Market Snapshot: Household expenditures on energy are highest in Atlantic Canada

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Release date: 2019-08-21

Household energy expenditures vary by province. Based on data from 2017, on average, nearly 12% of Canadian household expenditures are on energyFootnote 1. This share is lower in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario, and higher in the Atlantic Provinces.

Figure 1 shows the breakdown of household expenditures on energy by fuel typeFootnote 2 as both a percentage of total energy expenditure and as absolute values. Also shown is the share of total expenditures going towards energy and non-energy items.

Figure 1: Household Energy Expenditure by Fuel TypeFootnote 3

Source and Description

Source: Statistics Canada Table 11-10-0222-01

Description: This stacked bar chart shows the breakdown of household energy expenditures by fuel type for each province. Each color represents the expenditures going towards a particular fuel type as a percentage of total energy expenditures. Also shown is the share of all expenditures going towards energy and non-energy items.

Provinces such as Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario have lower shares of energy expenditures going towards electricity and higher shares going to towards natural gas. In contrast, Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces spend more on electricity and less on natural gas.

One reason energy expenditures differ by province is differences in home heating technologies. Homes in western Provinces are heated primarily by natural gas burning furnaces, while eastern Canadian homes use a greater variety of home heating fuels. For example, electric baseboard heating is widespread in Quebec and heating oil and biomass is used more frequently in the Atlantic ProvincesFootnote 4. The main heating technology in a region is largely determined by the availability and price of different fuels.

Expenditures on gasoline and diesel also vary across provinces. Less than half of total energy expenditures in the Atlantic Provinces are on gasoline and diesel. In the rest of Canada, gasoline and diesel make 50% or more of household energy expenditures. This is because households in Atlantic Provinces spend more overall on electricity and shelter fuels, relative to the rest of the country.

Household energy expenditures in the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut are generally higher than in the rest of Canada.

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