Impact and Reporting

Following sustainable practices to track our footprint and remain accountable





As of March 31, 2018, CBC/Radio-Canada's real estate portfolio included 76 sites (14 owned and 62 leased) that house our production studios, transmission infrastructures and office spaces.

A key factor in determining our environmental footprint comes from our building portfolio. We regularly evaluate opportunities to sustainably use our space, reviewing the way it is currently used and anticipating how it will be used in the future. This includes an examination of unused portions of our buildings.

As we have reported over the last few years, there has been a drastic reduction in our portfolio, particularly through the sale, lease and/or consolidation of our facilities. Key achievements in 2017-2018 include:

  • An overall reduction of our footprint by 50,000 square feet.

  • The sale of our iconic Maison de Radio-Canada in Montreal and the commencement of the construction of a new building on the eastern lot of our original property.

  • Final closing sale of the Halifax Bell Road building with a move that resulted in a reduction of approximately 30,000 square feet.

  • Moving our CBC Calgary employees to a more modern leased facility following the sale of our Westmount Blvd building.

  • Remeasuring leased areas in Toronto, impacting approximately 5,000 square feet.

  • Moving out of and cleaning our old Iqaluit building.

  • Consolidating all French Services employees from our St. Boniface location to the downtown CBC Winnipeg building.

  • Decommissioning old studio space in the St. Boniface building in preparation to lease unoccupied space.

Looking to the future, we anticipate that the largest reduction in our footprint will come as we move from outdated owned properties to new, modern leased facilities. This also allows us to continue creating quality content, provide employees with more modern collaborative workplaces and better manage our expenditures, while decreasing our physical footprint and reducing our overall impact on the environment. An example of this strategy will be applied in 2020 with the introduction of the new Maison de Radio-Canada in Montreal.

Fiscal year 2017-2018 also saw some changes to the Transmission portfolio. Operating out of 529 active sites, there were several locations where buildings or towers were removed, further reducing our footprint. In general, removals were completed in Prince Rupert BC, Grand Forks BC, Dryden ON, St. Anthony NL, Steveston BC and Parent QC. The AM building in Grand Forks BC was no longer required and, as such, it was relocated and reused at our Williams Lake BC site. Another major change was the consolidation of Transmission employees to our St. Boniface MB location, along with a move of our Nelson BC maintenance base to a site that more appropriately reflected our space requirements (approximately 25% of the size of the previous location).

Cooling Systems, Generators and Heating Systems

Generators are used to power the broadcasting and transmission sites that bring our programming to Canadians across the country in emergency power failure situations.

Our systems are evaluated on an annual basis using a risk-based approach to ensure they are not only efficient but operate with a minimal impact on the environment. Representing the total potential power supply, the capacity of our generators does not reflect the actual annual usage. In fact, the total capacity is representative of our ability to cool and heat our buildings and power our generators for production purposes. As with many vehicle engines, generators have become more efficient with better design and operating functionality, meaning that although our capacity may increase to better cope with power demands, the generators are more eco-friendly with an environmental impact that is lower compared to older generators.

In 2017-2018, CBC/Radio-Canada operated 145 generators, three units fewer than the previous year. With a total capacity of 25,401 kWh, the increase of 429 kWh from the previous year is attributed to the replacement of aging infrastructure, specifically a fuel storage tank and genset in Sydney NS, Chicoutimi Warren QC and Salt Spring Island (Bruce Peak) BC.

Our cooling and heating systems maintain our workplace at an acceptable temperature for both our employees and equipment (broadcasting and transmission-related).

The estimated total cooling capacity of our cooling systems remained constant with a minor variance of 22..14 tons. A total of 461 cooling systems were operated, up from 457 the previous year. This difference is due to the introduction of a new cooling unit that was installed in the HDTV room of our Camp Fortune QC site and two new units installed at our New Brunswick sites. The installation included a higher capacity of cooling coils, hence the increased capacity of our system. In 2017-2018, we also demonstrated an increase in the number of heating systems, from 47 to 53.

Storage Tank Systems for Petroleum Products

Petroleum products and storage tanks – both above ground and underground – are utilized to hold a reserve of fuel for heating systems or, more importantly, to supply power in the event of a failure.

As an owner and operator of above ground and underground fuel storage tanks across Canada, CBC/Radio-Canada complies with the Storage Tank Systems for Petroleum Products and Allied Petroleum Products Regulations. A total of 24 storage tank systems are subject to these regulations for tanks greater than 2,500 litres.

CBC/Radio-Canada’s highest environmental risk is the transfer of fuel into our storage tank systems. To ensure compliance, we apply a proactive, risk management approach through the implementation of standard operating procedures for each product transfer area. Our well-established procedures are instrumental to proactively preventing soil and groundwater contamination.

In 2017-2018, our overall results indicated an increase in the number of tanks to 188. This value can be attributed to an error in calculation that was reported in the 2016-2017 report. A review of last year’s statistics indicated that we operated a total of 185 tanks, not 181 as initially reported, and our tank capacity in fiscal year 2016-2017 was 385,437 L. In comparison, our tank capacity for 188 units in 2017-2018 was calculated at 385,662 L, a negligible difference of 0.06%.

A further breakdown of the statistics for 2017-2018 indicated that despite the fact that the Transmission Division operated two more tanks than the previous fiscal year, there was a reduction in their overall fuel capacity by 3,749 litres. This was attributed to upgrades completed at our Sydney Maintenance Base (NS), Chicoutimi Warren (QC) site and Salt Spring Island (Bruce Peak) (BC) location. At the same time, Real Estate Solutions operated a total of 47 tanks, one more than the previous year (based on updated calculations). Compared to the previous year, the total capacity for storage tanks operated by Real Estate Solutions increased by 3,974 litres.

We examine our storage tank needs on an annual basis and, where possible, upgrade and/or reduce the number of units. This review allows us to continuously evaluate the environmental risk associated with possible spillages, thus minimizing or eliminating future issues while strengthening our environmental management system.

Our risk management approach was evaluated in September 2017 by an environmental audit completed at our CBC Vancouver property. With the purpose of evaluating compliance with our internal procedures, 600 litres of fuel were delivered to three above ground storage tank systems with an aggregate capacity of 14,400 L. The delivery was successful, and the exercise accurately showcased the strong teamwork and safe application of our procedure between the fuel delivery supplier and our third-party facility management team, BGIS. No spills or leaks were reported, emergency response equipment was readily available and accessible, and all participants were active and engaged in the process. Similar activities are planned in other locations for 2018-2019.

We were able to identify opportunities for improvement that have since been implemented as a proactive measure.

Energy Consumption

Our energy consumption includes all the electricity, natural gas, oil and steam used to operate CBC/Radio-Canada production sites.

Decreasing our energy consumption, where possible, is a large component of our environmental program. Since the inception of this report, we have completed a wide variety of initiatives, some with a direct impact and others with an indirect impact on our consumption rates.

Our overall performance in 2017-2018 showed a decrease of 1.93% from 181,065,644 ekWh to 177,574,511 ekWh (equivalent kilowatt hours). This decrease can be attributed to the ongoing work completed throughout the organization to reduce our consumption rates, mainly though LED conversions in both studios and our buildings. More specifically, the Transmission Division saw a 1.7% decrease in its consumption, from 59,799,369 to 58,801,109 ekWh, while our Real Estate facilities reduced their energy usage by 2.09% over last year from 122,266,275 ekWh to 118,773,402.

CBC/Radio-Canada’s energy-related activities are cross-referenced against a survey conducted by Natural Resources Canada (Survey of Commercial and Institutional Energy Use: Buildings 2009, Summary Report, 2013). In 2017-2018, the average energy index in our broadcasting facilities was 28.1 ekWh per square foot, which is below the benchmark set by Natural Resources Canada.

Our commitment to reducing our energy consumption is instrumental in most of our environmental activities. We continue to look for ways to meet this objective and minimize our environmental impact.

Total Estimated Energy Consumption

Water Consumption

Water consumption in CBC/Radio-Canada buildings includes all sources that are connected to municipal or other water systems. This includes water used for drinking, in washrooms, for air conditioning cooling towers, etc.

In 2017-2018, the total estimated water consumption in our owned buildings decreased by 6.7%, from 63.0 to 59.0 litres per square foot. This is mainly attributed to changes in our building portfolio, as per the infrastructure strategy, specifically related to our moves from owned buildings to leased facilities.

Benchmarks established by the Real Property Association of Canada (Real Pac) are used to compare CBC/Radio-Canada’s water consumption values with industry standards. For the eleventh year in a row, data collected indicate that our normalized average water consumption is better than the industry standard.

Where possible, we continue to identify opportunities to decrease water consumption.

Normalized average water consumption in owned properties

Air Emissions – Infrastructure

Air emissions include anything our infrastructure emits into the air, such as exhaust from our vehicle fleet, our buildings’ heating systems, generators, etc.

Fiscal year 2017-2018 saw a decrease of 12.19% in total air emissions generated by the operational buildings we own. Our data indicates that this improvement is visible on a national scale, where there was a decrease in total air emissions in almost every province and territory. These values are a direct reflection on the work we have done as part of general improvements to our facilities, moves to smaller leased spaces, the sale or decommissioning of sites and even the weather.

Air emissions from our fleet are impacted by both vehicle type and manner in which our vehicles are used. Over the last few years we’ve reported various improvements made that played a significant role in the decrease of our emissions. However, in 2017-2018, the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions attributed to our fleet increased from 2,560 metric tons to 2,722 an increase of 6.3% due to vehicle use and requirements for the period.

Estimated air emissions for all of our properties

Air Emissions – Travel

Greenhouse gas emissions are not only restricted to our infrastructure and fleet. Aircraft, train and automobile emissions vary according to the engine in the transportation vehicle, the size of the vehicle, number of passengers, the weight of the cargo and distance of the journey travelled. When our employees travel for business, the mode of transportation used has an overall impact on the environment.

As Canada’s public broadcaster, we fully recognize that travel is essential for production purposes. From covering breaking news stories, to travelling for sporting events like the Olympics, our job includes finding and, where feasible, using transportation modes or available technology to minimize the environmental impact, as much as possible.

As outlined in the table below, our total air travel emissions in kilograms (kg) has significantly decreased over the last year. We believe that changes in the way we work have directly impacted our footprint as related to business travel. Corporate travel statements provided by AMEX show a reduction in 2017-2018 of 480,567 kg of CO2 released compared to 2016-2017. Their data includes an analysis of short-, medium- and long-haul trips, for example flights for employees covering the Winter Olympic Games in South Korea.

Travel Distance 2015-2016 Total CO2 in kg 2016-2017 Total CO2 in kg 2017-2018 Total CO2 in kg
Short Haul 0-499 km 682,699 280,828 233,681
Medium Haul 500-1,499 km 835,495 1,061,408 817,884
Long Haul 1,500 km 922,928 2,828,885 2,608,988
Total CO2 Emissions* 2,441,121 4,171,120 3,660,553
* Total assumes that CO2 emitted during travel by rail is equivalent to that emitted during travel by air.

These values were normalized against the number of CBC/Radio-Canada permanent full-time employees (7,444) at March 31, 2018, to reflect a total of 491.75 kg of CO2 emitted per employee, a decrease of 10.22% over the course of the last fiscal year (calculation based on 7,615 employees in 2016/2017).

Travel emissions from rental vehicles increased significantly in 2017-2018. Per rental vehicle, 260.56 kg of CO2 was emitted from travel and production-related purposes, up from 169.91 kg of CO2 in the previous fiscal year. It was identified that there were fewer vehicles rented in 2017-2018 but a greater distance travelled when compared to the data from 2016-2017. There are two explanations for this: (1) Our previous data did not account for any vehicles that were not rented through our preferred vendors; and (2) the calculation of distance travelled and kilograms of CO2 emitted includes the leisure rental incentive program for employees.

Travel by rail remains one of the most sustainable modes of transport offered to our employees. Results from our rail analysis clearly indicates that there is less CO2 emitted per trip (138.91 kg) versus per rental vehicle (260.56 kg). Where possible, we try to encourage transport by rail to minimize our impact.

As indicated, data were obtained from our corporate travel statements, as per our approved credit card vendor. In late 2017, a new agreement was signed resulting in a transition from one provider to another. We anticipate that the data may be reflected differently for the 2018-2019 report.

Although business travel is fundamental to the way we work, we continue to review our processes and examine ways to identify a sustainable mode of transport. By being conscious of our emissions and exploring options on how to meet operational requirements in different ways using different tools, we are able to set realistic internal targets to reduce our overall impact on the environment and minimize non-essential travel.

