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Ecosystem accounting: Thematic accounts, 1971 to 2016

Released: 2017-12-14

Statistics Canada has begun to develop ecosystem accounts. These accounts focus on tracking ecosystems, since they are important assets that generate flows of goods and services. One way to start to examine if ecosystems are under pressure is to monitor the density of human population.

The updates to the following two CANSIM tables provide Canadians with historical context on the population of Canada using two environmental geographies. Selected Census of Population data from 1971 to 2016 are now available by major drainage area (11) and sub-drainage area (164), as well as by ecozone (15) and ecoregion (194). Both geographies cover the whole of Canada.

  Note to readers

CANSIM tables 153-0036 and 153-0057 were revised in 2017. Population and dwelling variables for 1971 to 2006 were processed using a new methodology and more accurate spatial layers for census points, shorelines, land and water. The population and dwelling densities were recalculated using the terrestrial portion of drainage or ecological areas as the denominator. Data for reference years 2011 and 2016 have been added to the tables.

Two environmental geographies are used in these tables. The Standard Drainage Area Classification is a classification of drainage areas in Canada that provides unique numeric codes for the levels in the hierarchy of drainage areas: major drainage areas, sub-drainage areas and sub-sub-drainage areas. The Ecological Framework is a classification for ecological areas and provides unique names and codes for ecozones, ecoprovinces, ecoregions and ecodistricts of Canada.


Ecosystem accounts are being developed to provide a coherent approach to measuring ecosystems, ecosystem goods and services and beneficiaries. Information on ecosystem statistics and accounts can be found in the article "Measuring ecosystem goods and services in Canada" as part of the publication Human Activity and the Environment (Catalogue number16-201-X). The Methodological Guide: Canadian System of Environmental-Economic Accounting provides readers with information on environmental-economic accounts at Statistics Canada (Catalogue number16-509-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; or Media Relations (613-951-4636;

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