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INSTITUTIONAL ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN CANADA


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INTEGRATED DECISION-MAKING

Decision Making: Coordinating Bodies

In Canada, key National sustainable development coordination mechanisms include the Federal Interdepartmental Committee; the National Round Table on Environment and the Economy; the Canadian Council of Ministers for the Environment; and the Commissioner of Environment and Sustainable Development. These mechanism coordinate Canadian activities related to the implementation of Agenda 21. Many ministries and agencies are involved including Foreign Affairs; Environment Canada; the Canadian International Development Agency; Finance Canada; Agriculture Canada; Industry Canada; Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation; Natural Resources Canada; the Auditor General; Heritage Canada; and the International Development Research Centre.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations

In 1994, the federal government emphasized the need for an integrated approach to social, economic, environmental, and foreign policy in the Speech from the Throne that opened the federal Parliament. A series of recent legislative and policy initiatives have given practical meaning to this commitment. All governments have developed plans that take into account the shift to sustainable development.

Sustainable development was incorporated into the new mandates of the federal ministers of Industry, Agriculture and Agri-Food, and Natural Resources in 1994. Sustainable development has also been built into key statutes such as the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. In 1995, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act came into force to integrate environmental considerations into all federal project planning. The Act requires that an environment assessment be completed prior to substantive action on any federal project.

Legislation establishing a Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development received Royal Assent in December 1995 with the first Commissioner appointed on July 2, 1996. The first "Green Report" to the House of Commons is expected to be tabled by a federal department in February 1997. Within two years, all federal ministers will be required to present sustainable development strategies for their departments to Parliament. To assist departments in the preparation of these strategies, the federal government has released "A Guide to Green Government". It includes objectives, as well as policy and management tools, to aid the transition to sustainable development. It also notes that departmental sustainable development strategies must be comprehensive, results-oriented, and prepared in consultation with partners. Preparation and implementation of these departmental strategies will require innovation both in policy and management terms, and a commitment to continuous improvement.

Decision Making: Strategies, Policies, and Plans

Nearly all provincial and territorial governments have, or are in the process of developing, sustainable development or conservation strategies. Each pursues its own approach to environment-economy integration. Over the last two decades, all provinces and one territory also established environmental assessment legislation. Most require public involvement and provide for an independent body to examine complex or high profile environmental assessments. Jurisdictions often provide for mediation and conflict resolution throughout the assessment process.

Provincial and territorial governments have also undertaken a number of other initiatives toward integrated decision making. The Commission on Resources and Environment in British Columbia, for example, uses regional land use plans and public participation in decision-making to resolve conflicts and to advance a comprehensive, sustainable approach to natural resources development in the province. Also, in 1992, Alberta consolidated eight environment-related statutes into the Alberta Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act that provides an integrated approach to the protection of air, water and land. Quebec's Ministry of Natural Resources and Ministry of Environment and Wildlife have developed recommendations on integrated resource management, and its application for forestry, wildlife, water and landscapes.

All major groups and governments pursue consensus-based approaches to resolving issues and to address specific sustainable development priorities. For example, in the Action Plans for the Great Lakes, Fraser River, St. Lawrence River, and Atlantic Canada, communities are partners with provincial governments and the federal government to address such issues as environmental protection and conservation.

Decision Making: Major Groups Involvement

Important parastatal bodies and institutions involved are the Canadian Council for Business; the National Round Table on Environment and the Economy; Projet de Soci?? the International Institute for Sustainable Development; the Canadian Pulp & Paper Association; and the.Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Non-governmental organizations involved include the Canadian Council for International Cooperation; the Canadian Environment Network; the Canadian Environment Indigenous Network; the United Nations Association of Canada; the Canadian Forest Association; and Friends of the Earth.

Public consultation is a legal requirement under federal and many provincial environmental laws, such as: the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, the Quebec Environmental Quality Act, and the Alberta Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act. Governments have increased their efforts to find effective means of involving major groups and citizens in shaping the sustainable development agenda. Forums that bring together representatives of many different groups have become important vehicles in these consultative processes. The intent of such forums is to encourage debate and consensus building that crosses traditional major group lines. Businesses are also reaching out in innovative, constructive ways to other major stakeholders.

Provincial and territorial governments have put in place consultative mechanisms to foster effective public responses to sustainable development challenges in their jurisdictions. Both New Brunswick, through its Commission on Land Use and the Rural Environment, and British Columbia, through the Commission on Resources and Environment, involve citizens, communities, and organizations in resource planning and integrated environmental management. In Quebec, Regional Environmental Councils created by non-governmental organizations are facilitating consensus building among stakeholders. Another example is the Whitehorse Mining Initiative Leadership Council Accord of 1994 which was the result of consultation among governments, Aboriginal communities, industry, labour, and environmental non-governmental organizations. Businesses are increasingly supportive of the concept of multi-stakeholder consultative initiatives and in fact in two areas: forestry and mining, have used model forms of consultative processes very effectively.

Programmes and Projects

Many companies are designing environmental management systems (EMS) to integrate environmental considerations into their activities. In 1994, KPMG Management Consultants carried out a survey of Canadian companies, hospitals, municipalities, universities, and school boards. Some 69% reported EMSs in place. Business associations are also promoting sustainable development through improved decision making processes.

The International Model Forests Program involves integrated approaches to decision-making and the involvement of many stakeholders. This Program and its Network provides enormous, and exciting possibilities to develop sustainable forest management techniques across Mexico and the Russian Federation, as well as all eco-systems in Canada.

Status

No information is available.

Challenges

Although considerable effort has been made to integrate the environment into decision-making, it is sometimes difficult to ascertain the extent of real progress and the effectiveness of activities towards sustainable development. Concrete goals, targets and indicators require further development and application.

Capacity-Building, Education, Training, and Awareness-Raising

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Canada to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

For Canada's Sustainable Development Information System, click here.
For Canada's Reports to the CSD, click here.
Click here for Environment Canada.
Click here for information on Environmental Assessment.
Click here for information on Greening Government.
Click here for information on Environmental Law and Enforcement.
Click here for information on Environmental Monitoring.
Click here for information on Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment.
Click here for information on Pollution Prevention Strategy.
For information on Environmental Law around the World, click here:
For the Web Site of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development on Canada, click here.
Click here for Canada's sustainable development strategies.
Click here for Canada's 1997 and 1998 "Green Reports" (Reports of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development).

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MAJOR GROUPS

WOMEN

Decision Making: Coordinating Bodies

Canada's national machinery for advancing women's equality is well established. Both the federal government and all the provinces and territories have a Minister or Secretary of State Responsible for the Status of Women, and have some form of women's bureau or agency to work with other government ministries by providing gender analysis and policy advice on existing or proposed government legislation, policies, and programs with respect to their impact on women.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations

No information is available.

Decision Making: Strategies, Policies, and Plans

Setting the Stage for the Next Century: The Federal Plan for Gender Equality is Canada's federal plan for implementing the Beijing Platform for Action. The Federal Plan includes a commitment to considering gender in the development of legislation and policies related to the environment and sustainable development, and to strengthening the full participation of women as equal partners in sustainable development.

The Federal Plan for Gender Equality, which was presented in 1995 at the Fourth UN World Conference on Women, details over 300 federal commitments to promote women's equality based on key objectives reflecting critical areas of concern in the Platform. One of the most important components of the Plan is a requirement that federal departments and agencies conduct gender-based analysis in order to ensure the integration of women's perspectives in the development, analysis and implementation of government legislation, policies and programs.

The federal government has also played a role in promoting the participation of women and girls in male-dominated fields of study by providing special grants for women in certain doctoral programs; developing strategies to encourage girls to enter maths and science, for example bringing science and technology role models into schools; and funding of five new Chairs for Women in Science and Engineering at Canadian universities. Such initiatives will allow increased numbers of women to enter fields where backgrounds in math and science are important, such as environmental resource management and environmental science.

Decision Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

Women in Development (WID) is one of the six priorities of Canada's Official Development Assistance program. The goal is to strengthen the full participation of women as equal partners in the sustainable development of their societies by supporting initiatives within and among developing countries to increase women's participation in decision-making processes, improve women's income levels and economic conditions, improve women's access to basic health and family planning services, improve women's levels of educational achievement and skill, and protect and promote the human rights of women.

Status

No information is available.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-Building, Education, Training, and Awareness-Raising

In Canada, education is under provincial and territorial jurisdiction. Gender equity in education and training has been on the agenda of Ministers Responsible for the Status of Women since the early 1980's. Most recently, two papers entitled Rethinking Training: Meeting Women's Needs, and Meeting Women's Training Needs: Case Studies in Women's Training have been published. In 1995, the video Raising Young Voices and accompanying discussion guides, dealing with issues of gender stereotyping, were made available across Canada. In addition, many provinces and territories have instituted programs and policies that deal with issues of discrimination in the school system, including issues related to sexual harassment. Review of curriculum in the area of maths and science has been a particular focus, with a view to encouraging a greater number of female students to go into these fields.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) has been ratified by Canada. The country's third and forth reports to the CEDAW committee were presented on 28 January 1997.

Canada's efforts to advance equality and women's human rights internationally are a reflection of the work that has been undertaken domestically. Canada has played a key role in bringing issues such as violence against women, women's rights as human rights, national machinery for the advancement of women, and women and decision-making to the forefront of international discussions. Canada will continue to promote the integration and mainstreaming of women's human rights and gender considerations in the work of international fora, and is committed to agreements reached at UN international conferences on children, human rights, population and development, social development, and human settlements.

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Canada to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

For information on WomenWatch in different countries, click here:
For information on national plans of action in the follow-up to the Beijing Conference, click here:

 

CHILDREN AND YOUTH

Decision Making: Coordinating Bodies

No information is available.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations

No information is available.

Decision Making: Strategies, Policies, and Plans

No information is available.

Decision Making: Major Groups Involvement

The federal Minister of the Environment has initiated consultations that will create a National Youth Round Table that will promote dialogue and involvement of youth in the policy making process.

Programmes and Projects

Environment Canada has launched initiatives to support youth-driven community projects and begun training young journalists to report on international environmental events from a youth perspective. A Youth Action guide for Agenda 21 has also been created and is being distributed in printed form to all schools and select community groups. It will also be available electronically on the TG Magazine INTERNET network. The goal set by Agenda 21 of ensuring that by year 2000 more than 50% of youth, gender balanced, have access to appropriate secondary education or vocational training has been reached.

Provincially and territorially, many projects have been initiated to support youth involvement in decision making processes. For example, British Columbia's Commission on Resources and Environment, includes a strong youth sector in its decision making process. Quebec's Youth Secretariat developed a Youth Environmental Plan of Action.

Status

The four most relevant youth fora in Canada with respect to sustainable development are the Canadian Environmental Network Youth Caucus; Environment Canada's Youth Round Table; community, school and campus based youth and student environmental organizations; and youth participation in international and national sustainable development events. Youth are full participants in an advisory capacity in national sustainable development processes.

Since 1992, young people and partners from youth and student groups, governments, non-governmental organizations, education associations, and individuals have been active in hands-on sustainable development projects, curriculum and policy change, and awareness campaigns to help implement Agenda 21.

Canadian surveys indicate that in 1991, approximately 80% of 20 year olds had completed secondary education. To address youth unemployment, the federal and provincial governments deliver a range of programs to assist young Canadians to find work or gain practical work experience, including in environmental issues. Youth unemployment for 15-24 years olds was 17.8% and 15.9% in 1992 and 1996 respectively (10-month average). A Labour Force Survey provided a similar figure of 16.8% in October 1996.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-Building, Education, Training, and Awareness-Raising

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

Canada ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991 and is working in partnership with provincial and territorial governments, and non-governmental organizations to promote the Convention, both domestically and internationally.

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Canada to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

Click here for Canada's Youth Site.
Click here for Canada's Site for Rescue Mission/Planet Earth.

 

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Decision Making: Coordinating Bodies

No information is available.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations

Proposed amendments to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act would give First Nations responsibility for enacting their own environmental protection regulations. Nationally, the federal government administers the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act which requires a thorough environmental assessment of projects in areas of federal jurisdiction, including Indian reserves. Under the changes before the federal Parliament now, Aboriginal communities would be able to conduct their own environmental assessments of projects affecting Indian reserves.

Legislation pertaining to the environmental assessment of projects in the north, provides for establishment of co-management boards with appointments by government and Aboriginal organizations. Through these co-management agreements, land claim agreements, and legislation, many Aboriginal groups participate in the decision-making process with provincial, territorial and the federal governments on such matters as land use, forest practices, wildlife, resource use, and economic development.

Decision Making: Strategies, Policies, and Plans

Five northern Aboriginal groups were integral partners in the development and implementation of the Arctic Environmental Strategy (AES) initiated in 1991. The success of the AES can be seen in the way it promoted sustainable development through four constituent programs: action on waste clean-up; contaminants; water management; and environment/economy.

Federal government departments providing programs and services to Aboriginal and First Nations communities are developing departmental Sustainable Development Strategies in cooperation with Aboriginal organizations. These strategies, to be completed by December 1997, will incorporate the use of traditional knowledge and their traditional decision-making processes.

Decision Making: Major Groups Involvement

Aboriginal peoples have Permanent Participant status in the new Arctic Council that was launched in September 1996, thereby enabling them to participate in its deliberations in a meaningful way. The main activities of the Council will focus on the existing programs established under the AEPS and a new program dealing with economic, social, and cultural issues.

Programmes and Projects

Canada along with the other Arctic states (Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America ) adopted the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy (AEPS) in 1991. Canada was instrumental in ensuring participation of Aboriginal peoples in implementation of the AEPS which deals with the protection and sustainable development of the circumpolar Arctic. They participate in the following programme areas of the AEPS: Arctic Monitoring and Assessment; Sustainable Development and Utilization; Emergency Prevention Preparedness and Response; and Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna.

Status

The Aboriginal peoples of Canada are gaining greater control over sustainable development issues that affect them and their lands. This trend has increased since 1992 and is consistent with the federal government's recognition of the right of Aboriginal peoples to self-government. Many aboriginal governments and communities are gaining additional powers and influence over land use and resource management decision-making processes, including wildlife management and conservation issues. Research into, and use of, the traditional knowledge of Aboriginal peoples has also become a higher priority.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-Building, Education, Training, and Awareness-Raising

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Canada to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

Click here for information on the Inuit Economy.