Non-hazardous Waste

Non-hazardous waste includes paper, plastic, metal, glass and all the similar everyday products that are easily recycled without causing harm to human health and the environment. Our goal, where possible, is to divert non-hazardous waste from landfills; in other words, to increase our diversion rate.

A key component of our sustainability program is diverting waste from landfill. Over the past 10 years, we’ve worked diligently to promote recycling initiatives for traditional (paper, plastic, glass) and non-traditional (videotape media, e-waste) items . And the work continues. In 2017-2018 we began laying the groundwork to revitalize our recycling programs and remind our employees of the importance of recycling. Our goal: zero waste to landfill.

The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) reports top performance in diversion rates at 90%, a target we continue to strive to meet. Our national diversion rate for fiscal year 2017-2018 decreased significantly over the course of the last two years (57.4% in 2016-2017 and 54.3% in 2017-2018). These values are calculated by our waste haulers, using weight estimates and the pick-up schedule. Recognizing that our values are not where we want them to be, we remained focused on introducing new approaches to promote and increase our diversion rate in the next fiscal year.

As outlined in our In the Green Spotlight, our employees have been working to engage the public using social media to “rethink” recycling. A similar initiative is planned for the Corporation itself in the next fiscal year. CBC/Radio-Canada prides itself on the measures we’ve taken to reduce landfill waste across the country. But more can be done. A challenging but rewarding task, we continue to work and make strides towards the ongoing improvement of our program, with the help of our employees.

Soft plastic and organic compost program

One of our ongoing efforts to improve waste diversion includes the recycling of soft plastic and organic composting in Vancouver. Hugely successful because of our dedicated staff, the program allows us to use a sustainable solution to recycle soft plastics, which traditionally is a non-renewable resource that can take thousands of years to break down. Fiscal year 2017-2018 showed a diversion rate of 15,862 kg of organic waste and 182 kg of soft plastic diverted from landfills, for a total of 16,044 kg of waste. This represents a decrease of 1,054 kg when compared to 2016-2017.

There is an interest to expand our organic program, particularly in Montreal, where an organics program is not currently offered. We hope to introduce this in the next fiscal year, and anticipate that our diversion rate will significantly improve.

Paper recycling

Confidential paper for disposal is securely collected and shredded by a third-party vendor. The processed materials are then transported to a paper mill for pulping. This destruction process helps reduce pollution and saves trees, water and energy resources while diverting waste from landfills.

Between April 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018, 63.2 metric tonnes of paper was collected and treated using this method. This equates to 1,169.3 trees, 7,230,995.6 litres of water and 266.557 cubic metres of landfill space saved.

All other paper is recycled as part of our established recycling program. Where programs don’t exist, our employees have been innovative by creating opportunities to do the right thing. For instance, employees in Goose Bay, Nfld found a way to recycle paper following an office clean-up. As there are no facilities in the area to promote paper recycling, a group of residents formed a program to ship recyclables to the Island of Newfoundland. Although funded by the residents themselves, the program is open to accepting CBC/Radio-Canada items for a small fee. Our employees at Goose Bay participated in this program with great success.

Furniture recycling

As indicated in our In the Green Spotlight, fiscal year 2017-2018 saw the introduction of a new initiative to implement a sustainable solution involving surplus CBC/Radio-Canada assets and furniture.

A solution was piloted as part of the move of our Calgary employees from an owned to a leased facility. With a decrease in our physical footprint at that location by 70%, it was fundamental to our program to identify a way to reuse, sell or donate our surplus furniture and assets. Working diligently with GCSurplus, surplus furniture was sold, with the remainder donated to reputable charities, including Habitat for Humanity and the Salvation Army. The results of this initiative resulted in nearly $43,000 in savings for the Corporation.

We anticipate the growth of this new and exciting initiative in 2018-2019 with other moves and consolidation projects planned in Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal.

Recovered Electronic Waste and Hazardous Waste

Electronic waste, or e-waste, refers to electronic devices such as computers, televisions, radios and transmitters. Hazardous waste can include batteries, oil, paint from buildings and industrial solvents.


A significant component of our recycling strategy is the recycling of obsolete electronic waste. As one of our main waste streams, we strive to identify alternative uses for our electronics, where possible. When no alternative exists, obsolete units are collected and recycled as part of our successful e-waste recycling program. Servicing all CBC/Radio-Canada locations, including the North, we are immensely proud of the success of this program over the last 10 years.

