ARCHIVED - Key Result 1: Canadians make better decisions that advance sustainable development

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Final Progress Report on NRCan's Sustainable Development Strategy - Moving Forward


Of the 106 Targets:
  • 95 have been completed.
  • 1 target is in progress (on schedule to be completed within the timeframe outlined in the target).
  • 4 targets have been terminated (activities are no longer part of NRCan’s programs).
  • 6 targets have been revised (to reflect operational conditions and to ensure their successful completion).
A Snapshot of Some Accomplishments

The Canadian economy has continued to be buoyed by the sustainable development and use of our natural resources. In 2006, the forestry, mining, earth sciences and energy sectors accounted for 13% of Canada’s economy representing a 1% increase from 2000.

  • NRCan committed to improving decision making at all levels of Canadian society so that social, economic and environmental considerations would be thoroughly integrated in decision-making processes. NRCan realizes that sound decision-making requires the support of comprehensive, integrated, and available information. As such, since knowledge and ability — together with commitment — create the conditions under which sustainable development can take place, NRCan achieved results in priority areas related to providing better science, integrated and accessible data, assessment and evaluation tools, technology innovation, informed leadership, outreach and education.
  • Significant efforts have been made to expand and refine the modelling capacity for energy supply/demand, and emissions, which was used to produce a new detailed forecast, released in 2006 (the Outlook). The report was developed in consultation with other federal departments as well as provincial/territorial governments. It has been used as a base for national discussions on energy supply and demand, including related environmental implications, and for the federal government’s new Clean Air Plan, released in 2007. The Outlook includes detailed provincial data and has been used to support policy decisions of some provincial governments. Overall, the outlook increases knowledge and national capacity to make informed decisions and ultimately enables Canada to ensure a continued contribution of energy resources to our economy.
  • By enabling Canadians to make better decisions that advance sustainable development, NRCan in partnership with the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada, The Mining Association of Canada, and the Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada produced the Mining Information Kit for Aboriginal Communities. This educational tool strengthens the ability of Aboriginal peoples and communities to understand all aspects of mining development for sound decision making and identify the many opportunities that mining can bring to communities. The Kit is designed to be a meaningful tool to be used by Aboriginal communities and leaders, governments and industry. It includes easy-to-read description of the activities at each stage of the mining sequence, the environmental and social impacts, and examples of concrete opportunities of communities to get involved. Apart from the basic information on how the mining industry works, the Kit also includes explanations of how it can contribute to build sustainable communities and present community experiences. The Kit was distributed to many Aboriginal peoples and organizations as well as educators, mining companies and associations across Canada. Since its release in 2006, the Kit has attracted international interest from many regions including Latin America, Northern Europe, Asia and Australia, and has been recognized as a tool to encourage capacity building and reinforce Industry-Indigenous Communities’ relationships.
  • An ecosystem approach is holistic by nature and addresses economic, social and environmental considerations. Given that no clear definition of ecosystem-based forest management exists and that its implementation remains the object of national and international debate, NRCan examined its implementation in the Canadian context and assessed scientific and technical tools currently available that could be used to implement ecosystem management on forested landscapes. Among other achievements to help foster a greater understanding of this issue, NRCan organized a Science Policy Dialogue entitled "Sectors Across Forested Landscapes: Sustainable Systems through Integration and Innovation". The session:
    • shared knowledge on best management practices contributing to the implementation of the Ecosystem Approach in Canada’s forests;
    • stimulated the integration of best management practices across sectors and scales;
    • developed input for Canada’s position at the 12th meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
  • The BC Ministry of Environment invited NRCan to give introductory remarks at the Okanagan Groundwater Symposium in Penticton, B.C. in January 2007. The Program Manager spoke to a group of researchers, scientists, planners and policy-makers to convey research activities that are currently being carried out by a network of researchers as part of the Groundwater Assessment for the Okanagan Basin project (GAOB), as well as to discuss the future of groundwater in the valley. The GAOB is a joint initiative between B.C. Ministry of Environment and NRCan and is a multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional initiative and has several partners including university scientists and municipalities. GAOB has been assessing groundwater in the Okanagan Valley for the last three years with the aim to determine how much groundwater is there, how it can be managed and how much will be needed in the future.

    At the symposium, the Okanagan Waterscape poster was officially unveiled and a presentation was made on the results of a recent joint groundwater research project by the province of BC, NRCan, and academic researchers. The Symposium also highlighted the groundwater resources research, climate change impacts and land-use planning as having an impact on the water resource in the valley.
  • In 2005-06, the Groundwater Program brought to completion the assessment and mapping of six key regional aquifers, and added this information to the National Groundwater Database. The information provided in this database, including departmental hydrogeology data, provided valuable information to numerous federal, provincial and municipal organizations, including nine municipalities in the Greater Toronto Area. Moreover, hydrogeological data was used to analyze land use and water management issues in order to support decisions regarding the protection of groundwater assets.
  • NRCan worked with partners to facilitate continuous improvements to the investment climate for the Atlantic offshore oil and gas sector and increase opportunities for Canadians while minimizing the effects to the natural environment. Improvements include innovative and more efficient regulation for sustainable development of offshore oil and gas, and enhanced competitiveness without reduced protection. As such, NRCan signed an MOU for the concurrent regulatory and environmental review of oil and gas projects offshore Nova Scotia and Newfoundland with the ministers of Fisheries and Oceans, Transport and the Environment, in addition to provincial ministers and the Chief Executive Officers of the National Energy Board and the two Offshore Boards.

More information on NRCan’s progress for Key Result #1 can be found in the tables below.

Action 1.1: Provide knowledge and decision-support tools for resource decision-makers
Number Target Status Achievements / Next Steps By 2004, initiate the deployment, in increments, of the National Forest Information System. Completed

This program has been integrated into the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers (CCFM ) Information and Knowledge Working Group (IKWG). A three year work plan has been submitted that extends to 2010/2011. The NFIS infrastructure is in place in all jurisdictions with the exception of Nunavut and Quebec. Deployment discussions were held with Nunavut and actions for deployment are planned for this year. Discussions with Quebec continue.

