The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat’s Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy for 2017 to 2020

Table of contents

Section 1: context for the Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy

The Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) for 2016 to 2019 presents the Government of Canada's sustainable development goals and targets, as required by the Federal Sustainable Development Act. In keeping with the objectives of the act to integrate environmental, social and economic considerations into decision making, and make such decisions more transparent and accountable to Parliament, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat supports reaching goals laid out in the FSDS through the activities described in this Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy (DSDS).

Section 2: sustainable development at the Secretariat

In the FSDS for 2016 to 2019, the Government of Canada has committed to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40% by 2030. About 89% of the government's direct GHG emissions come from the energy used for its buildings (for example, defence bases, office space, laboratories and warehouses), and 11% come from its vehicle fleet (on-road and off-road vehicles). The primary GHG emissions sources are natural gas and electricityFootnote 1 .

The government will reduce its GHG emissions by:

  • making strategic investments in infrastructure, vehicle fleets and clean energy
  • integrating environmental performance considerations in government procurement
  • using clean technology
Figure 1: sources of the Government of Canada's GHG emissions reported in the 2014 to 2015 fiscal year
[alt text]. Text version below:
Figure 1 - Text version
Natural gas 39%
Electricity 30%
Fuel oil 16%
Distinct energy 7%
Other fuels 4%
Gasoline 3%

To drive results across government, on October 31, 2016, the government transferred federal leadership for greening of government operations from Public Services and Procurement Canada to the Secretariat. The Secretariat's Centre for Greening Government:

  • tracks the federal government's emissions centrally
  • coordinates efforts across government
  • drives results to make sure the Government of Canada meets its objectives for sustainable development

Centre for Greening Government: results to date

Round tables

The Centre for Greening Government:

  • has organized 2 round tables with environmental leaders focusing on embracing new environmentally responsible values, beliefs and behaviours (for example, how to use more sustainable travel practices to work and between workplaces) and green procurement
  • has observed the following at the round tables:
    • industry, non-governmental organizations, government employees and labour organizations have experience in greening operations, have innovative ideas, and are keen to work with all levels of government to further the greening of government
    • increasing the government's adoption of Canadian clean technologies can help "green" government operations and create jobs
    • additional efforts are needed to advance the benefits of green procurement and life-cycle management in government procurement
    • there are opportunities to further incorporate environmental criteria into government procurement

Open data

  • Open data on the Government of Canada's GHG inventory was published for the first time.
  • The GHG inventory showed that the Government of Canada reduced emissions from its buildings and vehicles by 19% between the 2005 to 2006 fiscal year and the 2014 to 2015 fiscal year.

The Secretariat is the central agency that acts as the administrative arm of the Government of Canada's Treasury Board. In this capacity, the Secretariat is well positioned to set an ambitious sustainability agenda throughout the federal public service through its 4 core responsibilities (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat roles and responsibilities

Spending oversight

Reviews spending proposals and authorities; reviews existing and proposed government programs for efficiency, effectiveness and relevance; and provides information to Parliament and Canadians on government spending.

Regulatory oversight

Develops and oversees policies to promote good regulatory practices; reviews proposed regulations to ensure that they adhere to the requirements of government policy; and advances regulatory cooperation across jurisdictions.

Administrative leadership

Leads government wide initiatives; develops policies and sets the strategic direction for government administration related to service delivery and access to government information, as well as the management of assets, finances, information and technology.

Employer

Develops policies and sets the strategic direction for people management in the public service; manages total compensation (including pensions and benefits) and labour relations; undertakes initiatives to improve performance in support of recruitment and retention objectives.

Facts about the Government of Canada

The Government of Canada:

  • is Canada's largest employer, with almost 200,000 employees in the core public administration as of March 31, 2016
  • reported $122 billion in direct program expenses in the 2015 to 2016 fiscal year
  • has spent an average of $23 billion in procurement annually between 2013 and 2016
  • administers 2,600 regulations across all federal regulators in the current inventory
  • has 32,221 buildings that have 21.6 million square metres of space, as of February 2017
  • has approximately 26,000 vehicles in its vehicle fleet, as of June 2017
  • generated 175,020 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions related to its business travel for 26 departments in the 2015 to 2016 fiscal year

The Secretariat's DSDS takes a two-pronged approach:

  1. provide leadership across government
  2. lead by example through the Secretariat's own efforts as a department

A. Provide leadership across the government

The Secretariat will:

  • take cross-cutting actions to advance the broad goals of the FSDS
  • target actions to achieve low-carbon government

Cross-cutting actions to advance the broad goals of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy

The Secretariat will:

  • strengthen its rules and guidance for the federal public service by identifying opportunities to better align Treasury Board policies and the Secretariat's guidance with the goals of the FSDS
  • improve transparency and accountability by:
    • expanding the reporting of the government's GHG emissions
    • exploring how to integrate low-carbon considerations into the review of the Secretariat's annual assessment of departmental management practices

In addition, the Secretariat will contribute to the United Nations' (UN's) sustainability goals by:

  • increasing the representation of women and members of other minority groups in leadership positions, through the Minority Groups in Positions of Leadership Initiative
  • developing and implementing a client-first service strategy to improve how government services are provided to Canadians and to Canadian businesses

Target actions to achieve low-carbon government

The Secretariat will lead efforts in 4 main areas to lower the government's GHG emissions by:

  • providing guidance to departments
  • working closely with federal departments:
    1. real property: adopt a low-carbon approach to managing the government's buildings and properties, including improving the energy efficiency of its buildings
    2. fleet: modernize and optimize its vehicles
    3. green procurement: develop green procurement guidance that promotes the use of clean technology
    4. climate resilience: understand the impacts of climate change and build resilience to them

B. Lead by example through the Secretariat's own efforts as a department

The Secretariat commits to being among the first federal departments to pilot and implement initiatives that it promotes government-wide. The Secretariat's departmental activities are in 5 areas:

  1. Mobilize its employees through the TBS-FINFootnote 2 Green Network, a group of employees committed to:
    • ongoing engagement through the Green Office Challenge and Enviro Week
    • promoting and facilitating concrete environmentally sustainable choices and actions to reduce waste and energy consumption
  2. Continue to modernize its workspace through initiatives that reduce required physical space and increase its utilization rate, ultimately lowering the department's carbon footprint (an example is moving the remaining 35% of its employees from L'Esplanade Laurier to 219 Laurier Avenue West)
  3. Continue to modernize work practices by:
    • transforming its digital workplace (for example, modernizing business processes, systems and tools by using tablets, dual monitors, Wi-Fi and technology-equipped meeting rooms)
    • creating a work environment that is enabled and supports alternative sustainable work arrangements
  4. De-carbonize the Secretariat's vehicle fleet by replacing its vehicles at the end of their life cycle with hybrid or zero-emission vehicles
  5. Take action in green procurement by considering environmental factors in processes and controls for managing procurement

The actions outlined in this DSDS represent a starting point for the Secretariat. The Secretariat is committed to expanding its strategy in the coming years to:

  • unlock untapped opportunities and innovative solutions that capitalize on the Secretariat's roles in spending oversight, administrative leadership and regulatory oversight, and as the employer of the public service
  • engage diverse views through a participatory process
  • build on concrete results for Canadians, informed by international best practices
Figure 3: Sustainable features of the James Michael Flaherty Building
Sustainable features of the James Michael Flaherty Building. Text version below:

Sustainable features of the James Michael Flaherty Building

The James Michael Flaherty Building at 90 Elgin St. in Ottawa is occupied by employees of the Secretariat and the Department of Finance Canada. It has LEED Gold certification, an international rating system for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. Sustainable features in the building include:

  • a living wall, located in the lobby, which acts as a natural air filter
  • storm water cistern for green roof irrigation
  • a state-of-the art lighting control system that helps reduce energy consumption
  • electric vehicle charging stations
  • bike and shower rooms to foster more sustainable approaches to commuting

Section 3: commitments of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

Responsible minister: President of the Treasury Board

Low-carbon government FSDS target(s): Reduce GHG emissions from federal government buildings and fleets by 40% below 2005 levels by 2030, with an aspiration to achieve this reduction by 2025

Table 1: low-carbon-government: the Government of Canada leads by example by making its operations low-carbon
FSDS contributing action(s) Corresponding action(s) Contribution by each departmental action to the FSDS goal and target Starting point(s) where available, and performance indicators for identified actions Program(s) in which the departmental actions will occur

Table 1 Notes

Table 1 Note 1

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design

Return to table 1 note 3 referrer

Improve the energy efficiency of our buildings and operations To provide government-wide leadership, the Secretariat will:
  • Develop real property guidance and work with departments to:
    • accelerate improvements in energy efficiency in federal buildings
    • promote clean electricity, heating and cooling
    • improve building operations and maintenance
Promoting the switch to cleaner sources of energy will lead to reductions in GHGs.
  • Per cent change in GHG emissions from federal facilities from the 2005 to 2006 fiscal year:
    • GHG emissions from federal facilities in the 2005 to 2006 fiscal year (base year): 1,222.0 kt CO2 eq kilotonnes (thousands of metric tonnes) of carbon dioxide equivalent)
    • GHG emissions from federal facilities in the 2014 to 2015 fiscal year: 987.5 kt CO2 eq (19% change from baseline)
  • Per cent of the government's electricity from clean sources
Comptrollership policies and initiatives
To lead by example, the Secretariat will:
  • Reduce its footprint by moving the remaining 35% of its employees from L'Esplanade Laurier to 219 Laurier Avenue West
  • Pilot an activity-based workspace for up to 200 employees at 219 Laurier Avenue West
  • Commit to a minimum in operations and maintenance of LEEDtable 1 note 3 Silver certification (219 Laurier) to LEED Gold certification (90 Elgin) certification for all office accommodation sites
The new workplace actions will maximize space utilization, leading to a smaller footprint with the latest environmental technologies.
  • Per cent change in the Secretariat's space utilization rate based on total usable office space in the 2016 to 2017 fiscal year and full-time equivalents outlined in the departmental business plan
The Secretariat occupies space leased by Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC). As part of its government-wide leadership efforts, the Secretariat is working with PSPC to explore opportunities to track GHG emissions from leased space.
Internal Services
Modernize our fleet To provide government-wide leadership, the Secretariat will:
  • Work with Natural Resources Canada and other expert departments to facilitate federal coordination and develop tools and training to support greener practices for federal departments, including optimizing departmental fleets
  • Support the deployment of zero-emission vehicles in the federal fleet by identifying and working to address barriers to adopt zero-emission vehicles
  • The replacement of the current fleet with zero-emission vehicles will reduce the amount of fuel consumed for fleet operation
  • The switch to less GHG-intensive sources of fuels that will contribute to GHG reductions
  • Per cent of change in GHG emissions from the federal fleet in the 2005 to 2006 fiscal year:
    • GHG emissions from federal fleet in the 2005 to 2006 fiscal year (base year): 154.1 kt CO2 eq
    • GHG emissions from the federal fleet in the 2014 to 2015 fiscal year: 124.7 kt CO2 eq (19% change from the baseline)
  • Per cent of electric or zero-emission vehicles in the federal administrative fleet
  • Number of electric or zero-emission vehicles deployed in the federal fleet
Comptrollership policies and initiatives
To lead by example, the Secretariat will:
  • Replace the Secretariat's fuel-efficient vehicles at the end of their life cycle with hybrid or zero-emission vehicles
The replacement of the current fleet with hybrid-type vehicles will reduce the amount of fuel consumed for fleet operation, ultimately contributing to GHG reductions.
  • Per cent of Secretariat's fleet replaced by hybrid or zero-emission  vehicles by 2020
Given the number of the Secretary's vehicles (3), GHG emissions from its fleet are insignificant.
Internal Services
Support the transition to a low-carbon economy through green procurement To provide government-wide leadership, the Secretariat will:
  • Develop green procurement guidance that applies to real property and fleets and that promotes clean technology in order to increase green procurement uptake
This contributing action will motivate suppliers to:
  • "green" their goods and services
  • ensure that goods and services that the Secretariat procures will support a low-carbon environment
  • Number of new or renewed federal procurement instruments (standing offers or supply arrangements) in which environmental considerations are incorporated per reporting year
Comptrollership policies and initiatives
To lead by example, the Secretariat will:
  • Integrate environmental considerations into its procurement management processes and controls
  • Ensure that its decision-makers have the necessary training and awareness to support green procurement
  • Ensure that its key officials include contribution to and support for the objectives of the Government of Canada Policy on Green Procurement in their performance evaluations
These contributing actions will reduce GHG emissions by incorporating environmental considerations into the Secretariat's purchasing decisions.
  • Number of new procurement officers who have completed training on green procurement within their first month on the job
  • Per cent of procurement approved through the On-line Contract Initiation (OCIF) (e-signature)
  • Per cent of requests received that consider green procurement as a primary resourcing mechanism for applicable procurement activities
Internal Services
Demonstrate innovative technologies To provide government-wide leadership, the Secretariat will:
  • Engage with the Clean Tech Hub to leverage and connect clean technology funding and support programs such as the Build in Canada Innovation Program to assist departments with greening their government operations
This action will facilitate state-of-the-art innovative clean technologies that lower the environmental footprint of government operations while contributing to the success of clean-tech businesses in Canada.
  • Number and value of federal projects that leverage the Build in Canada Innovation Program for greening government operations
Comptrollership policies and initiatives
Promote sustainable travel practices To provide government-wide leadership, the Secretariat will:
  • Promote sustainable practices for air travel for the public service where feasible
  • Offer offsetting options to reduce the impact of government travel
The actions taken to reduce the amount of work-related air travel and switch to less GHG-intensive modes of transportation will reduce GHG emissions.
  • Annual reduction in GHG emissions from federal work-related air travel (baseline: 2016 to 2017 fiscal year)
Comptrollership policies and initiatives
To lead by example, the Secretariat will:
  • Promote the use of its videoconferencing, teleconferencing and telepresence facilities
  • Promote sustainable commuting options for employees such as walking, cycling, and using public transit and carpools
