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NRCan’s Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy, final progress report for the 2016 – 2017 DRR

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

The 2013–16 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) presents the Government of Canada’s sustainable development goals and targets, as required by the Federal Sustainable Development Act. In keeping with the objectives of the Act to make environmental decision-making more transparent and to increase accountability to Parliament, Natural Resources Canada supports the implementation of the FSDS through the activities described in this supplementary information table.

  1. Our Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy

This Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy describes Natural Resources Canada’s implementation strategies and results in support of Theme I: Addressing Climate Change and Air Quality, Theme II: Maintaining Water Quality and Availability, Theme III: Protecting Nature and Canadians, and Theme IV: Shrinking the Environmental Footprint – Beginning with Government. The 2016-17 report presents a high-level overview of the department’s results and is the final report under the 2013–16 FSDS. Last year’s report is available on the departmental website.

  1. Departmental performance highlights for Themes I-III

Theme I: addressing climate change and air quality
Under Theme I: addressing climate change and air quality, Natural Resources Canada contributed to the 2013–16 FSDS through 15 implementation strategies for the FSDS Goal 1 – Climate  Change.

Implementation Strategies

FSDS Goal 1: Climate change
In order to mitigate the effects of climate change, reduce greenhouse gas emission levels and adapt to unavoidable impacts. FSDS Target 1.1: Climate change mitigation
Relative to 2005 emission levels, reduce Canada's total GHG emissions 17% by 2020.
FSDS target sub-headings NRCan implementation strategy 2016-17 results
Clean Technology and Industry – Enabling Capacity 1.1.7: Work with industry stakeholders and technology developers to reduce the environmental footprint and impacts of the mining industry.
  • In collaboration with ECCC, NRCan continues to assess the ecotoxicity of several rare earth elements.
  • NRCan completed test work to determine likely sources of hexavalent chromium (a toxic form of chromium) from processing of the Ring of Fire region (Ontario) chromite ores.
Clean Transportation – Enabling Capacity 1.1.23: Support fuel producers’ capacity to produce renewable alternatives to gasoline and diesel.
  • The production capacity of biofuels has increased steadily since 2007. In 2016-17, NRCan programs contributed to achieving production of 106 million litres of ethanol and 12 million litres of biodiesel. The level of biofuels production has risen to meet Canadian and US mandates for renewable content in the fuel pool. Increased production of renewable fuels diversifies the energy mix in Canada.
Clean Transportation – Enabling Capacity 1.1.25: Develop advanced materials technologies for use in new energy-efficient vehicle design, with a view of reducing the environmental impacts in transportation.
  • NRCan completed work on the development of fatigue models for magnesium alloys that have internal casting defects for use in the automotive industry. Such models are used to better predict part failure, giving companies the necessary information to design automotive parts made from magnesium alloys. This is an important contribution to vehicle lightweighting and fuel efficiency since magnesium is four times lighter than steel.
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy – Enabling Capacity 1.1.40: Work with the public and federal government decision makers to ensure that they have access to information that supports decisions on climate change and clean energy issues.
  • NRCan provided analysis and advice to support decision-making on climate change and energy issues, including supporting senior management in the development of NRCan actions under the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy – Enabling Capacity 1.1.41: Promote the adoption of energy-efficient products and practices that contribute to the reduction of GHG emissions.
  • Energy efficiency measures account for one third of the emissions reductions in the Pan-Canadian Framework. Energy efficiency initiatives are a reliable way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lower costs for Canadians and businesses, promote energy conservation, and provide stimulus to the economy.
  • ecoEnergy efficiency program:

    In 2016-2017, NRCan built on the successful ecoEnergy efficiency program to advance energy efficiency by continuing to:
    • Set minimum energy performance standards;
    • Inform choices through labelling, benchmarking, and social innovation; and
    • Pull the market forward with premium standards.
  • Energy Efficiency Regulations:

    In 2016-2017, compliance testing was conducted on three regulated energy-using product categories:  electric water heaters, oil-fired furnaces and traffic & pedestrian signals to monitor compliance of regulated products in the marketplace.  All products tested met the requirements of the Energy Efficiency Regulations.  

