Impact and Reporting

Tracking our ecological footprint and remaining accountable




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Radio-Canada’s Maison de l'Est du Québec
— Rimouski, Quebec

CBC/Radio-Canada’s real estate portfolio includes 84 sites. Our buildings house our production studios, transmission infrastructure and office spaces.

The more we reduce the square footage of our buildings, the more we can reduce our ecological footprint and our operating expenses. Since 2010–2011, we have reduced the area of our buildings by 129,310 square feet. We now need to go even further. We intend to reduce it by at least another 800,000 square feet – more than nine football fields – by 2017. More specifically, CBC/Radio-Canada will do the following:

  • Sell both of our existing sites in Halifax and move into a new leased building.
  • Reduce the size of La Maison Radio-Canada, in Montreal, by 400,000 square feet.
  • Sell our building in Calgary as we reorganize our operations within smaller spaces.
  • Move out of our current locations in Rimouski, Sydney, Corner Brook, and Saint John, and into new spaces, saving 60,000 square feet.

All of this means newer facilities that are more functional, more efficient and require little to no investment in maintenance and infrastructure.

On July 31, 2012, CBC/Radio-Canada shut down 607 analogue transmitters across Canada. We expect further reductions in our environmental footprint in 2012–2013 as a result of closing down these sites.

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Cooling systems, generators and heating systems

In the warmer months, cooling systems allow us to maintain our workplace at an acceptable temperature, for our employees and for our broadcasting equipment. Our estimated total cooling capacity is 18,821 tons, a slight increase over last year.

In 2011–2012, CBC/Radio-Canada operated 165 generators (for emergency power failures) and heating systems (for the winter months), with an estimated total capacity of 21,575 kilowatts. Our generators are used to power our broadcasting and transmission sites, allowing our programming to reach Canadians all across the country. Since 2010–2011, we’ve decreased our total capacity for generators and heating systems by 11.24 per cent.

Our total capacity is representative of our ability to cool and heat our buildings and power our generators. It signifies our highest possible usage, not our actual output the need for less capacity would signal a more efficient and environmentally responsible program. This is what we are aiming for as we gradually replace our generators and heating and cooling systems with newer, more efficient ones.

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Storage tank systems for petroleum products

Removal of fuel lines from former fuel storage installation
— Maidstone, Ontario

In 2011–2012, CBC/Radio-Canada completed several replacements, removals and upgrades of existing storage tank systems.

Storage tanks are used to store the petroleum products used to run some of our heating systems and our backup generators that allow us to stay on-air in the event of a power failure. By removing and replacing our older storage tanks, we decrease the risk of environmental spills, a responsible and proactive way to make long-term improvements to our environmental program.

Our storage tank inventory includes a total of 262 tanks (four underground and 258 above-ground) which have a total capacity of 613,223 litres. In 2011–2012 we removed five storage tanks, although our storage capacity increased by 514 litres. This means that some replacement projects resulted in larger tanks being used, for both economical and practical reasons, such as the frequency and duration of hydro outages in the area.

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. Fifty-one of our storage tanks are subject to these regulations, which aim to prevent soil and groundwater contamination from storage tank systems located on federal and aboriginal lands.

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Energy consumption

Estimated energy consumption in our buildings was 233 million equivalent kilowatt-hours, an increase of less than half a per cent over last year. Our energy consumption includes all the electricity, natural gas, oil and steam used to operate CBC/Radio-Canada production sites.

The average energy index in our buildings is 33.9 equivalent kilowatt hours per square foot, more than 2.5 kilowatt hours per square foot below the benchmarks set by the Canada Green Building Council. As in all the environmental areas we monitor, we will continue to examine ways to minimize our energy consumption.

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Water consumption

CBC/Radio-Canada’s water consumption includes the water used for drinking, in washrooms, for air conditioning cooling towers – in essence, everything in our buildings that is connected to municipal or other water systems. Total estimated water consumption in our owned buildings increased from 76 to 79.2 litres per square foot, equalling 82 Olympic-sized swimming pools

While this may seem like a lot of water, normalized consumption was 79.2 litres per square foot, which sets our performance below the Real Property Association of Canada’s (Real Pac) established benchmarks, ranging from 89 to 189 litres per square foot. This favourable comparison to industry standards is an encouraging testament to our environmental program. Be that as it may, we will continue to work to minimize increases in water consumption and, whenever possible, to decrease consumption.

