Sustainable development is about decision making that takes into account the economy, society and the environment in an integrated way. All Canadians have a role to play in advancing sustainable development, including all levels of government, business and industry, civil society, community groups and citizens.
In keeping with its mandate, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) has a long-standing commitment to the sustainability of the agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector. This commitment is reflected in its three Strategic Outcomes, which include "An environmentally sustainable agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector." The Department's commitment to the sustainability of the sector is also reflected in the Program Activities that support its Strategic Outcomes.
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, which was tabled on October 6, 2010, is also guided by the following principle stated in the Act:
"The Government of Canada accepts the basic principle that sustainable development is based on an ecologically efficient use of natural, social and economic resources and acknowledges the need to integrate environmental, economic and social factors in the making of decisions by government."
The FSDS, developed by Environment Canada in consultation with 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 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 a department to prepare a Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy. AAFC has updated its Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy which is tabled as part of its 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
Government-wide targets have been 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 a supplementary table to Report on Plans and Priorities. For details on AAFC's commitments, please see the Greening Government Operations supplementary information table.
Strategic Environmental Assessment
AAFC also commits to applying Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEA) to help ensure that environmental considerations are integrated with economic and social factors at an early stage of policy and program decision making and to address the government's environmental goals as laid out in the FSDS. For more information on AAFC's application of the SEA, please visit AAFC's website.
AAFC's 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)