Section 4: Annual statistics: Socio-economic response to environmental conditions

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The aim of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) is to prevent pollution and protect the environment and human health. It also provides enforcement officers with the authority to address cases of alleged non-compliance with the Act. Enforcement activities include inspection to verify compliance, investigation of alleged violations, measures to compel compliance without resorting to formal court action, and measures to compel compliance through court action.

Enforcement activities declined between 1993/1994 and 1996/1997 but have since risen significantly due to an increase in the number of inspections conducted and warnings issued (Table 4.1). The number of prosecutions varies considerably from year to year with as few as 2 in 1998/1999 to 27 in 2001/2002.

Protected areas

Data from 2005 indicate that 9.4% of the total land area in Canada is protected (Table 4.2). The share of total land protected varies with jurisdiction; in 2005, it ranged from 2.8% in Prince Edward Island to 13.1% in British Columbia.

Environmental protection expenditures

Total environmental protection expenditures by Canadian businesses were $8.6 billion in 2006 (Tables 4.3 and 4.4). The industry with the highest total environmental protection expenditures in 2006 was the Oil and gas extraction industry.

Approximately half of the total capital expenditures on pollution prevention in 2006 were directed towards processes aimed at preventing the release of substances to air (Table 4.5). Capital expenditures on pollution abatement and control (PAC) projects were also directed largely at mitigating the release of air pollutants, accounting for 60% of PAC capital spending in 2006 (Table 4.6).

Environmental practices

Pollution prevention attempts to eliminate waste and pollution before it is created in manufacturing processes. It involves continuous improvement through changes in product design, technology, operations and behaviour. Table 4.7 examines pollution prevention methods adopted by industry. In 2006, the most widely used methods of pollution prevention were good operating practices or training (42%), prevention of leaks and spills (41%) and recirculation, recovery, reuse or recycling (41%).

Environmental management practices are used by businesses to facilitate reducing or preventing of pollution or the conserving of resources. In 2006, 34% of reporting establishments indicated using at least one environmental management practice (Table 4.8). The most widely reported practice was the use of an environmental management system (18%), followed by the implementation of a pollution prevention plan (17%).

In 2006, 837 kg of non-hazardous solid waste were generated per capita; an increase of 9% from 2002 (Table 4.9). Nationally, 22% of the total non-hazardous waste generated was diverted from disposal. Nova Scotia had the highest diversion rate (41%) followed by New Brunswick (36%) and British Columbia (32%). In 2006 the lowest disposal rate was in Nova Scotia (428 kg per capita), and the highest disposal rate was in Alberta (1,117 kg per capita). In 2006, 34% of waste came from residential sources (Table 4.10).

More than 7.7 million tonnes of non-hazardous material were processed for recycling in 2006 (Table 4.11). Newsprint (16%), cardboard and boxboard (19%), and organic material (26%) made up the bulk of the recycled material in 2006.

Environment industry

Revenues derived from environment-related activities reached $18.5 billion in 2004 (Table 4.12). Environmental services accounted for 45% of total environmental revenues, while 55% of these revenues were derived from environmental goods. The Wholesale trade industry posted the highest share of business sector total environmental revenues at 29%, followed by the Waste management and remediation services industry at 23% and the Construction industry at 12%.

As in previous years, businesses in Ontario and Quebec reported the highest environmental revenues (Table 4.13).

Research and development

In 2006/2007, expenditures on research and development in the higher education sector reached approximately $9.6 billion (Table 4.14). Forty-one percent ($3.9 billion) was spent in the natural sciences and engineering fields, 39% ($3.8 billion) in the health sciences and the remaining 20% ($1.9 billion) in the social sciences and humanities.

In 2006/2007, federal spending on research and development aimed at control and care of the environment reached $363 million (Table 4.15). This accounted for 6% of total federal research and development expenditures in 2006/2007.


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