Sustainable development

What's new?

The 2016‑2019 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy is now available. The Strategy includes significantly enhanced economic and social dimensions and outlines the government's plan and vision for a more sustainable Canada. It outlines goals and actions to promote clean growth, ensure healthy ecosystems, and build safe, secure and sustainable communities. The Strategy consists of 13 aspirational goals, stronger targets and indicators, new short‑term milestones, and clear action plans that are a Canadian reflection of the environmentally‑related sustainable development goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The most common definition of sustainable development is "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs", which comes from the United Nations study which first brought this issue to the world's attention (Our Common Future, The World Commission on Environment and Development ‑ Brundtland Commission, 1987). It is an approach to growth that considers the impacts of policies, programs and operations on economic prosperity, environmental quality and social well‑being.

Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) Canada's legislative responsibility for sustainable development is defined in its founding act, the Department of Industry Act, 1995, which mandates the Minister to "strengthen the national economy and promote sustainable development."

ISED's current activities in support of sustainable development are presented in its 2015-2016 Progress Report on the Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy (DSDS), which was developed under the framework of the Federal Sustainable Development Act passed by Parliament in 2008. This Act requires the government to develop a Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) every three years. The FSDS sets out federal sustainable development goals and targets. It aims to make environmental decision‑making more transparent and accountable to Parliament.

Section 11 of the Federal Sustainable Development Act further requires that departments or agencies named in the Schedule I of the Financial Administration Act prepare a sustainable development strategy that complies with and contributes to the FSDS, appropriate to the department's or agency's mandate.

In addition to the 2015-2016 Progress Report on the DSDS, this site presents ISED’s past Sustainable Development Strategies and progress reports on their implementation.

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