Oil and gas continues to lead in environmental protection spending

Canadian oil and gas producers spent $3.1 billion on environmental protection in 2019, the most of all 20 industries surveyed
By Deborah Jaremko

Canada’s oil and gas indus­try con­tin­ues to spend more on envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion than any oth­er sec­tor, accord­ing to the lat­est fed­er­al data.

Sta­tis­tics Cana­da reports that oil and gas pro­duc­ers spent $3.1 bil­lion on envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion in 2019, the high­est of all 20 indus­tries in the annu­al survey.

More than 1/3 of Cana­di­an spend­ing on environment

The invest­ment by oil and gas pro­duc­ers rep­re­sents more than a third of total envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion spend­ing in Cana­da. It is more than three times the amount spent by the next-high­est indus­try on the list, Min­ing and Quar­ry­ing, at $882 mil­lion. Pri­ma­ry Met­al Man­u­fac­tur­ing was third, with $786 mil­lion spent in 2019.

Greater invest­ment in machin­ery and equipment

Sta­tis­tics Canada’s report of envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion spend­ing includes oper­at­ing costs, like salaries and ser­vices, as well as cap­i­tal costs, like machin­ery and equip­ment. To be con­sid­ered as invest­ment in envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion, the mon­ey must be used to pre­vent, reduce or elim­i­nate pol­lu­tion or oth­er envi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion, or restore the envi­ron­ment from a degrad­ed state.

Oil and gas is the only indus­try that spent more in 2019 on envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion machin­ery and equip­ment (59%) than on salaries and ser­vices (41%). By com­par­i­son, 35% of Min­ing and Quarrying’s spend went to cap­i­tal costs and 65% on oper­at­ing expenses.

Across sec­tors, busi­ness­es spent the most on waste­water man­age­ment ($3.3 bil­lion), fol­lowed by sol­id waste man­age­ment ($1.9 bil­lion) and air pol­lu­tion man­age­ment ($1.6 billion).

Alber­ta leads in envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion spending

The high­est expen­di­ture by province occurred in Alber­ta, where com­pa­nies in all sec­tors spent near­ly $3.4 bil­lion on envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion in 2019. This rep­re­sents almost 40% of spend­ing across the coun­try, which Sta­tis­tics Cana­da says is because of the promi­nence of the oil and gas indus­try. Next high­est was busi­ness­es in Ontario, which spent approx­i­mate­ly $2 bil­lion on envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion in 2019.