 

NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS

Decision Making: Coordinating Bodies

NGOs, representing the interests of civil society in Canada, are well established, and integral to the consultation processes of Canadian governments. The Canadian Environmental Network is a national network of almost 2,000 environmental NGOs. Its goal is to coordinate activities of the NGO networks across Canada and to facilitate discussions among those groups and government. Many NGOs operate at the provincial/regional level and some are supported by provincial and municipal governments.

National and provincial roundtables are another example of unique coalition-building institutions in Canada. The National Round Table on the Environment and Economy, with appointed, cross-sectoral opinion leaders, serves as a catalyst in identifying, explaining and promoting the principles and practices of sustainable development. It identifies issues that have both environmental and economic implications, explores those implications, and then attempts to identify actions that will balance economic prosperity with environmental preservation.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations

No information is available.

Decision Making: Strategies, Policies, and Plans

No information is available.

Decision Making: Major Groups Involvement

Mechanisms exist already promoting and allowing NGOs to participate in the conception, establishment, and evaluation of Agenda 21 implementation. NGOs are participating fully and their inputs are important.

Programmes and Projects

No information is available.

Status

No information is available.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-Building, Education, Training, and Awareness-Raising

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.

Financing

Many non-governmental organizations in Canada face tight budgets at the same time as they are faced with growing demands on their resources. This trend has forced many NGOs to be more strategic in allocating resources to business activities. Efforts are being made to ensure that synergy is created, and that sustainability objectives can be met most effectively. Many are looking for partnerships with other stakeholders to maximize their contribution. These broadly-based coalitions are resulting in more effective civil participation. However, the importance of translating organizational strategies into concrete sectoral action plans remains an ongoing challenge.

Cooperation

No information is available.

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Canada to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

 

LOCAL AUTHORITIES

Decision Making: Coordinating Bodies

No information is available.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations

No information is available.

Decision Making: Strategies, Policies, and Plans

Many municipalities in Canada have adopted environmental initiatives. Local authorities generally include environmental and social considerations in their official plans, planning by-laws, and general policies. Most of these local authorities involve representation of women and/or youth. It is not possible to accurately estimate the percentage of the population involved. Governments generally support local Agenda 21 initiatives.

Decision Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has an active international program that has facilitated information and technology exchange, directly linking Canadian municipalities with appropriate partners in the developing world.

Status

Canada views the role of local authorities as critical in achieving sustainable development, both nationally and internationally. Canadian municipalities have taken a leadership role in developing a high quality of community life that includes respect for the needs of both economic development and environmental protection.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-Building, Education, Training, and Awareness-Raising

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Canada to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

 

WORKERS AND TRADE UNIONS

Decision Making: Coordinating Bodies

No information is available.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations

No information is available.

Decision Making: Strategies, Policies, and Plans

No information is available.

Decision Making: Major Groups Involvement

In Canada, workers take some part in National Agenda 21 discussions and implementation. Labour has tried, with some success, to link environmental issues to more traditional issues of workplace health and safety. The main focus of labour participation in the implementation of Agenda 21 has related to the work on the environmentally sound management of chemicals. This has involved labour promoting the adoption of high national standards of environmental protection especially in pollution prevention. The Canadian union movement has also worked for the establishment of environmental rights such as joint labour-management environment committees in workplaces, the legal right to refuse to pollute and "whistle-blower protection" for workers reporting environmental violations. Amendments to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act that are before the federal Parliament now, include some progress on this last point. The Canadian Labour Congress, Canada's largest labour body, is of the view that Canadian labour has been successful in all areas covered under Chapter 29 of Agenda 21, except for the participation of workers in workplace environmental audits.

Programmes and Projects

Within Canadian workplaces, labour has worked cooperatively to address environmental issues, such as pollution prevention and waste reduction. For instance, the Canadian Auto Workers and Chrysler Canada have formed a Joint National Environment Committee. Many collective agreements in the auto industry mandate labour participation in pollution prevention and Toxics Use Reduction programmes in the workplace.

Status

No information is available.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-Building, Education, Training, and Awareness-Raising

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

The International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions have been ratified in Canada.

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Canada to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

 

BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY

Decision Making: Coordinating Bodies

No information is available.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations

No information is available.

Decision Making: Strategies, Policies, and Plans

Governmental policies encourage increasing the efficiency of resource use, including reuse, recycling, and reduction of waste per unit of economic output. The Accelerated Reduction/Elimination of Toxics (ARET) is probably the most significant initiative of the federal government to determine how well voluntary commitments to reduce or eliminate emissions of toxic substances can work. Selected companies have reduced emissions of 117 toxic substances by 36% since 1993. By 2000, the objective is to reduce releases by 69% (20,700 tonnes).

The National Packaging Protocol is a federal/provincial initiative to reduce the volume of packaging waste sent for disposal by 50% by 2000 from a base year of 1988. Thus far, an absolute reduction of about 20% has been achieved through the combined voluntary efforts of business, consumers, and governments. Curbside recycling is available in many communities and is financially supported by municipal and provincial governments, and industry.

Decision Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

Under Canada's National Action Programme on Climate Change (NAPCC) business is responding to inititiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions such as the national Voluntary Challenge and Registry (VCR) Programme and EcoGeste in Quebec.

Through Memoranda of Understanding, a number of voluntary initiatives are underway with industry encouraging the concept of stewardship in management and use of natural resources. Perhaps the most notable is the Responsible Care initiative of the Canadian Chemical Producers' Association. Responsible Care is recognized as a model industry code of conduct and has been adopted internationally by the chemicals industry. Motor vehicle manufacturers (General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler) have, over the past three years, reduced releases of targeted substances by more than 4,000 tonnes. The drycleaners' association in Quebec has developed a guidebook to train drycleaners on water-based dry-cleaning solvents, while in Ontario, six cleaners participated in a demonstration project that tested the viability of "green" cleaning. The printing and metal finishers' associations are also promoting pollution prevention to their members.

Status

The International Chamber of Commerce's Business Charter for Sustainable Development has been endorsed in Canada by 35 companies, nine industry associations and one crown corporation. The Charter's 16 principles provide a framework for the establishment of corporate environmental management systems emphasizing continual improvement.

Sustainable development is a high priority for many industry associations. For example, the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) developed a national sustainable forest management certification program for Canada's forest industry. Based on internationally agreed criteria and advice from interested stakeholders, the standards verify that a defined forest is being managed according to a sustainable forest management system. Model forests have also been established in many provinces to gain practical experience in sustainable forest management techniques. Some provinces, such as British Columbia and Alberta, have also launched discrete sustainable forest management initiatives.

Several big enterprises have adopted sustainable development policies, for example Shell, Imperial Oil, Ontario Hydro, TransAlta, Monsanto, Dow, Dupont, IBM, Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries, and Daishowa-Marubeni International.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-Building, Education, Training, and Awareness-Raising

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Canada to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

 

SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL COMMUNITY

Decision Making: Coordinating Bodies

No information is available.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations

No information is available.

Decision Making: Strategies, Policies, and Plans

No information is available.

Decision Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

No information is available.

Status

The scientific community is moving in the direction of establishing ways to address the general public and deal with sustainable development, but not much has changed in this area. Canada's scientific and technological community has long been at the forefront of the sustainable development process and efforts to inform the general public. That status continues. Initiatives of the scientific community that have extended the science and technology base for sustainable development in Canada are covered more fully in the Science section below.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-Building, Education, Training, and Awareness-Raising

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Canada to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

 

FARMERS

Decision Making: Coordinating Bodies

No information is available.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations

No information is available.

Decision Making: Strategies, Policies, and Plans

A Strategy for Environmentally Sustainable Agriculture and Agri-Food Development in Canada will be completed by Agriculture and Agri-food Canada in early 1997. The Strategy, following extensive consultations with stakeholders, provides a framework and action plan to continue and enhance pollution prevention and environmental stewardship through efforts to fully value, protect, and efficiently use the natural resources needed and affected by farmers.

Under the sustainable agriculture component of the Green Plan, a 6-year (1991/92-1996/97) environmental action plan of the federal government with some matching support from provinces, farmers participated in the design and implementation of activities to address issues of water quality, waste management and soil conservation. Research, demonstration and promotion activities conducted across Canada by governments, industry, and producer groups contribute to sustainable agriculture by developing and transferring innovative and affordable practices and technologies to farmers, such as precision farming techniques to enable safer and more efficient application of pesticides and fertilizers.

Decision Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

No information is available.

Status

No information is available.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-Building, Education, Training, and Awareness-Raising

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Canada to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

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SCIENCE

Decision Making: Coordinating Bodies

The Cabinet Committee on the Economic Union reviews the government's progress and priorities in S&T annually. The Assistant Deputy Ministers (ADM) Committee on Science and Technology works to coordinate government-wide approaches to managing S&T and to ensure that departmental initiatives and priorities are shared across the federal science and technology community. Government-wide, the ADM Committee provides the high level integration of federal S&T called for by both the federal S&T Strategy and the Auditor General. In addition, the Advisory Council on Science and Technology (ACST) with eminent representatives from industry and from academia was created in 1996 to review the nation's performance in S&T, identify emerging issues and advise on a forward-looking agenda.

The Canadian Global Change Programme is the national focal point for global change activities in Canada. It is an independent multidisciplinary network, linking research and policy, and communicating results, ideas, and recommendations to the policy and research communities.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations

No information is available.

Decision Making: Strategies, Policies, and Plans

A government-wide Sustainable Development Framework guides the establishment of the sustainable development strategies in Canada in all departments and agencies. This also provides an opportunity for departments to describe how they plan to use science to contribute to sustainable development. The Science and Technology for the New Century: A Federal Strategy calls for improved mechanisms that will better ensure that the government's overall priorities are reflected in its S&T activities.

A Northern S&T Strategy for Canada's North aims to ensure that the North, and the North's contribution to national and global issues, continues to have the S&T with appropriate resources and expertise that it needs for the future.

In support of its commitment to sustainable development, Canada is promoting numerous scientific partnerships among federal departments and agencies, and with provincial and local governments, universities, industry, various non-governmental organizations, and aboriginal groups. To that effect, federal resource departments are elaborating plans for a consistent approach to science. In January 1995, four federal natural resource departments signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on science and technology for sustainable development. Current working groups focus on R&D priority setting, metals in the environment, climate change and variability, coastal zone management, ecosystem effects of UV-B radiation, regionalisation (Atlantic pilot), valuing natural capital and sustainable development indicators, the effects of endocrine-modulating substances, the Internet, nutrients, and state of the environment reporting. In addition, the MOU launched the Scientific Mobility Exchange Program Pilot to increase the movement of scientific personnel between the departments. The MOU has made a significant contribution to the federal government's sustainable development strategy and has proven to be a stepping stone toward integrating sustainable development science and technology programs throughout the government.

Decision Making: Major Groups Involvement

Many of the administrative organizations have established independent, external scientific advisory bodies that provide recommendations, reviews and other assistance on departmental strategic directions in the area of S&T.

The Program on Energy Research and Development is a program of Natural Resources Canada that is delivered interdepartmentally through 11 federal departments and agencies. Energy R&D priorities and the strategic planning for the program are developed in consultation with the various program committees and through annual workshops. This process ensures that the energy R&D community jointly addresses common horizontal issues in the fields of energy efficiency, renewables, fossil fuels, energy and climate change, and transportation.

Programmes and Projects

A number of specific programmes, projects and other initiatives on science and technology are represented below. The information is categorized by themes that are: (i) contribution of science and technology to the development of regulations; (ii) new preventative approaches and substitutes for regulations; (iii) health and social sciences; (iv) new technologies in information, telecommunications, biotechnology and materials; and (v) ecosystem sustainability ('ecosystem approach') with the special emphasis on the watersheds.

(i) Reducing the burden that regulations impose on companies has been a priority for the federal government. Federal S&T activities provide the government with the basis on which to develop regulatory requirements that adequately protect the environment while at the same time encouraging sustainable commercial use of the resources. Some examples are as follows:
In collaboration with the relevant stakeholders, Environment Canada has been updating and strengthening the Metal Mining Liquid Effluent Regulations (MMLER) that control the concentrations of contaminants in wastewater. As a result of a review, recommendations were made regarding amendments to the MMLER, the design of a national environmental effects monitoring program, and the update of Environmental Code of Practice for Mines. The recommendations are now being implemented.
The Environmental Effects Monitoring (EEM) program for the pulp and paper sector was developed as a joint industry-government approach to test the efficacy of regulations and to develop and forward recommendations on science and policy aspects via joint industry/government working groups.
Pesticide research undertaken in the Prairie and Northern Region of Environment Canada supports Environment Canada's role in the re-evaluation process for pesticides approved for use by the Pesticide Management Regulatory Agency (Health Canada). It also supports an understanding of the ecological consequences of pesticide use in the region particularly related to the protection of aquatic habitats in the context of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan.

(ii) Science and technology activities also support new approaches to and substitutes for regulation. Some examples of this type of activity include the following:
The Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) is currently being revised to be a more effective national tool for environmental protection while also recognizing the needs of those who create jobs for business and industry. The revised CEPA will also be a key tool for implementing the government's Toxic Substances Management Policy (TSMP). The TSMP, along with the Pollution Prevention Strategy, have effected a shift in federal policy from managing waste and pollutants to anticipating and preventing a variety of environmental problems.
In 1996, Canada became the first country to establish certification standards for sustainable forest management. The voluntary certification program, with standards consistent with the ISO 14001 (The Canadian Standards Association's Sustainable Forest Management Standards), enables forest companies to provide purchasers with a form of guarantee that the products they buy come from areas managed according to the principles of sustainability.
ARET (Accelerated Reduction and Elimination of Toxics) is a multistakeholder initiative dedicated to decreasing the adverse effects of toxic substances on human health and the environment. ARET participants voluntarily commit to monitor and report their progress in achieving their targets. This initiative complements existing environmental regulations, and it is potentially less costly than the traditional regulatory process for both government and industry and quicker to achieve results. Equally important, it promotes cooperation between government, industry, and other stakeholders in dealing with those toxic chemicals that represent some of the worst health and environmental threats.
Other examples include: the use of voluntary compliance instead of regulatory enforcement where S&T knowledge is available (promoted by Natural Resources Canada); public standards for biotechnology products (by Health Canada); and a study of regulatory constraints impacting the development of the Canadian aquaculture industry (by Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency).

(iii) The social sciences and humanities have a crucial role to play in providing models of social innovation that will enable society to adapt to living within ecological limits. The health sciences can offer greater understanding of the interplay between the health of the environment and human well-being. Examples of the work in this area include the following:
Many programs that concentrate on new chemicals, priority substances, hazardous chemicals, and drinking water use the Health Canada risk determination framework for assessing and managing health risks. This framework is fundamental to the way business is conducted in the programs.
The Fraser Basin Health Program in the Western Region of Health Canada aims to identify and assess environmental health issues in the Fraser Basin based on human health outcomes and a population health approach.
The Health Services Research Fund supports research in ensuring effective and efficient health services. This research is critical as Canada moves from a hospital-based model of health care to one focused on community care and preventive measures.
Environment Canada leads a partnership of 15 federal, provincial, and territorial government departments to conduct the Canada-wide Survey on the Importance of Nature to Canadians. This partnership allows important socioeconomic information to be gathered and analyzed at a much lower cost to participants than if they gathered the information independently. It also provides for a level of standardization of data and depth of analysis that would not otherwise be possible.
The Environmental Adaptation Research Program at Environment Canada's Atmospheric Environment Service was established in response to the threat posed by atmospheric change to the achievement of sustainable development in Canada. The program represents a good example of how the department is integrating the social sciences into S&T activities. The program has also made valuable contributions to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Three universities (the University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia, and the University of Waterloo) have been engaged in partnerships for this research by locating Environment Canada staff on campus.
The Federal Government plays a key role in supporting research in the social sciences that strengthens the social fabric in Canada. Through its Joint Initiatives Program, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council has concluded more than 12 agreements with partners from the public and private sectors to fund collaborative research to assist decision making in key socioeconomic areas. Social science research is also a key to understanding the needs and structure of Canada's innovation system. To this end, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, National Research Council Canada, and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada are currently working on a joint initiative to create a network of researchers in regional innovation and knowledge-based growth.
The aging of Canada's population is an emerging concern. Since an increasing proportion will be 50 years old and older, a priority for federal S&T will be to respond to the health and social challenges. Funded research programs have addressed social, economic, environmental, and behavioural determinants of health in later life, evaluated innovative models of care and service to maintain health or minimize dependency, and contributed to increasing the knowledge of significant age-related disease conditions, notably dementia and osteoporosis.

(iv) Developing new technologies in areas such as information and telecommunications, biotechnology and materials can be very expensive and require a broad range of expertise. Biotechnology projects are discussed under u 'Biotechnology' in the Economic cluster of issues. Other examples include:
Environment Canada scientists at the Environmental Technology Centre developed the patented Microwave Assisted Process (MAPTM) to assist chemical laboratories in preventing pollution and achieving energy savings. The technology has been licensed by private sector partners in a number of countries.
The continued strength of Canada's oil industry depends on technical innovations that will help us make the most of the resources we have. The National Centre for Upgrading Technology, a joint venture between Natural Resources Canada and the Alberta Government, is helping to ensure that the country's oil sands and heavy oil resources are used efficiently.
National Research Council Canada has created the Institute for Chemical Process and Environmental Technology, fully dedicated to helping clients in the manufacturing community develop cleaner products and processes to help them meet their environmental stewardship responsibilities.
Natural Resources Canada is developing sustainable forest management techniques, in partnership with local forest companies, that are tailored to the different forest species and ecosystems across Canada. For example, the results of Canadian Forest Service research into alternatives to clear cutting in high elevation forests in British Columbia recently were transferred to provincial and industry clients.
The Metals in the Environment Program, a cooperative effort among Natural Resources Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Environment Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and Health Canada, has provided input to several national and international initiatives to define natural levels of metals in the environment, to control industrial sources of metals, and to provide appropriate policy responses on metals, including dangerous metals such as mercury.

(v) Canada's efforts in environmental research utilize an "ecosystem approach" that takes into account economic, social, and environmental factors in decision making. The federal Government contributes to ecosystem sustainability by furthering scientific understanding on ecosystems and impacts of human activity, and by working with partners and communities to develop strategies for action. Collaboration with urban agencies, such as the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, is being undertaken to advance municipal environmental reporting and networks, and to develop urban sustainability indicators. Several provinces have programs that facilitate the integration of science into development strategies. Some also have grants programs. Quebec has created an environmental component for the Fund for Governmental Priorities in Science and Technology.
A number of programs and other initiatives integrate scientific research and assessment within decision and action frameworks that recognize the importance of public participation and community involvement and the incorporation of societal values in establishing objectives for ecosystem conservation and protection. Examples (with the emphasis on threatened watersheds) include the following:
The Atlantic Coastal Action Program has helped 13 community-based groups in the four Atlantic provinces examine issues and make plans to remediate degraded watersheds and estuarine areas. In each case, a comprehensive environmental management plan is being developed with the involvement of various stakeholders.
St. Lawrence Vision 2000 program aims at restoring the St. Lawrence River by reducing toxic effluents from industrial plants. The programme involves 106 plants along the river.
Within the Great Lakes 2000 program Environment Canada, in partnership with the Province of Ontario and others, has established 50 measurable results to be achieved by the year 2000. Fields in which results have been achieved to date include: conservation and rehabilitation sites, reduction/elimination of toxic chemical emissions, process audits of sewage treatment plants, use of innovative storm water management practices, and development of a directory of contaminated sediment removal and treatment technologies.
Under the Fraser River Action Plan in the 1980s, inspections and investigations of wood preservation plants along the Lower Fraser River were intensified, and discharges in violation of federal and provincial laws were identified. A substantial reduction in contaminant and toxic loading to the river has been achieved, including zero discharge in some cases. In 1996/97, a review of the Fraser River Action Plan determined that the program objectives and mandate continue to be relevant.

In 1991, funding was made available under the Green Plan's Arctic Environmental Strategy to embark on a comprehensive and coordinated approach to address the issue of Arctic contamination. The Northern Contaminants Program (NCP) has involved four federal departments over the past six years: Environment Canada, Health Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada; and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. The two territorial governments and five northern Aboriginal organizations have also been partners in the NCP. Currently, the four departments involved in the NCP are developing a joint Treasury Board Submission in an effort to continue this important program. The Canadian Arctic Contaminants Assessment Report (CACAR) and an accompanying 'Highlights Report', summarizes the leading-edge Canadian research accomplished under the program. From a scientific perspective, a critical achievement of the NCP has been the substantiation of the theory that contamination of the Canadian Arctic is due to sources outside the Arctic.

