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Canada's natural resource wealth, 2020 (preliminary data)

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Released: 2021-11-01

Canada's natural resource wealth

$550 billion


-32.7% decrease

(annual change)

In 2020, Canada's natural resource wealth—the dollar value of selected natural resource reserves—totalled $550 billion, down 32.7% from $818 billion in 2019.

Statistics Canada's natural wealth estimates presented in this release reflect the value of proven and probable reserves for select minerals, established active reserves for energy, and timber stocks that are physically accessible and available for harvesting. Energy resources include natural gas, crude oil, crude bitumen and coal. Mineral resources include gold, nickel, copper, zinc, iron, molybdenum, uranium, potash and diamonds. Preliminary data show the likely impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but this will be confirmed once the 2020 data are finalized.

The estimates are based on the United Nations System of Environmental-Economic Accounting guidelines and are closely linked to the 2008 System of National Accounts. For more information, refer to the Methodological Guide: Canadian System of Environmental-Economic Accounting and the Canadian System of Environmental-Economic Accounts - Natural Resource Asset Accounts survey page.

Mineral resources are Canada's top natural resource wealth contributor in 2020

For 2020 (preliminary data), the main resources contributing to Canada's resource wealth were mineral resources (50%), followed by timber (31%) and energy resources (19%). In contrast, in 2019, energy resources accounted for 56% of the value of all natural resource assets, followed by timber (23%) and mineral resources (21%).

Crude bitumen accounts for 61% of the energy resource value

Preliminary estimates for 2020 show a decline of 77% (to $104 billion) from 2019 in the value of energy resources, which consist of coal, crude bitumen, crude oil and natural gas. Crude bitumen, the largest contributor for energy resources, decreased 84% (to $63 billion) from 2019, largely driven by lower prices during the COVID-19 pandemic. Energy resource assets totalled $459.6 billion in 2019, up from $411.7 billion in 2018. The 12% rise followed a 7% increase from the previous year. The increase in energy resource assets in 2019 was the result of an increase in crude bitumen prices. The value of crude bitumen totalled $401 billion, making up 49% of the total resource value in 2019.

Higher prices for commodities such as copper, gold and iron were major contributors to the rise in the value of mineral assets in 2020. The value of mineral assets for 2020 (preliminary data) shows a 59% increase (to $273 billion) from 2019. In 2019, the value of mineral assets decreased 1.4%, down to $172.2 billion following a 33% increase in 2018. In general, the decline in 2019 was the result of lower commodity prices.

The value of timber assets was $173 billion in 2020 (preliminary data) compared with $186 billion in 2019, representing a decline of 7%.

For more highlights from the release, see the infographic Preliminary Data on Canada's Natural Resource Wealth, 2020.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Natural resource assets, 2011 to 2020
Natural resource assets, 2011 to 2020

  Note to readers

Asset valuations for conventional crude oil and natural gas were combined in order to harmonize with industry expenditure and investment reporting that reflects the integrated nature of oil and gas field and well operations.

Natural resource wealth estimates have been incorporated into the annual estimates of national wealth at the aggregate level for several years. However, Statistics Canada formally integrated natural resource wealth into the quarterly National Balance Sheet Accounts (NBSA) in December 2015.

The annual estimates provide resource details and complement the natural resource wealth estimates in the quarterly NBSA found in Table 36-10-0580-01.

Additional information on the treatment of natural resource wealth in the NBSA is available in the article "Natural resource wealth statistics in the National Balance Sheet Accounts."

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;

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