Sustainable Development

Sustainable development is defined as the ability to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) facilitates effective sustainable development and serves as the Government’s primary vehicle for its planning and reporting.

The 2008 Federal Sustainable Development Act (FSDA) provides the legal framework for developing and implementing the FSDS. The 2010-2013 FSDS was the first strategy tabled in Parliament under the FSDA. For the first time, the FSDS brought together the Government of Canada’s environmental sustainability priorities and progress in achieving them all in one place.

The 2013-2016 FSDS was the second strategy prepared under the FSDA. It included recommendations ranging from enhancing coverage of environmental issues to better integrating social and economic dimensions of sustainable development.

The 2016-2019 FSDS is the third whole-of-government strategy prepared under the FSDA. It was tabled in Parliament in October 2016, and outlines what the Government of Canada will do to promote clean growth, ensure healthy ecosystems and build safe, secure and sustainable communities over the next three years.

As per the FSDA, IRCC prepares its own Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy (DSDS) every three years. The DSDS describes the Department’s contributions to the FSDS, including a sustainable development vision for IRCC, departmental decision-making, sustainable development practices as well as implementation strategies allowing for IRCC operations to be conducted in an environmentally responsible manner. IRCC’s 2013-2016 DSDS is currently being revised with renewed sustainable development aspirational goals, milestones and targets which will be included in IRCC’s 2017-2020 DSDS to support the achievement of strategic objectives as outlined in the 2016-2019 FSDS. The 2017-2020 DSDS is set to be tabled in Parliament in the fall of 2017.

IRCC’s DSDS is aligned with the following internal instruments:

  • The IRCC Sustainable Development Policy Framework – developed to bring together the full suite of relevant policy instruments, to strengthen the clarity of requirements and associated roles and responsibilities, and to enhance effective monitoring and support so that IRCC can better fulfill its commitments.
  • The Greening Government Operations Implementation Strategy – developed to outline the conditions under which the department’s operations are green and meeting the targets and goals under FSDS Goal Two: Low-carbon Government.
  • The IRCC Policy on Sustainable Development Assessments (SDA) – developed to integrate social, economic, environmental and equity factors into policies and programs and includes supporting tools, that meet the requirements under the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals (the Directive) and the principles of SD as stated in the FSDA.
    • Where important environmental effects (either positive or negative) have been identified in an SDA, a public statement will be used to demonstrate that environmental factors have been integrated into the decision-making process.

Public Statements

At present, IRCC has not identified any significant environmental impacts in the completed SDAs. Therefore, no public statements are required at this time. Updates will be provided on this page following each calendar year.

In 2016, through the strategic environmental assessment (SEA) process, IRCC reviewed 84% of all IRCC-led proposals (Memoranda to Cabinet and Treasury Board submissions) before they went forward to Cabinet and Treasury Board. The remaining proposals were reviewed outside the SEA process and found to be exempt under the “previously assessed” Directive exemption or low risk.

Departmental strategy

IRCC’s 2016-2019 DSDS will be tabled in the fall of 2017. Progress will be reported in the Departmental Results Report for the period ending March 31 of each year.

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