Air pollutant emissions

Access PDF (2.89 MB)

Air pollution problems, such as smog and acid rain, result from the release of pollutants into the atmosphere. The majority of these pollutants come from human activities, such as transportation, the burning of fuels for electricity and heating, and industry. They are also released from natural sources, such as forest fires and from vegetation. The indicators report emissions released through human activities for 6 key air pollutants.

Summary

Summary

Key results

Air pollutant emissions, Canada, 1990 to 2016

Air pollutant emissions, Canada, 1990 to 2016 (see data table below for the long description)
Data table for the long description
Air pollutant emissions, Canada, 1990 to 2016
Year Sulphur oxides
(percentage change from 1990 level)
Nitrogen oxides
(percentage change from 1990 level)
Volatile organic compounds
(percentage change from 1990 level)
Ammonia
(percentage change from 1990 level)
Carbon monoxide
(percentage change from 1990 level)
Fine particulate matter
(percentage change from 1990 level)
1990 0 0 0 0 0 0
1991 -7 -4 -2 -1 -2 -2
1992 -11 -2 -2 2 -3 -5
1993 -14 0 1 3 0 -5
1994 -21 5 2 7 0 -3
1995 -16 8 2 11 -1 -7
1996 -16 11 1 15 -4 -7
1997 -18 17 -1 17 -8 -6
1998 -19 19 -1 17 -8 -13
1999 -22 22 -3 17 -10 -13
2000 -22 21 -6 20 -12 -15
2001 -22 15 -14 21 -19 -17
2002 -24 13 -14 24 -20 -19
2003 -26 11 -17 22 -23 -21
2004 -27 5 -19 26 -27 -23
2005 -29 2 -23 25 -35 -24
2006 -35 -4 -27 22 -39 -24
2007 -37 -3 -28 23 -41 -21
2008 -43 -7 -30 20 -42 -18
2009 -52 -13 -35 16 -45 -25
2010 -55 -11 -34 15 -46 -20
2011 -58 -13 -39 14 -49 -19
2012 -58 -17 -38 18 -51 -15
2013 -58 -18 -37 21 -52 -16
2014 -60 -19 -36 20 -53 -16
2015 -65 -22 -39 20 -53 -18
2016 -65 -25 -42 20 -54 -18

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 1.46 kB)

How this indicator was calculated

Note: The indicator reports air pollutant emissions from human activities only.
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2018) Air Pollutant Emissions Inventory.

More information

Between 1990 and 2016, the largest emission reductions were observed for SOX, which decreased by 65%. It was followed by CO emissions (54% reduction), VOCs (42%), NOX (25%) and PM2.5 (18%). These reductions since 1990 are due in part to government actions and voluntary initiatives from key industrial emitters that were put in place to restrict or eliminate the release of air pollutants in Canada.

In 2016, the majority of emissions of the 6 key air pollutants in Canada came from ore and mineral industries, transportation, the oil and gas industry, agriculture, and dust and fires (for example, road dust, prescribed forest burning).

Distribution of air pollutant emissions by source, Canada, 2016

Distribution of air pollutant emissions by source, Canada, 2016 (see data table below for the long description)
Data table for the long description
Distribution of air pollutant emissions by source, Canada, 2016
Source Sulphur oxides
(percentage of national emissions)
Nitrogen oxides
(percentage of national emissions)
Volatile organic compounds
(percentage of national emissions)
Ammonia
(percentage of national emissions)
Carbon monoxide
(percentage of national emissions)
Fine particulate matter
(percentage of national emissions)
Oil and gas industry 23.4 26.5 35.3 0.5 9.5 0.7
Manufacturing 4.0 3.9 6.4 2.5 2.3 1.1
Ore and mineral industries 45.1 4.3 0.7 0.3 9.7 2.1
Transportation (road, rail, air and marine) 2.1 43.3 8.6 1.5 31.5 1.4
Off-road vehicles and mobile equipment <0.1 8.7 8.6 <0.1 22.5 0.9
Building heating and energy generation 0.5 3.2 0.2 0.1 0.5 0.3
Electric utilities 23.7 8.4 <0.1 <0.1 0.6 0.2
Home firewood burning 0.3 1.1 12.7 0.4 20.7 10.2
Incineration and waste 0.3 0.3 0.6 0.9 0.3 0.2
Paints and solvents <0.1 <0.1 17.9 <0.1 <0.1 <0.1
Agriculture (livestock, crop production and fertilizer) 0.6 0.2 5.4 93.6 <0.1 19.2
Dust and fires <0.1 <0.1 0.3 <0.1 2.1 62.9
Miscellaneous <0.1 <0.1 3.2 0.1 0.1 1.0

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 1.47 kB)

How this indicator was calculated

Note: The indicator reports air pollutant emissions from human activities only. The percentages have been rounded off and their sum may not add up to 100.
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2018) Air Pollutant Emission Inventory.

The human made sources most contributing to Canada's air pollutant emissions in 2016 were the following:

  • the ore and mineral industries, electric utilities and the oil and gas industries together represented the majority of SOX emissions
  • transportation (road, rail, air and marine) was the main source of NOX and CO emissions
  • off-road vehicles and mobile equipment and home firewood burning were also important sources of CO emissions and the oil and gas industry was an important source of NOX emissions
  • most of the VOC emissions came from the oil and gas industry and from the use of paints and solvents
  • agriculture (livestock, crop production and fertilizer) accounted for the majority of NH3 emissions
  • dust and fires were the most important sources of PM2.5 emissions

In 2016, emissions of the 6 key air pollutants were highest in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec.

  • Alberta had the highest NOX (35% of national emissions), VOCs (31%), NH3 (27%) and PM2.5 (35%) emissions
  • Ontario had the highest SOX emissions (24%), followed by Alberta (22%)
  • Quebec had the highest CO emissions (27%), followed by Ontario (25%)

Saskatchewan was also an important emitter of NH3 and PM2.5, accounting for about 20% of the national emissions of these pollutants.

Distribution of air pollutant emissions by province and territory, Canada, 2016

Distribution of air pollutant emissions by province and territory, Canada, 2016 (see data table below for the long description)
Data table for the long description
Distribution of air pollutant emissions by province and territory, Canada, 2016
Province or territory Sulphur oxides
(percentage of national emissions)
Nitrogen oxides
(percentage of national emissions)
Volatile organic compounds
(percentage of national emissions)
Ammonia
(percentage of national emissions)
Carbon monoxide
(percentage of national emissions)
Fine particulate matter
(percentage of national emissions)
Newfoundland and Labrador 2.5 3.3 1.6 0.2 2.5 1.5
Prince Edward Island <0.1 0.3 0.4 0.6 0.5 0.4
Nova Scotia 6.2 3.7 2.3 0.7 2.8 1.7
New Brunswick 2.0 1.9 2.0 0.7 2.9 1.5
Quebec 10.7 11.7 16.0 14.5 27.0 13.1
Ontario 23.7 16.6 20.7 18.8 25.2 16.9
Manitoba 13.6 2.4 3.5 12.5 3.1 4.9
Saskatchewan 11.2 7.9 13.3 20.8 5.6 19.3
Alberta 22.3 34.6 31.2 27.4 17.2 35.5
British Columbia 7.2 15.9 8.9 3.7 12.8 5.1
Yukon <0.1 0.1 <0.1 <0.1 <0.1 <0.1
Northwest Territories and Nunavut <0.1 0.8 0.1 <0.1 0.1 0.1

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 1.30 kB)

How this indicator was calculated

Note: The indicator reports air pollutant emissions from human activities only. The percentages have been rounded off and their sum may not add up to 100.
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2018) Air Pollutant Emission Inventory.

By pollutant
Sulphur oxides

Sulphur oxide emissions by source

Emissions of sulphur oxides (SOX) in the atmosphere can have adverse effects on human health and the environment. The SOX emissions released by human activities consist mostly of sulphur dioxides (SO2). Sulphur dioxide can affect respiratory systems of humans and animals and cause damage to vegetation, buildings and materials. It is also a precursor to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and acid rain.

Key results

  • Between 1990 and 2016, SOX emissions decreased by 65% to 1 067 kilotonnes (kt) in 2016
  • In 2016, the largest proportion of SOX emissions came from ore and mineral industries. The source represented 45% (481 kt) of total emissions

Total sulphur oxide emissions by source, Canada, 1990 to 2016

Total sulphur oxide emissions by source, Canada, 1990 to 2016 (see data table below for the long description)
Data table for the long description
Total sulphur oxide emissions by source, Canada, 1990 to 2016
Year Ore and mineral industries
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Electric utilities
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Oil and gas industry
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Other sources
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Total emissions
(emissions in kilotonnes)
1990 1483.8 618.4 533.9 430.7 3066.8
1991 1335.3 592.1 535.6 382.5 2845.5
1992 1169.7 610.7 574.9 368.1 2723.4
1993 1112.6 547.2 605.0 374.5 2639.3
1994 891.9 559.8 598.5 376.8 2427.1
1995 1105.9 532.7 593.9 331.8 2564.4
1996 1089.1 542.2 590.8 351.5 2573.6
1997 1032.1 591.4 547.3 355.5 2526.3
1998 1019.4 603.6 513.4 354.3 2490.7
1999 925.3 601.1 509.5 360.0 2395.9
2000 915.9 619.2 504.7 361.7 2401.5
2001 912.8 624.0 486.6 356.8 2380.0
2002 906.5 617.2 457.2 351.3 2332.2
2003 812.5 635.0 468.1 359.0 2274.6
2004 867.4 559.0 459.5 359.9 2245.8
2005 859.0 525.9 452.5 336.4 2173.7
2006 830.9 458.9 418.8 270.5 1979.1
2007 781.5 491.9 392.6 258.4 1924.4
2008 717.7 427.5 369.8 225.7 1740.7
2009 524.9 384.1 366.8 202.0 1477.7
2010 503.7 334.0 334.2 197.4 1369.3
2011 469.1 293.2 325.3 198.6 1286.3
2012 478.2 284.2 327.3 191.7 1281.5
2013 492.1 278.2 315.3 187.3 1272.9
2014 487.2 269.1 282.9 192.0 1231.3
2015 482.9 251.5 259.5 89.3 1083.2
2016 481.3 253.1 249.2 83.0 1066.6

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 2.14 kB)

How this indicator was calculated

Note: The indicator reports air pollutant emissions from human activities only. The category "other sources" includes emissions from transportation (road, rail, air and marine), off-road vehicles and mobile equipment, home firewood burning, incineration and waste, agriculture (livestock, crop production and fertilizer), dust and fires, paints and solvents, building heating and energy generation, manufacturing, and other miscellaneous sources. Consult Table 2 in the Data sources and methods for a complete list of the air pollutant emissions sources included under each category. The numbers have been rounded off and their sum may not correspond to the total.
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2018) Air Pollutant Emission Inventory.

In 2016, the non-ferrous mining and smelting industry accounted for 75% (360 kt) of SOX emissions from the ore and mineral industries, the main contributor to total national emissions. Emissions from electric utilities and the oil and gas industry followed with 24% (253 kt) and 23% (249 kt) of total national emissions, respectively.

The largest reduction in emissions between 1990 and 2016 was from ore and mineral industries (the largest driver of the reduction was from the non-ferrous mining and smelting industry), with a reduction in emissions of 1 002 kt.

This significant decrease in SOX emissions from 1990 to 2016 is due in large part to government actions to fight acid rain and related federal-provincial and United States agreementsFootnote 1Footnote 2 on capping SOX emissions by 1994. Further reductions were also realized through:

  • technological upgrades, new air pollution controls for non-ferrous metal smelters and the closure of 3 major smelters in Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec
  • lower emissions from fossil-fuel-fired (for example, coal-fired) power-generating utilities as a result of better technologies and plant closures (for example, the phase-out of coal electricity generation in Ontario)
  • implementation of regulations on low-sulphur fuelsFootnote 3Footnote 4

Sulphur oxide emissions by province and territory

Key results

  • In 2016, Ontario and Alberta accounted for 46% (491 kt) of national SOX emissions
  • Between 1990 and 2016, the largest reduction was observed in Ontario. Emissions in the province decreased by 878 kt (78%)

Sulphur oxide emissions by province and territory, Canada, 1990 and 2016

Sulphur oxide emissions by province and territory, Canada, 1990 and 2016 (see data table below for the long description)
Data table for the long description
Sulphur oxide emissions by province and territory, Canada, 1990 and 2016
Province or territory 1990
(emissions in kilotonnes)
2016
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Newfoundland and Labrador 76.0 26.5
Prince Edward Island 3.7 0.3
Nova Scotia 213.8 66.4
New Brunswick 109.7 21.5
Quebec 260.8 113.8
Ontario 1130.9 252.5
Manitoba 509.3 145.3
Saskatchewan 97.1 119.8
Alberta 516.6 238.1
British Columbia 129.8 77.3
Yukon 0.7 <0.1
Northwest Territories and Nunavut 18.6 5.1

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 865 B)

How this indicator was calculated

Note: The indicator reports air pollutant emissions from human activities only.
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2018) Air Pollutant Emission Inventory.

