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Table 11: Sustainable Development Strategy

AAFC's fourth Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS), Making Progress Together can be found on AAFC's website at: www.agr.gc.ca/sds

1. SDS Departmental Goals: AAFC's fourth SDS presents eight outcomes (goals) to indicate what the Department plans to accomplish by the target date of 2009.

2. Federal SD Goal (s) including GGO goals, if applicable: AAFC supports these priorities and contributes to the Government of Canada's long- term goals for sustainable development. Linkages are made in the details below.


3: Department's Expected Results for 2007-2008

(SDS commitments continue until 2009)

4. Supporting Performance Measure(s) 5. Achieved SDS Departmental Results for 2007-2008
1. The Next Generation of Agricultural Policy is in place and operational. The number of new policies, programs and research initiatives that consider the three pillars of sustainable development as determined through application of the SD Test Questions. The SD Test Questions, now referred to as Sustainability Questions, are not being consistently completed. The overall participation rate since 2006 is 26 percent. An approach has been developed to address the poor application of the questions.
A suite of policy, program and research activities in place to support the objectives of the next generation of agricultural policy. The new framework, Growing Forward, was developed and its BRM component was ready for implementation by the end of the fiscal year. As well, arrangements were made for 2008-2009 to be a transition year during which the rest of the Growing Forward initiatives will be implemented and the FPT framework agreement signed.
Number of stakeholders (both internal and external) from various disciplines involved in the development of the next generation of agricultural policy. Consultations included meetings with a broad range of external stakeholders from across the country in May 2007 and February 2008, with 41 organizations represented at the May meeting and 59 at the February meeting. As well, extensive discussions were held on an ongoing basis with internal stakeholders through, for example, internal committees at various levels.
2. Government policies, programs, and services increase opportunities for, and mitigate barriers, to sustainable rural community development.
At output (deliverable) level: Link to Federal SD Goals -4.1.1 “Communities are well positioned to advance sustainable social development.”

4.2.1 “Communities are well positioned to adapt and to maintain or generate sustainable economic activities.”

Percentage of federal policies and programs that consider the rural perspective. Rural Secretariat staff attended seventeen (17) Interdepartmental Committee (IDC) meetings, analysed 96 Memoranda to Cabinet (MCs), and provided input to 48 briefing notes or MCs in applying the Rural Lens to federal policies and programs.
Number of partnership plans with key federal, provincial and territorial, and First Nation partners. Established the Interdepartmental working group on resource-based communities with NRCan and DFO.

Ongoing work with Regional Development Agencies and Metropolis on a strategic policy research topic including publishing an article on the regionalization of immigration.

Coordinated ten other departments to prepare the Canadian submission in the 16th report of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development - Rural Development.

Elaboration of a bioeconomy action plan in collaboration with federal departments.

Through the Rural Teams 345 partnership initiatives were achieved for 2007-2008. For example:

  • Forum "Opration grande sduction rurale", April 2007, QC;
  • Nova Scotia Food Forum, November 16, 2007, NS;
  • The "Communities Achieving Responsive Services national Conference, February 2008, MB;
  • Learning Series in Northwest Territories - NWT, SK and YT Rural Teams, along with Statistics Canada, co-hosted its first seminar in 2008. (Saskatchewan, SK, January 28, 2008; Whitehorse, YT, February 1, 2008; Yellowknife, NWT, January 30, 2008)
  • Learning Initiatives for Rural and Northern B.C. (August 15, 2007 to April 7, 2008)
Percentage of departments and agencies reached through federal engagement strategy activities including: Rural Teams, Rural Research Network Rural Development Network. The Rural Secretariat is engaging relevant federal department and agencies through:
  • The Rural Development Network : 168 members from 29 departments and agencies; held 18 interdepartmental activities;
  • The Rural Teams work with 23 departments and agencies, and;
  • The Rural Secretariat serves as a steering committee member of the National Rural Research Network with other departments, agencies and rural research stakeholders.
3. Increased value-added opportunities for the agri-food sector from innovative use of agricultural bioresources as a result of R&D, technology transfer, and commercialization network activities.

At output (deliverable) level: Link to Federal SD Goals - 3.2.2 “Renewable and clean energy is promoted.”

3.2.1 “Support for clean technology is provided (such as building, transportation, and industrial processes).”

