Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy 2020 to 2023

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List of abbreviations
CSPS
Canada School of Public Service
DSDS
Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy
ESDC
Employment and Social Development Canada
FSDA
Federal Sustainable Development Act
FSDS
Federal Sustainable Development Strategy
GHG
Greenhouse Gas
MS
Microsoft
PSPC
Public Service and Procurement Canada
SDG
Sustainable Development Goal
SEA
Strategic Environmental Assessment
SOSA
Standing Offers and Supply Arrangements
SUV
Sport Utility Vehicle
TBS
Treasury Board Secretariat
ZEV
Zero emission vehicle
2030 Agenda
United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
ktCO2e
Kiloton of carbon dioxide equivalent

1. Introduction to the Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) supports the sustainable development objectives articulated in the 2019 to 2022 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda). The FSDS sets out the Government of Canada sustainable development priorities. It establishes goals and targets, and identifies actions to achieve them. Actions to implement the FSDS also support the environmentally-focused Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the 2030 AgendaFootnote 1.

Federal Sustainable Development Strategy

The 2019 to 2022 FSDS presents the Government of Canada’s goals and targets for sustainable development. Putting goals and targets in place is required by the Federal Sustainable Development Act (FSDA). The Act helps guide the development of the federal Government’s strategy. This Act is also in place to make sure that the government’s strategy related to the environment is transparent, and that government is held accountable to Parliament for its actions. ESDC supports the goals of the FSDS through initiatives described in this Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy (DSDS).

2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

ESDC is the lead department responsible for the coordination of the country’s implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which Canada and all other 192 United Nations Member States adopted in September 2015.Footnote 2 Canada’s approach to implementing the 2030 Agenda includes working with multiple stakeholders at once. It also includes multiple initiatives with equal consideration of social, economic, and environmental factors. The approach is centered on the commitment to leave no one behind and it also focuses on 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)Footnote 3 that aim to address current and future social, economic and environmental challenges.

The 17 SDGs recognize that ending poverty must go hand in hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality and spur economic growth. These strategies must also aim to tackle climate change and must work to protect and preserve the environment. The department’s DSDS supports ESDC’s contribution to environmental sustainability and the 2030 Agenda.

2. Sustainable development vision and context for Employment and Social Development Canada

Sustainable development vision

ESDC's vision for sustainable development is to support the improvement of Canadians’ social, economic, and environmental well-being through policies, services and operations that contribute to:

ESDC’s management team and employees will demonstrate leadership on sustainable development by striving to:

Employment and Social Development Canada’s context

The department delivers a wide range of programs and services that support Canadians throughout their lives. The department is responsible for distributing over $140 billion in benefits to individuals and organizations through Government of Canada programs and services. Examples of programs and services are: Employment Insurance, Old Age Security, the Canada Pension Plan and the Canada Student Loans Program. Service Canada provides government services and information online, by phone, by mail, and in person to millions of Canadians each year.Footnote 4

ESDC’s operations contribute directly to the Greening Government goal of the 2019 to 2022 FSDS. The goal is to reduce the carbon footprint of government operations. More specifically, the target is to reduce overall Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by 80% by 2050, compared to 2005 levels.

Until now, ESDC has put in place initiatives to support the Greening Government goal of the FSDS. These have already reduced the department’s GHG emissions by 79% from 2005 levels. To further reduce its GHG emission and its overall environmental footprint, ESDC will explore new initiatives that cover:

Section 3 includes ESDC’s commitments to support the FSDS Greening Government goal.

ESDC is also taking action to offset its GHG emissions. As a first pilot, the Department implemented a tree planting initiative to minimize the environmental impacts for real property projects in British Columbia. ESDC partnered with Trees Canada to plant 5,000 Red Cedar and Douglas Fir seedlings on First Nations land. As a result, up to 25,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions will be sequestered.

COVID-19 has significantly affected the department’s operating context, including the way in which the Government of Canada delivers programs and services. In response to this health crisis, ESDC led the rapid creation and delivery of social and economic programs to support Canadians in these difficult times. The Department also expanded and created more ways to digitally deliver services to Canadians. The increased availability of online applications means that, in some circumstances, Canadians do not have to visit Service Canada offices. Online applications also reduce paper consumption and ESDC’s carbon footprint associated with the delivery of documents. While the department will continue to have in-person service, the ability for Canadians to choose how they interact with the department should sustain some of the positive environmental impacts associated with changes to service delivery made during the pandemic.