- NFIS is supporting: (1) the National Forestry Database Program (NFDP), (2) the National Forest Inventory (NFI), (3) the National Afforestation Inventory, (4) the Sustainable Forest Management Reporting, (5) the Canadian Council on Environment Areas’ Conservation Areas Reporting and Tracking System (CARTS) and (6) the Boreal Initiative. The Canadian Forest Genetic Resources Information System (CAFGRIS) application for assessing gene conservation was developed and deployed on NFIS. All of these activities are ongoing.

- The NFIS infrastructure (called CFSNet) has also been deployed in all CFS regional centres and Head Quarters (HQ). Work is focusing on developing tools and loading Canadian Forest Service (CFS) information holdings (e.g. Canadian Wildland Information System interactive maps were made available this year).

- NFIS and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the National Land and Water Information Service continue to collaborate to avoid duplication of efforts. NFIS is being maintained and is an ongoing program. By 2005, complete initial establishment of the National Forest Inventory. Completed

The purpose of the National Forest Inventory (NFI) is to assess and monitor the extent, state and sustainable development of Canada’s forests in a timely and accurate manner. By collecting and reporting information to a set of uniform standards, it allows for consistent reporting across the country on the extent and state of Canada’s land base to establish a baseline of where the forest resources are and how they are changing over time.

The installation of the NFI is complete and analysis of the data has begun. Two indeterminate staff have been hired and the production of the NFI Baseline report is still planned for completion in December 2007.

Publication and release of this report will follow. By 2006, initiate 5-year re-measurement cycle for photo/satellite plots and a 10-year re-measurement cycle for ground plots. Completed

The NFI is an ongoing program that provides information used to meet national and international reporting requirements on sustainable forest management (SFM), carbon mitigation and ecosystem monitoring/biodiversity. To date, the installation of the NFI has been completed. Using baseline information gathered in the NFI, a Baseline Report will be prepared (target date: December 2007) with publication following as soon as possible. An operational trial of the ongoing measurement and delivery of the NFI is scheduled in several jurisdictions during 2007-2008.

Photo/satellite and ground plots have been established to gather the information used in the NFI. The ongoing measurement of these plots and delivery strategy is based on a 10-year inventory cycle with 5 year formal reporting and the production of interim estimates. Both photo and ground plots are grouped into national remeasurement panels, each representing Canada’s landmass. Approximately 1/10 of the plots are measured each year. The remaining plots are updated for major disturbances.   Interim estimates of change will be based on remeasured plots and plots that are updated, through disturbance mapping or growth projection, to reflect change. Tools and protocols required for the ongoing measurement and delivery of the NFI have been defined and required elements are in place to allow the operational trial to begin in 2007-08. By 2006, develop products from remote sensing tools and methods. Completed

Copies of the Earth Observation for Sustainable Development of Forests (EOSD) program supports the development of a national map of the forested land cover of Canada with the long term goal of producing not only land cover maps, but maps of forest composition, change over time, and biomass. Inputs from EOSD will be an important data source in the National Forest Carbon Accounting Framework and will also be used to enhance Canada’s new plot-based National Forest Inventory.

Land cover products (e.g. Pine Marten habitat mapping in Newfoundland, flooded area mapping in Northern Quebec, and estimation of deforestation and CO2 emissions from Quebec Hydro-Quebec reservoirs, etc.), generated through the EOSD program, have been completed. Products are available and accessible to the public. Components of the EOSD project will continue. By 2004, develop report describing contributions of woodlots to society. Completed

The Private Woodland Owners — Meeting the Stewardship Challengereport was prepared, printed, and was distributed. Copies are available since September 2004 from the Canadian Model Forest Program Secretariat (613) 992-5874 or online, at: cmfn/en/publications/ publications/ publications_record.aspx?title_id=3360

The report highlights woodlot owner contributions to stewardship across Canada and provides background information for further discussion within the woodlot community on current and future challenges. By 2006, develop report providing a quantitative valuation of benefits. Completed

Five regional workshops on "Valuing Ecological Goods and Services" from the forest were held, and a summary document was completed. In addition, a report on quantitative measures to assess the non-market values and benefits of woodlots to Canadian society was completed. The report entitled “Valuing the contribution of private woodlots to society: a focus on riparian areas in a New Brunswick watershed” was published and copies can be obtained from the Canadian Model Forest Network Secretariat. By 2004, complete an initial component of the database on alien invasive insects (Scotylidae) with bioclimatic modelling capacity. Completed The Scotylidae data, and initial component of the alien invasive species database, are now available through the NFIS website ( The bioclimatic modelling tool is available at Http:// Linkage of the data and the tool through the Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility node was completed in 2004-05. By 2004, hold a workshop to bring together partners. Completed

A workshop to discuss species-habitat interactions was held in June, bringing key players in indicators development and reporting together with experts involved in wildlife conservation and management. Experiences and ideas on a shared approach to improve information collection and management, monitoring and reporting on species and habitat were exchanged.