    Two market place audits were also conducted on general service lamps and electric motors. While the reports identified some instances of non-compliance with product labelling and reporting, the studies confirmed that at least 95% of product models assessed are compliant. 
  • Data Collection and Analysis:

    In collaboration with Statistics Canada, NRCan collected data for: the Survey of Industrial Consumption of Energy; the Survey of Household Energy Use; the Survey of Commercial and Institutional Energy Use; and, the Canadian Vehicle Use Survey with Transport Canada. In partnership with Environment and Climate Change Canada, NRCan was responsible for sponsoring and producing the Report on Energy Supply and Demand or the Energy Balances. 
  • ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager:

    NRCan facilitated the registration of over 3000 buildings in the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager benchmarking tool in 2016-17.  As of March 31, 2017, the tool captured over 17,400 buildings representing almost 200 million m2 (or 23%) of commercial floor space in Canada.
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy – Enabling Capacity 1.1.42: Support Science & Technology of innovative solutions for environmental challenges in the energy sector, with a view of reducing the environmental impacts and producing and using energy in a cleaner and more efficient way.
  • NRCan supported invention and prototype testing of three-dimensional rock sizer to increase grinding mill energy efficiency.
  • NRCan developed of an advanced software tool for managing and optimizing the complex mine ventilation systems in order to save energy and reduce operating costs.
  • NRCan is leading a year-long national face-to-face and online engagement exercise to inform federal priorities for advancing clean technology in Canada’s natural resource sectors.
  • NRCan is developing options with other departments to address the most pressing environmental issues and seize economic opportunities offered by clean technology development and use in the natural resource sectors.
  • Undertook preparatory work for a year-long national face-to-face and online engagement exercise to informed federal priorities for advancing clean technology in Canada’s natural resource sectors.
  • Undertook preparatory work for an interdepartmental initiative to address the most pressing environmental issues and seize economic opportunities offered by clean technology development and use in the natural resource sectors.
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy – Enabling Capacity 1.1.43: Develop new material technologies in clean power generation, safe and reliable energy distribution and energy efficient end-use for use in industry.
  • NRCan carried out simulations on small, laboratory-scale fracture specimens of a zirconium pressure tube material in collaboration with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC).  Since these tubes are the main pressure boundary in CANDU nuclear reactors, it is important to fully understand materials behaviour. NRCan’s simulations provided an enhanced understanding of how the material performs under stress, which will support improved safety standards for CANDU reactors, in turn supporting the continued and safe production of a non-emitting power source.
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy – Enabling Capacity 1.1.44: Develop new material technologies to transport fossil fuels more efficiently, with a view of reducing the environmental impacts from energy transportation.
  • NRCan’s research in pipeline safety has produced breakthrough findings: commonly used pipeline coatings are shielding the cathodic protection current suggesting that pipelines could be vulnerable to external corrosion and cracking unless appropriate mitigation measures are put in place. This new information is highly significant for ensuring pipeline safety and will also spur new innovations in the coating industry and research community.
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy – Enabling Capacity 1.1.46: Promote the production of clean renewable electricity.
  • NRCan continued progress towards development of a policy framework for administering marine renewable energy projects in the federal offshore.
    • In 2016-17, NRCan engaged federal departments, provinces, Indigenous peoples and key stakeholders, including industry and non-governmental organizations.
  • NRCan continued the implementation of the ecoENERGY for Renewable Power program and the Wind Power Production Incentive.
    • In 2016-17, renewable electricity produced from projects supported to date by these programs was 12.3 TWh.
International Work on Clime Change – Enabling Capacity 1.1.50: Work to implement Canada's commitments concluded in international climate change negotiations such as mitigation targets and actions; short-and long-term financing; mechanisms for technology and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation; adaptation actions; and provisions for transparency and accountability of climate change actions.
  • Through the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, NRCan and Global Affairs Canada (GAC) continued to support tropical and subtropical developing countries in:
    • Adopting national REDD+ strategies (countries' efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and foster conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks);
    • Developing reference emission levels;
    • Designing measurement, reporting, and verification systems; and setting up REDD+ national management arrangements, including proper environmental and social safeguards.
  • Support was also provided for the development of 19 diverse and ambitious large-scale emissions reduction programs, each of which reflecting the unique drivers of deforestation, institutional challenges, and socioeconomic circumstances of the subnational areas it is targeting.
  • Together with GAC, NRCan contributed to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) consultations on REDD+ results-based payments – these consultations were co-led by Canada’s GCF Board member.
  • In June 2016, NRCan participated in the Oslo REDD Exchange hosted by the Norwegian government. Attended by 511 participants from 47 countries, the conference took stock of REDD+ implementation around the world and how the international community could provide support in the post-Paris Agreement context.
International Work on Climate Change – Enabling Capacity 1.1.53: Ensure that Canada’s international climate change objectives related to energy and clean technology are advanced in international meetings (e.g. Canada-US Clean Energy Dialogue, UNFCCC [United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change], Clean Energy Ministerial).
  • NRCan officials advanced Canada’s clean energy and climate change goals through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and other international fora:
    • Supported the achievement of a clear commitment by all countries to advance the implementation of the Paris Agreement, including through various streams of technical work; and
    • Advanced collaborative work on clean energy technologies through the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) by joining four additional clean energy initiatives under this forum.
International Work on Clime Change – Advancing Knowledge and Communication 1.1.57: Analyze key forest carbon options for climate change mitigation, ensure that Canada’s international climate change objectives related to forests are advanced in international meetings, and continue to develop Canada’s National Forest Carbon Monitoring, Accounting and Reporting System to provide annual forest-related greenhouse gas inventory estimates.
  • NRCan continued its analysis of forest-related mitigation potential and policy options, including in support of the December 2016 First Minister’s Meeting on Climate Change, which resulted in the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.
  • In international climate negotiations, Canada’s forest-related objectives were advanced under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in May and November negotiating sessions. These sessions related in particular to discussion on the rules for implementation of the 2015 Paris Agreement.
  • NRCan continued to enhance and use Canada's National Forest Carbon Monitoring, Accounting and Reporting System to provide updated forest-related estimates for inclusion in Canada’s 2017 GHG National Inventory Report to meet requirements of the UNFCCC. This included an improved approach for estimating anthropogenic emissions and removals in managed forests that separates and excludes the emissions and removals in forests dominated by natural disturbances like wildfire and significant insect infestations.
FSDS Target 1.2: Climate change adaptation
Facilitate reduced vulnerability of individuals, communities, regions and economic sectors to the impacts of climate change through the development and provision of information and tools.
FSDS target sub-headings NRCan implementation strategy 2016-17 results
Climate Change Adoptation –Enabling Capacity 1.2.4: Support adaptation by enabling the integrated assessment of the implications of climate change for Canada’s forest sector.
  • In the context of maintaining a competitive forest sector, NRCaninitiated andsupported science, which led to climate change indicators and tools, the latter ones focusing on facilitating the adaptation process of the Canadian forest sector to climate change.
  • Following the completion of the national integrated assessment on current and projected climate change impacts on Canada’s forests, NRCan held meetings with stakeholders to help develop regional integrated assessments. These assessments should enable adaptation practises for the forest sector by focusing on smaller geographical regions characterized by different challenges and opportunities.
Climate Change Adoptation – Advancing Knowledge and Communication 1.2.11:  Work with governments and communities in the North (north of 60° latitude) to ensure that they have information on adaptation measures, including for resource development and infrastructure.
  • NRCan delivered new information about permafrost distribution and change to other levels of government and communities, mainly through meetings, webinars and published reports. This new information is to support adaptation in northern communities.

Theme II: Maintaining water quality and availability

Under Theme II: Maintaining water quality and availability, Natural Resources Canada contributed to the 2013–16 FSDS through one implementation strategy under Goal 3 - Water Quality and Water Availability.

Implementation Strategies

FSDS Goal 3: Water quality and water availability
Protect and enhance water so that it is clean, safe and secure for all Canadians and supports healthy ecosystems. FSDS Target 3.3: Great Lakes – Canadian areas of concern
Take federal actions to restore beneficial usesFootnote1 for delisting five Canadian Areas of Concern and to reduce the number of impaired beneficial uses in the remaining Areas of Concern by 25% by 2018.
FSDS target sub-headings NRCan implementation strategy 2016-17 results
Water Resource Management – Advancing Knowledge and Communication 3.12.6 Provide governments and industry with access to necessary groundwater geoscience information.
  • NRCan’s research in groundwater geoscience enabled further development of a data standard called GWML2 (for data modelling and data exchange format) that is officially accepted as an International Standard by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), and is being considered by the World Meteorological Organization. 
  • NRCan continued to upload groundwater data into GIN (Groundwater Information Network) by adding monitoring of data from Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Nova Scotia, and by adding data supporting 3D regional hydrogeological models from 10 locations in Canada.
  • NRCan initiated a contract with British Columbia and New Brunswick to transfer groundwater knowledge and signed a memorandum of understanding with British Columbia to continue the collaboration on aquifer characterization.

