Environment Industry Survey

Detailed information for 1998




Every 2 years

Record number:


The purpose of the survey is to produce estimates of the production of environmental goods (including construction) and services by industry. The survey collects data on revenues from sales of environmental goods and services and employment related to this production.

Data release - December 4, 2000


The purpose of the survey is to produce estimates of the production of environmental goods (including construction) and services by industry. The survey collects data on revenues from sales of environmental goods and services and employment related to this production.

In September 1994, the Canadian government announced the Canadian Environment Industry Strategy (CEIS). This strategy consisted of 22 initiatives developed to address the growing Canadian environmental sector. Statistics Canada was asked to address Initiative 8 of the CEIS -- to establish a national statistical database on the environment industry. As a result, Statistics Canada began to collect information on establishments earning revenues from sales of environmental goods and services.

The pilot data collection was undertaken for reference year 1995, and was followed by a combined data collection for the years 1996 and 1997. From 1998 onwards, data collection has been undertaken every second year.

Some establishments involved in environmental production are not included in the Environment Industry Survey. Instead, the data for these establishments are obtained from other Statistics Canada surveys or other sources and they are then combined with Environment Industry Survey data to provide a more complete picture of environmental production while minimizing response burden. Information from the following surveys is combined with Environment Industry Survey data: Waste Management Industry Survey: Business Sector (record number 2009), the Annual Survey of Engineering Services (record number 2439), the Annual Survey of Service Industries: Management, Scientific and Technical Consulting Services (record number 4717), the Survey of Environmental Protection Expenditures (record number 1903) and Consolidated Government Revenue and Expenditures (record number 1735). In addition, information on wholesale trade in recyclable materials originates from Statistics Canada's Business Register. Taken together, this information allows for the development of national and provincial estimates of revenues from sales of environmental goods and services and employment related to the production of these goods or the provision of these services. This information can be used by businesses for market analysis, by trade associations to study the performance of the environment industry, by governments to develop policies and by researchers.

Statistical activity

The Canadian System of National Accounts (CSNA) provides a conceptually integrated statistical framework for studying the state and behavior of the Canadian economy. The accounts are centered on the measurement of activities associated with the production of goods and services, the sales of goods and services in final markets, the supporting financial transactions, and the resulting wealth positions.

To produce financial statistics, the CSNA measures the economic dimensions of the public sector of Canada, including the financial inter-relationships among the thousands of entities that make up the three levels of government in Canada (federal, provincial and territorial, and local). In order to carry out this program, the CSNA maintains a universe of all public sector entities including their complex inter-relationships.

The Canadian System of Environmental-Economic Accounts provides a conceptually integrated framework of statistics (in physical and monetary terms) and analysis for studying the relationship between the environment and human and economic activity. It presents detailed statistics describing 1) the size of Canada's natural resource stocks and their contribution to national wealth; 2) the extraction of these same resources and their disposition among businesses, households, governments and the rest of the world; 3) the generation of various wastes (liquid, solid and gaseous) by industries, households and governments and the management of these wastes; and 4) the expenditures made by businesses, households and governments for the purposes of protecting the environment. The accounts are, to the greatest extent possible, compatible with the Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts (CSMA). They were developed in response to the need to better monitor the relationship between economic activity and the environment.

Reference period: The reference period for the Environment Industry Survey is the 12-month fiscal period for which the final day occurs on or between April 1st of the reference year and March 31st of the following year.

Collection period: April through November of the year after the reference period.


  • Environment

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The target population consists of establishments operating in Canada that were involved either in whole or in part in the production of environmental goods or the provision of environmental services in all industries with the exception of environmental construction, waste management and wholesale trade in recyclable materials.

Instrument design

The questionnaire has undergone various transformations since its inception in 1995. The original material was developed by the Environmental Accounts and Statistics Division with assistance from Industry Canada. A pilot study involving a limited group of respondents was performed as a means of initial testing of content and terminology. The basic revenue classifications have remained relatively constant over the cycles, with most significant changes involving the expansion of the environmental goods and services categories.


This survey is a census with a cross-sectional design.

The survey frame was based on information from the previous survey, supplemented and updated with information from the Statistics Canada Business Register (BR) and industry directories.

Data sources

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

Survey questionnaires were mailed to establishments identified in the frame and the responses were returned by mail. The surveys were addressed to a contact person who was either responsible for, or had knowledge of, the environment-related operations of the firm. In the case of some multi-establishment firms, the survey was mailed to the head office which either forwarded the questionnaire to the appropriate establishment or provided a combined report for all targeted establishments.

Telephone and fax follow-up are used to obtain data from establishments who return incomplete questionnaires or who fail to respond. Information is manually captured and entered into a database using BLAISE capture and edit software, in which they are subjected to edit checks which serve to illuminate real or potential response errors. Phone follow-up is performed to verify information in cases where edit checks have failed.

View the Questionnaire(s) and reporting guide(s) .

Error detection

Completed and captured questionnaires were checked using an automated edit program (BLAISE) which verified that all mandatory information was completed and that reported values were within acceptable ranges based on historical data. Data were corrected, where possible, with the assistance of the respondent.


Imputation is used for non-response records. In cases where values were missing from survey cells after follow-up, the information was imputed based on the mean values by industry and by revenue-size group. Imputed values were then carefully evaluated and compared with values from the Business Register, other Statistics Canada survey results and other sources (annual reports, for example). Imputation for non-response was not carried out on the records coming from the other Statistics Canada surveys used to create the final estimates.

Quality evaluation

Year-over-year comparisons were made by industry group and by province/territory, while taking into account any changes in the survey or changes in government regulations or policies which may have an impact on the environment industry.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any data which would divulge information obtained under the Statistics Act that relates to any identifiable person, business or organization without the prior knowledge or the consent in writing of that person, business or organization. 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.

Two stages of disclosure control are used. MS FoxPro programs specifically written to identify cells that may contain confidential data are run against the cross tabulations. A decision is then made whether to suppress cells or to aggregate cells to avoid disclosure. The second step is an intensive peer review of all tabular data prior to publication. This manual verification ensures that both inter and intra tabular comparisons cannot be made that may lead to disclosure of confidential data.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

Revisions to the data are sometimes made between the release of the preliminary data table and the release of the detailed survey report. In that case, only the preliminary data table is revised. In addition, in the event changes are made to the questionnaire that could impede comparisons with the previous survey reference period, the previous reference year data may be revised to aid comparability. The data are not seasonally adjusted.

Data accuracy

The accuracy of data collected in a census survey is only affected by non-sampling errors. They arise from coverage error, data response error, non-response error, and processing errors. Every effort is made to reduce these types of errors including verification of keyed data, consistency and validity edits, extensive follow up and consultation with government departments and industry associations.

The overall response rate, based on the ratio of the number of completed and partially completed questionnaires to the total number of in-scope questionnaires, was 77.4%. Imputation was used to fill in the missing responses to certain questions. The imputation rate for total environmental revenues was 22.4%, while goods, services and environmental-related construction environmental revenues were 22.9%, 26.2% and 11.5% respectively. The imputation rate for environmental export revenues was 11.1%.

For additional information, see Statistics Canada catalogue no. 16F0008X, section 3 - Methodology and Data Quality. This publication can be accessed through the link "Publications" included in the side bar menu above.

For more information on data accuracy, follow the link below.

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