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

Detailed information for 2022





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Asset accounts are one of the main elements of the United Nations System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA), which was adopted as an international statistical standard in 2012. Natural resource asset accounts report quantities of natural resource assets (e.g., energy resources, mineral resources, land, timber and water resources) and the annual changes in these assets due to natural processes and human activity. Selected natural resource assets are recorded in an account using both physical and monetary units, and form the estimates of Canada's natural resource wealth that is integrated into the Canadian national balance sheet accounts (NBSA).

Data release - November 22, 2023


Statistics Canada's Natural Resource Asset Accounts (NRAA) provide a broader dimension to our nation's national wealth by reporting the stocks of natural resources such as energy resources (e.g., oil and gas), mineral resources (e.g., 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 and 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.

The scope of NRAA also includes accounting for land, water, marine and other resource assets; however, work is ongoing and not all stocks (e.g., wild fish stocks) are currently being accounted for in the NRAA at Statistics Canada. The land accounts for example provide selected statistics on land use and land cover in physical units, in addition to the land value captured in the NBSA in monetary units. Physical asset accounts for water resources focus on the amount of freshwater in the environment and include selected statistics on the stock and flow of freshwater including water yield, a measure of the stock of renewable freshwater. The use of water for economic activity is reported by industry in the Canadian System of Environmental-Economic Accounts - Physical Flow Accounts (record 5115).

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-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.


  • 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, timber, and land 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.

In the case of monetary land accounts, only improved land (land under buildings and improved agricultural land) is valued and reported in the Canadian NBSA. For physical land accounts, all of Canada is targeted and land cover and land use statistics are available for selected geographic areas.

For the water resource accounts, streamflow from unregulated rivers and streams are used to calculate water yield estimates for selected drainage regions and ecoprovinces of Canada.

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 and Energy 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.

Additional suppliers of data for the land and water accounts include sources such as HYDAT from Environment and Climate Change Canada, products derived from remote sensing such as Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's land use, land inventory, crop inventory and Canadian Soil Information Service (CanSIS) products and datasets from the Canada Centre for Mapping and Earth Observation of Natural Resources Canada.

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.

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.

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.)

Water resource accounts in physical terms include statistics on water yield. Water yield is an estimate of freshwater runoff into streams and rivers and provides measures of the stock of renewable freshwater in Canada. (For additional information, refer to "The water yield for Canada as a 30-year average (1971 to 2000): Concepts, methodology and initial results" in the Documentation section of this page.)

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.

In order to prevent any data disclosure, confidentiality analysis is done using the Statistics Canada Generalized Disclosure Control System (G-Confid). G-Confid is used for primary suppression (direct disclosure) as well as for secondary suppression (residual disclosure). Direct disclosure occurs when the value in a tabulation cell is composed of or dominated by few enterprises while residual disclosure occurs when confidential information can be derived indirectly by piecing together information from different sources or data series.

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. 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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