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Section 2

Sustainable Development in Natural Resources Canada

The sustainable development of Canada’s natural resources — including our vast energy reserves, minerals and metals, and forests — is a centrepiece of NRCan’s mandate achieved through the promotion of clean growth for these sectors. The Department supports Canada’s resource industries to ensure they remain a source of good jobs and enduring prosperity while also helping them to adopt innovative new ways to enhance their competitiveness, improve their environmental performance, strengthen their relationships with Indigenous peoples and build public confidence.

Of the 13 long-term goals outlined in the 2016-19 FSDS, the Minister of Natural Resources is responsible for leading on the Government’s Clean Energy goal and serves as a co-leader for both Clean Growth and Sustainably Managed Lands and Forests. As well, the Minister shares responsibilities for Low Carbon Government and is an important contributor on five other goals: Effective Action on Climate Change, Modern and Resilient Infrastructure, Healthy Coasts and Oceans, Pristine Lakes and Rivers, and Safe and Healthy Communities.

While NRCan’s departmental actions contribute to numerous FSDS goals at the same time, they are presented only once in this DSDS to avoid repetition.

Image representing FSDS Goal - Clean Energy

All Canadians have access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy
Minister of Natural Resources: lead

Canada already boasts one of the world’s cleanest electricity markets and its development of clean technology is leading to other innovative energy solutions. Building on this success will be essential to Canada’s transition to the low-carbon economy. A cleaner energy system will also lower our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while increasing Canada’s climate resilience and reducing our impact on our land and wildlife species.

The Prime Minister’s mandate letter to the Minister of Natural Resources makes clear that clean energy is a top priority. For example, by working with the provinces and territories, the Minister is developing a Canadian Energy Strategy to protect Canada’s energy security, encourage energy conservation, and bring cleaner, renewable energy onto a smarter electricity grid.

The Prime Minister has also asked the Minister to work with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and the Minister of Foreign Affairs to develop an ambitious North American clean energy and environmental agreement with the United States and Mexico.

In addition, the Minister leads or supports commitments under the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change to deliver the FSDS’s Clean Energy goal. This includes implementing new building codes and introducing energy efficiency measures to help Canadians understand their energy use and save money on their utility bills. It also includes establishing new electric vehicle charging stations as well as natural gas and hydrogen refuelling stations.

Image representing FSDS Goal - Clean Growth

A growing clean technology industry in Canada contributes to clean growth and the transition to a low-carbon economy
Minister of Natural Resources: co-lead

A strong economy and a clean environment must go hand in hand in the low-carbon economy. Investing in clean technology and supporting innovation is a key part of that and will help Canadian companies grow and position themselves as world leaders in the clean technology market.

The Prime Minister’s mandate letter to the Minister of Natural Resources confirms the Clean Growth goal as a top priority shared with the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and emphasizes the importance of supporting clean technology producers to tackle Canada’s most pressing environmental challenges while creating more opportunities for Canadian workers. One of the ways NRCan is doing all of this is by investing in clean energy technology to support the goals of Mission Innovation, a multi-country initiative to accelerate global clean energy innovation and make clean energy more widely available and affordable.

Image representing FSDS Goal - Sustainably Managed Lands and Forests

Lands and forests support biodiversity and provide a variety of ecosystem services for generations to come
Minister of Natural Resources: co-lead

Protecting and sustainably using lands and forests is necessary to ensure their long-term benefits for Canada. These benefits are diverse and include protecting habitat for wildlife populations and supporting the well-being of Canadians through ecosystem services, as well as contributing to the Canadian economy and preserving traditional uses of lands and forests by Indigenous peoples.

Under the Department of Natural Resources Act, the Minister is responsible for sustainable development and the responsible use of Canada’s forest resources, as well as enhancing the competitiveness of Canada’s forest products. In addition, the Forestry Act mandates the Department’s Canadian Forest Service to conduct research and provide information and advice to promote the protection, sustainable management, and wise use of forest resources. In September 2016, the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers also committed the federal, provincial and territorial governments to work together to develop a National Forest Bioeconomy Framework by fall 2017 to support further economic growth in a clean and sustainable manner.

