Archived - Supplementary Document to the Department’s 2007-08 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 (2007-09) Activities anticipated within the coming year (07-08)

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 Government is committed to keeping the federal debt-to-GDP ratio on a downward track and has committed to reduce the debt-to-GDP ratio to 25 per cent by 2012-13. The Government also believes that we should aim as a country to eliminate Canada’s total government net debt by 2021.

The Government continues to plan on annual federal debt reduction of $3 billion. This will be the Government’s contribution to the goal of eliminating Canada’s total government net debt by 2021.

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. This includes for instance, research regarding the impact of population aging on labour market growth. One strand of research focuses on understanding the labour force participation patterns of currently under-represented groups in the labour force, such as recent immigrants and older workers, with a view to assessing the impact of increasing their labour force participation on the employment-to-population ratio and ultimately living standards.

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 position is ongoing. The Department regularly updates its internal 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 impact 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 help people reach their full potential and ensure they have the incentives, opportunities and choices they need to build a better quality of life. The Department will also continue to evaluate possible options to build a tax advantage to increase investment in Canada, which will support productivity growth and lead to higher living standards. These options will include:
  • Delivering on the commitment to reduce the GST to 5 per cent.
  • Helping low-income Canadians over the welfare wall by implementing a Working Income Tax Benefit.
  • 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.
  • Reducing taxes on savings, including capital gains, to make them competitive with the tax treatment of savings in other countries.
  • Establishing the lowest tax rate on new business investment (METR) in the G7 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 and business structures or sizes.
  • Encouraging the harmonization of the remaining provincial retail sales taxes with the GST.

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 (2007-09) Activities anticipated within the coming year (07-08)

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). The CST provides equal per capita support through cash and tax transfers to provincial and territorial governments for post-secondary education and social assistance and services, including early childhood development and early learning and childcare. As outlined in the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act, the CST currently expires at the end of 2007-08 and new legislation is required to allow for payments in 2008-09 and beyond.

The Department will prepare and implement legislative and regulatory changes, reflecting Budget 2007 commitments, to extend the legislative funding framework for the CST and provide for a new approach to long-term funding support for post-secondary education and training.

The Department will also coordinate with provinces/territories to ensure common understanding of the changes.

2b: Reduce fiscal disparities through Equalization and Territorial Formula Financing programs 2b.1: New formulas for Equalization and Territorial Formula Financing (TFF) will be developed in consultation with provincial and territorial governments. The Department will implement the new Equalization and TFF formulas for 2007-08, reflecting Budget 2007 commitments, preparing necessary changes to the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act, Orders-in-Council and regulations. The Department will prepare legislation and regulatory changes associated with the new formulas and coordinate with provinces/territories. The Department will also ensure coordination of changes with other major transfer programs such as the Canada Health Transfer, Canada Social Transfer, and Offshore Agreements.

The Department will also coordinate with provinces/territories to ensure common understanding of the changes.

2c: Ensure the sustainability of the retirement income system 2c.1: Complete the next Canada Pension Plan triennial review. The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) requires that federal and provincial Finance Ministers make best efforts to complete a financial review of the CPP every three years, that is, in 2008. The Department, in consultation with provinces, will undertake the necessary analysis and research to provide advice to Ministers for the review.

Bill C-36 proposes a number of changes to the CPP as well as the Old Age Security (OAS) program. The proposed changes to the CPP implement the recommendations federal and provincial finances ministers agreed to in June 2006 and include measures to fully operationalize the existing full funding provision for new benefits and benefit enhancements, as well as changes to the contributory requirement for disability benefits for contributors with 25 or more years of contributions to the Plan. Following Royal Assent, the Department, in consultation with the provinces, will develop the necessary regulations relating to full funding to complete the changes in Bill C-36.

The Department will prepare the annual report on the operations of the CPP in consultation with the Department of Human Resources and Social Development.