Ontario had the highest SOX emissions level in 2016, accounting for 24% (253 kt) of total national emissions. Emissions in the province mainly came from ore and mineral industries, accounting for 84% (212 kt) of the emissions. The sharp reduction in SOX emissions in Ontario between 1990 and 2016 was mainly due to emission reductions from ore and mineral industries (notably the non-ferrous mining and smelting industry) and electric utilities.

Alberta was the second-highest emitter of SOX in 2016, accounting for 22% (238 kt) of total national emissions. The oil and gas industry and electric utilities were the largest contributor to SOX emissions of the province in 2016.

Manitoba ranked third, with 14% (145 kt) of total national emissions; ore and mineral industries was the most important source of emissions in that province.

Sulphur oxide emissions by facilities

Environment and Climate Change Canada's National Pollutant Release Inventory provides detailed information on air pollutant emissions from industrial and commercial facilities.

The Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators provide this information through an interactive map. With the interactive map, you can drill down to the SOX emissions at specific reporting facilities.

Sulphur oxide emissions by reporting facilities, Canada, 2016

Sulphur oxide emissions by reporting facilities, Canada, 2016 (see long description below)
Long description

The map of Canada shows the amount of sulphur oxide emissions in tonnes in 2016 by reporting facility. The categories are: 0 to 25 tonnes, 25 to 100 tonnes, 100 to 500 tonnes, 500 to 2000 tonnes, 2000 to 6000 tonnes and 6000 tonnes or more.

Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2018) National Pollutant Release Inventory Data search - facility reported data.

Navigate data using the interactive map

Nitrogen oxides

Nitrogen oxide emissions by source

Nitrogen oxides (NOX) include emissions of nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Nitrogen dioxide can have adverse effects on human health and the environment. Nitrogen oxides contribute to acid rain, which can lead to the acidification of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. It also contributes to the eutrophication of lakes and to the formation of ground-level ozone (O3) and fine particulate matter(P2.5).

Key results

  • In 2016, NOX emissions were 1 814 kilotonnes (kt). This is 25% lower than in 1990
  • Transportation (road, rail, air and marine) was a major source of NOX representing 43% (786 kt) of total emissions in 2016

Total nitrogen oxide emissions by source, Canada, 1990 to 2016

Total nitrogen oxide emissions by source, Canada, 1990 to 2016 (see data table below for the long description)
Data table for the long description
Total nitrogen oxide emissions by source, Canada, 1990 to 2016
Year Transportation (road, rail, air and marine)
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Oil and gas industry
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Other sources
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Off-road vehicles and mobile equipment
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Electric utilities
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Total emissions
(emissions in kilotonnes)
1990 1018.0 346.0 397.5 388.1 257.0 2406.5
1991 967.3 339.3 382.2 378.4 250.9 2318.2
1992 979.1 355.9 374.4 387.8 262.9 2360.1
1993 993.2 381.4 382.9 413.6 243.0 2414.1
1994 1044.1 413.2 389.8 447.4 240.0 2534.5
1995 1049.9 429.8 388.6 482.1 248.3 2598.7
1996 1105.2 441.8 385.6 473.5 269.3 2675.4
1997 1191.3 485.5 384.3 470.6 288.1 2819.9
1998 1267.6 496.4 371.4 423.8 310.5 2869.7
1999 1340.2 513.6 374.3 401.1 306.8 2936.0
2000 1353.4 459.1 376.9 394.2 327.1 2910.7
2001 1317.3 453.2 355.7 338.7 313.3 2778.1
2002 1246.8 449.8 378.2 326.1 315.0 2716.0
2003 1177.1 492.4 372.0 342.1 293.2 2676.7
2004 1142.2 424.5 361.7 343.8 259.8 2532.1
2005 1130.0 428.2 339.0 309.5 251.1 2457.7
2006 1083.9 430.3 296.7 286.7 224.5 2322.2
2007 1060.7 453.5 283.1 287.3 239.0 2323.6
2008 1019.7 463.8 262.1 277.1 225.3 2247.9
2009 914.1 460.0 234.6 262.2 218.2 2089.0
2010 926.4 451.8 243.3 280.2 233.8 2135.4
2011 927.6 464.8 250.8 251.3 200.0 2094.6
2012 905.4 465.3 249.2 221.1 166.2 2007.2
2013 886.9 472.1 243.2 213.0 161.7 1976.8
2014 852.2 483.7 246.8 203.0 166.6 1952.3
2015 795.6 490.8 242.1 199.7 151.8 1880.1
2016 786.1 480.4 236.9 158.2 152.2 1813.7

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 2.33 kB)

How this indicator was calculated

Note: The indicator reports air pollutant emissions from human activities only. The category "other sources" includes emissions from ore and mineral industries, manufacturing, building heating and energy generation, home firewood burning, incineration and waste, agriculture (livestock, crop production and fertilizer), dust and fires, paints and solvents, and other miscellaneous sources. Consult Table 2 in the Data sources and methods for a complete list of the air pollutant emissions sources included under each category. The numbers have been rounded off and their sum may not correspond to the total.
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2018) Air Pollutant Emission Inventory.

While transportation (road, rail, air and marine) was the main contributor of NOX, it was also the sector that experienced the largest reduction between 1990 and 2016. Emissions of NOX from this sector decreased by 232 kt (23%) during that period.

The oil and gas industry emitted the next largest proportions of NOX emissions in 2016, representing 26% (480 kt) of total national emissions. This sector also experienced the largest increase 39% (134 kt) in emissions between 1990 and 2016, partly offsetting reductions from other sectors.

The decline in NOX emissions between 1990 and 2016 is mostly attributable to 2 factors:

  • the reduction in emissions from transportation after 2000, given the progressive introduction of cleaner technology and fuels for vehicles
  • lower emissions from fossil-fuel-fired (for example, coal-fired) power-generating utilities as a result of better emission control technologies and certain plant closures (for example, the closure of coal power plants in Ontario)

Nitrogen oxide emissions by province and territory

Key results

  • Among provinces and territories, Alberta emitted the most NOX in 2016. The province accounted for 35% (628 kt) of national emissions
  • Between 1990 and 2016, the largest reduction was observed in Ontario. Emissions decreased by 315 kt (51%) in the province

Nitrogen oxide emissions by province and territory, Canada, 1990 and 2016

Nitrogen oxide emissions by province and territory, Canada, 1990 and 2016 (see data table below for the long description)
Data table for the long description
Nitrogen oxide emissions by province and territory, Canada, 1990 and 2016
Province or territory 1990
(emissions in kilotonnes)
2016
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Newfoundland and Labrador 63.0 59.9
Prince Edward Island 7.6 4.7
Nova Scotia 99.4 66.8
New Brunswick 79.0 34.2
Quebec 340.2 211.9
Ontario 616.3 301.5
Manitoba 74.4 44.0
Saskatchewan 144.9 143.0
Alberta 646.3 627.9
British Columbia 316.0 287.9
Yukon 3.8 2.1
Northwest Territories and Nunavut 15.5 30.0

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 853 B)

How this indicator was calculated

Note: The indicator reports air pollutant emissions from human activities only.
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2018) Air Pollutant Emission Inventory.

The oil and gas industry is an important source of NOX emissions in Alberta, accounting for 58% (361 kt) of the province's NOX emissions in 2016. The increasing contribution of this sector to the province's emissions between 1990 and 2016 was offset by similar emission reductions from the transport and electric utilities sectors.

Ontario contributed the second-largest proportion of NOX emissions in 2016, accounting for 17% (302 kt) of total national emissions, with transportation (road, rail, air and marine) being the most important source followed by off-road vehicles and mobile equipment. Ontario experienced the largest decrease in emissions levels (315 kt) between 1990 and 2016 in large part due to emission reductions from transportation, electric utilities and off-road vehicles and mobile equipment.

British Columbia ranked third, with 16% (288 kt) of total national emissions. Transportation (road, rail, air and marine) was the most important source of NOX in this province.

Nitrogen oxide emissions by facilities

Environment and Climate Change Canada's National Pollutant Release Inventory provides detailed information on air pollutant emissions from industrial and commercial facilities.

The Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators provide this information through an interactive map. With the interactive map, you can drill down to the NOX emissions at specific reporting facilities.

Nitrogen oxide emissions by reporting facilities, Canada, 2016

Nitrogen oxide emissions by reporting facilities, Canada, 2016 (see long description below)
Long description

The map of Canada shows the amount of nitrogen oxide emissions in tonnes in 2016 by reporting facility. The categories are: 0 to 50 tonnes, 50 to 100 tonnes, 100 to 200 tonnes, 200 to 400 tonnes, 400 to 800 tonnes and 800 tones or more.

Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2018) National Pollutant Release Inventory Data search - facility reported data.

Navigate data using the interactive map

Volatile organic compounds

Volatile organic compound emissions by source

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are carbon-containing gases and vapours released into the atmosphere by natural sources and human activities. Footnote 5 There are hundreds of VOCs that are emitted and that affect the health of Canadians and the environment. VOCs are primary precursors to the formation of ground-level ozone and particulate matter which are the main pollutants contributing to the formation of smog.

Key results

  • In 2016, VOC emissions in Canada were 1 818 kilotonnes (kt). This is a 1 319 kt (42%) decrease from 1990 levels
  • Since 2001, the oil and gas industry has been the highest contributor to VOC emissions. In 2016, the sector accounted for 35% (641 kt) of total emissions

Total volatile organic compound emissions by source, Canada, 1990 to 2016

Total volatile organic compound emissions by source, Canada, 1990 to 2016 (see data table below for the long description)
Data table for the long description
Total volatile organic compound emissions by source, Canada, 1990 to 2016
Year Oil and gas industry
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Paints and solvents
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Home firewood burning
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Other sources
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Off-road vehicles and mobile equipment
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Transportation (road, rail, air and marine)
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Manufacturing
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Total emissions
(emissions in kilotonnes)
1990 599.9 357.5 356.5 271.5 909.9 380.9 260.5 3136.7
1991 594.5 350.0 351.4 270.8 879.6 365.4 257.4 3069.3
1992 608.8 352.2 335.9 256.4 890.3 364.9 257.7 3066.3
1993 635.5 351.4 352.1 278.7 913.6 363.6 275.0 3169.9
1994 648.7 362.1 358.4 276.4 919.8 365.0 276.6 3207.1
1995 660.7 375.2 342.1 274.6 920.8 353.5 269.3 3196.1
1996 688.6 373.0 338.4 265.0 899.1 347.7 270.2 3182.0
1997 678.6 374.9 322.6 255.4 857.5 348.8 265.0 3102.8
1998 691.1 377.5 342.0 257.0 815.0 351.6 271.4 3105.6
1999 650.7 389.5 325.0 252.4 795.4 348.4 270.2 3031.6
2000 667.5 395.9 313.6 249.1 711.3 340.8 265.7 2943.8
2001 675.5 375.7 289.7 244.5 533.5 331.9 243.2 2694.0
2002 687.5 368.4 313.2 240.3 522.8 312.7 242.6 2687.5
2003 686.1 370.0 269.5 252.8 497.9 293.6 223.8 2593.7
2004 672.6 366.4 261.5 244.9 513.9 279.3 206.7 2545.3
2005 673.8 365.9 246.3 241.8 429.9 251.0 197.6 2406.3
2006 666.1 351.0 237.7 211.4 411.0 233.9 172.9 2284.0
2007 662.0 348.9 234.9 206.0 403.0 231.1 158.5 2244.5
2008 674.0 339.9 235.3 200.3 376.9 240.2 143.2 2209.7
2009 631.6 309.6 224.3 198.1 361.9 203.7 122.7 2051.8
2010 635.4 316.4 235.9 195.9 350.9 199.3 127.5 2061.2
2011 628.4 304.4 235.2 195.4 245.0 186.0 124.8 1919.2
2012 683.4 309.2 234.4 191.8 213.9 178.2 124.5 1935.5
2013 739.2 313.6 233.0 186.1 197.7 172.0 123.7 1965.3
2014 775.2 322.8 231.5 192.9 191.9 159.9 118.3 1992.4
2015 730.9 325.7 230.0 190.1 183.4 153.6 114.9 1928.6
2016 641.4 326.1 231.3 188.6 156.8 157.2 116.2 1817.5

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 2.68 kB)

How this indicator was calculated

Note: The indicator reports air pollutant emissions from human activities only. The category "other sources" includes emissions from incineration and waste, ore and mineral industries, dust and fires, building heating and energy generation, electric utilities, agriculture (livestock, crop production and fertilizer) and other miscellaneous sources. Consult Table 2 in the Data sources and methods for a complete list of the air pollutant emissions sources included under each category. The numbers have been rounded off and their sum may not correspond to the total.
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2018) Air Pollutant Emissions Inventory.