Theme III: Protecting nature and Canadians

Under Theme III: Protecting nature and Canadians, Natural Resources Canada contributed to the 2013–16 FSDS through three implementation strategies for the following two goals: Goal 4 – Conserving and restoring ecosystems, wildlife and habitat, and protecting Canadians; and Goal 5 – Biological Resources.

Department-led target

The following table shows the FSDS target led by NRCan, the associated FSDS goal, performance indicator and performance results.

FSDS goal FSDS target FSDS performance indicator FSDS performance status
Goal 5: Biological Resources
Efficient economic and ecological use of resources – Production and consumption of biological resources are sustainable
Stay within the upper limit of the supply line Sustainability of Timber Harvest By virtue of NRCan’s integration, creation and synthesis of knowledge, the sector determined attributes of sustainable forest management from the standpoint of existing biological resources and drivers such as climate change.  This includes forest productivity and forest health considerations.

As per the State of Forests Report for 2016, the total harvest in 2015 (at this time the most recent data we have) has been well below the total sustainable wood supply. This trend has been consistent for several years now and is expected to continue.

Implementation Strategies

FSDS Goal 4: Conserving and restoring ecosystems, wildlife and habitat, and protecting Canadians
Resilient ecosystems with healthy wildlife populations so Canadians can enjoy benefits from natural spaces, resources and ecological services for generations to come. FSDS Target 4.6: Invasive alien species
By 2020, pathways of invasive alien species introductions are identified, and risk-based intervention or management plans are in place for priority pathways and species.
FSDS target sub-headings NRCan implementation strategy 2016-17 results
Invasive Alien Species – Enabling Capacity 4.6.3: Help governments, agencies and industry manage risks to natural resource sectors, infrastructure and human health by providing scientific knowledge on forest disturbances, including pests.
  • NRCan expanded the deployment of an experimental biological control program for the emerald ash borer, which represents a long-term management strategy to mitigate the negative impact of this invasive pest on ash trees across Canada.
  • NRCan worked closely with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency by providing technical data and analyses supporting the resolution of forest phytosanitary issues with Canada’s trading partners, such as Malaysia, resulting in facilitated market access for Canadian forest products.
  • NRCan contributed scientific advice to a vulnerability assessment of forest pest monitoring policies and practices in Canada under climate change, conducted under the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers. The assessment is informing the forest sector adaptation to climate-related changes to disturbances by invasive alien species and associated risks to Canadian forests.
FSDS Target 4.7: Environmental Disasters, Incidents and Emergencies
Environmental disasters, incidents and emergencies are prevented or their impacts mitigated.
FSDS target sub-headings NRCan implementation strategy 2016-17 results
Environmental Disasters, Incidents and Emergencies – Advancing Knowledge and Communication- Advancing Knowledge and Communication 4.7.4: In accordance with mandated responsibilities, provide environmental and/or other information to the reduce risk of, and advice in response to, the occurrence of events such as polluting incidents, wildlife disease events or severe weather and other significant hydro-meteorological events as applicable.  
  • Ensure other levels of government, private sector and professional organizations involved in emergency management in Canada have access to accurate hazard information and hazard mitigation knowledge products for decision-making (e.g. in the event of landslides, tsunamis, and radiological and nuclear incidents).
  • The technology used in the National Seismograph Network is being refreshed, including through the procurement and installation of modern seismometers and digitizers, which replaces obsolete equipment, to ensure robust monitoring and rapid alerting for earthquakes in Canada.
  • NRCan collaborated with emergency management stakeholders to simulate a credible earthquake event and associated impacts and consequences for a cross-border exercise in British Columbia. Department worked with Public Safety Canada to develop guidance risk assessment tools to assist first responders in the event of an earthquake. and/or documents for natural hazard risk assessment.
  • The Oil Spill Response Science (OSRS) program is a $5M contribution program to support research, development and demonstration (RD&D) projects, led by industry and other stakeholders, such as universities, on new and improved technologies and processes for the recovery of heavy oil products, spilled in marine environments. This program was in its second of four years (2015-19).  In 2016-17, this program completed calls for proposals, leading to the selection of eight research and development projects.
  • Contributing to increased understanding of pipeline safety and integrity through materials research and development leading to the development of codes and standards for the safe design, construction, operation and maintenance of oil and gas pipelines.
FSDS Goal 5:Biological resources
Efficient economic and ecological use of resources – Production and consumption of biological resources are sustainable. FSDS Target 5.3: Sustainable Forest Management
Contribute to the proposed national target that by 2020, continued progress is made on the sustainable management of Canada's forests.
FSDS target sub-headings NRCan implementation strategy 2016-17 results
Sustainable Forest Management – Advancing Knowledge and Communication 5.3.1: Provide scientific knowledge of Canada’s forest ecosystems to industry and non-governmental organizations, with the view of enabling the establishment of practices to mitigate the environmental impact of natural resource development.
  • NRCan continued to provide the scientific knowledge of Canada’s forest ecosystems to inform policy and supports decision-making to ensure economic competitiveness while maintaining forest integrity and Canada’s environmental reputation as a world leader in sustainable forest management. 
  • NRCan provided authoritative information on the state of Canada’s forests for reporting under Canada’s obligations to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). 
  • NRCan continued to develop ecologically-based process-driven models to increase our ability to understand, mitigate, adapt, and respond to risk and support decision making.  Models also address the distribution, abundance and population trends (including risk to populations) of various species in the context of natural forest dynamics, forest management/forest practises and climate change.  Other modelling work included the continued development and application of the Carbon Budget Model which is now being used or evaluated elsewhere in the world for forest carbon tracking.

