Sustainable Development

On October 6, 2010, the federal government tabled its first Federal Sustainable Development Strategy, (FSDS). For the first time, the FSDS brought together the Government of Canada’s environmental sustainability priorities and our progress in achieving them all in one place. The Strategy also committed to strengthening how we integrate environmental considerations related to economic and social decision-making and set clear targets to green federal operations. In the spirit of continuous improvement, the 2013-16 FSDS included recommendations ranging from enhancing coverage of environmental issues to better integrating social and economic dimensions of sustainable development.

The new 2016-19 FSDS, which is now undergoing public consultations, is set to be tabled in the fall of 2016, replacing the current strategy. Recommendations regarding the establishment of goals, targets and implementation strategies to guide the sustainable development activities of federal departments and agencies, and to showcase the federal government’s environmental sustainability priorities, commitments and activities are being revised. You can review and share your expertise to help improve the draft strategy by visiting Let’s Talk Sustainability.

In alignment with the FSDS, IRCC’s sustainable development (SD) vision is captured in our 2013-16 Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy (DSDS). It outlines how IRCC will reduce its environmental footprint, how IRCC programs, policies and services are developed in accordance with the basic principles of SD and how IRCC operations are conducted in an environmentally responsible manner. The DSDS provides an overview of the mechanisms in place at IRCC for managing SD, including the integration of SD into our daily activities. IRCC’s 2013-16 DSDS will be revised once the new FSDS 2016-19 is tabled in Parliament.

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 Theme IV of the FSDS: Shrinking the Environmental Footprint – Beginning with Government; and
  • 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 Federal Sustainable Development Act.
    • 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 2015, there were 14 IRCC-led proposals (Memoranda to Cabinet and Treasury Board submissions) that went forward to Cabinet and Treasury Board. Through the strategic environmental assessment process, IRCC reviewed 12 out of 14 of these proposals. The other two proposals were exempt due to the “shortened Cabinet process” exemption under the Directive.

Departmental strategy

IRCC’s DSDS is tabled in the Department’s Report on Plans and Priorities. Progress will be reported in the Department’s Performance Report for the period ending March 31st of each year.

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