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Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy 2017-2018

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1. Overview of the federal government's approach to sustainable development

The 2016–19 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) i presents the Government of Canada's sustainable development activities, as required by the Federal Sustainable Development Act. In keeping with the objectives of the Act to make environmental decision-making more transparent and accountable to Parliament, Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) supports the implementation of the FSDS through the activities outlined in this Appendix.

The 2016-19 FSDS has thirteen aspirational goals for a more sustainable Canada to provide leadership on climate change. WD contributes to two of these goals. WD's Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy, described below, includes the planned contributions and expected results for Goal 2 ("Low-carbon government") and Goal 3 ("Clean growth") in the FSDS. The FSDS also includes the environment-related United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.ii

2. WD's commitments under the 2016–19 FSDS

FSDS Goal 2

Low-carbon government: The Government of Canada leads by example by making its operations low-carbon.

FSDS target

  • Reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from federal government buildings and fleets by 40 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, with an aspiration to achieve it by 2025.*

*Achieving the target is dependent on major capital investments, with potential for construction time-delays. Best-case scenarios would allow for attainment.

FSDS indicator

  • Percentage change in energy related GHG emissions from facilities and fleets relative to fiscal year 2005–06.

Starting point

To measure our progress on achieving low-carbon government, the Government of Canada tracks GHG emissions from operations. As of 2014–15, responsible departments and agencies have reduced GHG emissions from their buildings and fleets by 15 percent relative to fiscal year 2005–06.

Note: WD is a relatively small department and its estimated GHG emissions are included in the government-wide total.

FSDS milestones and key priorities

Milestones supported by WD

  • WD will encourage innovative sustainable workplace practices and green procurement practices to reduce GHG emissions.

Key priorities supported by WD

WD is transitioning its office space allocations in Calgary, Winnipeg and Vancouver over the next two years to reduce its environmental footprint. In implementing the new space allocation initiative, WD will seek opportunities to procure green goods and services using Public Services and Procurement Canada Standing Offers and Supply Arrangements.

In addition, the Department is planning on purchasing and installing more robust video/teleconferencing equipment in Vancouver and Winnipeg to reduce the need to travel to in-person meetings.

Contributing actions

Support the transition to a low-carbon economy through green procurement:

Support clean technologies and green products and services by taking environmental considerations into account in our purchasing decisions.

WD's actions

  • Establish a baseline and analyze trends in green procurement for goods and services using acquisition card purchases data.
  • Ensure all departmental acquisition cardholders have completed the Green Procurement training.
  • Continuing education for departmental acquisition card holders in green procurement.

Link to WD's Program

  • These actions are linked to WD's Internal Services Program.

Expected results for 2017–18 and performance indicators

Expected results

  • Increased usage of green procurement.
  • Departmental acquisition cardholders have completed the Green Procurement training.

Performance indicators

  • Percentage of procurement and/or materiel management specialists who completed the Canada School of Public Service Green Procurement course (C215) or equivalent, in fiscal year 2017–18 (Target 100%).

Expected results

  • Information Technology (IT) hardware purchases will reduce the environmental impact associated with the production, acquisition, use of the equipment.
  • IT hardware, including monitors, computers, toner cartridges, etc. will be recycled at end of life.

Performance indicator

  • Percentage of IT hardware purchases that meet the Policy on Green Procurement iii (Target 90%).
  • Percentage of IT hardware recycled at end of life (Target 90%).

Alignment with United Nations 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development goals and targets

  • Sustainable Development Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  • Sustainable Development Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

Contributing actions

Promote sustainable travel practices:

Promote sustainable practices for employee travel—including business travel and commuting to work—such as teleconferencing, telecommuting, carpooling, and use of electric vehicles and public transportation. Where feasible, offer offsetting options to reduce the impact of government travel.

WD's actions

  • Encourage staff to reserve accommodation in establishments that have an industry recognized environmental rating.
  • Implement more user friendly high quality video and teleconferencing capabilities.

Link to WD's Program

  • These actions are linked to WD's Internal Services Program.

Expected results for 2017–18 and performance indicators

Expected results

  • WD accommodation stays will take place in establishments that have a green environmental rating.
  • Reduced travel for in-person meetings due to improved user experience for video and teleconferencing systems.

Performance indicator

  • Percentage of accommodation stays that have a green environmental rating (Target 40%).
  • Number of video conference capable boardrooms available for use by employees (Target 12).

Alignment with the United Nations 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development goals and targets

  • Sustainable Development Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  • Sustainable Development Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

FSDS Goal 3

Clean growth: A growing clean technology industry in Canada contributes to clean growth and the transition to a low-carbon economy.

