This article was published by the Canada Energy Regulator on Aug. 5, 2020.
Canada’s demand for energy can be broken down by economic sector. In 2017, the industrial sector made up 52 per cent of end-use demand(1), while the commercial sector made up 12 per cent, the residential 13 per cent, and the transportation sector 23 per cent.
Energy demand is driven by variables such as output growth, population growth, energy efficiency, climate policies, and structural changes to the economy. As shown below, energy demand has been growing steadily in Canada over the last two decades. All major sectors have contributed to this growth, although at different rates.
Figure 1. End-use energy demand by economic sector and by province and territory, from 2005 to 2017
Demand from the transportation sector grew by 6 per cent between 2005 and 2017. Energy used for transportation has grown for many reasons, including increasing travel from a growing population and economy, and a shift in consumer preference towards larger vehicles.
Industrial sector demand grew 15 per cent over this time period. This is mostly from growth in the energy used in the oil and natural gas production process, as production of those commodities increased steadily.
Compared to the transportation and industrial sectors, the residential and commercial grew modestly, by 1 per cent and 3 per cent. This is partly due to increases in energy efficiency in those sectors.
It is still unclear what the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic will be on Canada’s energy demand. So far, self-isolation measures have led to a decrease in energy for transportation and an increase in residential demand for electricity.
- End-use energy demand includes the electricity, fossil fuels, and renewables used in the residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation sectors. It excludes the energy used to generate electricity.