Archived - Supplementary document to the 2007-08 Departmental Performance Report (DPR) regarding implementation of the 2007-09 Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS)

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The Department of Finance’s 2007-09 Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS) was released in November 2006. The Department's vision for sustainable development is "Economic and fiscal policy frameworks and decisions that promote equity and enhance the economic, social, and environmental well-being of current and future generations." It highlights the long-term ideal that the Department will strive to achieve. To help focus the Department’s efforts, the 2007–09 SDS sets out five long-term goals that focus on key areas where the Department can contribute, within its mandate, to sustainable development: (1) fiscal sustainability and a high standard of living for future generations; (2) strong social foundations; (3) integration of sustainable development considerations into policy making; (4) integration of sustainable development considerations into the economy; and (5) demonstration of the Department's commitment to sustainable development in operations.

Actions for 2007-09 Results Achieved in 2007-08

GOAL 1: Fiscal Sustainability and a High Standard of Living for Future Generations

Objective 1a: Promote fiscal sustainability by reducing Canada’s debt burden
1a.1: Eliminate Canada’s total government net debt by 2021 at the latest. For its part, the federal government will continue to target annual federal debt reduction of $3 billion and is committed to reducing the federal debt-to-GDP ratio to 25 per cent by 2012–13. A budgetary surplus of $9.6 billion was achieved in 2007-08, bringing total federal debt reduction in the last three years to $37 billion. The federal debt as a share of GDP fell to 29.8 per cent in 2007-08 from 32.2 per cent in 2006-07.

Debt reduction in 2007-08 allowed the Government to advance its commitment to reduce the federal debt-to-GDP ratio to 25 per cent by one year to 2011-12.

Canadian governments remain on track to meet the national objective of eliminating total government net debt by 2021.

Objective 1b: Keep abreast of long-run economic and fiscal issues and prospects
1b.1: Conduct research and analysis concerning the economic and fiscal implications of population aging and other long-term economic challenges. The Department continued to keep abreast of the emerging literature related to population aging and developed analytical tools to examine the economic and fiscal impacts associated with population aging.

In addition, Finance analysts attended workshops and seminars related to these issues.

1b.2: Conduct analysis of the sustainability of Canada’s fiscal position, including that of the provinces and territories. The Department continued its analysis and research on Canada’s long-run fiscal position. The Department maintained its internal long-run projection models and continued to assess the long-run economic and fiscal challenges in Canada.

Objective 1c: Develop and support policies and measures that promote the long-run sustainability of Canada’s economy
1c.1: Provide analysis and advice to the Minister on possible changes to Canada’s tax system to ensure it supports a competitive and productive economy. In 2007-08, the Department provided analysis and advice to support major tax reduction initiatives to further advance the Government’s Advantage Canada agenda and to encourage investment and job creation necessary to improve living standards for Canadians on an ongoing basis.
  • A  central element of these measures is a reduction in the general federal corporate income tax rate to 15 per cent by 2012. As a result of business tax reductions announced in 2007-08, Canada will have the lowest tax rate on new business investment in the G7 by 2010 and the lowest corporate statutory tax rate in the G7 by 2012. This type of broad-based tax reduction plays a well-recognized role in improving productivity and economic growth.
  • Also important is the introduction of the Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA), a flexible savings vehicle that improves savings in centives for Canadians by expanding their opportunities to save within tax-preferred vehicles.

The Department also conducted analysis that was integral to a number of other tax policy actions that enhance productivity by increasing investment and labour force participation, including:

  • Continuing to align capital cost allowance (CCA) rates with the useful life of assets.
  • Extending for three additional years, temporary accelerated CCA treatment for investment in machinery and equipment made by manufacturers.
  • Expanding the scope of the accelerated CCA treatment for clean energy generation equipment to support investment in technologies that help increase energy efficiency and reduce harmful emissions.
  • Supporting research and development through improvements to the scientific research and experimental development tax incentive program.
  • Streamlining and simplifying reporting and record keeping requirements in order to reduce the tax compliance burden for businesses, investors, employees, and self-employed individuals.
  • Implementing a new Working Income Tax Benefit of up to $500 for individuals and $1,000 for families, in 2007 to reward and strengthen in centives to work for an estimated 1.2 million low-income Canadians.

GOAL 2: Strong Social Foundations

Objective 2a: Ensure stable and predictable funding for health and social programs
2a.1: Implement a new legislative funding framework for the Canada Social Transfer (CST). This target was met in 2007-08.

