Quebec Performs Better than the National Average but Only Scores a "C" Grade on Environment Report Card

OTTAWA, April 21, 2016 /CNW/ - Heavy use of hydro power, relatively low GHG emissions, and low per capita emissions of sulphur oxides place Quebec ahead of Canada and most of 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. Quebec earns a "C" grade for its environmental performance and ranks 15th among the 26 comparator jurisdictions. Meanwhile, Canada as a whole ranks 14th among the 16 peer countries.

"While Quebec outperforms Canada overall and all provinces but Ontario, it still ranks behind most peer countries. There is significant room for improvement on its environmental performance, particularly when it comes to air pollution," said Louis Thériault, Vice-President, Public Policy. "These results show that Quebec and Canada need to encourage more sustainable consumption. Protecting the environment from damage is not a problem for tomorrow but a challenge for today."


  • Quebec is the second highest ranked province after Ontario, ranking 15th among all 26 jurisdictions and earning a "C" grade.
  • Quebec receives an "A+" grade on low-emitting electricity production and "A" grades on sulphur oxides emissions and GHG emissions.
  • The province's poorest performances are on PM10 emissions and energy intensity, for which it earns "D-" grades.

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: Quebec's per capita performance on the four air pollution indicators is mixed. The province earns an "A" grade on sulphur oxides (SOx) emissions  and a "B" on nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions. Quebec receives a "D-" grade on particulate matter (PM10) emissions and a "C" grade on VOC emissions.

Waste: Quebec scores a "C" grade on waste generation with 749 kilograms of waste per capita. Top-ranked province, Nova Scotia, generates half that amount of waste, at less than 400 kg per capita.

Freshwater Management: Quebec is a middle-of-the pack performer on its freshwater management performance, earning a "B" grade on water withdrawals and ranking 16th place among all 26 jurisdictions, with per capita water withdrawals of roughly 350 m3 in 2013. When it comes to wastewater treatment, the province also earns a "B" grade, for providing at least primary wastewater treatment to 86 per cent of its population. This is comparable to peer countries Sweden and Ireland.

Climate Change: Quebec does very well on two of the three climate change indicators. Due to its abundant hydro resources, Quebec produces 99 per cent of its electricity from low-emission sources, and thus, receives an "A+" grade on low-emitting electricity production. The province outperforms all peer countries on this indicator and ranks behind only Manitoba.

Moreover, Quebec is the only province that ranks well on the international report card for GHG emissions, placing 7th and receiving an "A" grade with 10 tonnes CO2 equivalent per capita. This emission rate is on par with those of Denmark, Norway, and Belgium.

Unfortunately, Quebec has one of the highest energy intensities among all jurisdictions and gets a "D-" grade, along with P.E.I., New Brunswick, Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

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

Video with caption: "Video: Spotlight on Canada's GHG emissions". Video available at:

Image with caption: "Environment report card for Canada and the provinces (CNW Group/Conference Board of Canada)". Image available at:

For further information: Yvonne Squires, Media Relations, The Conference Board of Canada, Tel.: 613- 526-3090 ext. 221, E-mail:; or, Juline Ranger, Director of Communications, The Conference Board of Canada, Tel.: 613- 526-3090 ext. 431, E-mail:


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