The actions taken to reduce the amount of travel and switch to less-GHG-intensive modes of transportation will reduce GHG emissions.
  • Per cent of the Secretariat's employees that practise sustainable commuting options
Internal Services
Understand climate change impacts and build resilience To provide government-wide leadership, the Secretariat will:
  • Work with Environment and Climate Change Canada and other departments to understand and address the wide range of climate change impacts on federal assets and operations
  • Strengthen integration of adaptation to climate change into departmental risk planning
Factoring climate variability and change into policy, programs and operations is:
  • one of the most important ways the government can adapt to a changing climate
  • consistent with the government's risk management approach of enhancing the protection of public assets and resources and of strengthening planning and decision making
  • Per cent of federal departments that have incorporated climate change adaptation into departmental risk planning or equivalent
Comptrollership policies and initiatives
Improve transparency and accountability To provide government-wide leadership, the Secretariat will:
  • Explore integration of a carbon lens when assessing performance of government management practices through the Management Accountability Framework
  • Ensure a comprehensive approach to performance reporting by creating a comprehensive GHG inventory and expanding the number of departments that report GHG emissions in the 2018 to 2019 fiscal year
  • Continue to provide timely updates on progress through full disclosure of emissions
n/a
  • Per cent of departments that are reporting on GHG emissions
  • Annual public reporting of federal GHG emissions completed
Comptrollership policies and initiatives
Develop policy for low-carbon government To provide government-wide leadership, the Secretariat will:
  • Review key Treasury Board policy instruments in order to:
    • Identify policy areas of high impact and value in lowering carbon emissions (that is, assets, procurement and projects)
    • Integrate incentives and remove barriers to facilitate the transition to low-carbon government
  • Explore opportunities to improve integration of environmental assessment considerations to further sustainability into the government's regulatory process as part of the review of the Cabinet Directive on Regulatory Management
  • Explore with bargaining agents opportunities for the Government of Canada to be a greener employer
  • Update the Treasury Board submission template and guidance to confirm that:
    • departments are compliant with Strategic Environmental Assessment requirements for proposals submitted to the Treasury Board
    • climate change impacts and adaptation have been taken into consideration
  • Develop additional guidance to strengthen integration of low-carbon climate resilience and green considerations in investment planning
n/a
  • Currently, only output-based indicators are available (for example, the Policy on Green Procurement is reviewed)
  • Outcome-based indicators will be identified and implemented (once the reviews and the exploratory work have been completed)
  • Comptroller-ship policies and initiatives
  • Regulatory policy and oversight
  • Oversight and Treasury Board support
  • Collective bargaining and labour relations
Table 2: additional departmental sustainable development activities and initiatives
Activities and initiatives Starting point(s) where available, and performance indicators for identified actions Program(s)in which departmental actions will occur
Mandate commitment initiatives that support broad UN sustainable development goals:
  • The Secretariat is taking action to increase representation of women and members of other minority groups in leadership positions, through the Minority Groups in Positions of Leadership Initiative. This initiative supports:
    • UN sustainable development Goal 5 on gender equality (ensure women's full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision making in political, economic and public life)
    • UN sustainable development Goal 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions (ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision making at all levels)
  • The Secretariat is leading departmental action to strengthen the approach to addressing and preventing harassment and violence in the public service. This initiative supports:
    • UN sustainable development Goal 10 on reduced inequalities (ensure equal opportunity and reduce inequalities of outcome, including through eliminating discriminatory laws, policies and practices and promoting appropriate legislation, policies and actions in this regard)
    • UN sustainable development Goal 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions (significantly reduce all forms of violence)
  • The Secretariat is working with service delivery departments to develop and implement a client-first service strategy to support government-wide improvements to service delivery to Canadians and businesses. This initiative supports UN sustainable development Goal 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions (develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels).
  • Per cent of executive employees (compared with workforce availability) who are:
    • members of a visible minority group
    • women
    • persons with a disability
    • Aboriginal persons
  • Per cent of employees who indicate that they have been a victim of:
    • harassment on the job in the past 2 years
    • discrimination
  • Per cent of employees who indicate that the nature of harassment experienced is a sexual comment or gesture
  • Degree to which clients are satisfied with the delivery of Government of Canada services
  • People management and executive policies and initiatives
  • Service delivery policies and initiatives
The Secretariat's operational activities that support the broad FSDS goals are as follows:
  • Modernize work practices:
    • Continue transforming its digital workplace through modernized business processes, systems and tools that further reduce dependence on paper as the department transforms into a fully digital organization
    • Engage in broad consultation to update the Green Meeting Guide
    • Create a work environment that is effectively enabled and supports alternative, sustainable work arrangements such as telework and compressed work schedules (where operationally feasible)
  • Mobilize employees through the TBS-FIN Green Network
Only indicators that measure reduction in paper usage are currently available:
  • Per cent reduction year-over-year in paper purchased for printing and photocopying for the Secretariat based on data from the 2016 to 2017 fiscal year
  • Per cent reduction year-over-year in the number of boxes of paper received and processed by the Secretariat's Records Office
New indicators to measure the progress of the remaining actions will be identified and implemented.
Internal Services