Theme IV: Shrinking the environmental footprint with government

Under Theme IV, NRCan contributed to the 2013–16 FSDS through 13 performance indicators for the following goals: Goal 6: GHG emissions and energy; Goal 7: Waste and asset management; and Goal 8: Water management.

FSDS Goal 6: GHG emissions and energy
Reduce the carbon footprint and energy consumption of federal operations. FSDS Target 6.1: GHG emissions reduction
The Government of Canada will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its buildings and fleets by 17% below 2005 levels by 2020.
Performance indicator 2016-17 results
Departmental GHG emission reductions from building and fleets relative to fiscal year 2005–06, expressed as a percentage.
  • GHG emissions in fiscal year 2005-06: 34.11 kilotonnes*
  • GHG emissions in fiscal year 2016-17: 27.65 kilotonnes*
    • Percentage change in GHG emissions from 2005-06 to 2016-17: 19% decrease
      * Emissions calculated using the fixed emission factor method supported by ECCC, explaining the difference in numbers provided in the 2016-17 DSDS.
FSDS Goal 7: Waste and asset management
Reduce waste generated and minimize the environmental impacts of assets throughout their life cycle. FSDS Target 7.1: Real property environmental performance
As of April 1, 2014, and pursuant to departmental Real Property Sustainability Frameworks, an industry recognized level of high environmental performance will be achieved in Government of Canada real property projects and operations.
Performance indicator 2016-17 results
Real Property Sustainability Framework in place to improve the management of energy, waste and water in departmental real property assets by March 31, 2015.
  • The target was achieved in 2014-15.
Total number of existing Crown-owned buildings (over 1000 m2) and new lease or lease renewal projects (over 1000 m2) where the Crown is the major lessee, assessed for environmental performance using an industry-recognized assessment tool, and associated floor space (m2).
  • NRCan has 22 Crown-owned buildings representing 138,828 m2.
  • Target met. All 22 buildings were assessed using BOMA BESt by March 2015.
Total number of existing Crown-owned buildings, new construction, build-to-lease projects and major renovation projects achieving an industry recognized level of high environmental performance, and associated floor space (m2).
  • NRCan has 22 Crown-owned buildings representing 138,828 m2.
  • N/A for 2016-17. There were no new constructions, build-to-lease projects or major renovation projects in 2016-17.
  • NRCan aims to achieve to following environmental performance level:
    • For existing Crown-owned buildings: BOMA BESt, with the exception of three buildings (two located at the Booth Street Complex and one in Val d’Or (Quebec)); Green Globes Fit-up, 3 globes;
    • For leases: Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) impact estimator;
    • For new constructions: Athena LCA & Green Globes, 3 globes.
Number of fit-up and refit projects achieving an industry-recognized level of high-environmental performance.
  • NRCan aims to meet the Green Globes Fit-up, 3 globes level, for fit-up and refit projects.
  • N/A for 2016-17. There were no fit-up and refit projects in 2016-17.
FSDS Target 7.2: Green procurement
As of April 1, 2014, the Government of Canada will continue to take action to embed environmental considerations into public procurement, in accordance with the federal Policy on Green Procurement.
Performance indicator 2016-17 results
Departmental approach to further the implementation of the Policy on Green Procurement in place.
  • NRCan has made green procurement training mandatory to get an acquisition card.
  • NRCan’s Request for Proposal Templates require bidders to submit their proposal in accordance with the standards outlined in the Policy on Green Procurement;
  • NRCan has made allowances for bidders to submit their bids electronically to reduce paper consumption
Number and percentage of specialists in procurement and/or material management who have completed the Canada School of Public Service Procurement course or equivalent, in 2016-17.
  • 94% of procurement specialists (33 out of 35) had completed the course as of March 31, 2017.
Number and percentage of managers and functional heads of procurement and materiel whose performance evaluation includes support and contribution toward green procurement, in 2016-17.
  • 100% of managers and functional heads of procurement (9 out of 9) have this targeted contribution in their performance management agreement.
Departmental green procurement targets
Performance indicator 2016-17 results
Copy paper
By March 31, 2017, 90% of copy paper will contain a minimum of 30% recycled content and be certified to a recognized environmental standard to reduce the environmental impact of its production.
  • Target met.
  • 92% of copy paper purchased in 2016-17 had the minimum 30% recycled content.
Business travel
By March 31, 2021, GHG emissions from business-related travel will be reduced by 25% relative to 2008-09.
  • Emission associated with business travel in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in the year are provided by Public Services and Procurement Canada.
  • As per preliminary information reports, NRCan is on track to meet target.
Office furniture
By March 31, 2017, 70% of office furniture purchases will include criteria to reduce the environmental impact associated with the production, acquisition, use and/or disposal of these.
  • 64% of office furniture purchases include criteria to reduce the environmental impact associated with the production, acquisition, use and/or disposal of these.
FSDS Goal 8: Water management
Improve water management in federal operations. FSDS Target 8.1: Water management
As of April 1, 2014, the Government of Canada will take further action to improve water management within its real property portfolio.
Performance indicator 2016-17 results
Approach to improving water management included in Real Property Sustainability Framework by March 31, 2015.
  • Target met. The Framework has been developed and implemented as of March 31, 2015.
Amount and percentage of floor space in buildings over 1000 m2 that includes water metering, in fiscal year 2015-16 (where feasible).
  • Total existing Crown–owned buildings surface: 361,486 m2
  • Percentage of floor space with water metering: 95%
  1. Report on Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)

During the 2016–17 reporting cycle, NRCan considered the environmental effects of initiatives subject to the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals (the Cabinet Directive) and its guidelines as part of its decision-making processes. NRCan uses a tri-level process for completing SEAs, as outlined on the Department’s SEA webpage.

In 2016-17, NRCan applied the Cabinet Directive and its guidelines to all (100%) NRCan-led proposals (budget proposals, memoranda to Cabinet, Treasury Board submissions and regulatory packages) subject to NRCan’s SEA process.

In addition, the impacts of proposals on 2013-16 FSDS themes, goals and targets were taken into account in each level of SEA. Of the approved proposals subject to NRCan’s SEA process, 53% of departmental initiatives were found to positively contribute, directly or indirectly, to one or more of the four FSDS themes, most commonly target 1.1 "Climate change mitigation".

NRCan also continued to collaborate with an interdepartmental network of SEA practitioners, including sharing its tools, guidance and practices with interested federal partners.

Sustainable Development and NRCan’s Mandate

Sustainable development is central to the mandate of NRCan and essential to the future of the natural resources sector. NRCan is charged with the federal responsibility for promoting the sustainable development of Canada’s energy resources, minerals and metals, and forests, and for providing the geographical and geological information base that supports decisions about Canada’s land-based and offshore resources. The Department of Natural Resources Act states that “in exercising the powers and performing the duties and functions assigned to the Minister ... the Minister shall have regard to the sustainable development of Canada’s natural resources and the integrated management thereof.”

The Department is also responsible for negotiating Science and Technology agreements with partners, and addressing market-access questions. It works with a variety of partners – governments, industry, academia, non-government organizations and individual Canadians – to ensure that sustainable development principles are integrated not only here in Canada, but also around the world. The work that NRCan conducts in these areas is captured under Strategic Outcome 2 (natural resource sectors and consumers are environmentally responsible).

Finally, recognizing linkages with its responsibilities related to regulations and economic development, NRCan supports the Government of Canada with the goal to ensure that Canada’s resource sector remains a source of jobs, prosperity, and opportunity within the context of a world that values sustainable practices and low carbon processes. NRCan helps streamline the review process for major resource projects, while strengthening environmental protection and enhancing consultations with Canada’s Indigenous Peoples in the project review and development process.  

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