Planning for a Sustainable Future: The Public Health Agency of Canada's Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy 2011-2014

2011-12 Annual Progress Report

Office of Sustainable Development
Public Health Agency of Canada Canada

Table of Contents

Introduction

The Federal Sustainable Development Act (FSDA), which came into effect in 2008, provides the legal framework for developing and implementing a Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) that will make environmental decision-making more transparent and accountable to Parliament.

The FSDA also requires that federal departments and agencies named in Schedule I of the Financial Administration Act develop their own Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy (DSDS). The Public Health Agency of Canada’s DSDS was completed in March 2011 and complies with and contributes to the goals, targets and implementation strategies identified in the FSDS.

The FSDS outlines the Government of Canada’s commitment to improving the transparency of environmental decision making by articulating its key strategic environmental goals and targets. The Agency contributes to the following FSDS themes as denoted by the visual identifier(s) and associated program activities below:


  • Theme I
    Addressing Climate Change
    and Air Quality

  • Theme IV
    Shrinking the Environmental Footprint -
    Beginning with Government

Under Theme I, the Agency supports the Clean Air Agenda and under Theme IV, supports 13 distinct Government of Canada targets to support reducing its environmental footprint in a substantial manner. Additionally, in its DSDS the Agency committed to additional sustainable development activities included in this Progress Report.

The Public Health Agency of Canada’s Sustainable Development Vision

The Public Health Agency is committed to supporting and contributing to the 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 and control 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.

Public Health Agency Decision-Making and Sustainable Development Practices

Applying SD Principles in Policy and Program Development

Through the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) process, the Agency actively applies SD principles to the development of its policy and program development. As the Agency’s mandate predominantly falls under the social pillar of SD, the environmental and economic factors were assessed, in order to provide transparent recommendations to decision-makers, accounting for any required trade-offs between the pillars.

Integration into Corporate Planning Processes

As part of the larger Government of Canada reporting on FSDS, the Agency has integrated its specific sustainable development commitments in the Report on Plans and Priorities, Departmental Performance Report, DSDS and this document, which together form the Public Health Agency of Canada’s DSDS planning and reporting requirements.

To enhance Expenditure Management System (EMS) reporting and accountabilities, the Agency’s Management Accountability Framework (MAF) Round IX submission and 2011-12 Performance Management Framework, a component of the Management, Resources and Results Structure (MRRS) were refreshed to include performance indicators, activities and outputs for several of the Greening Government Operations targets, such as building performance and green procurement. Additionally, starting in 2010-11, the Agency’s annual integrated operational planning exercise has included SD and FSDS components to gain planning insight from across the Agency.

Monitoring and Tracking Progress

As the lead on all requirements under the FSDA, the Sustainable Development Office in partnership with other internal service organizations are building and/or expanding tracking systems to monitor and report on progress against the FSDS and DSDS.

Progress on FSDS

Theme I: Addressing Climate Change and Air Quality

Clean Air Agenda

Under the previous Expenditure Management System (EMS) requirements, the Clean Air Agenda (CAA) was reported through the Departmental Performance Report’s (DPR) Horizontal Initiatives table. Under the 2010 Expenditure Management System (EMS) updates for FSDS, CAA is now reported through the DSDS Progress Report.

In 2011-12, the Agency’s Centre for Foodborne Environmental and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (CFEZID) had two programs under CAA funding:

  • 2007–2011: Pilot Infectious Disease Impact and Response Systems (PIDIRS) program
  • 2011–2016: Preventative Public Health Systems and Adaptation to Climate Change (PPHSACC) program

PIDIRS phased out after fiscal year 2011-2012. As such, in 2012-13 CFEZID will only report on the PPHSACC program. In summary, the Agency is reporting consistent progress in achieving the program activity expected results. For a detailed progress report on these programs refer to Annex A.

Theme IV: Greening Government Operations

In its 2011-14 DSDS, the Agency committed to implementing a number of initiatives in support of the federal effort to minimize the government’s environmental footprint. The Agency made progress in implementing Greening Government Operations in the area of buildings, information technology, management of electronic and electrical equipment, execution of meetings, and printing management.

For more information on the Agency’s FSDS Theme IV commitments and progress, please visit our annual Report on Plans and Priorities and Departmental Performance Report. For complete information on the FSDS, please visit the Environment Canada website.

Performance summary of Agency DSDS activities and initiatives

The following sections highlight key Agency achievements under four DSDS commitments. For more information refer to the tables in Annex B.

Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEA)

First established in 1990, the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals was updated in 2010 to ensure policies, plans and programs are consistent and aligned with the government’s broad environmental objectives and sustainable development goals, as laid out in the FSDS. In its DSDS, the Agency committed to implementing management processes to increase compliance rates with the Cabinet Directive to a minimum of 90% for SEA Preliminary Scans for Memoranda to Cabinet and Treasury Board Submissions. From a baseline of only 11% compliance in 2009-10, the Agency achieved a 100% compliance rate with the Cabinet Directive in fiscal year 2011-12.

During 2011-12, through the Preliminary Scan SEA process, 17 departmental initiatives were found to have positive environmental effects on goals and targets in the FSDS. As the Agency did not complete any detailed assessments in 2011-12, there are no associated press releases.

Sustainable Development Advocate

The Agency DSDS committed to the creation of a Sustainable Development Advocate whose role is to promote and be a leader for sustainable development at the Agency by promoting sustainable development values, commitments and achievements internally among employees, partners, and clients. The Advocate's leadership is vital in moving the Agency towards the integration of sustainable development principles and DSDS commitments into the policies, programs, and activities of the Agency.

In addition, the Sustainable Development Advocate committed to promoting sustainable development initiatives throughout the Agency and ensuring all commitments for Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) are accomplished in accordance with the Cabinet Directive on Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals.

In 2011-12, the Sustainable Development Advocate promoted the observance of Earth Day, Earth Hour and Environment Week, in addition to launching the 4th National Energy Reduction, SmartBar, and Green Printer Initiatives. It is through the Advocate that national programming is announced and communicated through e-mails, broadcast news messages, corporate magazine articles, and internet and intranet web communications.

Agency National Energy Reduction Initiative (NERI)

Since 2008, the Agency has conducted a number of NERIs to reduce unnecessary, after-work (or phantom) energy use. The FSDS directly compliments the Agency’s NERIs through the federal greenhouse gas emissions reduction initiative to reduce levels of greenhouse gas emissions from its operations to match the national target of 17% by 2020. Further, each of the non-greenhouse gas emissions targets indirectly compliments the goal of the NERI to Theme IV of the FSDS or GGOFootnote 1.

In its DSDS, the Agency committed to conducting a National Energy Reduction Initiative in 2011-12, and to enhance and update its accommodation fitup standards and policies to include a green energy SmartBar for every Agency workstation.

In the 2010-11 NERI, before SmarBars were installed, the Agency consumed 870,435 kWh of phantom electricity at a cost of $90,873.41. After the installation of SmartBars prior to the 2011-12 assessment, the Agency reduced its consumption to only 150,257.76 kWh of electricity at a cost of $15,688.43 – a savings of $64,962.43 in the first year of deploymentFootnote 2 – and decreased its CO2 emissions by almost six times.

The Agency’s 2011-12 NERI demonstrated the highest successes and savings in phantom energy and CO2 reduction to date. The results of this assessment not only confirm the utility of installing SmartBars in all Agency workstations in tandem with computer automatic shutdown scripts, but demonstrate that a strategic but small front-end investment can produce big long-term results and savings.

Agency Dead Battery Recycling Program (DBRP)

Batteries including lead-acid, lithium, nickel-cadmium, silver oxide, and mercury batteries pose a higher threat to human and environmental health as they contain heavy metals, many of which are toxic substances scheduled under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. Improper disposal of large numbers of batteries also pose a safety risk, since batteries are prone to react and overheat.

As part of its commitment to sustainable development under the DSDS, the Agency actively participates in activities such as the controlled disposal of dead batteries through its recycling program. As a means of supporting this work, the Agency commits to having a fully-implemented National Dead Battery Recycling Program in all 13 major Agency buildings from Vancouver to Halifax by March 31, 2014. Further, The Agency will enhance tracking and reporting functions to demonstrate the quantity of batteries diverted from landfills by the expiration of its DSDS 2011–2014.

Conclusion

The Public Health Agency of Canada’s first DSDS progress report under the FSDS demonstrates its commitment to sustainable development. Going forward, the Agency will continue to assess its progress and seek ways to improve on integrating and balancing social, economic and environmental objectives.

