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NRCan's Vision of a Sustainable Future
This vision represents Natural Resources Canada's scenario for a future based on sustainable development – a vision that cannot possibly be achieved by a single department, nor by governments alone. It requires ideas, determination and action on behalf of all Canadians, across all sectors of society.
Canada in the 21st century is a society that successfully integrates economic, environmental and social considerations into all resource-related decision making. Canadians make sound decisions about resource development and use – decisions that consider ecological limits; factor in social dynamics that reflect local and global priorities; and capitalize on innovations and technological solutions that overcome environmental challenges to keep Canada competitive in the international marketplace. People of all ages, all regions and all sectors work cooperatively and strategically to minimize the risks and maximize the rewards of responsible natural resources development.
It is a nation that takes full advantage of scientific knowledge and new technologies to harvest and extract resources in ways that maintain the integrity of natural ecosystems and that protect the nation’s landmass, water, air and wildlife. Human impacts on biodiversity have been dramatically reduced and mediated.
Canadians have access to an abundance of water of superior quality. Forests are utilized and respected for multiple uses, including recreation, resource extraction as well as the pursuit of Aboriginal people’s traditional lifestyle. Healthy communities make optimal use of resources such as water and energy, and manage end-of-life issues in ecologically benign ways. A generation accustomed to recycling and reusing – mining above-ground resources through resource recovery – fails to understand society’s previous reliance on landfill sites. Energy efficiency, and renewable and alternative fuels are part of the mainstream.
Communities thrive as a result of technological innovation, economic diversification and increased local decision-making. Up-to-date, leading edge information is broadly available and utilized, creating equitable opportunities for education and poverty alleviation through a technologically skilled workforce capable of capitalizing on job creation.
The private sector assumes greater responsibility for, and realizes the benefits of, the development of products with a longer life that reduce and manage wastes, and free up landfill space for other uses. Canadian firms market their knowledge and expertise to the world, satisfying global demand for ecologically-responsible products and services. These innovations enable companies to realize productivity gains, contributing to Canada’s competitiveness and ongoing economic growth, ensuring Canada maintains its reputation as a global leader in sustainable development.
Beyond the natural resources sector, the focus has shifted to community needs and shared values. Communities are virtually connected, enabling environmentally-friendly patterns of urban and rural land use and activity. Common-place practices including telework and telehealth mean a reduced reliance on the automobile. Canadians who continue to commute rely more on car pooling, cycling or walking as a result of a changed behaviour and outlook.
Natural Resources Canada demonstrates leadership by carrying out the necessary scientific research and making its knowledge widely available to translate sustainable development ideals into common practice. Government sets for itself – and meets – the highest standards that individuals, corporations and communities can be confident are achievable and are motivated to emulate.
Future generations will look back on the turn of the century as a watershed in our nation’s history – a time when there was a strong cohesion of views among governments, industry, communities and a well-informed public that led to a joint commitment to action.
To make this vision a reality, Natural Resources Canda has established a set of goals, each of which have multiple objectives and actions that will enable the Department to advance sustainable development through its programs, policies, science and technology, legislation and regulations, and operations. The actions of this Sustainable Development Strategy are framed within the context of the anticipated outcome that will support this vision of a sustainable future.
Progress towards this vision is measured against the Department's objectives, which support Natural Resources Canada's sustainable development goals, both now and for the future. Further, Canada's progress towards this vision will be measured through national indicators of sustainable development – refer to Measuring the Vision.