Federal Sustainable Development Strategy 2016 to 2019 management framework: chapter 6

Risk management

The Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (the strategy) operates in a dynamic policy and fiscal environment, and it represents a collaborative, whole-of-government view of what 41 departments and agencies are doing in the area of environmental sustainability over the next three years.

Environmental sustainability issues have a wide range of impacts on social, economic and health decisions for Canadians. Addressing these require the commitment of not only ECCC but also all of its partners. In that context, the Sustainable Development Office in collaboration with the interdepartmental community has identified and analyzed potential risks and opportunities to meeting the mandate of the act.

Once risks and mitigation actions to address them are identified, the Sustainable Development Office monitors these risks and, with the interdepartmental community, takes corrective action as needed.   

The 2016 to 2019 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy Risk Assessment was completed by building on ECCC’s Integrated Risk Management Toolkit Risk Taxonomy, Risk Template Development Guide, Risk Template, and was informed by TBS’s Guide to Integrated Risk Management, which was used to produce the risk profile in the 2014 Management Framework.

The identified risk and opportunity events were reviewed and scored by the interdepartmental community based on likelihood of the risk occurring and impact of each risk should it occur. As result, four risk management priority areas (those having the highest risk and most likely to occur) were identified and are described below.

  1. Risk that strategy targets are not achieved, due to a continuously changing policy and fiscal environment, including jurisdictional responsibilities and the complexity of implementation requirements resulting in less than optimal environmental performance and broad reputational impacts
  2. Risk that strategy reporting is inaccurate and/or incomplete, due to insufficient data on target indicators collected/developed, precluding the ability of the strategy to report fully on progress
  3. Risk that the strategy decisions that may impact the environment are not considered across federal departments and agencies to support environmental decision-making, due to lack of awareness and/or conflicting priorities, resulting in decision-making that does not take the results of reporting against the strategy goals and targets into consideration
  4. Risk that strategy goals are not translated into measurable targets/implementation strategies, due to insufficient planning and/or consultation, leading to lack of progress towards implementing the strategy

A number of controls to address these concerns are already in place. For example, Ministers are named as responsible for targets established in the strategy; progress of the strategy goals and targets are tracked largely using the Canadian Sustainability Environmental Indicators (CESI) and other performance-based information; the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals requires departments to describe the impact of their initiatives on strategy goals and targets, and requires related public statements to be published; there is a systematic review of key policy documents by the Sustainable Development Office (such as Federal Budgets, mandate letters, departmental reporting) to identify emerging policy priorities; biannual updates to the electronic version of the strategy are made available to the public and an engagement plan to raise awareness of the strategy has been developed and is being implemented.

Any additional mitigating actions based on residual risk will be implemented, and the risk assessment will be reviewed with the next cycle of the strategy in 2019.

Report a problem or mistake 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: