MRO Magazine

Ontario is top performer on environment report card

April 29, 2016 | By MRO Staff

Environment report card for Canada and the provinces (CNW Group/Conference Board of Canada)
Environment report card for Canada and the provinces (CNW Group/Conference Board of Canada)

Environment report card for Canada and the provinces (CNW Group/Conference Board of Canada)

Ottawa – Lower air pollution and higher shares of low-emitting electricity production place Ontario ahead of all the provinces on The Conference Board of Canada’s How Canada Performs: Environment  report card. Released on the eve of Earth Day, the report card compares the environmental performance of Canada, the provinces and 15 international peer countries. Ontario earns an overall “B” grade for its environmental performance and places 11th out of the 26 comparator jurisdictions in the report card. Canada as a whole places 14th

among the 16 peer countries overall.

“While Ontario is the top-performing province, it still ranks behind most of the other countries in the environment report card. Its “B” grade suggests there is still room for improvement on its environmental performance,” said Louis Thériault, Vice-President, Public Policy. “These results show that Ontario and Canada need to encourage more sustainable consumption. Protecting the environment from damage is not a problem for tomorrow but a challenge for today.”


  • Ontario is the top-ranked province, earning a “B” grade. The province places in the middle of the pack overall, ranking 11th among all 26 jurisdictions.
  • Ontario receives “A” grades on SOx and NOx emissions, as well as water withdrawals and low-emitting electricity production.
  • The province’s lowest grade is a “D” on energy intensity.

Nine indicators were used to evaluate the environmental performance of Canada, the provinces and 15 peer countries. We evaluate the provinces on an additional indicator for which comparable international data are not available, waste generation. The indicators cover performance in four categories: air pollution, waste, freshwater management, and climate change.

Air Pollution: Ontario does well on the indicators in this category, earning “A” grades on per capita nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulphur oxides (SOx) emissions. Ontario gets a “B” for volatile organic compounds (VOC) and a “C” grade for particulate matter (PM10) emissions. These emissions contribute to smog and acid rain, and harm human and animal respiratory systems.

Waste: Ontario scores a “B” grade on waste generation, with per capita waste production of 673 kg in 2013, over 50 per cent higher than that of Nova Scotia, the top-performing province.

Freshwater Management: Ontario does fairly well on freshwater management indicators. It earns an “A” for its low per capita water withdrawals. When it comes to the treatment of wastewater, the province is a middle-of-the-pack performer. It gets a “B” grade for providing at least primary wastewater treatment to more than 80 per cent of its population, comparable to peer countries Sweden and Ireland.

Climate Change:  Ontario receives an “A” grade for low-emitting electricity production  thanks to efforts in recent years to eliminate coal-powered electricity generation. Low GHG-emitting nuclear generation accounts for over half of the total power generated, while hydro accounts for over one-quarter of the electricity produced in the province.

Ontario earns a “B” grade on GHG emissions, generating 13 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per capita, and is among the top three provinces on this indicator. When it comes to energy intensity, however, the province receives a “D” for its 0.12 tonnes of oil equivalent (TOE) per $1,000 GDP.

How Canada Performs is an ongoing research program at The Conference Board of Canada to help leaders identify relative strengths and weaknesses in Canada’s socio-economic performance. Six performance domains are assessed: Economy, Education and Skills, Innovation, Environment, Health, and Society.

Released today, and building on previous How Canada Performs analyses, the Environment report card is the fifth of six to be produced on Canadian and provincial socio-economic performance. To date, the Economy, Education and Skills, Health, and Innovation report cards have been published.

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