Sustainable development

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"Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". This 1983 World Commission on Environment and Development definition was also adopted in Canada's Federal Sustainable Development Act passed in Parliament in June 2008.

Sustainable development is about achieving and maintaining a healthy natural and built environment, a vibrant and just society, and a well-functioning economy for both present and future generations.

Public Health Agency of Canada and sustainable development

The Agency is committed to sustainable development and contributes to the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) by delivering on its core vision of healthy Canadians and communities in a healthier world. The Agency strives to integrate environmental, economic and social factors in the making of decisions in order to derive added benefits or to avoid or mitigate negative impacts on human health for both present and future generations.

The Agency's sustainable development vision is guided by the following principles:

  • Strengthen Canada's capacity to protect and improve the health of Canadians;
  • Build an effective public health system that enables Canadians to achieve better health and well-being in their daily lives by promoting good health, helping prevent chronic diseases and injury, and protecting Canadians from infectious diseases and other threats to their health; and
  • Reduce health disparities between the most advantaged and disadvantaged Canadians.

Strategic environmental assessment

Strategic environmental assessment (SEA) is a tool used to incorporate environmental considerations into policy, planning or program proposals. When used early in the development of a proposal, SEA contributes to informed decision-making. It provides decision-makers with environmental impact information for modifying the design of policies, plans and programs so that the negative impacts can be minimized or eliminated and the positive impacts optimized.

The Cabinet Directive on Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals (the Cabinet Directive) outlines the obligations of departments and agencies to conduct SEAs. The Cabinet Directive also dictates the use of the SEA process to ensure that policies, plans and programs are consistent with the government's broad environmental objectives and sustainable development goals, as laid out in the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy.

Public statements

The Cabinet Directive requires that departments and agencies prepare a public statement of environmental effects when an assessment of environmental effects has been conducted through a Detailed Analysis. The public statement may be in the form of a separate report or incorporated into any other planned announcement. It is expected to outline the environmental implications of the proposal as determined by the SEA.

At present, the Public Health Agency of Canada has not identified any significant environmental impacts in the completed preliminary scans. Therefore, no public statements are required at this time. Updates will be posted on this page following each calendar year.

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Related resources

Public Health Agency of Canada resources

The Public Health Agency of Canada's Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy (DSDS) is tabled annually in Parliament in the Agency's Report on Plans and Priorities. Progress on the DSDS is reported through the annual Departmental Performance Report.

Government of Canada resources

International resources

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