A Statistical Framework for Energy in Canada
Chapter 1
A Statistical Framework for Energy in Canada

1.1 Canada’s Energy Sector

All economic activity requires energy to transform resources into goods and services with economic value. Energy therefore plays a fundamentally important role in the Canadian economy and in the daily lives of Canadians. Moreover, Canada is one of the very few countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) with the capacity to supply energy to other countries, further increasing the importance of Canada’s energy sector.

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Key Facts on Canada’s Economy and Energy (2013)

  • Contributed 10% to nominal GDP
  • Accounted for 27% of capital investments in Canada
  • Represented close to 30% of total domestic exports
  • Direct employment for nearly 300,000 people
  • Government revenues averaging $25.1 billion annually over period 2008-2012
  • Accounted for 7.9% of Canadians’ household expenditures in 2012
  • 79% of electricity generation in Canada are from non-emitting sources in 2012
  • Energy efficiency in Canada improved by 1.2% per year or 23.4% overall between 1990 and 2011

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Crucial to economic and social development, the various levels of governments in Canada receive substantial revenues from the energy sector in forms of direct and indirect taxes, crown royalties and land sales, providing resources to finance economic and social programs available to Canadians.

Canada benefits from a natural abundance of diverse energy resources, which includes oil and gas from conventional and unconventional sources, hydro, uranium, coal, wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, and marine. Approximately 79% of Canada's electricity is generated from non GHG emitting sources. Ranking in the top 5 on oil reserves and production, natural gas production and exports, hydro power generation, and uranium production, Canada is a major player in the global energy marketplace. A significant challenge for Canada’s energy sector and related activities is the highly dynamic nature of the sector, both domestically and globally. While presenting new opportunities, this dynamism also generates new challenges to respond to issues such as responsible resource development and management, energy efficiency, environmental sustainability, emergency preparedness and response, and market development and diversification, with the associated energy transportation considerations.

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Canada as a Global Energy Leader (2013)

  • 3rd largest oil reserves and 5th largest producer of crude oil
  • 5th largest producer and 4th largest net exporter of natural gas
  • 3rd largest producer of hydro power
  • 2nd largest producer of uranium
  • 2nd in the improvement in energy efficiency among IEA countries

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1.2 Energy Resources Management in Canada: A Shared Responsibility

Under Canada’s Constitution Act, jurisdiction over energy is divided with clear identifications of responsibilities over most areas, but complicated at times by shared responsibilities in other areas. In most aspects, the provinces are principally responsible for energy and electricity, with the Constitution designating exclusive provincial power over energy resource management within provincial boundaries as well as trade and commerce within provincial borders. The federal government is responsible for the management of energy resources on frontier lands (Crown-owned lands in Canada’s North and offshore areas). However, the federal government has entered into or is currently negotiating a number of devolution and shared management agreements transferring authority to territorial governments in the North and federal/provincial management boards for offshore resources. The federal government has specific authority when it comes to uranium and nuclear safety. It also has responsibility for policies of national interest, and these may impact energy in the areas of environment, economic development, energy security, and science and technology. While provinces are responsible for trade and commerce within their borders, the federal government’s authority extends to interprovincial and international trade and commerce.

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Management of energy resources in Canada

Federal responsibility

  • Energy resources on federal Crown land, offshore and North of 60°
  • International and interprovincial energy trade
  • International and interprovincial energy infrastructure
  • Regulation of nuclear energy and uranium

Provincial responsibility

  • Ownership and management of energy resources, except those located on Aboriginal and federal lands
  • Royalty design and collection
  • Electricity production, distribution and regulation
  • Land-use planning and allocation
  • Laws and regulations on exploration, development, conservation and energy use

Shared responsibility

  • Energy efficiency
  • Environmental regulation of energy projects
  • Scientific research and development
  • Management of offshore resources under Accords

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The most significant area of shared responsibility between the federal and provincial governments is with respect to the environment. Provincial governments have jurisdiction over the impacts within their borders; however, environmental impacts can occur beyond provincial boundaries and the federal government is responsible for interprovincial and international impacts. Under specific legislation, Canada has responsibility where the implications affect federal lands or federal power, such as fisheries and navigable waters.