The oil and gas industry was the main source of VOC emissions in 2016 with 641 kt emitted (35% of total emissions). Paints and solvents and home firewood burning were also important sources contributing 18% (326 kt) and 13% (231 kt) of total emissions.

The source with the largest emissions reduction between 1990 and 2016 was off-road vehicles and mobile equipment, with emissions reductions of 753 kt (83%). From 1990 to 2000, off-road vehicles and mobile equipment was the highest contributor to national VOC emissions.

The long-term decrease in VOC emissions is mainly attributable to 3 factors:

  • the progressive introduction of cleaner technologies and fuels resulting in emission reductions from transportation, off-road vehicles and mobile equipment
  • emission reductions from most industrial and non-industrial sources from improved emission controls
  • lower levels of VOCs in products such as paints, solvents and cleaners

The only source with significant emissions growth over the 1990 to 2016 period was the oil and gas industry with an increase of 42 kt (7%).

Volatile organic compound emissions by province and territory

Key results

  • Alberta emitted the highest proportion of VOCs in 2016. The province represented 31% (567 kt) of national emissions
  • Between 1990 and 2016, Ontario experienced the largest reduction in VOC emissions. Emissions in the province decreased by 60% (556 kt)
  • Saskatchewan is the only province that experienced an increase in VOC emissions of 37% (66 kt) between 1990 and 2016

Volatile organic compound emissions by province and territory, Canada, 1990 and 2016

Volatile organic compound emissions by province and territory, Canada, 1990 and 2016 (see data table below for the long description)
Data table for the long description
Volatile organic compound emissions by province and territory, Canada, 1990 and 2016
Province or territory 1990
(emissions in kilotonnes)
2016
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Newfoundland and Labrador 56.7 28.5
Prince Edward Island 13.1 7.1
Nova Scotia 84.0 40.9
New Brunswick 92.0 36.1
Quebec 597.1 290.7
Ontario 931.8 375.5
Manitoba 101.8 62.8
Saskatchewan 175.7 241.5
Alberta 681.4 566.9
British Columbia 390.0 162.6
Yukon 2.2 0.9
Northwest Territories and Nunavut 10.7 3.9

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 871 B)

How this indicator was calculated

Note: The indicator reports air pollutant emissions from human activities only.
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2018) Air Pollutant Emission Inventory.

Alberta was the highest emitting province of VOCs in 2016 (567 kt), with the oil and gas industry as the main source, contributing 72% (407 kt) of the province's emissions.

Ontario was the second-highest emitter of VOCs, accounting for 21% (376 kt) of total national emissions in 2016. The main emission sources are paints and solvents, home firewood burning and off-road vehicles and mobile equipment. Ontario also experienced the largest reduction in emissions, with 556 kt (60%) between 1990 and 2016, mainly as a result of emission reductions from the closure of coal-fired power plants and from off-road vehicles and mobile equipment.

Quebec was the third largest emitter, with 16% (291 kt) of total national emissions, where home firewood burning and paints and solvents accounted for 61% of the emissions in that province.

Most provinces and territories experienced reductions in emissions of more than 35% between 1990 and 2016 with the exception of Alberta (a 17% reduction in emissions due to an increase in the oil and gas industry) and Saskatchewan, where emissions increased 37% over the period. The oil and gas industry is responsible for the increase in emissions in Saskatchewan.

Volatile organic compound emissions by facilities

Environment and Climate Change Canada's National Pollutant Release Inventory provides detailed information on air pollutant emissions from industrial and commercial facilities.

The Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators provide this information through an interactive map. With the interactive map, you can drill down to the VOC emissions at specific reporting facilities.

Volatile organic compound emissions by reporting facilities, Canada, 2016

Volatile organic compound emissions by reporting facilities, Canada, 2016 (see long description below)
Long description

The map of Canada shows the amount of volatile organic compound emissions in tonnes in 2016 by reporting facility. The categories are: 0 to 15 tonnes, 15 to 30 tonnes, 30 to 100 tonnes, 100 to 200 tonnes, 200 to 400 tonnes and 400 tonnes or more.

Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2018) National Pollutant Release Inventory Data search - facility reported data.

Navigate data using the interactive map

Ammonia

Ammonia emissions by source

Ammonia (NH3) is a colourless gas with a noticeable odour at high concentrations. It can be poisonous if inhaled in great quantities and is irritating to the eyes, nose, and throat. It can also contribute to the nitrification and eutrophication of aquatic systems. In the air, the gas combines with sulphates and nitrates to form secondary fine particulate matter (PM2.5).

Key results

  • In 2016, NH3 emissions were 492 kilotonnes (kt). This is 20% higher than in 1990
  • Agriculture (livestock, crop production and fertilizer) was the main source of NH3 emissions in 2016. Emissions from this source accounted for more than 94% (460 kt) of total national emissions

Total ammonia emissions by source, Canada, 1990 to 2016

Total ammonia emissions by source, Canada, 1990 to 2016 (see data table below for the long description)
Data table for the long description
Total ammonia emissions by source, Canada, 1990 to 2016
Year Agriculture (livestock, crop production and fertilizer)
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Manufacturing
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Other sources
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Transportation (road, rail, air and marine)
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Total emissions
(emissions in kilotonnes)
1990 370.3 20.0 14.4 5.1 409.8
1991 367.5 19.1 14.4 5.2 406.2
1992 380.0 19.0 14.3 5.6 418.9
1993 382.4 18.5 15.2 6.0 422.1
1994 394.4 20.0 15.3 6.8 436.4
1995 412.9 19.0 15.0 7.5 454.4
1996 429.1 20.7 14.8 8.2 472.8
1997 434.9 20.9 15.0 9.1 479.8
1998 435.0 20.8 15.1 10.0 480.9
1999 433.3 21.5 14.7 10.8 480.3
2000 443.8 23.2 15.3 11.1 493.4
2001 448.4 19.9 14.5 11.7 494.5
2002 452.5 21.7 22.0 11.3 507.6
2003 458.5 17.7 13.5 11.1 500.9
2004 473.5 17.6 12.7 10.8 514.6
2005 470.6 17.0 13.7 10.5 511.8
2006 462.4 16.1 11.8 10.0 500.3
2007 466.4 16.1 10.9 9.9 503.3
2008 456.8 13.6 12.2 9.3 491.9
2009 443.6 12.6 11.9 8.9 476.9
2010 436.8 11.5 12.8 8.8 469.8
2011 434.5 11.8 12.3 8.5 467.2
2012 450.9 12.0 11.6 8.1 482.5
2013 465.3 11.3 12.6 8.0 497.2
2014 459.6 11.4 12.9 7.5 491.4
2015 461.9 11.7 11.7 7.4 492.6
2016 460.0 12.1 11.9 7.6 491.6

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 2.00 kB)

How this indicator was calculated

Note: The indicator reports air pollutant emissions from human activities only. The category "other sources" includes emissions from incineration and waste, the oil and gas industry, home firewood burning, ore and mineral industries, electric utilities, building heating and energy generation, off-road vehicles and mobile equipment, dust and fires, paints and solvents, and other miscellaneous sources. Consult Table 2 in the Data sources and methods for a complete list of the air pollutant emissions sources included under each category. The numbers have been rounded off and their sum may not correspond to the total.
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2018) Air Pollutant Emission Inventory.

Between 1990 and 2016, agriculture (livestock, crop production and fertilizer) experienced the largest increase (24% or 90 kt) in NH3 emissions. It also remained the key source of NH3 emissions throughout that period. Emissions from manufacturing and other sources each represented 2% (12 kt) of national emissions in 2016. Transportation (road, rail, air and marine) followed representing 1.5% (8 kt) of national emissions.

The growth in NH3 emissions from agriculture (livestock, crop production and fertilizer) between 1990 and 2016 is mainly due to the increased use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers and, up to 2005, larger livestock populations.

Ammonia emissions by province and territory

Key results

  • In 2016, Alberta and Saskatchewan accounted for half (237 kt) of national NH3 emissions
  • Between 1990 and 2016, Ontario experienced the largest emissions reduction. Emissions in the province decreased by 22 kt (19%)

Ammonia emissions by province and territory, Canada, 1990 and 2016

Ammonia emissions by province and territory, Canada, 1990 and 2016 (see data table below for the long description)
Data table for the long description
Ammonia emissions by province and territory, Canada, 1990 and 2016
Province or territory 1990
(emissions in kilotonnes)
2016
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Newfoundland and Labrador 1.1 1.0
Prince Edward Island 3.6 2.8
Nova Scotia 5.1 3.5
New Brunswick 4.7 3.6
Quebec 70.0 71.3
Ontario 114.7 92.4
Manitoba 39.4 61.6
Saskatchewan 50.0 102.2
Alberta 98.2 134.8
British Columbia 23.0 18.4
Yukon <0.1 <0.1
Northwest Territories and Nunavut <0.1 <0.1

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 839 B)

How this indicator was calculated

Note: The indicator reports air pollutant emissions from human activities only.
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2018) Air Pollutant Emission Inventory.

In 2016, Alberta emitted the most NH3 of all the provinces and territories, accounting for 27% (135 kt) of total national emissions. Saskatchewan contributed the second-largest proportion of NH3, representing 21% (102 kt).

Ontario and Quebec followed with 19% and 14% (92 kt and 71 kt) of total national emissions, respectively. For all provinces, livestock farms and the application of fertilizers were the most important sources of NH3 emissions.

Almost all of the increase in emissions between 1990 and 2016 took place in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta.

Ammonia emissions by facilities

Environment and Climate Change Canada's National Pollutant Release Inventory provides detailed information on air pollutant emissions from industrial and commercial facilities.

The Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators provide this information through an interactive map. With the interactive map, you can drill down to the NH3 emissions at specific reporting facilities.

Ammonia emissions by reporting facilities, Canada, 2016

Ammonia emissions by reporting facilities, Canada, 2016 (see long description)
Long description

The map of Canada shows the amount of ammonia emissions in tonnes in 2016 by reporting facility. The categories are: 0 to 1 tonne, 1 to 5 tonnes, 5 to 25 tonnes, 25 to 100 tonnes, 100 to 400 tonnes and 400 tonnes or more.

Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2018) National Pollutant Release Inventory Data search - facility reported data.

Navigate data using the interactive map

Carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide emissions by source

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless, tasteless and poisonous gas. Once inhaled into the bloodstream, it can inhibit the blood's capacity to carry oxygen to organs and tissues, affecting human health.

Key results

  • In 2016, CO emissions in Canada were 5 770 kilotonnes (kt), a decrease of 54% from 1990 levels
  • Transportation (road, rail, air and marine) was the largest source of CO emissions in Canada. In 2016, the sector represented 31% (1 815 kt) of total emissions

 Total carbon monoxide emissions by source, Canada, 1990 to 2016

 Total carbon monoxide emissions by source, Canada, 1990 to 2016 (see data table below for the long description)
Data table for the long description
Total carbon monoxide emissions by source, Canada, 1990 to 2016
Year Transportation (road, rail, air and marine)
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Off-road vehicles and mobile equipment
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Home firewood burning
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Other sources
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Oil and gas industry
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Total emissions
(emissions in kilotonnes)
1990 5380.7 2813.4 1660.4 2306.7 336.3 12497.4
1991 5181.4 2736.7 1636.4 2403.1 324.8 12282.4
1992 5181.8 2802.7 1564.8 2230.0 339.6 12118.9
1993 5167.7 2878.4 1637.9 2421.7 363.1 12468.7
1994 5149.3 2915.2 1668.5 2368.4 399.4 12500.9
1995 4942.9 2964.9 1593.1 2405.9 407.9 12314.7
1996 4851.5 2941.7 1573.8 2149.1 420.0 11936.0
1997 4860.0 2844.4 1502.7 1882.0 469.8 11558.9
1998 4901.5 2763.0 1597.0 1794.2 486.9 11542.6
1999 4801.8 2751.3 1521.8 1722.3 499.3 11296.6
2000 4885.8 2554.8 1472.7 1647.6 443.7 11004.6
2001 4660.6 2105.9 1364.1 1536.8 467.8 10135.2
2002 4339.1 2160.0 1482.7 1460.6 498.7 9941.1
2003 4119.4 2157.1 1278.9 1534.8 529.5 9619.6
2004 3796.0 2290.0 1247.9 1232.3 500.2 9066.4
2005 3124.7 2087.6 1180.0 1199.2 493.4 8084.8
2006 2829.7 2096.6 1144.8 1010.6 503.0 7584.7
2007 2708.3 2083.7 1146.8 953.0 522.6 7414.4
2008 2565.2 1988.5 1161.2 963.4 540.4 7218.7
2009 2370.4 1915.0 1121.1 917.0 524.9 6848.5
2010 2266.1 1899.9 1193.9 896.5 520.9 6777.3
2011 2068.2 1647.7 1204.2 890.0 530.5 6340.6
2012 1973.5 1488.4 1213.9 917.6 537.3 6130.7
2013 1931.2 1463.9 1206.3 852.8 572.7 6026.8
2014 1775.5 1486.5 1198.2 906.2 559.2 5925.6
2015 1750.1 1443.9 1190.3 881.1 574.0 5839.4
2016 1815.2 1299.9 1195.1 910.3 549.5 5770.1

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 2.42 kB)

How this indicator was calculated

Note: The indicator reports air pollutant emissions from human activities only. The category "other sources" includes emissions from dust and fires, electric utilities, building heating and energy generation, incineration and waste, agriculture (livestock, crop production and fertilizer), paints and solvents, ore and mineral industries, manufacturing and other miscellaneous sources. Consult Table 2 in the Data sources and methods for a complete list of the air pollutant emissions sources included under each category.
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2018) Air Pollutant Emissions Inventory.