The Atlantic Regional Office of Environment Canada has recently embarked on a multiyear, wide-ranging project to describe the Labrador landscape, employing remote sensing, geographic information system technologies, social science research methodologies, and a network of partnerships. The project has taken advantage of the recently completed Labrador Forest Inventory, a ready-made digital framework to which a variety of 'information layers' continue to be added, thereby creating a Labrador ecological knowledge base. Achievements to date include: a geo-referenced bibliography for Labrador that focuses on traditional ecological knowledge; the development of a user-friendly software package to display the large amount of information in various forms; and the added knowledge gained from a survey of the endangered eastern population of the harlequin duck habitat.

Status

No information is available.

Challenges

At the national level, Canada faces a major challenge in adjusting its scientific work force to meet emerging issues with limited resources. It is committed to the training and development of new scientists as well as updating the skills of the scientific community. Environment Canada has begun to make use of cooperative research agreements and research consortia to enhance collaboration with university and industrial partners.

The Peace Athabasca Delta in northern Alberta is one of the world's largest inland freshwater deltas and home to Wood Buffalo National Park. Over the last 20 years, however, the delta has been drying out, with serious consequences for the vegetation and wildlife in the area. For the past three years, Environment Canada scientists at the National Hydrology Research Institute (NHRI) have worked in partnership with Parks Canada, Alberta Environment, BC Hydro, and local Indian and Metis communities to find an explanation for these environmental changes and see what can be done to restore the ecosystem.

Capacity-Building, Education, Training, and Awareness-Raising

No information is available.

Information

Canada is reassessing and rationalising scientific monitoring programmes to maintain the databases required for long-term scientific assessments. The national Environmental Knowledge Network (EKN) is building on several government initiatives to identify sources of environmental information world wide so that Canadians can both access and contribute information. The network will facilitate the integration of environmental, social, and economic information; enhance analysis and interpretation capabilities; optimise environmental assessment; reinforce ability to report environmental information; and increase Canada's contribution to sustainable decision making globally.

Another network is the cooperative multi-agency Ecological Monitoring and Assessment Network (EMAN) which involves partners and agencies cooperating on various aspects of ecosystem research and monitoring. These partners interact for project planning and in the integration, synthesis, and interpretation of their results. Four major issues (climate change, biodiversity change, toxic effects, and UV-B radiation impacts) drive the network at the national level.

The federal Environmental Effects Monitoring programme is being created in partnership with industry and provincial governments to assess, predict, and mitigate the potential ecological impacts of effluent discharges on recipient aquatic ecosystems. These efforts are critical for establishing a scientific rationale for future policies supporting sustainable development in forestry and other resource-based sectors.

Environment Canada, in partnership with the US Environmental Protection Agency, is developing the Environmental Valuation Reference Inventory (EVRI). The EVRI contains a storehouse of valuation studies and will allow decision makers to incorporate the value of nonmarket environmental goods and services into policies and programs.

The Chimiotox index, developed by Environment Canada, is used to measure reductions in toxics. In March 1997, an overall reduction of 83 percent in toxic effluent was recorded for the 56 plants.

Environment Canada uses a wide variety of approaches to share knowledge and scientific information such as journals and other publications and CD ROMs. Science assessment and synthesis reports and information clearinghouse techniques are used to translate complex and voluminous scientific information into materials and volume that individual Canadians require for decision-making and support. The Action 21 page on Environment Canada's site on the World Wide Web focuses specifically on getting Canadians to take the innovative actions needed to create and sustain healthy environments in their communities.

Weather, ozone, and UV-B information, forecasts, and warnings are provided by the Atmospheric Environment Program (AEP).

Research and Technologies

Canadian aquatic research and development is designed to assess the impact of perturbations on water resources, find ways to repair degraded areas, and provide knowledge for policy development. The body of research ensures that the Canadian public and, in particular, resource managers, legislators, and regulators have access to the sound scientific advice necessary to protect aquatic ecosystems as a multi-user resource. Research and development is undertaken at institutes and within regional research laboratories of federal departments and agencies, through partnership with provincial and local governments, universities, industry, non-governmental organisations, Aboriginal groups, and the international science community. Increasingly, research initiatives are contained within federal, provincial, or multilateral agreements.

The Northern River Basins Study (NRBS), which was completed in 1996, aimed at examining the effects and relationships between human development and aquatic ecosystem conservation in the Peace, Athabasca, and Slave river basins. The study contracted about 150 projects or 'mini-studies' within eight scientific fields. These included contaminants, drinking water, food chain, hydrology/hydraulics, nutrients, other river uses, synthesis and modeling, and traditional knowledge. The study was developed as an ecosystem-based initiative, with community involvement as one of its central pillars. A 'lessons learned' report on the experiences of the study was prepared to serve future initiatives in the same field.

Environment Canada initiated the Mackenzie Basin Impact Study (MBIS) in 1990 requiring the cooperation and collaboration of scientists from many disciplines and stakeholders in the region. The MBIS was directed toward producing an integrated regional assessment of climate change scenarios for the entire Mackenzie River Basin watershed. This assessment included terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems, as well as the communities that depend on them.

Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) scientists from the Pacific and Yukon Region offices of Environment Canada have recently teamed up with university researchers from the University of Alaska, the Institute for Social and Economic Research, and the Institute of Arctic Biology to spearhead a project that examines the sustainability of Arctic communities that are dependent on a migratory caribou species for sustenance, and the possible effects of climate change. It is anticipated that the cooperative relationship evident in this project will result in local, regional, and national policies and practices that reflect the changing environment and ensure the continuation of a traditional relationship between native communities and wildlife.

Financing

Canadian research and development has traditionally obtained funding through a combination of agency budgets and a range of partnership and leverage arrangements conducted on projects of mutual interest with partners. Since 1994/95, the internal budgets have declined within all levels of government, as they have in other Canadian organisations. In response to these budget changes, Environment Canada, for example, has re-examined its mission and confirmed that "fostering a national capacity for sustainable development that will result in a safe and healthy environment and a sound and prosperous economy" continues to be valid. Agency funding is used to maintain and develop a targeted, expert workforce, but new approaches are now actively enhanced to build and mobilize effective partnerships to compensate for budgetary constraints.

Cooperation

International cooperation and collaboration in S&T is critical to the long-term strength of Canada's S&T effort. Canada has a long history of involvement in international S&T activities. Strong linkages to the international S&T community enable Canada to remain at the leading edge in key research areas, to formulate policy, standards, and regulations based on the most up-to-date information available, and to contribute its fair share to the global stock of knowledge. Given the growing importance of global threats to the environment, Canada will strengthen its international voice by meeting international commitments and assuming leadership positions to pursue its agenda.

Following are examples of the cooperation in science and technology:
The government is currently developing an International Science and Technology Framework to facilitate the coordination of federal investment in, and activities related to, international S&T. The framework is expected to address a variety of issues that are cross-cutting, that is, affecting more than one department or sector. These include framework policies such as are discussed in the OECD and the involvement of the government in supporting or promoting industrial R&D cooperation as it did in the Japanese-led Intelligent Manufacturing Systems Project.

The Boreal Ecosystems Atmosphere Study (BOREAS) is a large-scale joint international interdisciplinary field experiment, sponsored by the United States and Canada with involvement of the United Kingdom, France, and others. The goal of the study is to obtain an improved understanding of the exchanges of radiative energy, heat, water, carbon dioxide, and trace gases between the boreal forest and the lower atmosphere.

Canada participates in the global freshwater quality agenda by managing the GEMS/Water Collaborating Centre for UNEP and WHO. Environment Canada obtains financial support from United Nations agencies and Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada to implement the GEMS/Water program in Latin America and Asia. The Collaborating Centre develops formal collaborative mechanisms such as agreements and MOUs, develops a network of informal contacts in its area of interest and expertise, and receives considerable information regarding investment programs and strategies being planned by international agencies, multilateral agencies, and donor countries. Examples of international research or technology transfer that have provided opportunities to Canadian firms include collaboration with the Mekong Secretariat on water quality monitoring and software technology transfer; collaboration with the Argentina National Water Research Centre on water quality assessment and technology transfer of information systems and sediment sampling; collaboration and environmental information systems technology transfer with International Environmental Technology Centre in Japan; R & D collaboration on information systems with the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Japan, Germany, China, Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico; R & D collaboration on sediment and contaminant monitoring with Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Argentina, and China; R & D collaboration on screening tools for water quality diagnosis and monitoring in Mekong riparian countries, Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil.

Environment Canada participates in the Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment (GEWEX), which is a program initiated by the World Climate Research Programme to observe, understand, and model the hydrological cycle and energy fluxes in the atmosphere, at the land surface, and in the upper oceans. Environment Canada's work includes studies on cold region observatories and the analysis of precipitation data. Research projects emphasize the unique characteristics of the water cycle in northern Canada, focusing primarily on snow and ice.

NWRI/IDRC Watertox Project: WATERTOX is the acronym for a project led by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) entitled Toxicological Monitoring of Drinking Water in Developing Countries. The general objective of WATERTOX is to develop and validate a battery of simple and inexpensive bioassays for assessing the toxicity of natural and drinking waters appropriate for use in developing countries. National Water Research Institute (NWRI) staff in cooperation with IDRC have led two international workshops where the criteria and potential of such a battery of toxicity tests have been discussed. As a result of these activities, an international intercalibration network has been established with institutions in Argentina, Costa Rica, Columbia, Chile, Canada, India, Mexico, and the Ukraine.

Environment Canada is a contributing partner in the United Nations University - International Network on Water, Environment and Health (UNU/INWEH). The purpose of INWEH in Canada is to organize and integrate Canadian expertise in public health, environment, and aquatic ecosystem management, and make it available to developing countries to improve resource management decision making and to enable such countries to better put into practice the concept of sustainable development.

As Canada's leading freshwater research establishments, the National Water Research Institute (NWRI) and the National Hydrology Research Institute have developed a variety of specialized computer software that could be of value to environmental agencies, consulting firms, universities, and industries. To facilitate technology transfer, "NWRI Software" has been established as the marketing and distribution centre for the licensed and public domain software that is available from the institute. NHRI has also published a set of state-of-science texts on several themes. Scientific information is shared through a revitalized visiting scientist program that has attracted researchers from Japan, China, Germany, Russia, and the United Kingdom.

Various programs and projects are going on related to climate change. Canadian government R&D has produced widely accepted equilibrium climate-change scenarios; Fisheries and Oceans Canada has consolidated its climate research activities under the Oceans Climate Program (OCP); Environment Canada collaborates national and international partners; and research and development is done in conjunction with activities of the World Climate Research Programme through participation in initiatives such as the Arctic Climate System Study. Furthermore, scientific contributions are provided to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate. Domestically, R&D on climate science and impacts is being coordinated with federal partners through an MOU on S&T for sustainable development. Climate R&D through some 18 Canadian universities continues by means of the Climate Research Network.

Environment Canada is a member of the United Nations' World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

The Green Corps is a pilot program that promotes Canadian environmental expertise and approaches to sustainable development internationally. The broad objective of the program is to support the Canadian Environmental Industry Strategy through the development of partnerships that expand business opportunities and the competitiveness of the Canadian environmental industry.

Environment Canada's National Wildlife Research Centre (NWRC) has been working closely with land use planners and with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to develop methods for evaluating impacts on biodiversity of land use alternatives being considered at local and regional levels of government.

Environment Canada has established the International Environmental Management Initiative (IEMI) to transfer Canadian government and private sector knowledge relating to regulations, policies, and technical programs to developing countries and countries with economies in transition.

National Defence obtains significant information from our allies through various agreements. The most notable of these are the new NATO Research and Technology Organization; and the Technical Cooperation Panel, an international cooperative R&D agreement between Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Participation in these international endeavours provides access to a much larger S&T base than is available in Canada, thus keeping National Defence and its S&T partners at the leading edge of technological developments worldwide.

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Canada to the fifth and sixth sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: July 1998.

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INFORMATION

Decision Making: Coordinating Bodies

The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME), plays an important role in encouraging better information collection and use through state of the environment (SOE) reporting.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations

No information is available.

Decision Making: Strategies, Policies, and Plans

No information is available.

Decision Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

Some provinces, such as Quebec and Alberta, are carrying out state of the environment reporting. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), in cooperation with Environment Canada is developing a set of software tools to allow communities to develop their own sustainability indicators. Several agencies are developing environmental or sustainable development indicators.

Status

Information available for decision making has improved significantly during the past five years as understanding has advanced, and as mechanisms have been developed to provide timely and relevant advice to decision makers in both the public and private sectors. Noteworthy improvements have been achieved in the development of performance measuring systems such as the Environmental Management System. Indicators developed for municipal, provincial and federal decision making have also contributed to the goal of informed and evidence based policy making.

The availability and quality of sustainable development information at the national level can be summarized as follows:

Agenda 21 Chapters

Very good

Good

Some good data but many gaps

Poor

Remarks

2. International cooperation and trade  

X

     
3. Combating poverty  

X

     
4. Changing consumption patterns    

X

   
5. Demographic dynamics and sustainability  

X

     
6. Human health  

X

     
7. Human settlements  

X

     
8. Integrating E & D in decision-making          
9. Protection of the atmosphere

X

       
10. Integrated planning and management of land resources  

X

     
11. Combating deforestation  

X

     
12. Combating desertification and drought          
13. Sustainable mountain development          
14. Sustainable agriculture and rural development    

X

   
15. Conservation of biological diversity    

X

   
16. Biotechnology          
17. Oceans, seas, coastal areas and their living resources    

X

   
18. Freshwater resources    

X

   
19. Toxic chemicals  

X

     
20. Hazardous wastes    

X

   
21. Solid wastes    

X

   
22. Radioactive wastes          
24. Women in sustainable development          
25. Children and youth          
26. Indigenous people          
27. Non-governmental organizations          
28. Local authorities          
29. Workers and trade unions          
30. Business and industry          
31. Scientific and technological community          
32. Farmers  

X

     
33. Financial resources and mechanisms          
34. Technology, cooperation and capacity-building    

X

   
35. Science for sustainable development  

X

     
36. Education, public awareness and training          
37. International cooperation for capacity-building          
38. International institutional arrangements          
39. International legal instruments          
40. Information for decision-making          

Challenges

In a country such as Canada with many small, isolated communities, a major challenge is to ensure that access to information and networks is as broad as possible and available at a low cost in order to facilitate the empowerment of individuals and communities.