Image representing FSDS Goal - Low Carbon Government

The Government of Canada leads by example by making its operations low-carbon
Minister of Natural Resources: support (lead for his portfolio)

The Government of Canada is committed to leading efforts to combat climate change while continuing to contribute to the broader economy. With its vast operations, its extensive use of goods and services and its procurement practices, the Government has an opportunity to support the transition to a low-carbon economy by stimulating the clean-tech sector, contributing to Canada’s international climate change commitments and realizing substantial cost savings.

NRCan is supporting this FSDS goal through a range of measures to reduce its carbon footprint, such as improving the energy efficiency of its own buildings, reducing its fleet emissions and modernizing its infrastructure to support the use of electric vehicles. In addition, NRCan supports other federal departments and agencies by providing technical advice to assist them in developing and implementing their own projects to save energy and reduce GHG emissions.

Image representing FSDS Goal - Effective Action on Climate Change

A low-carbon economy contributes to limiting global average temperature rise to well below two degrees Celsius and supports efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius
Minister of Natural Resources: support

Climate change is a pressing global problem that, if left unchecked, could affect the ability of future generations to meet their basic needs. Effective action on climate change starts with the transition to a low-carbon economy that reduces our GHG emissions while continuing to increase our prosperity.

Under the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, NRCan is leading on a wide range of initiatives that includes extending ENERGY STAR certification to industrial buildings, improving the energy efficiency of vehicles and investing in green infrastructure such as a national network of electrical vehicle charging stations. The Department also provides knowledge and tools to Canadian communities to adapt to a changing climate and plans for sectors to succeed in the new economy.

Image representing FSDS Goal - Modern and Resilient Infrastructure

Modern, sustainable, and resilient infrastructure supports clean economic growth and social inclusion
Minister of Natural Resources: support

Green infrastructure, which includes everything from water and wastewater systems and clean energy to climate resilient infrastructure (such as flood mitigation systems) and infrastructure to protect against climate change, preserves the natural environment, supports healthy and resilient communities, drives economic growth and improves our quality of life.

One of NRCan’s main priorities is to promote the transition towards low-carbon options in transportation, as well as improving international regulatory alignments by enhancing energy codes for buildings, to support this FSDS goal.

Image representing FSDS Goal - Healthy Coasts and Oceans

Coasts and oceans support healthy, resilient and productive ecosystems
Minister of Natural Resources: support

Canada has unparalleled ocean resources and protecting our waters is critical to the lives and livelihoods of all Canadians. Increased development and marine shipping provide economic benefits, but they also pose risks such as the potential for oil spills that have an environmental impact on our fisheries and coastlines. In addition, preserving and expanding marine protected areas will help address environmental challenges.

Working with other departments and agencies, NRCan generates scientific knowledge and conducts economic analysis to support better protection of our coasts and oceans and assist with oil spill prevention in targeted vulnerable areas.

Image representing FSDS Goal - Pristine Lakes and Rivers

Clean and healthy lakes and rivers support economic prosperity and the well-being of Canadians
Minister of Natural Resources: support

Healthy lakes and rivers sustain a rich variety of plants and animals. They also supply drinking water to millions of Canadians, provide opportunities for swimming, boating and recreational fishing, and support economic activities such as tourism, commercial fisheries, agriculture and shipping. All of these things can be threatened by pollution, climate change and invasive alien species of plants and animals that affect our lakes and rivers and the benefits they provide.

NRCan generates scientific knowledge to advance our understanding of lake and river ecosystems (including groundwater) and assists with protecting their health. The Department also works with partners to advance water quality and the health of these ecosystems through research and technology development that minimize the environmental effects of resource development.

Image representing FSDS Goal - Safe and Healthy Communities

All Canadians live in clean, sustainable communities that contribute to their health and well-being
Minister of Natural Resources: support

Ensuring that Canadians enjoy a clean, safe environment in which to live is important to their health and well-being. Among other things, this means reducing pollution to improve air quality, protecting them from harmful substances and preventing environmental emergencies (or reducing their impact if they do occur).

NRCan contributes to this FSDS goal by preventing and mitigating the impacts of natural and human-made hazards. For example, the Department develops early warning tools for these hazards and monitors environmental emergencies such as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes and landslides. Through its science and tools, NRCan assists other organizations with disaster management and ecosystem monitoring. The Department also enhances the safety and security of energy transportation infrastructure, such as oil and gas pipelines.



Table of Contents | Section 3



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