Canada Announces a New Federal Sustainable Development Strategy

Canada’s Environment Minister Jim Prentice has announced the
tabling of a new Federal Sustainable Development Strategy for
Canada which provides a government-wide approach to improve
environmental sustainability.

The Strategy renders federal environmental decision
making more transparent and accountable to Canadians. 

“For the first time, Canadians and Parliamentarians
will be able to see a comprehensive picture of federal actions to
achieve environmental sustainability and also be able to track
progress,” said Prentice.

The Government
will  reduce levels of greenhouse gas emissions from its own
operations to match the national target of 17% below 2005 by

The Strategy responds to comments and recommendations
by Commissioners of the Environment and Sustainable Development
over the years about systemic weaknesses in the previous approach
to Sustainable Development in the Government of Canada.

The href=””
target=”_blank”>Federal Sustainable Development
makes three key improvements to the
transparency of environmental decision-making. First, it provides
an integrated, whole-of-government picture of government actions
and concrete results to achieve environmental sustainability.

Second, it forges a clear link between sustainable
development planning and reporting and the Government’s core
expenditure planning and reporting system. Lastly, it sets the
stage for effective measurement, monitoring, and reporting in order
to track and report on progress to Canadians. 

The Strategy increases transparency that will drive
change over time. The three-year cycle to update and report on
results in the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy establishes
a system of “plan, do, check, and improve”. The new approach
promises to be a useful and meaningful addition to results-based
public management.

At the same time, the Government is taking
measures to reduce the environmental footprint of its own
operations in the key areas of green buildings, electronic waste,
printing units, paper consumption, green meetings, green
procurement, and greenhouse gas emissions from federal

The Strategy also commits to strengthening the
guidelines for strategic environmental assessments by federal
departments which help integrate environmental considerations
related to economic and social decision-making.

For example:

  • Departments and agencies will
    describe the impact of their initiatives on federal environmental
    goals and targets in their SEA public statements.

  • Departments and agencies will report
    on the extent and results of their SEA practices. This will include
    summary information in Departmental Performance Reports of how
    initiatives subject to SEA have affected or are expected to affect
    progress toward federal environmental goals and targets

The complete href=””
target=”_blank”>Federal Sustainable Development
 is available for review.

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