Interim Plan 2001 on Particulate Matter and Ozone: chapter 5


5.0 Federal House in Order

The federal government is the largest employer in Canada. It has an on-road vehicle fleet of some 23,000 vehicles, occupies over 25 million square metres of floor space, and emits a significant amount of air pollutants from its operations. Its thousands of employees also contribute to air pollution through commuting between home and work and through business travel.

Environment Canada, in cooperation with Health Canada and Public Works and Government Services Canada, is promoting the implementation of Corporate Smog Action Plans by federal departments and agencies in Ontario. These plans have four components:

  1. a notification procedure to advise employees of impending smog alert days;
  2. an immediate response by employees on smog alert days to reduce emissions of smog-causing air pollutants;
  3. longer-term strategies for federal government operations that lead to air quality improvements during the summer smog season and throughout the year; and
  4. an information and education component that provides employees with facts and options for reducing smog-causing emissions, both at work and at home.

The Canadian government, through the Federal House in Order initiative, is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the 11 largest emitting departments and agencies by 31 per cent in 2010 from 1990 levels. Reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and associated air pollutants will be achieved by building upon existing federal programs such as the Federal Buildings Initiative and FleetWise to increase energy efficiency and encourage the purchase of more fuel-efficient and alternative-fuel vehicles. The purchase of low-impact renewable energy, referred to as "green power", by federal facilities is also a key component of the Federal House in Order initative. The goal of this initiative is for the federal government to purchase 20 per cent of its electricity from green power sources by 2005.

Other projects include contracts to supply green power to Environment Canada and Natural Resources Canada in Alberta, and a pilot project to promote sustainable transportation for federal employees from Environment Canada and the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency in Montreal, in partnership with the Agence métropolitaine de transport.

In addition, Natural Resources Canada, in collaboration with Public Works and Government Services Canada and Environment Canada, has developed the Sustainable Development in Government Operations program, which sets out goals for green government by following best practices in:

  • energy use in government-owned and leased facilities;
  • the development and implementation of energy management plans;
  • the assessment of energy efficiency knowledge requirements of building operators and managers, and provision of the required training;
  • the implementation of economically attractive energy retrofits;
  • the incorporation of the Federal Buildings Initiative where applicable to obtain products and services for energy efficiency, and the facilitating of energy conservation efforts by building occupants;
  • vehicle fleet management.

"Understanding the impacts of PM and ozone on human health and the environment, and measuring the success of actions on these two key air quality issues, are the main knowledge components of this Interim Plan."

Possible future areas of action

The Federal Vehicle Ethanol Initiative is a new program designed to show federal leadership in the development and use of renewable fuels. Operators of federal vehicles will be encouraged to select ethanol blended fuels at commercial and bulk fueling stations.The purchase of E-85 vehicles will also be promoted within federal departments.

A program will be developed within the National Capital Region to encourage the reduction of emissions from employee commuting. Possible initiatives include offering employees discounted bus passes and encouraging ride-sharing.

 

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