2013-14 Departmental Performance Report

Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy


1. Overview of the Federal Government's Approach to Sustainable Development

The Federal Sustainable Development Strategy 2013–16, tabled on November 4, 2013, guides the Government of Canada's sustainable development activities, as required by the Federal Sustainable Development Act. In keeping with the objectives of the Federal Sustainable Development Act, to make environmental decision–making more transparent and accountable to Parliament, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada supports the implementation of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy through the activities found in this departmental strategy.

Accordingly, this Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy presents the results for commitments for Theme I – Addressing Climate Change and Air Quality, Theme II – Maintaining Water Quality and Availability, Theme III – Protecting Nature and Canadians, within the context of the 2013–16 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy. This Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy also provides the results for Theme IV – Shrinking the Environmental Footprint – Beginning with Government based on the 2010–13 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy.

2. Themes I–III: Department-led Targets

Federal Sustainable Development Strategy Goal Federal Sustainable Development Strategy Performance Indicator Federal Sustainable Development Strategy Target Federal Sustainable Development Strategy Performance Status
Goal 3: Water Quality and Water Availability – Protect and enhance water so that it is clean, safe and secure for all Canadians and supports healthy ecosystems Water quality and soil quality agri-environmental performance metrics Target 3.10: Agri-Environmental Performance Metrics
Achieve a value between 81–100 on each of the Water Quality and Soil Quality Agri-Environmental Performance Metrics by March 31, 2030
Values as of 2011 have yet to be published in the Agri-Environmental Indicators Report number 4 and will be available in 2015–16

As of 2006, reported values in the Agri-Environmental Indicators Report number 3 indicate:
  • soil quality is improving, with a compound index value for soil quality at 77 (up from 74 in 2001)
  • water quality is diminishing, with a compound index value of 78, down from 85 in 2001
The decline of the water quality agri-environmental performance index at the national level may be due to increased application of fertilizers and manures on farms and/or in areas of higher precipitation. It also may be influenced by increased flow through and runoff from land that contains pesticides
Goal 5: Biological Resources – Efficient economic and ecological use of resources – Production and consumption of biological resources are sustainable Wildlife habitat capacity on farmland Target 5.4: Sustainable Agriculture
By 2020, agricultural working landscapes provide a stable or improved level of biodiversity and habitat capacity
Values as of 2011 have yet to be published in Agri-Environmental Indicators Report number 4 and will be available in 2015–16. As of 2006, reported values in Agri-Environmental Indicators Report number 3 indicate that nationally, average habitat capacity on farmlands declined from 1986 to 2006 due to the loss of natural and semi-natural land cover and the intensification of agricultural operations. However, some species have benefited from some shifts in crop type (for example, summerfallow to hay)
Environmental farm planning on agricultural land Target 5.4: Sustainable Agriculture
By 2020, agricultural working landscapes provide a stable or improved level of biodiversity and habitat capacity
95% of farms with environment plans (based on 2011 Farm Environmental Management Survey results) have indicated action is being taken to mitigate on-farm environmental risks. This confirms producers are taking action to mitigate on-farm environmental risks, reflecting their ongoing stewardship ethic

3. Themes I–III: Implementation Strategies

There was a transition in 2013–14 from the 2010–13 cycle of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy to the next cycle (2013–16). Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada used the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy 2013–16 as the basis for year-end performance reporting under Themes I–III for 2013–14. In this report, performance information is provided under the Strategic Outcomes, Programs and Sub-Programs in Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Program Alignment Architecture for 2013–14. The Department has a new Program Alignment Architecture for 2014–15 to reflect the current Growing Forward 2 agricultural policy framework; in subsequent reports on progress under the Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy and the 2013–16 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy, the new Program Alignment Architecture structure will form the foundation for reporting.

Strategic Outcome 1: An environmentally sustainable agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector
Program 1.1: Environmental Knowledge, Technology, Information, and Measurement
Sub-Program 1.1.1: Agri-Environmental Science
Sub-Program 1.1.2: Agri-Environmental Applications and Measurement

Implementation Strategy: Advancing Knowledge and Communication
1.1.12: Conduct targeted research to increase knowledge of climate change relative to agriculture and assess and report on the collective environmental and economic impact of the adoption of sustainable agriculture practices by farmers on the Canadian landscape

Description of the Implementation Strategy:
This Growing Forward 2 (agricultural policy framework) program is designed to address emerging science-based requirements of the Canadian agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector by generating and providing access to scientific knowledge that helps the industry to: identify and mitigate risks to agriculture and agri-food production; enhance the safety of the food system; sustainably increase its productivity to improve its bottom line through more efficient use of inputs; enhance the resilience of the sector to a changing climate; and to capture market opportunities. Objectives of this program include: conduct innovative research to understand key challenges and opportunities facing the sector; transform scientific knowledge into agricultural products, processes and practices that improve competitiveness; promote research to understand the key environmental sustainability challenges facing Canadian farmers; encourage the transformation of scientific knowledge into agricultural practices that improve the environmental sustainability and profitability of farming operations; support scientific measurement and analysis of the environmental sustainability performance of the sector that will facilitate competitiveness; and work with industry to target Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada efforts towards key business risks and opportunities.

Expected Results Performance Indicators Performance Targets Results
*Full reporting is expected to be completed by December 2014. For information on the full indicator reporting that was prepared in 2010, please visit Government of Canada Publications.
Agri-environmental indicators are available to assess and report on the sector's environmental and economic sustainability Regular reporting on the environmental sustainability of Canadian agriculture* Full reporting Values as of 2011 have yet to be published in the Agri-Environmental Indicators Report number 4 and will be available in 2015–16
Increase knowledge by the scientific community in the area of climate change Number of scientific articles accepted for publication through an external peer-reviewed process 75 articles related to climate change by March 31, 2018 (2013–2018) As this is the first year of the program, results are not yet available. They are expected to be reported on in 2014–15 following completion of the review and approval process for publishing peer reviewed papers

Strategic Outcome 2: A competitive and market-oriented agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector that proactively manages risk
Program 2.2: Food Safety and Biosecurity Risk Management Systems
Sub-Program 2.2.2: Science Supporting a Competitive Sector
Strategic Outcome 3: An innovative agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector
Program 3.1: Science, Innovation and Adoption
Sub-Program 3.1.1: Science Supporting Agricultural Innovation

Implementation Strategy: Enabling Capacity
1.1.52: Support Canada's participation in multilateral fora outside of the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) and ensure that Canada's international climate change objectives are advanced in international meetings including addressing short-lived climate pollutants (e.g. Climate and Clean Air Coalition, Global Methane Initiative and Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, Major Economies Forum and Arctic Council)

Description of the Implementation Strategy:
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada conducts longer term core research and development work to advance the understanding of: the resource base upon which agriculture depends, threats to Canadian agriculture production, mechanisms to protect and conserve Canadian bioresources and genetic diversity, and future new opportunities for the sector. This program also maintains a strong network of world-class research centres and offices across the country with scientific expertise to meet the research needs of existing and emerging agricultural commodity groups, and to participate in collaborative partnerships with industry, academia, non-governmental organizations and others that undertake research aimed at yield enhancement, input reductions, prevention of diseases or pests, market access and risk mitigation, and development of new areas of opportunity for the sector.

