Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy: Departmental Website Component of the 2012-2013 Report on Plans and Priorities
In June 2008, the Federal Sustainable Development Act (FSDA) was proclaimed. The purpose of the Act is to provide the legal framework for developing and implementing a federal sustainable development strategy that will make environmental decision making more transparent and accountable to Parliament. The Act requires the development of a federal sustainable development strategy (FSDS) and a report on progress at least every three years.
The Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) 2010–2013, tabled on October 6, 2010, clearly articulates the Government of Canada’s long-term goals and targets, including its plans for reducing the federal government’s environmental footprint. The FSDS raises the profile of environmental issues in the federal government priority setting and decision making, firmly placing these issues on the same footing as the country’s economic and social priorities.
Through the FSDS and the progress reports, Parliamentarians and Canadians will have a clear understanding of planned actions and progress related to environmental sustainability, thus driving change over time through the “plan, do, check, improve” cycle. The FSDS fulfils the requirements of the Act through three key improvements that render environmental decision making more transparent and accountable:
- an integrated, whole-of-government picture of actions and results to achieve environmental sustainability;
- a link between sustainable development planning and reporting and the federal government’s core expenditure planning and reporting system; and
- effective measurement, monitoring, and reporting in order to track and report on progress to Canadians.
As required under the Act and in support of the FSDS, annual departmental sustainable development strategies (DSDSs) are prepared to report on those portions of the FSDS that have specific implications for each respective department. These DSDSs are prepared to ensure proper management and accountability in terms of sustainable development.
The Minister of Environment Canada has two major responsibilities regarding the FSDA.
First, the Act requires the Minister to
- develop a federal sustainable development strategy on behalf of the Government of Canada and table it in both Houses of Parliament every three years; and
- table a triennial report on the progress of the federal government in implementing the FSDS.
Second, as with all other Ministers of departments and agencies subject to the FSDA, the Minister of the Environment is responsible for developing Environment Canada’s own departmental sustainable development strategy.
Environment Canada’s departmental sustainable development strategy is organized around the three strategic outcomes of the Department’s Program Alignment Architecture (PAA):
- Canada’s natural environment is conserved and restored for present and future generations;
- Canadians are equipped to make informed decisions on changing weather, water and climate conditions; and
- threats to Canadians and their environment from pollution are minimized.
Environment Canada is committed to continuous improvement as more experience is gained. The Department will be looking for opportunities to improve both its own strategy and to assist other departments as all gain more experience with this coordinated approach.
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