British Columbia Gets "C" Grade on How Canada Performs Environment Report Card

OTTAWA, April 21, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - While British Columbia performs well on some measures, its overall environmental grade is dragged down by the province's less-than-impressive performance on air pollution. British Columbia gets a "C" grade and ranks 16th out of 26 comparator jurisdictions in The Conference of Board of Canada's How Canada Performs: Environment report card released on the eve of Earth Day. This is the first report card that compares the environmental performance of Canada, the provinces, and 15 peer countries.

"B.C. does better than the national average, but these  results show that we need to encourage even more sustainable economic activity and consumption," said Louis Thériault, Vice-President, Public Policy."


  • British Columbia earns a "C" grade and ranks 16th among all 26 comparator regions. Only two provinces perform better than B.C: Ontario and Quebec, which rank 11th and 15th, respectively.
  • B.C. has relatively high air pollutant emissions, and gets "D" grades on nitrogen oxides emissions and PM10 emissions
  • Canada receives a "D" overall and ranks 14th among the 16 peer countries.

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, freshwater management, waste, and climate change.

Air pollution: The province does poorly on two of the per capita air pollution indicators, obtaining "D" grades on nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions and particular matter (PM10) emissions. B.C. emits 11 kg of PM10 emissions per capita, whereas Ontario, the top-performing province, emits 7kg per capita. On a more positive note, B.C. earns an "A" grade on sulphur oxides (SOx) emissions. The province gets a "C" grade on volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emissions.

Freshwater management: B.C. has middling performance on water withdrawals, where it gets a "B" grade and ranks 18th, with a per capita water withdrawal rate comparable to those of Australia and Norway. British Columbia earns a "C" grade on the wastewater treatment indicator for providing at least primary wastewater treatment to roughly 75 per cent of its population.

Waste: British Columbia has the second best waste generation rate among the provinces and earns a "B" grade. British Columbians produce nearly 600 kg of waste per capita. In comparison, Nova Scotia, the top-performing province, produces less than 400 kilograms of waste per capita. B.C. also does better than most provinces on waste diversion. It diverts 37 per cent of its waste away from landfills, while the national average is closer to 25 per cent.

Climate change: B.C. scores an "A" grade on low-emitting electricity production, as the province generates most of its electricity from hydro stations. The province gets a "B" on GHG emissions, producing14 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per capita, while the top-performing province, Québec, produces roughly 10 tonnes CO2 equivalent per capita. British Columbia is the second-highest ranked province on energy intensity. However, it only earns a "D" grade, and has an energy intensity that is twice as high as the U.K., the top-ranked peer country. 

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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SOURCE Conference Board of Canada

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