Expected Result Performance Indicator Performance Target Results
*The Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture is the only global forum for governments to discuss and negotiate matters relevant to agricultural biodiversity. It has 175 country members and is operated by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Canada joined in 1989.

The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture objectives include conserving plant genetic resources essential for food security, and providing access to them and using them in a sustainable manner. Canada ratified the Treaty in 2002 and is a member of its governing body.
As required, provide expertise and other support for Canada's participation in multilateral fora outside of the UNFCCC (e.g., Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture*) To be determined To be determined

Chaired the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (the first time a Canadian has chaired this commission) which accomplished the following:

  • Developed new standards for crop gene banks that will improve the viability of plant genetic resources and enhance the development of new crop varieties needed by Canadian producers
  • Ensured a "Program of Work on Climate Change and Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture" reflected Canadian objectives to use genetic resources to assist producers in mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change

International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture:

  • Led the Canadian delegation to the 5th meeting of the Treaty's Governing Body in September 2013
  • Ensured Treaty discussions reflected Canadian objectives to maintain and improve access to plant genetic resources
  • Negotiated lower fees for Canada's membership in the Treaty

Strategic Outcome 2: A competitive and market-oriented agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector that proactively manages risk
Program 2.2: Food Safety and Biosecurity Risk Management Systems
Sub-Program 2.2.2: Science Supporting a Competitive Sector
Strategic Outcome 3: An innovative agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector
Program 3.1: Science, Innovation and Adoption
Sub-Program 3.1.1: Science Supporting Agricultural Innovation

Implementation Strategy: Advancing Knowledge and Communication
2.1.18: Conduct basic and applied research to increase knowledge of the effects of agricultural production on air

Description of the Implementation Strategy:
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada conducts longer term core research and development work to advance the understanding of: the resource base upon which agriculture depends, threats to Canadian agriculture production, mechanisms to protect and conserve Canadian bioresources and genetic diversity, and future new opportunities for the sector. This program also maintains a strong network of world-class research centres and offices across the country with scientific expertise to meet the research needs of existing and emerging agricultural commodity groups, and to participate in collaborative partnerships with industry, academia, non-governmental organizations, and others that undertake research aimed at yield enhancement, input reductions, prevention of diseases or pests, market access and risk mitigation, and development of new areas of opportunity for the sector.

Expected Result Performance Indicator Performance Target Result
Increased understanding by the scientific community of the interactions and impact of agricultural practices on the air resources Number of scientific articles accepted for publication through an external peer-reviewed process 50 papers by March 31, 2018 (2013–2018) As this is the first year of the program, results are not yet available. They are expected to be reported on in 2014–15 following completion of the review and approval process for publishing peer reviewed papers

Strategic Outcome 1: An environmentally sustainable agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector
Program 1.2: On-farm Action
Sub-Program 1.2.3: Cost-shared Environmental Risk Assessment and Implementation

Implementation Strategy: Enabling Capacity
3.10.1: Provide cost-shared funding to provinces and territories that provide a systematic approach to farmers to assess priority environmental risks, plan effective mitigation and increase adoption of sustainable agricultural practices at farm and landscape levels. The program components will be determined in 2013.*

*Provinces and territories have identified their program component. Provincial and territorial cost-shared activities include funding to support environmental farm plans to identify environmental risks and risk mitigation activities; and the implementation of proven environmental beneficial management practices such as farmyard runoff controls and erosion control structures.

Description of the Implementation Strategy:
This Growing Forward 2 program provides support for provincial and territorial activities aimed at supporting the Canadian agriculture, agri-food and agri-based sector and its businesses to assess and respond to priority environmental risks and manage the natural resource base sustainably. The programming is mainly designed to minimize and mitigate impacts and risks to the environment by maintaining or improving the quality of soil, water, air, and biodiversity; ensuring the long term health and sustainability of natural resources used for agricultural production and, supporting the long-term economic and environmental viability of the agriculture industry.

Expected Result Performance Indicator Performance Target Result
The sector/industry is taking actions to minimize environmental risks and using inputs efficiently Cumulative number of beneficial management practices implemented under Growing Forward 2 federal, provincial and territorial Cost-shared programming 14,600 by March 31, 2019
(2013–2018)

As this is the first year of the program, no results are currently available.

Provincial and territorial annual performance data for 2013–14 are expected to be available in 2014–15

Strategic Outcome 2: A competitive and market-oriented agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector that proactively manages risk
Program 2.2: Food Safety and Biosecurity Risk Management Systems
Sub-Program 2.2.2: Science Supporting a Competitive Sector
Strategic Outcome 3: An innovative agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector
Program 3.1: Science, Innovation and Adoption
Sub-Program 3.1.1: Science Supporting Agricultural Innovation
Sub-Program 3.1.5: Research Accelerating Innovation

Implementation Strategy: Advancing Knowledge and Communication
3.10.2: Conduct targeted research to increase knowledge of water resources relative to agriculture and enhance knowledge of nutrient management to increase efficiency and lower the potential of contamination of water resources

Description of the Implementation Strategy:
Under Sub-Program 3.1.1, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada conducts longer term core research and development work to advance the understanding of: the resource base upon which agriculture depends, threats to Canadian agriculture production, mechanisms to protect and conserve Canadian bioresources and genetic diversity, and future new opportunities for the sector. This program also maintains a strong network of world-class research centres and offices across the country with scientific expertise to meet the research needs of existing and emerging agricultural commodity groups, and to participate in collaborative partnerships with industry, academia, non-governmental organizations, and others that undertake research aimed at yield enhancement, input reductions, prevention of diseases or pests, market access and risk mitigation, and development of new areas of opportunity for the sector.