Budget 2007 put the Canada Social Transfer on a long-term, predictable, growing path ensuring stable funding for social programs:

  • funding framework legislated through 2013-14;
  • cash allocated on an equal per capita basis;
  • CST cash funding increased by $687 million in 2007-08 to support the new cash allocation; in 2008-09, CST cash will increase by $800 million for post-secondary education and by $250 million for development of child care spaces;
  • automatic 3 per cent escalator applies as of 2009-10;
  • notional allocations provided for social programs, post-secondary education and programs for children to increase transparency of federal support.

In 2007-08, the Department prepared and implemented required legislative and regulatory changes, reflecting Budget 2007 commitments. The Department worked with provinces and territories to ensure smooth implementation of the changes.

Objective 2b: Reduce fiscal disparities through Equalization and Territorial Formula Financing programs
2b.1: New formulas for Equalization and TFF will be developed in consultation with provincial and territorial governments. This target was met in 2007-08.

Budget 2007 implemented a strengthened Equalization program to reduce fiscal disparities that reflects the following:

  • a formula-based, simplified program;
  • a higher, 10-province standard;
  • legislated through 2013-14.

Budget 2007 also returned TFF to a formula-based approach that recognizes the different circumstances in each of the three territories, and provides improved in centives to encourage territorial economic development. The TFF program is also legislated through 2013-14.

In 2007-08, the Department prepared and implemented required legislative and regulatory changes, reflecting Budget 2007 commitments. Further, the Department worked with provinces and territories to ensure smooth implementation of the changes.

Objective 2c: Ensure the sustainability of the retirement income system
2c.1: Complete the next Canada Pension Plan triennial review. Federal, provincial and territorial Ministers of Finance, who are co-stewards of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), committed to make best efforts to review the Plan and make recommendations on the contribution rate and benefits by the end of 2008.

To support this work, the Department of Finance will:

  • Review the CPP’s contribution rate and benefits in consultation with the provinces, Human Resources and Social Development Canada, and the Chief Actuary of the CPP.
  • Advise Ministers on whether any changes should be made to the CPP in the 2007-2009 Review.

To that end, the 23rd Actuarial Report on the CPP was tabled on October 29, 2007 and confirmed the financial sustainability of the CPP for at least the next 75 years at the current contribution rate of 9.9 per cent of contributory earnings.

Federal, provincial and territorial officials have met on number of occasions to develop a work plan for the triennial review, including objectives and possible issues for discussion by Ministers in the context of the review.

GOAL 3: Integrating Sustainable Development Considerations into Policy Making

Objective 3a: Evaluate the potential for the use of economic instruments as a policy tool for addressing environmental issues
3a.1: Examine potential changes to the tax system to assist the Government in meeting its environmental objectives, including proposals received from responsible policy departments and external stakeholders. The Department continued to evaluate research and proposals concerning potential environment-related tax measures in consultation with other government departments and stakeholders, including taxpayers, industry associations and environmental organizations.

The Department conducted analysis that was integral to a number of tax policy changes announced in Budget 2008 including:

  • Expanding the existing accelerated CCA provided under Class 43.2 for clean energy generation equipment that uses renewable energy sources, waste fuels or fossil fuels efficiently to include additional ground source heat pump and waste-to-energy applications.
  • Expanding GST/HST relief currently available in respect of land leased to explore for or exploit mineral, peat, forestry, water or fishery resources to include land leased to situate wind or solar power equipment for the production of electricity.
  • Increasing the CCA rate for CO2 pipelines and related equipment to better reflect the typical useful life of these assets.

The Department also developed draft legislation to enact the changes to CCA Class 43.2 announced in Budget 2007 and Budget 2008, which was released with Budget 2008.

3a.2: Update the Catalogue of Federal, Provincial and Territorial Taxes on Energy Consumption and Transportation in Canada. The Department has updated the information on taxes on energy consumption as of the Spring 2008 provincial budget cycle and will be contacting provincial representatives for validation over the Summer-Fall 2008 period.