The department also adopted new technologies and ways of working. The department has adjusted its operations, including by encouraging widespread teleworking, enabling electronic signatures, and increasing the use of virtual meeting tools. The use of these tools has shifted the department away from the use of paper and reduced the carbon footprint associated with daily employee commutes and occasional travel outside the office. The department’s operational responses to COVID-19 have resulted in more sustainable business practices with positive environmental impacts that are expected to be largely sustained into the future. ESDC will also go further and build off these positive changes to make the way its works for and serves Canadians even more sustainable in the future.

Section 4 presents ESDC’s approach to make its operations greener. This section also outlines how ESDC plans to include broader sustainable development considerations into its policy, services, and operational decisions.

3. Commitments for Employment and Social Development Canada

Greening Government Goal: The Government of Canada will transition to low carbon, climate resilient and green operations.

Greening Government Target 1

Reduce greenhouse gas emissions from federal operations by 40% below 2005 levels by 2030 (with an aspiration to achieve this target by 2025) and by 80% below 2005 levels by 2050 (with an aspiration to be carbon neutral).

FSDS contributing action 1.3

Fleet management will be optimized including by applying telematics to collect and analyze vehicle usage data on vehicles scheduled to be replaced.

Corresponding departmental action 1.3.1

Track fuel consumption of the Department’s fleet.

  • Contribution by each departmental action to the FSDS goal and target
    Improve overall fuel consumption, year to year, for the fleet compared to the baseline
    • Starting point, performance indicator and target
      Percentage (%) change in fuel consumption from the baseline Year 2016 to 2017 (142,010 litres)
  • Contribution by each departmental action to the FSDS goal and target
    Percentage (%) change in GHG emissions from fleet from fiscal year 2005 to 2006 to current reporting fiscal year = [1-Y/X] %
    • Starting point, performance indicator and target
      Percentage (%) change in GHG emissions from fleet from baseline year fiscal year 2005 to 2006 (1.44 ktCO2e)
  • Program where department actions will occur
    Internal Services

Corresponding departmental action 1.3.2

Purchase fuel-efficient and hybrid-electric vehicles.

  • Contribution by each departmental action to the FSDS goal and target
    Chose hybrid vehicle option where feasible when replacing existing fleet
    • Starting point, performance indicator and target
      Percentage (%) change in hybrid vehicles in fleet from baseline year 2013 (11%)
  • Program where department action will occur
    Internal Services

Corresponding departmental action 1.3.3

Ensure justifications are present when buying a Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV), rather than the standard sedans.

  • Contribution by each departmental action to the FSDS goal and target
    Ensure all new SUV purchases are justified in annual fleet plan
    • Starting point, performance indicators and targets
      Number of requests vs number of approved purchases
  • Programs where department action will occur
    Internal Services

Corresponding departmental action 1.3.4

Add Telematics technology to fleet to assist in emissions reduction and to promote behavior change in fleet users.

  • Contribution by each departmental action to the FSDS goal and target
    Add telematics technology to 5% of fleet by 2023 and use data to promote behaviour change in fleet users

    • Starting point, performance indicators and targets
      • Percentage (%) change in telematics devices added to fleet
      • 5% increase in telematics technology in fleet by 2023
  • Program where department action will occur
    Internal Services

Corresponding departmental action 1.3.5

Support GHG emissions reductions goals by continuing to optimize departmental fleet.

  • Contribution by each departmental action to the FSDS goal and target
    Greening government operations by reducing GHG emissions

    • Starting point, performance indicators and targets
      • GHG emissions from fleet in fiscal year 2005 to 2006 (base year): = 1.44 ktCO2e
      • GHG emissions from fleet in current reporting fiscal year 2019 to 2020 = 0.297 ktCO2e
      • Percentage (%) change in GHG emissions from fleet from fiscal year 2005 to 2006 to current reporting fiscal year = 79.38%
  • Program where department action will occur
    Internal Services
Greening Government Target 6

Our administrative fleet will be comprised of at least 80% zero-emission vehicles by 2030.

FSDS contributing action 6.1

Fleet management will be optimized including by applying telematics to collect and analyze vehicle usage data on vehicles scheduled to be replaced.