Additional Information

For more details on the Agency’s activities supporting sustainable development, please see the Agency’s departmental website .

For details on the Agency’s contribution to the Government of Canada’s FSDS GGO Tables, please see the Treasury Board Secretariat’s website .

For more information on the FSDS, please visit Environment Canada’s website .

Annex A – Clean Air Agenda

Climate change is an accelerating change in weather patterns that will increasingly affect population health, and ecosystems. As climate change has widespread effects, public health professionals need to work across government departments and with other stakeholders to better understand what is happening, what responses are occurring and what is needed in order to stay informed and to identify effective and collaborative responses to the projected health impacts.

Climate change is expected to increase risks associated with the health and well-being of Canadians in a number of areas, including extreme weather events, natural hazards, air and water quality, water and food-borne contamination, vector-borne, zoonotic diseases and infectious diseases, along with respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses, certain cancers and socio-economic impacts. The extent of these effects depends on how quickly our climate changes, and on how well we adapt to the new environmental conditions and risks to health.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is actively engaged in addressing climate change by pursuing scientific research, risk assessment, monitoring and reporting of climate change factors that impact human health, considering the human-, animal-, and ecosystem interface (i.e. One Health). This information supports the Agency and other Government of Canada bodies to apply that knowledge to support the development of tools, guidelines and programs to help Canadians adapt to, and protect themselves from, changing climatic conditions. The Agency also communicates health risks to Canadians through focused reports and collaborates with other international and federal government bodies to support international efforts for reducing health risks.

Linkage to the FSDS and Clean Air Agenda (CAA) Program

Linkage to the FSDS and Clean Air Agenda (CAA) Program
Text Equivalent - Linkage to the FSDS and Clean Air Agenda (CAA) Program

Linkage to the FSDS and Clean Air Agenda (CAA) Program

The graphic diagram describing the linkage between the FSDS and Clean Air Agenda Program appears as a cascading series of four arrows, which follow from left to right across the page. The first arrow describes the Theme - addressing climate change and air quality; the second arrow to the right of the first arrow describes the Goal - climate change; the third arrow to the right of the second arrow describes the Target - climate change mitigation; and the fourth and last arrow to the right of the third arrow describes the Implementation Strategy - advancing knowledge and communication. Below this last arrow are two sub-activity boxes that describe programs related to the implementation strategy in chronological order: the first, Pilot Infectious Disease Impact and Response Systems from 2007-2011; and below that, the second sub-activity, Preventative Public Health Systems and Adaptation to Climate Change from 2011-2016.

Linkages to the Program Activity Architecture, Sub Sub-Activity 1.5.3.5: Food-borne Environmental and Zoonotic Diseases

This program seeks to prevent and control infections in Canadians by analyzing risk factors and investigating, coordinating and responding to outbreaks associated with food-borne, environmental and zoonotic illness. The program is responsible for the development and sharing of science based decision-making tools and information including national guidelines used by Canadian and international public health professionals to inform decision-making in the management of infectious diseases and risk factors in Canada, including emerging and re-emerging risks resulting from changes to behaviour, environment and other factors.

Financial Resources ($ M) 2011-12
Planned Spending Total Authorities Actual Spending
$1.9Footnote 3 $12.250 $1.92Footnote 4

Program Descriptions

To support the Clear Air Agenda (CAA) program, the Agency is taking action to help Canadians become more resilient in the face of a changing climate through the 2007 – 2011: Pilot Infectious Disease Impact and Response Systems (PIDIRS) program. From 2007 to 2011, through academic research and support of regional adaptation pilot projects, the Agency has advanced the understanding of the health implications of climate change on water- and vector-borne infectious disease, specifically West Nile virus and Lyme disease.

To continue support under the CAA program, the Public Health Agency of Canada aims to expand research and further engage provincial/territorial/local (p/t/l) public health stakeholders to address climate change impacts by informing decision-making and assisting in the development of practical adaptation strategies to protect the health of Canadians. This will be achieved through the 2011 - 2016 Preventative Public Health Systems and Adaptation to Climate Change (PPHSACC) program, involving targeted research and development of enhanced surveillance methods, with particular attention to the importance of water quality, risk to vulnerable populations (e.g. elderly, children, northern populations), and public health outcomes. P/T/L public health will also be engaged to test and integrate practical adaptations (e.g. new/enhanced surveillance, risk assessment methods) to better detect, assess, and respond to emerging vector-, water-, and food-borne disease threats. Where possible and practical, a “One Health” approach that integrates the science of human-, animal- and ecosystem health will be taken.

