Sustainable development is about meeting the needs of today without compromising the needs of future generations. It is about improving the standard of living by protecting human health, conserving the environment, using resources efficiently and advancing long-term economic competitiveness. Integrating environmental, economic and social priorities into policies and programs supports action at all levels - citizens, industry, and governments.
Federal Sustainable Development Strategy
The government's commitment to sustainable development is reflected in the Federal Sustainable Development Act (the Act), which received Royal Assent on June 26, 2008. The purpose of the Act is "to provide the legal framework for developing and implementing a Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) that will make environmental decision-making more transparent and accountable to Parliament".
The FSDS, developed by Environment Canada in consultation with 27 federal departments and agencies, brings together goals, targets and implementation strategies under the following four priority environmental themes:
- Addressing Climate Change and Air Quality;
- Maintaining Water Quality and Availability;
- Protecting Nature; and
- Shrinking the Environmental Footprint - Beginning with Government
The first FSDS, covering the period of 2010-2013, was tabled in Parliament on October 6, 2010.
The 2012 Progress Report of the FSDS was tabled in Parliament on February 15, 2013. It shows the progress of the 27 federal departments and agencies towards achieving the goals and targets set out in the first cycle of the FSDS.
The Government of Canada is looking for input from Canadians on the draft second cycle of the FSDS, covering the period 2013 to 2016. Canadians are encouraged to submit comments before June 14, 2013 on the advancement of federal sustainable development initiatives by visiting Environment Canada's website.
Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy
The Act requires each Minister presiding over an FSDS department or agency to prepare a Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy (DSDS). AAFC has updated its DSDS which is tabled as part of its 2013-14 Report on Plans and Priorities. The DSDS describes AAFC's objectives and plans for sustainable development appropriate to its mandate. It articulates AAFC's vision and decision-making process for sustainable development, and sets out the Department's contribution to the goals and targets of the FSDS, including Greening Government Operations, as well as the application of Strategic Environmental Assessments.
Greening Government Operations
As part of Theme IV, government-wide targets were established under the leadership of Public Works and Government Services Canada, in consultation with departments, to achieve the goal of Greening Government Operations (GGO). As a large federal custodian of buildings, land, fleet and equipment, AAFC is committed to making progress against GGO targets, which are described in the GGO supplementary table to the 2013-14 Report on Plans and Priorities. AAFC's progress during the first year of this initiative is reported in the 2011-12 Departmental Performance Report.
Strategic Environmental Assessment
An important tool for integrating environmental considerations into policy and program proposals is Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), which is governed by the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals. The SEA process helps to ensure that environmental considerations are integrated with economic and social factors at an early stage of policy and program decision making.
Previous Departmental Sustainable Development Strategies
- 2011-12 AAFC Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy (Supplementary to AAFC's 2012-13 Departmental Performance Report)
- 2012-13 AAFC Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy (Supplementary to AAFC's 2012-13 Report on Plans and Priorities)
- 2011-12 AAFC Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy (Supplementary to AAFC's 2011-12 Report on Plans and Priorities)