Language selection


Sustainable Development

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) is a science-based department that advances the global prosperity of Canada’s natural resources. Central to this prosperity is that our natural resources are not only competitively priced, but sustainably developed. NRCan supports sustainable development through its policies and related programs, with a focus on:

  • Leading foundational science and sharing expertise to reduce climate change impact and mitigate natural disaster risks;
  • Advancing ongoing innovation and transformation;
  • Integrating sustainability and competitiveness to maintain a strong resource advantage for our industries; and,
  • Promoting strong collaboration and partnerships, both within Canada and internationally.

NRCan also supports the Government of Canada in its efforts to combat the harmful impacts of climate change, including the commitment to achieve net zero-emissions by 2050. The department’s programs and policies across the forestry, mining, and energy sectors help ensure that Canada’s natural resources are developed in a clean and sustainable way, assisting the transition to an inclusive green economy.

The pandemic has had significant impacts across all sectors of society and the economy, including across natural resources sectors. The recovery picture for these sectors is still taking shape, but it is clear that sustainable development will be all the more important in supporting a post-COVID economic and social recovery.

How we are taking action

The Federal Sustainable Development Strategy and Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy:

The 2019-2022 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) lays out the Government of Canada’s sustainable development goals, as required by the Federal Sustainable Development Act (FSDA). This Act provides the legal framework to develop and implement a FSDS that will make environmental decision-making more transparent and accountable to Parliament.

In the 2019-2022 FSDS, NRCan contributes to nine out of the thirteen long-term sustainability goals outlined by the Government of Canada. NRCan leads on the FSDS goal for Clean Energy, co-leads on the Clean Growth Goal with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), and co-leads on the Sustainably Managed Lands and Forests Goal with Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC).

NRCan’s 2020-23 Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy (DSDS) outlines how NRCan contributes to the Government’s long-term goals in the 2019-22 FSDS and also illustrates how the department supports Canada’s commitment to the United Nation’s Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As per the FSDA, NRCan updates the DSDS and reports on progress annually.

Canada’s 2030 Agenda National Strategy and Federal Implementation Plan:

Moving Forward Together – Canada’s 2030 Agenda National Strategy is led by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Unit at Employment and Social Development Canada and promotes a whole-of-society effort to achieving the SDGs. This plan supports coordinated implementation across the federal government to advance progress on the SDGs, to which NRCan contributes.

In July 2021, the SDG Unit released the Federal Implementation Plan (FIP), to further clarify the role of federal departments, annual reporting to Canadians, and opportunities for engagement. In the FIP, NRCan is the lead for SDG 7- Affordable and Clean Energy, supporting the coordination of federal advancement toward this SDG. NRCan is a contributing department to seven other SDGs.

NRCan contributes to the Canadian Indicator Framework (CIF), which measures progress on Canada’s SDG ambitions, as identified in the National Strategy. The CIF encompasses the 17 SDGs and adds 31 Canadian Ambitions, which are measured with 76 indicators.

More ways NRCan contributes to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals:

In July 2018, NRCan took an active role in the development of Canada’s first Voluntary National Review (VNR) that was presented to the High-Level Political Forum of the United Nations.  Canada’s VNR underscores the Government of Canada’s commitment to implement all 17 SDGs and the principles that underpin the 2030 Agenda.

NRCan contributes to the SDG Data Hub hosted by Statistics Canada, particularly for SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy and SDG 15- Life on Land. NRCan also contributed to the development of a series of SDG fact sheets, one for each of the 17 SDG that Statistics Canada has released as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Related Links:

Page details

Report a problem on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: