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6. Risk management

The Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) operates in a dynamic policy and fiscal environment, and it represents a collaborative, whole-of-government view of what 33 departments and agencies are doing in the area of environmental sustainability over the next three years.

The Sustainable Development Office (SDO) works interdepartmentally but is housed within Environment Canada (EC). EC has developed a Corporate Risk Profile, which provides a department-wide view of the most significant risks that may impact the achievement of EC’s mandate, strategic objectives and priorities, and the actions it is taking to mitigate them. FSDS is ranked as a high-risk program based on anticipated increased visibility and profile following tabling of the Strategy.   

A risk management analysis assists in identifying and analyzing potential risks and opportunities to meeting the mandate of the Act, which include external and internal risk events, and possible consequences of each risk should it occur. Once risks and mitigations to address them are identified, the SDO monitors these risks and, with the FSDS interdepartmental community, takes corrective action as needed.   

The 2013–2016 FSDS Risk Assessment was completed using EC methodology: "Integrated Risk Management Toolkit – Risk Taxonomy, Risk Template Development Guide, Risk Template" and was informed by the TBS's Guide to Integrated Risk Management.

Five FSDS risk management priority areas (those having the highest risk and most likely to occur) are described below:

  1. Risk that FSDS targets are not achieved, due to a continuously changing policy and fiscal environment, including jurisdictional responsibilities and the complexity of implementation requirements resulting in less than optimal environmental performance and broad reputational impacts. 
  2. Risk that FSDS Progress Reports are inaccurate and/or incomplete, due to insufficient data on target indicators collected/developed, precluding the ability of the FSDS to report fully on progress. 
  3. Risk that stakeholders do not understand the FSDS’s mandate and its relevance to federal environmental initiatives, due to ineffective communication, resulting in lack of support for the FSDS
  4. Risk that the FSDS is not considered across federal departments and agencies to support environmental decision-making, due to lack of awareness and/or conflicting priorities, resulting in decision-making that does not take the results of reporting against the FSDS goals and targets into consideration. 
  5. Risk that FSDS goals are not translated into measurable targets/implementation strategies, due to insufficient planning and/or consultation, leading to lack of progress towards implementing the FSDS

A number of current controls to address these concerns are already in place. Any additional mitigating actions based on residual risk will be implemented, and the risk assessment will be reviewed with the next cycle of the FSDS in 2016.


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