Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators

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The Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators (CESI) program provides data and information to track Canada's performance on key environmental sustainability issues including climate change and air quality, water quality and availability, and protecting nature. The environmental indicators are based on objective and comprehensive information and convey environmental trends in a straightforward and transparent manner.

The indicators are prepared by Environment Canada with the support of other federal government departments, such as Health Canada, Statistics Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, as well as provincial and territorial government departments. Designed to be relevant to the Government's policy, the indicators are built on rigorous methodology and high quality, regularly available data from surveys and monitoring networks.

The CESI website ensures that national, regional, local and international trends are readily accessible and transparently presented to all Canadians through the use of graphics, explanatory text, interactive maps and downloadable data. Indicator results are linked to their key social and economic drivers and information is provided on how the issues are influenced by consumers, businesses and governments. Each indicator is accompanied by a technical explanation of its calculation.

CESI is the prime instrument to measure progress of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy and responds to Environment Canada's commitments under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and the Department of the Environment Act to report to Canadians on the state of the environment.


The indicators are the culmination of a long line of national-level environmental indicator work and state of environment reporting in Canada. Three large 5-year state-of-environment reports were prepared by Environment Canada between 1985 and 1996 and the National Environmental Indicators Series saw reports and bulletins released from 1990 to 2003.

Environment Canada's focus turned to a consolidated May 2003 proposal from the National Round Table on Environment and the Economy. The CESI initiative provided indicators to track Canada's performance on three issues of concern to Canadians: air quality, water quality and greenhouse gas emissions. More recent releases include new indicators on protecting nature.

Environmental indicators provide a simple way to convey complex information on the environment, much like the gross domestic product, the consumer price index and the unemployment rate do for the economy. Environmental indicator programs are prevalent internationally (e.g. the European Environment Agency)and within Canada (e.g. Quebec)

See also[edit]

Environmental indicator

State of the environment

Sustainability measurement

Ecological indicator


External links[edit]