Language selection


WD’s Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy 2011-2014


View the print version: PDF (73 Kb)

The Federal Sustainable Development Strategy

Sustainable development, as described by the Federal Sustainable Development Act (FSDA), is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

The Federal Sustainable Development Act passed by Parliament in 2008 requires the development and implementation of a Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS). The Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) fulfills this requirement by rendering environmental decision-making more transparent and accountable to Parliament. It responds to concerns expressed by the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development (CESD), Parliamentarians, non-governmental organizations (NGO) and others, that previous sustainable development systems did not deliver the intended results.

The FSDS establishes a framework for sustainable development planning and reporting with three key elements:

The FSDS brings together goals, targets and implementation strategies which have been created through the normal course of government decision-making. The FSDS itself does not establish new goals and targets, with the exception of those for greening government operations (GGO), rather it makes the outcomes of decision making more transparent.

Goals, targets, and implementation strategies are organized under four priority themes:

  1. Addressing climate change and clean air,
  2. Maintaining water quality and availability,
  3. Protecting nature, and
  4. Shrinking the environmental footprint - Beginning with government.

The FSDS focuses on environmental sustainability as a first step in integrating environmental concerns with economic and social considerations and sets in motion a process that will over time improve the way in which environmental, economic and social issues are considered. The FSDS will be updated every three years to report on what measures have been taken to address sustainable development, and which priorities remain to be addressed.

Under the FSDA, each Minister presiding over a department involved in the FSDS shall ensure the department or agency prepares a Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy (DSDS) containing objectives and plans for the department or agency that complies with and contributes to the FSDS.

Western Economic Diversification Canada

Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) is the federal government’s regional development agency in the West. Established in 1987, WD is responsible for strengthening, diversifying and expanding the economy of Western Canada. WD’s vision is to be leaders in creating a more diversified western Canadian economy that has strong, competitive and innovative businesses and communities. WD’s programs result in initiatives that strengthen innovation, business development and community economic development.

Sustainable Development as Part of Western Economic Diversification Canada

In keeping with WD’s mandate to develop and diversify the western Canadian economy, WD’s programming efforts with respect to sustainable development focus on projects that create economic benefits for Western Canada. For instance, WD continues to make investments in clean energy and water technologies in order to increase the number of western Canadian technologies brought to market.

WD’s sustainable development efforts concentrate on strategic objectives, internal operations, and management systems. By managing these activities the Department can assist in promoting environmental sustainability while delivering its mandate.

WD’s Sustainable Development Vision

The western Canadian economy is developed, diversified and sustainable.

WD’s Sustainable Development Mission Statement

WD contributes to sustainable development in Western Canada by integrating principles and practices of sustainable development with the department’s strategic objectives, operations and management systems.

Departmental Decision-Making and Sustainable Development

The principles and practices of sustainable development (SD), as outlined in the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS), are integrated into WD policies and operations and are aligned with WD’s strategic objectives. In pursuit of these objectives, the Department will foster practices that will promote SD in its internal operations and project investment activities.

Departmental management and decision making incorporates SD through several processes. In developing and implementing programs, WD ensures that environmental objectives are taken into consideration and built into the program at the planning and delivery stages, where appropriate. This includes the completion of Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEAs) for new policy, planning, and programs when the implementation of a proposal may result in important environmental effects, either positive or negative. WD has created a guideline that directs senior decision-makers in the completion of SEAs and ensures FSDS goals and targets are considered. WD is also committed to greening its operations and undertakes target setting and reporting against greening government operations targets outlined in the FSDS.

WD’s initiatives in this area are incorporated into the departments planning, tracking and reporting systems. WD’s project assessment tool allows for projects to be identified and aligned with a FSDS goal if applicable. A project’s FSDS alignment is considered during the funding decision process. SD projects are reported in the Departmental Performance Report, Client Driven Impact Surveys, and WD’s public website. Results of WD’s greening government operations targets are also reported in the Departmental Performance Report.

WD senior management’s responsibilities for integrating SD principles into the department’s policies, programs and operations are supported by the departmental SD Team. The team includes a headquarters SD Chair and SD Leads in each regional office. The team shares information and liaises with project and policy officers to inform SD decision making.

Departmental Sustainable Development Activities

WD supports activities in key business areas (program activity areas) - innovation, business development, community economic development, and policy, advocacy and coordination. The majority of these activities are delivered through the authority of the Western Diversification Program (WDP).

Organizations eligible for WDP funding include non-profit organizations such as universities and other post-secondary academic institutions, research institutes, and industry associations. Funding is delivered in coordination with contributions from the private and non-profit sectors, and other federal, provincial, and municipal agencies. This coordination promotes alignment around priorities that respond to regional needs and opportunities.

The department’s WDP activities related to the implementation of FSDS commitments are expanded below.

FSDS Implementation Strategies

1.1.32, 2.1.20 & 4.1.3 - Clean Energy & Clean Water

Through the FSDS, WD has committed to: diversify the western Canadian economy by making strategic investments in the commercialization and adoption of clean energy and clean water technologies through the department’s Innovation Program Activity.

Linkage to the departmental Program Activity Architecture (PAA)

Text Version: Linkage to the departmental Program Activity Architecture (PAA)

Chart linking WD's commitments under the FSDS to program investments within the activity of Innovation Program.

Brief description of the WD Sustainable Development Activity

WD has four key program activity areas that frame program investments which are: innovation, business development, community economic development, and policy, advocacy and coordination. The technology commercialization and adoption sub-activity is a component of WD’s innovation program activity area. Through the technology commercialization and adoption sub-activity, WD supports projects designed to increase the number of western Canadian technologies brought to market.

Explanation of the relationship between the Activity and one or more FSDS targets

WD’s investments in clean energy and clean water technologies contribute to the FSDS goals and implementation strategies of mitigating climate change (1.1.32), reducing air pollutants (2.1.22), and increasing water availability (4.1.3).

Outline of the non-financial performance measures

WD’s strategic investments in clean energy and clean water technologies are measured using the non-financial performance indicators associated with the program sub-activity of technology commercialization and adoption. The non-financial performance indicators used for all projects under this sub-activity include:

These indicators measure non-financial results achieved through technology commercialization and adoption investments in clean energy and clean water that promote the FSDS goals of mitigating climate change, reducing air pollution and increasing water availability.

Additional Links

WD is also committed to achieving the goals and targets that have been established in Theme IV of the FSDS, greening government operations. For more information on WD's commitments in this area please see the department's greening government operations Supplementary Table.

For more information about departmental priorities, strategic outcomes, expected results and WD's achievements against performance expectations and commitments please see WD's Report on Plans and Priorities and Departmental Performance Report, both of which can be accessed on WD's Departmental Plans and Reports web page.

For complete details on the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy please consult

Date modified: