How the System Works

How the System Works

We expect electricity to be there at the push of a button. Discover what goes on behind the scenes to bring power to your homes, businesses, and communities.

  • fossil fuels
  • nuclear fuels
  • sun
  • hydro
  • wind

Canada’s Electricity Mix

As a nation rich in renewable energy resources, 80 percent of Canada’s electricity supply is generated from sources that do not emit greenhouse gases. This number will only increase as Canada introduces more non-emitting electricity sources like wind, tidal, and biomass/solar options.

Source: Statistics Canada, CANSIM Table 127-0007 (2013)
image description 2013
nuclear fuels nuclear 15.9%
tidal tidal 0.00%
fossil fuels FOSSIL FUELS 19.02%
wind WIND 1.5%
sun SOLAR 0.04%
hydro HYDRO 63.4%


Once the electricity is generated, it is then transmitted through the system across thousands of towers, relay stations, transformers, and utility poles towards a regional distribution centre.

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A Long Journey

It takes over 4.7 million kilometres of electrical lines above and below ground to deliver electricity to Canadian’s homes and businesses. That’s enough to circle the globe 118 times!

Source: Canadian Electricity Association, 2012


Each distribution centre monitors the flow of electricity to their respective regions and delivers it to the lives of Canadians. This is a very complex process, and requires constant management and precise attention to detail.

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An Economic Engine

Over 108,000 Canadians work to ensure that Canada’s electrical system is running smoothly.

Electricity Sector Council Report, Power in Motion: 2011 Labour Market Information Study Full Report, 2012.


The electrical system supports the lives of over 35 million Canadians across the nation. It is expected that by 2035, Canada's electricity system will have to meet the needs of over 42 million Canadians — 35 percent more than it was serving 20 years ago.

Source: Statistics Canada, Demography Division (2001)