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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:

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

3. Departmental performance by FSDS goal

The following tables provide performance information on departmental actions in support of the FSDS goals listed in Section 2. Where applicable, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's targets and performance indicators have been updated from what appeared in the 2018–19 Departmental Plan, to reflect the implementation of the Canadian Agricutural Partnership, the five-year (2018–2023) policy framework that began in the 2018–19 fiscal year. Previous indicators and targets had been established under the Growing Forward 2 agricultural policy framework (2013–2018).

i. FSDS goal: Effective Action on Climate Change
FSDS target(s) FSDS contributing action(s) Corresponding departmental action(s) Support for United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) and target Starting point(s), target(s) and performance indicator(s) for 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 that will result in better strategies for climate change adaptation across the agricultural sector.
SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production

Performance indicator 1: The number of newly developed technologies and beneficial management practices demonstrated through field days and workshops under the Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program from 2016 to 2021.

Target 1: 50 by March 31, 2021.

(Note: It is expected that most of the newly developed technologies and beneficial management practice demonstrations will occur in the later part of the program, as several years of research are needed before reaching the demonstration phase.)

  1. In 2018–19, the Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program developed and demonstrated two new beneficial management practices to farmers, and developed 27 information products such as factsheets and brochures (as of December 2019).
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 7 – Affordable and Clean Energy

SDG 13 - Climate Action

Under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership policy framework, performance indicators and targets were established for the programming supporting departmental actions, as follows:

Performance indicator 1: The number of scientific articles accepted for publication through an external peer-reviewed process.

Target 1: 1,200 articles related to climate change by March 31, 2023

Performance indicator 2: The number of papers published in peer-reviewed journals.

Target 2: Within a range from 31 to 41 for 2018–19, and within 194 to 228 for the overall framework (2018–2023).

(Note: Performance indicator 1 was also in place under the Growing Forward 2 policy framework; performance indicator 2 and targets 1 and 2 were established under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.)

  1. The results for the first year of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (2018–19) will be available in early 2020.
  2. In 2018–19, 44 papers were published through peer-reviewed journals.
ii. FSDS goal: Sustainable Food
FSDS target(s) FSDS contributing action(s) Corresponding departmental action(s) Support for United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target Starting point(s), target(s) and performance indicator(s) 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 the 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 2.4: 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 12 – Sustainable Production and Consumption

SDG 15 – Life on Land

Under the Growing Forward 2 policy framework, a performance indicator and target were established for the federal, provincial and territorial cost-shared programming supporting departmental actions, as follows:

Performance indicator 1: the cumulative number of beneficial management practices implemented.

Target 1: 17,600 as of March 31, 2019

Under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership policy framework, updated performance targets and indicators were established for federal, provincial and cost-shared programming supporting departmental actions, as follows:

Performance indicator 2: The number of on-farm beneficial management practices projects completed.

Target 2: Within a range from 2,829 to 3,860 for 2018–19, and within 17,286 to 23,220 for the overall framework (2018–2023).

Performance indicator 3: The number of agri-food processor beneficial management practices projects completed.

Target 3: Within a range from 13 to 23 for 2018–19, and within 69 to 113 for the overall framework (2018–2023).

  1. For 2017–18, provinces/territories reported that a total of 21,982 beneficial management practices were adopted, already exceeding the cumulative target by 24.9%. Performance data for the 2018–19 year is expected to be available in 2019–20.
  2. For 2018–19, provinces/territories reported that a total of 4,234 on-farm beneficial management practices projects were complete.
  3. For 2018–19, provinces/territories reported that a total of 14 agri-food processor beneficial management practices projects were completed.
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.

Other targeted research areas are currently being considered for reporting under the Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy.

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 15 – Life on Land

Under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership policy framework, updated performance indicators and targets were established for federal, provincial and cost-shared programming supporting departmental actions, as follows:

Performance indicator 1: Ensure agri-environmental indicators are available to assess by reporting on the environmental sustainability of the Canadian agriculture sector.

Target 1: Reporting on the environmental sustainability of the Canadian agriculture sector takes place within four years of the Canadian Census of Agriculture release, which includes detailed metrics related to nutrient management, air quality, water quality, and soil quality.

Performance indicator 2: The number of scientific articles accepted for publication through an external peer-reviewed process.

Target 2: Different targets for each research area are to be achieved by March 31, 2023, including the following numbers of articles:

  1. Climate change: 1,200
  2. Nutrient cycling: 600
  3. Soil quality: 1,500
  4. Water resources/quality: 2,000

(Note: Performance indicator and target 1, as well as performance indicator 2, were also in place under the Growing Forward 2 policy framework; target 2 was established under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.)

  1. The Environmental Sustainability of Canadian Agriculture: Agri-Environmental Indicator Report Series (Report #4) will be updated in 2021 to reflect the 2016 Canadian Census of Agriculture data.
  2. The results for the first year of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (2018–19) will be available in 2020.
iii. FSDS goal: Safe and Healthy Communities
FSDS target(s) FSDS contributing action(s) Corresponding departmental action(s) Support for United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target Starting point(s), target(s) and performance indicator(s) for 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

The 2017–2020 Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy (tabled October 2017) referenced that the Department does not contribute directly to an indicator in this area, but that as part of its work on sustainable agricultural production, research is conducted to increase knowledge of the effects of agricultural production on air.

