A Statistical Framework for Energy in Canada
Chapter 3 Strategic Priorities for Energy Statistics

The following is a list of the strategic priorities related to Canada's energy statistical system. These strategic priorities represent those subjects or policy files that stakeholders identified as being of critical importance, where quality energy statistics are necessary. These strategic priorities will guide future efforts related to Canada’s energy statistics system, including the development of a Strategic Plan for StatCan’s ESP.

  1. Energy and the Economy: The energy sector is a large and important contributor to the Canadian economy from both a supply and demand perspective and impacts the competiveness and well-being of all Canadians. A number of key economic indicators (e.g., monthly GDP, input-output tables, prices, imports and exports, investment, employment, consumption, energy efficiency, etc.) are used to convey the economic importance of the energy sector to the Canadian economy. The energy data compiled and collected by the ESP at StatCan are key inputs used in the development of these economic indicators. These economic indicators are useful to a wide variety of federal departments (e.g., Finance Canada (FC), NRCan, EC, government agencies (e.g. Bank of Canada (BoC)), provincial departments and regulatory bodies, industry associations, business and academic institutions, international organizations, the media and the public at large. For example, FC uses these economic indicators for energy as measures of economic activities in Canada, as a determinant of government taxation and other fiscal policies, and in the formulation of tax sharing agreements between federal and provincial governments. They are also used to inform decisions on industry growth, business investment, and for the development and improvement of public policies, legislation, regulations, programs and other interventions.

  2. RESD for Canada: The RESD is the flagship output of the ESP at StatCan, representing Canada’s energy balances. It is compiled using data from multiple feeder surveys and administrative data sources, on both the production and consumption sides of the equation, for all energy types. Data from the RESD are used by a variety of stakeholders, including: NRCan for the production of energy efficiency indicators and for the submission of energy data to meet Canada’s international energy reporting obligations; EC for the calculation of GHG emissions and international environmental reporting requirements; and the NEB in the preparation of their energy outlook forecasting reports.

  3. Energy and the Environment: The energy sector has a major impact on the environment in Canada, in terms of GHG emissions, air pollutants, water use, and land use. Data is needed to monitor these impacts in Canada.

  4. Energy Efficiency: Measuring and understanding the performance of energy efficiency in the economy is key to understanding Canadian competiveness and the economic well-being of Canadians.

  5. Energy Security: Planning for a sustainable and secure supply of energy for the future is an important aspect of managing Canada’s energy resources. Data are required on the following components:

    1. Energy reserves: tracking the supply of energy to meet Canada’s future needs.
    2. Innovation: finding new and innovative ways to make resources economically viable, to increase production, reduce impacts on the environment, and reduce consumption.
    3. Emergency preparedness: this relates to Canada’s effective management of energy resources during times of global supply disruptions for whatever reason (e.g. natural disaster, act of terrorism, political instability, etc.).
  6. Energy Markets: Ensuring access to and diversification of markets for Canada’s energy products is critical for Canada’s economy. Energy markets have become more dynamic as a result of a number of factors, including new and emerging demands for energy in the rapidly growing economies in Asia; the changing supply as a result of the emergence of shale oil and gas; growing production of the oil sands resulting in increased volumes for delivery to existing and new markets; and the volatility of energy prices.

    To secure stable markets for their energy products, Canadian energy industries are looking to diversifying their markets and take advantage of new opportunities to sell products. This requires an improved and flexible transportation infrastructure to respond to changing distribution patterns. Relevant and timely data are required to inform decision-making on the movement of energy products across different modes of transportation (pipelines, rail, ship, road, electricity transmission). In addition, the potential impacts on the environment relating to energy transportation have become an increasingly high profile concern (e.g. the impacts of pipeline construction, the risks associated with rail transport). To inform these debates, more data are required on the types and volumes of energy being moved by mode of transportation, including destination of shipments, product movements, transportation of products by mode (e.g. rail, pipeline, ship, truck), and transportation infrastructure.

  7. International Reporting Requirements: Canada has treaty obligations relating to global energy and environmental issues, which include the reporting of energy data on supply and consumption to international agencies such as the IEA. These data are critical at the international level for stabilizing energy prices in world markets by promoting market transparency; supporting and facilitating planning and decision-making on movements and investments; and informing contingency planning for emergency preparedness. In addition, as a member to the UNFCCC and the UNEC, Canada is required to report on an annual basis a GHG and a criteria air pollutant inventory to the respective bodies. Improving the timeliness, quality and responsiveness of Canada’s international reporting will make a significant contribution to our efforts in this regard.

  8. Partnerships and Collaboration between Energy Stakeholders and Data Providers: Across Canada, there are many data collectors and users (e.g. federal, provincial and territorial regulatory bodies, industry associations). It is important that partnerships for the sharing of data (i.e. to take advantage of administrative and big data sources) are forged to reduce costs, minimize burden on respondents, improve data confrontation and validation, etc. Establishing new partnerships could also facilitate the exchange of subject matter knowledge and industry expertise, which could enhance data quality and analysis. Furthermore, maintaining and establishing new mechanisms or networks will be important in determining data needs and identifying opportunities for collaboration based on new or emerging issues and priorities.

    Establishing better data sharing and collaboration amongst federal departments and within StatCan itself will also be important. For example, energy data are collected by a number of different divisions within StatCan to fulfill their respective mandates (e.g. transport, environment, international trade, etc.). These different data sources could be used more effectively for data validation and analysis within StatCan. Also, there may be opportunities to collaborate on data collection in order to reduce the burden on respondents, avoid duplication of effort and improve efficiencies. This collaboration will also help ensure StatCan data sets are harmonized and any multiple, conflicting data sets available from StatCan were reconciled. This collaboration within StatCan will also present opportunities to share industry knowledge, subject matter expertise, networks of contacts, and alternate sources of information to improve data validation, confrontation, analysis and quality.

  9. Informing the Public: There have been increasing calls for energy data to improve the energy awareness and energy literacy of Canadians and thus enhance public understanding and contribute to decision-making on Canada’s energy future.

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