Under Sub-Program 3.1.5, this Growing Forward 2 program is designed to address emerging science-based requirements of the Canadian agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector by generating and providing access to scientific knowledge that helps the industry to: identify and mitigate risks to agriculture and agri-food production; enhance the safety of the food system; sustainably increase its productivity to improve its bottom line through more efficient use of inputs; enhance the resilience of the sector to a changing climate; and to capture market opportunities. Objectives of this program include: conduct innovative research to understand key challenges and opportunities facing the sector; transform scientific knowledge into agricultural products, processes and practices that improve competitiveness; promote research to understand the key environmental sustainability challenges facing Canadian farmers; encourage the transformation of scientific knowledge into agricultural practices that improve the environmental sustainability and profitability of farming operations; support scientific measurement and analysis of the environmental sustainability performance of the sector that will facilitate competitiveness; and work with industry to target Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada efforts towards key business risks and opportunities.

Expected Result Performance Indicator Performance Target Result
Increased understanding by the scientific community of water resources and nutrient management and the potential to increase efficiency and lower the potential of contamination of water resources Number of scientific articles accepted for publication through an external peer-reviewed process 75 articles by March 31, 2018
(2013–2018)
As this is the first year of the program, results are not yet available.

They are expected to be reported on in 2014–15 following completion of the review and approval process for publishing peer reviewed papers

Strategic Outcome 1: An environmentally sustainable agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector
Program 1.1:
Environmental Knowledge, Technology, Information, and Measurement
Sub-Program 1.1.1:
Agri-Environmental Science
Sub-Program 1.1.2: Agri-Environmental Applications and Measurement

Implementation Strategy: Advancing Knowledge and Communication
3.10.3: Assess and report on the collective environmental and economic impact of the adoption of sustainable agriculture practices by farmers on the Canadian landscape.

Description of the Implementation Strategy:
This Growing Forward 2 program is designed to address emerging science-based requirements of the Canadian agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector by generating and providing access to scientific knowledge that helps the industry to: identify and mitigate risks to agriculture and agri-food production; enhance the safety of the food system; sustainably increase its productivity to improve its bottom line through more efficient use of inputs; enhance the resilience of the sector to a changing climate; and to capture market opportunities. Objectives of this program include: conduct innovative research to understand key challenges and opportunities facing the sector; transform scientific knowledge into agricultural products, processes and practices that improve competitiveness; promote research to understand the key environmental sustainability challenges facing Canadian farmers; encourage the transformation of scientific knowledge into agricultural practices that improve the environmental sustainability and profitability of farming operations; support scientific measurement and analysis of the environmental sustainability performance of the sector that will facilitate competitiveness; and work with industry to target Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada efforts towards key business risks and opportunities.

Expected Result Performance Indicator Performance Target Result
*Full reporting is expected to be completed by December 2014. For information on the full indicator reporting that was prepared in 2010, please visit Government of Canada Publications.
Agri-environmental indicators are available to assess and report on the sector's environmental and economic sustainability Regular reporting on the environmental sustainability of Canadian agriculture* Full reporting Values as of 2011 have yet to be published in the Agri-Environmental Indicators Report number 4 and will be available in 2015–16

Strategic Outcome 2: A competitive and market-oriented agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector that proactively manages risk
Program 2.3: Trade and Market Development
Sub-Program 2.3.1: Trade Negotiations and Market Access
Sub-Program 2.3.2: Market Growth
Sub-Sub-Program 2.3.2.2: Market Information and Export Capacity Building
Sub-Sub-Program 2.3.2.3: Canada Brand

Implementation Strategy: Advancing Knowledge and Communication
4.7.4: In accordance with mandated responsibilities, provide environmental and/or other information to reduce the risk of, and advice in response to, the occurrence of events such as polluting incidents, wildlife disease events or severe weather and other significant hydro-meteorological events as applicable

Description of the Implementation Strategy:
In accordance with the Emergency Management Act, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is responsible for developing plans to respond to emergencies in the agriculture and agri-food sector that exceed a provincial or territorial lead agency's capacity to manage. The Department will also support a response effort, as requested, from local, provincial, territorial, federal and/or international stakeholders.

The Federal Emergency Response Plan, which contains Emergency Support Functions, states that the Department may also need to undertake a number of activities, including assisting provincial and territorial governments in securing safe food and water, and agricultural commodities such as animal feed, through liaison with other government and non-government organizations.

Expected Results Performance Indicators Performance Targets Results
A Federal Emergency Response Plan where the Agri-Food Emergency Support Function is accurately and adequately reflected Updates as required to the Federal Emergency Response Plan and completion of annual plans Annually or more frequently, as required Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada continued to work closely with the provinces, industry and other federal departments to ensure that the Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector functions effectively in an emergency. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada provides input into Public Safety Canada's review of the Federal Emergency Response Plan and the Emergency Support Function affecting the agricultural sector when requested. For 2013–14, there was no requirement to update the Federal Emergency Response Plan/ Emergency Support Functions
As required, respond to emergencies in the agriculture and agri-food sector Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Emergency Management Coordination Model is reviewed December 2014 Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada continued to enhance its preparedness to respond to emergencies through a variety of activities. For example, the Department has initiated work to design and develop a facilitated discussion aimed at increasing the Department and its key partners' coordination and understanding of roles and responsibilities during a large-scale emergency event affecting the agricultural sector. Results from exercises such as this may be used to enhance and clarify existing documents, such as the Emergency Management Coordination Model

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has responded to emergencies, at the request of provincial governments, or as part of the federal coordination done through the Government Operation Centre, as required. For example, the Department was involved in the response to the Alberta floods in June 2013

Program 4.1: Internal Services
Sub-Program 4.1.3: Asset Management Services
Sub-Sub-Program 4.1.4.1: Real Property Services

Implementation Strategy: Leading by Example
4.81.1: Implement the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan and complete remediation and risk management activities at known high priority federal contaminated sites

Description of the Implementation Strategy:
Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan is a 15-year Government of Canada horizontal program with the aim of reducing environmental and human health risks from known federal contaminated sites and associated federal financial liabilities. This implementation strategy is primarily directed to Environment Canada's responsibilities in supporting Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan. Environment Canada's Contaminated Sites Program responsibilities include hosting the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan Secretariat, developing guidance and program policies, and providing expert support to federal custodians for the assessment and remediation/risk management activities at their sites. Sixteen federal departments, agencies and consolidated Crown corporations responsible for contaminated sites, including Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, are currently involved in the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan program as custodians of sites.