Recommendations to the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers C&I Task Force and the National Forestry Database Program (NFDP) Committee were formulated and consolidated. In addition to the development of templates for reporting on biodiversity indicators in 2005, the initiation of a National Biodiversity Indicators Working Group, reporting to the (NFDP) Committee was recommended. Its mandate would be to address issues associated with reporting on biodiversity indicators and proactively prepare Canada for the next C&I report and other forest biodiversity reporting commitments under the Convention on Biological diversity and the Canadian Biodiversity Strategy. By 2005, develop a database on forest associated species at risk. Completed This activity has been completed. The database is being updated on a regular basis for future reporting exercises. A plan to enhance the database with spatial information has been established and its execution is pending funding. This would allow to monitor NRCan compliance to theSpecies at Risk Act. By 2006, complete additional components of the database on alien invasive species. Target revised The capture of label data associated with archived specimens of non-native arthropod fauna and fungal flora on trees has been completed for most Canadian Forest Service (CFS) collections and for the Canadian Collection of Insects, Arachnides and Nematodes. The final details will be completed shortly. The data will be used to develop distribution maps and for analysis of rates and patterns of range expansion. These finding will be incorporated into the CFS/Canadian Food and Inspection Agency (CFIA) invasive alien species web site. The vast majority of components have been added to the database. The work is scheduled to be completed in the course of FY 2007-2008. By 2004, develop a series of customized web sites allowing direct access to statistical information, in collaboration with provinces and territories. Completed A secured worksheet web site has been developed to facilitate the transfer of statistical knowledge in collaboration with the provinces and territories. To date, the following provinces have agreed to work together: British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador. By 2004, verify that historical trade and mine production statistics are of the highest quality and accuracy. Completed Accurate and timely massive production and trade information and statistics were provided to clients, partners and stakeholders including provinces, territories and Statistics Canada on an ongoing basis during 2004. National minerals and mining statistics released were among those statistics. By 2006, verify mineral exploration expenditures and use data. Completed Policy analysis was provided to Canada’s Mines Ministers by means of a workshop presentation on declining base-metal reserves and lack of replenishment through exploration during their September 2005 Conference in St. Andrews, New Brunswick. Potential measures to mitigate the problem were presented in the “Taxation Issues for the Mining Industry” report that was tabled during the same Conference. NRCan will coordinate the preparation of the 2006 version of the annual report “Overview of Trends in Canadian Mineral Exploration” for the Intergovernmental Working Group on the Mineral Industry. As well, data and analysis on Canadian ore reserves of important metals will be published in the Canadian Minerals Yearbook. These sources of information, together with further analysis on tax measures, will be used to brief the Ministers during their August 2006 Conference in Whitehorse, Yukon. By 2004, complete an evaluation of the status of ecosystem-based forest management in Canada. Completed A report entitled "Ecosystem Management in Theory and Practice" outlining six necessary ingredients for successful implementation of ecosystem-based forest management (EBFM) and an accompanying survey describing the Canadian experience in the implementation are available as input to a symposium/workshop on the subject. The proceedings from the XII World Forestry Congress were published in early 2005, containing additional discussion on an ecosystem-based approach to classifying and reporting on conservation and sustainable use activities. That report will also be used as input to the workshop (cf. target By 2005, complete a report on the ecosystem approach and its relationship to sustainable forest management. Target revised A proceeding/report on the implementation of the ecosystem approach to natural resources management will be developed from the outcomes of the Canadian Forest Service Science Policy Dialogue entitled "Sectors across Forested Landscapes: Sustainable Systems through Integration and Innovation" that was held on May 24-25, 2007 (see target This activity is pending the completion of activity Finalization of the report is targeted for January 2008. By 2006, hold a workshop to review the evaluation and report, and to identify opportunities for partnerships to implement an ecosystem approach to sustainable forest management. Completed A Science Policy Dialogue entitled "Sectors Across Forested Landscapes: Sustainable Systems through Integration and Innovation" was held. The objectives of the workshop were to: (1) share knowledge on best management practices contributing to the implementation of the ecosystem approach in Canada’s forests, (2) stimulate the integration of best management practices across sectors and scales, and to (3) develop input for Canada’s position at the 12th meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice of the Convention on Biological Diversity. By 2004, coordinate discussions among partners with a view to refining the tools and methodologies to measure indicators of sustainable forest management. Completed Initial discussions with Canadian Forest Service (CFS) researchers regarding opportunities to support the new Canadian Council of Forest Ministers (CCFM ) forest communities working group have taken place; working group terms of reference and work plans have been drafted; cross-link between sustainable forest management (SFM) and social economic indicators is being examined. By 2004, conduct discussions with international partners aimed at further refining and harmonizing Montreal Process indicators and Canadian Council of Forest Ministers indicators of sustainable forest management. Completed As a first step, CFS representation and participation to the 2004 Montreal Process (MP) Technical Advisory Committee meeting provided the opportunity to share with international partners the CCFM review of the development of the MP draft indicator revision process. Following this meeting, the CFS has collaborated continuously to the work of this committee to ensure that Montreal Process Criteria and Indicators are similar to the Canadian ones. By 2004, provide free access to accurate, consistent, current online national maps. Completed Online national scale maps dealing with various aspects of sustainable development are currently available through The Atlas of Canada, By 2005, provide tools to allow simple inclusion of national maps in any Government of Canada Web site. Completed Provided on-line, through a reusable service, the delineation of named natural features in Canada. By 2006, deliver online national maps to citizens through a number of Government of Canada Web sites. Completed Published on-line maps relevant to Canadians including a new Canadian watershed map, 27 new thematic maps and the integration of the 1:1 million scale-based Atlas Gazetter. By 2006, complete Canadian coverage of basic geospatial information layers (geographical names, atlas thematic frameworks, transportation networks and satellite ortho-imagery) will be produced and upgraded periodically. Target revised Target met for geographical names, atlas thematic frameworks and satellite ortho-imagery. The datasets are completed and currently in maintenance mode. The national road network of the transportation networks layer is also completed and in maintenance mode, while the work on the Railway and Energy Networks was delayed and will be completed when funding is secured. By 2006, Canadian coverage for elevation data and hydrographic network layers will be 60% complete. Target revised National Digital Elevation Coverage target of 60% was met. By April 2008, issue the first release of the Canadian National Hydro Network (NHN) layers through the GeoBase geospatial data portal. By 2006, provide base geospatial information and earth observation imagery. Completed The program surpassed its production targets for production of geospatial information for Nunavut and Northwest Territories. A total of 5588 NTS sheets or 84% of the 3 Territories coverage at 1:50,000 scale are now available through GeoGratis. Out of that, 336 new data sets have being produced using existing aerial photographs and recent Landsat-7 and ERS Imagery. A total of 4015 NTS sheets or 60% of total coverage have been also fully updated. The program introduced efficiencies and innovation into its production processes and price of contracts to industry are going down by around 10%. By 2006, operate a legal survey system in support of the extent of property rights. Completed The legal survey system in support of the extent of property rights has been established and is therefore completed. This is currently an on-going operational activity within the service-to-government program called Canada Lands Survey System (CLSS). This program protects property rights and ensures the foundation for development activities on Canada Lands by, among other activities, providing a public repository of Canada Land Survey System records, and by providing survey instructions and cadastral information infrastructure, and boundary assessments in order to prevent boundary uncertainties from impeding economic development of communities and natural resources. By 2006, provide access to a national geodetic reference frame. Completed Timelines of delivery for GPS tracking data continues to improve and is now at the 98.9% availability level. Target was met, project is continuing under Canadian Spatial Reference System (CSRS). By 2006, develop techniques and methodologies to portray and integrate geospatial information. Completed Canadian public and private sectors have reliable and timely access to current and long-time series earth observation data received and archived ranging from 95% to 99% availability and available for online access from 30 minutes (raw) to 2 hours (processed) from start of reception for near-real-time. Increased level of RADARSAT-1 product dissemination to support the Canadian Space Agency’s project. RADARSAT-1 archive project started in FY 2006/2007 and will continue over3 years using RADARSAT-2 infrastructure to harmonize archive access. By 2007, complete conversion of map-based geospatial products to digital environment in order to permit digital image and cartographic mapping, seamless integrated databases, real-time mapping and print-on-demand. Completed By the end of March 2007 half a million aerial photos of the National Air Photo Library (NAPL) were scanned at high resolution to be made available to clients in digital form. All 3 maps were digitized in vector form and integrated into the seamless Geospatial Database in CTI Sherbrooke. By 2004, complete a forecast providing a benchmark of emissions and energy use for governments and stakeholders. Completed A forecast providing a benchmark of emissions and energy use for governments and stakeholders was completed.
Action 1.2: Undertake science and technology and develop strategies to advance resource stewardship
Number Target Status Achievements / Next Steps By 2005, develop a National Seafloor Mapping Strategy in conjunction with federal partners. Completed National Sea Floor Mapping Strategy was delivered as priority areas continued to be mapped. By 2005, NRCan will develop a national strategy on forest alien invasive species, integrating environmental, economic and social risks, in partnership with Environment Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Completed The draft Forest Invasive Alien Species (FIAS) Strategy that was distributed to the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers in 2005 served as the basis for the CFS FIAS Science & Technology Program. This Program is now being implemented, in close collaboration with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), who has the regulatory responsibility for preventing introduction on alien invasive species into the country. While the FIAS Strategy is now completed, the analytical work done to support it has contributed to the development of a National Forest Pest Strategy (NFPS), which will include all forest pests, both alien and native. The CFS is working with Alberta and British Columbia, under the auspices of the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers, to develop the NFPS. By 2007, develop predictive models for hydrocarbons of prospective northern basins and all known mineral deposit types over 15% of the North. Completed

The resource assessments for two areas never previously assessed quantitatively are underway – Mackenzie Corridor and Gulf of St. Lawrence areas. The plays that are to be assessed have been defined and collection of the relevant data is now being carried out. The definition of possible plays in the third major new assessment that for the Labrador Shelf will begin this year.

Legacy data from previous petroleum exploration cycles in the Arctic Islands have been assembled and made publicly available using corporate data bases.

The Northern Resources Development (NRD) Program has made significant progress toward an expanded and improved public geoscience knowledge base for the territories and the northern parts of the provinces. New exploration has occurred across the North, initiating or accelerating the creation of opportunities for northerners to participate in local development. By 2005, provide input on natural geochemical backgrounds to federal and provincial policies on water quality and on Canada-wide mercury standards. Completed

NRCan provided input on natural geochemical backgrounds to federal and provincial policies on water quality and on Canada-wide mercury standards. The former information was used by Health Canada, the Nova Scotia Department of Health Promotion and Protection, and the Nova Scotia Department of Energy to undertake risks assessments associated with human exposure to potentially toxic metals associated with historic gold mines in Nova Scotia. Environment Canada used the later information to develop national guidelines for mercury related to emissions from coal fired plants across Canada. By 2005, provide input on natural geochemical backgrounds to federal and provincial policies on water quality and on Canada-wide mercury standards. Completed Completed. By 2006, achieve an annual overall efficiency of 75% in local power generation systems through advances to increase the percentage of the residual heat that is produced along with the generation of power. Completed Field trials in Ottawa and Montreal have demonstrated that overall efficiency greater that 75% can be achieved from small scale power systems. Research conducted in Ottawa, in partnership with a commercial building developer and a natural gas utility, provided significant experience regarding codes and standards required by regulatory agencies. The increase in gas costs relative to the power prices has affected the economic prospects of gas-fired generation, thus increasing the need to also have a high-efficiency heat recovery for this type of power generation. Management of the micro-turbine of 30 kW has been transferred to Minto Suites in 2005-2006. Efficiencies above 75-80% have been consistently achieved for many sequential months. Work is under way to update Canadian standards related to connections to the grid of small generating systems and the project has given valuable data for the update. Project completed. By 2006, achieve a reduction of 10% in the costs for renewable energy systems in off-grid communities, coupled with a 10% reduction in the use of conventional fuel in the communities. Completed Preliminary results from a demonstration of a hybrid wind - diesel power generation in an isolated community (demo in Ramea, Newfoundland), optimization and benchmarking of solar energy use in off-grid communities (in collaboration with the Yukon Energy Solution Center), and monitoring of several novel photovoltaic hybrid systems (e.g. Xeni Gwet’in First Nations community in British Columbia) indicate that at least 10% fossil fuel reductions can be achieved with renewable energy systems. To date 11% has been achieved in the Ramea demonstration. A new photovoltaic hybrid system provided high-quality continuous residential electric power while consuming less than half the fuel of a genset-only system. By 2006, achieve more efficient conversion of fossil fuel to electricity, with ultra-low environmental impacts, as demonstrated by the development of two prototype intelligent systems. Completed More efficient conversion is being achieved and environmental benefits produced as a result of two intelligent systems. One system, the CANMET Coal Advisory Program is an expert system that is used to assess potential coal supplies and is being used by the fuel purchasing group of Nova Scotia Power Incorporated. The expert system uses the lab data plus specific knowledge of generating station equipment to assess the technical feasibility, economics, thermal efficiency and environmental performance of fuel at the different sites. Fuels can be better matched with generating station equipment to produce the referenced benefits. The system has been used for two years. An improved version (specific fuels and blends) will be released in the summer of 2007. The second is the CANMET Ash Monitoring System, an advanced control system for the performance optimization of large coal-fired utility boilers. It results in energy efficiency, operational and economic benefits as well as the ability to reduce greenhouse gases. A demonstration of the system is being conducted at Ontario Power Generation’s Lambton Generating Station on unit #3, where it has been operational for over one year. Monitoring is on-going. Licensing discussions are underway for this technology.
Action 1.3: Increase understanding of water resource supply and minimize impacts of natural resource sector activities on aquatic ecosystems
Number Target Status Achievements / Next Steps By 2006, map 20% of key regional aquifers. Completed The Oak Ridges Moraine (ON), Gulf Islands (B.C.), Annapolis, Châteauguay and Paskapoo and Southern Ontario aquifers were mapped by March 31, 2006. By 2006, complete current regional projects, to standards proposed by the Canadian Framework for Collaboration on Groundwater. Completed Completed current regional project to standards proposed by the Canadian Framework for Collaboration on Groundwater. By 2006, produce maps of natural quality of the groundwater of regional aquifers. Completed Publication of the Annapolis Hydrogeological Atlas. This atlas is an important part of the Canadian Groundwater Inventory. Target met. By 2006, establish national database on groundwater. Completed Completed. By 2006, establish and implement approaches for assessing the impact of land cover and climate change on groundwater. Completed Completed a major report on nitrates in groundwater in Prince Edward Island. The results of this study characterized the nitrogen cycle in the Wilmot River watershed, studies the process involved and evaluated the impact of climate change on the quality of groundwater. By 2006, complete the Canada Water Accounts of annual sub-sub-basin water budgets under current and projected conditions. Completed Historical databases of sub-sub basin precipitation and evapotranspiration (ET) trends produced and released via RESEAU web portal and scientific