1. Canada Sustainable Development Vision

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

Sustainable development is an approach to growth that considers the impacts of policies, programs and operations on economic prosperity, environmental quality and social well-being. While Industry Canada is, first and foremost, an economic department, it recognizes the interconnectedness of the economic, social and environmental policy dimensions. As such, it supports further integration of sustainable development principles into departmental policies, programs and operations as a way to foster improved efficiency, decreased costs, improved environmental performance, enhanced competitiveness of Canadian industry, and increased awareness and uptake by Canadian consumers.

In 2006, Industry Canada adopted the following vision to guide its efforts in promoting sustainable development:

In support of a competitive economy, Industry Canada is positioned as a leader in supporting sustainable development technologies and practices for businesses and consumers.

This vision was adopted within the framework of Industry Canada's Sustainable Development Strategy 2006–09 (SDS IV), which sought to build on the achievements of its first three strategies while addressing emerging sustainability challenges and opportunities. Industry Canada's first sustainable development strategy, SDS I (1997–2000), had a "learning and discovery" theme. It was aimed at institutionalizing the concept of sustainable development by establishing broadly based deliverables and management involvement. The Department's second sustainable development strategy, SDS II (2000–2003), was characterized by a "leadership and partnership" theme. It was formulated on the basis of lessons learned from SDS I, specifically in terms of building a sustainable development management system within the Department. Industry Canada's third sustainable development strategy, SDS III (2003–2006), supported a vision of Canada as a leader in the development, commercialization and adoption of innovative sustainable development tools, practices and technologies throughout the economy. Its theme was "innovation and results". Most recently, SDS IV had as its theme "selling the sustainability value proposition."

Industry Canada has made significant progress over the course of its four sustainable development strategies. Given the interplay between environmental and economic policy objectives, it is positioned to contribute to the achievement of the environmental goals and targets of the federal government, as set out in the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS), by supporting Canadian industry efforts to leverage sustainability opportunities for greater competitiveness.

In the coming fiscal year (2011-12), Industry Canada will work to align its sustainable development vision with the new FSDS framework, and, in collaboration with stakeholders and other federal departments, to integrate economic considerations into this framework.