Corresponding departmental action 6.1.1

Purchase fuel-efficient and hybrid-electric vehicles.

  • Contribution by each departmental action to the FSDS goal and target
    As conventional vehicles are replaced over their lifetimes with Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV), and/or the size of the fleet is reduced, a greater proportion of the fleet will be ZEV

    • Starting point, performance indicators and targets
      Baseline will be number of vehicles in the administrative fleet in year X. The following indicators may be used for reporting against this Contributing Action:
      • total number of vehicles in administrative fleet (Baseline year: 2013 = 226)
  • Programs where department actions will occur
    Internal Services

Corresponding departmental action 6.1.2

Ensure Director-level justifications are present when buying SUVs, rather than the standard sedans.

  • Contribution by each departmental action to the FSDS goal and target
    As conventional vehicles are replaced over their lifetimes with ZEVs, and/or the size of the fleet is reduced, a greater proportion of the fleet will be ZEV

    • Starting point, performance indicators and targets
      Baseline will be number of vehicles in the administrative fleet in year X. The following indicators may be used for reporting against this Contributing Action:
      • percentage of change in hybrid vehicles in fleet from baseline year 2013 (11%)
  • Programs where department actions will occur
    Internal Services

Corresponding departmental action 6.1.3

Add Telematics technology to fleet to assist in emissions reduction and to promote behavior changes (if required) in fleet users.

  • Contribution by each departmental action to the FSDS goal and target
    As conventional vehicles are replaced over their lifetimes with ZEVs, and/or the size of the fleet is reduced, a greater proportion of the fleet will be ZEV

    • Starting point, performance indicators and targets
      Baseline will be number of vehicles in the administrative fleet in year X. The following indicators may be used for reporting against this Contributing Action:
      • number of requests vs number of approved of vehicles logged via telematics
  • Programs where department actions will occur
    Internal Services
Greening Government Target 7

By 2022, departments have developed measures to reduce climate change risks to assets, services and operations.

FSDS contributing action 7.1

Increase training and support on assessing climate change impacts, undertaking climate change risk assessments and developing adaptation actions to public service employees. Facilitate sharing of best practices and lessons learned.

Corresponding departmental action 7.1.1

By 2021, take action to understand the climate change impacts that could potentially affect federal assets, services and operations across the country.

  • Contribution by each departmental action to the FSDS goal and target
    Incorporating climate change factors into departmental risk and business assessments, and planning and simulation exercise activities contributes to mitigate the impacts from climate change on the Department’s services and benefits delivered to Canadians

    • Starting point, performance indicators and targets
      Starting point:

      • ESDC has business impact assessments and business continuity plans in place for all critical services
      • climate change factors are considered as part of departmental risk assessments
      • the department has been building a strong culture of simulation exercising which incorporates climate change-related events

      Performance indicators, targets:

      • incorporate climate change-related factors in Business Impact assessments and Business Continuity Plans for 2020 to 2021
      • implement mass notification tools
      • implement measures by 2021 to 2022 to reduce the risks of localised climate change events affecting service delivery by: reducing building footprint; and creating a geographically-distributed and technologically-enabled workforce

  • Programs where department actions will occur
    Internal Services
Greening Government Target 9

Actions that support the Greening Government Goal but do not directly support a FSDS target.

FSDS contributing action 9.3

Departments will use environmental criteria to reduce the environmental impact and ensure best value in government procurement decisions.

Corresponding departmental action 9.3.1

Green procurement incorporates environmental considerations into purchasing decisions and is expected to motivate suppliers to green their goods, services and supply chain.

  • Contribution by each departmental action to the FSDS goal and target Green procurement incorporates environmental considerations into purchasing decisions and is expected to motivate suppliers to reduce the environmental impact of the goods and services they deliver, and their supply chains
    • Starting point, performance indicators and targets
      Volume of expenditure through Standing Offers and Supply Arrangements (SOSA) that include environmental criteria
  • Programs where department actions will occur
    Internal Services

Corresponding departmental action 9.3.2

Procurement contracts for services/goods must include a mandatory greening declaration from the vendor.

