2023 to 2027 Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy

Introduction to the Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy

The 2022 to 2026 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) presents the Government of Canada’s sustainable development goals and targets, as required by the Federal Sustainable Development Act. This is the first FSDS to be framed using the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations 2030 Agenda and provides a balanced view of the environmental, social and economic dimensions of sustainable development.

In keeping with the purpose of the Act, to make decision-making related to sustainable development more transparent and accountable to Parliament, the Privy Council Office (PCO) supports the goals laid out in the FSDS through the activities described in this Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy (DSDS).

The Federal Sustainable Development Act also sets out 7 principles that must be considered in the development of the FSDS as well as DSDSs. These basic principles have been considered and incorporated in the Privy Council Office’s DSDS.

In order to promote coordinated action on sustainable development across the Government of Canada, this departmental strategy integrates efforts to advance Canada’s implementation of the 2030 Agenda National Strategy, supported by the Global Indicator Framework (GIF) and Canadian Indicator Framework (CIF) targets and indicators. The strategy also now captures SDG initiatives that fall outside the scope of the FSDS to inform the development of the Canada’s Annual Report on the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.

The Privy Council Office’s sustainable development vision

The Privy Council Office (PCO) helps the government in implementing its vision, goals and decisions in a timely manner. It does so by enabling coherent and consistent government-wide implementation of Cabinet decisions; by operating the Cabinet decision-making system; setting overall policy direction; advising on the appointment of senior office holders; fostering effective intergovernmental relations; and managing specific policy challenges facing the Government. In carrying out its role, PCO provides non-partisan advice to the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, portfolio ministers, Cabinet, and Cabinet committees on matters of national and international importance, including those that align with SDGs 10 (Advance reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples and take action on inequality), 12 (Reduce Waste and transition to zero-emissions vehicles) and 13 (Take action on climate change and its impacts).

For example, PCO supports the Prime Minister and Cabinet committees in reconciliation efforts with Indigenous peoples, including the implementation of Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action, and the response to the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and works with supporting departments on legislation, agreements and policies to support reconciliation, rights recognition and increased self-determination.

In addition, PCO has a role to play in implementing Canada’s Federal Implementation Plan for the 2030 Agenda, through the collective responsibility of central agencies in ensuring SDGs are considered, accounted for, and reflected in priorities, and by working with government departments and agencies to promote policy coherence.

PCO also provides expert analysis and advice to decision-makers on clean technologies, climate change, and environmental protection to ensure continued progress and meaningful results for Canadians. This includes by supporting integrated, horizontal climate action within PCO and across the Government of Canada. In addition, innovative approaches are explored within PCO through Impact Canada challenges and behavioural science, including in areas such as Indigenous housing, oil spill response, reducing the impact of plastic waste, methane reduction, and the climate and environmental actions of Canadians. PCO also complies with the Policy on Green Procurement, which supports the Government of Canada’s efforts to promote environmental stewardship.

Listening to Canadians

As required by the Federal Sustainable Development Act, the Privy Council Office has taken into account comments on the draft 2022-2026 FSDS made during the Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) public consultation from March 11 to July 9, 2022, and published in a Government of Canada report. During the public consultation, more than 700 comments were received from a broad range of stakeholders, including governments, Indigenous organizations, non-governmental organizations, academics, businesses, and individual Canadians in different age groups and of various backgrounds. The draft FSDS was also shared with the appropriate committee of each House of Parliament, the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, and the Sustainable Development Advisory Council for their review and comment.

What We Heard

Across the submissions received, the Privy Council Office identified sustainable development priorities and issues that affect us. For example, education on climate change impacts and related adaptation measures was cited as integral to educating and incentivizing businesses and individuals to transition to more climate friendly practices. Also, Indigenous participants and representatives reiterated the importance of applying a distinctions-based approach to address the priorities and challenges of Indigenous communities.

What We Did

The Privy Council Office takes the above-mentioned key priorities and issues into consideration in this DSDS, and in its ongoing work with departments and stakeholders. PCO’s departmental action on Indigenous reconciliation and inclusion training will be an important step in applying a distinctions-based approach in addressing the priorities and challenges of Indigenous communities.

Please find more information on the FSDS public consultation and its results in the FSDS Consultation Report.

The Privy Council Office’s commitments

Goal 10: Advance reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples and take action on inequality

FSDS context

By providing analysis and advice, setting overall policy direction, advising on the appointment of senior office holders, fostering effective intergovernmental relations, supporting Cabinet committees (including the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs) and managing specific policy challenges facing the Government, PCO enables the government to deliver on its priority of advancing reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and taking action on inequality. This includes taking effective measures to ensure that Indigenous peoples are supported by initiatives that promote connection, development, access, and improvement, as well as full participation in all aspects of Canada’s economy.

PCO works with relevant departments and partners to advance the protection of priority species at risk, Indigenous-led conservation via Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas, Project Finance for Permanence, and Indigenous Guardians programs, and the negotiation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, which includes Canada’s main goals of protecting 30% of land and waters by 2030, respecting the rights and role of Indigenous peoples, and addressing the key drivers of biodiversity loss.

Target theme

Target

Implementation strategy Departmental action Performance indicator
starting point
target
How the departmental action contributes to the FSDS goal and target and, where applicable, to Canada’s 2030 agenda national strategy and SDGs

Implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act

Provide Indigenous reconciliation training using the Canada School of the Public Service (CSPS) offering.

Program: Internal Services

Performance Indicator: Percentage of staff who have completed Indigenous reconciliation training.

Starting point: Currently not tracked.

Target: 50% of all employees have completed the training by end of 2024-25.

Public servants are in a unique position to help increase understanding and awareness and build respectful relationships with Indigenous Peoples in Canada. This action encourages public service employees to increase their awareness and understanding of issues related to First Nations, Inuit and Métis in Canada, and their knowledge of the UN Declaration. This action contributes to the implementation of the Act by taking actions towards Indigenous Reconciliation.

Relevant targets or ambitions:
GIF target: 10.3 Ensure equal opportunity and reduce inequalities of outcome, including by eliminating discriminatory laws, policies and practices and promoting appropriate legislation, policies and action in this regard

Goal 12: Reduce waste and transition to zero-emission vehicles

FSDS context

This Sustainable Development Goal speaks to the reduction of waste and promoting sustainable procurement practices. This includes the development of criteria that address greenhouse gas emissions reduction for goods and services that have a high environmental impact; ensuring the criteria are included in procurements; and supporting green procurement, including guidance, tools and training for public service employees.

To support the achievement of Canada’s 2030 Paris Agreement target and the transition to net-zero emissions by 2050, PCO provided advice and analysis on the over $9 billion in climate-related funding provided in Budget 2022. These commitments helped to advance the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan, the first milestone under the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, which was published in March 2022.

PCO complies with the Policy on Green Procurement which supports the Government of Canada’s effort to promote environmental stewardship. In keeping with the objectives of the policy, PCO supports sustainable development by integrating environmental performance considerations into the procurement decision-making process through the actions described below.

Target theme

Target

Implementation strategy Departmental action Performance indicator
starting point
target
How the departmental action contributes to the FSDS goal and target and, where applicable, to Canada’s 2030 agenda national strategy and SDGs

Transform the federal
light-duty fleet

New light-duty fleet vehicle purchases will be zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) or hybrids.

Program: Internal Services

Performance indicator: Percentage of annual new vehicle purchases that are ZEV or hybrid.

Starting point: A starting point is not available as this is a cyclical initiative.

Target: 100% of new vehicle purchases each year.

Purchasing zero-emission vehicles reduces greenhouse gas emissions from conventional fleet operations. This enhances sustainable consumption.

Relevant targets or ambitions:
CIF ambition: 12.1 Canadians consume in a sustainable manner

CIF indicator: 12.1.1 Proportion of new light duty vehicle registrations that are zero-emission vehicles

GIF target: 12.1 Implement the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production, all countries taking action, with developed countries taking the lead, taking into account the development and capabilities of developing countries

Strengthen green procurement criteria

Ensure all procurement specialists are trained in green procurement (such as the Canada School of Public Service course on green procurement or equivalent) within one year of being identified.

Program: Internal Services

 

Performance indicator: Percentage of procurement specialists trained in green procurement within one year of being identified.

Starting point: All currently onboarded staff have been trained.

Target: 100% of procurement officers specialists receive training within one year of being identified.

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.

Relevant targets or ambitions:
CIF ambition/target: 12.2 Canadians consume in a sustainable manner

CIF indicator: 12.2.1 Proportion of businesses that adopted selected environmental protection activities and management practices

Include a sustainability clause in every directed service contract.

Program: Internal Services

 

Performance indicator: Percentage of procurement directed service contracts with the sustainability clause.

Starting point: A starting point is not available as this is a new initiative.

Target: 100% of directed service contracts include the sustainability clause by end FY 2024-25.

Relevant targets or ambitions:
CIF ambition/target: 12.1 Canadians consume in a sustainable manner

GIF target: 12.7 Promote public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities

Goal 13: Take action on climate change and its impacts

FSDS context

This Sustainable Development Goal focuses on net-zero carbon operations and climate resilient operations.