community. Manuscript "Evaluation of trends in Actual ET over point locations in Canada between 1960-2000" under external review at J. Hydrometeorology. Manuscript "Evaluation of Trends in Actual ET over point locations in Canada between 1960-2000" has been accepted for inclusion in the upcoming national climate change impact assessment report. By 2006, a record of current and historical snow cover trends over Canada from 1985 onwards. Completed Completed. By 2006, produce an assessment of costs of climate change and water resource impacts to Prairie agriculture and economy. Completed Completed. By 2006, develop an integrated assessment framework that can be used to test scenarios of the costs under different climate change and socio-economic assumptions. Completed Completed. By 2004, establish the Oil Sands Tailings Research facility, with a focus on tailings and water management. Completed The OSTRF was conceptualized as a 600 and 2000 kg/h bi-modal tailings pilot plant in March 2004. Site mobilization and shop fabrication were undertaken in July 2004, and installation of plant modules began in September. The facility was opened on October 1st 2004. The OSTRF has increased the capacity for larger scale tailings research. The OSTRF provides an additional forum for academia, industry and government researchers to collaborate and communicate. NRCan’s CETC-Devon tailings research program in general and OSTRF support in particular strengthens the government’s influence in the industry with tailings and water management options that are being considered and evaluated at commercial scales. This in turn gives NRCan more credibility in Environmental Impact Assessment evaluations and in determining the feasibility of tailings management options being proposed in those Environmental Impacts Assessments. By 2004, establish a multi-year research program on 21st century conventional oil water flooding technology development. Completed Program achievements include:
- Identification of five critical reservoir parameters that were used to establish a screening protocol and operational guidelines to help producers identify strong candidate fields and optimize their output for their particular operations.
- Development of a cost-effective chemical flooding technique that has been successfully tested in the laboratory
- Successful testing of a micro bubble technology that uses injected gas to enhance recovery.
- Identification and testing of a number of low cost sources of chemicals to enhance water flooding By 2004, publish a synthesis report on the role of forests and impacts of forest management on Canada’s water. Completed A paper entitled "Land-use practices and changes - Forestry" was included as a chapter in the Threats to Water Availability in Canada book, published by the National Water Research Institute of Environment Canada. The book was intended to assist water decision-makers, research managers, and the research community develop future research priorities, and sound management policies and practices. More specifically, the forestry chapter addresses threats to water availability and presents in greater detail the current status, trends, knowledge and program needs. By 2004, test technologies that employ bacteria to naturally treat contaminants in mine effluents. Completed Assessment of the feasibility of the application of biological systems such as Sequencing Batch Reactors, Rotating Biological Contactors and Aerated Biological Filters (ABF) for the mitigation of cyanide and nitrogen species in mine effluents was completed. By 2005, provide scientific report and conference presentation outlining biological and chemical processes occurring within passive treatment systems in order that they could be more widely utilized at mine sites in Canada. Completed The project included two approaches: 1) a pilot study of zinc treatment using an anaerobic bioreactor (ABR) and a vegetated cell; and 2) a bench scale duplicate column study of arsenic, cadmium and zinc treatment in an ABR based on a system operated by Teck Cominco in B.C. The pilot system is being deconstructed and a mineralogical analysis is being performed. The column study has been extended to include an evaluation of its performance at 4 degrees Celsius. The work was presented to Teck Cominco and at the 29th Annual B.C. Reclamation Symposium. A joint publication with Teck Cominco and Nature Works is underway. By 2006, develop scientific report and conference presentation on the use of alginate and paper mill sludge as metal adsorbents in mine effluent treatment. Completed A technical review and batch tests have been completed. No further work is planned at this time. By 2004, complete study on geochemical behaviour of copper, zinc and cadmium in receiving waters. Target revised

Parts of this study are complete and data has been presented but some work has been delayed to 2005 due to priorities for cost recovery projects. Sampling of receiving waters in Montreal (QC) and Rouyn (QC) is complete. Laboratory tests with municipal effluent are also complete. Results have been presented at 2 international meetings. Project will be extended to complete laboratory and toxicological tests and to publish results in peer-reviewed journals.

As a result of earlier experimental work, the project was expanded to include an additional experiment, and the delivery date extended to 2008. In addition to two presentations and one publication in Conference Proceedings, a manuscript has been prepared and is being considered for journal publication. By 2005, complete study on hazard identification of stainless steel. Completed The test work on stainless steel has been completed. A worked example hazard classification will be incorporated into a paper on T/D of alloys. By 2005, complete study of the effect of copper on the invertebrate indicator Ceriodaphnia. Completed Effects of copper on Ceriodaphnia dubia were characterized for lab waters, confirmation and final adjustment of the model parameters with testing using natural waters are ongoing and subject to availability sources. By 2006, conduct ecosystem column set-up. Terminated Project has been terminated because Environment Canada has undertaken similar work. By 2005, collect and report on innovative impact-reduction technologies and approaches at selected hydro facilities in Canada. Conduct a gap analysis to identify further R&D needs related to habitat management, fish bypass and water management operations. Completed

Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and the Canadian Electricity Association (CEA) have completed a report on availability of industry commissioned biological effect monitoring studies and this information may be analyzed to further the science supporting flow management. Study results have also identified knowledge gaps that may lead to additional research for further improvement in ecological flow management.

