Impact and Reporting

Following sustainable practices to track our footprint and remain accountable





Our building portfolio is a key factor in determining our environmental footprint. By focusing on our physical footprint we can evaluate opportunities to sustainably use unused space and reduce the demand on the ecosystem. As of March 31, 2016, CBC/Radio-Canada’s Real Estate portfolio includes 76 sites (18 owned and 58 leased) that house our production studios, transmission infrastructures and office spaces.

Our infrastructure strategy to reduce the overall footprint of our building portfolio continued in 2015-2016. While we remain in a transition period for some of our sites, much work has been done, including:

  • Reduced our footprint to 3,900,000 square feet in 2015-2016, a reduction of 290,000 square feet from the year before
  • Sold several owned sites, including Sudbury, Gander and Grand Falls, moving to smaller leased sites
  • Modernized workspaces and optimized production capacity in Windsor and Quebec City
  • Consolidated our Sudbury and Moncton stations
  • Sold our Iqaluit site, with a new location currently under construction
  • Announced the sale of our existing Calgary location for a move into a more modern, leased facility

The more we reduce the square footage of our buildings, the more we reduce our ecological footprint. This in turn has an impact on both our overall efficiencies and consumption (e.g., energy, water), as well as operating expenses. Newer facilities require little or no investment into maintenance and infrastructure, which is important. Our goal of operating sustainable buildings means that we continue to look for opportunities to reduce our building and environmental footprint by evaluating our actual versus perceived needs and making changes where necessary.

In locations where there are no current plans to sell, we continue to look for opportunities to minimize our GHG emissions. A great example is featured in our “In the Green Spotlight” story on carpet replacement.

Fiscal year 2015-2016 also saw the reinitiation of the multi-year decommissioning project of Transmission sites. Placed on hold in 2014-2015 due to budgetary restrictions, the project was relaunched, and by March 31, 2016, CBC/Radio-Canada’s Transmission Division reduced the number of owned inactive sites from 51 to 47. Shutting down these sites resulted in the responsible disposal of the towers, antennas, transmitters and buildings that have occupied the land. As of March 31, 2016, decommissioning activities were completed at 99 transmission sites. A total of 459 sites have been decommissioned since the initiation of the project on July 31, 2012.

Cooling Systems, Generators and Heating Systems

In emergency power failure situations, our programming relies on generators that are used to power our broadcasting and transmission sites.

Following a risk-based approach, our systems are evaluated on an annual basis to ensure they are not only efficient but operate with a minimal impact on the environment. While the total capacity is representative of our ability to cool and heat our buildings and power our generators, it also signifies our highest possible usage, not the actual output. The need for less capacity signals a more efficient and environmentally responsible program, a goal we strive toward as we gradually replace our generators and heating and cooling systems with newer, more efficient models.

In 2015-2016, the Corporation operated 148 generators, 16 fewer than the previous year. While new systems were installed and others were removed due to decommissioning or the sale of our sites, the total estimated capacity for our generators was 25,372 kW, a decrease of 377 kW over last year. It should be noted that an increase in capacity does not mean an increase in usage, but rather signifies our ability to meet system demands, as required. The same can be said for a decrease in capacity.

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 10.32 tons. A total of 464 cooling systems were operated, down from 502 the previous year. The difference was negligible despite the removal of 16 systems in our Real Estate Services and 22 units in the Transmission Division. The reason for this is simply that all of the installations removed were small systems containing small quantities of refrigerants. We also demonstrated a decrease in the number of heating systems, from 55 to 51.

Storage Tank Systems for Petroleum Products

Used to store petroleum products, storage tanks are utilized to run our heating systems and backup generators in the event of a power failure. Instrumental to our core operations, these tanks allow us to keep our programming on the air in emergency situations.

As an owner and operator of aboveground 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 25 storage tank systems are subject to these regulations for tanks greater than 2,500 L.

The transfer of fuel into our storage tank systems is one of the highest environmental risks we have as a Corporation. In response, CBC/Radio-Canada has implemented standard operating procedures for each product transfer area using a risk management approach to proactively prevent soil and groundwater contamination.

Additionally, we continue to upgrade and, where necessary, reduce the number of our storage tank systems across the country. 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. In the last year, the Transmission Division saw a reduction of 56,137 litres in capacity due to a decrease in its total storage tank inventory from 160 to 142 tanks. Real Estate Services operated a total of 51 tanks in fiscal year 2015-2016, with three tanks removed and seven units replaced. Compared to the previous year, the total capacity for storage tanks operated by Real Estate Services decreased by 11,743 litres to 192,309 litres. The total corporate results indicate an overall reduction in the number of tanks from 216 to 193, with a decrease of 13.2% in the overall total capacity.

In the autumn of 2015, the Transmission Division verified compliance with internal operating procedures at our Camp Fortune, QC site. The evaluation examined the fuel delivery process at the transmission base, which is located in the middle of a provincial park. The exercise was successful and allowed us to verify compliance with applicable legislation. The activity also allowed us to identify potential issues that have since been resolved. No spills or leaks were reported, emergency response equipment was readily available and all participants were actively engaged in the exercise. Similar exercises are planned for both the Transmission Division and Real Estate Services in 2016-2017.

Energy Consumption

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

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 2015-2016, the average energy index in our broadcasting facilities was 29.4 ekWh per square foot, which is below the benchmark set by Natural Resources Canada.

When broken down further, our overall performance in 2015-2016 showed a decrease of 10,543,361 ekWh or 5.5%. Mainly attributed to a decrease in hydro consumption from the sale of buildings or decommissioning activities, this can be further broken down by examining the main sources of energy consumption within the Corporation. In general, the Transmission Division saw a 3.6% decrease in its consumption from 61,115,114 to 58,911,471 ekWh, while our Real Estate facilities reduced their energy usage by 6.3% over last year from 131,408,521 to 123,068,803 ekWh.

While we continue to look for opportunities to reduce our overall energy consumption, here are some of the highlights of the different initiatives we have reported on that impacted our consumption rate:

We are committed to reducing our overall energy consumption and continue to look for ways to meet this target.

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.

This year, the total estimated water consumption in our owned buildings decreased by 16.3%, from 73.9 to 61.8 litres per square foot. This is mainly attributed to changes in our building portfolio, as per the infrastructure strategy. In 2015-2016, we no longer accounted for water consumption at specific sites, due to the sale or decommissioning of buildings, including our former Halifax Radio, Sydney and Windsor sites.

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 tenth year in a row, data collected indicates that our normalized average water consumption is better than the industry standard.

Where possible, we continue to identify opportunities to minimize increases in water consumption.

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.

Due in part to our Real Estate infrastructure strategy and the decommissioning of analogue TV in our Transmission Division, fiscal year 2015-2016 saw a significant reduction in our total air emissions related to our buildings. Down 9.67% from the year before, 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. General improvements to our facilities resulting in less overall consumption, moves to smaller leased spaces more reflective of the size of our workforce, sale or decommissioning of sites and even weather are some of the factors that played a role in decreasing our levels.

Air emissions from our fleet are impacted by the manner in which our vehicles are used. Improvements in technology, consolidation of TV and radio services, and the optimization of resources over the last few years have contributed to an overall reduction in our fleet size. The biggest reduction in fleet size occurred with the sale of our Mobile division, which, in turn, has impacted our carbon dioxide emissions. In 2015-2016, our emissions in metric tonnes decreased from 3,438 (2014-2015) to 2,861, a decrease of 16.78%.

Air Emissions – Travel

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are not only restricted to our infrastructure and fleet emissions. Aircraft, train and automobile emissions vary according to the engine in the transportation vehicle, size of the vehicle, number of passengers, 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.

Changes in our operations this fiscal year have impacted our business travel and, in turn, our carbon emissions. With a decrease in overall air volume by 25%, corporate travel statements show a reduction in 2015-2016 of 2,441,121 kilograms (kg) of CO2 released compared to 4,052,734 kg in 2014-2015. This data includes an analysis of short-, medium- and long-haul trips, as summarized in the following chart.

Travel Distance

Travel Distance

Total CO2 in kg

Total CO2 in kg

2015-2016 Total CO2 in kg

Short Haul

0-499 km




Medium Haul

500-1,499 km




Long Haul

1,500 km




Total CO2 Emissions*




* Total assumes that CO2 emitted during travel by rail is equivalent to that emitted during travel by air.

The chart clearly shows a significant decrease in the number of long-haul flights from year to year. The steady decline can be attributed to the fact that management and employees are more conscious of travel costs and are sending fewer employees to cover stories, attend in-person meetings or participate in conferences.

These values were normalized against the number of CBC/Radio-Canada permanent full-time employees (7,214) at March 31, 2016, to reflect a total of 338.39 kg of CO2 emitted per employee, an decrease of 55.6% over the course of the last fiscal year (calculation based on 7,700 employees in 2014-2015).

Not reported in 2014-2015 due to a mid-year transition to a new provider, travel emissions from vehicle rentals also decreased in 2015-2016 when compared to 2012-2013. Per rental vehicle, 63.49 kg of CO2 was emitted from travel and production-related purposes, down from 113.75 kg of CO2, when last reported. It should be noted that the calculation of distance travelled and kilogram of CO2 emitted includes the leisure rental incentive program for employees.

Keeping in line with the promotion of sustainable travel, another travel incentive offered to employees for both business and personal use in 2015-2016 was a partnership with the Union-Pearson (UP) Express train for travel between the downtown Toronto core and Pearson airport. This mode of transport is not only fast, effective and cost-efficient, but it also reduces our carbon footprint by using the most sustainable way to travel.

Essential travel for local, national and world events cannot be eliminated as it forms the basis of our daily operations. However, we are diligent and regularly examine alternative approaches to capture the story. 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.

Diverting waste from landfill is a key component of our sustainable environmental program. The Corporation prides itself on the measures we have taken to reduce the quantity of waste sent to landfills, and we continue to make strides towards the ongoing improvement of our program through reuse, recycling and composting for both non-hazardous and hazardous waste.