Section 4: integrating sustainable development

As a department, the Secretariat is committed to integrating sustainable development into its internal and operational processes.
Although the Secretariat has made progress, further effort is required. The Secretariat is now integrating sustainable development considerations into the following:

  • Governance: The membership of the Secretariat's executive and policy committees now include representation from the Secretariat's Centre for Greening Government. Such representation will allow for better integration of sustainability considerations into committee decisions.
  • Performance results and indicators: The Treasury Board's new Policy on Results requires that the Secretariat develop performance information profiles for all its programs. These profiles are to include:
    • program results
    • measurable performance indicators
    • a summary of evaluation needs

In developing these profiles, the Secretariat will explore opportunities to integrate sustainability considerations in order to better assess the impact of its work on the environment and on broader sustainability goals.

  • Decision-making processes: The Secretariat is committed to ensuring that its decision-making process includes consideration of FSDS goals and targets through its Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) process. An SEA for policy, plan or program proposals includes an analysis of the impacts of the given proposal on the environment, including FSDS goals and targets.

The Secretariat advises its sectors on preparing departmental Treasury Board submissions and memoranda to Cabinet. This advice is provided in accordance with:

  • the Secretariat's guide to preparing Treasury Board submissions
  • the Privy Council's guide to Cabinet documents

This advice and guidance includes consideration of whether the Guidelines for Implementing the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals apply.
Statements on the results of the Secretariat's assessments will be made public when an initiative that has undergone a detailed SEA is announced. The purpose of the statement is to demonstrate that the environmental effects of the approved policy, plan or program, including the impacts on achieving FSDS goals and targets, have been considered during proposal development and decision making.

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the President of the Treasury Board, 2017,
ISSN: 2561-2662

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