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Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy

1. Context for the Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy

The 2016–2019 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS):

In keeping with the objectives of the Act to make environmental decision-making more transparent and accountable to Parliament, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada supports reporting on the implementation of the FSDS and its Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy, or equivalent document, through the activities described in this supplementary information table.

2. Sustainable Development in Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy for 2017 to 2020 describes the department's actions in support of achieving the following goals:

These supplementary information tables present available results for the departmental actions pertinent to these goals. Last year's supplementary information tables are posted on the department's website. This year, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is also noting which United Nations Sustainable Development Goal target each departmental action contributes to achieving.

3. Departmental performance by Federal Sustainable Development Strategy goal

The following tables provide performance information on departmental actions in support of the FSDS goals listed in section 2.

FSDS goal: Effective Action on Climate Change
FSDS targets FSDS contributing actions Corresponding departmental actions Support for UN Sustainable Development Goal target* Starting points, targets and performance indicators or departmental actions Results achieved
By 2030, reduce Canada's total greenhouse gas emissions by 30%, relative to 2005 emission levels Conduct climate policy research and analysis

Implement the Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program which will:

  • Promote environmentally responsible agriculture and support the development of approaches and tools that assist the agriculture sector in mitigating greenhouse gas
  • Support initiatives that have the potential to lead the way to broader adoption or application of beneficial management practices on farm and by the sector more generally
  • Support efforts to understand the potential impacts of and approaches to mitigate agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and will result in better strategies for climate change adaptation across the agricultural sector

SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth

Target 8.4: Improve progressively, through 2030, global resource efficiency in consumption and production and endeavour to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation, in accordance with the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production, with developed countries taking the lead

The expected result is that greenhouse gas mitigation information and technologies are developed and/or made available to farmers.

The performance indicator is the number of new Beneficial Management Practices developed and/or demonstrated through field days and workshops under the Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program from 2016 to 2021.

Initially, the program set a target to develop and/or demonstrate 12 new Beneficial Management Practices from 2016 to 2021. After a review of the 20 new projects that were approved during 2016–17, the target was revised to 50.

As of the end of 2017–18, the Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program had developed and demonstrated 20 Beneficial Management Practices. Based on future work plans and activities for the 20 new projects, the number of new Beneficial Management Practices developed and demonstrated will rise over the next few years therefore the program is on track to meet the new target of 50 Beneficial Management Practices developed and/or demonstrated.
By 2030, reduce Canada's total greenhouse gas emissions by 30%, relative to 2005 emission levels Develop a solid base of scientific research and analysis on climate change Conduct targeted research to increase knowledge of climate change relative to agriculture

SDG 1 – No Poverty

Target 1.5: By 2030, build the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations and reduce their exposure and vulnerability to climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters

The expected result for the climate change research is to increase knowledge by the scientific community in the area of climate change and agriculture.

The performance indicator for this area is the number of scientific articles accepted for publication through an external peer-review process.

A target was set for 75 articles in total related to climate change by March 31, 2018. As of 2015–16, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has published 587 articles in the area of climate change.

As of 2017–18, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has published 1025 articles in the area of climate change.
* This new element shows how departments are contributing to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets.
FSDS goal: Low-carbon Government
FSDS target(s) FSDS contributing actions Corresponding departmental actions Support for UN Sustainable Development Goal target* Starting points, targets and performance indicators for departmental actions Results achieved
Reduce greenhouse gas emissions from federal government buildings and fleets by 40% below 2005 levels by 2030, with an aspiration to achieve it by 2025 Improve the energy efficiency of our buildings/operations
  • Undertake building energy efficiency feasibility studies at candidate facilities with greenhouse gas reduction potential
  • Undertake heating, ventilation and air conditioning building automation optimization retrofit projects for laboratory and office complexes
  • Procure 35% green electricity from renewable energy sources in Alberta
  • Undertake employee awareness of energy conservation initiatives

SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production

Target 12.2: By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources

SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy

Target 7.3: By 2030, double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency

  • Greenhouse gas emissions from facilities in fiscal year 2005–06 (base year) = 90.6 ktCO2e
  • Greenhouse gas emissions from facilities in fiscal year 2016–17 = 66.2 ktCO2e
  • Renewable power emission credits applied in fiscal year 2016–17 = 7.1 ktCO2e
  • Percentage (%) change in greenhouse gas emissions from facilities from fiscal year 2005–06 to fiscal year 2016–17 = 35%

In order to reflect updated emission factors published by Environment and Climate Change Canada, greenhouse gas emissions from facilities in fiscal year 2005–06 (base year) were adjusted to 91.9 ktCO2e.

Greenhouse gas emissions from facilities in fiscal year 2017–18 = 70.0 ktCO2e.

Renewable power emission credits applied in fiscal year 2017–18 = 6.5 ktCO2e.

Percentage (%) change in greenhouse gas emissions from facilities from fiscal year 2005–06 to fiscal year 2017–18 = 31%

Actions taken include:

  • Implementation of energy efficiency projects
  • 35% green electricity procurement for Alberta sites
  • Participation in the Ontario Industrial Conservation Initiative
  • Provided energy training to facilities staff and promoted best energy practices and energy awareness
Reduce greenhouse gas emissions from federal government buildings and fleets by 40% below 2005 levels by 2030, with an aspiration to achieve it by 2025 Modernize our fleet
  • Reduce carbon intensity through vehicle purchase and replacement, for example, electric vehicles, hybrids, more fuel efficient vehicles
  • Right Size the fleet
  • Utilize fuel efficient vehicles
  • Promote behavior change – for example, anti-idling campaigns, driver training, increased pooling of vehicles
  • Develop fleet infrastructure to support alternative fuels, for example electric vehicle charging stations

SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production

Target 12.2: By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources

  • Greenhouse gas emissions from fleet in fiscal year 2005–06 (base year) = 8.2 ktCO2e
  • Greenhouse gas emissions from fleet in fiscal year 2016–17 = 5.3 ktCO2e
  • Percentage (%) change in greenhouse gas emissions from fleet from fiscal year 2005–06 to fiscal year 2016–17= 36% (2005: 1313 vehicles, 2017: 910 vehicles)

Greenhouse gas emissions from fleet in fiscal year 2005–06 (base year) remains the same at 8.2 ktCO2e.

Greenhouse gas emissions from fleet in fiscal year 2017–18 = 4.4 ktCO2e.

Percentage (%) change in greenhouse gas emissions from fleet from fiscal year 2005–06 to fiscal year 2017–18 = 46% (2005: 1313 vehicles, 2017–18: 895 vehicles).

Actions taken include:

  • Installed electric vehicle supply equipment at two additional AAFC research centres for a total of 20 chargers at six locations.
  • Trained approximately 700 employees in Green Defensive Driver Training
  • Replaced 50 older less fuel efficient vehicles with new more fuel efficient vehicles
  • Reduced the fleet by 15 vehicles
Reduce greenhouse gas emissions from federal government buildings and fleets by 40% below 2005 levels by 2030, with an aspiration to achieve it by 2025 Support the transition to a low-carbon economy through green procurement
  • Continue to incorporate environmental considerations into the Procurement Review Board's decision making for 70% of the procurement files for applicable commodities it reviews as part of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's key management procurement process
  • Train procurement and materiel management specialists on green procurement, using the Canada School of Public Service Green Procurement course
  • Ensure key officials include contribution to and support for the Government of Canada Policy on Green Procurement objectives in their performance evaluations
  • Maintain target that 95% of copy paper purchases will contain a minimum of 30% recycled content and be certified to a recognized environmental standard to reduce the environmental impact of its production
  • Continue the requirement that 100% of all new contracts that include janitorial services will include the use of janitorial products that minimize the environmental impact
  • Leverage common use procurement instruments that incorporate environmental considerations where available and feasible

SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production

Target 12.7: Promote public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities

  • Percentage of procurement files reviewed by the Procurement Review Board that contemplated environmental considerations for applicable commodities
  • Number and percentage of specialists in procurement who have completed training on green procurement
  • Number and percentage of functional heads of procurement and materiel whose performance evaluation includes support and contribution towards green procurement, in the given fiscal year
  • Dollar value or volume of copy paper purchases that meet the target objective relative to the total dollar value or volume of all copy paper purchases in the year in question
  • Dollar value or number of contracts awarded that meet the target objective relative to the total dollar value or number of new contracts that include janitorial services for the year in question
  • 79 (39%) out of 197 submissions included environmental consideration
  • 27 (60%) of procurement specialists (PG) completed training on green procurement as of March 31, 2018
  • 100% - Two positions: Director, Integrated Services and Director, Material Management whose performance evaluation included support and contribution towards green procurement.
  • 100% of all copy paper contains 30% recycled content.
  • 100% of janitorial contracts (four) meet the target objective
Reduce greenhouse gas emissions from federal government buildings and fleets by 40% below 2005 levels by 2030, with an aspiration to achieve it by 2025 Promote sustainable travel practices Maintain level of greenhouse gas emissions from departmental business-related travel (scoped to air travel only) to at least a 35% reduction until 2020–21 relative to 2005–06

SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production

Target 12.2: By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources

  • Greenhouse gas emissions from departmental business travel in fiscal year 2005–06 (base year) = 9.2 ktCO2e
  • Greenhouse gas emissions from departmental business travel in fiscal year 2016–17 = 3.9 ktCO2e
  • Percentage reduction in business travel emissions relative to 2005–06 to fiscal year 2016–17 = 57%
  • Greenhouse gas emissions from departmental business travel in fiscal year 2005–06 (base year) remains the same at 9.2 ktCO2e.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions from departmental business travel in fiscal year 2017–18 = 4.1 ktCO2e.
  • Percentage reduction in business travel emissions relative to 2005–06 to fiscal year 2017–18 = 55%
* This new element shows how departments are contributing to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets.
FSDS goal: Sustainable Food
FSDS target(s) FSDS contributing actions Corresponding departmental actions Support for UN Sustainable Development Goal target* Starting points, targets and performance indicators for departmental actions Results achieved
Ensure safe and accessible food supply by mitigating risks to animal and plant resources from pests, diseases and other health hazards and prevent risks to health of Canadians Promote innovation and sustainable practices

Build the capacity of Canada's agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector to promote innovation and encourage adoption of sustainable agricultural practices at farm and regional levels by working with provinces and territories. For example, work to increase the number of beneficial management practices implemented to 17,600 by March 31, 2019, through cost-shared programming under the Growing Forward 2 framework (2013-2018).

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 regional levels.

SDG 2 - Zero Hunger

Target 2.3: By 2030, double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, in particular women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers, including through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets and opportunities for value addition and non-farm employment

SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth

Target 8.2: Achieve higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading and innovation, including through a focus on high-value added and labour-intensive sectors

Target 8.3: Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, including through access to financial services

Target 8.4: Improve progressively, through 2030, global resource efficiency in consumption and production and endeavour to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation, in accordance with the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production, with developed countries taking the lead

The expected result is that the sector is taking actions to minimize environmental risks and is using inputs efficiently.

The performance indicator is the cumulative number of beneficial management practices implemented under Growing Forward 2 Federal-Provincial-Territorial Cost shared programming.

A target was set of 17,600 by March 31, 2019. In 2014–15, 4,579 beneficial management practices were reported, representing 26% of the cumulative performance target. In 2015–16, 12,701 beneficial management practices were reported, representing 72% of the cumulative performance target.

Provinces and territories reported in 2016–17 that, through federal-provincial-territorial cost-shared programs, farmers adopted 19,083 beneficial management practices, far exceeding the target of 17,600 that federal, provincial and territorial governments set for March 2019.

Performance data for 2017–18 are expected to be available in 2018–19

By 2030, agricultural working landscapes provide a stable or improved level of biodiversity and efficient management towards water and soil quality for food production Increase knowledge of sustainable agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture

Assess and report on the collective environmental impact of the adoption of sustainable agriculture practices by farmers on the Canadian landscape

Conduct targeted research to increase knowledge of climate change relative to agriculture

Conduct targeted research to increase knowledge of agriculture's impact on water resources and enhance knowledge of nutrient management to increase efficiency and lower the potential of contamination of water resources

Conduct basic and applied research to increase knowledge of the effects of agricultural production on air

SDG 2 - Zero Hunger

Target 2.4: By 2030, ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, that help maintain ecosystems, that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters and that progressively improve land and soil quality

SDG 1 – No Poverty

Target 1.5: By 2030, build the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations and reduce their exposure and vulnerability to climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters

SDG 3 – Good Health and Well -being

Target 3.9: By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination

The expected result is to increase the knowledge by the scientific community in the area of sustainable agriculture.  Agriculture and Agri-Food's contribution to that result is to increase knowledge by the scientific community in the areas of climate change, nutrient management and air.

It is important to monitor the agriculture sector's environmental sustainability. To that end, the Department ensures that agri-environmental indicators are available to assess and report on the agriculture sector's environmental sustainability.

The following performance indicators are used to measure success and demonstrate progress regarding Departmental actions:

  • Reporting on the environmental sustainability of Canadian agriculture every four years in conjunction with the release of the Canadian Census of Agriculture which includes  detailed reporting on nutrient management, air quality, water quality and soil quality metrics
  • Number of scientific articles accepted for publication through an external peer-review process

The target for reporting is currently set at every four years in conjunction with the Census of Agriculture.

The targets of the scientific articles are set on a subject basis as follows:

  • 75 for climate change
  • 75 for nutrient cycling
  • 50 for air resources

The expected results date is March 31, 2018. As of 2015–16, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has published 587 articles for climate change, 246 articles for nutrient cycling and 324 articles for air.

The Environmental Sustainability of Canadian Agriculture: Agri-Environmental Indicator Report Series – Report #4, includes detailed reporting on nutrient management, air quality, water quality, habitat capacity and soil quality metrics.

As of 2017–18, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has published 1,025 articles for climate change, 299 articles for nutrient cycling and 504 articles for air resources.

