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Environmental and Clean Technology Products Economic Account, 2007 to 2016

Released: 2017-12-13

The environmental and clean technology products economic account measures the contribution of environmental goods and services in the Canadian economy, including products such as clean energy, waste management, environmental and clean technology product manufacturing and other technical services. Environmental and clean technology activities accounted for 3.1% or $59.3 billion of Canadian gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016 (in nominal terms). This ratio has remained relatively stable over the 10-year period, edging up from 3.0% in 2007.

The two largest components of the environmental and clean technology GDP are clean electricity (produced from clean sources), accounting for 43%, and waste management (12%). Excluding these two components, the remaining environmental and clean technology activity accounted for 1.4% of total Canadian GDP in 2016. Annual growth patterns for total environmental and clean technology products and for environmental and clean technology products excluding electricity and waste management were similar from 2007 to 2016.

In nominal terms, clean electricity's contribution to the GDP for environmental and clean technology products fell from 46% in 2007 to 43% in 2016, while services rose from 45% to 49%. The share of services of GDP for environmental and clean technology products peaked at 51% in 2012. Examples of services include research and development related to environmental and clean technology products and waste management. The contribution of environmental and clean technology goods excluding electricity fell from 9.2% in 2007 to 8.0% in 2016, despite an increase in GDP for environmental and clean technology manufacturing over this period.

In real (volume) terms, the GDP at basic prices of the environmental and clean technology products sector was 5.2% higher in 2016 than in 2007. In comparison, the total Canadian economy grew 14.4% over the same period.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Gross domestic product (GDP) for the total economy compared with the GDP for the environmental and clean technology products economic account (ECTPEA)
Gross domestic product (GDP) for the total economy compared with the GDP for the environmental and clean technology products economic account (ECTPEA)

International trade in environmental and clean technology products up by one-third

Export volumes of environmental and clean technology products increased 33.8% from 2007 to 2016, accounting for 1.9% of total Canadian exports in 2016. The largest shares of total exports were energy (electricity and biofuels) and scrap metal for recycling, accounting for 44.9% of all exports.

Import volumes grew 41.1% from 2007 to 2016, despite a 7.1% decline in 2016 due to manufactured goods and services. Environmental and clean technology product imports accounted for 1.6% of total imports in 2016.

Environmental and clean technology employment increases

An estimated 274,000 jobs were attributable to environmental and clean technology activity in 2016, accounting for 1.5% of jobs in the Canadian economy. The average annual labour compensation per job, including benefits, was $92,000, compared with an economy-wide average of $59,900. Employment in 2016 was 4.5% higher than in 2007, while employment in the total economy rose 8.4% over the same period.

Excluding electricity and waste, environmental and clean technology employment comprised 1.0% of total employment or 178,000 jobs in 2016, up 5.0% from 2007. The average compensation per job excluding electricity and waste was $82,000.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Composition of environmental and clean technology gross domestic product
Composition of environmental and clean technology gross domestic product

  Note to readers

The Environmental and Clean Technology Products Economic Account (ECTPEA) measures the economic contribution of environmental and clean technology products in terms of output, gross domestic product (GDP), employment (number of jobs) and other economic variables. Estimates are directly comparable with national results for the Canadian economy. Estimates of GDP referred to in this release are measured at basic prices.

Environmental and clean technology is defined as any process, product, or service that reduces environmental impacts: through environmental protection activities that prevent, reduce or eliminate pollution or any other degradation of the environment, resource management activities that result in the more efficient use of natural resources, thus safeguarding against their depletion; or the use of goods that have been adapted to be significantly less energy or resource intensive than the industry standard.

As part of the Government of Canada's initiative to develop a Clean Technology Data Strategy, the ECTPEA provides comprehensive measures of the supply and use of environmental and clean technology products in Canada's economy. The Environmental and Clean Technology Products Economic Account has a broader scope than the Survey of Environmental Goods and Services (SEGS) and captures economy-wide transactions in the environmental and clean technology sector, including elements such as clean energy and scrap metals. The government and non-profit sectors are also fully covered in the ECTPEA.

The compilation of the ECTPEA draws on a variety of data sources, including Statistics Canada's Supply and Use Tables, detailed import and export Statistics released in Canada's Balance of Payments and SEGS.

Examples of environmental goods and services and clean technologies are available in publication: Clean technologies and the Survey of Environmental Goods and Services: A technical reference guide (Catalogue number16-511-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; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).

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