  • Contribution by each departmental action to the FSDS goal and target
    Green procurement incorporates environmental considerations into purchasing decisions and is expected to motivate suppliers to reduce the environmental impact of the goods and services they deliver, and their supply chains

    • Starting point, performance indicators and targets
      Percentage of procurement contracts for service/goods with greening declaration from vendors
  • Programs where department actions will occur
    Internal Services

Corresponding departmental action 9.3.3

Use Public Service and Procurement Canada’s (PSPC) tools with green measures (for example, furniture) in support of green procurement.

  • Contribution by each departmental action to the FSDS goal and target
    Green procurement incorporates environmental considerations into purchasing decisions and is expected to motivate suppliers to reduce the environmental impact of the goods and services they deliver, and their supply chains

    • Starting point, performance indicators and targets

      • Inclusion of environmental considerations (for example, reduce, reuse, or include environmental criteria) in new common-use procurement instruments
      • Inclusion of environmental considerations (for example, reduce, reuse, or include environmental criteria) in procurements valued over $2 million
  • Programs where department actions will occur
    Internal Services

FSDS contributing action 9.4

Departments will adopt clean technology and undertake clean technology demonstration projects.

Corresponding departmental action 9.4.1

Select and operate IT and office equipment in a manner that reduces energy consumption and material usage.

  • Contribution by each departmental action to the FSDS goal and target
    Adopting clean technology incorporates environmental considerations into purchasing decisions and is expected to motivate suppliers to reduce the environmental impact of the goods and services they deliver, and their supply chains
    • Starting point, performance indicators and targets
      ESDC’s implementation of this target is in progress:

      • ESDC has a strategy to increase the current ratio of mobile to desktop devices to 90% by Q2 2020 to 2021
      • increasing the use of mobile devices (laptops/ tablets) facilitates reducing overall energy consumption within the department
  • Programs where department actions will occur
    Internal Services

FSDS contributing action 9.5

Support for green procurement will be strengthened, including guidance, tools and training for public service employees.

Corresponding departmental action 9.5.1

Ensure 90% of Procurement Specialists, new Materiel Managers and 100% of new acquisition cardholders complete CSPS green procurement training within 1 year of starting in the position.

  • Contribution by each departmental action to the FSDS goal and target
    100% of new Procurement Specialist & Materiel Managers will complete the Canada School of Public Service (CSPS) Green Procurement Training
    • Starting point, performance indicators and targets
      Percentage of new Procurement Specialist, Materiel Managers and new acquisition card holders who have completed Green procurement training
  • Contribution by each departmental action to the FSDS goal and target
    100% of new acquisition cardholders will complete the green procurement component of the mandatory training
    • Starting point, performance indicators and targets
      Percentage of specialists in procurement and materiel management and acquisition card holders who have completed training on green procurement
  • Programs where department actions will occur
    Internal Services

Corresponding departmental action 9.5.2

Integrate sustainability into common-use procurement instruments, processes and controls.

  • Contribution by each departmental action to the FSDS goal and target
    By 2023, ESDC will have integrated more green procurement information into existing procurement instruments, processes and controls

    • Starting point, performance indicators and targets
      Count of procurement instruments, processes and controls that include green procurement
  • Programs where department actions will occur
    Internal Services

Corresponding departmental action 9.5.3

Build staff awareness of the benefits of green procurement.

  • Contribution by each departmental action to the FSDS goal and target
    Promote and encourage the use of green procurement
    • Starting point, performance indicators and targets
      Count of communications promoting green procurement
  • Programs where department actions will occur
    Internal Services

FSDS contributing action: Additional actions

Corresponding departmental additional action 1

Maintain/reduce the print devices ratio to employees set by Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS).

  • Starting point, performance indicators and targets
    The Managed Print Services contract called for user-to-print device ratios to fall within the 10:1 to 15:1 range
  • Programs where department actions will occur
    Internal Services

Corresponding departmental additional action 2

Increase employee awareness and education of the cost of printing (paper, toner).

  • Starting point, performance indicators and targets
    Awareness and education information posted to Intranet site (iService)
  • Programs where department actions will occur
    Internal Services

Corresponding departmental additional action 3

Expand Video-Conferencing services and E-meetings.

