reporting requirements and the application of prescribed methodologies will continue to apply for facilities involved in the activities listed below, which were introduced in 2017 and 2018 under phases 1 and 2 of the GHGRP expansion.

Phase 1 and 2 sectors/activities subject to expanded reporting

The 2020 GHGRP Notice is available online. Please note that every reference to schedules in this document refers to the schedules in the 2020 GHGRP Notice. You can also visit Environment and Climate Change Canada’s greenhouse gas website for further details on the GHGRP.

This technical guidance document has been updated to include relevant changes that reflect the 2020 reporting requirements.

Glossary of terms

The following words and terms used in this guidance document shall have the indicated meaning:

2006 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Guidelines means the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories, prepared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change National Greenhouse Gas Inventories Program.

2020 GHGRP Notice means the Notice with respect to reporting of greenhouse gases (GHGs) for 2020, Canada Gazette, Part I. This notice was published in the Canada Gazette on February 13, 2021.

Aluminium production means primary processes that are used to manufacture aluminium from alumina, including electrolysis in prebake and Søderberg cells, anode and cathode baking for prebake cells, and green coke calcination.

Base metal production means the primary and secondary production processes that are used to recover copper, nickel, zinc, lead, and cobalt. Primary production includes the smelting or refining of base metals from feedstock that comes primarily from ore. Secondary production processes includes the recovery of base metals from various feedstock materials, such as recycled metals. Process activities may include the removal of impurities using carbonate flux reagents, the use of reducing agents to extract metals or slag cleaning, and the consumption of carbon electrodes.

Biomass means plants or plant materials, animal waste or any product made of either of these, including wood and wood products, charcoal, and agricultural residues; biologically derived organic matter in municipal and industrial wastes, landfill gas, bio-alcohols, black liquor, sludge digestion gas and animal- or plant-derived oils.

Bone dry tonnes means biomass solids that contain zero percent (0%) moisture.

Canada’s 2020 Greenhouse Gas Quantification Requirements means Canada’s Greenhouse Gas Quantification Requirements, Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program, Environment and Climate Change Canada, 2020.

Carbon capture, transport and storage (CCTS) means collectively CO2 capture, CO2 transport, CO2 injection and CO2 storage.

Carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2 eq) means a unit of measure for comparison between greenhouse gases that have different global warming potentials (GWPs). Since many greenhouse gases (GHGs) exist and their GWPs vary, the emissions are added in a common unit, CO2 equivalent. To express GHG emissions in units of CO2 equivalent, the quantity of a given GHG (expressed in units of mass) is multiplied by its GWP.

CAS Registry Number means the Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number.

Cement production means all processes used to manufacture portland, ordinary portland, masonry, pozzolanic or other hydraulic cements.

CEMS means Continuous Emission Monitoring system.

CKD means cement kiln dust.

CO2 capture means the capture of CO2 at an integrated facility that would otherwise be directly released to the atmosphere.

CO2 emissions from biomass decomposition means releases of CO2 resulting from aerobic decomposition of biomass and from the fermentation of biomass.

CO2 injection means an activity that places captured CO2 into a long-term geological storage site or an enhanced fossil fuel recovery operation.

CO2 storage means storage of CO2 in a long-term geological formation.

CO2 transport system means a system transporting captured CO2 by any mode.

Cogeneration unit means a fuel combustion device which simultaneously generates electricity and either heat or steam.

Continuous Emission Monitoring system means the complete equipment for sampling, conditioning, and analyzing emissions or process parameters and for recording data.

CSM means cyclohexane-soluble matter.

Electricity generating unit means any device that combusts solid, liquid, or gaseous fuel for the purpose of producing electricity either for sale or for use on site. This includes cogeneration unit(s), but excludes portable or emergency generators that have less than 50 kW in nameplate generating capacity or that generate less than 2 MWh during the reporting year.

Emissions means direct releases to the atmosphere from sources that are located at the facility.

Enhanced fossil fuel recovery operation means enhanced oil recovery, enhanced natural gas recovery and enhanced coal bed methane recovery.

Ethanol production means processes that produce grain ethanol for the use in industrial applications or as a fuel.

Facility means an integrated facility, a pipeline transportation system, or an offshore installation.