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 2015-2016 increased slightly to 67.3% based on waste audits completed by an external third party. We continue to make ongoing efforts and continue to explore opportunities to increase our rates, as indicated in the specific examples below.

Soft plastic and organic compost program

Our soft plastic and organic compost program at CBC Vancouver continues to play a role in increasing our diversion rate. Introduced four years ago, the program has been successful largely due to our dedicated employees, who fully support the implementation of sustainable solutions to be good corporate citizens. Soft plastics, which include stretchable plastics, is a non-renewable resource that can take a thousand years to break down. Fiscal year 2015-2016 saw an increase to our diversion rate with 17,225 kg of organic waste and 286 kg of soft plastic diverted from landfills, for a total of 17,511 kg of waste. This represents an increase of 279 kg when compared to 2014-2015.

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 January 1 and December 31, 2015, 60.377 metric tonnes of paper was collected and treated using this method. This equates to 1,116.8 trees, 6,905,700 litres of water and 254.6 cubic metres of landfill space saved. This value is slightly lower than last year, where we recovered 77.69 metric tonnes of paper. These results reflect measures implemented over the last few years to encourage double-sided printing or to discourage printing at all.

All other paper is recycled as part of our established recycling program. We continue to work towards our goal of top performance.

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.


The generation of e-waste continues to be a main waste stream for the Corporation. Where possible, we strive to identify alternative uses for our electronics. When no alternative exists, obsolete units are collected and recycled as part of our successful e-waste recycling program. In place for almost 10 years, the program continues to service all CBC/Radio-Canada locations, from coast to coast to coast.

Fiscal year 2015-2016 saw the clean up of several sites due to moves from owned to leased facilities. As part of these moves, surplus electronics that had functional use were sold to third-party brokers . For instance, approximately 50,000-60,000 pounds of gear was redirected from our Moncton site. Units that had no value to the Corporation or were considered obsolete were recycled as e-waste. Not one piece of equipment was sent to landfill.

In total, 158.22 metric tons of e-waste was diverted from landfills and was responsibly recycled across the country. These results are slightly lower than last year; however, considering that a new approach was used by selling functional equipment no longer needed by the Corporation to third-party brokers (i.e., at our Moncton site), it is evident that our results are consistent from year to year.

We continue to meet requirements established by recognized provincial stewardship programs in addition to our internal guidelines and standards, which are under regular review. A review of the program was conducted at our Ottawa and Vancouver sites this past fiscal year. Additional reviews are planned for 2016-2017.


Battery recycling programs are available in 27 of our locations, reaching approximately 89% of employees. In 2015-2016, a total of 4,187 kg of batteries were recycled through the program.

Tape recycling

The tape recycling program introduced in 2014-2015 continued this fiscal year. With a reduction in the need for videotape and an increased focus on file-based TV, our Library and Archives department physically reviewed database records and viewed tapes prior to determining what was not needed in the collection. In total, we responsibly shredded and recycled 23,390 lbs of duplicate or blank videotapes from April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016. This work will continue in 2016-2017.

Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephones

Beginning in 2014-2015, the installation of Internet Protocol - Session Initiation Protocol (IP-SIP) technology simplified our telecommunication network architecture, improved manageability and reduced overall costs to the Corporation. This project grew this past year with the collection of 8,607 obsolete end-of-life digital desktop phones from 16 major cities that were shipped to approved organizations to be recycled and/or refurbished. Best of all, these units were all diverted from landfill, in keeping with our commitment to minimize the generation of waste and protect the environment. A final round is planned. with another 350 units slated for fiscal year 2016-2017.

Recovered hazardous waste (2015–2016)
(in kg)
(in linear feet)
Paints, Adhesives, Oil and Other
Products (in litres)
(in Metric Tonnes)
Transmission Scrap
Metal (in kg)
(in kg)
4,187 28,559 1,855 158.22 90,960.41 310


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, 2015 to March 31, 2016, a total of 36 environmental incidents were reported, up from 29 for the previous fiscal period. This increase 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 36 incidents reported were identified during routine preventative maintenance or leak testing of the systems.

Our results in 2015-2016 were as follows:

  • 30 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.
  • 6 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.
  • 0 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 identified during maintenance or semi-annual leak-testing activities. Twenty-nine of the 36 releases were halocarbon in nature, ranging from 0.27 kg to 150 kg. There were two incidents that exceeded 100 kg. At our Vancouver site, a release of 120.8 kg of halocarbon was identified following the determination of a leak on the suction gasket during routine maintenance. In Regina, 150 kg of halocarbon escaped from a chiller when a fitting on a connection pipe broke. In both situations, repairs were made and the units were retested for leaks and put back into regular service. Both releases were also reported to Environment Canada within the required reporting period.

Government Inspections

Two government inspections were completed in 2015-2016, both in our Real Estate group.

The first inspection came from Environment Canada at our Montreal facility. The second was related to an asbestos removal project in Quebec by contractors who are governed by the provincial health and safety authority.

In both circumstances, all requests were met, and the enforcement officers reviewed the programs and were satisfied with their findings. No warning letters or notices were issued and no non-compliance issues were identified.

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