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9: Reporting strategy

Planning on the Government of Canada’s sustainable development activities will occur through the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) and at the departmental level through the annual Reports on Plans and Priorities (RPPs). Reporting on the results achieved regarding the Government of Canada’s sustainable development activities will occur through the FSDS Progress Report for FSDS goals and targets and Departmental Performance Reports (DPR) for department-specific targets and implementation strategies. A report on the progress of the federal government in achieving the goals and targets is required to be presented to the Minister of the Environment at least once every three years. The minister will table the FSDS [FSDA, 10(2)], and the triennial progress report on the federal government’s progress in implementing the FSDS, in both Houses of Parliament [FSDA, 7(2)].

Table 3 provides an overview of the planning and reporting mechanisms for the FSDS.

Table 3: FSDS planning and reporting mechanisms
Planning and reporting mechanismFSDSFSDS progress reportsRPP, DPR and websites
TimingEvery three years (2010, 2013, 2016, etc.)Within 3 years of the Act enactment and at least every three years thereafterAnnual (starting 2011–2012 RPP)
Lead agencyEnvironment Canada, Sustainable Development Office (PWGSC for Theme IV)Environment Canada, Sustainable Development Office (PWGSC for Theme IV)Departments / agencies
Level of detail

Themes I–IV

  • Goals
  • Targets
  • Implementation strategies

Themes I–III

  • Headline indicators
  • Targets

Theme IV

  • GGO headline indicator
  • FSDS-wide "roll-up" target indicators

Themes I–IV

  • Targets
  • Implementation strategies

Theme IV

  • Targets
  • Indicators


9.1 Government-wide

FSDS Progress Report

The first progress report will be completed by June 2011 and will focus on the process and actions taken to implement the FSDS. Subsequent progress reports will track the implementation of the FSDS, the progress related to results achieved, the integration of sustainable development into core planning and reporting processes, and the achievement of results as they pertain to the logic model. To the extent that it is applicable, the SDO will refer to the Office of the Auditor General’s Criteria for the Assessment of the Fairness and Reliability of Performance Information while preparing the progress reports.

For the purpose of reporting in the FSDS Progress Report, performance measures and environmental indicators have been developed. As appropriate, those performance measures and CESI environment indicators described in Appendix 3 will be included in the progress report. One set of performance measures introduced in the Performance Measurement Framework in Appendix 4 measures results against the logic model while the second set of indicators highlighted in Appendix 3 measure progress of the FSDS. Both sets of measurement will tell an important story regarding the federal government’s progress related to sustainable development. Additional detail regarding indicators for goals and targets is outlined below.

9.2 Departmental

FSDS headline and target indicators

The following section provides additional detail regarding the indicators that will be used to measure progress of the FSDS.

Themes I–III

The Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators (CESI) initiative will work with government departments to track progress of the targets for Themes I–III of the FSDS. Headline indicators will also provide a “state-of-the-environment” overview. Both the headline and target indicators are environmental-based indicators that measure changes in the state of the environment. Four criteria were considered in the selection of these indicators:

  • policy relevance: represents the FSDS goals and targets;
  • utility: meets the needs of decision-makers and the public;
  • soundness: provides consistent and solid methodology, comparable over time; and
  • data availability: uses existing high-quality data with adequate coverage.

CESI will report the results of the environmental indicators for the FSDS goals and targets at minimum once every three years through the progress reports.

Departmental performance measures will be used to track progress towards completion of their respective implementation strategies in Themes I–III.

Theme IV

For Theme IV, a new performance reporting framework (see Appendix 3) has been developed that establishes common performance measures that each FSDS department will report on in their Reports on Plans and Priorities and Departmental Performance Reports. This marks the first time that departments and agencies will publicly report in a consistent manner on greening government operations.

These standardized performance measures will allow for the aggregation of government-wide greening government operations efforts. 

To support departments and agencies, PWGSC has developed the Guideline to Reporting in the Greening Government Operations Supplementary Table, which provides guidance on the completion of the Greening Government Operations Supplementary Table in annual Reports on Plans and Priorities and Departmental Performance Reports.   

As some of the Theme IV targets require departments and agencies to develop departmental targets and performance measures, PWGSC has also developed a series of target-specific guidelines that relate to the establishment, scoping and implementation of departmental FSDS greening government operations targets. These guidelines will assist departments in developing targets that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound.

9.3 Departmental sustainable development strategies (RPPs/DPRs/websites)

Departments are meeting the legal requirement to develop departmental sustainable development strategies by reporting sustainable development activities related to the FSDS in their RPPs and on departmental websites. Progress will be reported through DPRs and departmental websites. Departments may also choose to report on additional sustainable development activities not captured in the FSDS in their RPPs and DPRs.

  • Section I and II of the RPP / DPR will contain information at the strategic outcome, program activity and key sub activity levels
  • Section III of the RPP / DPR will contain information on Greening Government Operations activities (i.e. FSDS Theme IV, green procurement, purchase of GHG offset credits for major international events).  Specifically, the Greening Government Operations Supplementary Table contains standardized performance measures, as well as a traffic-light based self-assessment which will allow departments, in their DPRs, to summarize their overall progress on achieving each target.
  • Section IV of the RPP / DPR will highlight departmental activities pertaining to Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEAs) and sustainable development activities. If required, more information will be made available on a publicly-accessible departmental website.

The following graphic, used to illustrate FSDS reporting in the 2011–2012 RPP, further describes this breakdown.

Details can be found below.

Federal Sustainable Development Strategy reporting in the 2011–2012 Report on Plans and Priororities, click to enlarge

In support of this reporting approach, EC, TBS and PWGSC provide both written and verbal guidance to departments and agencies. 

  • The TBS releases guidance that is developed in collaboration with SDO and PWGSC regarding the RPP submission requirements.
  • PWGSC released the Guidelines for Reporting in the Greening Government Operations Supplementary Table.
  • EC developed a guidance document entitled Guidance for the department website component of Sustainable Development and Strategic Environmental Assessment reporting in the 2011–2012 RPP.

Each department’s RPP and DPR is housed on the TBS website.

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