Saskatchewan and Alberta are in lockstep when it comes to lagging behind all other provinces for environmental performance.
According to a Conference Board of Canada report released Thursday, Saskatchewan’s heavy reliance on fossil fuels, and its resource-driven economy, led to a last place finish among 26 comparator jurisdictions.
On the first ever report card scoring the environmental performance of Canada, its provinces and 15 peer countries – the land of living skies earned a “D-” grade.
How Canada Performs: Environment states Saskatchewan accounts for nearly 70 tonnes of Green House Gas emissions – more than three times the national average.
Saskatchewan also scored low on waste generation – with the province producing around 1,940 pounds of garbage per capita.
We were, however, among the top of the class in freshwater management. The province earned “A” grades on wastewater treatment and water withdrawals indicators.
Compared with international peers, all of Canada’s provinces rank poorly on the environment report card, with top-ranked Ontario scoring a “B” and placing behind 10 of the 15 peer countries.
Quebec, British Columbia, and P.E.I. are “C” performers, while Manitoba gets a “D.”
Saskatchewan, Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick are at the bottom of the pack, with “D–” grades for doing worse than the lowest-ranked peer country.
Canada as a whole received a “D” grade overall, ranking third-to-last among peer countries; only the U.S. and Australia do worse.
Jurisdictions were evaluated on a total of nine indicators, covering performance in four categories: climate change, air pollution, waste, and freshwater management.
Provinces were also scored on waste generation, an additional indicator for which international data was not available.
The environment report card is the fifth of sixth to be produced on Canadian and provincial socio-economic performance. Other domains assessed include education and skills, innovation, health and society.
Here’s more on how Saskatchewan performed:
Climate Change: Primary industries make up a large share of Saskatchewan’s economy, resulting in high energy intensity and GHG emissions, and “D-” grades on both of these indicators.
At nearly 70 tonnes CO 2 equivalent per capita, the province has a GHG emission rate that is six times as high as Quebec’s, the top-ranked province on GHG emissions, and over three times the national average.
Saskatchewan also relies heavily on fossil fuels for generating electricity, and earns a “D” on low-emitting electricity production.
Air pollution: On a per capita basis, the province does poorly on all four indicators in this category, earning a “D” grade on sulphur oxides (SOx) emissions, and “D-” grades on nitrogen oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOC), and particulate matter (PM10) emissions.
Waste: Saskatchewan is one of the worst-ranked provinces when it comes to waste generation, only Alberta ranks lower. Saskatchewan produces more than 880 kilograms, or 1,940 pounds, of waste per capita and scores a “D” grade.
Freshwater management: Saskatchewan does perform well on a couple of measures.
The province provides adequate treatment for most of the wastewater collected and has low per capita water withdrawals, and so earns “A” grades on the wastewater treatment and water withdrawals indicators.