Goal 3: Integrating Sustainable Development Considerations into Policy Making

Objective Target (2007-09) Activities anticipated within the coming year (07-08)

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 and stakeholders, including 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 Department will continue to review potential modifications to the accelerated tax depreciation provisions for efficient and renewable energy generation equipment (Class 43.1/43.2) and eligibility for flow-through share financing for Canadian Renewable and Conservation Expenses (CRCE). Discussion will be undertaken with responsible policy departments where they identify the tax system as a potential tool to meet particular environmental objectives of the government.

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 contained in the Catalogue, to bring the information up-to-date as of June 2007. The Department will be monitoring the Spring 2007 provincial budget cycle with a view to completing the exercise.

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 2007-08 on a sustainable development topic.
3b.2: Develop "tip sheet" for employees on sustainable development. To improve understanding of sustainable development, the Department will develop a "tip sheet" on sustainable development and make it available to all employees by 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. In 2007-08, the Department will conduct an internal review with the aim of improving the questionnaire used for conducting Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEAs). A report of the review will be presented to the Departmental Coordinating Committee.
3c.2: Develop a web page for Department of Finance public statements on SEA. By December 2007, we will develop a web page on the Finance website for public statements on SEAs.

Goal 4: Integrating Sustainable Development Considerations Into the Economy

Objective Target (2007-09) Activities anticipated within the coming year (07-08)

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 (2007-09) Activities anticipated within the coming year (07-08)

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. The Office of Environmental Stewardship (Enviro) will work with PWGSC to document a baseline and ensure that energy-related retrofits in the building that houses Finance Canada have accessible user controls and assist in the development of a communications strategy to encourage maximum energy savings. We will explore, and where possible, develop and implement a plug-load related energy program. Additionally, Enviro will work with relevant stakeholders to minimize the use of desktop laser printers.

5b: Improved solid waste management. 5b.1: Update recycling program at LEL – Divert 75 percent of waste through the redesign and implementation of an updated recycling program, including improvement to take-back and hazardous materials programs. Enviro will work with PWGSC to develop and implement an updated recycling program in Finance Canada. Affected areas may include an upgrade of the recycling centres, the signage, pickup and sorting procedures of some recyclables.


5b.2: Composting program – Develop and implement a composting program. Opportunities could include hand paper towels and food waste. Enviro will work with PWGSC to explore, and if deemed feasible, develop and implement a hand paper-towel composting program.

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. Enviro will document a baseline and develop guidance and tools for the fleet manager and drivers that will positively impact on GHG emissions. We will monitor the implementation phase, and when action is deemed necessary, will provide guidance to the fleet manager.
5c.2: Maximize use of ethanol – 90 per cent of gasoline purchased for federal road vehicles will be ethanol-blended.
5c.3: Green and defensive driver training – All drivers will be provided 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). Enviro will continue to work on an interdepartmental green procurement tracking solution. A tracking module will be added to the Green Procurement Training Module (see 5d.4).
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). TriNet has completed a Statement of Sensitivity and is undergoing a Threat and Risk Assessment for the use of these document managers on the network. If authorized, we will begin the acquisition phase and proceed to the use/maintenance phase of test machines in various client groups throughout Finance, TBS and PSHRMAC. Enviro will document and quantify the pilot results and develop recommendations.
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. Enviro will develop a Green Furniture Procurement Standard for CSB for use by facilities, accommodations, materiel and procurement personnel.
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. Enviro is awaiting the development of a Green Procurement Training Module by the School of the Public Service. We will commit to develop in-house training in the absence of acceptable external training. After which, Enviro will proceed to scheduling personnel for program delivery.
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. Enviro is working to expand the membership, role and mandate of the Green Citizenship Network, a group of environmentally conscious employees who share the common goal of collectively promoting environmental stewardship within the federal workplace.
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. Enviro is working on its first draft of an EMS in order to have a functional framework developed so that a fully informed and engaged steering committee will be established to drive the EMS.