Canadian firms pump $8.6-billion into environmental protection in 2006

Businesses spent an additional $2 billion on initiatives to improve energy efficiency

Canada's oil and gas extraction industry spent $2.8 billion to protect the environment in 2006, more than any other industry, according to Statistics Canada.

The 2006 Environmental Protection Expenditures in the Business Sector report found the industry's expenditures accounted for nearly one-third of the $8.6-billion Canadian businesses invested in environmental protection. This amount represents all expenditures made in response to environmental regulations, conventions and voluntary agreements.

Provincially, Alberta businesses invested the most in facilities and equipment to protect the environment, again surpassing Ontario, the largest spender up until 2002.

Capital investment by businesses in Alberta for environmental protection amounted to nearly $1.9 billion in 2006, 49 per cent of the capital expenditures nationally. Ontario businesses reported $827 million in capital expenditures, followed by those in Quebec at $371 million.

Alberta's lead position was due mainly to high expenditures by the oil and gas extraction industry. In 2006, $4 of every $100 invested by oil and gas extraction went to environmental protection.

Capital investments by this industry totalled more than $1.7 billion in 2006. The money went into pollution abatement and control, waste management, pollution prevention and reclamation and decommissioning.

The oil and gas extraction industry also reported the highest operating expenses ($1.1 billion). This amount went mainly to reclamation, decommissioning, waste management, sewerage services, pollution abatement and control processes.

About $20 out of every $100 invested by the petroleum and coal products industry was for environmental protection, as that industry continued to upgrade refineries to meet new sulphur regulations.

In terms of operating expenses for environmental protection, businesses in Ontario reported spending almost $1.6 billion, the largest amount. Alberta firms were a close second with operating expenses of just more than $1.3 billion.

Canadian businesses also spent nearly $2 billion on technologies to improve energy efficiency or reduce the use of fossil fuels. This reflects a motivation by industry to adopt energy-related environmental technologies that exceed responses to environmental regulations, conventions or voluntary agreements.

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