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Air emissions

Air emissions include anything our infrastructure emits into the air, such as exhaust from our vehicle fleet and generators and from our buildings’ heating systems. Total air emissions generated by CBC/Radio-Canada amounted to 53,000 kilograms of CO2 equivalent for the 2011–2012 reporting period. This represents a decrease of 9 per cent from 2010–2011. Our data was standardized and reveals that for another consecutive year, our performance is lower than the benchmarks established by the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA).

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Non-hazardous waste

Non-hazardous waste includes paper, plastic, glass, and all the everyday products that are easily recycled without causing harm to human health and the environment. For reporting purposes, our diversion rate was maintained at last year’s rate, with 69.6 per cent of non-hazardous waste being diverted from landfills. This compares favourably with diversion rate objectives issued by the provinces, but we’ve set our sights on the top performance reported by BOMA – a 90 per cent diversion rate.

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Recovered electronic waste and hazardous waste

With the implementation of electronic waste and battery recycling programs, we are now more effective in recovering potentially hazardous materials that would otherwise end up in landfills. Electronic waste, or e-waste, refers to electronic devices such as computers, televisions and radios. Hazardous waste can include batteries, oil, asbestos from buildings and industrial solvents.

Battery recycling programs are reaching 88 per cent of our staff. In 2011–2012, we implemented new e-waste recycling programs in Halifax, Carp (Ontario), Regina and Saskatoon, increasing the reach and results of our environmental program.

Recovered hazardous waste (2011–2012)




(metric tonnes)

Fluorescent Tubes and Ballasts


Mercury Lamps (kg)

Paints, Adhesives, Oil and Other Products


Scrap Metal




3,782 137.02 1,014 76 48 32,748 304.49


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Reported environmental incidents

Transmission site
— Steveston, British Columbia

A total of 35 environmental incidents were reported from April 1, 2011, to March 31, 2012, down from 38 last year.

A total of 23 incidents were classified as level 1, which can be controlled on site, have little to no environmental impact, and do not develop into an emergency.

A total of 12 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.

No level 3 incidents – which require reporting to governmental authorities and could trigger emergency operating procedures – were reported.

Of the incidents reported in 2011–2012, 31 were due to spills or discharges caused by the Corporation and four were caused by a third party on Corporation property. The majority (25) were halocarbon releases ranging from 0.43 to 45 kg.

Halocarbons are synthetic chemicals used in refrigerants. Classified as greenhouse gases (GHG), halocarbons contribute to global warming and the depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer.

To reduce halocarbon leaks, which account for 71.4 per cent of environmental incidents reported, we have implemented corrective measures, including inspecting systems twice a year and standardizing record keeping across all CBC/Radio-Canada sites.

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Government inspections

Five government inspections were conducted in 2011–2012. No instances of non-compliance were noted and no corrective actions were required. No warning letters or infractions were issued during this reporting period.

Environment Canada carried out three inspections: one on the management of our Charlottetown fuel storage tanks, the second on the management of halocarbons in Moncton, and the third on the status of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in our Baie Verte, Newfoundland, transmission site. PCBs are industrial chemicals used in the manufacturing of electrical and communication equipment. Legislation allows CBC/Radio-Canada to continue using PCB equipment until the end of its service life or until December 31, 2025. We submit reports every year on the status of existing PCB-containing equipment.

The remaining two inspections were municipal inspections carried out following two minor leaks.

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Projects subject to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act

In 2011–2012, one project at our Steveston transmission site in British Columbia was subject to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA).

CBC/Radio-Canada completed an environmental assessment of the replacement of aging guy anchors, the tensioned cables in the sea bed of the Strait of Georgia that add stability to our transmission towers. We evaluated any potential impact this project could have on various environmental factors, including marine and bird life, as well as human health and safety, socio-economic impacts and many more. Results of this assessment revealed that the required work was not likely to cause significant adverse environmental impacts and the project was completed.

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