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ENVI Committee Report

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Ms. Deborah Schulte, M.P.
King – Vaughan
Chair, Standing Committee on Environment
  and Sustainable Development
House of Commons
Ottawa ON  K1A 0A6

Dear Ms. Schulte:

On behalf of the Government of Canada, I am pleased to respond to the Report of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development entitled Federal Sustainability for Future Generations – A Report Following an Assessment of the Federal Sustainable Development Act, tabled in the House of Commons on June 17, 2016.

I would like to thank the Committee for its committed work and the resulting 13 recommendations. This report is a positive contribution to an important issue, and the Government appreciates the thoughtful insights of committee members and witnesses.

The Committee’s report was instrumental in guiding the development of the final 2016–2019 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy. Today, my Parliamentary Secretary, Mr. Jonathan Wilkinson, has tabled the Strategy. It includes stronger targets and indicators, and reflects the Government’s commitment to deliver on the environment-related 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goals in a way that takes into account Canada’s circumstances. I will continue to consider your recommendations as this strategy is being implemented.

In terms of the recommendations that call for legislative change, I agree that amendments are needed to strengthen the Federal Sustainable Development Act. In fact, I would propose to make additional changes to improve the Act’s effectiveness and ensure it reflects Canadian values such as inclusiveness.

As the Government develops revised legislation, it will consider ways to adjust the Act’s focus to more fully consider the economic and social dimensions of sustainable development. As you point out in your report, sustainable development is broader than prescribed in the current Act.

During the process to develop legislation, the issue of governance will be considered and options developed. I am prepared to continue to lead efforts out of Environment and Climate Change Canada as appropriate.

I commit to returning within the year with a report on action taken in response to the Committee’s report. I am also prepared to lead these efforts out of the Department, and I welcome any further advice the Committee wishes to offer based on additional consultation, research and analysis.

As Minister of Environment and Climate Change, I am committed to protecting the environment for all Canadians, today and into the future. The Government has advanced and will continue to improve its sustainable development approach, and thanks the Committee for its important work in studying the Federal Sustainable Development Act.

Please accept my best regards.

Sincerely,

 

The Honourable Catherine McKenna, P.C., M.P.