Program Activity Expected Results
CAA Program Expected Results Performance Indicators 2011-12 Performance Summary

2007 – 2011 PIDIRS Program

Stakeholders are knowledgeable of research and decision-making tools pertaining to food-borne, environmental and zoonotic infectious diseases.

# of science-based decision-making tools

Met all

Developed risk maps and multi-criteria decision analysis tool for Lyme disease, along with a final model to predict and map the occurrence of mosquito vectors.

# of reports / publications

Met all

Report and fact sheet developed.

2011 – 2016: PPHSACC Program

# of science-based decision-making tools

Partially met

Initiated development of: risk modelling tools for scenario-based projections; economic valuation of the health impacts; a tool for public health professionals; a web-based portal; a research tool.

# of reports / publications

Partially Met

Initiated development of data collection for existing burden of acute gastrointestinal illness and hosted two regional dialogues.

Performance Summary and Analysis of Program Activity

2007 – 2011 PIDIRS program

Under the 2007 – 2011 PIDIRS program, research was completed through contribution agreements, risk maps were validated and four community pilots were launched. Between 2007 and 2011, contribution agreements were signed between five academic institutions to conduct targeted research to generate tools necessary for decision-making on surveillance, intervention and control of key infectious diseases with an environmental origin (particularly vector-borne and water-borne infectious diseases) to address area and sub population-specific needs.

The validation of risk maps for Lyme disease was undertaken along with development of a multi-criteria decision analysis tool to support decision-making on Lyme disease surveillance, intervention and control. A final model to predict and map the occurrence of mosquito vectors now under current climate conditions and in the future with climate change was also developed.

Between 2007 and 2011, four pilot communities assessed their vector and water-borne infectious disease risk and effectiveness of response and develop disease surveillance, prevention and control strategies as an approach to adaptation to health impacts of climate change to reduce the risk to human health. Through these projects, the Public Health Agency of Canada developed a report Adapting to Climate Change - a practical approach to address vector-borne and water-borne disease risk in Canada; and produced a set of factsheets for environmental impacts on public health. The knowledge gained from the community-based projects will help to lay a foundation for the potential future development of an infectious disease impact and response system for widespread application in Canada.

2011-2016 PPHSACC program

Under the 2011 - 2016 PPHSACC program, development of risk modelling tools were initiated for scenario-based projections, which characterize Canadian population demographics in terms of relative susceptibility to infection by food- and water-borne pathogens, the nature of adverse outcomes and vulnerability that may adversely affect adaptation to climate change impacts.

Development began on two tools for public health professionals to assist in public health decision-making and action. The first tool is a web-based portal for local public health to access tools on emerging infectious diseases in Canada that address the need for disease surveillance, control and adaptive response in the face of climate change. The second tool is a public health and water-borne illness research tool to measure impacts on public health associated with extreme weather events and climate change to help identify risk areas to help control, prevent and respond to water-borne diseases in Canada.

Work was initiated on assessing the existing burden of acute gastrointestinal illness and adaptation to climate change among vulnerable populations in the Canadian north to inform adaptation to climate change strategies.

The Agency facilitated federal knowledge transfer and exchange by hosting two regional dialogues to identify stakeholder needs and priorities and established an advisory network (i.e. medical officers of health, senior public health professionals) and develop a national action and communications plan to help reduce population health risks. Additionally, the Agency initiated an economic valuation of the health impacts related to climate change to quantify, where possible, health impacts and their economic valuation in relation to climate change in Canada.

Lessons Learned

For the 2007 – 2011 PIDIRS Program, significant external approval delays in 2007-08 deferred the commencement of this program to 2008-09. Additionally, due to the seasonality of data collection, the planned schedule of activities was adjusted, including the duration of research, to ensure that all activities under this program are completed by the end of the project horizon.

Through adjustment of the schedule of activities, the contribution agreement was re-profiled from 2010-11 to 2011-12, to adapt to the updated timelines. This modification to the planned schedule of activities and re-profiling the contribution agreement placed the project back on track with all key deliverables being completed within the project timeframe. While delayed by a year, the academic research has directly supported the CCA theme outcomes by providing surveillance knowledge to further the development of interventions and controls for vector-borne diseases.