* This new element shows how departments are contributing to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets.
FSDS goal: Safe and Healthy Communities
FSDS targets FSDS contributing actions Corresponding departmental actions Support for UN Sustainable Development Goal target* Starting points, targets and performance indicators or departmental actions Results achieved

Implement the Air Quality Management System to:

Increase the percentage of the Canadian population living in areas where measured outdoor concentrations are below the Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards for fine particulate matter and ozone compared to the year 2000

Better understand air pollutants and harmful substances

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada does not contribute directly to an indicator in this area. As part of its work on sustainable agricultural production, the Department conducts research to increase knowledge of the effects of agricultural production on air.

Departmental efforts on sustainable agricultural production include several components: tracking progress on environmental sustainability; undertaking scientific research projects (both discovery and applied); and, providing programs designed to transfer scientific knowledge, practices, and processes to agricultural producers. Collectively, these actions will make agricultural production more sustainable as scientific knowledge, practices and processes are adopted in Canada.

The following action is undertaken by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in support of increasing knowledge and promotion of innovation and sustainable practices:

Conduct foundational research to increase knowledge of the effects of agricultural production on air.

SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Target 3.9: By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination

The expected result is an increase in knowledge by the scientific community of the effects of agricultural production on air.

The following performance indicators are used to assess progress towards measuring success in Departmental actions:

Number of scientific articles accepted for publication through an external peer-review process

The target for the publications is 50 papers by March 31, 2018.

As of 2017–18, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has published 504 articles for air resources.
By 2020, address the 4,300 substances identified as priorities for action under the Chemicals Management Plan Demonstrate leadership on assessing and remediating contaminated sites Complete remedial activity by 2019–20 at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's four contaminated sites classified as a highest priority site under the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan

SDG 3 – Good Health and Well -being

Target 3.9: By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination

SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production

Target 12.4: By 2020, achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has no suspected or known contaminated sites eligible for assessment funding through the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has four contaminated sites eligible for remediation funding through the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan.

AAFC completed remediation activities at six Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan eligible contaminated sites, with four requiring further remediation or risk management activities.
* This new element shows how departments are contributing to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets.

4. Report on integrating sustainable development

Achieving a sustainable agriculture and agri-food sector is a process of continuous improvement in the responsible use and management of agricultural resources along all points of the value chain, including producers, processors, and retailers. Sustainable agriculture contributes to sector profitability by safeguarding the land's productive capacity now and into the future, and reducing operating costs through increased efficiencies. It also enhances the reputation of the sector and of producers as good stewards of the land, and helps to maintain access to existing markets and open new markets, creating opportunities for growth. These outcomes are integral to the sustainability and competitiveness of the Canadian agriculture sector and support its important contribution to Canada's economy.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada invests in a more sustainable agriculture and agri-food sector by supporting innovation and on-farm action. This includes, for example, supporting the completion of on-farm environmental risk assessments and providing incentives to producers for the implementation of beneficial management practices. Since jurisdiction over agriculture in Canada is shared with provincial and territorial governments, on-farm programs are based on partnerships and cost-shared between both levels of government and delivered by provincial or territorial agencies.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada also conducts and supports research and development activities that contribute to the sustainable growth of the sector. This includes, for example, improving resource and input use efficiency (land, water and nutrients) by developing beneficial management practices and precision agriculture technologies (e.g. variable rate irrigation, robotic feeding systems). Department-led innovation and programming plays a significant role in addressing water and soil conservation issues, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions of the sector. Some investments contribute to broader clean growth objectives by providing greenhouse gas emissions reduction solutions to other sectors, for example utilizing agricultural biomass to produce electricity or fuels.

During the 2017–18 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. The Department systematically applies Strategic Environmental Assessment to strategic proposals submitted to the Minister or Cabinet for approval that may result in important environmental effects, either positive or negative. The process generally comprises three steps, applied progressively as warranted, as follows:

  1. Initial Review – a review to determine whether there is 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 analysis of environmental effects, including mitigation measures that could reduce or eliminate potential adverse effects or enhance potential environmental benefits.

Preliminary Scans and Detailed Strategic Environmental Assessments for policy, plan or program proposals include an analysis of the impacts of the given proposal on the environment, including on the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy goals and targets. The results of departmental detailed assessments are made public for initiatives that are approved or announced. The purpose of the public statement is to demonstrate that the environmental effects, including the impacts on achieving the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy goals and targets, of the approved policy, plan or program, have been appropriately considered during proposal development and decision making.

During 2017–18, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada achieved its Strategic Environmental Assessment commitments, including:

Out of the 25 Initial Reviews completed, 15 proposals were considered to be Special Cases in that they had been previously assessed; one proposal required a Preliminary Scan level assessment and one proposal warranted the completion of a Detailed Strategic Environmental Assessment. The public statement is published on the Department's website.

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