Ongoing DFO studies in biological effects monitoring and adaptive management include: hydropeaking, winter habitat research, and the use of physiological telemetry to evaluate direct response of fish to hydro operations. This research is important for knowledge development and continuous improvement in the management of our natural resources, including river flow regimes. Effects monitoring, if conducted with scientific rigour, can be an important component of a wider research agenda assessing and evaluating regulated flow regimes. This is closely coordinated with NRCan efforts to develop innovative approaches to advance the ecological and environmental benefits of small hydro including monitoring of fish by-pass systems (e.g. louver system) and assessing the benefits of fish friendly turbines and installations. By 2006, develop three new modelling tools for stream flow assessments for use by utilities, federal and provincial regulatory agencies. Completed These new modeling tools are available to the users to contribute to commercially available habitat hydraulic models. Department of Fisheries and Oceans is also currently working with the provinces and the Canadian Electricity Association to develop a national, comprehensive framework using these models for assessment of flow related alterations on fish and fish habitat. The development of improved infrastructure for decision-making in terms of natural flow regime alteration is critical to ensuring sustainable development of our hydroelectric resources from an environmental, economic and social acceptance vantage point; it will also streamline and standardize the process for regulatory permitting. By 2006, develop concept for specially designed fish-friendly turbines and advanced speed generators, conduct computational fluid dynamics analysis, develop model and conduct testing and field trials. Target revised The model turbine has been optimized through Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) studies taking into account the need to improve turbine performance and fish-friendliness. A model turbine has been tested at Laval University’s Hydraulic Machinery Lab showing good performance. The University of New Brunswick is now working on the generators and other electric equipment such as power converter which will allow variable speed operation of the turbine-generator units. Identification of a demonstration site for the system is in progress. Full system to be integrated and field testing to be completed by 2011. Second turbine concept structural design completed and the hydraulic/mechanical design in progress. Field trials expected by 2011. By 2006, complete hydrological model calibration and validation for small hydro resource assessment across Canada. Terminated The Hydro R&D program will be reduced to a “watching brief” over four years with funds and staff reallocated towards ocean and energy R&D. This was the result of a recommendation by the Office of Energy R&D, supported by the PERD Panel, to reallocate hydro funds to ocean and energy as part of their review of science and technology priorities. During the next four years, there will be no new hydro R&D supported but field trials and demonstrations will still be undertaken to capitalize on the R&D already undertaken. By year 4, the “watching brief” will be a 1/2 person-year focussed on monitoring of technology and industry. During the 4-year transition period, Ocean Energy will be ramped up in the areas of resource assessment, technology development, and demonstrations, capacity building and environmental impacts and mitigation studies. By 2007, complete extremes model calibration and validation across Canada. Terminated The Hydro R&D program will be reduced to a “watching brief” over four years with funds and staff reallocated towards ocean and energy R&D. This was the result of a recommendation by the Office of Energy R&D, supported by the PERD Panel, to reallocate hydro funds to ocean and energy as part of their review of science and technology (S&T) priorities. During the next four years, there will be no new hydro R&D supported but field trials and demonstrations will still be undertaken to capitalize on the R&D already undertaken. By year 4, the “watching brief” will be a 1/2 person-year focussed on monitoring of technology and industry. During the 4-year transition period, Ocean Energy will be ramped up in the areas of resource assessment, technology development, and demonstrations, capacity building and environmental impacts and mitigation studies. By 2008, complete comparison of present day and future climate scenarios in small-scale watersheds representing various hydrological regimes in Canada. Terminated The Hydro R&D program will be reduced to a “watching brief” over four years with funds and staff reallocated towards ocean and energy R&D. This was the result of a recommendation by the Office of Energy R&D, supported by the PERD Panel, to reallocate hydro funds to ocean and energy as part of their review of science and technology (S&T) priorities. During the next four years, there will be no new hydro R&D supported but field trials and demonstrations will still be undertaken to capitalize on the R&D already undertaken. By year 4, the “watching brief” will be a 1/2 person-year focussed on monitoring of technology and industry. During the 4-year transition period, Ocean Energy will be ramped up in the areas of resource assessment, technology development, and demonstrations, capacity building and environmental impacts and mitigation studies.
Action 1.4: Apply, support and share best practices and models
Number Target Status Achievements / Next Steps By 2006, develop advanced prototype decision-support systems and data models which will be operational in 2008. Completed Completed. By 2004, complete a financial analysis of companies within the natural resource sectors that accounts for the economic impacts of their social and environmental practices. Completed A report was completed March 2005 on the materiality of sustainable development issues for a natural resource sector (Oil & Gas). By 2004, disseminate and share results with the financial sector and other interested parties. Completed The report has informed NRCan’s policy work to support uptake of CSR initiatives among Canada natural resources firms. By 2004, identify for a number of natural resource industries the consensus sustainability indicators being reported, the best practices companies are adopting with respect to sustainable development, and the cost-benefits of those practices. Completed Target has been completed. The summary fact sheets are available on NRCan’s Sustainable Development website: By 2004, disseminate the results as a toolkit to small- and medium-sized enterprises to assist them with integrating sustainable development into their operations. Completed The guide “Corporate Social Responsibility- An Implementation Guide for Canadian Business” has been published, and is available at Copies are also available by By 2004, construct an integrated decision model. Completed Integrated decision model has been completed. By 2004, employ the model to develop a new emissions outlook based on multi-stakeholder consultation. Completed Completed. By 2005, model fully ready to evaluate policy options. Completed Completed. The model is ready to evaluate some policy options. For example, the first generation of the model was used to produce "Canada’s Energy Outlook: The Reference Case 2006". By 2004, test beta-version of the model in the Lake Abitibi and Western Newfoundland model forests. Completed The beta-version of the carbon budget model has been tested successfully. The model has been developed at the scale of the forest management unit to enable forest managers to evaluate (1) the implications of their management actions on carbon stocks, (2) carbon stock changes, and (3) assess alternative management strategies. By 2004, conduct training workshop on the beta model for the two pilot sites. Completed A training workshop on the beta model was held in Mattawa, Ontario. Thirty participants attended the workshop (the demand for participation was highter than the number of available spaces). By 2004, make final version of the model available for distribution. Completed The model has been released publicly, training workshops were held in Victoria, British Columbia (November 2004) and Moncton, New Brunswick (March 2005). Model is free, and available from Stephen Kull (780) 435-7304 or at
Action 1.5: Support policy, dialogue and governance to increase the contributions of Canada’s resource sectors to sustainable development
Number Target Status Achievements / Next Steps By 2005, develop a policy road map for the creation of a multi-agency strategy to stimulate private-sector development of gas hydrates, in collaboration with other government departments and stakeholders. Completed NRCan, both EPS, ESS and NEB, participated in and contributed to the formulation of the Petroleum Technology Alliance of Canada’s unconventional gas technology roadmap. The roadmap sees gas hydrates as a potential future part of Canada’s gas supply and it suggests work and research be supported to realize that potential. The roadmap can be downloaded from: etalk061031.html By 2004, deliver a timetable and commitment for implementing concurrent regulatory approval processes, and deliver the Supplier Development Initiative work plan for local opportunity generation and continuous improvement. Completed The Minister of NRCan signed an MOU for the concurrent regulatory review of offshore oil and gas projects and other Ministers are in the process of signing. The commitment to the MOU by Ministers has resulted in a commitment to the regulatory approval process. By 2004, report to ministers on progress and seek commitment on further recommendations to grow the offshore industry in a sustainable way. Completed The Ministers of NRCan, EC, DFO, Industry and ACOA held a meeting in November 2004 to discuss the growth of the offshore oil and gas industry in a sustainable way. Ministers met again in February 2005 and reviewed specific recommendations made by working groups on this matter. This resulted in the continuation of the Roundtable process, continuation of work on a number of ongoing initiatives, and government partners committing to modernizing offshore oil and gas regulations. By 2004, develop policy framework for reclamation standards. Completed Completed. Report on "Guidelines for Legislative Review" developed for NOAMI. Still in progress among directors of mines departments across the country. Goal is to share experiences and develop a standard framework with which to prioritize clean-up on the basis of financial, environmental, social and human health risks. By 2004, develop recommendations for intergovernmental cost-sharing arrangements for high-priority sites. Completed Funding options report (October 2003), proceedings of funding options workshop (November 2005), and a toolkit of funding options (October 2006) available from NOAMI website. By 2005, develop guidelines for facilitation and coordination of voluntary reclamation activities. Completed Report on barriers to collaboration (July 2002) and workshop proceedings (February 2003) available from NOAMI website. By 2005, develop guidelines for site assessment and priorization. Completed Report completed by consulting firm in 2005: "Capacity Building for a National Inventory of Orphaned/Abandoned Mines in Canada/Portal Site Identification" to determine the level of complexity and steps required to develop a national inventory of abandoned/orphaned mines in Canada. More specific guidelines would be established through this work and additional work. By 2005, complete an inventory of all historic low-level radioactive wastes in Canada. Completed Completed. NRCan, through its agent, the Low Level Radioactive Waste Management Office, has published an updated inventory of all radioactive wastes in Canada. This inventory report is updated on a regular basis (every 5 years). By 2007, complete the environmental assessment and licensing phase of the Port Hope Area Initiative, which will provide for the long-term management of 95% of all of Canada’s historic wastes. In progress