  • Starting point, performance indicators and targets
    • Currently, 8,143 employees have advanced Skype for Business audio/video and desktop sharing capabilities
    • MS Teams will replace Skype as the standard Desktop Conferencing tool
  • Programs where department actions will occur
    Internal Services

4. Integrating sustainable development into ESDC’s operations and decision-making

Sustainability in policy and program development

ESDC integrates sustainable development through key documents that support Government of Canada decision-making. ESDC requires that these key documents, such as Memoranda to Cabinet, Treasury Board Submissions and Budget Proposals, undergo a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). An SEA is an analysis of the impacts of a policy or program proposal on the environment. SEAs also include consideration of relevant FSDS goals and targets. Through its use of SEAs, ESDC will continue to include considerations of FSDS goals and targets in its decision-making process.

When SEAs are completed, public statements on the results of ESDC’s assessment are published. These public statements demonstrate that the department considered the environmental effects of an approved policy, plan or program. They also include the impacts on achieving FSDS goals and targets.

Sustainability in the design of services and operations

ESDC and Service Canada are transforming large parts of their operations to meet client expectations and enhance the quality of their experience. The use of information and digital technologies are at the centre of major initiatives that will reduce the department’s operational footprint and GHG emissions. Key initiatives include:

In response to COVID-19, ESDC has made significant changes in how it operates and delivers services to Canadians. The department has adopted operational practices that are more sustainable and it will maintain these positive gains and build off them to make the way ESDC works even more sustainable in the future.

Future sustainable development initiatives

In addition to transforming its service delivery and operations, ESDC will move forward with activities that reflect the principles of sustainable development. These principles include fostering innovative and greener ways of working through smaller projects and initiatives. Reducing ESDC’s GHG emissions is not only about fleet management or green procurement. The department will therefore also focus on:

Along with the SEAs required from all departments, ESDC will develop tools to help analyse and incorporate findings into briefings for ministers and senior officials. These tools will be particularly important for the 8 SDGs in which ESDC plays a key role (a list of all 17 SDGs can be found in Annex 1). In addition, decisions from management and employee practices can also contribute to other sustainable development issues, such as:

To support decisions focused on sustainability, the department will develop training and make information on its buildings’ waste management audit report and GHG data more available. ESDC will also promote a green mindset for operational activities and employee behaviours. The annual Departmental Results Report will identify progress on ESDC’s efforts to ensure sustainable development. Below are some concrete examples of activities the department will undertake.

Seizing opportunities to further green operations

ESDC’s large physical footprint is an opportunity for the department to adopt greener and more sustainable operations. The department works closely with Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) in managing its accommodations and real property. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the department was working towards reducing the footprint of its buildings, operations, and maintenance. The pandemic has pushed the entire department to work remotely as much as possible, which has created positive, short-term environmental impacts.

Additional operational changes and improved data collection will be explored to better position ESDC to green its operations, such as:

ESDC is undertaking measures to minimize the potential impacts of climate change on the provision of services and benefits to Canadians. For example, ESDC will continue to include considerations of climate change risks into departmental risk assessment and planning activities. ESDC will also integrate climate change-related factors into Business Impact Assessments, Business Continuity Plans and Emergency preparedness exercises.

Employee engagement and innovation

The department’s success towards sustainability goals relies on its employees. Their contribution will be valuable in helping ESDC reduce its environmental footprint. ESDC will therefore support the development of employee-driven initiatives that reflect the diversity of the department. The department will do so by:

Sustainability also requires innovation to improve current activities and to create new practices and processes. ESDC has a wide range of initiatives to encourage internal innovation. For example, the department has an Internal Innovation Fund to support testing of employee-generated ideas to improve operations and service delivery. Including sustainability considerations into ESDC’s innovation activities will help create new ways of making the department more efficient and its practices greener.

Annex 1: United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)

* Sustainable Development Goals related to ESDC’s mission and core responsibilities

  1. No poverty – end poverty in all its forms everywhere *
  2. Zero hunger – end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
  3. Good health and well being – ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
  4. Quality education – ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all *
  5. Gender equality – achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls *
  6. Clean water and sanitation – ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
  7. Affordable and clean energy – ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
  8. Decent work and economic growth – promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all *
  9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure – build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
  10. Reduced inequalities – reduce inequality within and among countries *
  11. Sustainable cities and communities – make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable *
  12. Responsible consumption and production – ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
  13. Climate action – take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
  14. Life below water – conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
  15. Life on land – protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
  16. Peace justice and strong institutions – promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels *
  17. Partnerships for the goals – strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development *
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