Volatile Organic Compound Emissions

In 2013, volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions were 2135 kilotonnes (kt), a decrease of 50 kt (2%) from 2012 levels. The decline in VOC emissions is mainly from off-road vehicles and the oil and gas industry.

VOC emissions in 2013 were 2244 kt (51%) lower than in 1990. The long-term decline in VOC emissions is mainly attributable to three factors: a reduction in emissions from transportation and off-road vehicles due to the progressive introduction of cleaner technology and fuels for vehicles; a reduction in emissions from industrial and non-industrial sources; and a reduction in emissions from lower levels of VOC in products such as paints, solvents and cleaners.

Volatile organic compound emissions, Canada, 1990 to 2013

graph

Long description

The line chart shows volatile organic compound emissions in Canada from 1990 to 2013.

Data for this chart
Volatile organic compound emissions, Canada, 1990 to 2013
YearVolatile organic compounds
(annual national emissions in kilotonnes)
19904379.5
19914141.9
19924100.5
19934093.4
19944046.1
19953923.0
19963912.2
19973723.0
19983632.0
19993481.3
20003311.8
20012972.1
20022939.4
20032910.6
20042913.9
20052735.3
20062553.6
20072541.3
20082506.5
20092315.5
20102311.5
20112181.8
20122185.2
20132135.1

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How this indicator was calculated

Note: The indicator only reports air pollutant emissions from human-related sources.
Source: Environment Canada (2015) Air Pollutant Emission Inventory.

Sources of volatile organic compound emissions

In 2013, the oil and gas industry emitted the highest proportion of VOCs, representing 31% (658 kt) of national emissions. Other important sources of VOC emissions included the use of paints and solvents, representing 15% (323 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 2013 occurred in off-road vehicles, with an emission reduction of 1428 kt.

Volatile organic compound emissions by source, Canada, 1990 to 2013

graph

Long description

The stacked area chart shows volatile organic compound emissions in Canada by source for the years 1990 to 2013. The emissions are expressed in kilotonnes.

Data for this chart
Volatile organic compound emissions by source, Canada, 1990 to 2013
YearOil and gas industry
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Paints and solvents
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Agriculture
(livestock and fertilizer)
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Home firewood burning
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Transportation
(road, rail, air, marine)
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Off-road vehicles
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Other sources
(emissions in kilotonnes)
1990590.0319.5222.5356.5739.51643.0508.6
1991585.0314.3225.5351.4694.81522.5448.4
1992599.2317.1233.0335.9663.91520.2431.3
1993625.7315.6234.8352.1617.61438.8508.7
1994638.7324.4242.2358.5588.51391.4502.4
1995650.8336.0256.7342.1530.61361.3445.6
1996678.2334.0265.7338.4489.31321.8484.8
1997667.8333.0264.4322.6461.51205.5468.2
1998671.7331.7260.9342.0431.81118.3475.7
1999627.4339.2255.6325.0422.91038.0473.1
2000638.8346.3266.4313.6405.7909.2431.9
2001628.4325.7260.7289.7406.4660.4400.7
2002614.9318.2245.9313.2387.0628.6431.6
2003659.5323.1283.1269.5385.1592.4398.0
2004661.1320.8300.6261.5373.6597.8398.5
2005667.7319.1300.6246.3339.8488.2373.6
2006650.7306.7291.1237.7312.3468.9286.2
2007649.2313.7291.2234.9302.2449.7300.4
2008650.7318.2313.0235.3287.4419.6282.3
2009604.9314.6257.5224.3267.6402.1244.6
2010607.2323.2251.8235.9257.5389.2246.6
2011619.2323.2251.8235.2237.2267.2248.0
2012673.2323.2251.8234.4222.8232.5247.2
2013657.5323.2251.8233.0212.8214.9241.9

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 1.97 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 Canada (2015) Air Pollutant Emission Inventory.

Volatile organic compound emissions by province and territory

Alberta emitted the highest proportion of VOCs in 2013, representing 32% (687 kt) of national emissions (2135 kt). The main source of VOCs in this province was the oil and gas industry. Ontario was responsible for 20% (438 kt) of national emissions, with transportation and paint and solvent use as the most important sources. Quebec was the third largest emitter, with 15% (329 kt) of national emissions, where home firewood burning, paint and solvent use and transportation accounted for almost 75% of the emissions in that province. All provinces experienced reductions in emissions between 1990 and 2013. For most of them, the reductions were well above 40%.

Volatile organic compound emissions by province and territory, Canada, 1990, 2000 and 2013

graph

Long description

The bar chart shows 1990, 2000 and 2013 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 2013
Province or territory1990
(emissions in kilotonnes)
2000
(emissions in kilotonnes)
2013
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Newfoundland and Labrador453.7260.965.4
Prince Edward Island50.227.79.0
Nova Scotia77.465.244.9
New Brunswick64.053.435.7
Quebec640.9520.8329.1
Ontario1038.9762.1437.6
Manitoba282.8180.791.9
Saskatchewan345.1316.0257.8
Alberta797.7750.1687.2
British Columbia391.0264.1161.1
Yukon41.914.62.7
Northwest Territories and Nunavut195.996.212.8

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 596 B)

How this indicator was calculated

Note: The indicator only reports air pollutant emissions from human-related sources.
Source: Environment Canada (2015) Air Pollutant Emission Inventory.

Volatile organic compound emissions from facilities

Environment 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 Canada (2015) National Pollutant Release Inventory Online Data Search - Facility Reported Data.

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