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Federal Sustainable Development Act (S.C. 2008, c. 33)

Act current to 2019-11-19 and last amended on 2013-06-26. Previous Versions

Federal Sustainable Development Act

S.C. 2008, c. 33

Assented to 2008-06-26

An Act to require the development and implementation of a Federal Sustainable Development Strategy and the development of goals and targets with respect to sustainable development in Canada, and to make consequential amendments to another Act

Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

Short Title

Marginal note:Short title

 This Act may be cited as the Federal Sustainable Development Act.

Interpretation

Marginal note:Definitions

 The following definitions apply in this Act.

Commissioner

Commissioner means the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development appointed under subsection 15.1(1) of the Auditor General Act. (commissaire)

Minister

Minister means the Minister of the Environment. (ministre)

precautionary principle

precautionary principle means the principle that where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation. (principe de la prudence)

sustainability

sustainability means the capacity of a thing, action, activity, or process to be maintained indefinitely. (durabilité)

sustainable development

sustainable development means development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. (développement durable)

target

target means a measurable objective. (cible)

Purpose

Marginal note:Purpose

 The purpose of this Act is to provide the legal framework for developing and implementing a Federal Sustainable Development Strategy that will make environmental decision-making more transparent and accountable to Parliament.

Her Majesty

Marginal note:Application

 This Act and the regulations are binding on Her Majesty in right of Canada.

Basic Principle

Marginal note:Basic principle of sustainable development

 The Government of Canada accepts the basic principle that sustainable development is based on an ecologically efficient use of natural, social and economic resources and acknowledges the need to integrate environmental, economic and social factors in the making of all decisions by government.

Committee

Marginal note:Committee on Sustainable Development

 A committee of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, consisting of a Chairperson and other members of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, shall have oversight of the development and implementation of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy.

Office

Marginal note:Sustainable Development Office

  •  (1) The Minister shall establish a Sustainable Development Office within the Department of the Environment to develop and maintain systems and procedures to monitor progress on implementation of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy.

  • Marginal note:Report

    (2) The Office shall, at least once every three years after the day on which this Act comes into force, provide the Minister with a report on the progress of the federal government in implementing the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy. The Minister shall cause the report to be laid before each House of Parliament on any of the first 15 days on which that House is sitting after the Minister receives it.

  • 2008, c. 33, s. 7
  • 2010, c. 16, s. 1

Sustainable Development Advisory Council

Marginal note:Sustainable Development Advisory Council

  •  (1) The Minister shall appoint a Sustainable Development Advisory Council composed of one representative from each province and territory, and three representatives from each of the following:

    • (a) Aboriginal peoples;

    • (b) environmental non-governmental organizations;

    • (c) organizations representative of business; and

    • (d) organizations representative of labour.

  • Marginal note:Chair

    (2) The Minister is the chair of the Sustainable Development Advisory Council.

  • Marginal note:Remuneration

    (3) The representatives appointed to the Sustainable Development Advisory Council shall hold office without remuneration and shall not be reimbursed for expenses incurred in the course of their duties.

Federal Sustainable Development Strategy

Marginal note:Preparation

  •  (1) Within two years after this Act comes into force and within every three-year period after that, the Minister shall develop, in accordance with this section, a Federal Sustainable Development Strategy based on the precautionary principle.

  • Marginal note:Content

    (2) The Federal Sustainable Development Strategy shall set out federal sustainable development goals and targets and an implementation strategy for meeting each target and identify the minister responsible for meeting each target.

  • Marginal note:Consultation: first draft

    (3) The Minister shall submit a draft of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy to the Sustainable Development Advisory Council, the appropriate committee of each House of Parliament and the public for review and comment, for which the Minister shall allow a period of not less than 120 days.

  • Marginal note:Consultation: first draft

    (4) The Minister shall at the same time submit the draft of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy to the Commissioner for review and comment as to whether the targets and implementation strategies can be assessed, for which the Minister shall allow a period of not less than 120 days.

  • 2008, c. 33, s. 9
  • 2010, c. 16, s. 2

Marginal note:Submission to Governor in Council

  •  (1) The Minister shall, within the period referred to in subsection 9(1), submit the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy to the Governor in Council for approval as the official Federal Sustainable Development Strategy.

  • Marginal note:Tabling in each House of Parliament

    (2) The Minister shall table the official Federal Sustainable Development Strategy in each House of Parliament within the period referred to in subsection 9(1) or on any of the first 15 days thereafter on which that House is sitting.

