2017-2020 Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy

Executive Summary

The Federal Sustainable Development Act defines Sustainable Development (SD) as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”Footnote 1, and its related Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) is the Government of Canada’s primary vehicle for sustainable development planning and reporting. In other words, the FSDS defines Canada’s vision of ensuring that Canada is one of the greenest countries in the world where citizens enjoy a high quality of life. The document also outlines how, as a country, we aim to turn our vision into a reality.

As deliverers of a key service to government, client departments and the public, the Department of Justice’s focus over the upcoming three years will be contributing to the aspirational goal of low-carbon government.Footnote 2 Justice aims to contribute in concrete and measurable ways to the Government of Canada goal of reducing our carbon footprint. By expanding the scope of the Department’s green procurement policy and by making further strides in developing sustainable workplace practices, the Justice Sustainable Development Strategy 2017-2020 aims to meet the Department’s commitments under the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy. It also aims to continue building a workplace culture that embodies the principles of sustainable development. 

Justice recognizes that workplaces with “strong cultures of sustainability strive to support a healthy environment and improve the lives of others while continuing to operate successfully over the long term.”Footnote 3 For this reason, the Department is committed to ensuring that it moves forward in developing a strong SD culture as part of its approach to attaining low-carbon government. Indeed, developing a culture of sustainability means ensuring that Justice understands that making low-carbon government the norm is about both sustainable workplace practices, such as the way staff consume paper, and sustainable workplace culture, such as addressing the way staff get to work and how they think about their own individual contribution to the Department’s goals.

Section 1: Context for the Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy

The 2016–19 FSDS presents the Government of Canada’s sustainable development goals and targets, as required by the Federal Sustainable Development Act. In keeping with the objectives of the Act to integrate environmental, social and economic considerations into decision making, and make such decisions more transparent and accountable to Parliament, the Department of Justice Canada supports reaching goals laid out in the FSDS through the activities described in this Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy.

Section 2: Sustainable Development in the Department of Justice Canada

The Department of Justice Canada strives to ensure that Canada has an accessible, fair and effective system of justice that reflects Canadian values, and to support the Government with effective and responsible legal advice and services. In doing so, the Department recognizes that achieving the goal of low-carbon government and of becoming one of the greenest countries in the world requires the adoption of an “SD culture” within the federal public service. The Justice Sustainable Development Strategy 2017-2020 reflects this view.

The Department’s approach to integrating SD into its practices builds upon this view, recognizing the importance of SD’s central observation, i.e. that advancing economic and social goals should not come at the expense of the environment. Instead, the aim should be to achieve a sustainable balance of economic and social progress alongside environmental health.

To that end, the Department strives to do its part by developing measurable, time-bound objectives that provide concrete evidence of the shift toward an SD approach to the way we work. At the same time, Justice will work to deepen its employees’ understanding and respect for their natural environment, and to ensure that they consider the potential environmental effects of proposed policies, plans and programs throughout governance and policy development. 

Our approach to the next three years aims to build on our previous successes. The Department aims to meet the expectations under the FSDS 2016-2019, and to demonstrate in concrete terms that Justice is contributing to a number of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)Footnote 4—both in its domestic work and internationally.

Indeed, the Department’s unique role already provides a number of opportunities for Justice to contribute to key SDG areas not mentioned in the FSDS, such as SDGs 5, 10, and 16. For example, Justice contributes to the creation of legislation, policies, programs and proposals that speak to gender identity and gender expression (SDG 5), e.g. #FreeToBeMe. It also plays a role in the delivery of Indigenous communities programs, the departmental pro bono programs, and the Indigenous Justice Program to ensure equal access to justice for all (SDG 10). In addition, the Department promotes the rule of law, security, human rights and access to justice through the delivery of legal technical assistance to foreign countries seeking to improve their justice system (SDG 16).

The Department views these activities, and others that aim to achieve greater diversity and inclusion, as part of its broader contribution to the United Nation’s SDGs. Looking forward, the Department’s SDG-related goals also aim to prioritize wellness and improve staff understanding of climate change as key elements in further developing the Department’s SD culture.

The Justice Sustainable Development Strategy identifies how the Department aims to contribute to the wider Government of Canada FSDS goals relating to sustainability over the three-year period from 2017-2020.

