Canada's Power Supply

Electricity plays a vital role in our day-to-day lives. It powers our homes, industries, hospitals and, in fact, our entire economy. 

The modern electricity industry began in the 1880s. It evolved from gas and electric commercial and street lighting systems. Thomas Edison's Pearl Street electricity generating station, which opened Sept. 4, 1882, in New York City, was the first to introduce the modern electric utility system to the world. 

Investment in the electricity sector not only supplies us with electricity – it also directly powers Canada’s economy by providing jobs, tax benefits and export revenues. The sector employs more than 94,000 Canadians from coast-to-coast,1 and in 2007 it contributed $1.5 billion to federal, provincial, and municipal budgets,2 as well a total of $26 billion to Canada’s GDP.3

Generation is one of the three key components that make up our national electricity industry; generation (making electricity), transmission (moving electricity across high-voltage lines from generating plants to local communities), and distribution (delivering power to individual customers). 

The boxes shown in pink below represent energy produced by coal.  About 21% of Canada’s power is generated from coal.  For many provinces coal represents a significant portion of the total power generated.

For more information on power production in Canada please visit the Canadian Electricity Association at

 1 Statistics Canada, Survey 2612
 2 Statistics Canada,
Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution 2006
3 Statistics Canada,
Survey 1303
4 National Energy Board, Electricity Exports and Imports, 2008