  • Marginal note:Deemed referred to appropriate committee

    (3) A Federal Sustainable Development Strategy that is tabled in a House of Parliament is deemed to be referred to the standing committee of that House that normally considers matters relating to the environment or to any other committee that the House may designate for the purposes of this section.

  • 2008, c. 33, s. 10
  • 2010, c. 16, s. 3

Marginal note:Sustainable development strategies of departments and agencies

  •  (1) Each Minister presiding over a department named in Schedule I to the Financial Administration Act, or an agency named in the schedule of this Act shall cause the department or agency to prepare a sustainable development strategy containing objectives and plans for the department or agency that complies with and contributes to the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy, appropriate to the department or agency’s mandate and shall cause the strategy to be laid before each House of Parliament within one year after the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy is first tabled in a House of Parliament under section 10.

  • Marginal note:Updating and tabling

    (2) A minister to whom subsection (1) applies shall cause the sustainable development strategy of the department or agency to be updated at least once every three years and shall cause each updated strategy to be laid before each House of Parliament on any of the next 15 days on which that House is sitting after the strategy is updated.

  • Marginal note:Application to other departments and agencies

    (3) The Governor in Council may, on the recommendation of a minister presiding over a department not named in Schedule I to the Financial Administration Act, or agency not named in the schedule of this Act, direct that the requirements of subsections (1) and (2) apply in respect of the department or agency.

  • Marginal note:Regulations

    (4) The Governor in Council may, on the recommendation of the Minister, make regulations prescribing the form in which sustainable development strategies are to be prepared and the information required to be contained in them.

  • 2008, c. 33, s. 11
  • 2010, c. 16, s. 4

Marginal note:Performance-based contracts

 Performance-based contracts with the Government of Canada shall include provisions for meeting the applicable targets referred to in the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy and the Departmental Sustainable Development Strategies.

Regulations

Marginal note:Regulations

 The Governor in Council may make regulations for the purpose of achieving any of the goals of this Act.

Transitional Provision

Marginal note:Directions

 The directions made under subsection 24(3) of the Auditor General Act, as this subsection read immediately before the coming into force of section 18 of this Act, remain in force and are deemed to have been made under subsection 11(3) of this Act.

Consequential Amendments

Auditor General Act

 [Amendments]

 [Amendment]

 [Amendment]

 [Amendment]

 [Amendment]

SCHEDULE(Subsection 11(1))

  • Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

    Agence de promotion économique du Canada atlantique

  • Canada Border Services Agency

    Agence des services frontaliers du Canada

  • Canada Revenue Agency

    Agence du revenu du Canada

  • Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

    Agence de développement économique du Canada pour les régions du Québec

  • Parks Canada Agency

    Agence Parcs Canada

  • Public Health Agency of Canada

    Agence de la santé publique du Canada

  • 2008, c. 33, Sch.
  • 2013, c. 33, s. 194

AMENDMENTS NOT IN FORCE

  • — 2019, c. 2, s. 1

      • 1 (1) The definitions precautionary principle and target in section 2 of the Federal Sustainable Development Act are repealed.

      • (2) The definition Minister in section 2 of the Act is replaced by the following:

        Minister

        Minister means the Minister of the Environment, unless the context otherwise requires. (ministre)

      • (3) Section 2 of the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order:

        appropriate Minister

        appropriate Minister has the same meaning as in section 2 of the Financial Administration Act. (ministre compétent)

        designated entity

        designated entity means an entity named in the schedule. (entité désignée)

        entity

        entity means

  • — 2019, c. 2, s. 2

    • 2 Section 3 of the Act is replaced by the following:

      • Purpose

        3 The purpose of this Act is to provide the legal framework for developing and implementing a Federal Sustainable Development Strategy that makes decision making related to sustainable development more transparent and subject to accountability to Parliament, promotes coordinated action across the Government of Canada to advance sustainable development and respects Canada’s domestic and international obligations relating to sustainable development, with a view to improving the quality of life of Canadians.