In support of this goal, PCO has worked with other departments to advance the development and release of Canada’s first National Adaptation Strategy (NAS) and accompanying Government of Canada Adaptation Action Plan, with $1.6 billion in new investments announced at the time of the November 2022 release. The NAS outlines a shared path and sets common direction for a more climate-resilient Canada.

Through the Emergency Preparedness and COVID Recovery Secretariat, PCO supports the Prime Minister and Cabinet in coordinating the Government’s response to critical events, including COVID-19, natural disasters such as Hurricane Fiona, seasonal floods and wildfires, and potential threats to national safety and security.

PCO seeks to improve results for Canadians by supporting departments and agencies to effectively implement outcomes-based policy and program approaches (e.g., challenge prizes, behavioural science), in key priority areas including climate action. PCO also supports the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development which studies the programs and legislation of Environment Canada, Parks Canada and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency as well as reports of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development.

Target theme

Target

Implementation strategy Departmental action Performance indicator
starting point
target
How the departmental action contributes to the FSDS goal and target and, where applicable, to Canada’s 2030 agenda national strategy and SDGs

Implement the Greening Government Strategy through measures that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve climate resilience, and green the government’s overall operations

Coordination of annual cyclical and other assessments, distributed to decision-makers, that provide information on climate-driven hazards in Canada.
 
Program: Emergency Preparedness

Performance Indicator: Whether cyclical and other assessments are distributed on an annual basis in a timely manner.

Starting point: Indicator fully met in 2022-23.

Target: Fully met on an annual basis.

Decision-makers are aware of their roles and responsibilities and possible impacts related to hazards and threats that are climate-driven.

CIF ambition/target: 13.3 Canadians are well-equipped and resilient to face the effects of climate change

GIF targets: 13.1 Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries

13.3 Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning

Ensure all PCO Security Operations employees with duties pertaining to business continuity planning or emergency management are trained on assessing climate change impacts, undertaking climate change risk assessments, and contributing to the development of adaptation actions.

Program: Internal Services

Performance Indicator: Percentage of relevant employees trained on assessing climate change impacts, undertaking climate change risk assessments, and developing adaptation actions within the context of PCO business continuity planning.

Starting point: All employees of PCO’s Security Operations whose duties pertain to business continuity or emergency management have been trained.

Target: Employees of PCO’s Security Operations whose duties pertain to business continuity or emergency management have completed courses and/or have obtained professional designations that cover climate change risks.

CIF ambition/target: 13.3 Canadians are well-equipped and resilient to face the effects of climate change

CIF indicator: 13.3.1 Proportion of municipal organizations who factored climate change adaptation into their decision-making process

GIF targets: 13.1 Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries

13.3 Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning

Initiatives advancing Canada’s implementation of SDG 13 – Climate Action

The following initiatives demonstrate how Privy Council Office programming supports the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, supplementing the information outlined above. 

Planned initiatives Associated domestics targets or ambitions and/or global targets

Phase I — National Surveying: collects data from nationally representative cohorts of 2,000+ Canadian adults to learn how Canadians think, feel, and act in response to climate change and its impacts as well as other environmental issues, and tracks changes over time. From December 2021 to March 2023, PARCA implemented an 8-wave longitudinal study with 2,000+ Canadian adults, collecting data every two months during that period. In July 2023, PARCA launched a second national survey series.

Phase II — Rapid Online Studies & Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs): collects data through online surveys and survey experiments (i.e., RCTs) with large samples of Canadians (n = between 1,000 and 3,600 per study) to examine drivers of and barriers to specific pro-climate and pro-environmental behaviours, which have been identified as priorities by departmental policy leads. These data collection efforts and research studies are designed and implemented by IIU BeSci Fellows who are embedded within teams across ECCC and NRCan. 14 Phase 2 studies have been completed since January 2022 and two more are preparing to field Fall 2023.

Phase III — In-Field RCTs:To date, three in-field studies are being designed, to test the real-world impacts of behavioural science-informed solutions on key pro-climate actions of interest, including buying or leasing electric vehicles and installing electric heat pumps.

The Program of Applied Research on Climate Action in Canada (PARCA) supports the SDG Global Indicator Framework target 13.3: Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning.

Integrating sustainable development

The Privy Council Office will continue to ensure that its decision-making process includes consideration of FSDS goals and targets through its Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) process. An SEA for a policy, plan or program proposal includes an analysis of the impacts of the given proposal on the environment, including on relevant FSDS goals and targets.

Public statements on the results of PCO’s assessments are made public on its web page when an initiative has undergone a detailed SEA. 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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