The Daily
 In the news  Indicators  Releases by subject
 Special interest  Release schedule  Information

Environment Fact Sheets: Government spending on environmental protection in Canada, 2008 to 2016

Released: 2018-06-05

Canadian General Government expense on environmental protection

$12.6 billion


33% (since 2008) increase

(period-to-period change)

The spending on environmental protection of the Canadian General Government (CGG)—federal, provincial-territorial and local governments together—totalled $12.6 billion in 2016, up 33% compared with 2008. Despite the upward trend, spending on environmental protection showed little to no growth from 2010 to 2015.

Environmental protection is 1 of 10 Canadian Classification of Functions of Government (CCOFOG). It includes programs for waste management, waste water management, pollution abatement, protection of biodiversity and landscape, and other types of environmental protection programs (classified as "environmental protection not elsewhere classified").

On a per capita basis, CGG spending on environmental protection was $348 in 2016. By comparison, the CGG spent $4,627 per capita on social protection and $4,626 per capita on health.

CGG spending on environmental protection was directed primarily at waste management and waste water management. Overall spending was up for both categories from 2008 to 2016, with waste management up 42% and waste water management rising 35%.

Spending on pollution abatement programs for air, land, water, noise and radiation varied from 2008 to 2016. The highest spending level was $3 billion in 2010, while 2015 had the lowest level at $1.4 billion.

Spending on the protection of biodiversity and landscape rose 24% from 2008 to 2016, to nearly $1.5 billion.

  Note to readers

Canadian General Government (CGG) combines federal government data with provincial-territorial and local government data, but excludes data for the Canada Pension Plan and Quebec Pension Plan.

Provincial–territorial and local government (PTLG) includes provincial and territorial governments, health and social service institutions, universities and colleges, municipalities and other local public administrations, and school boards.

CGG expenses include compensation of employees, use of goods and services, subsidies, grants, and social benefits among other expenses.

Environmental protection not elsewhere classified includes expenses such as research and development (R&D), general administration, education specific to environmental protection, or programs with multiple environmental protection activities but could not isolate their main activity.

There are a total of 10 CCOFOG categories. The two examples, health and social protection, mentioned in the text are defined as:

Health: includes expenses for medical products, equipment, appliances, outpatient services, hospital services, public health services, R&D health and healthcare not elsewhere classified.

Social Protection: includes program expenses for sickness & disability, old age, survivors, family & children, unemployment, housing, social exclusion not elsewhere classified, R&D social protection and social protection not elsewhere classified.


The article "Government spending on environmental protection in Canada 2008-2016" is now available in the publication Environment Fact Sheets (Catalogue number16-508-X).

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; or Media Relations (613-951-4636;

Date modified: