Consumers and the Environment

What is sustainable consumption?

Sustainable consumption is the use of goods and services required to meet basic needs and improve quality of life without placing at risk the needs of future generations. This includes the selection, purchase, use, maintenance, repair and disposal of any product or service.

What is the Office of Consumer Affairs doing?

The Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA) understands that consumers can change the way they buy and use products. The Office works with consumers and other agencies in research and policies on instruments, tools and consumer information products to promote and support sustainable consumption.

To learn more about sustainable consumption, and to find out what you can do, read the information below.

Federal Government Programs, Information, Grants and Rebates for Consumers Making Sustainable Choices in the Marketplace

  • ecoENERGY initiatives are designed to help you save money and save energy. This website includes information on ecoENERGY for Personal Vehicles, ecoENERGY Retrofit, Grants for Residential Property Owners, Energy-Efficient Equipment, ENERGY STAR® Qualified Products, Energy-Efficient New Homes, and the ecoAUTO Rebate Program, etc.
  • Environment Canada has an online database where you can find grants, rebates, discounts and other incentives to help you use less energy, switch to renewable energy, and produce less waste at home and on the road. The database includes municipal, provincial/territorial and federal programs and incentives.
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Canadian Ecolabels

To make purchases with the least environmental impact you should look for a label of certification. In Canada there are two government-backed ecolabelling programs.


imageEcoLogoM products have been rated for their environmental impacts over their entire life cycle – from the moment the raw materials are purchased through to the manufacturing, transportation, distribution, use and disposal of the product. EcoLogoM products are the "best in class" for energy use, amount of recycled material, hazardous substances and water use.


imageThe international ENERGY STAR symbol is found on products that are among the most energy-efficient on the market. Only manufacturers and retailers whose products meet the ENERGY STAR standards can put this label on their products.

To learn more about the above ecolabels, please visit the Canadian Consumer Handbook.

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What can consumers do to help the environment?

Consumers can get more information on environmental topics such as pollution prevention, health issues and the environment, energy efficiency and more. This information can be found at the government sources below.

Environment Canada

  • The Canadian Pollution Prevention Information Clearinghouse (CPPIC) is a complete resource that shows Canadians how to prevent pollution.
  • The National Office of Pollution Prevention has several pollution prevention fact sheets. These fact sheets cover topics on pollution prevention activities, best practices, and things that individual Canadians, companies, and government departments can do to prevent pollution.

Health Canada

  • The Environmental and Workplace Health section provides information and advice on some of the most common environmental issues that affect human health: air, noise, soil and water pollution, climate change, environmental contaminants, occupational health and safety, pest control and radiation.

Natural Resources Canada – Office of Energy Efficiency (OEE)

  • The Office of Energy Efficiency (OEE) provides practical energy conservation advice to consumers, school boards, businesses and institutions, and has links to hundreds of related sites around the world. To view the list of programs offered by the OEE, visit their website.

Canadian Mortgage Housing Corporation (CMHC)

  • The Comparing Neighbourhoods for Sustainable Features guide can help you compare neighbourhoods for information on affordability, livability and the environment.
  • By reducing the environmental impact of housing, EQuilibrium homes can help make sustainable communities across the country. Find out how EQuilibrium Housing can improve the quality of life of Canadians through healthier, more efficient and more comfortable homes.