On March 15, 2007, the Government completed the environmental assessment of the Port Hope Project and concluded that it is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects. The Project may now more forward into the CNSC’s licensing process.

The environmental assessment of the Port Granby Project is ongoing due to additional work previously requested by the Municipality of Clarington. The study report was submitted to the federal government in August 2006. Federal technical reviewers have provided feedback to the proponent and revisions are underway. It is expected that a draft screening Report will be ready for public review by the end of 2007. By 2004, develop new environmental assessment training materials and tools to comply with the revisedCanadian Environmental Assessment Act (2003). Completed This target is completed. By 2004, complete the training program for all NRCan staff on the revised Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (2003). Completed This target is completed. By 2004, implement NRCan’s environmental assessment Web application. Completed This target is completed. By 2005, develop a plan to foster a more comprehensive understanding of environmental assessment and how it can be used to support sustainable development objectives among industry, special interest groups and the Canadian public. Completed This target is completed. By 2004, develop formal SEA training materials and mechanism for all appropriate NRCan staff. Completed NRCan has developed a half day SEA training course for employees. This training course provides information on the Cabinet Directive and on NRCan’s updated SEA process. In March 2007, this course was delivered on four separate occasions in the National Capital Region to approximately eighty (80) employees and managers. In addition, plans are underway to deliver the SEA training course to employees across Canada. This target is completed. By 2005, expand the existing process to facilitate the undertaking of SEAs for all policy, plans, programs initiated by NRCan. Completed

NRCan’s ongoing SEA process facilitates the undertaking of SEAs for all policy, plan and program proposals through the development and implementation of various SEA tools including: Pre SEA, SEA Scan and Detailed SEA templates to facilitate the completion of SEAs; and the SEA training course to improve knowledge and awareness of NRCan’s SEA process and the requirements of the Cabinet Directive.

