Archived - Supplementary Document to the Department’s 2010-11 Report on Plans and Priorities (RPP) regarding Sustainable Development

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In June 2008, the Federal Sustainable Development Act (FSDA) became law, introducing a more centralized approach to sustainable development by requiring the Government to develop and table a Federal Sustainable Development Strategy and update it every three years thereafter.  This strategy must be tabled by June 26, 2010 or any of the first 15 days thereafter on which the House is sitting.

To address the interim period between the expiration of the Department of Finance Canada’ss 2007-09 Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS) and the forthcoming Federal SDS, the Department of Finance Canada has developed a revised set of goals, objectives and targeted actions on sustainable development based on the vision set out in the 2007-09 SDS, namely to pursue:

Economic and fiscal policy frameworks and decisions that promote equity and enhance the economic, social and environmental well-being of current and future generations.

The updated approach will allow the Department to continue working towards this vision while preparing to meet its obligations under the broader Federal SDS.

Goal 1:
Fiscal Sustainability and a High Standard of Living for Future Generations
Objectives  Targets for 2010-11 Planned Activities for 2010-11
1a: Promote fiscal sustainability. 1a.1: Implement the stimulus measures contained in Canada’s Economic Action Plan (EAP). Implement the built-in “exit strategy” of the EAP by ensuring the temporary measures in the plan expire as scheduled by the end of 2010-11, to support the medium-term goal of returning to balanced budgets. Through various reporting mechanisms, including the Budget, Economic and Fiscal Updates, the Reports to Canadians and the Fiscal Monitor, the Department will monitor and ensure the implementation of the EAP. The Department will enforce the built-in “exit strategy” of the EAP by ensuring the temporary measures in the plan expire as scheduled by the end of 2010-11.
1b: Keep abreast of long-run economic and fiscal issues and prospects. 1b.1: Understand the economic and fiscal implications of ongoing domestic and global trends. The Department will conduct research and analysis concerning the economic and fiscal implications of ongoing domestic and global trends.
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 proposals to advance Advantage Canada commitments. This includes options to reduce personal income taxes and make work pay for low- and modest-income individuals, make Canada a better place for highly skilled workers to live and work, make it more rewarding for Canadians to invest in skills and knowledge, and help Canadians save for their futures. The Department will work with the provinces to advance these objectives. The Department will continue to implement the tax measures in the Economic Action Plan, which are providing strong support to the economy when most needed, as well as permanent reductions in taxes for individuals, families and businesses. As a result, Canada will emerge from the global recession even stronger and better equipped to compete across the world. The Department will continue to evaluate options to further foster a competitive business tax system to encourage new investment and support productivity growth and job creation in Canada. These options will include:
  • Continuing to monitor developments in other countries to maintain and improve Canada’s competitiveness with other jurisdictions.
  • Continuing to seek 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 Evaluations report in which tax measures are benchmarked and evaluated.

Goal 2: 
Strong Social Foundations
Objectives Targets for 2010-11 Planned Activities for 2010-11
2a: Ensure stable and predictable funding for health and social programs 2a.1:  Provide timely and accurate payment of Canada Health Transfer and Canada Social Transfer amounts and improve overall understanding of the programs. In 2010-11, the Department will continue to focus on providing timely, accurate payments of Canada Health Transfer and Canada Social Transfer amounts to provinces and territories.  We will propose, if needed, amendments to the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act to give effect to any Budget 2010 proposals relating to the Canada Health Transfer and the Canada Social Transfer; and will propose any technical amendments to those transfer arrangements that may be necessary.  Communications activities related to possible amendments will focus on improving awareness and understanding of the major federal transfers to provincial and territorial governments.
2b: Reduce fiscal disparities through Equalization and Territorial Formula Financing programs 2b.1:  Address fiscal disparities with timely and accurate payment of Equalization and Territorial Formula Financing transfer amounts and improve overall understanding of the programs. In 2010-11, the Department will continue to focus on providing timely, accurate payments of Equalization amounts to Equalization-receiving provinces and Territorial Formula Financing amounts to territories.  In addition, we will propose, if needed, amendments to the Federal-Provincial Arrangements Act to give effect to any Budget 2010 proposals relating to major federal transfers to provincial and territorial governments.  Communications activities related to potential amendments will focus on improving awareness and understanding of the transfer programs.
2c: Ensure the sustainability of the retirement income system 2c.1:  Implementation of proposals recommended by federal, provincial and territorial Ministers of Finance, as part of their 2007-2009 Triennial review of the CPP, to modernize the Plan. Finance officials will work to implement the Triennial Review changes in 2010-11 by:
  • Seeking Treasury Board approval for a new CPP regulation needed to implement some of the Triennial Review changes.
  • Supporting provinces in preparing their orders in council.
  • Working with HRSD and CRA on the details of the implementation.

Further to the Triennial Review, FPT Ministers created the Research Working Group on Retirement Income Adequacy in May 2009 to expand Ministers’ understanding of the issue.  The Report was tabled at the Finance Ministers’ Meeting in December 2009, and highlights the strength of Canada’s retirement income system (it is available on the Finance Canada website).  The Report also raised issues, such as whether some Canadians were saving sufficiently for high income replacement.  Senior officials were tasked to work collaboratively over the coming months to deepen the research on these questions, analyse the range of options available in the public domain, and report back to Ministers for their Spring 2010 meeting. Ministers will assess progress at that time.

Finance officials will support this process by:

  • Co-ordinating/analysing further research on retirement income adequacy issues;
  • Contributing to analysis of options in the public domain.

The Government will also undertake consultations with the public on the retirement income system.

  2c.2:  Begin work on next Canada Pension Plan triennial review (to be completed by 2012) FPT Ministers of Finance, as joint stewards of the CPP, are required to review the Plan every three years to ensure that it remains financially sustainable and to determine whether any changes are required.  The next Triennial Review is expected to be concluded in late 2011 or early 2012. In 2010-11, Finance officials will support Ministers of Finance by:
  • Providing advice/analysis on focus of Review, based on the next Actuarial Report on the CPP (to be released by the Chief Actuary of the CPP in late 2010), discussions with provinces/territories and HRSD, and the general retirement income context.
  • Organizing regular FPT conference calls/discussions on possible changes to ensure the CPP remains sustainable.
Goal 3:
Integrating Sustainable Development Considerations into Policy Making
Objectives  Targets for 2010-11 Planned Activities for 2010-11
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 the 2005 budget, 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 work to finalize the regulations implementing the modifications announced in Budget 2007 regarding the phase-out of the accelerated capital cost allowance (CCA) for general investment in oil sands projects.  The Department will also continue to work to finalize the regulations implementing the Budget 2008 announcements broadening the eligibility criteria of the accelerated CCA for clean energy generation equipment (Class 43.1/43.2).  The Government will continue to review Class 43.2 on an ongoing basis to ensure inclusion of appropriate energy generation technologies that have the potential to contribute to energy efficiency and the use of alternative energy sources.
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 2010-11 on a sustainable development topic.
3b.2: 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 continue to 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: Organize an information session for Department of Finance employees on undertaking Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEAs). At least one information / training session on SEAs will be held to ensure that employees are:
  • informed about the rationale for and benefits of conducting SEAs;
  • aware of the Department’s procedures with respect to SEAs; and
  • aware of the resources available which can assist them in completing SEAs.
Goal 4:
Demonstrating the Department’s Commitment to Sustainable Development in Operations
Objectives  Targets for 2010-11 Planned Activities for 2010-11
4a: Reduced Energy Use 4a.1: Establish procedures with Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) on the use of lighting after regular working hours. Review current after hour lighting practices and update in consultation with PWGSC.
4b: Improved solid waste management 4b.1 Recycling and waste diversion - Maintain a waste diversion rate of at least 75 percent through the continuation of existing recycling programs and implementation of new or updated programs as appropriate. Monitor current recycling programs and implement new programs as appropriate.
4b.2: Composting programs - Maintain existing composting programs for hand paper towels and pulverized paper. Monitor current programs.
4c: Improved environmental performance of departmental vehicles 5c.1: Monitor the procurement of environmentally responsible executive vehicles for maximum adherence to the TBS Directive on Executive Fleet. Work with procurement specialists to ensure environmental considerations are taken into account when making vehicle procurement recommendations.
5c.2: Maximize use of ethanol-blended fuel whenever possible Monitor fuel use and encourage drivers of executive vehicles to use ethanol-blends.
5c.2: Green and defensive driver training – All drivers will be provided green and defensive driver training. Ensure any new drivers receive appropriate training.
4d: Green Procurement 5d.1: Green procurement tracking – Update the Green procurement field to provide specific environmental options for reporting, and train procurement and materiel management personnel on proper usage. Consult with Corporate Systems to update fields in the Integrated Finance and Materiel Management System and ensure appropriate use once systems changes are implemented.
5d.2: Review print and copier device use – Benchmark the staff to device ratios and work towards a ratio of 8:1 Benchmark existing employee to print/copier device ratios and take preliminary steps to reduce the number of print devices.
5d.3: Green furniture purchases – Incorporate environmental considerations into all furniture purchases. Consult with Procurement and Accommodations staff to ensure departmental purchases take into account environmental considerations.
5d.4: Green Standing Offers – Maximize the use of PWGSC consolidated green procurement instruments. Take steps to raise awareness and encourage use of green procurement instruments as appropriate.
5d.5: Paper reduction – Establish a paper monitoring and tracking system to effectively reduce paper consumption Benchmark paper consumption, monitor, and promote methods of reducing consumption (ie. two-sided printing/copying).
5d.5: Green procurement training – Ensure that proportion of material managers and procurement staff who have received green procurement training remains at 100% by providing green procurement training to all new managers and staff within 8 months of arrival.  Deliver green procurement training to 70 per cent of acquisition card holders by March 2011.  Monitor training of procurement staff to ensure they have completed appropriate Canada School of Public Service (CSPS) courses, and develop and deliver a course on green procurement to acquisition card holders using the existing Info-session forums.
4e: Green citizenship 5e.1: Green Citizenship Network (GCN) – Ensure that membership in the Green Citizenship Network remains at a healthy level, and improve opportunities for employee participation in grassroots environmental activities. Monitor and encourage membership by promoting and encouraging awareness and participation.
4f: Improved environmental management 5f.1: Establish internal procurement and materiel management processes and controls to integrate environmental performance in procurement and adhere to the TBS Policy on Green Procurement. Consult with departmental procurement specialists to ensure environmental performance is integrated in the procurement process.