Expected Results Performance Indicators Performance Targets Results
Reduced liability at higher-risk federal contaminated sites Reduction in liability at all Class 1 and Class 2 Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan funded sites during Phase II of Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan $1.17 billion by 2015–16

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada contributes to this overall government-wide Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan program performance target

During 2013–14, the Department recorded an $85,000 reduction in liability at a single on-going Class 2 Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan-funded remediation project

Reduced risk to the environment and human health from federal contaminated sites Number of Class 1 and Class 2 Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan funded sites where risk reduction activities have been completed 368 by March 2016 Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada contributes to this overall government-wide Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan program performance target

During 2013–14, the Department continued the on-going remediation of one Class 2 Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan-funded remediation project for which it is responsible

Strategic Outcome 1: An environmentally sustainable agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector
Program 1.1: Environmental Knowledge, Technology, Information, and Measurement
Sub-Program 1.1.1: Agri-Environmental Science
Sub-Program 1.1.2: Agri-Environmental Applications and Measurement

Implementation Strategy: Advancing Knowledge and Communication
5.4.1: Assess broad-scale trends in the capacity of the Canadian agricultural landscape to provide suitable habitat for populations of terrestrial vertebrates

Description of the Implementation Strategy:
This Growing Forward 2 program is designed to address emerging science-based requirements of the Canadian agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector by generating and providing access to scientific knowledge that helps the industry to: identify and mitigate risks to agriculture and agri-food production; enhance the safety of the food system; sustainably increase its productivity to improve its bottom line through more efficient use of inputs; enhance the resilience of the sector to a changing climate; and to capture market opportunities. Objectives of this program include: conduct innovative research to understand key challenges and opportunities facing the sector; transform scientific knowledge into agricultural products, processes and practices that improve competitiveness; promote research to understand the key environmental sustainability challenges facing Canadian farmers; encourage the transformation of scientific knowledge into agricultural practices that improve the environmental sustainability and profitability of farming operations; support scientific measurement and analysis of the environmental sustainability performance of the sector that will facilitate competitiveness; and work with industry to target Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada efforts towards key business risks and opportunities.

Expected Result Performance Indicator Performance Target Result
*Full reporting is expected to be completed by December 2014. For information on the full indicator reporting that was prepared in 2010, please visit Government of Canada Publications.
Agri-environmental indicators are available to assess and report on the sector's environmental and economic sustainability Regular reporting on the environmental sustainability of Canadian agriculture* Full Reporting Values as of 2011 have yet to be published in the Agri-Environmental Indicators Report number 4 and will be available in the 2015–16

Strategic Outcome 1: An environmentally sustainable agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector
Program 1.2: On-farm Action
Sub-Program 1.2.3: Cost-shared Environmental Risk Assessment and Implementation

Implementation Strategy: Advancing Knowledge and Communication
5.4.2: Increase the awareness and adoption of sustainable agriculture practices that maintain or improve the quality of soil, water, air and biodiversity at farm and landscape levels by increasing the number of farms with an Environmental Farm Plan through Growing Forward 2 programs delivered by provinces and territories

Description of the Implementation Strategy:
This Growing Forward 2 program provides support for provincial and territorial activities aimed at supporting the Canadian agriculture, agri-food and agri-based sector and its businesses to assess and respond to priority environmental risks and manage the natural resource base sustainably. The programming is mainly designed to minimize and mitigate impacts and risks to the environment by maintaining or improving the quality of soil, water, air, and biodiversity; ensuring the long-term health and sustainability of natural resources used for agricultural production and, supporting the long-term economic and environmental viability of the agriculture industry.

Expected Result Performance Indicator Performance Target Result
The sector/industry is taking actions to minimize environmental risks and using inputs efficiently Cumulative number of Beneficial Management Practices implemented under Growing Forward 2 federal, provincial and territorial cost-shared programming 14,600 by March 31, 2019
(2013–2018)

As this is the first year of the program, no results are currently available

Provincial and territorial annual performance data for 2013–14 are expected to be available in 2014–15

4. Theme IV: Implementation Strategies

Green Building Targets

As of April 1, 2012, and pursuant to departmental strategic frameworks, new construction and build–to–lease projects, and major renovation projects, will achieve an industry–recognized level of high environmental performance.1 (Target 8.1 from 2010–13 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy)
Performance Measure Performance Status
1 High environmental performance is demonstrated by achieving LEED NC Silver, Green Globes Design 3 Globes, or equivalent.
Target status Achieved
Number of completed new construction, build–to–lease, and major renovation projects in the given fiscal year, according to the departmental strategic framework. 0
Number of completed new construction, build–to–lease, and major renovation projects that have achieved an industry–recognized level of high environmental performance in the given fiscal year, according to the departmental strategic framework. 0
Existence of a strategic framework. Yes: Completed February 2012
Strategies and/or Comments
  1. Minimum level of environmental performance for this target: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver level.
  2. Minimum project dollar threshold for target applicability: $5 million.
  3. Minimum building size threshold for target applicability: 3,000m2.
  4. Applicable building types for target: laboratory/office complex.
  5. Rationale for traffic light indicator selected: Strategic Framework was completed.
As of April 1, 2012, and pursuant to departmental strategic frameworks, existing crown buildings over 1000 m2 will be assessed for environmental performance using an industry–recognized assessment tool.2 (Target 8.2 from 2010–13 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy)
Performance Measure Performance Status
2 Industry–recognized assessment tools are BOMA BESt, Green Globes, or equivalent.
Target status Achieved
Number of buildings over 1000 m2, according to the departmental strategic framework. 4
Percentage of buildings over 1000 m2 in the given fiscal year that have been assessed using an industry–recognized assessment tool, according to the departmental strategic framework 100%
Existence of a strategic framework. Yes: Completed February 2012
Strategies and/or Comments
  1. Minimum level of assessment: Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) BESt assessment.
  2. Minimum building size threshold for target applicability: 1000m2 (same as target requirement)
  3. Applicable building types for target: office buildings.
  4. Buildings over 1000m2 owned by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada are mostly specialized buildings such as labs, greenhouses and barns. As such, there are no appropriate industry-recognized assessment tools available to assess environmental performance, as outlined in the implementation guidelines for this target. The Department will continue, however, to assess prioritized buildings using comprehensive, environmental aspect-specific studies conducted by third-party specialists with the continued goal to identify related environmental performance and opportunities for improvements.
  5. Rationale for traffic light indicator selected: Strategic Framework was completed, and target achieved.
As of April 1, 2012, and pursuant to departmental strategic frameworks, new lease or lease renewal projects over 1000 m2, where the Crown is the major lessee, will be assessed for environmental performance using an industry–recognized assessment tool.3 (Target 8.3 from 2010–13 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy)
Performance Measure Performance Status
3 Industry–recognized assessment tools are BOMA BESt, an appropriately tailored BOMA International Green Lease Standard, or equivalent.
Target status Achieved
Number of completed lease and lease renewal projects over 1000 m2 in the given fiscal year, according to the departmental strategic framework. 0
Number of completed lease and lease renewal projects over 1000 m2 that were assessed using an industry–recognized assessment tool in the given fiscal year, according to the departmental strategic framework. 0
Existence of a strategic framework. Yes: Completed February 2012
Strategies and/or Comments
  1. Applicable building types: office buildings. In the very few cases where Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada leases directly with third-party building owners, this involves non-office buildings (for example, labs), for which there are no appropriate industry-recognized assessment tools available as outlined in the implementation guidelines for this target. Consequently, the Department does not lease buildings that fall under the scope of this target to report upon. The levels of assessment and appropriate thresholds are not applicable and have not been specified.
  2. The Department leases office accommodations through Public Works and Government Services Canada, and it will support Public Works and Government Services' efforts in meeting this target at these buildings.
  3. Rationale for traffic light indicator selected: Strategic Framework was completed.
As of April 1, 2012, and pursuant to departmental strategic frameworks, fit-up and refit projects will achieve an industry–recognized level of high environmental performance.4 (Target 8.4 from 2010–13 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy)
Performance Measure Performance Status
4 High environmental performance is demonstrated by achieving LEED CI Silver, Green Globes Fit–Up 3 Globes, or equivalent.
Target status Achieved
Number of completed fit–up and refit projects in the given fiscal year, according to the departmental strategic framework. 0
Number of completed fit–up and refit projects that have achieved an industry–recognized level of high environmental performance in the given fiscal year, according to the departmental strategic framework. 0
Existence of a strategic framework. Yes: Completed February 2012
Strategies and/or Comments
  1. Minimum level of environmental performance for this target: either Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Commercial Interior Silver level or Green Globes Fit-Up 3 Globes – choice will be made according to best fit for the particular project.
  2. Applicable building space type: office space.
  3. Minimum project dollar threshold for target applicability: $5 million of the office space portion of the project.
  4. Minimum building size threshold for target applicability: 1,000m2 of office space.
  5. Rationale for traffic light indicator selected: Strategic Framework was completed.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Target

The federal government will take action now to reduce levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from its operations to match the national target of 17% below 2005 by 2020. (Target 8.5 from 2010–13 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy)
Performance Measure Performance Status
Target status On Track To Exceed
Departmental GHG reduction target: Percentage of absolute reduction in GHG emissions by FY 2020–21, relative to FY 2005–06. 10.1%
Departmental GHG emissions in FY 2005–06, in kilotons of CO2 equivalent. 99.1 kt
Departmental GHG emissions in the given fiscal year, in kilotons of CO2 equivalent. 84.1 kt
Change in departmental GHG emissions from FY 2005–06 to the end of the given fiscal year, expressed as a percentage. -15.1%
Existence of an implementation plan to reduce GHG emissions. Yes: Building GHG Plan and Fleet GHG Plan both completed April 2011; Building GHG Plan updated June 2013
Strategies and/or Comments
  1. Targeted GHG emission sources include both facilities and fleet.
  2. Emissions from some very small Agri-Environment Services Branch facilities (97 sites) were derived from 2004–05 data, and the data has been flat-lined for all subsequent reporting years. These smaller sites account for about 1.5% of the Department's total building energy use.
  3. Reported departmental emissions include the following reductions based on the purchases of green power: 6.6 kilotons CO2 equivalent in 2013–14.
  4. Base year adjustments: As of March 31st, 2014, adjustments to base year were not required for changes to the departmental building portfolio. However, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's base year GHG emission levels have been recalculated using emission factors from the latest electricity intensity tables published by Environment Canada. These factors, which are used to calculate the Department's emissions from purchased electricity, have been updated due to changes in Environment Canada's methodology for quantifying emissions from electricity generation in Canada. As a result, the base year GHG emissions have been updated from 97.19 kt CO2 equivalent to 99.1 kt Co2 equivalent.
  5. The implementation plan to reduce GHG emissions includes: conducting comprehensive building energy efficiency feasibility studies at candidate facilities with GHG reduction potential, and completion of retrofit projects; continued purchases of renewable power; fleet renewal with more efficient vehicles and fleet reduction; and employee awareness.
  6. Rationale for traffic light indicator selected: Demonstrated that departmental GHG emissions are on a clear downward trend to meet the On Track to Exceed criteria as per the reporting guideline.

Surplus Electronic and Electrical Equipment Target

By March 31, 2014, each department will reuse or recycle all surplus electronic and electrical equipment (EEE) in an environmentally sound and secure manner. (Target 8.6 from 2010–13 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy)
Performance Measure Performance Status
Target status Exceeded
Existence of an implementation plan for the disposal of all departmentally generated EEE. Yes: Completed March 2012
Total number of departmental locations with an EEE implementation plan fully implemented, expressed as a percentage of all locations, by the end of the given fiscal year. 100%
Strategies and/or Comments
  1. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's EEE implementation plan included all the required elements, as per the mandatory implementation strategies listed in the EEE target implementation guideline. The EEE implementation plan was communicated to the Department's Asset Management personnel responsible for disposal services and Information Services Branch clients responsible for declaring the equipment surplus.
  2. Locations defined as: 19 Research Centres; Eastern Service Centre (Montreal); Western Service Centre (Regina) and Corporate Materiel Management Centre (National Capital Region) that provide disposal services for the Department owned and leased facilities across Canada, for a total of 22 locations.
  3. Disposal of surplus electronic and electrical equipment was tracked during 2013–14 by unit and weight per stream, as follows:
    • Computer for Schools: 3065 units for 37,673 kg
    • Crown Assets Distribution Directorate (CADD): 428 units for 20,078 kg
    • Provincial programs: 1,848 units for 28,526 kg
    • Departmental Individual Standing Offer (DISO): 545 units for 17,427 kg
    • Transfer to Other Government Department (OGD): 1001 units for 10,289 kg
    • Donation to charitable organization: 312 units for 221 kg
    • Total: 7,199 units for 114,214 kg.
  4. Rationale for traffic light indicator selected: The Department fully implemented an EEE Implementation Plan at 100% of locations by March 31, 2014, and the total weight and units were tracked and reported for the designated streams.

Printing Unit Reduction Target

By March 31, 2013, each department will achieve an 8:1 average ratio of office employees to printing units. Departments will apply the target where building occupancy levels, security considerations, and space configuration allow. (Target 8.7 from 2010–13 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy)
Performance Measure Performance Status
Target status Achieved
Ratio of departmental office employees to printing units in fiscal year 2010–11, where building occupancy levels, security considerations and space configuration allow. (Optional) Not applicable
Ratio of departmental office employees to printing units at the end of the given fiscal year, where building occupancy levels, security considerations and space configuration allow. 8.2:1
(5,033 FTEs)
Strategies and/or Comments
  1. Definition: For the purposes of the ratio above, a printing device is all desktop printers, networked printers and multi-function devices.
  2. Scope: Due to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's diverse portfolio of laboratories, remote buildings and geographically dispersed offices, the Department exempted some printers due to: building occupancy levels, specialized laboratory requirements (such as printers connected to spectrometers), office layout considerations and a limited amount due to security requirements. The corresponding employees were exempted as applicable to ensure a representative ratio was reported. The Department applied printer exemptions based on specific business requirements and fulfilling a duty-to-accommodate. The intent was to minimize the use of exemptions wherever possible.
  3. Method used for determining number of printing units: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada used HP Web Jetadmin software to obtain dynamic printer inventory and monitoring information. This dynamic information was supplemented with physical on-site walk-arounds to confirm inventory information.
  4. Exemption exercise: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada completed an internal analysis of printer exemptions based on building occupancy levels and speciality printing requirements that could not be provided by a multi-function device. Sites where occupancy levels were less than 20 personnel were exempted (32 sites comprising 560 personnel and 484 printers, of which 334 were local printers and 150 were networked printers).
  5. Number of employees subject to the target in 2013–14: 5,033 FTEs (adjusted FTE count based on what is reported in the 2013–14 Departmental Performance Report). This comprised 5,017 funded through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's appropriated cost resources (5,040 through appropriated resources minus 23 FTEs from Farm Products Council of Canada), 9 FTEs funded through collaborative agreements, 12 FTEs funded from other government departments, 468 FTEs as students, 14 FTEs as Justice Canada employees working at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada facilities, and 73 Shared Services Canada FTEs at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada facilities, minus 560 employees associated with 484 exempted printers. Note the FTEs from Farm Products Council of Canada were not included as the Department does not manage printers for the public interest oversight body.
  6. Rationale for traffic light indicator selected: Target was not achieved in 2012–13, however the Department achieved the 8:1 ratio as of March 31, 2014.

Paper Consumption Target

By March 31, 2014, each department will reduce internal paper consumption per office employee by 20%. Each department will establish a baseline between 2005–06 and 2011–12, and an applicable scope. (Target 8.8 from 2010–13 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy)
Performance Measure Performance Status
Target status Achieved
Number of sheets of internal office paper purchased or consumed per office employee in the selected baseline year, according to the departmental scope. 4399ix sheets per office employee in 2010–11
Cumulative reduction (or increase) in paper consumption per office employee in the given fiscal year, expressed as a percentage, relative to the selected baseline year. -24%

3,377 sheets per office employee
Strategies and/or Comments
  1. Scope: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada defines office employees to include all departmental employees (i.e. not a strict definition of office employees).
  2. Definition of paper includes internal multi-use paper used for office related operations within the Department (i.e. 8.5x11, 8.5x14, 11x17 stock).
  3. Method used for determining paper consumption: Public Works and Government Services Canada departmental-specific annual Report on Standing Offer Paper Purchases.
  4. The total number of sheets in the 2010–11 base-year: 29,781,700 sheets normalized to letter size equivalency.
  5. The total number of sheets in the 2013–14: 18,695,450 sheets normalized to letter size equivalency.
  6. Method used for determining number of office employees: Departmental Performance Report FTEs count for the same fiscal year, which originates from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Internal Salary Forecast Report as its data source.
  7. Number of employees subject to the target in the 2010–11 base-year (note numbers adjusted from 6,828 FTEs reported in 2012–13 Report on Plans and Priorities): 6,770 FTEs (FTE count reported in the 2010–11 Departmental Performance Report). This comprised 6,190 FTEs funded through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's appropriated cost resources (6,266 through appropriated resources minus 24 FTEs from the Farm Products Council of Canada and 52 FTEs from the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency), 25 FTEs funded through collaborative agreements, 9 FTEs funded from other government departments, 18 as Justice Canada employees working at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada facilities, and 528 FTEs as students. Note Farm Products Council of Canada and Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency were not included as the Department does not supply paper to the public interest oversight body and the special operating agency, respectively.
  8. Number of employees subject to the target in 2013–14: 5,593 FTEs (adjusted FTE count based on what is reported in the 2013–14 Departmental Performance Report). This comprised 5,017 funded through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's appropriated cost resources (5,040 through appropriated resources minus 23 FTEs from the Farm Products Council of Canada), 9 FTEs funded through collaborative agreements, 12 FTEs funded from other government departments, 468 FTEs as students, 14 FTEs as Justice Canada employees working at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada facilities, and 73 Shared Services Canada FTEs at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada facilities.
  9. Note that the base-year sheets per office employee was updated from what was posted in the 2011–12 and 2012–13 Report on Plans and Priorities to update the FTE count for employees subject to the target. The base-year was adjusted from 4362 sheets per office employee to 4399 sheets per office employee.
  10. Rationale for traffic light indicator selected: The Department achieved the 20% reduction target in paper consumption by March 31, 2014.