Objective 3b: Increased knowledge and awareness of environmental and broader sustainable development issues within the department
3b.1: Organize at least one speaker annually on an issue related to sustainable development. On May 23, 2007, as part of the Departmental Speaker Series, Professor Robert Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University presented his views to the Department in a talk entitled "Beyond the Kyoto Protocol: Getting Serious About Global Climate Change".
3b.2: Develop "tip sheet" for employees on sustainable development. To improve understanding of sustainable development, a "tip sheet" for employees on sustainable development was developed in the Summer of 2007, and posted on Infosite in December 2007.
3b.3: Conduct research and analysis on environmental and natural resource issues. The Department has continued its efforts to improve the knowledge base on environmental and natural resource issues by conducting research and analysis on environmental and natural resources issues such as emissions trading, and CO2 capture and storage.

Objective 3c: Effective implementation of the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals
3c.1: Review the departmental process for implementing the Cabinet directive. Written comments and suggestions to improve the Department’s procedures for conducting SEAs were solicited from all branches within Finance Canada in the Spring and Summer of 2007. The findings and recommendations stemming from this review were approved by the Departmental Coordinating Committee in October 2007. The main recommendation – to reorganize and streamline the Department’s SEA questionnaire and related guidance – was implemented by November 2007.
3c.2: Develop web page for Department of Finance public statements on SEA. The Department developed a web page for public statements on detailed SEAs in the Fall of 2007. Preparations to make the information accessible from the public Finance website are now underway. It is expected to be posted in Spring 2008.

GOAL 4: Integrating Sustainable Development Considerations Into the Economy

Objective 4a: Encourage high quality reporting on corporate social responsibility in the Public Accountability Statements
4a.1: Maintain and broaden the dialogue with stakeholders. Contacts were established with new representatives in Canadian consumer advocacy groups, with a view to holding discussions in the coming year on the corporate and social responsibility-related content of the annual Public Accountability Statements, which are published by federally-regulated financial institutions as per a legislative requirement.
4a.2: Participate in domestic and international conferences/seminars related to corporate and social responsibility. We continue to monitor these events to keep abreast of developments in this field.

GOAL 5: Demonstrating the Department’s Commitment to Sustainable Development in Operations

Objective 5a: Reduced energy use
5a.1: Energy conservation program – Decrease greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 5 per cent in L’Esplanade Laurier (LEL) based on fiscal year 2005-06 baseline through the development and implementation of an energy conservation plan and awareness campaign to explore and facilitate energy efficiency opportunities for LEL and other occupied buildings. A baseline study was completed for fiscal year 2005-06. Public Works and Government Services (PWGSC) has completed a lighting modernization of fluores cent fixtures and ballasts at L’Esplanade Laurier building as of April 2008. By September 2008, the user controls (switches and motion detectors) will be in place. User procedures will be developed concurrently with the completion of the modernization and will be communicated to employees. With this effort, we are expected to exceed our target of 5 per cent reduction in GHGs. As well, Corporate Services are pursuing further energy conservation initiatives in the coming year (including new chillers and plug-load opportunities).

Objective 5b: Improved solid waste management
5b.1: Update recycling program at L’Esplanade Laurier – Divert 75 per cent of waste through the redesign and implementation of an updated recycling program, including improvement to take-back and hazardous materials programs. The recycling program at L’Esplanade Laurier was updated with new signage. The polystyrene bins were removed from the facilities as this is no longer considered a marketable recyclable waste. Additional recycling opportunities were added to the recycling program including CDs/DVDs/floppies/ZIP/JAZZ, batteries, various plastics, toner cartridges and inkjet cartridges. Other opportunities for waste diversion are being assessed for 2008. External site recycling programs are also being updated where possible. The Corporate Services anticipates that these efforts coupled with the composting program (see 5b.2) will allow us to meet and exceed our target.
5b.2: Composting program – Develop and implement a composting program. Opportunities could include hand paper towels and food waste. The composting of hand-paper towels (37 tonnes annually) and pulverized paper (100 tonnes annually) at L’Esplanade Laurier building began in February 2008. These two measures will assure a waste diversion rate in the order of 85 per cent.

