Canadian System of Environmental and Resource Accounts - Natural Resource Asset Accounts (NRAA)

Detailed information for 2017





Record number:


Natural resource asset accounts are one of the main elements of the United Nations System of Environmental-Economic Accounting which was adopted as an international statistical standard in 2012. Natural resource asset accounts measure quantities of natural resource assets (oil, natural gas, minerals, and timber) and the annual changes in these assets due to natural processes and human activity. These accounts, which are recorded using both physical and monetary units, form the basis of the estimates of Canada's natural resource wealth that are integrated into the Canadian national balance sheet accounts.

Data release - April 10, 2019


Natural resource asset accounts provide a broader dimension to our nation's national wealth by helping to measure the stocks of natural resources such as energy resources (for example, oil and gas), mineral resources (for example, zinc, potash), and timber. These accounts form the basis of the estimates of Canada's natural resource wealth that are integrated into the national balance sheet accounts. More specifically, these estimates are incorporated into annual estimates of national wealth. National wealth covers produced as well as non-produced assets, which include natural resources by major type.

These statistics are employed to monitor the contribution of natural resources to our national wealth as well as to portray the physical quantities of renewable and non-renewable resources that Canada has at its disposal in the short term.

Statistical activity

The Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts provides a conceptually integrated statistical framework for studying the state and behaviour 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.

The Canadian System of Environmental and Resource 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.


  • Economic accounts
  • Environment
  • Environmental and resource accounts
  • Financial and wealth accounts
  • Natural resources

Data sources and methodology

Target population

For the monetary natural resource stock accounts, only a portion of the stocks of energy, mineral, and timber are measured and included in the national balance sheet accounts. They are those natural resources over which ownership rights can be enforced and from which economic benefits can be derived by the owners. They meet the criteria for qualification as economic assets as set out in the SNA 2008, where they are termed "non-financial non-produced assets".

In the case of energy and minerals, only the portion of Canada's total stock that is known to exist with a high degree of certainty and that can be profitably extracted today is valued (often referred to as the "economically recoverable" reserves). In the case of timber stocks, the portion of the forest that is valued is that which is accessible for harvesting, where commercially valuable species grow to a marketable size within a reasonable length of time, and where harvesting is allowed.

Instrument design

This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.


This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Data sources

Data are extracted from administrative files and derived from other Statistics Canada surveys and/or other sources.

This information is compiled, integrated and analyzed as part of the process of producing natural resource stock estimates both in monetary and physical terms.

Major suppliers of data within Statistics Canada include Environment, Energy and Transportation Statistics Division, Manufacturing and Wholesale Trade Division and National Economic Accounts Division. External data providers include Natural Resources Canada, British Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines, Government of Saskatchewan Bureau of Statistics, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and Alberta Energy Regulator.

Error detection

This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.


This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.


In physical terms, estimates of energy and mineral asset stocks are taken from data published by a number of agencies and government departments.

Land accounts in physical terms are based on information and statistics from a variety of sources. For example, data on Canada's settled land areas derive from an analysis of satellite imagery and the use of detailed census data on population and employment. (For addition information, refer to "Introducing a New Concept and Methodology for Delineating Settlement Boundaries: A Research Project on Canadian Settlements" in the Documentation section of this page.)

In monetary terms, natural resource asset stocks are valued at their estimated market value. This value is based on the difference between the annual cost of extraction of a given resource and the revenue generated from the sale of the resource. This difference is referred to as "rent." Costs of extraction include both operating costs, such as wages and supplies, and capital costs, such as expenditures on exploration, infrastructure and equipment. Data for these costs, and for the value of production, are obtained from annual surveys of the resource-producing industries.

The total value, or wealth, associated with the stock is calculated as the present value of all future annual rent that the stock is expected to yield. In each year, it is assumed that depletion of energy and mineral stocks will continue at the current rate until the stock is fully depleted. In the case of timber, the assumption is made that the rate of extraction in each year can continue indefinitely.

Quality evaluation

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 and corrected where appropriate.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects that 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.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

Preliminary annual natural resource stock estimates in monetary units are released within twelve months of the reference period (calendar year) depending on benchmarked data availability. Complete reconciliation accounts in physical and monetary units are also released at this time. These accounts present estimates that are published two years after the reference year for energy resources, and three years for minerals resources.

Natural resource stock estimates are revised when estimates for subsequent years are published. A historical revision was carried out for the Annual release of 2017 data. Generally, revisions are made back four years; they are not normally revised again except when historical revisions are carried out.

Seasonal adjustment is not necessary, given that the calculations of natural resource stock estimates are only performed on an annual basis.

Data accuracy

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.


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