Archived - Supplementary Document to the Department's 2008-09 Report on Plans and Priorities (RPP) regarding implementation of the 2007-09 SDS

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

Objective Target
Activities anticipated within the coming year (08-09)

1a: Promote fiscal sustainability by reducing Canada’s debt burden 1a.1: Continue to pursue the Government’s Debt Repayment Plan to ensure the federal debt-to-GDP (gross domestic product) ratio remains on a permanent downward track. The Department will continue to monitor and report on the Government’s commitment to keep the federal debt-to-GDP ratio on a downward track and to reduce the debt-to-GDP ratio to 25 per cent by 2011-12.

For the fiscal years 2007-08 to 2009-10, the Government is planning to reduce the federal debt by $10.2 billion, $2.3 billion, and $1.3 billion, respectively.

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. Research on the economic and fiscal implications of population aging is ongoing.

The research agenda on productivity and its drivers will continue, as productivity will become the main source of living standards improvements in years to come. Research output will be shared with other government stakeholders working on population aging and is likely to be presented in academic forums.

  1b.2: Conduct analysis of the sustainability of Canada’s fiscal position, including that of the provinces and territories. Analysis of Canada’s long-run fiscal sustainability is ongoing. The Department will continue to develop the methodologies underlying its long-run projection models in order to assess the long-run economic and fiscal challenges in Canada. Of particular importance is the assessment of the benefits of debt reduction in the context of population aging.

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. The Department of Finance will continue to evaluate possible options for Budgets as well as other changes to tax legislation consistent with Advantage Canada commitments to create the conditions for businesses to succeed in an increasingly competitive global economy, and to help people reach their full potential and ensure they have the incentives, opportunities and choices they need to build a better quality of life. These options will include:
  • Continuing to make broad-based tax reductions that will strengthen our economy, stimulate investment and create more and better jobs.
  • Continuing to reduce personal income taxes to make the tax system fairer and to attract and retain highly skilled workers, who are key to Canada’s future economic competitiveness.
  • Further improving Canada’s business tax competitiveness by:
  • Making further progress on aligning capital cost allowances for business investment with useful life.
  • Considering opportunities to reduce tax distortions in areas where the tax system is favouring or impeding particular sectors, business structures or sizes.
  • Encouraging the harmonization of the remaining provincial retail sales taxes with the GST.
  • Seeking the collaboration of provinces to reach a 25 per cent combined federal-provincial statutory corporate income tax rate.

The Department will also continue to publish its annual Tax Expenditures and Evaluation Report in which tax measures are benchmarked and evaluated.

Goal 2: Strong Social Foundations

Objective Target
Activities anticipated within the coming year (08-09)

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 levels increased for 2007-08 and 2008-09;
  • Automatic 3 per cent escalator applies as of 2009-10;
  • Cash allocated on an equal per capita basis; and
  • 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.

In 2008-09 the Department will focus on providing timely, accurate payments to provinces and territories. Communications activities will continue in 2008-09 to improve awareness and understanding of the program.

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; and
  • 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 incentives 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 and the recommendations of the Expert Panel on Equalization and TFF. Further, the Department worked with provinces and territories to ensure smooth implementation of the changes.

In 2008-09, the Department will prepare additional required regulatory changes to the Equalization program to support the amendments approved by Parliament in December 2007. The changes will ensure that Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador will fully benefit from the Atlantic Accords.

In 2008-09 the Department will also focus on providing timely, accurate payments to provinces and territories. Communications activities will continue in 2008-09 to improve awareness and understanding of the programs.

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.

Goal 3: Integrating Sustainable Development Considerations into Policy Making

Objective Target
Activities anticipated within the coming year (08-09)

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 will continue to evaluate proposals concerning potential environment-related tax measures in consultation with other government departments, taxpayers, industry associations and environmental organizations. The "Framework for Evaluation of Environmental Tax Proposals," published in February 2005, sets out general policy considerations that may be taken into account in the assessment of potential tax measures aimed at furthering environmental goals.

The new Regulatory Framework for Air Emissions will be the Government’s central policy tool to encourage adoption by industry of emissions reduction technologies. Meanwhile, the Department will continue to review such options as potential modifications to the accelerated tax depreciation provisions for clean energy generation equipment (Class 43.2) and eligibility for flow-through share financing for Canadian Renewable and Conservation Expenses (CRCE).

  3a.2: Update the Catalogue of Federal, Provincial and Territorial Taxes on Energy Consumption and Transportation in Canada. The Department originally prepared the Catalogue of Federal, Provincial and Territorial Taxes on Energy Consumption and Transportation in Canada in 2001. As part of the 2007-09 SDS, the Department has undertaken to review all current federal/provincial/territorial measures on energy consumption contained in Part 1 of the Catalogue, to bring the information up-to-date as of the most recent round of provincial budgets. The Department has made progress in consolidating new information as of the last round of provincial budgets, and will be contacting provincial representatives to obtain confirmation of recent changes over the coming months.

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. To increase knowledge and awareness of sustainable development issues, the Department will organize at least one session with an external speaker in 2008-09 on a sustainable development topic.
  3b.2: Develop "tip sheet" for employees on sustainable development. To improve understanding of sustainable development, the Department developed a "tip sheet" on sustainable development. It was made available to all employees through the internal website in December 2007.
  3b.3: Conduct research and analysis on environmental and natural resource issues. To increase awareness and understanding of current environmental and natural resource issues within the Department, research and analysis on these issues will be conducted on an ongoing basis.