  • — 2019, c. 2, s. 3

    • 3 Section 5 of the Act is replaced by the following:

      • Principles

        5 The following principles shall be considered in the development of sustainable development strategies:

        • (a) the principle that sustainable development is based on an efficient use of natural, social and economic resources and the need for the Government of Canada to integrate environmental, economic and social factors in the making of all of its decisions;

        • (a.1) the principle that sustainable development

          • (i) is a continually evolving concept,

          • (ii) may be achieved by, among other things, the protection of ecosystems, prevention of pollution, protection of human health, promotion of equity, conservation of cultural heritage, respect for domestic and international obligations relating to sustainable development and recognition of the present generation’s responsibility to provide future generations with a healthy and ecologically sound environment, and

          • (iii) may be advanced by, among other things, taking into account the precautionary principle, the “polluter pays” principle, the principle of internalization of costs and the principle of continuous improvement;

        • (b) the principle of intergenerational equity, which is the principle that it is important to meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs;

        • (c) the principle of openness and transparency, which is the principle that the release of information should be encouraged to support accountability and public engagement;

        • (d) the principle that it is important to involve Aboriginal peoples because of their traditional knowledge and their unique understanding of, and connection to, Canada’s lands and waters;

        • (e) the principle of collaboration, which is the principle that it is important for stakeholders to collaborate in the pursuit of common objectives; and

        • (f) the principle that a results and delivery approach — that allows for developing objectives, developing strategies for meeting those objectives, using indicators for reporting on progress towards meeting those objectives and establishing accountability — is key to meeting measurable targets.

  • — 2019, c. 2, s. 4

    • 2010, c. 16, s. 1

      4 Subsection 7(2) of the Act is replaced by the following:

      • Report

        (2) The Office shall, at least once every three years after this Act comes into force or, as of November 10, 2017, at least once within every three-year period beginning on that date, provide the Minister with a report on the progress of the Government of Canada in implementing the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy.

      • Contribution of designated entities

        (3) Every designated entity or, in the case of a designated entity over which a minister presides, the minister presiding over the designated entity shall contribute to the development of the report.

      • Tabling in each House of Parliament

        (4) The Minister shall cause the report to be tabled in each House of Parliament on any of the first 15 days on which that House is sitting after the Minister receives it.

      • Deemed referral to appropriate committee

        (5) A report that is tabled in a House of Parliament is deemed to be referred to the standing committee of that House that normally considers matters relating to sustainable development.

  • — 2019, c. 2, s. 5

      • 5 (1) The portion of subsection 8(1) of the Act before paragraph (b) is replaced by the following:

        • Sustainable Development Advisory Council
          • 8 (1) The Minister shall appoint a Sustainable Development Advisory Council composed of one representative from each province and territory, six representatives of Aboriginal peoples, and three representatives from each of the following:

      • (2) Section 8 of the Act is amended by adding the following after subsection (1):

        • Demographic representation

          (1.1) The Minister shall, when appointing representatives to the Sustainable Development Advisory Council, seek to reflect the diversity of Canadian society by taking into account demographic considerations such as age and gender.

      • (3) Subsection 8(3) of the Act is replaced by the following:

        • Mandate

          (2.1) The mandate of the Sustainable Development Advisory Council is to advise the Minister on any matter related to sustainable development, including matters referred to it by the Minister.

        • Expenses

          (3) The representatives appointed to the Sustainable Development Advisory Council may be paid reasonable expenses incurred by them in connection with the business of the Council, subject to applicable Treasury Board directives.

  • — 2019, c. 2, s. 6

      • 6 (1) Subsections 9(1) and (2) of the Act are replaced by the following:

        • Preparation
          • 9 (1) The Minister shall develop, in accordance with this section, a Federal Sustainable Development Strategy within two years after this Act comes into force and at least once within every three-year period after that or, as of November 10, 2017, at least once within every three-year period beginning on that date.

          • Contribution of designated entities

            (1.1) Every designated entity or, in the case of a designated entity over which a minister presides, the minister presiding over the designated entity shall contribute to the development of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy.

          • Content

            (2) The Federal Sustainable Development Strategy shall set out federal sustainable development goals and targets and an implementation strategy for meeting each target and identify the minister responsible for meeting each target. Each target shall be measurable and shall include a time frame.

      • (2) Subsection 9(4) of the Act is replaced by the following:

        • Consultation: first draft

          (4) The Minister shall at the same time submit the draft of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy to the Commissioner for review and comment, including as to whether each target is measurable and includes a time frame, for which the Minister shall allow a period of not less than 120 days.

  • — 2019, c. 2, s. 7

    • 2010, c. 16, s. 3

      7 Subsections 10(2) and (3) of the Act are replaced by the following:

      • Tabling in each House of Parliament

        (2) The Minister shall cause the official Federal Sustainable Development Strategy to be tabled in each House of Parliament within the period referred to in subsection 9(1) or on any of the first 15 days on which that House is sitting after that period.

      • Deemed referred to committee

        (3) The Federal Sustainable Development Strategy that is tabled in a House of Parliament is deemed to be referred to the standing committee of that House that normally considers matters relating to sustainable development.