In 2016, transportation, off-road vehicles and mobile equipment, and home firewood burning were the 3 most important sources of CO. These sources combined represented 75% (4 310 kt) of national emissions.

The largest reduction in emissions between 1990 and 2016 occurred in transportation (road, rail, air and marine) with an emission decrease of 3566 kt (66%).

The decline in CO emissions between 1990 and 2016 is mainly due to the progressive introduction of cleaner and more efficient technology in vehicles (for example, catalytic converters).

Carbon monoxide emissions by province and territory

Key results

  • In 2016, Ontario and Quebec accounted for more than 52% (3 007 kt) of national CO emissions
  • Between 1990 and 2016, all provinces and territories experienced significant reductions in emissions. The largest reductions occurred in Ontario (by 2 126 kt or 59%), British Columbia (by 1 666 kt or 69%) and Quebec (by 1 134 kt or 42%)

Carbon monoxide emissions by province and territory, Canada, 1990 and 2016

Carbon monoxide emissions by province and territory, Canada, 1990 and 2016 (see data table below for the long description)
Data table for the long description
Carbon monoxide emissions by province and territory, Canada, 1990 and 2016
Province or territory 1990
(emissions in kilotonnes)
2016
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Newfoundland and Labrador 224.5 145.2
Prince Edward Island 64.1 29.0
Nova Scotia 348.1 162.4
New Brunswick 352.7 169.2
Quebec 2689.3 1555.2
Ontario 3578.2 1452.3
Manitoba 406.1 181.1
Saskatchewan 541.1 325.6
Alberta 1854.5 992.6
British Columbia 2405.1 739.2
Yukon 15.7 4.2
Northwest Territories and Nunavut 18.0 14.1

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 879 B)

How this indicator was calculated

Note: The indicator reports air pollutant emissions from human activities only.
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2018) Air Pollutant Emissions Inventory.

In 2016, Quebec emitted the most CO of all the provinces and territories, representing 27% (1 555 kt) of the total national emissions. Home firewood burning was the most important source of CO emissions for Quebec.

The province of Ontario ranked second, with 25% (1 452 kt) of total national emissions in 2016, with 34% of those emissions from off-road vehicles and mobile equipment.

Alberta, the third largest CO emitter, accounted for 17% (993 kt) of total national emissions. The oil and gas industry accounted for 42% of the province's CO emissions.

The sharp decrease in emissions between 1990 and 2016 in all provinces is mainly attributable to emission reductions from transportation (road, rail, air and marine).

Carbon monoxide emissions by facilities

Environment and Climate Change Canada's National Pollutant Release Inventory provides detailed information on air pollutant emissions from industrial and commercial facilities.

The Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators provide this information through an interactive map. With the interactive map, you can drill down to the CO emissions at specific reporting facilities.

Carbon monoxide emissions by reporting facilities, Canada, 2016

Carbon monoxide emissions by reporting facilities, Canada, 2016 (see long description below)
Long description

The map of Canada shows the amount of carbon monoxide emissions in tonnes in 2016 by reporting facility. The categories are: 0 to 25 tonnes, 25 to 50 tonnes, 50 to 100 tonnes, 100 to 500 tonnes, 500 to 100 tonnes and 1000 tonnes or more.

Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2018) National Pollutant Release Inventory Data search - facility reported data.

Navigate data using the interactive map

Fine particulate matter

Fine particulate matter emissions by source

Particulate matter (PM) is directly emitted into the air in solid or liquid form. It is also formed in the air from precursor substances such as sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds and ammonia. Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) refers to particulate matter with a size of less than 2.5 micrometres (also called microns). It is one of the major components of smog. When inhaled deeply into the lungs, even small amounts of PM2.5 can cause serious health problems. It can also damage vegetation and structures, contribute to haze and reduce visibility.

Key results

  • In 2016, PM2.5 emissions were 1 606 kilotonnes (kt). This is 18% lower than in 1990
  • Emissions from dust and fires (for example, road dust and prescribed forest burning) accounted for the majority of PM2.5 emissions, reaching  63% (1 010 kt) of total national emissions in 2016. These emissions increased by 50% (336 kt) between 1990 and 2016

Total fine particulate matter emissions by source, Canada, 1990 to 2016

Total fine particulate matter emissions by source, Canada, 1990 to 2016 (see data table below for the long description)
Data table for the long description
Total fine particulate matter emissions by source, Canada, 1990 to 2016
Year Dust and fires
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Agriculture (livestock, crop production and fertilizer)
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Home firewood burning
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Other sources
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Total emissions
(emissions in kilotonnes)
1990 673.6 676.8 262.1 356.5 1969.0
1991 670.0 669.6 258.4 330.1 1928.2
1992 643.4 654.9 247.0 321.7 1867.0
1993 651.8 640.6 258.5 319.3 1870.1
1994 707.3 626.0 263.1 320.4 1916.8
1995 650.8 611.4 251.2 320.4 1833.8
1996 665.6 597.0 248.0 311.4 1822.0
1997 729.6 582.9 234.8 308.3 1855.6
1998 605.2 569.1 247.0 297.6 1718.8
1999 638.0 555.5 232.9 294.4 1720.7
2000 625.4 541.9 223.2 292.8 1683.3
2001 642.6 528.6 204.2 262.1 1637.5
2002 621.7 508.6 219.2 237.6 1587.0
2003 652.1 488.3 186.4 230.2 1557.0
2004 644.6 467.8 179.2 221.0 1512.6
2005 663.5 447.9 166.8 217.4 1495.6
2006 716.8 427.7 158.8 190.5 1493.9
2007 791.5 414.3 158.5 186.1 1550.4
2008 876.8 400.9 160.3 177.6 1615.7
2009 775.8 387.8 154.4 162.9 1480.8
2010 863.2 374.7 163.8 164.1 1565.8
2011 913.5 361.4 164.8 154.8 1594.5
2012 1008.3 348.9 165.8 149.8 1672.8
2013 1003.6 336.8 164.7 146.3 1651.3
2014 1013.1 325.9 163.6 143.8 1646.4
2015 1012.0 316.5 162.5 129.5 1620.5
2016 1009.9 308.1 163.3 124.6 1605.8
Total fine particulate matter emissions by source, Canada, 1990 to 2016
Year Ore and mineral industries
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Transportation (road, rail, air and marine)
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Manufacturing
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Off-road vehicles and mobile equipment
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Miscellaneous
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Oil and gas industry
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Building heating and energy generation
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Electric utilities
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Incineration and waste
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Paints and solvents
(emissions in kilotonnes)
1990 58.8 40.6 116.0 55.7 14.8 12.4 4.6 48.5 5.1 <0.1
1991 55.7 37.9 104.7 53.3 13.0 12.3 4.6 43.5 5.1 <0.1
1992 53.1 37.3 101.6 53.5 13.0 12.5 4.7 40.7 5.1 <0.1
1993 52.8 37.2 102.4 57.7 13.3 13.2 4.9 32.6 5.2 <0.1
1994 54.5 37.8 102.7 62.4 13.7 13.9 4.9 25.0 5.5 <0.1
1995 54.7 37.0 103.6 65.2 14.2 14.5 4.9 20.9 5.4 <0.1
1996 56.0 37.6 95.6 64.3 14.2 14.4 5.2 19.1 5.2 <0.1
1997 57.6 39.3 87.8 64.0 14.6 14.8 5.0 20.2 5.0 <0.1
1998 54.1 40.7 83.2 58.8 15.3 16.1 4.6 19.9 4.8 <0.1
1999 52.4 41.8 83.2 56.1 15.9 13.9 4.8 21.6 4.7 <0.1
2000 54.9 42.8 78.5 54.0 16.3 13.4 5.3 23.2 4.5 <0.1
2001 51.3 42.4 65.1 44.6 16.5 13.3 5.0 19.4 4.4 <0.1
2002 41.8 41.1 56.3 42.7 16.7 14.1 5.2 15.2 4.4 <0.1
2003 40.2 41.2 55.7 43.1 17.0 12.6 5.5 11.0 3.9 <0.1
2004 39.2 41.3 50.1 42.6 17.5 11.9 5.3 9.3 3.8 <0.1
2005 44.5 43.7 44.3 36.8 17.8 12.4 5.3 9.0 3.8 <0.1
2006 43.1 42.0 28.0 33.8 17.9 11.7 4.9 6.0 3.1 <0.1
2007 40.8 40.4 26.8 33.5 17.9 11.3 5.2 7.0 3.1 <0.1
2008 39.0 39.2 23.9 32.3 18.3 9.9 5.1 6.8 3.1 <0.1
2009 33.1 35.8 21.8 30.4 18.4 9.2 5.0 6.1 3.1 <0.1
2010 35.9 35.7 19.9 31.8 18.1 9.1 4.7 5.7 3.1 <0.1
2011 34.5 34.7 20.9 25.4 17.3 9.6 5.0 4.3 2.9 <0.1
2012 35.7 33.6 20.4 21.9 17.4 10.1 4.8 3.2 2.7 <0.1
2013 32.9 32.8 20.8 20.5 17.2 11.1 5.0 3.2 2.7 <0.1
2014 32.7 31.7 19.1 19.3 16.6 12.9 5.2 3.5 2.7 <0.1
2015 31.7 21.8 18.6 18.6 15.6 12.1 4.9 3.4 2.7 <0.1
2016 33.0 21.7 17.5 14.7 15.7 11.2 4.6 3.3 2.7 <0.1

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 4.21 kB)

How this indicator was calculated

Note: The indicator reports air pollutant emissions from human activities only. The category "other sources" includes emissions from ore and mineral industries, transportation (road, rail, air and marine), manufacturing, off-road vehicles and mobile equipment, the oil and gas industry, building heating and energy generation, electric utilities, incineration and wastes, paints and solvents, and other miscellaneous sources. Consult Table 2 in the Data sources and methods for a complete list of the air pollutant emissions sources included under each category.
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2018) Air Pollutant Emissions Inventory.

In 2016, 82% of PM2.5 emissions came from open source emissions, such as dust and fires, and agriculture (livestock, crop production and fertilizer). In general, these emissions are spread over large geographical areas, are highly dependent on weather conditions (for example, wind and rain) and are located outside of urban areas.

The remaining 18% of PM2.5 emissions in 2016 came from home firewood burning (163 kt or 10%) and other sources, including:

  • ore and mineral industries, representing 2% (33 kt) of the emissions
  • transportation (road, rail, air and marine), representing 1% (22 kt)
  • manufacturing (18 kt) and off-road vehicles and mobile equipment (15 kt), each representing about 1% of emissions
  • miscellaneous sources, such as emissions from cigarette smoking, representing 1% (16 kt)
  • the oil and gas industry, representing less than 1% (11 kt)
  • other emissions (less than 1%) coming from building heating and energy generation, electric utilities, incineration and wastes, and the use of paints and solvents

Many of the sources above, despite representing a small proportion of national emissions, can have a disproportionate impact on the population because they are generally concentrated in populated areas.

The decreases in PM2.5 emissions between 1990 and 2016 are mainly attributable to emission reductions from agriculture (livestock, crop production and fertilizer) and home firewood burning. These reductions outweigh the increase in emissions from dust and fires over the period. The adoption of conservation practices in crop production and the use of new fireplace inserts, furnaces and stoves in homes that control emissions and burn more efficiently were the main drivers leading to the reductions.