For the 2011 – 2016: PPHSACC Program, due to federal government-wide realignment, business transformation is currently underway at the Agency. Once this realignment is finalized, the planned schedule of activities may be adjusted to ensure that all activities under this program are completed by the end of the project horizon. At this point of the program, all projects are underway as planned. The impact of the federal government-wide realignment on subsequent years has yet to be determined.

Annex B – DSDS progress tables

SEA Performance Measures and Baselines
Program Activity Architecture: SA 2.1.2 – Resource Management Services, SSA 2.1.3.1 – Real Property
Expected Result: Social, economic and environmental considerations are addressed at the earliest appropriate stage of planning to augment the positive outcomes and mitigate the negative effects.
Performance Measure RPP DPR
Target Status EXCEED
Baselines established in 2009-10:
# of proposals submitted by the Agency to Cabinet or Treasury Board and approved 18
# of proposals where a SEA Preliminary Scan was completed in compliance with the Cabinet Directive 2
# of proposals where a SEA Detailed Assessment was completed in compliance with the Cabinet Directive 0
# of proposals where a SEA Preliminary Scan was completed and a commitment was made to FSDS goals and targets 0
# of proposals where a SEA Detailed Assessment was completed and a commitment was made to FSDS goals and targets 0
% of annual departmental compliance with the Cabinet Directive for SEA Preliminary Scans 11%
% of annual departmental compliance with the Cabinet Directive for SEA Detailed Assessment Not Applicable
Progress against measures in the current fiscal year:
# of proposals submitted by the Agency to Cabinet or Treasury Board and approved TBD 12
# of proposals where a SEA Preliminary Scan was completed in compliance with the Cabinet Directive TBD 12
# of proposals where a SEA Detailed Assessment was completed in compliance with the Cabinet Directive TBD Not Applicable
# of proposals where a SEA Preliminary Scan was completed and a commitment was made to FSDS goals and targets TBD 12
# of proposals where a SEA Detailed Assessment was completed and a commitment was made to FSDS goals and targets TBD Not Applicable
% of annual departmental compliance with the Cabinet Directive for SEA Preliminary Scans 90% 100%
% of annual departmental compliance with the Cabinet Directive for SEA Detailed Assessment TBD Not Applicable
National Energy Reduction Initiative Performance Measures and Baselines
Program Activity Architecture: SA 2.1.2 – Resource Management Services, SSA 2.1.3.1 – Real Property
Expected Result: 866.95 tonnes of CO2 per year is avoided from Agency buildings
Performance Measure RPP DPR
Target Status EXCEED
Baselines established in 2010-11:
# of Agency offices assessed (% of total Agency offices) 2074 (71.5%)
# of Agency electrical equipment assessed 2,164
Ratio of equipment left on per FTE 1.04
% change in ratio of equipment left on per FTE compared to 2008-09 NERI +26.82%
# of kWh/year used by the Agency (phantom energy use) 870,435
# of avoidable CO2 tonnes per year by the Agency 866.95
$ of potential savings $90,873.41
Progress against measures in the 2011-12 fiscal year:
# of PHAC offices assessed (% of total Agency offices) 1,984
# of PHAC electrical equipment assessed 1,271
Ratio of equipment left on per FTE 0.64
% change in ratio of equipment left on per FTE compared to 1st NERI -21.95%
# of kWh/year used by the Agency (phantom energy use) 236,732.91
# of avoidable CO2 tonnes per year by the Agency 247.41
$ of potential savings $25,910.98
Dead Battery Program Performance Measures and Baselines
Program Activity Architecture: SA 2.1.2 – Resource Management Services, SSA 2.1.3.1 – Real Property
Expected Result: Heavy metals found in batteries are disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner to mitigate threat to human and environmental health.
Performance Measure RPP DPR
Target Status EXCEED
Baselines established in 2009-10:
# of major Agency buildings 13
# of major Agency buildings with DBRPs fully-implemented 9
# of major Agency buildings without DBRPs fully-implemented 4
# of batteries diverted from landfills TBD
Progress against measures in the current fiscal year:
# of major Agency buildings 13 17
# of major Agency buildings with DBRPs fully-implemented 9 12
# of major Agency buildings without DBRPs fully-implemented 4 5
# of batteries diverted from landfills TBD TBD

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