Section 3: Commitments for the Department of Justice Canada

Low-Carbon Government: The Government of Canada leads by example by making its operations low-carbon
Responsible Minister: All ministers

Low-Carbon Government

FSDS target(s)

FSDS Contributing Action(s)

Corresponding departmental action(s)

Contribution by each departmental action to the FSDS goal and target

Starting point(s) where available, and your choice of performance indicators for departmental actions

Program(s) in which the departmental actions will occur

Reduce GHG emissions from federal government buildings and fleets by 40% below 2005 levels by 2030, with an aspirational goal of achieving this reduction by 2025

Improve the energy efficiency of our buildings

  • Reducing the Department’s space footprint

A decrease in the space footprint using innovative and collaborative methods supports Justice’s efforts to reduce its overall GHG emissions

  • Percentage change in density of use, i.e. FTE/m2, for three offices undergoing lease renewal between April 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018

Real Property

Modernize our fleet

  • Developing fleet infrastructure

Investing in infrastructure that supports the use of less carbon-intensive vehicles today supports green vehicle choices in the future

  • Installation of two Electric Vehicle Charging stations

Real Property

Support the transition to a low-carbon economy through green procurement

  • Expanding the scope of the Justice Green Procurement Directive

Green procurement incorporates environmental considerations into purchasing decisions and is expected to motivate suppliers to green their goods, services and supply chain. GHG reductions are one area of consideration in green procurement

  • Change in the number of types of goods and/or services subject to the Justice Green Procurement Directive

Material

  • Increasing green procurement by 10%
  • Change in share of procurement (by $ value) where environmentally-friendly considerations exist over time

Material

  • Ensuring that all Procurement Specialists and acquisition card holders complete green procurement training
  • Share of Procurement Specialists and acquisition cardholders who have completed the Green Procurement training offered by the Canada School of Public Service

Material

  • Creating a crowd-sourced exchange for unused inventory  

Previously procured goods and services may, at times, serve the desired purpose. Reusing, recycling and repurposing goods and services supports Justice’s GHG reduction efforts from day-to-day activities

  • Launch of an internal platform for the exchange of unused inventory
  • Percentage change in volume of transactions (i.e. number of completed exchanges) over time

Management and Oversight

Promote sustainable travel practices

  • Decreasing the use of carbon-intensive modes of work-related travel within city centres

Actions taken to encourage staff to opt for less GHG-intensive modes of transport supports the Department’s efforts at reducing its overall GHG emissions coming from day-to-day workplace activity

  • Share of departmental spending on city-based work-related travel that is low-carbon

Material

  • Building staff awareness of the economic and environmental benefits of greener modes of transport
  • Count of communications promoting sustainable travel

Management and Oversight

Understand climate change impacts and build resilience

  • Implementing an online training module on the impacts of Climate Change

Factoring climate change into policy, programs, and operations is one of the most important ways the government can adapt to a changing climate and is consistent with the government’s risk management approach of enhancing the protection of public assets and resources and strengthening planning and decision- making

  • Implementation of training module
  • Share of staff who have completed the training
  • Modal score on knowledge test

Management and Oversight

Reduce GHG emissions from federal government buildings and fleets by 40% below 2005 levels by 2030, with an aspirational goal of achieving this reduction by 2025

Understand climate change impacts and build resilience (Cont’d)

  • Encouraging continuous dialogue on themes relating to Sustainable Development and Climate Change
  • Change in count of users following Justice Sustainable Development hashtags (#green/#vert) over time
  • Change in count of distinct users commenting on SD communications over time

Management and Oversight

Additional departmental sustainable development activities and initiatives

Starting point(s) where available, and applicable performance indicators for each departmental action

Program(s) in which the departmental actions will occur

Taking an integrated approach to climate change in JUS’ research and advice

Factoring potential climate change impacts into departmental research and advice is one of the key ways departments help ensure that are considered throughout the decision-making and deliberative cycles.  

  • Streamlining the Department’s Strategic Environmental Assessment processes

 

Implementation of changes to Strategic Environmental Assessment processes

Management and Oversight

Encouraging and enabling energy-efficient work practices

The promotion of energy efficient work practices and the procurement of energy efficient office equipment further supports the Department’s efforts at reducing its overall GHG emissions coming from day-to-day workplace activity.

 

 

 

  • Tracking and uncovering energy use trends in the computer network and, where feasible, promoting a downward trend in energy use
  • Change in average energy consumption (KwH) per user

Information Technology

  • Procuring and using energy efficient computing devices
  • Share of computing devices certified energy efficient

Information Technology

  • Engaging heavy paper and printing users in dialogues on how to change their practices
  • Number of engagement actions undertaken

Management and Oversight

  • Leveraging the power of digital platforms to enable greener, more collaborative ways of working
  • Change in the count of new Digital Workspace collaboration sites over time (Baseline year = 2016-17)

Information Technology

Additional departmental sustainable development activities and initiatives

Starting point(s) where available, and applicable performance indicators for each departmental action

Program(s) in which the departmental actions will occur

 