Increased knowledge and technological advances produced by the Agricultural Bioproducts Innovation Program (ABIP) networks with the potential to strengthen Canada's industrial base and generate wealth. Increased knowledge and technological advances did not take place since the ABIP Networks had not yet initiated R&D activities.
Increased number of effective networks/clusters involving Canadian-based researchers. Out of 100 proposal synopses initially submitted to AAFC, a total of 78 eligible Full Network Proposals were received. Fifteen (15) network proposals were recommended for funding by a review committee of external international experts. These Networks were directed to submit reduced plans to meet a national allocation of the ABIP funds expected to be available. The 15 networks received a draft template agreement at the end of the fiscal year to be used to effect the negotiation of contributions.
Improving transfer of knowledge, technology and expertise to organizations that can commercialize these innovations. Technology management plans were not implemented since the ABIP Networks had not yet initiated R&D activities.
An ABIP that considers each of the three pillars of SD. The program is specifically designed to build on the three pillars of SD.
4. Sustainable development is integrated into the Department's decision making and AAFC's fourth SDS is utilized by AAFC employees and external stakeholders.

At output (deliverable) level: Link to Federal SD Goals -
4.3.1 "Canadian communities are actively engaged in sound environmental and natural resource management practices, stewardship initiatives and biodiversity conservation."
5.2.1 "Sustainable consumption and production of natural resources is promoted."
6.1.2 “Clear and effective governance mechanisms to integrate sustainable development into decision making (e.g. SEA)."
6.1.1 "SDS commitments are integrated into the key planning and reporting processes of departments and agencies."

Increased awareness of sustainable development within the Department Sustainability Questions are operational.
SD was promoted during Environment Week.
An SD information session was developed for AAFC employees.
Each pillar of SD is taken into consideration together and not in isolation through the application of the SD Test Questions. The Sustainability Questions ask policy makers to identify how their new policy or program contributes to a stronger economy, an improved environment or enhanced health and social well-being. While the questions are not being consistently completed, when they are completed, the responses provide policy makers with information on all three pillars of SD to consider in their decision-making.

An approach has been developed to address the poor application of the questions.

5. Information and Tools:

A. Environmental considerations are incorporated into the development of public policies at AAFC on the same level as economic and social considerations

At output (deliverable) level: Link to Federal SD Goal - 6.1.2 “Clear and effective governance mechanisms to integrate sustainable development into decision making (e.g. SEA).”

Percentage of new policies, plans and programs that have gone through the SEA process. Overall, 76 percent of new policies, plans and programs have gone through the SEA process. This represents 94 percent of all MCs and 63 percent of all TB submissions.
The results of SEAs are accurately reported on in all Memoranda to Cabinet (MCs) and Treasury Board (TB) submissions. Seventy-six (76) percent of all new policies, plans and programs went through the SEA process and in all of these cases, the results of the SEA was accurately reported on in the MC or TB submission.
Increased knowledge of the SEA requirement and its application in the Department. Knowledge of the SEA requirements and its application in the Department was achieved through:
  • Presentations to senior management on SEA and the approach for assessing Growing Forward.
  • An internal message to all staff from the Deputy Minister about SEA.
  • Ongoing guidance and training with individual SEA writers.
B. Models inform the ongoing policy decision making process for priority agricultural issues by providing integrated quantitative analyses of the economic and environmental impacts.

At output (deliverable) level: Link to Federal SD Goals -
4.2.1 “Communities are well positioned to adapt and to maintain or generate sustainable economic activities.”

6.1.2 “Clear and effective governance mechanisms to integrate sustainable development into decision making (e.g. SEA).”

An improvement in the capacity to predict environmental impacts from agriculture resulting in informed decision making with respect to agricultural policies and programs that are consistent with both economic and environmental objectives. Four of the original AEIs used for the APF Outcome Target Analysis were placed on the NLWIS system to facilitate integrated analysis. Methods to place all the new AEIs on NLWIS have been determined.
Number of requests for integrated analyses and incorporation of results into the policy decision making process. Completed Phase I analysis looking at enhance production of bioenergy, assessing GHG and energy efficiency. Assessments of CAIS, Production Insurance, and APF are underway.
The development of the integrated modeling system considers all three pillars of SD (particularly the economic and environmental pillars) The modeling system has been extended to look at upstream and downstream economic impacts for the bioeconomy in conjunctions with environmental impacts.
C. Initial research is conducted and measures are in place to determine economic values corresponding to bio-physical changes in the environment resulting from agriculture.

At output (deliverable) level: Link to Federal SD Goal- 4.2.1 “Communities are well positioned to adapt and to maintain or generate sustainable economic activities.”

Number of stakeholders (both internal and external) from various disciplines involved in the development of AAFC economic valuation studies. A committee of academics and government officials convened in August 2007 to discuss development of valuation research at AAFC.
Increased public awareness of the need for, and the practical application of environmental valuation. The Full-cost Accounting Framework for Agriculture, developed by International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) was applied to one watershed in Manitoba. Report completed June 2008.
Number of estimated economic values assigned to environmental effects of specific agricultural practices at specific locations in Canada. Two AAFC valuation pilots developed survey instruments to measure public benefits from Ecological Goods and Services (EG&S) in selected watersheds. Expected completion in December, 2008.
D. A suite of social indicators is in place to help monitor and assess trends of social issues affecting the agriculture sector and to inform decision making.

At output (deliverable) level: Link to Federal SD Goals -
4.1.1 “Communities are well positioned to advance sustainable social development.”

6.1.2 “Clear and effective governance mechanisms to integrate sustainable development into decision making (e.g. SEA).”

The successful development of a defined social dimension of sustainable agriculture. Given the focus on economic and environment performance, the focus was shifted to identify other factors, beyond economics, that influenced innovation. Report published by IISD.
Number of links established between social issues affecting the agriculture sector and related economic and environmental issues. Social networking opportunities were identified as critical to learning process by the agricultural sector. This is part of larger effort to determine link between BMP uptake and economic and environmental performance
Number of methods available for sharing information on social issues affecting the agriculture sector. A variety of social networking and learning opportunities were defined as they link to innovation and economic and environmental performance.
6. Research:
To increase carbon sequestration in agricultural soils, reduce GHG emissions per unit of production, and enhance the synergy between agriculture and the environment.

At output (deliverable) level: Link to Federal SD Goal - 3.2.1 “Support for clean technology is provided (such as building, transportation, and industrial processes).”

Improved communication between researchers, policy makers and producers, by demonstrating an increase in the use of AAFC's GHG calculator for evaluating innovative technologies. The first phase of the development of the GHG calculator was recently completed and the software tool, now called Holos, was released in March 2008. The software and installation instructions are freely available for download on the following ftp site.

During the winter and spring of 2008, Holos was demonstrated at the Technical Advisory Committee of the Renewables Integration and Assessment Group of NRCAN, at the AGM of the Soil Conservation Council of Canada and during Environment Week at AAFC. Further, Holos is featured on the Integration of Renewable Energy on Farms website. As a result, Holos and its abilities have been recently communicated to a diverse audience.

Number of confirmed contribution of the program to various offset system pilot projects. A total of 7 protocols related to the agricultural sector for quantifying potential GHG reductions from agriculture have been approved in the province of Alberta. AAFC scientists have been involved in the development of most of these protocols, either as members of the National Offset Quantification Teams or have contributed original research that have assisted in the development of these protocols. Further, a protocol for quantifying potential GHG reductions for the Canadian dairy industry is currently being prepared by the Atlantic Dairy and Forage Institute, based in New Brunswick, and several AAFC staff members were included on the Technical Advisory Committee
Enhanced integration of the three pillars of SD by identifying and promoting farming practices that consider all three pillars of SD. Several management practices have been identified and promoted as a beneficial management practices that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon sequestration in agricultural soils.
7. Work with the sector to apply and perfect integrated approaches:

A. The development of the National Ecological Goods and Services (EG&S) Policy Framework benefits from research gathered through EG&S policy pilot projects and through other research initiatives.

At output (deliverable) level: Link to Federal SD Goals -

4.2.1 “Communities are well positioned to adapt and to maintain or generate sustainable economic activities.”

4.3.1 “Canadian communities are actively engaged in sound environmental management practices, stewardship initiatives and biodiversity conservation.”

5.2.1 “Sustainable consumption and production of natural resources is promoted.”

5.3.1 “Environmentally sustainable use of natural resources is promoted.”

An EG&S policy framework that is science-based will have measurable outcomes for evaluation. An EG&S policy framework that is science-based will obtain more insight from eight pilot projects currently operating across Canada. When completed in 2009, the pilots will provide new science-based and measurable information to the framework.
An EG&S policy framework that considers each of the three pillars of SD, through application of the SD Test Questions, is in place. An EG&S policy framework that adheres to three pillars of the SDS is in place.
B. Increased adoption of and support for applying an Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) approach to watershed planning and management activities that will improve the protection of water quality from agriculture impacts, secure water supplies for agricultural needs, and consider the three elements of sustainable development.

At output (deliverable) level:
Link to Federal SD Goals - 1.3.2 “Knowledge of water resources is increased.”

1.2.1 “Water efficiency and sustainable water use is improved.”

Percentage of transferable tools, knowledge activities and instruments that support IWRM and decision making. Development of Watershed MAPS (Watershed Management And Planning System) – a geo-spatial information management system (tool) for supporting decision-making in watersheds in Manitoba. (90% complete)
Percentage of watershed planning and management activities that apply the IWRM approach to managing resources in watersheds. Implementation of Manitoba's Integrated Watershed Management Planning strategy in 10 priority watersheds in agricultural Manitoba for which PFRA&E has also provided technical support.

There has been significant progress on Saskatchewan's Integrated Water Management (IWM) Strategy. A governance structure model has been developed as part of the IWM Strategic Framework for consideration by Provincial cabinet (SK) in the fall of 2008.

Lake Winnipeg Stewardship Initiative is benefiting from technical capacity related to group environmental farm plans provided by AAFC in collaboration with other federal and provincial partners.

In general, increased number of requests from watershed authorities and provincial departments for technical support in IWRM activities.

Percentage of partners and watersheds with capacity-building or decision-making tools, plans and instruments that consider the three elements of sustainable development Utilizing the governance established by the AAFC Strategic Water Framework, the department has been an active participant on the interdepartmental Water ADM's Committee on Water Policy where IWRM as a governance model is a common thread to the priorities under consideration.

Technical support and decision-making capacity was provided in the development of 19 watershed- and geographically-based group environmental farm plans in Manitoba and Saskatchewan to support on-farm and watershed level decisions for agri-environmental improvements. As a result, financial support was provided for the implementation of approximately 500 BMP's through the NFSP.

Technical information and financial support was provided to the Prairies Provinces Water Board, the International Red River Board - International Joint Commission and Red River Basin Commission to enhance watershed-based decisions regarding flooding, drainage and drought issues in agricultural areas.

8. Programs:

A. To develop new co-operatives that respond to the needs of citizens, and that fall into areas of federal priority.

At output (deliverable) level: Link to Federal SD Goal -

4.2.1 “Communities are well positioned to adapt and to maintain or generate sustainable economic activities.”

Percentage of co-operatives initiated in new and emerging areas of the economy. Seventeen (17) percent of Co-operative Development Initiative (CDI) projects (07/08) were initiated in new and emerging areas of the economy.
Percentage of new co-operatives in areas of federal priority. Ninety-one (91) percent of CDI projects (07/08) are within CDI Federal priorities.
Percentage of new co-op funded projects within priority areas that integrate the three pillars of SD. One-hundred (100) percent of CDI projects (07/08) meet at least one pillar of SD; 32 percent meet all 3 pillars of SD.
B. Low-income farm families have found ways to increase their family incomes.

At output (deliverable) level: Link to Federal SD Goal -

4.2.1 “Communities are well positioned to adapt and to maintain or generate sustainable economic activities.”

Increased on-or off-farm income for farm families Skills of low-income farm families were enhanced in 2007-08 through the Canadian Agricultural Skills Service (CASS) program, targeted to farms where the net family income does not exceed $45,000 per year. In a CASS impact survey of participants in 2007, 53 percent reported that the training completed through CASS had led to an increase in income. Commonly cited reasons given for the positive impact on farm income included being more employable off-farm (most common at 46 percent), cutting farm costs, increasing farm productivity and improving marketing.
Increased skills of farmers and farm families. The Farm Business Assessment program had positive impacts on income for 49 percent of participants. Two thirds of the participants in this program in 2007-08 were low income. Commonly cited benefits were increased understanding of the farm financial situation and improved farm planning.
Enhanced integration of the three pillars of SD (particularly the social and economic pillars). The two-year pilot Canadian Farm Family Options Program provided short-term income support to 23,393 participants (8655 in 2007/08), both families with less than $25,000 in income and individuals with less than $15,000 in income, conditional on participating in a farm business assessment and/or training. Participants could also use the business assessment and training to identify and develop strategies to address environmental issues.