Table 1. Source emissions changes between 1990 and 2016
Source PM2.5
(change in kilotonnes from 1990 to 2016)
PM2.5
(percentage change from 1990 to 2016)
Dust and fires 336.2 49.9
Miscellaneous 0.8 5.6
Building heating and energy generation 0.04 0.8
Paints and solvents 0.009 249.2
Oil and gas industry -1.2 -9.5
Incineration and waste -2.3 -46.2
Transportation (road, rail, air and marine) -18.8 -46.4
Ore and mineral industries -25.8 -43.9
Off-road vehicles and mobile equipment -40.9 -73.6
Electric utilities -45.2 -93.2
Manufacturing -98.5 -84.9
Home firewood burning -98.8 -37.7
Agriculture (livestock, crop production and fertilizer) -368.6 -54.5
Total -363.2 -18.4

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 1.48 kB)

Note: The changes have been calculated using source data that are not rounded.
Source:
Environment and Climate Change Canada (2018) Air Pollutant Emissions Inventory.

Fine particulate matter emissions by province and territory

Key results

  • In 2016, Alberta emitted the most PM2.5. The province represented 35% (570 kt) of total national emissions
  • Between 1990 and 2016, all provinces, with the exception of Alberta, decreased their emissions. The largest decrease was observed in Saskatchewan with 170 kt (35%)

Fine particulate matter emissions by province and territory, Canada, 1990 and 2016

Fine particulate matter emissions by province and territory, Canada, 1990 and 2016 (see data table below for the long description)
Data table for the long description
Fine particulate matter emissions by province and territory, Canada, 1990 and 2016
Province or territory 1990
(emissions in kilotonnes)
2016
(emissions in kilotonnes)
1990, excluding open sources[A]
(emissions in kilotonnes)
2016, excluding open sources[A]
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Newfoundland and Labrador 28.4 23.4 24.1 9.9
Prince Edward Island 7.2 5.9 3.3 2.5
Nova Scotia 40.6 26.9 25.5 13.1
New Brunswick 40.5 24.8 24.1 9.9
Quebec 249.8 209.9 159.7 96.7
Ontario 323.7 271.2 156.1 71.9
Manitoba 104.1 79.1 16.8 7.7
Saskatchewan 478.7 309.2 25.1 12.2
Alberta 510.3 569.6 77.8 30.1
British Columbia 178.3 81.5 108.7 32.0
Yukon 3.1 0.8 0.3 0.1
Northwest Territories and Nunavut 4.2 3.6 1.7 1.4

Note: [A] Open sources include emissions associated with dust and fires and agriculture (livestock, crop production and fertilizer).

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 1.33 kB)

How this indicator was calculated

Note: The indicator reports air pollutant emissions from human activities only.
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2018) Air Pollutant Emissions Inventory.

Dust and fires (for example, road dust and prescribed forest burning) were the largest sources of PM2.5 emissions in Alberta, the highest emitting province in 2016, accounting for 80% (454 kt) of total national emissions in 2016 in this province.

Saskatchewan ranked second in 2016, with 19% (309 kt) of PM2.5 emissions. Agriculture (livestock, crop production and fertilizer) was the largest source, with dust and fires being the second-largest source of PM2.5.

Ontario ranked third, with 17% (271 kt), and Quebec ranked fourth with 13% (210 kt). For both provinces, dust and fires were the largest sources of emissions, with home firewood burning (for example, woodstoves and fireplaces) being the second-largest source.

The increase in emissions in Alberta between 1990 and 2016 can be attributed to growth in construction operations for the oil and gas industries.

The exclusion of emissions from dust and fires and agriculture (livestock, crop production and fertilizer) provides a different breakdown of PM2.5 emissions in each province and territory. With these emissions removed, Quebec becomes the largest emitting province of PM2.5 in 2016, representing 33% (97 kt) of total emissions (288 kt). Ontario ranks second with 25% (72 kt) of emissions. British Columbia and Alberta rank third and fourth, both representing about 11% (32 kt and 30 kt, respectively) of emissions. Between 1990 and 2016, all of the provinces and territories experienced emissions reductions between 71% (British Columbia) and 18% (Northwest Territories and Nunavut).

Fine particulate matter emissions by facilities

Environment and Climate Change Canada's National Pollutant Release Inventory provides detailed information on air pollutant emissions from industrial and commercial facilities.

The Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators provide this information through an interactive map. With the interactive map, you can drill down to the PM2.5 emissions at specific reporting facilities.

Fine particulate matter by reporting facilities, Canada, 2016

Fine particulate matter by reporting facilities, Canada, 2016 (see long description below)
Long description

The map of Canada shows the amount of fine particulate matter emissions in tonnes in 2016 by reporting facility. The categories are: 0 to 0.5 tonne, 0.5 to 1 tonne, 1 to 5 tonnes, 5 to 25 tonnes, 25 to 100 tonnes and 100 tonnes or more.

Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2018) National Pollutant Release Inventory Data search - facility reported data.

Navigate data using the interactive map

Black carbon

Black carbon emissions by source

Black carbon is a component of PM2.5 and is generated by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels and biomass. It is a short-lived climate pollutant, and is linked to both climate warming and adverse human health effects. Reductions in black carbon emissions have near-immediate and local benefits.

Key results

  • Emissions of black carbon were 35 kt in 2016
  • In 2016, 3 sectors accounted for 87% of national black carbon emissions:
    • home firewood burning
    • off-road vehicles and mobile equipment
    • transportation (road, rail, air and marine)

Total black carbon emissions by source, Canada, 2016

Total black carbon emissions by source, Canada, 2016 (see data table below for the long description)
Data table for the long description
Total black carbon emissions by source, Canada, 2016
Source 2016
(emissions in kilotonnes)
2016
(percentage of national emissions)
Home firewood burning 11.6 33.2
Transportation (road, rail, air and marine) 10.0 28.6
Off-road vehicles and mobile equipment 8.7 25.0
Oil and gas industry 2.5 7.2
Building heating and energy generation 1.0 3.0
Other sources 1.0 2.9

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 1023 B)

How this indicator was calculated

Note: The indicator reports air pollutant emissions from human activities only. The chart includes emissions from the most significant sources of black carbon. "Other sources" includes emissions from ore and mineral industries, manufacturing, electric utilities and agriculture. Consult Table 2 in the Data sources and methods for more details.
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2018) Canada's Black Carbon Emissions Inventory.

In 2016, home firewood burning and transportation (road, rail, air and marine) accounted for the largest proportions of total national emissions, representing 33% (11.6 kt) and 29% (10 kt) respectively. Off-road vehicles and mobile equipment (for example, lawn and garden equipment, recreational vehicles, excavators, graders) was also a large contributor, representing about 25% (8.7 kt) of total national emissions. The remaining 13% of emissions came from the oil and gas industry, other sources (such as ore and mineral industries) and building heating and energy generation.

For both transportation and off-road vehicles and mobile equipment, the use of diesel engines was the main source of black carbon emissions. The same was true of the oil and gas industry where the use of stationary diesel engines for fuel extraction accounted for the largest share of emissions.

By sector
Transportation, off-road vehicles and mobile equipment

Air pollutant emissions from transportation, off-road vehicles and mobile equipment

Transportation, off-road vehicles and mobile equipment are among the largest sources of air pollutants in Canada. Burning fossil fuels to power vehicles and engines causes emissions of many air pollutants. Air pollutants are responsible for the formation of fine particulate matter, ozone, smog and acid rain. They also adversely affect human heath, the environment and the economy.

Key results

Contribution of transportation, off-road vehicles and mobile equipment to air pollutant emissions by transportation mode, Canada, 2016

Contribution of transportation, off-road vehicles and mobile equipment to air pollutant emissions by transportation mode, Canada, 2016 (see data table below for the long description)
Data table for the long description
Contribution of transportation, off-road vehicles and mobile equipment to air pollutant emissions by transportation mode, Canada, 2016
Transportation mode Carbon monoxide
(percentage of national emissions)
Nitrogen oxides
(percentage of national emissions)
Volatile organic compounds
(percentage of national emissions)
Fine particulate matter
(percentage of national emissions)
Sulphur oxides
(percentage of national emissions)
Ammonia
(percentage of national emissions)
Passenger cars and motorcycles 9.2 2.6 2.8 < 0.1 < 0.1 0.6
Passenger light trucks 12.8 4.0 3.2 < 0.1 < 0.1 0.6
Large trucks and buses 8.0 15.0 1.6 0.6 < 0.1 0.2
Air, marine and rail travel 1.5 21.7 1.0 0.5 1.9 < 0.1
Off-road vehicles and equipment, tire wear and brake lining 22.5 8.7 8.6 1.0 < 0.1 < 0.1
Emissions of air pollutants from transportation, off-road vehicles and mobile equipment by transportation mode, Canada, 2016
Transportation mode Carbon monoxide
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Nitrogen oxides
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Volatile organic compounds
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Fine particulate matter
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Sulphur oxides
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Ammonia
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Passenger cars and motorcycles 532.2 47.1 51.0 1.2 0.5 3.0
Passenger light trucks 736.3 72.7 58.7 1.3 0.7 3.1
Large trucks and buses 459.3 272.6 28.8 9.5 0.3 1.1
Air, marine and rail travel 87.3 393.8 18.7 8.2 20.6 0.4
Off-road vehicles and equipment, tire wear and brake lining 1299.9 158.2 156.8 16.2 0.2 0.3

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 2.00 kB)

How this indicator was calculated

Note: "Passenger cars and motorcycles" include cars powered by motor gasoline, diesel, liquefied petroleum gas and compressed natural gas engines as well as all types of motorcycles. "Passenger light trucks" include light-duty trucks powered by motor gasoline, diesel, liquefied petroleum gas and compressed natural gas engines. "Large trucks and buses" include heavy-duty trucks powered by motor gasoline, diesel, liquefied petroleum gas and compressed natural gas engines.
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2018) Air Pollutant Emissions Inventory.

The mix of fuels used explains in large part the contribution of each transportation mode to emissions of different air pollutants.

Large trucks and buses, and rail and marine mostly rely on diesel fuel. Aviation relies on aviation turbo fuel. These transportation modes are the largest sources of NOX transportation-related emissions accounting for 37% (666 kilotonnes [kt]) of total NOX emissions.

Passenger cars and light trucks mostly use gasoline and are a main source of pollutants, especially in urban centres. In 2016, emissions from passenger cars, motorcycles and light trucks amounted to 1 268 kt of CO, 120 kt of NOX and 110 kt of VOCs. These emissions represented 22%, 7% and 6% of all emissions of these pollutants respectively.

Other sources (mainly composed of off-road vehicles and equipment)Footnote 6 are also a significant source of pollution. Their combined emissions make up 23%, 9% and 9% of the total emissions of CO, NOX and VOCs, respectively. Emissions mostly come from household use of gasoline- or diesel-powered recreational and lawn and garden equipment and from the operation of agricultural, construction and mining equipment.

The largest source of sulphur oxide (SOX) emissions in the transportation sector is marine vessels. Emissions of SOX from marine vessels decreased by 87% between 2014 and 2016 due to the introduction of more stringent regulations.

Changes in emissions from transportation, off-road vehicles and mobile equipment

Key results

  • Between 1990 and 2016, total emissions of NOX, CO and VOCs from transportation, off-road vehicles and mobile equipment decreased by 33%, 62% and 76%, respectively
  • Since 2000, all pollutants demonstrated the same downward trend in their emissions level

Changes in emissions of key air pollutants from transportation, off-road vehicles and mobile equipment, Canada, 1990 to 2016

Changes in emissions of key air pollutants from transportation, off-road vehicles and mobile equipment, 1990 to 2016 (see data table below for the long description)
Data table for the long description
Changes in emissions of key air pollutants from transportation, off-road vehicles and mobile equipment, 1990 to 2016
Year Nitrogen oxides
(percentage change from 1990 level)
Carbon monoxide
(percentage change from 1990 level)
Volatile organic compounds
(percentage change from 1990 level)
1990 0 0 0
1991 -4 -3 -4
1992 -3 -3 -3
1993 0 -2 -1
1994 6 -2 0
1995 9 -3 -1
1996 12 -5 -3
1997 18 -6 -7
1998 20 -6 -10
1999 24 -8 -11
2000 24 -9 -18
2001 18 -17 -33
2002 12 -21 -35
2003 8 -23 -39
2004 6 -26 -39
2005 2 -36 -47
2006 -3 -40 -50
2007 -4 -42 -51
2008 -8 -44 -52
2009 -16 -48 -56
2010 -14 -49 -57
2011 -16 -55 -67
2012 -20 -58 -70
2013 -22 -59 -71
2014 -25 -60 -73
2015 -29 -61 -74
2016 -33 -62 -76
Emissions of key air pollutants from transportation, off-road vehicles and mobile equipment, Canada, 1990 to 2016
Year Nitrogen oxides
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Carbon monoxide
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Volatile organic compounds
(emissions in kilotonnes)
1990 1406.1 8194.1 1290.8
1991 1345.7 7918.1 1245.1
1992 1366.9 7984.5 1255.3
1993 1406.8 8046.0 1277.2
1994 1491.5 8064.5 1284.8
1995 1532.0 7907.7 1274.3
1996 1578.7 7793.1 1246.8
1997 1661.9 7704.4 1206.3
1998 1691.5 7664.5 1166.6
1999 1741.2 7553.2 1143.8
2000 1747.6 7440.6 1052.0
2001 1656.0 6766.5 865.4
2002 1572.9 6499.1 835.6
2003 1519.1 6276.5 791.5
2004 1486.1 6086.0 793.2
2005 1439.5 5212.3 681.0
2006 1370.6 4926.4 644.9
2007 1348.0 4792.0 634.1
2008 1296.8 4553.7 617.1
2009 1176.3 4285.5 565.6
2010 1206.5 4166.0 550.1
2011 1178.9 3715.9 431.0
2012 1126.4 3461.9 392.1
2013 1099.8 3395.1 369.7
2014 1055.2 3262.0 351.7
2015 995.4 3194.0 337.0
2016 944.3 3115.1 313.9

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 1.87 kB)

How this indicator was calculated

Note: Fine particulate matter, sulphur oxides and ammonia are not shown in the chart due to their low share (≤ 5%) of total emissions in 2016.
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2018) Air Pollutant Emissions Inventory.