Objective 5c: Improved environmental performance of departmental vehicles
5c.1: Reduce GHG emissions – Will reduce GHG emissions per vehicle kilometre from the departmental fleet by 15 per cent based on 2005-06 fleet composition baseline. A vehicle fleet baseline was completed for the Department of Finance, Treasury Board Secretariat and the Canada Public Service Agency (Fin/TBS/CPSA) fleet for calendar year (CY) 2007. The fleet of 6 vehicles is being monitored to ensure that new acquisitions meet the TBS Directive on Fleet Management: Executive Vehicles, which includes provisions intended to reduce the environmental impact of the executive fleet (i.e. use of hybrid-electric, flexible fuel, or 4-cylinder conventional fuel engine). In CY 2007, two hybrid (electric and gas) vehicles were purchased, which are expected to reduce GHG emissions from the executive fleet by approximately 24 per cent from baseline year (FY 2005-06).
5c.2: Maximize use of ethanol – 90 per cent of gasoline purchased for federal road vehicles will be ethanol-blended. The Fin/TBS/CPSA fleet is being monitored annually to ensure that ethanol-based fuels are being purchased whenever possible. Drivers have been provided the direction and resources as to where ethanol-based fuels are available. It is anticipated that these efforts will allow us to meet our 90 per cent objective.
5c.3: Green and defensive driver training – All drivers will be provided green and defensive driver training. All six (6) Fin/TBS/CPSA fleet drivers have completed the green and defensive driver training.

Objective 5d: Green procurement
5d.1: Green procurement tracking – will adjust procurement tracking and reporting to include green procurement (collaboratively with a number of departments and agencies). Finance and Treasury Board Secretariat initiated a collaboration with departments and agencies that use the common financial information system delivered by SAP to work on a common approach to tracking green procurement. The SAP Core (Development Team) has developed and implemented the government-wide Integrated Financial and Materiel System field to track green procurement purchases. The green procurement tracking field came on-line in September 2007.
5d.2: Multi-function document manager pilot program – Develop a pilot for equipment that would reduce the need for a separate networked photocopier, printer, colour printer and scanner (and possibly fax machine). A Statement of Sensitivities and a Threat and Risk Assessment have been completed for the use of the MFD Printers (purchased) and MFD Managers (leased) on the network. A pilot group (TBS – Pensions and Benefits) was established on 31 December 2007. The group was moved to 222 Nepean. Significant operational cost savings for the use of these printing devices is anticipated as well as energy and paper cost savings. Results of pilot will be available by end of the calendar year 2008.
5d.3: Green furniture purchases – Corporate Services Branch will increase purchases of green office furniture from 2005-06 levels by 50 per cent where and whenever new fit-up opportunities exist, and where current design configuration permits. Furniture Procurement standards were established and are being followed by the Facilities Management staff and procurement buyers. Reminders of the standard and the SDS target are sent periodically to assure compliance. The office furniture industry is considered quite environmentally friendly and is a  centrally managed commodity type through PWGSC mandatory Standing Offer Agreements (SOA). The SOAs have environmental considerations built into them. We anticipate that 100 per cent of our purchases over $20,000 will have environmental considerations built into them during the life of SDS 2007-2009.
5d.4: Develop and deliver green procurement training to 100 per cent of materiel managers and procurement staff by 2008, as well as 60 per cent of acquisition cardholders by 2009. PWGSC-OGGO (Office of Greening Government Operations) and the Canada School of the Public Service have developed and made available via on-line training through CampusDirect in July 2007. Forty-five (45) per cent of Materiel and Procurement personnel completed the green procurement training session organized by Enviro in January 2008. The remainder will complete the training by September 2008. Enviro has conducted some training sessions for the acquisition card holders of Fin, TBS and CPSA. Forty-six (46) per cent of the acquisition card holders have had the training at this time. The sixty (60) per cent target is expected to be achieved in the Fall of 2008.

Objective 5e: Green citizenship
5e.1: Green Citizenship Network (GCN) – Corporate Services Branch will establish ongoing support for the GCN, increase the GCN membership by 25 per cent and improve opportunities for employee participation in grassroots environmental activities. GCN Membership in the Department has increased from 4 to 25 members (525 per cent) during CY 2007. Enviro is working to provide members with more opportunities for grassroots involvement in workplace environmental initiatives. For example, GCN membership initiated a Lug-a-Mug campaign to reduce polystyrene waste.

Objective 5f: Improved environmental management
5f.1: Environmental Management System (EMS) – Corporate Services Branch will develop and implement an EMS for the Department of Finance, the Treasury Board Secretariat and the Public Service Human Resources Management Agency of Canada, in collaboration with the Public Service Commission of Canada. An Environmental Management System (EMS) is part of an organization’s management system used to develop and implement its environmental policy and manage its environmental aspects. Corporate Services has completed a first draft of the EMS and has established an EMS committee composed of the most business sectors of Corporate Services and a PWGSC representative. The committee meets bi-monthly.