Sustainable Development

What's New?:

The Government of Canada would like your input on the draft Federal Sustainable Development Strategy 2016–2019. Visit the Strategy website to review the Strategy and help us make it better. Your comments are welcome throughout the consultation period which ends June 24, 2016.

In 1987, the World Commission on Environment and Sustainable Development (Brundtland Commission) defined sustainable development as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Fundamental to Sustainable Development is a common understanding that development is essential to satisfying human needs and improving quality of life, but that it must be based on the efficient and responsible use of natural, human, and economic resources.

Canadian communities from coast to coast depend on the natural resources sector for their livelihood. In no other sector does the concept of sustainable development mean more or hold such promise for positive long-term outcomes. Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) recognizes that sustainable development is an opportunity to harness our knowledge and innovation to achieve societal goals and economic success.

NRCan’s vision is to improve the quality of life of Canadians by creating a sustainable resource advantage

Underpinning NRCan’s vision is the premise that environmental and social performance is increasingly driving the competitiveness of natural resource sectors. NRCan strives to lead the integration of sustainability and competitiveness for the long-term benefit of Canadians.

Sustainable Development and NRCan’s Mandate

Sustainable development is central to the mandate of NRCan and essential to the future of the natural resources sector. This department is charged with the federal responsibility for ensuring the sustainable development of Canada’s energy resources, minerals and metals, and forests, and for providing the geographical and geological information base that supports decisions about Canada’s land-based and offshore resources. The Department of Natural Resources Act states that “in exercising the powers and performing the duties and functions assigned to the Minister ... the Minister shall have regard to the sustainable development of Canada’s natural resources and the integrated management thereof.” Through legislation, the Minister of Natural Resources is responsible, among other things, for:

  • Fostering the integrated management and sustainable development of Canada’s natural resources; and
  • Encouraging the responsible development and use of Canada’s natural resources, and the competitiveness of Canada’s natural resource products.

NRCan’s mandate includes federal responsibility for international trade in the area of natural resources and allied industries. The Department is also responsible for negotiating Science and Technology agreements with foreign partners, and addressing market-access questions. NRCan works with a variety of partners - governments, industry, academia, non-government organizations and individual Canadians - to ensure that sustainable development principles are integrated not only here in Canada, but also around the world.