Flaring emissions means controlled releases of gases from industrial activities, from the combustion of a gas or liquid stream produced at the facility, the purpose of which is not to produce useful heat or work. This includes releases from waste petroleum incineration; hazardous emission prevention systems (in pilot or active mode); well testing; natural gas gathering systems; natural gas processing plant operations; crude oil production; pipeline operations; petroleum refining; chemical fertilizer production; steel production.

Fossil fuel production and processing means the exploration, extraction, processing including refining and upgrading, transmission, storage and use of solid, liquid or gaseous petroleum, coal or natural gas fuels, or any other fuels derived from these sources.

Fugitive emissions means releases from venting, flaring or leakage of gases from fossil fuel production and processing; iron and steel coke oven batteries; CO2 capture, transport, injection and storage infrastructure.

GHGs means greenhouse gases.

GWP means global warming potential and allows the comparison of the global warming impacts of different gases. It is a measure of how much energy the emissions of 1 tonne of a certain gas will absorb over a given period of time, compared to the emissions of 1 tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2). The time period for GWPs used for GHG reporting as per international reporting standards is 100 years. The larger the GWP, the more the given gas impacts global warming compared to CO2. For example, the GWP for nitrous oxide (N2O) is 298, which means that 1 tonne of N2O emissions is equivalent to 298 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

HFCs means hydrofluorocarbons.

Hydrogen production means processes that produce hydrogen gas by steam hydrocarbon reforming, partial oxidation of hydrocarbons, or other transformation of hydrocarbon feedstock. This activity may occur at bitumen upgraders; petroleum refineries; chemical plants; fertilizer plants; stand-alone industrial gas producers, and where needed for purification or synthesis of substances.

Industrial process emissions means releases from an industrial process that involves a chemical or physical reaction the primary purpose of which is to produce a product, as opposed to useful heat or work. This does not include venting from hydrogen production associated with fossil fuel production and processing.

Industrial product use emissions means releases from the use of a product, in an industrial process, that is not involved in a chemical or physical reaction and does not react in the process. This includes releases from the use of SF6, HFCs and PFCs as cover gases, and the use of HFCs and PFCs in foam blowing. This does not include releases of PFCs and HFCs used in refrigeration, air conditioning, semiconductor production, fire extinguishing, solvents, aerosols and releases of SF6 used in explosion protection, leak detection, electronic applications and fire extinguishing.

Integrated facility means all buildings, equipment, structures, on-site transportation machinery and stationary items that are located on a single site, on multiple sites or between multiple sites that are owned or operated by the same person or persons and that function as a single integrated site. Integrated facility excludes public roads.

Iron and steel production means primary iron and steel production processes, secondary steelmaking processes, iron production processes, coke oven battery production processes, iron ore pellet firing processes, or iron and steel powder processes.

Leakage emissions means accidental releases and leaks of gases from fossil fuel production and processing, transmission and distribution; iron and steel coke oven batteries; CO2 capture, transport, injection and storage infrastructure.

Lime production means all processes that are used to manufacture a lime product by calcination of limestone or other calcareous materials.

Mining means the mining, beneficiating or otherwise preparing metallic and non-metallic minerals, including coal.

NAICS means theNorth American Industry Classification System.

Nitric acid production means the use of one or more trains to produce weak nitric acid that is 30 to 70 percent in strength. A nitric acid train produces weak nitric acid through the catalytic oxidation of ammonia followed by the absorption of nitrogen oxides by water. The absorber tail gas contains unabsorbed nitrogen oxides, including nitrous oxide emissions of which may be reduced by abatement technologies.

Offshore installation means an offshore drilling unit, production platform or ship, or sub-sea installation that is attached or anchored to the continental shelf of Canada in connection with the exploitation of oil or natural gas.

On-site transportation emissions means releases from machinery used for the transport or movement of substances, materials, equipment or products that are used in the production process at an integrated facility. This includes releases from vehicles without public road licences.

Petroleum refining means processes used to produce gasoline, aromatics, kerosene, distillate fuel oils, residual fuel oils, lubricants, asphalt, or other products through the refining of crude oil or through redistillation, cracking, rearrangement or reforming of unfinished petroleum derivatives. This includes catalytic cracking units; fluid coking units; delayed coking units; catalytic reforming units; coke calcining units; asphalt blowing operations; blowdown systems; storage tanks; process equipment components (i.e., compressors, pumps, valves, pressure relief devices, flanges, and connectors) in gas service; marine vessel, barge, tanker truck, and similar loading operations; flares; sulphur recovery plants; and
non-merchant hydrogen plants that are owned or under the direct control of the refinery owner and operator. This does not include facilities that distill only pipeline transmix or produce lubricants, asphalt paving, roofing, and other saturated materials using already refined petroleum products.

