Provincial overview


The Canadian provinces present a diversity of energy and GHG emissions profiles. This diversity is reflected in their economy, as well as in the cost and impact of achieving GHG reduction targets in each province. This chapter discusses key similarities and differences across provinces on the way to net-zero, highlighting variations in the challenges faced by each.

It is important to remember that the GHG constraints are applied at the national level rather than by the provinces and territories in order to optimize total spending. Accordingly, some provinces and territories where decarbonization options are cheaper can move into net-negative emissions, while others can retain an overall higher fraction of their emissions.


  • Great provincial diversity in energy production and consumption leads to different challenges, for both the short and the longer term, in participating in the national effort to reach net-zero emissions at lowest cost. Some provinces end up with net positive emissions, while others find themselves in the opposite situation.
  • Some specific applications, such as space heating in buildings, can be decarbonized early on across all provinces.
  • Even though many solutions are local or remain in the hands of the provinces, transportation should be viewed from a national perspective.
  • Provinces with a decarbonized electricity system and a small industrial sector must approach the costliest sectors (such as transport) early on; the opposite is true for provinces with emissions-intensive industries (such as oil and gas production) or carbon-intensive power generation since emissions reduction from these activities can all be achieved rapidly at relatively low cost.
  • Provinces that currently have a highly emission-intensive electricity generation and little hydroelectric baseload generation face more significant grid infrastructure development challenges; a national plan to support cross-provincial interconnections would facilitate the required transformation of electricity generation, especially for these provinces.
  • Because of the high cost of transporting biomass, the availability of feedstocks in each province plays a large role in determining whether the results include BECCS electricity and/or hydrogen production in a specific province—and, as a result, the quantity of negative emissions for the province.
  • Using a national target allows taking advantage of some provinces negative emissions to compensate for sectors more difficult to decarbonize in others.