Contributing to the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy


Symbol for the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS), Theme IV: Shrinking the Environmental Footprint – Beginning with Government

The symbol for the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS), Theme IV: Shrinking the Environmental Footprint – Beginning with Government

The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat contributes to the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) under Theme IV to help shrink the environmental footprint – beginning with government.

Below you will find a description of the key areas in which the Secretariat contributes to the FSDS including Strategic Environmental Assessments to support decision-making and Greening Government Operations.

The Secretariat's annual Report on Plans and Priorities outline the details of the Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy and progress reporting is found in the annual Departmental Performance Report.


Since 1995, departments have presented sustainable development strategies to Parliament every three years.

The FSDS provides requirements to make environmental decision-making and performance reporting more transparent to Parliament and Canadians.  The FSDS requires government-wide action to achieve common goals and targets in key areas, i.e. air and climate change, water, nature and shrinking the government’s environmental footprint.

The FSDS provides a framework for addressing and reporting on sustainable development in government by:

  • providing an integrated whole-of-government picture of actions and results to achieve goals in environmental sustainability;
  • linking sustainable development planning and reporting to the Government's core Expenditure Management System on an annual basis (Report on Plans and Priorities and Departmental Performance Report); and,
  • establishing effective monitoring and reporting processes to track progress for Parliament and Canadians.

Greening Government Operations (GGO) in Internal Services

The Secretariat's main contribution to the government-wide efforts to support environmental sustainability is through its internal services program activity.

Internal services consist of functions that support programs delivered to other government departments and other corporate obligations of the Secretariat.  These activities represent one of the six program activities found in the Secretariat's Program Activity Architecture (PAA)Footnote 1.  These core activities contribute to achieving the Secretariat's strategic outcome that Government is well managed and accountable, and resources are allocated to achieve results for Canadians through internal services such as financial management services, information technology services, real property services, and acquisition services. Efforts by the Secretariat to continually improve its internal services contribute to better results in its core roles as a central agency and thus to a well managed and accountable government.

Through its internal services program activities, the Secretariat works on implementing the Greening Government Operations Targets to support Theme IV of the FSDS as follows: Electronic Waste, Managed Print, Paper Consumption, Green Meetings and Green Procurement.  The Secretariat has established responsibilities and accountabilities, focused on building baselines and developed effective monitoring systems to achieve targets.  These targets and strategies are outlined in the Secretariat's RPP.

To further strengthen the Secretariat's approach to integrating SD in the department, the Secretariat leverages and promotes SD in the workplace, for example, through the engagement of the Sustainable Development working group comprised of volunteers from various sectors.

Strategic Environmental Assessments

As provided in the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals, strategic environmental assessment (SEA) is "the systematic and comprehensive process of evaluating the environmental effects of a policy, plan or program and its alternatives."

Departments and agencies must conduct an SEA of a policy, plan or program proposal when the following two conditions are present:

  1. The proposal is being submitted to an individual minister or to Cabinet for approval; and
  2. The implementation of the proposal may result in important environmental effects, either positive or negative.

In certain circumstances, departments and agencies are required to conduct SEAs for proposals that do not meet both conditions.

The Secretariat supports the integration of SEAs into decision making by:

  • Strengthening the application of SEAs by ensuring that the government's environmental goals are taken into account when pursuing social and economic goals; and
    • As a central agency, the Secretariat reviews proposals from government organizations for Cabinet and Treasury Board approval. Although accountability for ensuring that an SEA is completed rests with the sponsoring minister(s), the Secretariat provides guidance to organizations on developing proposals and works with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency to ensure that guidance reflects best practices for incorporating SEA results into proposals.
  • Pursuing best practices on reporting on summary information on the results of SEAs linked to the FSDS goals and targets, in order to ensure that environmental decision making is transparent.


For more information on how the Secretariat is implementing Theme IV: Shrinking the Environmental Footprint, consult the Secretariat's annual DPR, Section III, Supplementary Information tables.

For complete details on the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy visit the Environment Canada web site.

More information on the Strategic Environmental Assessments and to view the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals consult the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency web site.

Information on Greening Government Operations can be found on the Public Works and Government Services Canada site.

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Privacy statement

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: