Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy: 2017 to 2020
Official title: Employment and Social Development Canada – 2017 to 2020 Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy (October 2017)
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2017 to 2020 Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy [PDF - 750 KB]
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Section 1 – Context for the departmental sustainable development strategy
The 2016 to 2019 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) presents the government of Canada’s sustainable development goals and targets, as required by the Federal Sustainable Development Act (FSDA). In keeping with the objective of the act to integrate environmental, social and economic considerations into decision-making, and make such decisions more transparent and accountable to Parliament, Employment and Social Development Canada supports reaching goals laid out in the FSDS through the activities described in this Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy (DSDS).
Section 2 – Sustainable development in Employment and Social Development Canada
The mission of Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), including the Labour Program and Service Canada, is to:
- build a stronger and more inclusive Canada
- support Canadians in helping them live productive and rewarding lives
- improve Canadians' quality of life
To that end, ESDC delivers a range of programs and services that affect Canadians throughout their lives. The Department provides seniors with basic income security, supports unemployed workers, helps students finance their post-secondary education and assists parents who are raising young children.
More than 95 percent of the Department’s expenditures go directly to benefit Canadians in one way or another. Specifically, the Department is responsible for delivering over $120 billion in benefits directly to individuals and organizations through such Government of Canada programs and services as Employment Insurance, Old Age Security, the Canada Pension Plan and the Canada Student Loans Program. The Department also provides $1.8 billion in funding to other orders of government, educators and organizations in the voluntary and private sectors.
The Labour Program contributes to social and economic well-being by fostering safe, healthy, fair and inclusive work environments and cooperative workplace relations in the federal jurisdictions. Service Canada helps citizens access ESDC's programs, as well as other Government of Canada programs and services.
ESDC’s sustainable development approach
ESDC is responsible exclusively – along with other participating federal departments and agencies – to implement the “Low Carbon Government” goal identified in the FSDS. However, beyond addressing environmental sustainability issues in its strategy, ESDC also plays a leadership role as part of a steering committee of federal departments and agencies working towards the integration of social and economic considerations into a comprehensive decision-making process where government choices are more transparent and accountable to Parliament.
Low carbon government
ESDC supports the FSDA and, more specifically, the goal and target of the 2016 to 2019 FSDS that govern carbon emissions in Canada. Despite ESDC’s extensive operational infrastructure, the Department is, however, not involved in activities improving the energy efficiency of buildings since all departmental facilities are owned and/or operated by Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC). In this context, the scope of ESDC initiatives contributing to making the Government’s operations low carbon focuses on fleet management issues, green procurement practices as well as information technology and management initiatives.
Section 3 – Commitments for Employment and Social Development Canada
|Low-carbon government FSDS target||FSDS contributing actions||Corresponding departmental actions||Contribution by each departmental action to the FSDS goal and target||Starting points where available, and your choice of performance indicators for departmental actions||Program(s) in which the departmental actions will occur|
|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.||Modernize our fleet.||
||Actions that reduce the amount of fuel consumed for fleet operation or switch to less GHG intensive sources of fuels will contribute to GHG reductions.||
|Support the transition to a low-carbon economy through green procurement.||
||Green procurement incorporates environmental considerations into purchasing decisions and is expected to motivate suppliers to green their goods, services and supply chain. GHG reductions are one area of consideration in green procurement.||
|Understand climate change impacts and build resilience.||Ensure procurement specialists and managers in procurement operations have green procurement in their performance agreements, to be applied to applicable procurements.||Factoring climate variability and change into policy, programs, and operations is one of the most important ways the government can adapt to a changing climate and is consistent with the government’s risk management approach of enhancing the protection of public assets and resources and strengthening planning and decision-making.||100% of all procurement specialists have a statement in their Performance Agreements that when buying “applicable products” that green is considered.||Internal services.|
Additional departmental sustainable development activities and initiatives
- Create an ESDC Interior Design Standard that is based off the Workplace 2.0 fit-up standards which helps to reduce our carbon footprint and “green” government buildings while incorporating the fundamental aspects of environmental sustainability and supportive work environments
- Increase the population density in office buildings and space utilization in special purpose buildings
In addition, a number of information technology and information management initiatives are considered as a means to reduce the carbon footprint of ESDC:
- Further reduction of the print devices ratio to employees
- Reduction of the standard desktop operating device in favour of more mobile units
- Use of a single 34″ monitor rather than providing everyone with two 24″ monitors
- Automation and elimination of paper-based processes
- Use of imaging capacity to further reduce paper holdings
- Expansion of video-conferencing services and e-meetings
- Increased awareness and education of staff of the cost of printing
Section 4 – Integrating sustainable development
Adopted in September 2015, the United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda) is a fifteen year global framework centred on an ambitious set of seventeen (17) sustainable development goals (SDGs) and 169 targets that are balanced across the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental. These goals will mobilize efforts – beyond the confine of the Federal and Departmental Sustainable Development Strategies – to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change while ensuring that no one is left behind.
To support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda domestically and internationally, the steering committee of federal departments and agencies is also developing options to identify the way forward for Canada. ESDC officials actively participate in this steering committee with stakeholders from Global Affairs Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada as well as Status of Women Canada and the Privy Council Office, to develop options for an integrated, whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach to implementing the 2030 Agenda.
Whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach
As a member of this steering committee, ESDC is playing a leadership role in defining Canada’s approach for successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda in an integrated, sustainable and resilient manner. However, it is still too early to determine the main initiatives that would be put forward in order to apply a 2030 Agenda lens to policies and programs as a means to encourage progress towards meeting the SDGs across all sectors such as social and economic development, labour, and employment.
Strategic environmental assessment
From a strictly environmental perspective, Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is a key analytical tool used by the federal government to support environmentally sustainable decision-making. It evaluates the environmental effects of a proposed policy, plan, or program and its alternatives, and informs strategic decision-making through a careful analysis of environmental risks and opportunities. ESDC continues to consider the environmental effects of initiatives subject to the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals.
- Preliminary Scan: An assessment to determine whether important environmental effects, either positive or negative, would result from the implementation of the proposal; and
- Detailed SEA: Constitutes a more detailed assessment of environmental impacts. It also includes strategies to mitigate the negative or enhance the positive effects of the proposal, or measures to address any possible public concerns
ESDC has developed documents to help guide staff on assessing the need for an SEA. The Strategic Environmental Assessment Decision & Approval Record includes questions to assist in determining whether an SEA is required. The supporting guide Conducting Strategic Environmental Assessments assists in developing a preliminary scan and provides guidance on how to conduct a detailed SEA if deemed necessary following the preliminary scan. These documents are used by the Department for tracking and reporting purposes and are shared with proposal writers at the beginning of any process requiring the development of a proposal to Cabinet or to a minister, in accordance with the Cabinet Directive on Strategic Environmental Assessments.
ESDC will continue to ensure that its decision-making process includes consideration for FSDS goals and targets through it SEA process. An SEA for policy, plan or program proposals includes an analysis of the impacts of the given proposal on the environment, including FSDS goals and targets.
Public statements on the results of ESDC’s assessments are made available when an initiative that has undergone a detailed SEA is announced on its public website. 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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