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. The Department conducted an internal review on the Department’s procedures for conducting Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEAs) in the Spring and Summer of 2007. The findings and recommendations from the 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 in November 2007.
  3c.2: Develop web page for Department of Finance public statements on SEA. A web page has been developed for public statements on SEAs. It will be accessible from the public Finance website in early 2008.

Goal 4: Integrating Sustainable Development Considerations Into the Economy

Objective Target
Activities anticipated within the coming year (08-09)

4a: Encourage high quality reporting on corporate social responsibility in the Public Accountability Statements. 4a.1: Maintain and broaden the dialogue with stakeholders The Department will provide input on sustainable development/corporate social responsibility initiatives pertaining to financial institutions. The Department will continue to monitor Canadian financial institutions reporting under the legislative requirement for annual Public Accountability Statements, particularly with regards to corporate social responsibility issues. The Department will also follow up on the dialogue initiated in recent years and support financial institutions in their SD reporting activities.
  4a.2: Participate in domestic and international conferences/seminars related to CSR. The Department will continue to attend conferences and events that increase our knowledge of international environmental practices as they relate to the financial sector with a view to use this increased knowledge in the discussions with the industry.

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

Objective Target
Activities anticipated within the coming year (08-09)

5a: Reduced energy use. 5a.1: Energy conservation program – Decrease greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 5 percent 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. Public Works and Government Services (PWGSC) is expected to complete a lighting modernization (fluorescent fixture, ballast and controls) by the summer of 2008. 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 a 5% reduction in GHGs. As well, we are pursuing further energy conservation initiatives in the coming year (e.g. plug-load, boiler and chiller upgrades, etc).

5b: Improved solid waste management. 5b.1: Update recycling program at L’Esplanade Laurier – Divert 75 percent 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 LEL has been updated with new signage and with the removal of polystyrene bins from the facilities as this is no longer considered a marketable recyclable waste. The recycling program has been expanded to include CDs/DVDs/floppies/ZIP/JAZZ, batteries, various plastics, toner cartridges and inkjet cartridges. Other opportunities for waste diversion are being assessed for 2008 (e.g. building materials, movable offices, etc). For Finance and Corporate Services offices located outside of LEL, external site recycling programs are also being updated where possible. We anticipate these efforts coupled with the composting program (see below) will allow us to meet our target of 75% waste diversion rate.
  5b.2: Composting program – Develop and implement a composting program. Opportunities could include hand paper towels and food waste. The process of composting hand paper towels (37 tonnes annually) has been agreed to in principle by PWGSC. We are also presently seeking a way to divert pulverized paper waste (100 tonnes annually) from landfill, as possible horse bedding in RCMP and private stables in the region or to be composted with the hand-paper towels as noted above. Both initiatives are expected to begin by April 2008.

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. The Finance/TBS/ Canada Public Service Agency (CPSA) fleet of six (6) vehicles is being monitored to ensure that new acquisitions meet TBS Fleet Management policies which call for more fuel-efficient vehicles (i.e. 4-cylinders, or hybrid technologies, or ethanol-based fuel use). In 2007, two hybrid (electric and gas) vehicles were purchased which is anticipated to reduce the GHG emissions by approximately 10%.
  5c.2: Maximize use of ethanol – 90 per cent of gasoline purchased for federal road vehicles will be ethanol-blended. The Finance/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% objective.
  5c.3: Green and defensive driver training – All drivers will be provided green and defensive driver training. All six (6) Finance/TBS/CPSA fleet drivers have completed the green and defensive driver training.

 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 tracking field came on-line in September 2007.  Training on the use of the field is being developed for delivery by April 2008 to procurement, materiel and buyer personnel.
  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 multi-function document printers (purchased) and multi-function document managers (leased) on the network.  Two pilot groups (TBS – Pensions and Benefits and TBS - EMS) will test the new equipment starting in February 2008.  Significant operational cost savings for the use of these printing devices is anticipated as well as energy and paper cost savings.  Results of the pilot should 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 percent where and whenever new fit-up opportunities exist, and where current design configuration permits. Furniture Procurement standards have been established and are being followed by the Facilities Management staff and procurement buyers.  Reminders of the standard and the SDS target were 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.  It is anticipated that we will meet our target. 
  5d.4: Develop and deliver green procurement training to 100 per cent of materiel managers and procurement staff by 2008, as well as 60 percent of acquisition cardholders by 2009. PWGSC-OGGO (Office of Greening Government Operations) and the Canada School of the Public Service have developed green procurement training for Government of Canada employees (launched in July 2007). Enviro has arranged for all Materiel and Procurement personnel to complete this course and has developed a training package for the Acquisition Card Holders. Training sessions are to be completed by April 30, 2008.

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 percent and improve opportunities for employee participation in grassroots environmental activities. GCN Membership has increased nominally due to high turn-over changes of personnel in the participating departments (Finance, TBS and CPSA).  Enviro is working to provide members with more opportunities for grassroots involvement in workplace environmental initiatives.  For example, GCN recently initiated the Lug-a-Mug campaign, which encourages personnel to use reusable mugs for the beverages consumed at work. Participants will be eligible for small financial discounts on beverage purchases.

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. Supported by the three SD champions from Finance, Treasury Board and CPSA, the Department recently organized an EMS committee comprising representatives from various Corporate Services sectors and one PWGSC member. The first EMS committee meeting took place in Feb 2008. The committee will meet bi-monthly and manage greening opportunities throughout Corporate Services/PWGSC operations.