Through training, policy and program officers and staff have been informed of the need for SEAs for initiatives outside of Treasury Board Submissions and Memoranda to Cabinet. NRCan is currently updating its EA manual to clarify these SEA requirements to further facilitate the undertaking of SEAs within the department. By 2005, investigate and report on opportunities for NRCan to enhance public consultation when developing SEAs of policies, plans and programs. Completed NRCan’s SEA process encourages openness and transparency with the public and recommends public consultation where appropriate. This is done through training and the development of guidance materials where policy and program officers are encouraged to undertake public consultation as part of the development of policy, plans and programs. By 2004, submit a proposal for the development of a mechanism for interdepartmental consultation on SEA for multi-departmental initiatives. Completed The proposal for the development of a mechanism for interdepartmental consultation was made at the SEA Sub-Committee and at the SEA Management Systems Workshop. Efforts are ongoing to improve consultation and collaboration between departments for multi-departmental initiatives. By 2005, report on the development of, and NRCan’s participation in the multi departmental SEA consultation mechanism. Completed NRCan uses the SEA Sub-committee as a communication and networking tool to facilitate consultation opportunities. NRCan’s EA Manual encourages departmental consultation for SEAs on multi-departmental initiatives where possible. NRCan’s newly developed Pre SEA; SEA Scan and Detailed SEA templates also encourage the inclusion of other departments in the development of SEAs. As part of its new process, NRCan requests that co-signatories of the initiative review the draft SEA. By 2005, initiate an intradepartmental forum to deal with the upcoming review of theCanadian Environmental Protection Act. Completed NRCan is participating in the CEPA review. First, the department established a DG-level committee, with the sectors, for the CEPA review. Second the department was a participant in the Environment Canada-led Advisory Committee on the CEPA Review, a committee having external and departmental stakeholders. Third, the department monitors the parliamentary review of the legislation, which commenced in May 2006, and participates in inter-departmental fora for this review. By 2004, revise and update the strategy, Toxic Substances Management Policy Implementation at NRCan. Completed The aims of the target have been achieved. The Toxic Substances Management Policy Implementation at NRCan policy document has been updated through the development of three procedures/processes for:
1) Hazardous Waste Disposal
2) Chemicals Storage and Handling Procedures
3) Laboratory Waste Water Effluent Handling Procedures.
Action 1.6: Engage Aboriginal communities in sustainable land and resource development and use
Number Target Status Achievements / Next Steps By 2004, hold a workshop on Aboriginal related indicators of sustainable forest management. Completed A workshop, titled “How to Measure Good Forest Management: An Aboriginal Perspective”, was held in February 2004 in Hinton, Alberta. The event attracted more than 80 participants from across western and central Canada. By 2004, complete a synthesis report on indicators of sustainable forest management developed by or for Aboriginal communities in Canada. Completed The "Measuring Sustainable Forest Management: A Compilation of Aboriginal Indicators" report was completed and has been uploaded to the Canadian Model Forest Network website. It can be accessed at the following website address: cmfn/en/find_out_more/ aboriginal/ publications_record.aspx? title_id=4665 By 2004, complete a report on standards of Aboriginal cultural research in Canada. Completed As part of this research project, a report titled "Standards for Aboriginal Cultural Research in Forest Management Planning in Canada" was completed in 2004. The report is available online at cmfn/en/find_out_more/ aboriginal/ publications_record.aspx? title_id=3773 By 2005, develop and produce specialized geomatics products in support of effective Aboriginal land administration. Completed

The Geomatics for Aboriginal Property Rights Infrastructure (GAPRI) Program development and production of specialized geomatics products and solutions for Aboriginal Communities has been carried out successfully. This activity supports and promotes both GAPRI program outcomes – “Increased effectiveness and self-sufficiency of Aboriginal land and resource management; investment in land development; economic development; and social and environmental benefits” and “Sustainable community development and stimulation of local economies through capacity building, and jobs as a result of legislated implementation activities” and is therefore very well aligned with the Earth Science Sector Issue “Aboriginal Peoples”.

Progress towards development and production of specialized geomatics products and solutions for Aboriginal Communities is on track and ongoing. By 2006, work with three regional Aboriginal housing committees to integrate energy efficiency into their decision-making processes. Completed Completed. By 2006, work with five Aboriginal or northern organizations to implement a renewable energy project. Completed By Oct. 2005, work was underway with 9 Aboriginal or northern organizations to implement wind and hydro electric projects. NRCan has been involved in assessing many more renewable projects in the pre-feasibility phase. By 2006, complete a consolidated consultation report containing both quantitative results and qualitative assessments of views and opinions of Canada’s Aboriginal peoples concerning nuclear fuel waste management. Completed The Final Consolidated Reports received from five national aboriginal organizations are available for viewing on NRCan’s Nuclear Fuel Waste Bureau website (  The Government is currently reviewing their comments and views within the context of a Governor in Council decision to select a long-term option for managing nuclear fuel waste. By 2004, develop national information toolkit targeted for tabling at Mines Ministers Conference. Completed The Mining Information Kit for Aboriginal Communities was developed in partnership by the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada, The Mining Association of Canada, Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and Natural Resources Canada, and released during the 2006 Mines Ministers’ Conference. By 2004, produce a regional communications strategy and develop a video on the mining cycle for Aboriginal communities. Completed In collaboration with the Government of Ontario (Ministry of Northern Development and Mines), Natural Resources Canada produced a video on the mining sequence for Aboriginal peoples in northern Ontario called Our Community . . . Our Future:  Mining and Aboriginal Communities.  The video takes the viewer through all phases of the mining sequence — from geological mapping and early exploration, through construction and operation, to closure of the mine and reclamation of the land.  This initiative aims to help Aboriginal communities identify opportunities and make informed decisions about their participation in mineral development activities.  Although the video was developed for Aboriginal communities in Ontario, it can be used elsewhere in Canada and overseas.  The video was released in March 2006 at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada Conference. By 2004, develop and upgrade the Web site mapping Aboriginal community information with up-to-date information on mine sites and the mineral industry information in Canada. Completed Completed. The Web site is located at By 2006, facilitate an international workshop on Aboriginal best practices in the sustainable development of mining. Completed A workshop on environmental management and Aboriginal community was delivered as part of the Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association 14th Annual Conference, November 5-7, 2006, in Ottawa. About 400 domestic and international delegates from Aboriginal communities and organizations, industry, governments, NGOs and academia attended the conference.
Action 1.7: Facilitate skills development and increase public outreach
Number Target Status Achievements / Next Steps By 2006, develop a complete and integrated package of communication, outreach tools and activities to increase use of geospatial information to support sustainable development and management of natural resources. Completed All completed on schedule. By 2007, visit 10% of northern communities to provide introductory geoscience resource educational programs. Completed Approximately 36 northern communities have been visited directly, or involved through education of their teachers through Teacher Workshops, representing more that 14% of approximately 250 northern communities of interest.
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