Material and energy flow accounts record, in physical terms only, the flows of materials and energy - in the form of natural resources and wastes - between the economy and the environment. They are directly linked to the input-output accounts of the Canadian System of National Accounts (CSNA). This linkage enables the calculation of key indicators of the resource and waste intensity of economic activity.
Data release – October 9, 2012 (first in a series of releases)
The Material and Energy Flow Accounts (MEFA) record in substantial detail the annual flows of materials and energy - in the form of resources and wastes - between the Canadian economy and the environment. These flows are related to the activities of industries, households and governments, and they are recorded as such in the accounts. Data for over 100 industries, plus a wide array of household and government activities are presented. The MEFA share their classifications of industries, households and governments with Statistics Canada's Input-Output Accounts. This allows the environmental data in the MEFA to be linked directly and easily with the economic data found in the Input-Output Accounts, adding value to both data sets.
Material and energy flow accounts have been developed for energy use, water use and greenhouse gas emissions.
These statistics are being used in economic-environmental modelling (e.g., the greenhouse gas and energy use accounts have been used when assessing climate change options and economic impacts) and for studies on eco-efficiency and resource and waste intensities (e.g., waste and energy intensity of industrial output, multi-factor productivity analysis). Users are pleased that these accounts are compatible with the traditional national economic accounts, as this greatly facilitates the integration of the environmental data into their macroeconomic models.
The Canadian economy (persons and unincorporated business, corporations, governments and non-residents).
The Canadian economy (households, non-profit institutions serving households', financial corporations, non-financial corporations, and non-residents).
Data are collected from other Statistics Canada surveys and/or other sources.
All this information is compiled, integrated and analysed as part of the process of producing material and energy flow estimates.
The main data source is the Input-Output Accounts of the CSNA.
Major suppliers of data within Statistics Canada are Industry Accounts Division, Manufacturing, Construction and Energy Division, Transportation Division and Environment Accounts and Statistics Division. Environment Canada and Natural Resources Canada are the main external data providers.
The Material and Energy Flow Accounts (MEFA) share their classifications of industries, households and governments with the Input-Output Accounts of the CSNA. Empirical development of the MEFA has been focused on energy, water and greenhouse gases. The methods used to estimate flows of these resources and wastes in MEFA are described in the link "Canadian System of Environmental and Resource Accounts - Material and Energy Flow Accounts: Estimation" in the Documentation section below.
The quality of the estimates produced is ascertained using time series consistency analysis, as well as analysis of the coherence of the estimates with current economic events and with related data from other programs. Issues arising from the source data are also identified.
Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects which could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.
Material and energy flow accounts for energy and greenhouse gases are updated annually. However, since the very detailed Input-Output Accounts require a long compilation period, preliminary estimates of those accounts could be published up to 42 months after the reference year. The water use account has been produced in 1981, 1986, 1991 and 1996.
Material and energy flow estimates are revised when those for subsequent years are published. Revisions are made back one year; they are not normally revised again except when historical revisions are carried out.
Seasonal adjustment is not necessary given that the calculations of material and energy flow estimates are only performed on an annual basis.
No direct measures of the margin of error in the estimates can be calculated. The quality of the estimates can be inferred from analysis of revisions and from an analytical assessment of the data sources and methodology used in the preparation of the estimates.