  • Change in the count of staff trained in the use of the Digital Workspace over time (Baseline year = 2016-17)

Information Technology

  • Reducing reliance on print publications
  • Ratio of digital subscriptions to print subscriptions in the Justice Library

Information Technology

  • Enabling the move towards fully digital official records
  • Publication of a standard

Information Technology

 

  • Change in the count of official digital records over time

Information Technology

  • Piloting activity-based workspaces
  • Completion of pilot project

Real Property

  • Increasing the use of digital meeting technologies by departmental committees
  • Change in count of departmental committees using digital meeting tools
    (Baseline year = 2016-17)

Management and Oversight

  • Piloting a digital briefing note process
  • Count of briefing notes used in the phased implementation of the digital briefing note process

Information Technology

  • Piloting e-signature processes
  • Count of processes piloted

Financial Management

 

  • Count of digital authorizations completed

Financial Management

  • Implementing a Computer-Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) system
  • Adoption of platform

Real Property

 

  • Count of completed requests processed

Real Property

Connecting Canadians with Nature: Canadians are informed about the value of nature, experiencing nature first hand, and actively engaged in its stewardship
Responsible Minister: Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Connecting Canadians with Nature

FSDS target(s)

FSDS Contributing Action(s)

Corresponding departmental action(s)

Contribution by each departmental action to the FSDS goal and target

Starting point(s) where available, and your choice of performance indicators for departmental actions

Program(s) in which the departmental actions will occur

By 2020, maintain or increase the number of Canadians that get out into nature – for example, by visiting parks and green space – and increase participation in biodiversity conservation activities relative to a 2010 baseline

 

 

 

 

 

Additional departmental sustainable development activities and initiatives

[This table is to capture additional actions, activities or initiatives that do not fit under any of the FSDS goals above. Please also use it to describe departmental work that is directly related to any of the UN Sustainable Development Goals]

Starting point(s) where available, and applicable performance indicators for each departmental action

Program(s) in which the departmental actions will occur

Encouraging and enabling Connecting with Nature at work

Workplace practices and supports that help staff access the natural environment during the work day aim to support the FSDS’ goal of Connecting Canadians with Nature as part of enabling a sustainable work-life balance.

 

 

 

  • Building workspaces using specific wellness criteria that help staff connect to nature when indoors, e.g. natural lighting
  • Change in count of workstations built using wellness criteria over time

Real Property

  • Enabling access to nature during work hours
  • Change in number of available lockers over time
    (Baseline year = 2016-17)

Real Property

  • Change in number of users with access to a changing area at work over time
    (Baseline year = 2016-17)

Real Property

Section 4. Integrating sustainable development

Further developing an SD culture at Justice requires a cross-sector, whole-of-Justice approach where the focus is on increasing staff understanding of how their individual actions impact climate change; increasing their desire to make behavioural changes, where needed; and increasing their awareness of how, as a community, the public service can build resilience and establish preventative practices that make a real difference. 

Continuous Dialogue

Justice aims to engage its employees using digital documents and tools as well as face-to-face practices in a continuous dialogue about SD over the next three years. These conversations will cover a variety of topics, such as each person’s impact on shared energy efficiency goals; alignment of work arrangements with SD; and identification of best practices in alternative ways of traveling and meeting, among others. Conversations will also reference documents and tools designed both to act as support materials and engagement tools with the Justice staff. For example, a version of the Justice Sustainable Development Strategy, which includes visuals and key metrics, provides staff with a narrative rationale for the actions undertaken, while a one-page Strategy “placemat” can be used as a desk or digital reference for those interested in mapping their activities to the goals and targets.

Awareness Training

The Department of Justice Canada is committed to the principle that each employee should understand how his or her actions may impact the trajectory of climate change and have a foundational understanding of how actions taken by the Department aim to address the challenges climate change poses. 

For this reason, the Department aims to ensure that all employees are provided with awareness training on this topic and that they understand how Sustainable Development is being addressed within the Department and at the Government of Canada level over the next three years.

Strategic Environmental Assessment

The Department of Justice Canada is streamlining its processes further to ensure that research and advice, particularly when it relates to policies, plans, or programs for the approval of the Minister or Cabinet, reflects consideration of any potential environmental impacts. As part of this streamlining exercise, the Department will communicate these changes to key stakeholders involved in research and advisory activities within the Department as well as all staff communications, to ensure that novel processes are adopted and yield the results desired.

Statements on the results of the Department of Justice Canada’s assessments are made public when an initiative that has undergone a detailed Strategic Environmental Assessment. The purpose of the public statement is to demonstrate that the environmental effects, including the impacts on achieving the FSDS goals and targets of the approved policy, plan or program, have been considered during proposal development and decision-making.

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