Volatile Organic Compound Emissions

Access PDF (1.20 MB)

In 2014, volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions were 2157 kilotonnes (kt), an increase of 13 kt (1%) from 2013 levels.

Emissions of VOCs in 2014 were 2147 kt (50%) lower than in 1990. The long-term decline in VOC emissions is mainly attributable to reductions from three factors:

  • the progressive introduction of cleaner technologies and fuels resulting in emission reductions from transportation and off-road vehicles;
  • emission reductions from most industrial and non-industrial sources from improved emission controls; and
  • lower levels of VOCs in products such as paints, solvents and cleaners.

Volatile organic compound emissions, Canada, 1990 to 2014

Line chart

Long description

The line chart shows volatile organic compound emissions in Canada from 1990 to 2014.

Data for this chart
Volatile organic compound emissions, Canada, 1990 to 2014
YearVolatile organic compounds
(annual national emissions in kilotonnes)
19904303.9
19914123.6
19924081.6
19934034.5
19943990.9
19953912.4
19963852.8
19973667.8
19983588.4
19993442.3
20003308.7
20012995.2
20022962.5
20032887.8
20042823.4
20052657.9
20062572.4
20072516.8
20082481.7
20092283.4
20102288.5
20112124.4
20122133.4
20132144.2
20142156.7

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 830 B)


How this indicator was calculated

Note: The indicator only reports air pollutant emissions from human-related sources.
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2016) Air Pollutant Emission Inventory.

Sources of volatile organic compound emissions

In 2014, the oil and gas industry emitted the highest proportion of VOCs, representing 34% (734 kt) of national emissions. Other important sources of VOC emissions included the use of paints and solvents, representing 15% (314 kt) of national emissions, and agriculture (livestock and fertilizer), representing 12% (252 kt) of national emissions. The largest reduction in emissions between the years 1990 and 2014 occurred in off-road vehicles, with an emission reduction of 1437 kt.

Volatile organic compound emissions by source, Canada, 1990 to 2014

Stacked area chart

Long description

The stacked area chart shows volatile organic compound emissions in Canada by source for the years 1990 to 2014. The emissions are expressed in kilotonnes.

Data for this chart
Volatile organic compound emissions by source, Canada, 1990 to 2014
YearOil and gas industry
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Paints and solvents
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Agriculture
(livestock, crop production and fertilizer)
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Home firewood burning
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Off-road vehicles
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Other sources
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Transportation
(road, rail, air, marine)
(emissions in kilotonnes)
1990585.7319.9222.4356.51658.8421.1739.5
1991580.8314.7225.7351.41537.0419.1694.8
1992595.1317.5232.7335.91534.7401.9663.9
1993621.7316.0234.7352.11452.4440.0617.6
1994634.9324.7242.1358.41404.5437.8588.5
1995647.0336.3256.5342.11374.0425.9530.6
1996674.9334.3265.5338.41334.0416.3489.3
1997664.9333.4264.2322.61216.6404.7461.5
1998677.5332.0260.7342.01128.7415.8431.8
1999637.2339.6255.4325.01047.7414.6422.9
2000654.2346.7266.2313.6917.6404.7405.7
2001662.4326.1266.2289.7666.7377.7406.4
2002669.2318.6266.2313.2634.6373.6387.0
2003670.0323.3274.1269.5598.1367.8385.1
2004657.7321.1274.1261.5603.8331.7373.6
2005659.0324.4274.0246.3493.3321.1339.8
2006659.8320.2291.1237.7474.0277.3312.3
2007654.0324.0291.2234.9454.9255.7302.2
2008662.2321.8312.8235.3424.8237.5287.4
2009623.6289.2257.3224.3407.2214.3267.6
2010628.2304.7251.8235.9394.5215.9257.5
2011623.0293.9251.8235.2271.8213.4235.3
2012680.7297.9251.8234.4236.9210.9220.7
2013720.5303.1251.8233.0219.3206.0210.3
2014734.1314.0251.8231.5222.0203.1200.3

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 2.98 KB)

How this indicator was calculated

Note: The indicator only reports air pollutant emissions from human-related sources. For the purpose of this chart "Agriculture", an open source, is being presented as a stand-alone source. "Other sources" include fuel for electricity and heating, incineration and miscellaneous, open sources (e.g., landfills), and other industries. Consult table 1 in the Data Sources and Methods for a complete list of the air pollutant emissions sources included under each category.
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2016) Air Pollutant Emission Inventory.

Volatile organic compound emissions by province and territory

Alberta emitted the highest proportion of VOCs in 2014, representing 35% (748 kt) of national emissions (2157 kt). The main source of VOCs in this province was the oil and gas industry. Ontario was responsible for 18% (391 kt) of national emissions, with paint and solvent use, off-road vehicles and home firewood burning as the most important sources. Quebec was the third largest emitter, with 14% (308 kt) of national emissions, where home firewood burning, paint and solvent use, transportation, and off-road vehicles accounted for 73% of the emissions in that province.

All provinces experienced reductions in emissions between 1990 and 2014. For most of them, the reductions were well above 40%. Ontario experienced the largest reductions in emissions between 1990 and 2014, mainly due to emission reductions from off-road vehicles.

Volatile organic compound emissions by province and territory, Canada, 1990, 2000 and 2014

Bar chart

Long description

The bar chart shows 1990, 2000 and 2014 volatile organic compound emissions in Canada by province and territory.

Data for this chart
Volatile organic compound emissions by province and territory, Canada, 1990, 2000 and 2014
Province or territory1990
(emissions in kilotonnes)
2000
(emissions in kilotonnes)
2014
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Newfoundland and Labrador457.8279.567.2
Prince Edward Island50.527.78.8
Nova Scotia75.963.342.3
New Brunswick60.151.033.3
Quebec588.8495.1308.3
Ontario1034.6758.1391.4
Manitoba283.9181.391.4
Saskatchewan348.1316.0278.5
Alberta803.6750.0747.9
British Columbia371.9275.1174.1
Yukon30.114.72.8
Northwest Territories and Nunavut198.696.910.8

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 971 B)

How this indicator was calculated

Note: The indicator only reports air pollutant emissions from human-related sources.
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2016) Air Pollutant Emission Inventory.

Volatile organic compound emissions from facilities

Environment and Climate Change Canada's National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) provides detailed information on air pollutant emissions from industrial and commercial facilities. The Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators (CESI) program provides access to this information through an online interactive map.

With the CESI interactive map, you can zoom in to local areas and obtain details on VOC emissions specific to reporting facilities.

Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2016) National Pollutant Release Inventory Online Data Search – Facility Reported Data.

Related indicators

Other information

Date modified: