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Air conditioning: More Canadians keep cool, but costs heat up

July 5, 2023, 11:00 a.m. (EDT)

We’re in July, and that means some hot summer weather. Time to turn on the air conditioner! And you’re probably wondering how many of us do so.

The Households and the Environment Survey asks Canadian households in the provinces every two years about their air conditioning usage. Our most recent data are from 2021, when nearly two-thirds (64%) of Canadian households in the provinces reported having at least one type of air conditioner, up three points from 2019 and nine points from 2013.

Nationwide in 2021, a central air conditioner was the most common type: close to 4 in 10 households (38%) reported having one, while 16% of households had a stand-alone unit.

Further, 1 in 10 households (10%) had a heat pump, while 2% had a heat-recovery ventilation unit.

Manitobans are the coolest…

In 2021, 9 in 10 households (90%) in Manitoba had at least one type of air conditioner, the highest rate among provinces, followed by Ontario (84%), Saskatchewan (75%), Quebec (63%) and New Brunswick (56%).

Less than half of households in the remaining provinces had an air conditioner. Fewer than 2 in 10 households (19%) in Newfoundland and Labrador had one, the lowest rate among provinces.

… but Ontario has more air conditioner hotspots

Two-thirds (66%) of households in census metropolitan areas (CMAs) nationwide had an air conditioner in 2021.

Some CMAs ranked much higher: over 9 in 10 households in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Brantford, Ontario (both 92%), had an air conditioner, followed by the Ontario CMAs of St. Catharines–Niagara (91%), Windsor (90%) and Barrie (90%).

All of the other CMAs that had at least 8 in 10 households with an air conditioner were also located in Ontario, except for Regina, Saskatchewan (85%), and Kelowna, British Columbia (84%).

Fewer than 6 in 10 households (57%) in non-CMAs across the country had an air conditioner.

Pumping out the Eastern heat

Just over one-third (34%) of households in New Brunswick, just over 3 in 10 households (31%) in Prince Edward Island and nearly 3 in 10 households (28%) in Nova Scotia had a heat pump, which can be either ground source (geothermal) or air source and moves heat from one area to another.

Over one-quarter (26%) of households in Quebec had a heat pump, with slightly higher rates for households in the eastern CMAs of Sherbrooke (30%) and Trois-Rivières (29%).

Cooler means hotter bills

Air conditioning can consume a lot of electricity, which has meant higher bills for many Canadians. Nationwide, on an annual average basis, consumers paid 3.8% more for electricity in 2022 compared with 2021, with the steepest increases being in Saskatchewan (+12.3%), Alberta (+9.8%) and Prince Edward Island (+5.7%).

Lots of sales

Still, getting that desired temperature is a top priority! Canadians spent $1.2 billion on air conditioning and heating equipment in 2022. This category includes central air conditioner units, air vents and other cooling supplies.

There was another $7.2 billion in retail sales of major home appliances in 2022, a category which includes room air conditioners in addition to kitchen and laundry appliances.

Made in Canada, and imported

There was over $5.5 billion worth of ventilation, heating, air conditioning and commercial refrigeration equipment manufactured in Canada and shipped in 2022.

In 2022, Canada imported over 1.2 million stand-alone air conditioners (including wall and window units) worth $458.5 million.

Keeping cool efficiently

Here are some tips from Natural Resources Canada on choosing the right unit for your home. Stay cool this summer, Canada!

Contact information

For more information, contact the Statistical Information Service (toll-free 1-800-263-1136514-283-8300; or Media Relations (