Several key projects were implemented in 2017-2018 that contributed to the generation of e-waste. These include, but are not limited to:

  • The implementation of the Remote Control Room Project. Completed in French Services locations in Regina, Winnipeg and Edmonton, this project involves the consolidation of all control rooms for TV into one of three of our broadcast centres. It is anticipated that this project will span several years and result in substantial savings across the Corporation, as it is being implemented in locations that have not yet upgraded from Standard Definition (SD) to High Definition (HD). Additional sites will be targeted in the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

  • An upgrade to HD technology in Edmonton, an upgrade to the radio studios and the centralization of control rooms resulted in more than 4000 kg, of electronic waste collected.

  • The decommissioning of the three radio and one TV studio in St. Boniface. The outdated electronics collected for recycling were enough to fill three-quarters of a semi-trailer.

  • A cell phone migration program following a move from Rogers to Bell in the fall of 2017.

Our statistical analysis for fiscal year 2017-2018 indicates that we collected and responsibly recycled 99.88 metric tons of e-waste across the country. These results are slightly lower than last year, which is consistent with the approach we use prior to identifying which electronics are in fact e-waste. Generally, computers and monitors are collected from departments that recently received replacements. All units are evaluated, and usable ones are used to replace ones in departments that do not have a budget for new units. In addition, functional equipment no longer needed by the Corporation can be sold to third-party brokers, giving the units a second life where possible. Since the inception of the program 10 years ago, CBC/Radio-Canada proudly recycled and diverted 1,450.2 metric tons from landfill.

We continue to meet requirements established by recognized provincial stewardship programs in addition to our internal guidelines and standards, which are under regular review. The review includes the evaluation of existing providers and the inclusion of new ones who meet internal requirements.


Battery recycling programs are available in 27 of our locations, meaning the programs are available for approximately 89% of our employees. In 2017-2018, a total of 1,335.6 kg of batteries were recycled through the program.

Tape recycling

In response to a reduced need for videotape and an increased focus on file-based TV, our Library and Archives department continues to work on removing duplicates from our collection. This includes a methodical review of database records and viewing of tapes prior to determining what is not needed in the collection.

In total, we responsibly de-accessioned 295 skids of material, representing just over 130,000 individual units. This equates to 3,591.4 kg of duplicate or blank videotapes from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018.

Recovered hazardous waste (2017–2018)

Batteries (in kg) Fluorescent Tubes (in linear feet) Paints, Adhesives, Oil and Other Products (in Kg) E-waste (in Metric Tonnes) Transmission Scrap Metal (in kg) PCB (in Litres)
1,335.6 13,700 1,975 99.88 29,568 50

Recovered Electronic Waste


Reported Environmental Incidents

Environmental incidents at CBC/Radio-Canada range from halocarbon releases to hazardous materials spills. Halocarbons are synthetic chemicals used in refrigerants, fire-extinguishing agents and solvents, fumigants, and foam-blowing agents. Classified as greenhouse gases, halocarbons contribute to global warming and the depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer.

From April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, a total of 9 environmental incidents were reported, down from 17 for the previous fiscal period. This decrease is likely due to the high preventative-maintenance standards set for our equipment. CBC/Radio-Canada continues to follow recognized best practices to ensure regulatory requirements are met. The majority of the nine incidents reported were identified during routine preventative maintenance or leak testing of the systems.

Our results in 2017-2018 were as follows:

  • Four incidents were classified level 1, which can be controlled on site, have little to no environmental impact and do not develop into an emergency situation.

  • Five incidents were assessed as level 2, which must be handled using external resources and could require reporting to governmental authorities and/or trigger internal escalation procedures.

  • Zero incidents were classified level 3, which require reporting to governmental authorities and could trigger emergency operating procedures.

All the incidents reported were due to spills or discharges caused by the Corporation. The majority were identified during maintenance or semi-annual leak-testing activities. Eight of the nine releases were halocarbon in nature, ranging from 0.45 to 119 kg. The remaining halocarbon incident was one that exceeded 100 kg, occuring at the Montreal site with a leak on the seal of a chiller relief valve. Repairs were made, and the unit was retested prior to being put into regular service. The release was reported to Environment and Climate Change Canada within the required reporting period.

Government Inspections

There were no environmental government inspections completed in 2017-2018.

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