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

2012-13 Annual Update

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 two FSDS themes:

For the purposes of this progress report, the Agency is reporting on implementation of the applicable FSDS commitments and its DSDS targets.

1. PHAC Sustainable Development Vision

The Public Health Agency of Canada 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.

PHAC’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 wellbeing 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.

2. 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 and Operational 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.

The Public Health Agency has the substantive responsibility for implementation, monitoring, tracking and reporting progress against its FSDS and DSDS commitments.  Under cover of an Order in Council in July 2012, the Public Health Agency and Health Canada have established a new Shared Services Partnership Arrangement.  The Agency and Health Canada are building shared implementation approaches and expanding tracking systems to monitor and report on selected commitments in the FSDS and DSDS. 

3. Progress on FSDS

The Agency contributes to the following two FSDS themes as denoted by the visual identifier(s) and associated program activities below.

Theme I
Addressing Climate Change and Air Quality

Theme VI
Shrinking the Environmental Footprint – Beginning with Government

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 2012-13, the Agency’s Centre for Foodborne Environmental and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (CFEZID) had one program under CAA funding: 2011–2016: Preventative Public Health Systems and Adaptation to Climate Change (PPHSACC) program.   In summary, the Agency continues to report consistent progress in achieving the program activity expected results. For a detailed progress report on the program refer to www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/about_apropos/sd-dd/caa-pqa-eng.php.

Theme IV: Shrinking the Environmental Footprint – Beginning with Government

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, printing management, green meetings and management of electronic and electrical equipment.

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.

4. Performance summary of Agency DSDS Activities and Initiatives

In its DSDS the Agency committed to additional sustainable development activities included in this progress report: Strategic Environmental Assessments; the Sustainable Development Advocate; the Agency’s National Energy Reduction Initiative; and the Agency’s Dead Battery Recycling Program. The following section highlights key Agency achievements under the four DSDS commitments. For more information refer to the tables in Annex A.

Strategic Environmental Assessment (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. The SEA process serves as the strategic platform for the Agency to apply SD principles to new policy and program creation 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.  The Agency achieved a 100% compliance rate with the Cabinet Directive in fiscal year 2012-13.  As the Agency did not complete any detailed assessments in 2012-13, 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 among employees and Health Portfolio partners. 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 Advocate promotes sustainable development initiatives throughout the Agency and ensures compliance with the Cabinet Directive on Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals.

In 2012-13, the Advocate launched the Agency’s 5th National Energy Reduction Initiative and promoted implementation of the Green Printer Initiative. Under the new Shared Services Partnership Arrangement with Health Canada, the Sustainable Development Advocate and Health Canada used a collaborative approach to communicate with staff on sustainable development issues.

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.

In its DSDS, the Agency committed to conducting a National Energy Reduction Initiative in 2012-13.  The Agency’s 2012–13 NERI demonstrated successes and savings in phantom energy and CO2 reductions.  The results of this assessment indicate the utility of installing SmartBars in Agency workstations in tandem with the computer automatic shutdown scripts.

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.

The Agency participates in activities such as the controlled disposal of dead batteries through its battery recycling program including a commitment for a fully-implemented National Dead Battery Recycling Program in all 13 major Agency buildings from Vancouver to Halifax by March 31, 2014.  This commitment was achieved in fiscal year 2012-13.

Conclusion

The Public Health Agency of Canada’s second 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 at: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/sd-dd/index-eng.php.

For details on the Agency’s contribution to the Government of Canada’s FSDS GGO Tables, please see the Treasury Board Secretariat’s website at: http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/Report on Plans and Priorities /2011-2012/info/info-eng.asp.

For more information on the FSDS, please visit Environment Canada’s website at: http://ec.gc.ca/ddsd/default.asp?lang=En&n=F93CD795-1.

Annex A – 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.
As of April 1, 2011, the Agency will implement management elements to increase compliance rates to a minimum of 90% through compliance with SEA Preliminary Scans for Memoranda to Cabinet and Treasury Board Submissions
Performance Measure RPP DPR
Target Status ACHIEVED
Baselines established in 2009–10:
% of annual departmental compliance with the Cabinet Directive for SEA Preliminary Scan for Memoranda to Cabinet 8.4%  
% of annual departmental compliance with the Cabinet Directive for SEA Detailed Assessment for Memoranda to Cabinet Not Applicable
% of annual departmental compliance with the Cabinet Directive for SEA Preliminary Scan for Treasury Board Submissions 19%  
% of annual departmental compliance with the Cabinet Directive for SEA Detailed Assessment for Treasury Board Submissions Not Applicable
Progress against measure in the given fiscal year:
% of annual departmental compliance with the Cabinet Directive for SEA Preliminary Scan for Memoranda to Cabinet 90% 100%
% of annual departmental compliance with the Cabinet Directive for SEA Detailed Assessment for Memoranda to Cabinet Not Applicable  
% of annual departmental compliance with the Cabinet Directive for SEA Preliminary Scan for Treasury Board Submissions 90% 100%
% of annual departmental compliance with the Cabinet Directive for SEA Detailed Assessment for Treasury Board Submissions Not Applicable  

National Energy Reduction Initiative Performance Measures and Baselines
Program Activity ArchitectureSA 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
By March 31, 2014, the Agency will reduce its CO2 levels from phantom energy use by 100% and verify its success through its 5th and 6th National Energy Reduction Initiative (NERI)
Performance Measure RPP DPR
Target Status EXCEEDED
Baselines established in 2010–11
# of avoidable CO2 tonnes per year by the Agency
867 tonnes/year  
Progress against measure in the given fiscal year:
# of reduced avoidable CO2 tonnes per year by the Agency
FY 2011–12 -701 tonnes/year -619.54 tonnes/year
FY 2012­–13 -800 tonnes/year -833.46 tonnes/year
FY 2013–14 -867 tonnes/year  

Dead Battery Program Performance Measures and Baselines
Program Activity ArchitectureSA 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 2012-13 fiscal year:
# of major Agency buildings 13 17
# of major Agency buildings with DBRPs fully-implemented 9 17
# of major Agency buildings without DBRPs fully-implemented 4 5
# of batteries diverted from landfills TBD TBD
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