Pollutant emissions have decreased despite economic and population growth as well as growth in transport activities for the period between 1990 and 2016. This decrease is mainly attributable to the adoption of new regulations that lead to the gradual introduction of technologies and clean fuel for vehicles.

Between 1990 and 2000, NOX emissions increased by 24%. It includes the increase in emissions of large trucks and buses (45%), marine (34%) and air (25%) transportation. From 2000 to 2016, new regulations contributed to a 48% decrease in emissions from large trucks and buses, while emissions from air and marine travel continued to increase by 21% and 11%, respectively. Emissions from air, marine and rail travel represented 22% of national emissions of NOX in 2016.

Transportation emissions are influenced by a variety of factors. These include population and economic growth, volume of passenger and freight travel, vehicle type, emission control technologies, fuel efficiency and fuel type.

Electric utilities

Air pollutant emissions from the electric utilities

Electricity generation produces a large share of total national sulphur oxides (SOX) and nitrogen oxides (NOX). SOx and NOX are mostly emitted from power plants burning fossil fuels such as coal and, to a lesser extent, natural gas and diesel. These air pollutants are responsible for the formation of fine particulate matter, ozone, smog and acid rain. They also adversely affect human health, the environment, and the economy.

Key results

Contribution of electric utilities to air pollutant emissions by fuel source, Canada, 2016

Contribution of electric utilities to air pollutant emissions by fuel source, Canada, 2016 (see data table below for the long description)
Data table for the long description
Contribution of electric utilities to air pollutant emissions by fuel source, Canada, 2016
Fuel source Sulphur oxides
(percentage of national emissions)
Nitrogen oxides
(percentage of national emissions)
Carbon monoxide
(percentage of national emissions)
Fine particulate matter
(percentage of national emissions)
Volatile organic compounds
(percentage of national emissions)
Ammonia
(percentage of national emissions)
Coal 22.8 6.4 0.3 0.1 <0.1 <0.1
Natural gas 0.2 0.9 0.2 <0.1 <0.1 <0.1
Diesel <0.1 0.5 <0.1 <0.1 0 0
Other sources 0.8 0.6 0.1 <0.1 <0.1 <0.1
Emissions of air pollutants from electric utilities by fuel source, Canada, 2016
Fuel source Sulphur oxides
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Nitrogen oxides
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Carbon monoxide
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Fine particulate matter
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Volatile organic compounds
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Ammonia
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Coal 243.0 116.8 15.9 2.2 0.4 0.2
Natural gas 1.7 16.0 11.2 0.4 0.6 0.1
Diesel 0.2 8.4 1.3 0.2 0.1 0.0
Other sources 8.2 11.0 8.1 0.5 0.2 0.1

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 1.68 kB)

How this indicator was calculated

Note: Carbon monoxide, fine particulate matter, volatile organic compounds and ammonia are not shown in the chart due to their low share (≤ 1%) of total emissions in 2016. Excludes emissions from industries that generate electricity and heat as a supporting activity rather than as their primary purpose. "Other" fuel sources include waste material and other uncategorized sources of electricity generation.
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2018) Air Pollutant Emissions Inventory.

In 2016, 96% of SOX and 77% of NOX emissions from electric utilities came from burning coal.

While generating electricity by burning fossil fuels causes air pollutant emissions, the use of non-fossil energy sources, such as wind, nuclear and other renewable sources to generate electricity does not emit air pollutants. A large share of the electricity generated in Canada comes from sources that do not emit air pollutants:

  • 59% of electricity comes from hydro
  • 16% comes from nuclear power plants
  • 5% comes from non-hydro renewable sources, such as wind, solar, tidal power and biomass

Changes in emissions from the electric utilities

Key results

  • Emissions of SOX and NOX from electric utilities declined by 59% and 41%, respectively, between 1990 and 2016
  • Most of that decline occurred from 2005 onward

Changes in emissions of key air pollutants from electric utilities, Canada, 1990 to 2016

Changes in emissions of key air pollutants from electric utilities, Canada, 1990 to 2016 (see data table below for the long description)
Data table for the long description
Changes in emissions of key air pollutants from electric utilities, Canada, 1990 to 2016
Year Sulphur oxides
(percentage change from 1990 level)
Nitrogen oxides
(percentage change from 1990 level)
1990 0 0
1991 -4 -2
1992 -1 2
1993 -12 -5
1994 -9 -7
1995 -14 -3
1996 -12 5
1997 -4 12
1998 -2 21
1999 -3 19
2000 0 27
2001 1 22
2002 0 23
2003 3 14
2004 -10 1
2005 -15 -2
2006 -26 -13
2007 -20 -7
2008 -31 -12
2009 -38 -15
2010 -46 -9
2011 -53 -22
2012 -54 -35
2013 -55 -37
2014 -56 -35
2015 -59 -41
2016 -59 -41
Emissions of key air pollutants from electric utilities, Canada, 1990 to 2016
Year Sulphur oxides
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Nitrogen oxides
(emissions in kilotonnes)
1990 618.4 257.0
1991 592.1 250.9
1992 610.7 262.9
1993 547.2 243.0
1994 559.8 240.0
1995 532.7 248.3
1996 542.2 269.3
1997 591.4 288.1
1998 603.6 310.5
1999 601.1 306.8
2000 619.2 327.1
2001 624.0 313.3
2002 617.2 315.0
2003 635.0 293.2
2004 559.0 259.8
2005 525.9 251.1
2006 458.9 224.5
2007 491.9 239.0
2008 427.5 225.3
2009 384.1 218.2
2010 334.0 233.8
2011 293.2 200.0
2012 284.2 166.2
2013 278.2 161.7
2014 269.1 166.6
2015 251.5 151.8
2016 253.1 152.2

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 1.55 kB)

How this indicator was calculated

Note: Carbon monoxide, fine particulate matter, volatile organic compounds and ammonia are not shown in the chart due to their low share (≤ 1%) of total emissions in 2016. Excludes emissions from industries that generate electricity and heat as a supporting activity rather than as their primary purpose.
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2018) Air Pollutant Emissions Inventory.

Between 2005 and 2016, emissions of NOX and SOX from electric utilities decreased by 39% and 52%, respectively. Over the same period, the share of electricity that came from burning fossil fuels fell from 26% to 21%. This decline was mostly the result of a gradual drop in electricity generation from coal power plants.Footnote 8 

The emissions reductions since 2005 are mainly due to:

  • the change in the mix of energy sources used to generate electricity
  • the introduction of regulations
  • domestic and international agreements
  • better removal technologies
  • plant closures
Oil and gas industry

Air pollutant emissions from the oil and gas industry

The oil and gas sector is an important contributor to air pollutant emissions. Air pollutants are responsible for the formation of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), ozone (O3), smog and acid rain. They also adversely affect human health, the environment, and the economy. Most emissions from the oil and gas sector come from activities such as exploration, drilling, production and field processing.

Key results

Contribution of the oil and gas industry to air pollutant emissions by activity type, Canada, 2016

Contribution of the oil and gas industry to air pollutant emissions by activity type, Canada, 2016 (see data table below for the long description)
Data table for the long description
Contribution of the oil and gas industry to air pollutant emissions by activity type, Canada, 2016
Activity type Volatile organic compounds
(percentage of national emissions)
Sulphur oxides
(percentage of national emissions)
Nitrogen oxides
(percentage of national emissions)
Carbon monoxide
(percentage of national emissions)
Fine particulate matter
(percentage of national emissions)
Ammonia
(percentage of national emissions)
Upstream oil and gas 33.9 18.5 25.5 9.2 0.6 0.5
Downstream oil and gas 1.4 4.8 1.0 0.3 0.1 <0.1
Emissions of air pollutants from the oil and gas industry, Canada, 2016
Activity type Volatile organic compounds
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Sulphur oxides
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Nitrogen oxides
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Carbon monoxide
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Fine particulate matter
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Ammonia
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Upstream oil and gas 616.5 197.7 462.6 533.4 9.7 2.3
Downstream oil and gas 24.8 51.5 17.7 16.1 1.5 0.1

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 1.33 kB)

How this indicator was calculated

Note: Fine particulate matter and ammonia are not shown in the chart due to their low share (≤ 1%) of total emissions in 2016.
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2018) Air Pollutant Emission Inventory.

In 2016, the oil and gas industry was the sector contributing the most to total national emissions of VOCs. It was also the second-largest contributor to emissions of NOX and the third-largest contributor to emissions of SOX and CO.

Most of emissions from the oil and gas industry came from upstream activities (exploration, drilling, production and field processing) compared to downstream activities (refining, storage and distribution). In 2016 96% of VOC, 79% of SOX, 96% of NOX and 97% of CO emissions from the oil and gas sector were from upstream activities.

Changes in emissions from the oil and gas industry

Key results

  • Emissions of CO, NOX and VOCs increased by 63%, 39% and 7%, respectively, between 1990 and 2016
  • SOX emissions decreased (53%) over that period

Changes in emissions of key air pollutants from the oil and gas industry, Canada, 1990 to 2016

Changes in emissions of key air pollutants from the oil and gas industry, Canada, 1990 to 2016 (see data table below for the long description)
Data table for the long description
Changes in emissions of key air pollutants from the oil and gas industry, Canada, 1990 to 2016
Year Carbon monoxide
(percentage change from 1990 level)
Nitrogen oxides
(percentage change from 1990 level)
Volatile organic compounds
(percentage change from 1990 level)
Sulphur oxides
(percentage change from 1990 level)
1990 0 0 0 0
1991 -3 -2 -1 0
1992 1 3 1 8
1993 8 10 6 13
1994 19 19 8 12
1995 21 24 10 11
1996 25 28 15 11
1997 40 40 13 3
1998 45 43 15 -4
1999 48 48 8 -5
2000 32 33 11 -5
2001 39 31 13 -9
2002 48 30 15 -14
2003 57 42 14 -12
2004 49 23 12 -14
2005 47 24 12 -15
2006 50 24 11 -22
2007 55 31 10 -26
2008 61 34 12 -31
2009 56 33 5 -31
2010 55 31 6 -37
2011 58 34 5 -39
2012 60 34 14 -39
2013 70 36 23 -41
2014 66 40 29 -47
2015 71 42 22 -51
2016 63 39 7 -53
Emissions of key air pollutants from the oil and gas industry, Canada, 1990 to 2016
Year Carbon monoxide
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Nitrogen oxides
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Volatile organic compounds
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Sulphur oxides
(emissions in kilotonnes)
1990 336.3 346.0 599.9 533.9
1991 324.8 339.3 594.5 535.6
1992 339.6 355.9 608.8 574.9
1993 363.1 381.4 635.5 605.0
1994 399.4 413.2 648.7 598.5
1995 407.9 429.8 660.7 593.9
1996 420.0 441.8 688.6 590.8
1997 469.8 485.5 678.6 547.3
1998 486.9 496.4 691.1 513.4
1999 499.3 513.6 650.7 509.5
2000 443.7 459.1 667.5 504.7
2001 467.8 453.2 675.5 486.6
2002 498.7 449.8 687.5 457.2
2003 529.5 492.4 686.1 468.1
2004 500.2 424.5 672.6 459.5
2005 493.4 428.2 673.8 452.5
2006 503.0 430.3 666.1 418.8
2007 522.6 453.5 662.0 392.6
2008 540.4 463.8 674.0 369.8
2009 524.9 460.0 631.6 366.8
2010 520.9 451.8 635.4 334.2
2011 530.5 464.8 628.4 325.3
2012 537.3 465.3 683.4 327.3
2013 572.7 472.1 739.2 315.3
2014 559.2 483.7 775.2 282.9
2015 574.0 490.8 730.9 259.5
2016 549.5 480.4 641.4 249.2

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 2.05 kB)

How this indicator was calculated

Note: Fine particulate matter and ammonia are not shown in the chart due to their low share (≤ 1%) of total emissions in 2016.
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2018) Air Pollutant Emission Inventory.

The increases in CO, NOX and VOC emissions were due to growth in oil and gas production (the upstream sector of the industry), as emissions from the downstream sector declined during that period. This increase is in part explained by the fact that crude oil production had more than doubled in Canada since 1990. The growth was mostly driven by a rapid increase in oil sands production. During the same period, production of natural gas from unconventional sources, such as those requiring the use of multi-stage fracturing techniques, also increased significantly.

The decrease in SOX emissions was mostly the result of a decrease in emissions from bitumen and heavy oil upgrading and natural gas processing, attributed to better emission control technologies.

About the indicators

About the indicators

What the indicators measure

Air pollutant emissions indicators track emissions from human activities of 6 key air pollutants: sulphur oxides (SOX), nitrogen oxides (NOX), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), ammonia (NH3), carbon monoxide (CO) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5). Black carbon, which is a component of PM2.5, is also reported.Footnote 9  Sectoral indicators on air pollutant emissions from transportation, off-road vehicles and mobile equipment, electric utilities and the oil and gas industry provide additional analysis on the largest sources of Canada's air pollutant emissions.

For each air pollutant, the indicators are provided at the national and provincial/territorial levels. They also identify the major sources of emissions and provide links to detailed information on air pollutant emissions from facilities.Footnote 10

Why these indicators are important

Canadians are exposed to air pollutants on a daily basis, which can cause adverse health and environmental effects. Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and ground-level ozone (O3) are key components of smog and have been associated with pulmonary and cardiovascular health issues even at very low levels. While causing effects of their own, NOX (such as nitrogen dioxide [NO2]) and VOCs are the main contributors to the formation of O3. Nitrogen oxides, SOX (such as sulphur dioxide [SO2]), NH3 and VOCs also lead to the formation of PM2.5 in the air, in addition to the PM2.5 that is emitted directly. Sulphur oxides and NOX can also lead to the formation of acid deposition (acid rain) that can harm the environment, materials, living organisms, and humans.

Consult Air pollution: drivers and impacts for information on the impacts of air pollution on health, the economy and the environment, as well as information on the federal regulations administered under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (1999) addressing air pollution.

Black carbon is estimated to be the third largest contributor in the world to current global warming. Black carbon is of particular significance in polar regions, where the deposition of particles on ice and snow darken the surface, increasing the absorption of sunlight and accelerate melting. 

The Air pollutant emissions indicators are intended to inform Canadians and decision makers about progress made towards reducing emissions from human-related sources of air pollutants and about the effectiveness of emission reduction measures implemented to improve ambient air quality in Canada. The indicators support the measurement of progress towards the goals and targets of the 2016–2019 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy.

Related indicators

The International comparison of air pollutant emissions indicators track air pollutant emissions for Canada and other member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development for which emissions data are available.

The Air quality indicators track ambient concentrations of PM2.5, O3, SO2, NO2, and VOCs at the national and regional level and at local monitoring stations.

The Greenhouse gas emissions indicators report trends on Canada's GHG emissions nationally, by province and territory, per person and per unit gross domestic product, by economic sector and from large facilities.

Safe and healthy communities

This indicator supports the measurement of progress towards the following 2016–2019 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy long-term goal: All Canadians live in clean, sustainable communities that contribute to their health and well-being.

Data sources and methods

Data sources and methods

Data sources

The Air pollutant emissions indicators track emissions of 6 key air pollutants: sulphur oxides (SOX), nitrogen oxides (NOX), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), ammonia (NH3), carbon monoxide (CO) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5). The emissions data used are from Canada's Air Pollutant Emission Inventory for the years 1990 to 2016.

Data for the black carbon indicator, a component of PM2.5, come from Canada's Black Carbon Emissions Inventory and are reported for 2016 by source at the national level.

Facility data for local air pollutant emissions reported in interactive maps come from the National Pollutant Release Inventory and are available for the years 2006 to 2016.

More information

The Air Pollutant Emission Inventory and the Black Carbon Emissions Inventory provide data and estimates on releases of air pollutants from human activities. These pollutants contribute to the issues of smog, acid rain, reduced air quality and climate change. Improvements to data are made periodically as new emission estimation methodologies are adopted and additional information is made available. Historical emissions are updated on the basis of these improvements.

Air Pollutant Emissions Inventory

The Air Pollutant Emission Inventory fulfills many of Canada's international pollution levels reporting obligations. It is a comprehensive inventory of 17 air pollutants,Footnote 11  combining emissions reported by facilities to the National Pollutant Release Inventory, with emissions estimated by Environment and Climate Change Canada. Estimates are developed using the latest estimation methods and are based on published statistics or other sources of information such as surveys and reports. The Air Pollutant Emission Inventory provides a comprehensive overview of pollutant emissions across Canada.

The national and provincial/territorial inventory data are current as of March 15, 2018, and cover the period from 1990 to 2016. Emissions data are reported in the inventory approximately one year after data collection, validation, calculation and interpretation have been completed. The indicators are reported following the public release of the inventory data.

Black carbon emissions inventory

As a member of the Arctic Council, Canada committed under the Framework for Action on Enhanced Black Carbon and Methane Emissions Reductions to submit annual inventories of its black carbon emissions to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe beginning in 2015. The Black Carbon Emission Inventory is compiled using PM2.5 emissions data from combustion-related sources from the Air Pollutant Emission Inventory. Black carbon estimates are published separately from the Air Pollutant Emission Inventory. The data are current as of June 13, 2018.

Black carbon is considered a short-lived climate pollutant, meaning it has a relatively short lifespan in the atmosphere (from a few days to a few weeks) compared to carbon dioxide (CO2) (which can persist in the atmosphere for thousands of years) and other longer-lived greenhouse gases (GHGs). Although their life spans are short, short-lived climate pollutants are potent global warmers contributing to warming of the Earth's surface.Footnote 12  For black carbon, the pollutant has the ability to absorb solar radiation 460 to 1 500 times more than CO2.Footnote 13  Short-lived climate pollutants, including black carbon, are important pollutants to consider when addressing climate change because they can respond relatively quickly to efforts to control their releases and thus impact near-term warming, which is particularly important in the polar regions, such as the Arctic.Footnote 14

National Pollutant Release Inventory

The National Pollutant Release Inventory is a database of pollutant releases (to air, water and land), disposals and transfers for recycling from industrial, commercial and institutional facilities. The data from these facilities is provided by the operators of the facilities as mandated by the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (the Act). Under the Act, owners or operators of facilities that manufacture, process or otherwise use or release one or more of the substances tracked by the inventory, and meet substance-specific reporting thresholds and other requirements, must report their pollutant releases, disposals and transfers annually to the department. The inventory data from 1994 to 2016 are current as of September 14, 2017.

Methods

Emissions data from Canada's national inventories are used to produce the indicators for the 6 key air pollutants. Data are grouped to report on the sources that contribute the majority of emissions for each pollutant. Canada's national inventories use the latest advancements in scientific knowledge to estimate or measure emissions for the various air pollutant sources.

More information

Compilation of air pollutant emissions

The Air Pollutant Emission Inventory is developed using 2 types of information:

  • facility-reported data, consisting of emissions from relatively large industrial, commercial and institutional facilities
  • in-house estimates, including diffuse sources and other sources that are too numerous to be accounted for individually, such as road and non-road vehicles, agricultural activities, construction and solvent use

The Air Pollutant Emission Inventory is developed using many sources of information, procedures and emission estimation models. Emissions data reported by individual facilities to the department's National Pollutant Release Inventory are supplemented with documented, science-based estimation tools to quantify total emissions. Together, these data sources provide a comprehensive overview of pollutant emissions across Canada.

A compilation framework has been developed that makes use of the best available data, while ensuring that there is no double-counting or omissions. Additional information on the inventory compilation process is provided in Annex 2 of the Air Pollutant Emission Inventory Report.

Facility-reported emissions data

Facility-reported emissions data generally refers to any stationary sources that emit pollutants through stacks or other equipment at specific locations. The major source of facility-reported data is the National Pollutant Release Inventory.

Facility-reported data from the National Pollutant Release Inventory are used in the Air Pollutant Emission Inventory without modifications, except when data quality issues are detected and not addressed during the quality control exercise. The National Pollutant Release Inventory reporting requirements and thresholds vary by pollutant and, in some cases, by industry. Details on these reporting requirements and thresholds are available on the National Pollutant Release Inventory website.

A distinction has been made between reporting facilities and non-reporting facilities. Reporting facilities meet the threshold required to report to the National Pollutant Release Inventory; while non-reporting facilities do not meet these thresholds due to their size or emission levels, and therefore are not required to report to the inventory. Some facilities may be required to report emissions on only certain pollutants. Therefore, emissions from the non-reporting facilities or of non-reported pollutants must be estimated in‑house to ensure complete coverage.

In-house emission estimates

In-house emission estimates are calculated with information such as production data and activity data, using various estimation methodologies and emission models. These emission estimates are at the national level rather than at any specific geographic locations. These include emissions from non-industrial, residential, commercial, transportation, and other sources, such as open burning, agricultural activities and construction operations. The Air Pollutant Emission Inventory uses in-house estimates for the following emission sources:

  • any residential, governmental, institutional, or commercial operation that does not report to the National Pollutant Release Inventory
  • on-site solid waste disposal facilities
  • motor vehicles, aircraft, vessels or other transportation equipment or devices
  • other sources, such as open burning, agricultural activities and construction operations

In general, in-house emission estimates are calculated from activity data and emission factors.Footnote 15  Activity data usually comprise statistical production or process data at the provincial, territorial or national level. This information is typically provided by provincial/territorial agencies, federal government departments, industry associations, etc. For each source category, activity data are combined with emission factors to produce provincial/territorial-level emission estimates.

The in-house emission estimate methodologies and emission models used in Canada are often based on those developed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) and are adapted to reflect the Canadian climate, fuels, technologies and practices. Methods used in Canada's Air Pollutant Emission Inventory are therefore generally consistent with those used in the United States or those recommended in the emission inventory guidebook.Footnote 16

The Air Pollutant Emission Inventory reports air pollutant emissions from mobile sources such as on-road vehicles, off-road vehicles and engines. For the current edition of the Air Pollutant Emission Inventory, an emissions estimation model developed by the U.S. EPA (MOVES) was used. The emissions for off-road vehicles and engines (such as graders, heavy trucks, outboard motors and lawnmowers) were estimated using the U.S. EPA's NONROAD emission estimation model (see "off-road vehicles and equipment" in Table A2-5 of Annex 2 of the Air Pollutant Emission Inventory Report). The parameters in both models were modified to take into account variations in the Canadian vehicle fleet, emission control technologies, types of fuels, vehicle standards, and types of equipment engines and their application in various industries. The emission estimates for civil and international aviation, railways and navigation are estimated using detailed vehicle movement statistics coupled with fuel consumption, engine information, and emission rates by vehicle types.

Calculation of black carbon emissions

Emissions of black carbon are calculated by applying factors to estimate the fraction of black carbon in PM2.5 emissions from combustion-related sources, with the exception of mobile sources, where models are used. The factors primarily come from the United States Environmental Protection Agency's SPECIATE database. SPECIATE is a repository of particulate matter speciation profilesFootnote 17 of air pollution sources. Annex B  of Canada's Black Carbon Emission Inventory lists all the ratios used for each source.

Recalculations

Emission recalculation is an essential practice in the maintenance of an up-to-date air pollutant emission inventory. The Air Pollutant Emission Inventory is continuously updated with improved estimation methodologies, statistics and more recent and appropriate emission factors. As new information and data become available, previous estimates are updated and recalculated to ensure a consistent and comparable trend in emissions. Recalculations of previously reported emission estimates are common for both in-house estimates and facility-reported emission data. More information on recalculations is provided in Annex 2 of the Air Pollutant Emission Inventory Report.

Emissions reconciliation

In several sectors, estimation of total emissions involves combining estimates provided by facilities with estimates developed in-house by the department. To prevent double counting of emissions and to confirm that the Air Pollutant Emission Inventory includes all emissions, a comparison and reconciliation of emission estimates from various sources is performed for each pollutant, industry sector and geographical region, as appropriate. More information on the reconciliation process is provided in Annex 2 of the Air Pollutant Emission Inventory Report.

Temporal coverage

Historical data are provided at the national level for the period from 1990 to 2016. For the regional indicators (provincial/territorial), emissions are presented for 1990 and 2016. Facility level emissions information are available from 2006 to 2016.

Air pollutant emissions by source classification

For the purpose of reporting the indicators, calculated emissions data from the Air Pollutant Emission Inventory and Black Carbon Emissions Inventory are grouped into the following 13 sources:

  1. agriculture (livestock, crop production and fertilizer)
  2. building heating and energy generation
  3. dust and fires
  4. electric utilities
  5. home firewood burning
  6. incineration and waste
  7. manufacturing
  8. miscellaneous
  9. off-road vehicles and mobile equipment
  10. oil and gas industry
  11. ore and mineral industries
  12. paints and solvents
  13. transportation (road, rail, air and marine)

Table 2 shows the allocation of air pollutant emission sources reported in the indicators compared with the sources and sectors reported by the Air Pollutant Emissions Inventory.

Table 2. Alignment of sources reported in the indicators with the sources and sectors from the Air Pollutant Emission Inventory/Black Carbon Emissions Inventory
Sources in the indicators Sources and sectors in the Air Pollutant Emission Inventory and Black Carbon Emission Inventory
Agriculture (livestock, crop production and fertilizer) Agriculture: Animal production
Agriculture (livestock, crop production and fertilizer) Agriculture: Crop production
Agriculture (livestock, crop production and fertilizer) Agriculture: Fuel use
Building heating and energy generation Commercial/Residential/Institutional: Commercial and institutional fuel combustion
Building heating and energy generation Commercial/Residential/Institutional: Construction fuel combustion
Building heating and energy generation Commercial/Residential/Institutional: Residential fuel combustion
Dust and fires Dust: Coal transportation
Dust and fires Dust: Construction operations
Dust and fires Dust: Mine tailings
Dust and fires Dust: Paved roads
Dust and fires Dust: Unpaved roads
Dust and fires Fires: Prescribed forest burning
Dust and fires Fires: Structural fires
Electric utilities Electric power generation (utilities): Coal
Electric utilities Electric power generation (utilities): Diesel
Electric utilities Electric power generation (utilities): Natural gas
Electric utilities Electric power generation (utilities): Waste materials[A]
Electric utilities Electric power generation (utilities): Other electric power generation
Home firewood burning Commercial/Residential/Institutional: Home firewood burning
Incineration and waste Incineration and waste sources: Crematoriums
Incineration and waste Incineration and waste sources: Waste incineration
Incineration and waste Incineration and waste sources: Waste treatment and disposal
Incineration and waste Incineration and waste sources: Waste (landfills, residential waste burning, treatment and disposal, water and sewage treatment)
Incineration and waste Incineration and waste sources: Other incineration and utilities
Manufacturing Manufacturing: Abrasives manufacture
Manufacturing Manufacturing: Bakeries
Manufacturing Manufacturing: Biofuel production
Manufacturing Manufacturing: Chemicals industry
Manufacturing Manufacturing: Electronics
Manufacturing Manufacturing: Food preparation
Manufacturing Manufacturing: Glass manufacture
Manufacturing Manufacturing: Grain industries
Manufacturing Manufacturing: Metal fabrication
Manufacturing Manufacturing: Plastics manufacture
Manufacturing Manufacturing: Pulp and paper industry
Manufacturing Manufacturing: Textiles
Manufacturing Manufacturing: Vehicle manufacture (engines, parts, assembly, painting)
Manufacturing Manufacturing: Wood products
Manufacturing Manufacturing: Other industries
Miscellaneous Commercial/Residential/Institutional: Cigarette smoking
Miscellaneous Commercial/Residential/Institutional: Commercial cooking
Miscellaneous Commercial/Residential/Institutional: Human[B]
Miscellaneous Commercial/Residential/Institutional: Marine cargo handling
Miscellaneous Commercial/Residential/Institutional: Other miscellaneous sources
Miscellaneous Commercial/Residential/Institutional: Service stations
Off-road vehicles and mobile equipment Transportation and mobile equipment: Off-road diesel vehicles and equipment
Off-road vehicles and mobile equipment Transportation and mobile equipment: Off-road gasoline / liquefied petroleum gas / compressed natural gas vehicles and equipment
Oil and gas industry Oil and gas industry: Downstream oil and gas industry
Oil and gas industry Oil and gas industry: Upstream oil and gas industry
Ore and mineral industries Ore and mineral industries: Aluminum industry
Ore and mineral industries Ore and mineral industries: Asphalt paving industry
Ore and mineral industries Ore and mineral industries: Cement and concrete industry
Ore and mineral industries Ore and mineral industries: Foundries
Ore and mineral industries Ore and mineral industries: Iron and steel industries
Ore and mineral industries Ore and mineral industries: Iron ore industry
Ore and mineral industries Ore and mineral industries: Mineral products industry
Ore and mineral industries Ore and mineral industries: Mining and rock quarrying
Ore and mineral industries Ore and mineral industries: Non-ferrous mining and smelting industry[C]
Use of paints and solvents Paints and solvents: Dry cleaning
Use of paints and solvents Paints and solvents: General solvent use
Use of paints and solvents Paints and solvents: Printing
Use of paints and solvents Paints and solvents: Surface coatings
Transportation (road, rail, air and marine) Transportation and mobile equipment: Air transportation
Transportation (road, rail, air and marine) Transportation and mobile equipment: Heavy-duty diesel vehicles
Transportation (road, rail, air and marine) Transportation and mobile equipment: Heavy-duty gasoline vehicles
Transportation (road, rail, air and marine) Transportation and mobile equipment: Heavy-duty liquefied petroleum gas / natural gas vehicles
Transportation (road, rail, air and marine) Transportation and mobile equipment: Light-duty diesel trucks
Transportation (road, rail, air and marine) Transportation and mobile equipment: Light-duty diesel vehicles
Transportation (road, rail, air and marine) Transportation and mobile equipment: Light-duty gasoline trucks
Transportation (road, rail, air and marine) Transportation and mobile equipment: Light-duty gasoline vehicles
Transportation (road, rail, air and marine) Transportation and mobile equipment: Light-duty liquefied petroleum gas / natural gas trucks
Transportation (road, rail, air and marine) Transportation and mobile equipment: Light-duty liquefied petroleum gas / natural gas vehicles
Transportation (road, rail, air and marine) Transportation and mobile equipment: Marine transportation
Transportation (road, rail, air and marine) Transportation and mobile equipment: Motorcycles
Transportation (road, rail, air and marine) Transportation and mobile equipment: Rail transportation
Transportation (road, rail, air and marine) Transportation and mobile equipment: Tire wear and brake lining

Note: [A] Includes electric power generation from combustion of waste materials by utilities and by industry for commercial sale and/or private use. [B] Includes human respiration, perspiration and dental amalgams. [C] These sectors from the Air Pollutant Emission Inventory are sometimes shown as individual sources in the indicators.

For display purposes, smaller emitting sources are sometimes grouped together under the title Other sources in the charts of air pollutant emissions by source. The names of the sources grouped as such are listed in the notes of each chart.

Sectoral indicators

Sectoral indicators on air pollutant emissions from transportation, off-road vehicles and mobile equipment, electric utilities and the oil and gas industry provide additional analysis on the largest sources of Canada's air pollutant emissions. These indicators also rely on calculated emissions data from the Air Pollutant Emission Inventory.

These indicators are provided at the national level. They identify the contribution of each sector to the national emissions of air pollutants for the year 2016. They also provide information about emissions of selected pollutant, by sector, for the period from 1990 to 2016.

Tables 3 through 5 below show the alignment of air pollutant emission sources reported in the Air pollutant emissions indicators compared with those reported by the sectoral indicators.

Table 3. Alignment of sources reported in the transportation, off-road vehicles and mobile equipment indicator of Air pollutant emissions with the sources and sectors from the Air Pollutant Emission Inventory/Black Carbon Emissions
Air pollutant emissions from transportation, off-road vehicles and mobile equipment Sources and sectors in the Air Pollutant Emission Inventory and Black Carbon Emission Inventory
Air, marine and rail travel Air transportation
Air, marine and rail travel Marine transportation
Air, marine and rail travel Rail transportation
Large trucks and buses Heavy-duty diesel vehicles
Large trucks and buses Heavy-duty gasoline vehicles
Large trucks and buses Heavy-duty liquefied petroleum gas / natural gas vehicles
Off-road vehicles and equipment, tire wear and brake lining Off-road diesel vehicles and equipment
Off-road vehicles and equipment, tire wear and brake lining Off-road gasoline / liquefied petroleum gas / compressed natural gas vehicles and equipment
Off-road vehicles and equipment, tire wear and brake lining Tire wear and brake lining
Passenger cars and motorcycles Light-duty diesel vehicles
Passenger cars and motorcycles Light-duty gasoline vehicles
Passenger cars and motorcycles Light-duty liquefied petroleum gas / natural gas vehicles
Passenger cars and motorcycles Motorcycles
Passenger light trucks Light-duty diesel trucks
Passenger light trucks Light-duty gasoline trucks
Passenger light trucks Light-duty liquefied petroleum gas / natural gas trucks
Table 4. Alignment of sources reported in the electric utilities indicator of Air pollutant emissions with the sources and sectors from the Air Pollutant Emission Inventory/Black Carbon Emissions
Air pollutant emissions from electric utilities Sources and sectors in the Air Pollutant Emission Inventory and Black Carbon Emission Inventory
Coal Coal
Diesel Diesel
Natural gas Natural gas
Other Waste materials[A]
Other Other electric power generation

Note: [A] Includes electric power generation from combustion of waste materials by utilities and by industry for commercial sale and/or private use.

Table 5. Alignment of sources reported in the oil and gas industry indicator of Air pollutant emissions with the sources and sectors from the Air Pollutant Emission Inventory/Black Carbon Emissions
Air pollutant emissions from the oil and gas industry Sources and sectors in the Air Pollutant Emission Inventory and Black Carbon Emission Inventory
Downstream oil and gas Downstream oil and gas industry
Downstream oil and gas Petroleum product transportation and distribution
Upstream oil and gas Upstream oil and gas industry

Recent changes

The emission estimates reported in the Air Pollutant Emission Inventory used in the indicators have undergone a number of significant recalculations. Specifically, the sector emissions for ore and mineral industries, oil and gas industry, manufacturing, transportation, agriculture, commercial/residential/institutional, incineration and waste sources, paints and solvents, dust, and fires, following the implementation of improved quantification methods. For more information about these recent changes, consult Annex 2.3 of the Air Pollutant Emission Inventory Report.

Canada's Black Carbon Emissions Inventory has undergone a number of recalculations of emissions estimates. Specifically, methodological improvements have been made to all sources to improve the accuracy of estimates. Consult section 2.10 of Canada's Black Carbon Emission Inventory for more information.

Caveats and limitations

The methodologies for compiling air pollutant emissions generally improve over time, and revisions are made to the Air Pollution Emission Inventory. As a result of this, the emissions and trends reported for the indicators may be different from those previously published.

Some area source emissions were not updated for 2016 due to the unavailability of activity-level statistics at the time of compilation. In these cases, the emission estimates from the most recent year available (2015) were used.

The Air Pollutant Emission Inventory uses facility information from the National Pollutant Release Inventory and other sources. The version of the data published by the National Pollutant Release Inventory may not be identical to that used in the Air Pollutant Emission Inventory at a given time because of updates to point source data from National Pollutant Release Inventory reporting.

Only the most significant sources of black carbon have been reported. It is estimated that emissions from these sources (home firewood burning, off-road vehicles and mobile equipment and transportation) represent approximately 87% of the national anthropogenic black carbon emissions.

Resources

Resources

References

Environment and Climate Change Canada (2017) Climate and Clean Air Coalition. Retrieved on April 15, 2018.

Environment and Climate Change Canada (2017) Using and interpreting data from the National Pollutant Release Inventory. Retrieved on April 15, 2018.

Environment and Climate Change Canada (2018) Access data from the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI). September 14, 2017 version. Retrieved on April 15, 2018.

Environment and Climate Change Canada (2018) Air Pollutant Emission Inventory report - 2018. Retrieved on April 15, 2018.

Environment and Climate Change Canada (2018) Canada's Black Carbon Inventory 2018. Retrieved on June 13, 2018.

Environment and Climate Change Canada (2018) Tools and resources for the National Pollutant Release Inventory data. Retrieved on April 15, 2018.

Related information

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: