Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada 2017-2020 Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy

October, 2017

Executive summary

Sustainable development is defined as our ability to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, and is a key priority of the Government of Canada. Sustainable development in Canada cannot be achieved without robust engagement at all stages of policy and practice and at various levels of government—federal, provincial/territorial and municipal. At the federal level, effective sustainable development is facilitated by the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS), which serves as the Government’s primary vehicle for sustainable development planning and reporting. The FSDS fulfils the requirement of the Federal Sustainable Development Act (FSDA) to develop and table every three years a federal strategy that makes environmental decision making more transparent and accountable to Parliament. The 2016–2019 FSDS articulates renewed sustainable development aspirational objectives and establishes goals, medium-term targets and short-term milestones to support the achievement of strategic objectives and realize the country’s vision for sustainable development in which Canada is “one of the greenest countries in the world and our quality of life continues to improve”.

To support the core principle that effective sustainable development results from a coordinated approach across several government institutions, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is committed to contributing to the FSDS and doing its part to support Canada’s vision for sustainable development. As required by the FSDA, every three years IRCC prepares its own Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy (DSDS) which describes the Department’s contributions to the FSDS, including a sustainable development vision for IRCC, departmental decision making, sustainable development practices and implementation strategies as prescribed in the FSDS.

IRCC is responsible for the design and delivery of a range of programs and services that include temporary residence, permanent residence, refugee protection, citizenship, passport and settlement. These programs and services support every step of new immigrants’ journeys to Canada and efforts to build a new life here. Through its mandated responsibilities, the Department continues to work towards meaningful results by refining and modernizing its internal services and client service delivery for its lines of business in order to find efficiencies and improve services. IRCC’s modernization agenda along with several other departmental initiatives are closely related to the foundational principles of sustainable development (economy, society and environment) and strategically position the Department to play an active part in advancing sustainable development while striving to meet government-wide expectations to reduce its environmental footprint.

Section 1: Context for the Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy

The 2016–2019 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS), tabled on October 6, 2016, presents the Government of Canada’s sustainable development goals and targets, as required by the Federal Sustainable Development Act (FSDA). It is the third strategy under the Act which provides the legal framework for developing and implementing a federal sustainable development strategy that will make environmental, social and economic decision-making more transparent and accountable to Parliament. The 2016–2019 FSDS represents an important part of the government’s response to the United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and outlines how the global sustainable development goals (SDGs) related to environmental sustainability will be implemented in Canada in 2016–2019. The FSDS is evergreen, meaning it will allow new policy decisions to be integrated as they are adopted. The new evergreen strategy will also serve as a means for the public to join in the conversation and share innovative ideas on what can be done to protect the environment and contribute to sustainable development and thus achieve Canada’s sustainable development vision and aspirational goals.

In keeping with the objectives of the Act to integrate environmental, social and economic considerations into decision-making, and make such decisions more transparent and accountable to Parliament, IRCC supports reaching goals laid out in the FSDS through the activities described in this Departmental Strategy.

Section 2: Sustainable Development in Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

IRCC’s Approach to Sustainable Development

IRCC supports the implementation of the 2016–2019 FSDS through the activities outlined in this document. As per the FSDA, IRCC’s DSDS is tabled every three years and represents an element of the Government of Canada’s coordinated approach to sustainable development. The DSDS explains how the Department will align with the 2016–2019 FSDS and how it will integrate the basic principles of sustainable development into its policies, programs and daily operations so that these can be executed and implemented in an environmentally responsible manner. With this new 2017-2020 DSDS, IRCC is adopting an evergreen approach that will allow the Department to foster engagement and share expertise and ideas about how its contribution to environmental sustainability and protection can help achieve Canada’s sustainable development vision and aspirational goals. IRCC is responsible for fulfilling 2016–2019 FSDS Goal 2—Low-Carbon Government. However, given the broadened scope of the 2016–2019 FSDS, IRCC is committed to exploring how the Low-Carbon Government goal is linked to other FSDS areas. Over the next three years, the Department will identify and implement innovative departmental sustainable development activities that will increase alignment between the Department’s and the Government’s respective visions for sustainable development.

IRCC’s Vision for Sustainable Development

IRCC contributes to achieving, through immigration, a stronger Canada that is economically, socially and culturally prosperous. Traditionally, the Department’s programs and policies have affected Canada’s economy and social fabric more directly than its ecosystems; this is why IRCC is not responsible for leading any targets from FSDS areas beyond the Low-Carbon Government goal.

By encompassing all three pillars of sustainable development, IRCC’s sustainable development vision aims to systematically incorporate economic, social and environmental considerations into departmental decision-making. As IRCC’s 2017–2020 DSDS provides a framework for the promotion of responsible management of natural resources, economic practices and healthy communities, the Department’s sustainable development vision is aligned with the overarching departmental vision for a stronger Canada—a safe and secure country with a shared bond of citizenship and values; a country that continues to support our humanitarian tradition and draws the best from the world to help build a nation that is economically, socially and culturally prosperous.

IRCC’s sustainable development vision along with key areas where departmental sustainable development initiatives and activities are implemented to support that vision. These activities are described in greater detail in sections 3 and 4.

Sustainable Development Vision

In contributing to Canada’s economic, social and cultural development through migration and its global humanitarian efforts, IRCC embraces an approach to sustainable development that:

  • promotes the responsible management of natural resources, sustainable economic practices and healthy communities through education and awareness building;
  • fosters individual participation in corporate initiatives through the promotion of best practices; and
  • is concrete, focused and results-based.
Key areas where departmental sustainable development initiatives and activities are implemented to support the vision
  • IRCC integrated sustainable development management framework
  • Governance and decision-making
  • Greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction
  • Sustainable workplace practices
  • Green procurement practices

Section 3: Commitments for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Low-carbon government: the Government of Canada leads by example by making its operations low-carbon. Responsible minister: all ministers

Low-carbon government FSDS target

Reduce GHG emissions from federal government buildings and fleets by 40% below 2005 levels by 2030, with an aspiration to achieve this reduction by 2025.

FSDS contributing actions

1. Modernize our fleet
Corresponding departmental action

Develop annual fleet plans in support of efficient fleet management including renewing or reducing fleet vehicles size as required.

Contribution to FSDS goal and target

The annual plans will identify how to manage fleet inventory (i.e. remove older, less efficient vehicles and/or recycle them within the Department and/or procure newer and more fuel efficient vehicles if needed).

Starting point(s) where available, and choice of performance indicators for departmental actions

  • GHG emissions from fleet in fiscal year 2005–06 (base year): = 0.094 ktCO2e
  • GHG emissions from fleet in fiscal year 2016-2017 = 0.051 ktCO2e
  • Percentage (%) change in GHG emissions from fleet from fiscal year 2005-06 to fiscal year 2016–2017 = 46% decrease from baseline

Program(s) in which the departmental actions will occur

5.1 Internal Services

Corresponding departmental action

Optimize vehicle fleet size.

Contribution to FSDS goal and target

Reducing the number of vehicles or replacing with newer models will reduce the amount of fuel consumed which will contribute to GHG emissions reductions.

Starting point(s) where available, and choice of performance indicators for departmental actions

  • Overall fuel consumption (LGE) (relative to base year: 2005-2006: 39,781 L)

Program(s) in which the departmental actions will occur

5.1 Internal Services

Corresponding departmental action

Reduce carbon intensity through vehicle purchase and/or replacement with fuel efficient vehicles and/or hybrid vehicles. Purchasing of electric vehicles will also be considered.

Contribution to FSDS goal and target

Purchasing of vehicles that are fuel efficient or hybrids will contribute to reducing GHG emissions. In addition, introduction of electric vehicles will be considered which will further aid in reducing GHG emissions.

Starting point(s) where available, and choice of performance indicators for departmental actions

  • Number of hybrid and electric vehicles in inventory:
    • number of hybrid vehicles in FY 2016-2017: 3
    • number of electric vehicles in FY 2016-2017: 0

Program(s) in which the departmental actions will occur

5.1 Internal Services

Corresponding departmental action

Promote behavior change (e.g. anti-idling messaging and fleet manager and driver training).

Contribution to FSDS goal and target

The annual sustainable development plan will include messages to managers and drivers of light duty vehicles about anti-idling to encourage reduction in GHG emissions from fleet vehicles. The plan will also include fleet manager training sessions on vehicle fleet best practices.

Starting point(s) where available, and choice of performance indicators for departmental actions

  • Number and percentage of fleet managers who receive training on vehicle fleet best practices

Program(s) in which the departmental actions will occur

5.1 Internal Services

2. Support the transition to a low-carbon economy through green procurement
Corresponding departmental action

Integrate environmental considerations into procurement management processes and controls – procure green items (e.g., paper, vehicles, and electrical equipment) through mandatory National Master Standing Offers.

Contribution to FSDS goal and target

The departmental actions identified will allow IRCC to meet its greening goal by ensuring practices are in place to procure green items which will be achieved by integrating environmental considerations in procurement practices, development of policies and training of procurement specialists. These actions combined will support responsible management of resources and reduction of IRCC’s ecological footprint.

Starting point(s) where available, and choice of performance indicators for departmental actions

  • Percentage of all new light-duty vehicles purchased with an average rated fuel efficiency of 10 litres per 100 kilometers or less
  • Percentage of copy paper, commercial printing and/or envelope purchases that contain a minimum of 30% recycled content and are certified to a recognized environmental standard to reduce the environmental impact of its production

Program(s) in which the departmental actions will occur

5.1 Internal Services

Corresponding departmental action

Integrate environmental considerations into corporate policies, processes and practices in accordance with departmental refresh cycles.

Contribution to FSDS goal and target

The departmental actions identified will allow IRCC to meet its greening goal by ensuring practices are in place to procure green items which will be achieved by integrating environmental considerations in procurement practices, development of policies and training of procurement specialists. These actions combined will support responsible management of resources and reduction of IRCC’s ecological footprint.

Starting point(s) where available, and choice of performance indicators for departmental actions

  • Number of policies, processes and practices that include FSDS considerations

Program(s) in which the departmental actions will occur

5.1 Internal Services

Corresponding departmental action

Ensure all procurement officers and decision-makers have the necessary training and awareness to support green procurement.

Contribution to FSDS goal and target

The departmental actions identified will allow IRCC to meet its greening goal by ensuring practices are in place to procure green items which will be achieved by integrating environmental considerations in procurement practices, development of policies and training of procurement specialists. These actions combined will support responsible management of resources and reduction of IRCC’s ecological footprint.

Starting point(s) where available, and choice of performance indicators for departmental actions

  • Percentage of specialists in procurement and materiel management who have completed training on green procurement

Program(s) in which the departmental actions will occur

5.1 Internal Services

Corresponding departmental action

Ensure key officials include contribution to and support for the Government of Canada Policy on Green Procurement objectives in their Performance Management Agreements (PMA).

Contribution to FSDS goal and target

The departmental actions identified will allow IRCC to meet its greening goal by ensuring practices are in place to procure green items which will be achieved by integrating environmental considerations in procurement practices, development of policies and training of procurement specialists. These actions combined will support responsible management of resources and reduction of IRCC’s ecological footprint.

Starting point(s) where available, and choice of performance indicators for departmental actions

  • Number and percentage of managers and functional heads of procurement and materiel whose performance evaluation includes support and contribution towards green procurement in the current fiscal year

Program(s) in which the departmental actions will occur

5.1 Internal Services

3. Promote sustainable travel practices
Corresponding departmental action

Encourage sustainable travel practices through messaging and events (e.g., teleconferencing, videoconferencing, telecommuting, green meetings guide, carpooling and public transportation, bike to work event, commuter challenge, etc.).

Contribution to FSDS goal and target

Sustainable travel practices reduce the need to travel to offices thereby contributing to a reduction in GHG emissions.

Starting point(s) where available, and choice of performance indicators for departmental actions

  • Number of messages and events from communications released that encourage sustainable travel practices

Program(s) in which the departmental actions will occur

5.1 Internal Services

4. Promote sustainable workplace operations
Corresponding departmental action

Dispose of waste in an environmentally sound and secure manner.

Contribution to FSDS goal and target

Disposal of waste such as electronics, furniture and paper in an environmentally sound manner will reduce their presence in landfills which can produce higher GHGs.

Starting point(s) where available, and choice of performance indicators for departmental actions

  • Number of lots disposed and/or recycled products annually

Program(s) in which the departmental actions will occur

5.1 Internal Services

Corresponding departmental action

Reduce printing devices to achieve a target of 8 employees to 1 printing device.

Contribution to FSDS goal and target

Reduce printing units through projects such as Print Services Modernization will help IRCC reduce GHG emissions generated from operating less efficient devices.

Starting point(s) where available, and choice of performance indicators for departmental actions

  • Ratio of employees to printing devices in fiscal year 2015-16 (base year)= 3.86 employees to 1 printing device (3.86:1)
  • Ratio of employees per printing device in fiscal year 2016-2017= 5.78 employees per printing unit (5.78:1)

Program(s) in which the departmental actions will occur

5.1 Internal Services

Corresponding departmental action

Meet or exceed paper consumption reduction by 20%.

Contribution to FSDS goal and target

IRCC will aim to continue reducing its paper consumption which will reduce the need to purchase paper, thus reducing GHG emissions produced during manufacturing and transportation of paper.

Starting point(s) where available, and choice of performance indicators for departmental actions

  • Number of sheets per employee in fiscal year 2010-2011 (base year)=5,996 sheets per employee
  • Number of sheets per employee in fiscal year 2016-2017= 3,525 sheets per employee
  • Percentage (%) change in paper consumption from fiscal year 2010-2011 to fiscal year 2016-2017=41% decrease from baseline

Program(s) in which the departmental actions will occur

5.1 Internal Services

Corresponding departmental action

Continue to optimize population density in office buildings.

Contribution to FSDS goal and target

Increasing population density in IRCC buildings will contribute to lower GHG emissions by maximizing space utilization and resources.

Starting point(s) where available, and choice of performance indicators for departmental actions

  • Track adoption of Workplace 2.0 and/or higher density workplace solutions

Program(s) in which the departmental actions will occur

5.1 Internal Services

Section 4. Integrating Sustainable Development

Integrated Sustainable Development Management Framework

IRCC’s framework for managing sustainable development facilitates the integration of sustainable development into our daily activities. IRCC has implemented an approach to managing sustainable development based on three major pillars:

  • Sustainable Development Policy Framework (SD Policy Framework): The SD Policy Framework brings together the full suite of relevant sustainable development policy instruments to strengthen the clarity of requirements and to enhance effective monitoring and support so that IRCC can better fulfil its sustainable development commitments.
  • Policy on Sustainable Development Assessments (SDA Policy): The purpose of the SDA Policy is to clarify the requirements, roles and responsibilities within IRCC to fulfil our obligations under the FSDA and the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals (Cabinet Directive). It is the policy of IRCC to ensure that its decisions are sustainable, take into account environmental considerations, are supportive of the FSDS and thus contribute to better public policy outcomes for Canadians.
  • Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy (DSDS): The DSDS identifies and communicates departmental commitments expressed in terms of goals, medium-term targets, short-term milestones and implementation strategies which determine the sustainable development direction for a three-year cycle.

Governance

To complement its sustainable development management framework, IRCC’s SD Policy Framework and SDA Policy serve as mechanisms to support an integrated governance structure that oversees the implementation of the Department’s sustainable development commitments. This structure engages all levels within the Department and identifies the accountabilities, roles and responsibilities for sustainable development.

  • IRCC’s Minister requires the Department to prepare a sustainable development strategy encompassing objectives and plans that comply with and contribute to the FSDS, is appropriate to IRCC’s mandate and ensures that the strategy is tabled in Parliament.
  • The Executive Committee (ExCom) approves the DSDS, SD Policy Framework and internal policy instruments.
  • IRCC’s Management Accountability Committee is responsible for providing oversight for IRCC’s integrated sustainable development management framework and its implementation. The Committee’s approval is required for changes to internal sustainable development policy instruments including the DSDS.
  • The Assistant Deputy Minister, Corporate Services, is the functional lead at IRCC for sustainable development, validating that IRCC respects the basic principles of sustainable development and reports annually on plans and progress of the DSDS.
  • The Director General (DG), Administration, Security and Accommodations, plays an important supportive role, demonstrating leadership and guidance on sustainable development as well as increasing employee awareness of IRCC’s sustainable development commitments. The DG also oversees compliance with central agency policy direction for green operations and is responsible for the development, implementation, reporting and regular modernization of the internal policies and instruments relating to green operations.
  • IRCC Assistant Deputy Ministers are responsible for the application of the SD Policy Framework within their respective sectors.
  • The DG, Corporate Affairs, is the functional authority for the SDA Policy and is responsible for supporting the governance in place regarding SDAs, ensuring that SDA requirements are clearly communicated, that there is a compliance regime in effect and that support mechanisms are developed and shared. The DG is also responsible for reporting on strategic environmental assessments of policies, plans and programs through the central agency annual planning and reporting process.
  • IRCC DGs are responsible for including the results of SDAs in their Memoranda to Cabinet (MCs) and Treasury Board (TB) submissions.
  • All IRCC employees are responsible for maintaining awareness of the principles of sustainable development and for taking steps to implement green initiatives as appropriate. They may be asked to contribute to the commitments and actions towards sustainable development in their own work areas.

Lastly, to monitor and keep its sustainable development commitments on track, IRCC has integrated its targets and milestones into its integrated planning and reporting three-year rolling plan. IRCC reports on its commitments to senior management every review period. In addition, IRCC reports publicly on its sustainable development targets through annual planning and reporting documents tabled in Parliament.

Decision-making

The Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals requires departments and agencies to conduct a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) for policy plan or program proposals (Proposals) submitted to an individual minister or to Cabinet for approval. Departments must also consider the impacts, whether positive or negative, of their Proposals on the achievement of FSDS goals and targets. The Guidelines for Implementing the Cabinet Directive were revised in July 2016, as the 2016–2019 FSDS was in the midst of being updated and finalized. Following this revision and once the 2017–2020 DSDS has tabled, IRCC will update its internal SDA Policy to ensure compliance and alignment.

Under IRCC’s SDA Policy, a requirement for SDAs was introduced. This requirement aims to provide a holistic assessment balancing economic and social considerations, intergenerational equity and environmental impacts. It primarily deals with integrated decision-making that maximizes the effectiveness of departmental policies and programs. This translates into a level of analysis above the SEA requirements under the Cabinet Directive. IRCC’s SDA Policy was commended by the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development as being a “good practice” following the Department’s 2014 audit.

To strengthen the application of the SEA within the Department, IRCC uses a risk-based triage, the SD Preliminary Scan Tool. Through a quick assessment based on “yes” or “no” questions, this tool streamlines the process to determine whether significant environmental effects—positive or negative—would result from the implementation of the Proposal.

Currently, IRCC’s SEA process applies to Proposals contained in MCs and TB submissions. IRCC uses two tools to support the application of the Cabinet Directive:

  • The SD Preliminary Scan Tool, as discussed above, assists analysts in completing a scan of the Proposal for potential environmental effects. If the tool finds that there are potential environmental effects—positive or negative—the next step is to complete a detailed SDA.
  • The IRCC Guide on SDAs and supporting SD Report Template are tools to assist in completing the SDA. The guide sets out the four main criteria to be analyzed: financial/economic, environmental, social, and general/equity considerations. It then provides questions to guide the analysis. Each criterion is assessed on a five-point scale, following which any potential environmental effects and mitigation strategies must be identified. Once complete, the SDA Report is submitted to the Management Accountability Office (MAO) for review and must be approved by the lead DG and the DG, Corporate Affairs.

To ensure these tools are being implemented, MAO monitors IRCC’s lists of MCs and TB submissions and proactively reaches out to drafters to initiate the SEA process in the early drafting stages. IRCC also has a tracking mechanism to follow up on outstanding Proposals and to monitor new Proposals as they are being developed.

It is important to note that, given the new 2016–2019 FSDS and revised Guidelines for Implementing the Cabinet Directive, IRCC will review its processes and tools to foster alignment and assess new opportunities where any other proposals would be subject to the Cabinet Directive.

IRCC will continue to ensure that its decision-making process includes consideration of FSDS goals and targets through its SEA process. As such, SEAs will continue to include an analysis of the impacts of the given proposal on the environment, including on FSDS goals and targets.

Public statements on the results of IRCC’s assessments are made public when an initiative that has undergone a detailed SEA presenting significant environmental effects is announced. The purpose of the public statement is to demonstrate that the environmental effects, including the impacts on achieving the FSDS goals and targets, of the approved policy, plan or program have been considered during proposal development and decision-making.

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