Green Meetings Target

By March 31, 2012, each department will adopt a guide for greening meetings. (Target 8.9 from 2010–13 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy)
Performance Measure Performance Status
Target status Achieved
Presence of a green meetings guide. Yes: Completed March 2012
Strategies and/or Comments
  1. Developed from Environment Canada's Green Meeting Guide with adaptation for Agriculture and Agri-Food supporting practices and services.
  2. Communication and awareness program for meeting organizers, including permanent intranet posting of reference material.
  3. Departmental adoption is defined as the communication of Agriculture and Agri-Food's Green Meeting Guide to employees, which occurred via the Department's GGO website on its Intranet site.
  4. Rationale for traffic light indicator selected: Department adopted a green meeting guide.

Green Procurement Targets

As of April 1, 2011, each department will establish at least three SMART green procurement targets to reduce environmental impacts. (Target 8.10 from 2010–13 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy)
1. By March 31, 2014, 80% of all Agriculture and Agri-Food annual purchases of computers, printers and video-conferencing equipment will be energy efficient.
Performance Measure Performance Status
Target status Achieved
Percentage by dollar value of purchased energy efficient Information Technology (IT) equipment items identified above. 100%
Strategies and/or Comments
  1. This self-selected target is SMART:
    • Specific: Achievement level of 80% for above-referenced purchases;
    • Measurable: Information available from Agriculture and Agri-Food's financial system;
    • Achievable: Departmental policy is to purchase energy star IT equipment;
    • Relevant: Agriculture and Agri-Food purchases a significant quantity of IT equipment, and this will contribute to energy savings and reduced greenhouse gas emissions; and
    • Time-Bound: Date established for target implementation.
  2. Energy efficiency determined by Energy Star or other labelling.
  3. IT equipment is a mandatory Standing Offer commodity. Public Works and Government Services Canada has put in place National Master Standing Offers (NMSOs) that includes environmental considerations wherever possible and bulk order (RFPs) energy star is listed as a mandatory criteria. Based on this information, in 2013–14 the Department achieved 100% of purchases which were energy efficient.
  4. Rationale for traffic light indicator selected: The Department met the self-selected departmental target.
2. By March 31, 2014, 80% of annual copy paper purchases will contain a minimum of 30% recycled content (pre-consumer waste and/or post-consumer fibre).
Performance Measure Performance Status
Target status Achieved
Percentage by volume of recycled content copy paper purchased. 100%
Strategies and/or Comments
  1. This self-selected target is SMART:
    • Specific: Achievement level of 80% for above-referenced purchases;
    • Measurable: Information available from Agriculture and Agri-Food's financial system;
    • Achievable: Departmental directive will be to purchase paper from Public Works and Government Services Canada standing offer;
    • Relevant: Agriculture and Agri-Food purchases a significant quantity of paper, and this will contribute to reduced consumption of virgin paper and logging; and
    • Time-Bound: Date established for target implementation.
  2. The total amount of paper that met the target requirements in 2013–14 was comprised of three categories of recycled paper:
    • 30% recycled content, representing 84.5% of total paper consumption;
    • 50% recycled content, representing 6.1% of total paper consumption; and
    • 100% recycled content, representing 9.4% of total paper consumption.
  3. Method used for determining paper consumption of recycled content: Public Works and Government Services Canada departmental-specific annual Report on Standing Offer Paper Purchases.
  4. Rationale for traffic light indicator selected: The Department met the self-selected departmental target.
3. Between April 1, 2011 and March 31, 2014, 80% of all janitorial service contracts tendered annually will incorporate the use of environmentally friendly cleaning products.
Performance Measure Performance Status
Target status Achieved
Percentage of janitorial service contracts tendered that incorporate the use of environmentally friendly cleaning products. 100%
Strategies and/or Comments
  1. This self-selected target is SMART:
    • Specific: Achievement level of 80% for above-referenced contracts;
    • Measurable: Information available from the Procurement Review Board (PRB) reports;
    • Achievable: Departmental directive is that all new janitorial contracts tendered will require environmentally friendly cleaning products as a mandatory requirement as part of the procurement process;
    • Relevant: This target will ensure green products and practices are used at custodial locations across Agriculture and Agri-Food; and
    • Time-Bound: Date established for target implementation.
  2. This target was achieved as existing contracts expired at which time the competitive procurement process was initiated. The procurement process for all janitorial services contracts was vetted through the departmental PRB.
  3. The PRB template was updated with a section to be completed by clients incorporating environmental considerations. The Department follows the Public Works and Government Services Canada strategy for janitorial services by encouraging the use of green products and practices whenever possible.
  4. A total of 14 janitorial submissions were approved by PRB since April 1, 2011. A total of 14 submissions included specifications relating to the use of environmentally friendly cleaning products.
  5. Rationale for traffic light indicator selected: The Department met the self-selected departmental target.
As of April 1, 2011, each department will establish SMART targets for training, employee performance evaluations, and management processes and controls, as they pertain to procurement decision making. (Target 8.11 from 2010–13 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy)
1. Training for select employees
Beginning April 1, 2011, 80% of all new indeterminate employees appointed to a Purchasing and Supply (PG) position will undertake and complete mandatory training within two years to become familiar with the principles of material management and procurement best practices relating to green procurement.
Performance Measure Performance Status
Target status Achieved
Percentage of indeterminate PG appointees that complete training within two years of being appointed on an annual basis. 100%
Strategies and/or Comments
  1. This self-selected target is SMART:
    • Specific: Achievement level of 80%, type of employee and type of training;
    • Measurable: Information available from an in-house human resources tracking system;
    • Achievable: Departmental directive is that all new indeterminate PG appointees will complete training within two years of being appointed;
    • Relevant: This target will ensure procurement staff are familiar with green procurement so as to incorporate within their decision-making; and
    • Time-Bound: Date established for target implementation.
  2. New procurement staff were to complete the online course Green Procurement C215 offered through the Canada School of Public Service. Note that the mandatory functional specialist training also incorporates elements related to green procurement.
  3. New PG appointees from within government who had already taken the training, or equivalent, within five years of being appointed, were counted as having taken the training.
  4. There were a total of seven new indeterminate PGs hired by the Department since April 2011. A total of seven employees completed the course. PGs hired prior to the target start date have been encouraged to complete the course.
  5. Rationale for traffic light indicator selected: The Department met the self-selected departmental target.
2. Employee performance evaluations for managers and functional heads of procurement and materiel management.
By March 31, 2012, environmental considerations will be incorporated into the annual performance evaluations of all functional heads of procurement and material management.
Performance Measure Performance Status
Target status Achieved
Percentage of identified key positions that have included environmental considerations related to green procurement initiatives in performance evaluations. 100%
Strategies and/or Comments
  1. This self-selected target is SMART:
    • Specific: Achievement level of 100% and type of employee;
    • Measurable: Information available from in-house tracking system;
    • Achievable: All functional heads of procurement and material management will be required to include environmental considerations in their performance evaluations;
    • Relevant: Targets relevant employees; and
    • Time-Bound: Date established for target implementation.
  2. Three positions were identified as functional heads of procurement of and material management: Director General, Asset Management; Director, Integrated Services; and Director, Materiel Management. Environmental considerations were identified in the 2013–14 performance agreements for the three positions.
  3. Rationale for traffic light indicator selected: The Department met the self-selected departmental target.
3. Management processes and controls.
By March 31, 2014, as part of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's key management procurement process the PRB will incorporate environmental considerations into its decision-making for 70% of the procurement files for applicable commodities it reviews annually.
Performance Measure Performance Status
Target status Achieved
Percentage of procurement files that contemplated environmental considerations for applicable commodities reviewed by the PRB annually 83%
Strategies and/or Comments
  1. This self-selected target is SMART:
    • Specific: Achievement level of 70% for key procurement management control process for applicable commodities;
    • Measurable: Information available from PRB reports;
    • Achievable: PRB will require that environmental considerations are contemplated for PRB submissions as part of the process for significant procurements for applicable commodities;
    • Relevant: This target captures significant procurement actions for applicable commodities (greater than $100,000) in which environmental considerations should be contemplated; and
    • Time-Bound: Date established for target implementation.
  2. Applicable commodities are all major procurement requirements ($100,000 or more) for goods and/or services that are presented to PRB for approval.
  3. There were a total of 249 PRB submissions over $100,000 in 2013–14. There were 103 submissions that were not applicable in terms of green considerations, with 121 of the remaining 146 taking into consideration green procurement.
  4. Rationale for traffic light indicator selected: The Department met the self-selected departmental target.

Reporting on the Purchase of Offset Credits

Mandatory reporting on the purchase of greenhouse gas emissions offset credits, according to the Policy Framework for Offsetting Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Major International Events
Performance Measure Performance Status
Quantity of emissions offset in the given fiscal year. Not applicable
Strategies and/or Comments
  1. Purchases of greenhouse gas emissions offset credits were not made in 2013–14 as Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada generally does not lead any events in which the Policy Framework for Offsetting Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Major International Events would be applicable.

5. Sustainable Development Management System

Departmental Sustainable Development Vision

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's mission statement – "to provide leadership in the growth and development of a competitive, innovative and sustainable Canadian agriculture and agri‐food sector" – identifies sustainability as a core attribute for the sector.

Sustainable agriculture is a process of continuous improvement in the responsible use and management of agricultural resources along all points of the value chain from farmers to processors, domestic and global markets, and consumers. It contributes to sector profitability by safeguarding the land's productive capacity now and into the future. It enhances the reputation of the sector and of producers as good stewards of the land and helps maintain access to existing markets and open new ones, creating opportunities for growth. These outcomes are integral to the competitiveness of the Canadian agriculture sector and support its important contribution to Canada's economy.

Managing Sustainable Development

The Department invests in sustainable agriculture by supporting direct on-farm action, in particular environmental risk assessment and the implementation of beneficial management practices – and undertaking innovative research and development activities that contribute to the sustainable growth of the sector. Research and development activities include increasing resource and input use efficiency (water, land, nutrients, et cetera), developing new crop varieties, enhancing crop yields, and developing beneficial management practices and technologies. These investments help decouple growth in production from a corresponding increase in risk to agriculture resources and the surrounding environment. Department-led innovation and programing also play a significant role in ensuring business continuity by enhancing the sector's resilience to environment-based risks (pests, drought, flooding, et cetera) and increasing competition for limited natural resources from other sectors (for example, water). The Department also supports the sector's ability to capture emerging economic opportunities, such as clean energy and financial compensation from conservation agencies for voluntary on-farm activities. Finally, the Department assists the sector in maintaining access to and opening new markets in response to growing demands by buyers for sustainable product attributes.

Since jurisdiction over agriculture and natural resources in Canada is shared with provincial and territorial governments, programs and policies are based on partnerships between both levels of government. By considering the wide variety of environmental and socio-economic conditions across Canada, farm-level programs are uniquely tailored and delivered by provincial or territorial agencies.

6. Strategic Environmental Assessment

During the 2013–14 reporting cycle, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada considered the environmental effects of initiatives subject to the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals, as part of its decision-making processes. Through the strategic environmental assessment process, departmental proposals were found to have positive effects on the 2013–16 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy goals and targets in Themes I – Addressing Climate Change and Air Quality; II – Maintaining Water Quality and Availability; III – Protecting Nature and Canadians, and the 2010–13 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy for Theme IV – Shrinking the Environmental Footprint – Beginning with Government.

The Department applies Strategic Environmental Assessment to proposals contained in Memoranda to Cabinet and Treasury Board Submissions. At present, the process generally comprises three steps, applied progressively as warranted, as follows:

  1. Initial Review – a review to determine whether there are any potential for environmental effects associated with the proposal or whether a previously conducted assessment still applies;
  2. Preliminary Scan – an assessment to determine whether important environmental effects, either positive or negative, would result from the implementation of the proposal; and
  3. Detailed Strategic Environmental Assessment – a more detailed assessment on environmental effects. It also includes strategies to mitigate the negative or enhance the positive effects, or the proposal of measures to address any possible public concerns.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada commits to continuing to:

  • update internal processes to incorporate new requirements of the Cabinet Directive guidelines, which include reporting on Strategic Environmental Assessment results through Departmental Performance Reports;
  • update the Department's Strategic Environmental Assessment guidance material (for example, templates, guidelines and training material);
  • maintain a Strategic Environmental Assessment database and track the number of policies, plans and program proposals reviewed and/or assessed according to each of the three steps;
  • ensure that the goals and targets of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy are considered in the application of Strategic Environmental Assessment; and
  • issue a public statement of environmental effects whenever a detailed Strategic Environmental Assessment is conducted, and include the impact on the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy goals and targets if applicable.

Further information on Strategic Environmental Assessments is available on the departmental website.

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