FSDS target

Support the Government of Canada Mission Innovation iv commitment to double federal government investments in clean energy research, development and demonstration, by 2020, from 2015 levels. Mission Innovation is a global initiative of 22 countries and the European Union to dramatically accelerate global clean energy innovation.

FSDS indicators

  • Clean technology sector contribution to GDP.
  • Number of jobs related to clean technology.

Starting point

To measure the growth of Canada's clean technology sector, the Government of Canada is providing funding to Statistics Canada to define the industries in the sector, establish the 2015 baseline on the industry by 2018, and track the contribution of clean technology to GDP, as well as the number of jobs related to clean technology.

FSDS milestone(s) and key priorities

Milestone supported by WD

  • Support an Innovation Agenda by 2017.

Key priorities supported by WD

In 2017–18, WD has identified Innovation and Indigenous Economic Growth as its strategic priorities. The call for proposals launched in late 2016 for the Western Diversification Program will lead to project approvals in 2017 focusing on Clean Technology and Indigenous Economic Growth.

In the context of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, the federal government is working with provinces and territories—as well as National Indigenous Organizations, industry stakeholders and experts—to explore how to stimulate economic growth, create jobs, and drive clean technology innovation across all sectors to transition to a low-carbon economy, leveraging regional strengths.

Work with our partners is focused on four important areas:

  • Building early-stage clean technology innovation;
  • Accelerating clean technology commercialization and clean growth;
  • Fostering greater adoption of clean technology; and
  • Strengthening collaboration and metrics for success.

WD, together with the other Regional Development Agencies, is committed to doubling their collective investment in clean technology projects from 2015–16 levels of approximately $50 million to a total of $100 million per year for 2016–17 and 2017–18.

Contributing actions

Invest in technologies to reduce GHG and air pollutant emissions:

Support the development, demonstration, commercialization, deployment, adoption and export of technologies that reduce GHG and air pollutant emissions. This work will leverage regional strengths and help to improve productivity, competitiveness, and environmental performance in sectors such as energy, mining, building, and waste management, and the manufacturing sector, including in the aerospace and automotive industries.

WD actions

  • WD will invest in clean technologies that provide a pathway for GHG emissions mitigation and more sustainable growth of all areas of the economy. Clean Technology (along with Indigenous Economic Growth) was the focus of the Western Diversification Program call for proposals that lead to project approvals in the spring of 2017.

Link to WD's Program

  • These actions are linked to WD's Business Development and Innovation Program.

Expected results for 2017–18 and performance indicator

Expected results

  • Increasing development, commercialization, export and adoption of clean technologies.

Performance indicator

  • WD annual spending ($) for projects that foster the development, commercialization, export and adoption of clean technologies.

Alignment with the United Nations 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development goals and targets

  • Sustainable Development Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  • Sustainable Development Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

3. Additional departmental sustainable development activities and initiatives

WD does not have any additional sustainable development activities and initiatives for 2017–18 that are not captured by the 2016–19 FSDS.

4. Sustainable development decision making

WD's mandate is to develop and diversify the western Canadian economy. WD's sustainable development programming focuses on projects that create economic benefits for Western Canada. For instance, WD investments in the clean technology sector to increase the number of western Canadian technologies brought to market. The Department's sustainable development vision is that the western Canadian economy is growing, diversified and sustainable. WD will invest, collectively with the other Regional Development Agencies, $100 million per year on clean technology.

WD also fosters practices that promote sustainable development in its internal operations. Sustainable development is incorporated into the Department's procurement planning, tracking and reporting systems.

WD senior management is responsible for integrating sustainable development principles into the Department's policies, programs and operations. Information is shared with project and policy officers to inform sustainable development decision-making.

5. Strategic environmental assessment

WD considers the environmental effects of initiatives subject to the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals, v as part of its decision-making process.

WD's decision-making process includes consideration of FSDS goals and targets through the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) process. If required, a SEA is prepared for policy, plan or program proposals and includes an analysis of the impacts of the proposal on the environment.

In addition, each grant and contributions project approved by WD undergoes an environmental checklist to see if further environmental investigation or a SEA is required.


  1. 2016–19 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy, http://fsds-sfdd.ca/index.html#/en/goals/
  2. United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs
  3. Policy on Green Procurement, http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/ecologisation-greening/achats-procurement/politique-policy-eng.html
  4. Mission Innovation, http://mission-innovation.net/
  5. Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals,
     https://www.canada.ca/en/environmental-assessment-agency/programs/strategic-environmental-assessment/cabinet-directive-environmental-assessment-policy-plan-program-proposals.html