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10. Sustainable Development Strategy

Natural Resources Canada's Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS), Achieving Results, was tabled in Parliament in December 2006. The document is NRCan's action plan for sustainable development and sets out three long-term goals, long-term objectives, intermediate outcomes and targets.

The table below reflects the progress achieved against the SDS targets scheduled for completion by March 31, 2008 and linkages to the department's Program Activity Architecture and intermediate outcomes. Detailed progress reports on all of NRCan's SDS 2007–2009 targets are available at: Further information on the department's performance by program activity/intermediate outcome can be found in Section II of the Departmental Performance Report for the period ending March 31, 2008 at

SDS Goal 1: To enable Canada's natural resource sectors to contribute to a competitive economy and advance positive social and environmental outcomes
Expected Results for 2007–08 Performance Measure(s) Achievements for 2007–08 NRCan 2007–08 Program Activities/Intermediate Outcomes
Develop a forest community program to provide knowledge, tools and best practices on landscape-level decision-making and other means to build adaptable and self-sufficient rural communities. (SDS Target Number of new community-based partnerships and initiatives launched. Treasury Board approval for the Forest Communities Program (FCP) was obtained. Fifty-eight full proposals were received in response to the Call for Proposals. These were reviewed by an external, interdisciplinary Proposal Review Team, recommendations were provided to department.

Twelve multi-year contribution agreements (funding agreements) were signed with 11 forest communities program sites and one national organization. Strategic plans and annual work plans have been approved and funding is flowing to all twelve partnerships. A second meeting of all contribution agreement recipients was held in February in Winnipeg, with a view to enhancing collaboration between individual sites.

Sustainable Forest – Forest-dependent communities have choices and options for economic opportunities
Provide online access to all National Topographic Series (NTS) maps in digital format via NTS On‑line. (SDS Target Percentage of sample files available in test-ready in pdf and tiff formats. Work to convert all paper NTS maps into an electronic format suitable to publish on the Internet has been completed. The Internet application to deliver the maps is now available for public viewing and downloading.

In FY 2007–08, there were 841 NTS map files colour corrected, bringing the total percentage of colour correction completed to 55%.

Earth Sciences – New economic opportunities created for Canadians
Provide online access to one million aerial photos from the National Air Photo Library's (NAPL) asset via NAPL On‑line. (SDS Target Number of aerial photos available on NAPL On-line Web tool. NRCan's NAPL contains over 6 million air photos in film or paper format. More than 700,000 paper and film photos have been converted to electronic format to publish on the Internet and 315,000 photos are available online ( Program efforts are focused on continuing the conversion to electronic format for the remaining photos and are concentrated on the most in‑demand photos.

For 2007–08, 183,755 photos were scanned for a total of 689,000. The objective of this project was to scan one million photos total. However, due to shift in priorities, this project was slowed to ensure delivery on the full range of priorities facing the program. As of March 31, 2008 there were 375,000 photos available online.

Earth Sciences – New economic opportunities created for Canadians
Develop an integrated portfolio of research activities to improve understanding of national large-scale disturbance patterns and the impacts of climate change on forest function and productivity to assess the capacity of forests and the forest sector to adapt to climate change. (SDS Target Design and implement a forest research agenda on climate change impacts and adaptation. External consultations took place as planned from January to September 2007 with the following groups:
  • Forest Sector Sustainability Table;
  • Canadian Council of Forestry Ministers (CCFM); and
  • National Forest Sinks Committee.

Also, a 2‑day science-policy workshop took place on October 25–26th, 2007. It gathered several external key players (e.g. provinces and non-government organizations) and more than 20 NRCan staff and led to the development of a synthesis report (below) that builds the case for adaptation.

Ongoing research activities for adaptation to climate change and on climate change impacts with respect to disturbances by wildland fire, forest insects, forest management, air quality and impacts on forest productivity has continued. A number of presentations to conferences of articles on the above topics have been published, including:

  • McKenney et al. 2007 – Potential impacts of climate change on the distribution on North American trees. BioScience 57: 939–948; and
  • Kurz et al. 2008 – Risk of natural disturbances makes future contribution of Canada's forests to the global carbon cycle highly uncertain. PNAS 105: 1551–1555).

Completion of two synthesis paper on climate change:

  • An NRCan synthesis report entitled The Importance of Forest Sector Adaptation to Climate Change is in press. This report provides information on the state of science and builds the case for taking action on adaptation, as well as identifying what is needed to move forward.
  • A special report was published jointly in the Summer of 2008 by the Government of Canada and the Network Centre of Excellence: Sustainable Forest Management entitled Climate Change and Canada's Forests: Current and Future Impacts. This document provides guidance on actions NRCan and Canada's forest sector could take with respect to climate change impacts and adaptation.

The CCFM produced the following report Adapting to Climate Change: Exploring a Framework for Action. In addition, a study has been initiated for the identification of science gaps in climate change adaptation and mitigation. A draft version of the science report entitled The Importance of Forest Sector Adaptation to Climate Change was presented to the CCFM Innovation Working Group in mid‑December 2007. Climate change impacts and adaptation was identified as one of the two priorities to be addressed in the draft A Vision for Canada's Forests 2008 and Beyond.

Sustainable Forest – Canada's climate change forest reporting obligations are met, and forest-based options for adaptation to, and mitigation of, climate change are developed

Forest losses are addressed through the provision of balanced social, economic and environmental information and advice

A national assessment of the risks and benefits posed by a changing climate to the Canadian economy, environment and society has been completed. (SDS Target Interest in national assessment and related information products, measured by number of downloads of electronic versions and number of requests for hard copies. The full national assessment was released on line ( The revised completion date for the regional posters is Fall 2008. Earth Sciences – Canadians and their institutions understand and prepare for the effects of a changing climate
Engagement and capacity building activities within targeted groups such as professional, sectoral or regional organizations have been completed. (SDS Target Targeted groups understand adaptation and are prepared to incorporate climate considerations into practices, as demonstrated by annual surveys. NRCan and Nunavut stakeholders met to coordinate research and the development of a Nunavut adaptation strategy. The communities of Iqaluit, Clyde River and Hall Beach were selected for integrated assessment case study.

A workshop entitled "Adaptation Action in Arctic Communities" was held in Iqaluit December 2006 and a workshop report was produced. Contribution agreements are in place with the Assembly of First Nations, Canadian Institute of Planners, and Engineers Canada.

The Council of Yukon First Nations and the Assembly of First Nations completed their projects by March 31, 2008. Both used traditional and scientific knowledge to assess the vulnerability of communities and water systems to climate change. The final reports have been delivered to NRCan.

The Canadian Institute of Planners completed their project which resulted in (i) a draft climate change policy that requires its professional members to consider climate change in all their day-to-day planning activities; (ii) preparation of 3 learning modules on adaptation for university-based and in-service training; (iii) 10 fellowships and 5 studio awards were awarded to students in planning programs in Canadian universities; and (iv) two remote community case studies were completed.

The Canadian Council of Professional Engineers delivered an infrastructure assessment report to NRCan.

The level of awareness of climate change among Canadian engineers was measured in a survey conducted by the Canadian Standards Association with support from Infrastructure Canada. The initial survey of planners has been delayed until Fall 2008 due to work required on other project deliverables.

Surficial geology: truthing and field sampling around targeted Nunavut community:

  • The first year of field work was completed, including: watershed assessments in Clyde River and Iqaluit; coastal erosion and sea-level rise assessments in Clyde River and Hall Beach; landscape hazard mapping in Clyde River and Iqaluit, vegetation assessments in Clyde River and Iqaluit. The impact of this work is being felt across Nunavut and has led to the involvement of new partners within the territorial government, Indian and Northern Affairs and the Canada-Nunavut Geoscience Office.
  • In addition, 10 scientific reports and presentations on the surficial geology of Nunavut were delivered.
Earth Sciences – Canadians and their institutions understand and prepare for the effects of a changing climate
Development of a national gas hydrate science and technology strategy. (SDS Target Utilization of the strategy to develop an integrated science and technology action plan to realize natural gas production from hydrates. Progress has been made toward developing a national gas hydrates strategy, but full development has been delayed one year (until 2009). This decision was made based on two factors:
  • To avoid duplicating the work of the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA). CCA is preparing an assessment of gas hydrates that engages Canadian and international experts. CCA's final report is expected in 2008 and will provide valuable information to guide the further development of Canada's strategy.
  • To wait for the spring 2008 completion of the current Mallik production tests. These tests will likely provide some answers concerning the extraction and economics of hydrate production.

Postponing the full strategy for one year will allow incorporation of the CCA assessment and the results from the Mallik test.

The progress towards the development of a gas hydrate strategy in 2009:

  • The CCA has continued to develop its assessment of gas hydrates as an energy resource. Their report will provide valuable information to further guide development of the strategy.
  • The field component of the Mallik production test was successfully completed and the resultant data is being analyzed. Significant sustained gas flow was attained by depressurization, confirming that this might be a viable production technology. This not only directly informs the development of the strategy but will also result in increased engagement of industry, an integral component of the strategy.
Earth Sciences – New economic opportunities created for Canadians
SDS Goal 2: To advance Canada's position as a world leader in sustainable resource development and use
Expected Results for 2007–08 Performance Measure(s) Achievements for 2007–08 NRCan Program Activities
No SDS targets were due in 2007–008. Progress reports on Goal 2 expected results can be found at: Earth Sciences

Sustainable Forest

Minerals and Metals

Corporate Management

SDS Goal 3: To integrate economic, environmental and social considerations into departmental decision-making and to continuously improve operations
Expected Results for 2007–08 Performance Measure(s) Achievements for 2007–08 NRCan Program Activities
Provide Environmental Management System (EMS) training to staff with environmental management responsibilities at key NRCan facilities. (SDS Target Percentage of targeted individuals that have received training. A total of 155 staff attended operations-focused EMS training at six NRCan locations between December 2007 and March 2008. Corporate Management
Ensure senior management commitment to the EMS. (SDS Target Establishment of mechanism for regular review of environmental performance and compliance. A "Green Departmental Management Committee (DMC)" meeting was held October 17, 2007, during which the Deputy Minister and DMC members endorsed implementation of the EMS and its procedures across the department, and provided initial agreement with the draft Environmental Operations Policy.

A draft report to be presented to senior management on the status of the EMS for 2007–08 is being prepared. The venue in which this information will be presented has not yet been determined due to the organizational changes taking place within the department.

Corporate Management
All gasoline purchased for NRCan road vehicles will be ethanol blended, where available. (SDS Target Annual, percentage of gasoline purchased for NRCan road vehicles that is ethanol blended. NRCan is proactively purchasing ethanol blended fuel for its vehicle fleet, across Canada. The departmental fleet policy requires that all employees operating NRCan vehicles must use ethanol blended fuel (10% mixture) whenever available. Within its headquarters location, NRCan uses 85% ethanol fuel (E85) to operate 32 ethanol vehicles within its pool. NRCan also provides E85 to 13 other government departments and fuels 51 of their vehicles including the Minister's and Deputy Minister's executive vehicles. In fiscal year 2007–08, a total of 120,000 litres of E85 was dispensed at the Booth Street pool. The amount of E85 dispensed at Booth Street is equivalent to 20% of the total quantity of fuel consumed by NRCan vehicles (600,000 litres) across Canada. Corporate Management
Complete and commence implementation of the draft NRCan Green Procurement Implementation Plan. (SDS Completion of document. During this reporting period, the department further developed aspects of the plan to implement green procurement in the department including training, guidelines, target-setting, for example.

Completed the overarching draft implementation plan and liaised with other key stakeholders to prepare for finalizing and commencement of implementation over the next reporting period. Progress was made on foundational items for the plan:

  1. Specific reference to NRCan's responsibility to comply with the Policy on Green Procurement was included in the updated departmental environmental operations policy statement, which was endorsed by senior management in October 2007. (Reference to the Policy on Green Procurement requirement has also been incorporated into the updated Vehicle Fleet Management Policy.)
  2. Completed draft NRCan Green Procurement Guideline and held focus groups with key user groups.
Corporate Management
Develop commodity specific performance targets to be implemented during the remainder of this SDS time frame. (SDS Target Completion of performance targets.

Annual dollar value spent or quantity purchased, and number of contracts issued against the procurement target established.

Identification of environmental outcomes.

Input was gathered on potential commodity areas for performance targets through a number of broad employee engagement activities over the spring months, including a Green Procurement Target-setting Workshop on May 17, 2007. Other ideas were submitted through the NRCan Green Operations web site, the Green Zone.

These ideas were compiled, analysed, and three areas were found to be appropriate for initial target-setting ideas: paper, internal printing and travel.

Proposed target areas were presented to DMC and achieved endorsement in principle. Completion of this target development will be delayed; finalization of firm performance targets will commence in the next reporting period.

Corporate Management
In conjunction with other key federal departments, develop an industry managed extended producer responsibility implementation plan for end-of-life, government wide, federal information technology (IT) equipment. (SDS Target Completion of implementation plan. Although this program was originally developed and managed by NRCan, it is currently being managed by PWGSC's Office of Greening of Government Operations (OGGO). (Note: As NRCan is no longer the lead on this file, it is proposed to terminate this action plan from reporting requirements under NRCan's SDS.) Minerals and Metals – Policies enhance the productivity and sustainability of the minerals and metals industries