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2014–2015 Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy

Section 2: Sustainable Development Management System

Environment Canada’s Sustainable Development Vision

Environment Canada’s sustainable development vision is to improve Canadians’ standard of living by protecting human health, conserving the environment, using resources efficiently, and advancing long-term economic competitiveness.

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Departmental Sustainable Development Practices

The concept of sustainable development rests at the core of the Department’s mandate and is an intrinsic part of the planning, decision making and execution of the programming and initiatives for which the Department is responsible. Flexible yet robust processes are, therefore, essential for the Department when considering the social, economic and environmental dimensions of strategy, policy and program issues as these arise. To this end, the Department’s planning and decision-making processes, as part of an established corporate governance structure, allow both formal and informal opportunities for considering issues, setting priorities and rendering decisions or making recommendations as necessary.

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Sustainable Development Champion

The Assistant Deputy Minister of Environment Canada’s Strategic Policy Branch and Regional Directors General Offices is the Sustainable Development Champion, providing overall leadership for the departmental responsibilities related to sustainable development. In 2014–15, the Champion is expected to

  • coordinate the implementation of the 2013–16 FSDS and its Management Framework;
  • provide overall leadership and coordination in the implementation of the FSDA, through effective interdepartmental engagement; and
  • provide leadership for the Department on strategic environmental assessments.

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Intergovernmental Collaboration and Stakeholder Consultation

Environment Canada's sustainable development decisions and actions require collaboration, partnership and information exchanges with key partners and stakeholders, including other levels of government, Aboriginal peoples, industry, environmental non-governmental organizations, and Canadian citizens. As such, Environment Canada aims to foster positive, long-term relationships with these key constituencies in all of its activities. For example, relationships with provincial and territorial partners are advanced through bilateral agreements, as well as through multilateral participation in the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment and the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Working Group on International Climate Change. In addition, the Department consults and engages with Aboriginal peoples and stakeholders to deliver on core priorities such as protecting and conserving our air, water, wildlife and natural areas.

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Decision-making Tools

Regulatory Impact Analysis Statements

Environment Canada uses regulatory impact analysis statements (RIASs) to summarize the expected impacts of the regulatory initiatives that address each of the requirements of the federal government’s regulatory policy, namely the Cabinet Directive on Regulatory Management.The use of regulatory impact analyses has long been recognized as an international best practice, and RIASs have been used in Canada for over 20 years.

A RIASprovides a non-technical synthesis of information that allows the various audiences to understand the environmental issue being regulated, as well as the federal government’s objectives, and the costs and benefits of the regulation. A RIAS also indicates who will be affected, who was consulted in developing the regulation, and how the federal government will evaluate and measure the performance of the regulation against its stated objectives. The RIAS, in effect, enables the government to explain to the public the need for each regulation.

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Strategic Environmental Assessments

See Section 3, Strategic Environment Assessments.

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Environmental Indicators

Environment Canada provides the regular indicator updates (data and information) used to measure the progress of the FSDS, and Canada’s performance on key environmental sustainability issues. The environmental indicators are based on objective and comprehensive information and convey environmental trends in a straightforward and transparent manner.

The indicators are prepared by Environment Canada with the support of other federal government departments, such as Health Canada, Statistics Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, as well as provincial and territorial government departments. Designed to be relevant to the government policy, the indicators are built on rigorous methodology and high-quality data that are regularly available from surveys and monitoring networks.

National, regional, local and international trends are readily accessible to all Canadians on the Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators (CESI) website which includes graphics, explanatory text, interactive maps and downloadable data. Indicator results are linked to their key social and economic drivers, and information is provided on how the issues are influenced by consumers, businesses and governments. Each indicator is accompanied by a technical explanation of its calculation.

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Ongoing Monitoring and Reporting

Implementation of the DSDS will be monitored and reported on an ongoing basis in two ways:

  • periodic reporting to the Executive Management Committee;Footnote 1and
  • reporting in the departmental reports on plans and priorities and departmental performance reports.

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Audit and Evaluation

The Department’s activities in support of the FSDSFootnote 2 will be evaluated as part of Environment Canada’s Sustainability and Reporting Indicators Program, scheduled for evaluation in 2014–15. The evaluation will address issues related to relevance and performance, in compliance with the Treasury Board’s Policy on Evaluation (2009).

An internal audit of Environment Canada’s contribution to the FSDSwill be considered in the context of the Department’s annual risk-based audit plan required by the Treasury Board’s Policy on Internal Audit. The Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development is also required to conduct a review periodically of the FSDS. In addition, the Audit and Evaluation Branch regularly monitors and reports on the status of management commitments made in response to previous audit and evaluation recommendations. Doing so provides Environment Canada’s senior management with timely information on how well the Department is addressing issues or opportunities raised in previous audits and evaluations, including any that would pertain to the FSDS.

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Footnote 1

The EMC(chaired by the Deputy and/or Associate Deputy Minister) is the collective senior executive body of the Department that promotes approval, through consensus building, on issues put before it.

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Footnote 2

Specifically, the evaluation will include both the secretariat function, which Environment Canada holds, as well as Environment Canada-specific elements within the FSDS.

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