1.3 Canada’s Energy Statistics System

Energy resources and energy use in a country as vast as Canada have obvious and significant regional characteristics. Depending on the major energy resources available and the main issues in resource management, the priorities for data collection vary across jurisdictions. The sources of energy data in Canada are reflective of this diversity. At the federal level, Statistics Canada (StatCan), Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), Environment Canada (EC), and the National Energy Board (NEB) are among the major data providers. Provincial and territorial regulatory agencies, such as the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER), the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission, and the Ontario Energy Board (OEB), are also key sources of energy data in their respective jurisdictions. Non-governmental organizations can also play an important role in data collection.

Statistical Agencies

Statistical agencies compile a wide range of primary data as part of their broad mandate to collect and publish statistics that involve economic, social and demographic issues, without which very little secondary analysis of energy use or supply could be undertaken. Through the Statistics Act, StatCan has been mandated to collect a wide range of statistical information, including energy information at the national and provincial/territorial levels.

StatCan collects energy data through several different program areas. StatCan’s Energy Statistics Program (ESP) is the main source of primary volumetric energy data in Canada.Note 1 Other parts of StatCan also gather energy-related data, such as data on sales and consumption of fuel by transportation sectors, the transport of energy products, values and volumes of imports and exports of energy products, employment and investment in the energy sector. Energy data is also incorporated into several key economic indicators through the System of National Accounts, including the calculation of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), input/output tables and environmental indicators.

In addition to StatCan, there are provincial and territorial statistical offices that collect a variety of local data for their own research, statistical and information purposes. Data sharing agreements exist between various federal, provincial and territorial statistical agencies to allow multiple jurisdictions to benefit through improved efficiency, reduced costs and a reduction in the burden to their respondents. These agencies often provide descriptive summaries to help users understand the data.

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Statistics Canada's energy statistics program (ESP)

StatCan’s ESP program has been in place for many years. The program covers various forms of energy such as oil, natural gas, natural gas liquids (NGLs), coal, coke, electricity and refined petroleum products. It provides information on the production, transformation, disposition, distribution and consumption of these various energy sources at the national and provincial/territorial levels.

The key product of the ESP is the annual Report on Energy Supply and Demand (RESD) which provides energy balances for Canada as well as supplementary energy data tables.

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Regulatory Agencies

Regulatory agencies produce primary data related to their regulatory activities, which are often specific to their core mandate such as the regulation of oil and gas production, overseeing of electricity supply, or energy exports. In addition, such regulatory bodies may publish analytical reports that support their regulatory activities. These could include resource assessments, supply‐demand analyses, and market outlooks. The NEB is an example of a federal regulatory body that undertakes such work. The NEB is mandated to regulate international and interprovincial aspects of the oil, gas and electricity industries. In support of its core mandate, the NEB compiles data based on company reports that it collects. In particular, the Board publishes statistics on exports of crude oil and petroleum products, natural gas, natural gas liquids (NGLs) and electricity. The NEB also publishes studies on the energy market and a comprehensive market outlook on Canadian energy supply and demand.

Most provinces and territories also have energy regulating bodies with specific mandates and responsibilities for their jurisdictions. For instance, in Alberta, the AER has the mandate to report on and monitor the province’s energy resource development. The AER produces an annual report which highlights the reserves, production, consumption and disposition of energy commodities. Some other examples of regulatory bodies are:

  • Alberta Utilities Commission
  • British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission
  • Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
  • New Brunswick Energy and Utilities
  • OEB, Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board

Other Government Departments

There are other government departments at the federal, provincial and territorial levels which collect and disseminate energy-related data to serve their own mandates. The information generated by these departments is the result of data collection initiatives or the product of internal modelling and forecasting exercises. These departments interpret and organize data to support the development, implementation and evaluation of policies, regulations, projects and programs. Departments also provide information to meet the needs of the general public.

The Office of Energy Efficiency (OEE) at NRCan, for example, is responsible for the National Energy Use Database, which is a comprehensive source of data on energy consumption and efficiency at the end-use level in Canada. The OEE also publishes Energy Efficiency Trends in Canada and the Energy Use Data Handbook. These data help guide public decision making when it comes to choosing a fuel efficient vehicle, ENERGY STAR appliance, or other qualified products and equipment.

EC is responsible for developing, compiling, and reporting on Canada's greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory on an annual basis, with input from numerous experts and scientists across Canada. The inventory reports on emissions and removals for six sectors, including the energy sector.

Alberta publically reports the oil sands’ share in global oil consumption - based on data from the AER and the International Energy Agency (IEA) - to demonstrate the effectiveness of its royalty regime.

Other Sources of Energy Information

There is a wide range of other institutions involved in the production of various products such as analytical reports related to energy issues in Canada. These institutions range from non-governmental institutions to private sector organizations and associations. Products range from policy discussion papers to specific market analyses for Canada. Federal and provincial government officials rely extensively on a number of daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual reports produced by these groups.

In addition, there are a number of important foreign and international organizations that also provide valuable energy information. For example, the IEA collects, processes, and publishes data and information on energy. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA), a statistical and analytical agency within the US Department of Energy, collects, analyzes, and disseminates independent information on regional and global energy trends, including country profiles. The EIA’s work includes weekly status reports on specific commodities and markets, monthly reports on market trends, as well as an annual review and an annual outlook. Both the IEA and the EIA provide energy information on Canada.

1.4 The Importance of Energy Statistics in Canada

Energy statistics are widely used by government, industry, academics and others. High quality data provide the foundation for evidence-based policy and regulatory decisions; for industrial stakeholders in energy and other sectors to make timely and effective investment and business decisions; for the general public to be better positioned to make energy use decisions and to engage in policy debates; and for non-governmental organisations to better inform the public dialogue on energy.

Supporting Government Priorities

Energy is a priority for governments across Canada. It is a major driver of the Canadian economy and is central to addressing GHG emissions. Central to government commitments for science and evidence-based, informed decision-making is the availability of credible, reliable and comprehensive data. Energy statistics make important, though often understated, contributions to the development of:

  • Federal and provincial legislation and regulation, such as through statistics on energy production and transportation to inform recent changes to marine and pipeline safety regimes, polluter pay legislation, regulations to reduce GHG emissions at the federal level, and changes to provincial royalty and tax regimes;
  • Policy, through information and analysis on Canada’s energy situation and the contribution of the energy sector to the Canadian economy, and informing the provision of advice on Canadian positions for international affairs;
  • Programs, through statistics on energy use and associated emissions to inform the development and implementation of investments by the Government of Canada to support green infrastructure, energy efficiency, clean energy technologies and the production of cleaner energy and fuels.

Meeting International Reporting Obligations

As a global energy leader, it is important for Canada to meet international standards for energy data reporting. Canada has made commitments to submit energy data to a number of international organizations on Canada's production, trade, stocks, domestic use and prices for all energy forms:

  • Canada, as a member of the IEA, provides responses to monthly, quarterly and annual questionnaires. This reporting supports IEA products such as the monthly Oil Market Report and the annual World Energy Outlook.
  • Data are supplied to, or shared by the IEA with organisations such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the International Energy Forum (IEF), and the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD).
  • Canada is also one of over 90 countries participating in the Joint Organizations Data Initiative (JODI), as part of an international effort to contribute to market transparency and stability. Launched in 2001, JODI is managed by six international organisations, including the IEA and APEC, and coordinated by the IEF. Initial efforts focused on oil with data on oil market supply and demand collected and disseminated on a monthly basis.
  • The success of JODI Oil and the need for market transparency in the natural gas market led to the launch of JODI Gas in 2012, with the official release of the JODI Gas Database in May 2014.

In addition, complementary energy data is reported internationally on subjects such as GHG emissions and criteria air pollutant inventories through several initiatives, such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

Informing Canadians

Energy statistics are important for ensuring that Canadians are well-informed, particularly given the level of public attention around energy and environmental matters. In its 2012 report Now or Never: Canada Must Act Urgently to Seize its Place in the New Energy World Order, the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources identified that increasing the energy awareness of Canadians was essential. In the same year, energy information and awareness was identified as a priority action area in a report on energy information in Canada prepared for the Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference (EMMC). In the 2013 report, Capturing the Opportunity, the EMMC identified resource literacy as one of nine priority areas for collaborative action between federal, provincial and territorial governments in Canada.

Access to timely and high quality energy data is critical to support public dialogue and help Canadians make informed choices in:

  • Improving efficiency in energy use;
  • Responsible development of Canada’s energy resources, safe transportation of energy products, and the social licence to operate;
  • Adoption of new and innovative energy technologies for homes and businesses; and
  • Reducing GHG emissions.

1.5 The Foundation for an Effective Energy Statistics System

An effective energy statistics system requires the existence of a strong legal framework complemented by appropriate institutional arrangements between all relevant government agencies. The legal framework is a set of laws and regulations that specify the rights and responsibilities of organizations that collect, produce, disseminate or use statistics or statistical outputs.

In Canada, the Statistics Act gives StatCan the authority to:

  • Collect, compile, analyse, abstract and publish statistical information;
  • Collaborate with departments of government in the collection, compilation and publication of statistical information;
  • Take the census of the population and the census of agriculture in Canada;
  • Promote the avoidance of duplication in the information collected; and,
  • Promote and develop integrated social and economic statistics, and coordinate plans for the integration of those statistics.

Through the Act, StatCan has access to records held by governments in Canada and, in certain cases, can compel businesses and individuals to respond. The Act also requires that collected information be published while guaranteeing the confidentiality of individually identifiable information. The legislation makes a formal commitment to respondents that the information StatCan provides will not be released to anyone in a form that will identify the respondent without their authorization.

Institutional arrangements are also important to complement the legal framework. Such arrangements allow for the collection, compilation, standardization and integration of information scattered among different entities. Institutional arrangements also promote harmonization of the applied concepts and methods with international standards and recommendations in order to enable collection of data necessary for the systematic production of high quality and internationally comparable official energy statistics. These arrangements also enable more streamlined, cost effective and efficient data collection through the avoidance of duplicative efforts, the sharing of good practices, and reduced response burdens on data respondents. A key element of institutional arrangements is the establishment of clear, efficient and sustainable governance. Effective institutional arrangements are usually characterized by a clear definition of the rights and responsibilities of all agencies involved in data collection and compilation and the establishment of formalized working arrangements between agencies.

1.6 Strengthening Canada’s Energy Statistics System

Canada has a mature, comprehensive and effective energy statistics system which has, in general, been serving the requirements of energy data users well. However, with new developments in the energy sector, changing dynamics of the global market and rising demand for data, Canada’s statistics system has been facing increasing challenges in meeting the needs of data users, in terms of timeliness, consistency, and coverage (see Annex D).

A number of initiatives have been launched in recent years which have consistently identified that improvements in Canada's energy statistics system are needed:

  • A national energy statistics workshop organized by NRCan (2007);
  • A “Blue Sky” report prepared by the ESP at StatCan (2008);
  • Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources (2012);
  • Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference (EMMC), (2012); and,
  • A content review of the energy statistics surveys conducted by the ESP at StatCan (2012/13).

There have been a number of ongoing challenges for the improvement in quality, scope and relevance of Canada's energy statistics. The continually evolving nature of the energy sector; the diverse array of administrative, statistical and regulatory bodies across Canada; and the wide range of user needs to be met are just a few of them. Adding to these chronic obstacles are new challenges arising from the dynamic development in Canada's energy sector and in the global energy market.

It is important for data collection to keep pace with changes in the energy sector, especially in order to better understand and assess emerging issues and innovative technologies and approaches. A balance between the efficient use of resources and collecting what is necessary must be struck, recognising that what is necessary will depend on the needs of data users, that not all needs will be possible to meet, and that a lack of quality data could ultimately be far more costly than data collection and associated activities.

A Statistical Framework for Energy in Canada outlines a comprehensive and efficient approach to collecting, processing and disseminating energy and related statistics in Canada.

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