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Canadian System of Environmental–Economic Accounts: Intensities and demand-based measures, 2015

Released: 2019-01-28

Personal expenditure by households (45.8%) continued to be the primary driver for energy use in Canada in 2015, down slightly from 46.2% in 2014. Demand for international exports accounted for 38.2% of energy use in 2015, up from 37.4% in 2014.

Demand-based measures allocate industrial inputs and residuals (wastes) to the end-user of goods and services, rather than to the producer. Personal expenditure by households is a category of demand that yields both direct and indirect energy use, water use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. An example of direct energy use is the gasoline required by households to drive their car, while an example of indirect energy use is the energy required by refineries and other industries to produce the gasoline purchased by households.

Greenhouse gas emissions

Correlated with energy use, GHG emissions in Canada were largely attributable to direct and indirect emissions resulting from personal expenditure by households, which declined slightly from 42.8% in 2014 to 42.4% in 2015. The purchase and use of motor gasoline accounted for just over one-quarter of the emissions linked to this category of demand (26.4%), followed by natural gas (11.6%) and electricity (10.6%).

In 2015, 42.1% of GHG emissions were attributable to the production of goods and services for international export. More than one-quarter (25.8%) of the emissions associated with exports resulted from the production and delivery of crude oil and crude and diluted bitumen to foreign markets, followed by natural gas (5.0%) and wood pulp (4.6%).

Water use

As with energy use, households were the main source of direct and indirect water use (51.7%) in 2015, down from 52.5% in 2013. At the same time, production and delivery of goods and services for international export accounted for 33.1% of water use in Canada in 2015, up from 30.4% in 2013.


In 2015, the average industrial direct plus indirect energy use intensity was 5.42 gigajoules of energy use per $1,000 (current dollars) of production. The average direct plus indirect GHG emissions intensity was 0.39 tonnes emitted per $1,000 of production.

Intensities provide a measure of the economy-wide effect on energy consumption or GHG emissions brought about by a change in the demand for an industry's output. These include both direct and indirect effects. Direct effects measure the inputs or wastes required for an extra dollar's worth of output of a given industry. Indirect effects measure the upstream activity required to produce the additional output (each product produced will, in turn, require the production of various goods and services from other industries, yielding indirect effects in the process).

  Note to readers

Statistics Canada's Physical Flow Accounts (PFA) record the annual flows of selected natural resources, products and residuals between the Canadian economy and the environment. As such, data are presented to reflect the activities of industries, households and governments, and follow the classification system of industries and commodities used in Statistics Canada's supply and use tables (SUT). This allows these data to be linked to gross production and final demand to produce the data presented here. These data are currently available at the national level only.

Data for 2015 from the PFA are now available for direct plus indirect energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity, by industry (38-10-0098) and physical flows by final demand category (38-10-0010). Final SUT are required to run the input-output model from which these estimates are derived. The 2015 SUT (36-10-0478) were released in November 2018.

Data for 2009-2014 for both 38-10-0098 and 38-10-0010 have also been revised to reflect revised data in the energy use (38-10-0096) and GHG emissions (38-10-0097) accounts published in January 2019. Finally, estimates of water use (38-10-0250) for 2015 were also revised following the release of the 2015 SUT (36-10-0478).

The data on intensities by industry provide a measure of the interdependence between an industry, the rest of the economy, and the use of inputs or production of wastes. They should only be considered on a single-year basis (rather than as time series) since they are based on gross output in current dollars.

Environment and Climate Change Canada is responsible for producing Canada's National Inventory Report on Greenhouse Gas Sources and Sinks (NIR). This inventory fulfills Canada's reporting obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and is the official benchmark for GHG emissions in Canada.

Despite drawing from common sources, the estimates in Statistics Canada's GHG emissions account differ from those reported in the NIR. This is due to the reporting requirements of the UNFCCC differing from the methodological guidelines of the United Nations System of Environmental–Economic Accounting used to create the GHG account described here. The sector definitions of the NIR also differ from those of the PFA and therefore should not be directly compared. For additional information, consult the diagram "Complementary approaches to reporting Canada's greenhouse gas emissions."

For more information on the methodological differences, see Canadian System of Environmental-Economic Accounts - Physical Flow Accounts.

Contact information

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