Capacity-Building, Education, Training, and Awareness-Raising

No information is available.

Information

Environment Canada is leading a federal effort to develop a comprehensive national set of environmental indicators for use by decision makers and the public. The indicators provide a representative profile of the state of Canada's environment and will help measure progress towards the goals of sustainable development. Research and development to improve and refine these indicators has continued through work carried out with other federal agencies and consultations with stakeholders. Environment Canada is now publishing environmental indicators regularly through its Environmental Indicator Bulletin series. By the end of August 1996, it had published 18 bulletins related to specific issue areas with accompanying technical supplements. Environment Canada is also developing a set of performance indicators by which to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of programmes.
Work on the development of sustainable development indicators is also underway within the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment and in individual provinces such as Quebec. The Canadian Council of Forest Ministers (CCFM) has produced a framework of criteria and indicators reflecting broad Canadian values on sustainable forest management. The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is involved in developing indicators for municipalities.

The multi-agency network of ecozone-based ecological science cooperative (ESCs) produces environmental information through hard-copy publishing, computer networks such as the Environmental Knowledge Network (EKN), and public media. Information is available on, among other topics, toxic chemicals, endangered species, weather and climate, and sustainable development successes. Environment Canada also develops decision-support software that automates some of the data-merging and analysis tasks that underlie environmental decisions. For example, the Residual Discharge Information System assembles the scientific, industrial, and geographical data needed to analyze trends in the emission of air-borne toxic chemicals by industry throughout Canada. Environment Canada is engaged in creating a framework to integrate data management across the department. The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) sets accounting, reporting and auditing standards for the business sector and the role of the accounting profession; accounting for environmental costs and liabilities; and Reporting on Environmental Performance, a guide for organizations. Provincial data bases, such as Alberta's Natural Heritage Information Centre are an important source of information for decision making.

Environment Canada's award winning World Wide Website, the Green Lane, gives Canadians access to information on domestic and international environmental issues and services, like weather. It is also being used to conduct consultations on strategic directions. Promotion of an evidence based decision making culture is an emerging priority within Environment Canada and within the federal government.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

The Canadian Standards Association has released standards on sustainable forest management based on CCFM's work that are designed to link to the Environment Management System of the International Standards Organization. The Canadian Standards Association is leading Canada's participation in the development of international standards for environmental performance evaluation. Statistics Canada is continuing work on satellite accounts to provide decision makers a measure of the depletion of natural capital.

Internationally, Canada is participating in the indicator development program of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Canada leads the OECD technical group that is working to specify common definitions and measurement techniques for indicators of sustainable management of forests. Under the North American Trilateral Committee on Environmental Information, Canada, the United States, and Mexico have agreed to work on a number of priority areas. One item concerns identifying and developing indicators representative of issues important to all three countries.

The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) provides assistance to developing countries to improve their access to information for decision making. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) intend to use the Canadian Municipal Environmental Directory to establish partnerships between Canadian and developing country municipalities. NirvCentre/WEB is the Canadian node of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) electronic network. It hosts the exchange of information among environmental and developmental NGOs in Canada, and connects Canada to the stream of computer communications between the north and south nodes of APC. The IISD uses NirvCentre/WEB to provide global access to its IISDnet, that carries Sourcebase and Linkages. Updated monthly, Sourcebase identifies key organizations, leading thinkers in sustainable development, and the best publications, communication vehicles, and electronic resources. Natural Resources Canada makes geographical and environmental information available on the INTERNET.

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Canada to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

Click here for information on Environmental Indicators Series.
Click here for sustainable development indicators.
Click here for the State of Information Information Base
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INTERNATIONAL LAW

Decision Making: Coordinating Bodies

Within Canada the distribution of responsibility between federal, provincial and territorial governments for sustainable development issues is complex. This is a source of constant challenge when Canada prepares for and participates in the negotiation of international legal instruments and in the subsequent implementation of those instruments. While the federal government conducts international treaty negotiations on behalf of Canada, responsibility for environment and sustainable development issues falls within the legislative jurisdiction of both the federal and provincial levels of government. This shared jurisdiction often requires federal and provincial governments to cooperate closely in order to fully implement Canada's international obligations.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations

No information is available.

Decision Making: Strategies, Policies, and Plans

Since UNCED, Canada has taken part in a series of global negotiations that devote particular attention to the needs and capacities of developing countries. For example, Canada has helped fund the process and the involvement of developing states in negotiating and implementing the Desertification Convention. Canada is also offering to host the Permanent Secretariat of the Convention in Montreal. Canada also worked with developing countries during the United Nations Conference on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks. Canada has signed the resulting international agreement which was adopted by consensus and ratification is a Canadian government priority.

Decision Making: Major Groups Involvement

The Protocol amending the Canada-United States Migratory Birds Convention is an example of significant change to a long-standing international agreement with environmental objectives. The Convention, dating from 1916, did not accommodate the traditional harvesting practices and evolving treaty rights of Aboriginal people in Canada. This limitation was one of the main reasons why the Protocol was negotiated. The participation of Aboriginal representatives on the Canadian delegation contributed to the successful conclusion of these negotiations.

Programmes and Projects

Negotiations are underway on a protocol to control persistent organic pollutants under the UN Economic Commission for Europe Convention on Long Range Transport of Air Borne Pollutants (LRTAP). Canada is playing a significant role in this process and recognizes the particular importance of this instrument for northern communities. A protocol to address transboundary pollution from heavy metals and a further protocol with respect to pollution arising from the emission of nitrogen oxides are also being negotiated under the LRTAP Convention.

Status

The North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC) is a trilateral initiative that has integrated sustainable development and environment concerns. This agreement between Canada, the United States, and Mexico came into force on January 1, 1994 as a companion agreement to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Another significant step forward is the NAAEC mechanism allowing individuals and organizations to make submissions alleging that a Party to the Agreement has failed to enforce its environmental laws effectively. The NAAEC calls for cooperation between the partner countries and it requires cooperation within these countries. The Canadian Intergovernmental Agreement for the implementation of the NAAEC in Canada recognizes that the federal, provincial, and territorial governments have distinct and complementary roles to play in achieving the goals of the NAAEC and the environmental goals of NAFTA. The governments of Alberta and Quebec, and soon Manitoba, with their signatures of the Intergovernmental Agreement, have or will become full partners in the implementation of the NAAEC. As a result, Canada is bound by the NAAEC in respect of matters within the jurisdictions of those governments.

Canada and Chile signed a process-verbal accepting the English text of the Canada-Chile Agreement on Environmental Cooperation which will be the companion agreement to the Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement in late 1996. Both agreements will be concluded as treaties in the near future and are expected to enter into force on June 2, 1997. Canada has a strong interest in reconciling trade and environment concerns in international legal instruments and is participating actively in intergovernmental fora dealing with this issue including the World Trade Organization (WTO) Committee on Trade and the Environment and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-Building, Education, Training, and Awareness-Raising

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

Under the auspices of the UN Environment Programme, Canada is participating in the International Negotiating Committee for an International Legally Binding Instrument for the Application of the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals in International Trade.

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This information was provided by the Government of Canada to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

Click here for information on International Enviornmental Relations.

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