PFCs means perfluorocarbons.

Pipeline transportation system means all pipelines that are owned or operated by the same person within a province or territory that transport/distribute CO2 or processed natural gas and their associated installations, including meter sets and storage installations but excluding straddle plants or other processing installations.

Pulp and paper production means separating cellulose fibres from other materials in fibre sources to produce pulp, paper and paper products. This includes converting paper into paperboard products, or operating coating and laminating processes.

Reporting company means a person who operates one or more facilities that meet the reporting criteria as set out in Schedule 3 of the Canada Gazette notice.

Stationary fuel combustion emissions means releases from stationary fuel combustion sources, in which fuel is burned for the purpose of producing useful heat or work. This includes releases from the combustion of waste fuels to produce useful heat or work.

Stationary fuel combustion sources means devices that combust solid, liquid, gaseous, or waste fuel for the purpose of producing useful heat or work. This includes boilers, electricity generating units, cogeneration units, combustion turbines, engines, incinerators, process heaters, and other stationary combustion devices, but does not include emergency flares.

Surface leakage means CO2 emitted from geological formations used for long term storage of CO2.

Venting emissions means controlled releases of a process or waste gas, including releases of CO2 associated with carbon capture, transport, injection and storage; from hydrogen production associated with fossil fuel production and processing; of casing gas; of gases associated with a liquid or a solution gas; of treater, stabilizer or dehydrator off-gas; of blanket gases; from pneumatic devices which use natural gas as a driver; from compressor start-ups, pipelines and other blowdowns; from metering and regulation station control loops.

Waste emissions means releases that result from waste disposal activities at a facility including landfilling of solid waste, flaring of landfill gas, and waste incineration. This does not include releases from the combustion of waste fuels to produce useful heat or work, or releases of CO2 from biomass combustion.

Wastewater emissions mean releases resulting from wastewater and wastewater treatment at a facility. This includes, but is not limited to, releases from flaring of captured gas from wastewater treatment. It does not include releases of CO2 from biomass combustion.


Canada is working towards fulfilling its climate change policy objectives, in part by ensuring that it has the capacity to quantify, track and report progress on the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in a way that meets a required level of accuracy, thoroughness, transparency and public credibility.

The federal government, specifically Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), is responsible for developing and reporting a reliable, accurate and timely Greenhouse Gas Inventory for Canada as part of its obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). To fulfill its obligations, Canada must estimate its national GHG emissions according to the comprehensive guidance provided by the UNFCCC, which includes reference to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (IPCC, 2006),Footnote 1  a key technical document developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).Footnote 2

National GHG emissions and removals are reported to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) according to the manner, format and frequency dictated by the UNFCCC Reporting Guidelines.Footnote 3 Canada’s GHG Inventory is a comprehensive inventory of GHG data and information covering all sources and sinks of GHGs caused by human activity in Canada. The inventory is largely based on emission estimates developed from national and provincial statistics. The facility data collected under the GHGRP is used to compare, validate and in some cases develop the national inventory estimates from industrial sources.

The Government of Canada established the GHGRP in March 2004 under the authority of section 46 of the Canadian Environment Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA) to collect GHG emissions information annually from the largest emitting Canadian facilities. The GHGRP was launched through the publication of the first Canada Gazette notice in March 2004, which set out basic emissions reporting requirements. A Canada Gazette notice is published every year requiring the reporting of GHG emissions for the calendar year specified in the notice and the facility data collected is published annually.

This program is part of Canada’s effort to develop, in collaboration with Canadian provinces and territories, a harmonized and efficient mandatory GHG reporting system that minimizes duplication and reporting burden for industry and governments. Key objectives of the program are to provide Canadians with consistent information on GHG emissions, support the development of emission estimates presented in the Canada’s GHG Inventory and support regulatory initiatives.

In December 2016, ECCC issued a notice of intent in the Canada Gazette indicating its intent to pursue an expansion to the GHGRP in order to enable direct use of the reported data in Canada’s GHG Inventory, to increase the consistency and comparability of GHG data across jurisdictions and to obtain a more comprehensive picture of emissions by Canadian facilities. Notices that were published to require reporting of 2017 and 2018 data represented phases 1 and 2 of the expansion, respectively.

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