3.2 Variation across provinces


Figure 3.7 presents energy mix variations across the provinces, in decreasing order of total final energy use.1 Not surprisingly, for a country with a strong natural resource sector, the industrial fabric of each province contributes largely to the differences observed. For instance, Saskatchewan’s total final energy use is more than half that of British Columbia, despite its population being less than a fourth of that of B.C.. Similarly, energy use in Alberta is substantially larger than in Quebec, even though its population is half the size. 

It is also worth noting that when examining energy producers’ consumption of their own fuel, as well as fuel used for nonenergy applications in the petrochemical industry—which are accounted for separately from final consumption in each sector—Alberta is the province with the largest energy use, well above that of Ontario. In Saskatchewan, energy producers’ consumption adds around 25% to the total energy consumption of industry. Unfortunately, full data is not available on producer consumption and nonenergy use, which explains why it is omitted in Figure 3.7 and Figure 3.8.

Figure 3.7 – Total final energy consumption, by province and sector (2018) #

Source: Statistics Canada 2021a

Figure 3.8 – Total per capita final energy consumption, by province and sector (2018) #

Source: Statistics Canada 2021a, 2021b

Looking at the provincial consumption profiles on a per capita basis (Figure 3.8), the industrial sectors in Alberta and Saskatchewan, which are driven by oil and gas production activities, stand out. It should be noted again that the omission of producer consumption leads to an underestimation of the total consumption in the industrial sector. Partial data shows that this underestimation is particularly severe in Alberta and Saskatchewan: for instance, Alberta’s industrial sector consumption is more than twice what is shown in Figure 3.7. 

Nevertheless, industry explains only part of the variations across provinces. Per capita consumption profiles outside of industry give a more accurate measure of the impact of other sectorial activities on energy consumption. In many provinces, agriculture can account for a significant share of the energy consumption. This is particularly the case for Saskatchewan, Manitoba and PEI. Consumption for freight transport is also more significant in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

The remaining variation is found in the building sector (residential and commercial), where Alberta and Saskatchewan again show higher levels, as do Newfoundland and Labrador, and Manitoba to a lesser extent. Passenger transport is much more similar across the provinces, although the differences noted stem from the distance travelled, the lack of public transportation and the choice of vehicle, notably in Newfoundland and Labrador.

What these per capita consumption profiles thus show is that variations across the provinces go beyond the presence of certain industries: consumption in other sectors, notably agriculture and freight transport, is also significant. Moreover, choices made as to how everyday activities, such as passenger vehicle preferences or the source of space heating, are conducted are also responsible for variations. 


1 Since the transport consumption breakdown is not available for 2019, the data is all taken from 2018 in the final energy consumption figures for the sake of consistency.