Archived - Supplementary document to the 2008–09 Departmental Performance Report (DPR) regarding implementation of the 2007–09 Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS)

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The Department of Finance Canada'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 2008–09

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 As a response to the financial market crisis and the global economic slowdown that began in late 2008, the government introduced Canada's Economic Action Plan to support employment and ease economic hardship. Combined with lower revenues resulting from a deterioration in economic activity, the actions taken to support the economy led to a budgetary deficit in 2008–09.

Nevertheless, the debt-to-GDP ratio continued to decline in 2008–09.
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, Department of Finance Canada 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 2008–09, the Department provided analysis and advice to support the introduction of significant tax measures that advance the government's Advantage Canada agenda and build on major tax reductions since 2006. These measures encourage the investment and job creation necessary to increase productivity, reduce unemployment, and improve living standards for Canadians on an ongoing basis.
  • Significant progress towards a more competitive and efficient tax system was supported by the signing in March 2009 of a Memorandum of Agreement with the Government of Ontario to harmonize the Ontario retail sales tax with the GST. This agreement will improve the competitiveness of Canadian businesses by reducing compliance costs and increasing the proportion of business inputs in Canada that will no longer be subject to sales tax.
The Department also conducted analysis that was integral to a number of other tax policy actions announced in Canada's Economic Action Plan that enhance productivity by increasing investment and creating jobs, including:
  • The extension of the temporary 50-per-cent straight-line accelerated capital cost allowance (CCA) rate for investment in manufacturing and processing machinery and equipment acquired in 2010 and 2011.
  • The introduction of a temporary two-year immediate CCA write-off for business purchases of computers.
  • Helping small businesses retain more of their earnings for reinvestment and expansion by increasing the amount of small business income eligible for the reduced federal tax rate of 11 per cent.
  • The implementation of the Working Income Tax Benefit and other personal income tax relief has improved the incentives to work and financial circumstances of many low- and modest-income Canadians.
  • Significant new personal income tax reductions providing immediate relief, particularly for low-income and middle-income Canadians, as well as measures to help Canadians purchase and improve their homes.
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; 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.
Objective 2b: Reduce fiscal disparities through Equalization and Territorial Formula Financing programs
2b.1: New formulas for Equalization and Territorial Formula Financing (TFF) programs 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. 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. This target was met. On May 25, 2009, the federal, provincial and territorial ministers of finance, as joint stewards of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), concluded the CPP's 2007–09 triennial review.

The review confirmed that the CPP remains on sound financial footing. Finance ministers agreed that the contribution rate would remain unchanged at 9.9 per cent of pensionable earnings. As part of the review, ministers also proposed a number of changes to modernize the Plan, changes that will be gradually implemented beginning in 2011.
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, including private members' bills, concerning potential environment-related tax measures in consultation with other government departments and stakeholders, including taxpayers, industry associations, and environmental organizations.

Analysis was conducted during the year in connection with initiatives that were announced in Budget 2009, including:
  • Introduction of the Home Renovation Tax Credit, which provides temporary support for eligible home renovation expenditures, including those that increase energy efficiency; and
  • Consultations on identification of assets used in carbon capture and storage, with a view to provision of accelerated capital cost allowance for such investments.
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.
3a.2: Update the Catalogue of Federal, Provincial and Territorial Taxes on Energy Consumption and Transportation in Canada. The Department plans to complete work on updating the Catalogue during 2009.
Objective 3b: Increased knowledge and awareness of environmental and broader sustainable development issues within the D epartment
3b.1: Organize at least one speaker annually on an issue related to sustainable development. On November 20, 2008, as part of the Departmental Speaker Series, Professor Thomas Homer-Dixon, Professor in the Centre for Environment and Business in the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo, presented his views to the Department in a talk entitled "Beyond the Growth Imperative: Challenges of a Global Steady-State Economy."

On May 12, 2009, Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, delivered the Thomas K. Shoyama Annual Public Policy Lecture to the Department. Dr. Sachs' lecture was entitled "International Financial Reforms for Sustainable Development."
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 the Department's internal website, 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 carbon dioxide 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. Internal consultations with all Branches on improving Strategic Environmental Assessment procedures was completed in the spring– summer 2007 period. The findings and recommendations were approved by the Departmental Coordinating Committee in October 2007, and main recommendations were implemented by November 2007.
3c.2: Develop web page for Department of Finance Canada public statements on Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEAs). A web page has been developed for public statements on SEAs. It has been accessible from the Department of Finance Canada's public website since May 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. In the context of the recent financial markets' turmoil, the Department of Finance Canada has been focussed on ensuring the continued integrity, soundness, and competiveness of the Canadian financial system, and ensuring access to financing for Canadians. As such, interactions and engagements with stakeholders have reflected these priorities.  
4a.2: Participate in domestic and international conferences/seminars related to CSR.
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. The Green Citizenship Network completed an energy review of the facilities that influenced a change in the behaviour of personnel with respect to shutting down the equipment in their respective offices.

The 5-per-cent reduction in GHG emissions for L'Esplanade Laurier was achieved. We will maintain this reduced emissions level and continue to monitor GHG emissions at L'Esplanade Laurier.
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 programs at L'Esplanade Laurier have been successfully integrated. A Waste Audit conducted in February 2009 demonstrated an increase in the waste diversion rate from 51 per cent (2006) to 81 per cent (2009). This waste diversion is a result of updated recycling programs for items such as batteries, compact disks, ink/laser cartridges, wood pallets, and storage media. These programs will continue to be implemented.
5b.2: Composting program – Develop and implement a composting program. Opportunities could include hand paper towels and food waste. Two composting programs have been in operation since February 2008. Hand paper towels (37 tonnes annually) and pulverized paper (100 tonnes annually) from L'Esplanade Laurier continue to be recycled. The pulverized paper is used for horse bedding.
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. The fleet of vehicles continues to be monitored to ensure that new acquisitions meet the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat's Directive on Fleet Management: Executive Vehicles. No changes to the fleet of vehicles occurred over the 2008–09 fiscal year. The total GHG emissions per vehicle kilometre remain at approximately 24 per cent below the 2005–06 baseline.
5c.2: Maximize use of ethanol – 90 per cent of gasoline purchased for federal road vehicles will be ethanol-blended. The fleet will continue to be monitored on an annual basis to ensure that ethanol-based fuels are being purchased whenever possible.
5c.3: Green and defensive driver training – All drivers will be provided green and defensive driver training. All fleet drivers have completed the green and defensive driver training. All new drivers will receive the required 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). The Systems Application and Products (SAP) Core (Development Team) has developed and implemented the government-wide Integrated Financial and Materiel System (IFMS) field to track green procurement purchases.

The green procurement tracking field came online 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 pilot group using multi-function imaging devices (printers and photocopiers) was established on December 31, 2007. The one-year pilot sought to determine the effects of reducing the ratio of personnel to imaging devices (from 2 to 1 to 15 to 1). The pilot project is still being monitored, and more detailed results will be available by March 2010.
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. An audit conducted in April 2008 by the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development (OAG – CESD) on the green furniture target revealed that the Department of Finance Canada is purchasing 100 per cent of its furniture with environmental considerations. We will continue to maintain and monitor this system.
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. As of the end of fiscal year 2008–09, all materiel managers and procurement staff and 46 per cent of acquisition cardholders had received green procurement training. Measures are in place to ensure that the target level of acquisition cardholders receive training before the end of fiscal year 2009–10.
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. Membership of the Green Citizenship Network within the Department of Finance Canada and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat has increased from 25 members in 2007–08 to more than 300 members in 2008–09. The Green Citizenship Network completed a campaign to increase the use of travel mugs to reduce polystyrene waste. An Energy Review Campaign was undertaken to raise awareness of energy consumption at the Department of Finance Canada and Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.
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 Canada, the Treasury Board of Canada 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) committee was created and meets bi monthly to work on minimizing its environmental footprint in all Corporate Services Branch processes and to manage its environmental liabilities. We will continue and maintain the EMS committee.