  • — 2019, c. 2, s. 8

    • 2010, c. 16, s. 4

      8 Sections 11 and 12 of the Act are replaced by the following:

      • Power of Treasury Board

        10.1 The Treasury Board may establish policies or issue directives applicable to one or more of the designated entities in relation to the sustainable development impact of their operations.

      Sustainable Development Strategies of Designated Entities

      • Designated entities
        • 11 (1) Within one year after a Federal Sustainable Development Strategy is tabled in a House of Parliament under subsection 10(2), every designated entity other than a designated entity referred to in section 12 shall

          • (a) prepare a sustainable development strategy that

            • (i) contains objectives and plans for the designated entity,

            • (ii) complies with the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy and contributes to the meeting of its goals,

            • (iii) takes into account the designated entity’s mandate,

            • (iv) takes into account any of the applicable policies or directives of the Treasury Board that are established or issued under section 10.1, and

            • (v) takes into account comments made under subsections 9(3) or (4); and

          • (b) provide the sustainable development strategy to the appropriate Minister with respect to the designated entity.

        • Tabling in each House of Parliament

          (2) The appropriate Minister shall cause the sustainable development strategy to be tabled in each House of Parliament on any of the first 15 days on which that House is sitting after the appropriate Minister receives it.

        • Report

          (3) The designated entity shall, at least once in each of the two years following the tabling of its sustainable development strategy in a House of Parliament under subsection (2), provide the appropriate Minister with a report on its progress in implementing the sustainable development strategy. The appropriate Minister shall cause the report to be tabled in each House of Parliament on any of the first 15 days on which that House is sitting after the appropriate Minister receives it.

      • Designated entities over which minister presides
        • 12 (1) In the case of a designated entity over which a minister presides, the minister who presides over the designated entity shall

          • (a) within one year after a Federal Sustainable Development Strategy is tabled in a House of Parliament under subsection 10(2), prepare a sustainable development strategy with respect to the designated entity that

            • (i) contains objectives and plans for the designated entity,

            • (ii) complies with the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy and contributes to the meeting of its goals,

            • (iii) takes into account the designated entity’s mandate,

            • (iv) takes into account any of the applicable policies or directives of the Treasury Board that are established or issued under section 10.1, and

            • (v) takes into account comments made under subsections 9(3) or (4); and

          • (b) cause the designated entity’s sustainable development strategy to be tabled in each House of Parliament within the year referred to in paragraph (a) or on any of the first 15 days on which that House is sitting after that year.

        • Report

          (2) The minister presiding over the designated entity shall, at least once in each of the two years following the tabling of the designated entity’s sustainable development strategy in a House of Parliament under paragraph (1)(b), prepare a report on the progress of the designated entity in implementing its sustainable development strategy. That minister shall cause the report to be tabled in each House of Parliament within the year in which the report shall be prepared or on any of the first 15 days on which that House is sitting after that year.

      • Deemed referral to committee

        12.1 A sustainable development strategy or report that is tabled in a House of Parliament under section 11 or 12 is deemed to be referred to the standing committee of that House that normally considers matters relating to sustainable development.

      • Regulations

        12.2 The Governor in Council may, on the recommendation of the Minister, make regulations prescribing the form in which a sustainable development strategy is to be prepared and the information that is required to be contained in it.

      • Amendments to schedule

        12.3 The Governor in Council may, by order, amend the schedule

        • (a) to add or amend an item, in order to subject an entity to the application of this Act; or

        • (b) to remove or amend an item, in order to exclude an entity from the application of this Act, on the recommendation of the entity’s appropriate Minister.

  • — 2019, c. 2, s. 9

    • 9 The Act is amended by adding the following after section 13:

      Permanent Review of Act

      • Permanent review of Act by parliamentary committee
        • 13.1 (1) The administration of this Act shall, every five years after the day on which this section comes into force, stand referred to any committee of the Senate or the House of Commons that normally considers matters relating to sustainable development, or of both Houses of Parliament, that may be designated or established for that purpose.

        • Review and report to Parliament

          (2) The committee designated or established for the purpose of subsection (1) shall, as soon as feasible, undertake a comprehensive review of the provisions and operation of this Act and shall, within one year after the review is undertaken or within any further time that the House of Commons, the Senate or both Houses of Parliament, as the case may be, may authorize, submit a report to Parliament, including a statement of any changes to this Act or its administration that the committee would recommend.

  • — 2019, c. 2, s. 10

  • — 2019, c. 2, s. 11

  • — 2019, c. 2, s. 12

  • — SOR/2019-177, s. 1

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