The Department has now identified the need to increase the knowledge of the effects of climate change on agriculture under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. Once specific research priorities and programs are finalized, future Departmental Sustainable Development Strategies will be updated accordingly.

Not applicable
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 4 contaminated sites classified as a highest priority site under the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan. SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production

Starting points

  1. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has no suspected or known contaminated sites eligible for assessment funding through the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan.
  2. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has four contaminated sites eligible for remediation funding through the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan.
1./2. Remediation activities were completed at six Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan eligible contaminated sites (two additional eligible sites were identified) over the past two years – fiscal years 2017–18 and 2018–19.
iv. FSDS goal: Low-Carbon Government
FSDS target(s) FSDS contributing action(s) Corresponding departmental action(s) Support for United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target Starting point(s), target(s) and performance indicator(s) 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

Starting points

  1. Greenhouse gas emissions from facilities in fiscal year 2005–06 (base year) = 92.0 ktCO2e
  2. Greenhouse gas emissions from facilities in fiscal year 2016–17 = 66.2 ktCO2e
  3. Renewable power emission credits applied in fiscal year 2016–17 = 7.1 ktCO2e
  4. Percentage (%) change in greenhouse gas emissions from facilities from fiscal year 2005–06 to fiscal year 2016–17 = 35%
  1. 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 92.0 ktCO2e.
  2. Greenhouse gas emissions from facilities in fiscal year 2018–19 = 65.7 ktCO2e.
  3. Renewable power emission credits applied in fiscal year 2018–19 = 6.4 ktCO2e.
  4. Percentage (%) change in greenhouse gas emissions from facilities from fiscal year 2005–06 to fiscal year 2018–19 = 35.6%

Actions taken include

  • Implementation of energy efficiency projects.
  • 35% green electricity procurement for Alberta sites.
  • 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

Starting points

  1. Greenhouse gas emissions from fleet in fiscal year 2005–06 (base year) = 8.2 ktCO2e
  2. Greenhouse gas emissions from fleet in fiscal year 2016–17 =  5.3 ktCO2e
  3. Percentage (%) change in greenhouse gas emissions from fleet from fiscal year 2005–06 to fiscal year 2016–17 = 36% (2005 – 1,313 vehicles, 2017 – 910 vehicles)
  1. Greenhouse gas emissions from fleet in fiscal year 2005–06 (base year) remains the same at 8.2 ktCO2e
  2. Greenhouse gas emissions from fleet in fiscal year 2018–19 = 4.1 ktCO2e
  3. Percentage (%) change in greenhouse gas emissions from fleet from fiscal year 2005–06 to fiscal year 2018–19 = 50% (2005: 1313 on-road vehicles, 2018–19: 849 on-road vehicles). (Note: 61% of GHG emissions are attributed to on-road vehicles; 39% to equipment)

Actions taken include

  • Installed electric vehicle supply equipment at seven additional departmental research centres for a total of 32 chargers at thirteen locations.
  • Trained approximately 700 employees in Green Defensive Driver Training.
  • Replaced 80 older, less fuel-efficient vehicles with new more fuel efficient vehicles.
  • Reduced the fleet by 46 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

Performance indicators

  1. Percentage of procurement files reviewed by the Procurement Review Board (PRB) that contemplated environmental considerations for applicable commodities.
  2. Number and percentage of specialists in procurement who have completed training on green procurement.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  1. Out of 154 PRB submissions (with a value of $100,000 or greater), 65 (42%) of these incorporated environmental considerations.
  2. 31 (63%) of procurement specialists (PG) completed training on green procurement as of March 31, 2019.
  3. Two positions (100%): Director, Integrated Services, and Director, Material Management, whose performance evaluation included support and contribution towards green procurement.
  4. 100% of all copy paper contains 30% recycled content.
  5. 100% of janitorial contracts (five) 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

Starting points

  1. Greenhouse gas emissions from departmental business travel in fiscal year 2005–06 (base year) = 9.2 ktCO2e
  2. Greenhouse gas emissions from departmental business travel in fiscal year 2016–17 = 3.9 ktCO2e
  3. Percentage reduction in business travel emissions relative to 2005–06 to fiscal year 2016–17 = 57%
  1. Greenhouse gas emissions from departmental business travel in fiscal year 2005–06 (base year) remained the same at 9.2 ktCO2e.
  2. Greenhouse gas emissions from departmental business travel in fiscal year 2018–19 = 3.7 ktCO2e.
  3. Percentage reduction in business travel emissions relative to 2005–06 to fiscal year 2018–19 = 60%

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 by reducing operating costs through increased efficiencies. It also enhances the reputation of the sector and 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, soil conservation, and biodiversity issues, and in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of the sector. Some investments contribute to broader clean growth objectives by providing solutions for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to other sectors; for example, utilizing agricultural biomass to produce electricity or fuels.

During the 2018–19 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 FSDS 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 of the approved policy, plan or program, including the impacts on achieving the FSDS goals and targets, have been appropriately considered during proposal development and decision making.

During 2018–19, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada achieved its Strategic Environmental Assessment commitments, including:

Out of the 19 initial reviews completed, 14 proposals were considered to be special cases in that they had been previously assessed; 5 proposals 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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