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Peat and peatland statistics

CANADA

Surface area

In Canada, peatlands represent 90% of the wetlands and cover approximately 113.6 million hectares. From that, 30 900 hectares have been or are currently harvested, which represents only 0.03% of the natural capital.

Production

Annual Canadian peat production is 1.34 million tons (Natural Resources Canada, average from 2014 to 2018).

The United States imports approximately 87% of Canadian production, representing 95% of its total sphagnum peat moss imports (USGS 2019).

Economic data

  • Investment of nearly $50 million in Canada in 2016. Québec is the province with the highest investment (more than one-third of capital assets in Canada), followed by Alberta, Manitoba and New Brunswick.
  • The total GDP generated by investments by the peat industry in 2016 is estimated at $38.3 M for Canada as a whole: $16.8 M directly from construction and machinery and equipment companies, $7.1 M in indirect GDP and $14.3 M in induced GDP.
  • Tax revenues for the federal government are estimated at $4.51 million and those of the various provincial governments total $5.82 million.

QUÉBEC

Area

– Just over 9,000 ha of peat bogs have been opened since the start of industrial operations. The total footprint represents 0.08% of the total peatland area in Quebec (which is estimated at 11.6 million hectares).
– Area in production in 2017: 5,900 ha.
– 80% of the areas in production are certified Veriflora.
– Areas restored or reclaimed : 2,322 ha.
– The majority of peat bogs used for peat harvesting are located outside major centres, including a good proportion in the Lower St. Lawrence and North Shore regions. Other peat production sites are located in the Saguenay-Lac Saint-Jean, Central Quebec, Chaudière-Appalaches, Abitibi and Gaspésie regions.

Production

– Quebec accounts for about 25% of Canadian production.
– In standard 6-cubic-foot bales, Quebec production is 4 million bales according to MERN 2017 data.

Economic Data

  • Quebec ranks first among Canadian provinces in terms of investment spending, operating expenditures, jobs generated, GDP generated and tax revenues.
  • Capital expenditures and operating expenses total more than $197 million, of which operating expenses account for more than 90%.
  • Nearly 2,000 jobs (full-time equivalent) are generated by the peat industry. Of these, 825 are direct jobs.
  • Tax and quasi-tax revenues benefit the federal and provincial governments as well as municipalities. These revenues generated by the horticultural peat industry total nearly $40 million in Quebec. The provincial government’s share accounts for nearly two-thirds of this amount, or more than $25 million. More than half of the tax revenues are generated by sales and indirect taxes.
  • Each dollar spent on investment or operations by companies in the horticultural peat sector in Quebec results in an increase of $1.07 to the GDP and a contribution to total tax revenues of $0.19.
  • The industry has been associated with the development of the regions for nearly 100 years in Quebec.
  • Regionally, it is in the Bas-Saint-Laurent (about 40%) and Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean regions that peat investment and harvesting activities generate the greatest spinoffs.
  • Diversified export market : United States, Mexico, South America, Japan, Korea, North Africa, etc.

Source: Evaluation of economic benefits generated by the sphagnum peat moss industry in Canada (and Quebec) in 2016.