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Executive summary

The Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) sets out the Government of Canada’s sustainable development priorities, establishes goals and targets, and identifies actions to achieve them. The 2019–2022 FSDS—Canada’s fourth—outlines what we will do to promote clean growth, ensure healthy ecosystems, and build safe, secure and sustainable communities over the next 3 years.

Beginning in December 2018, we looked to you for input and advice. We asked you to share your vision for a sustainable Canada, to help us improve our targets, milestones, actions and indicators, and to tell us what you are doing for a greener Canada.

In response, you contributed more than 300 written submissions, more than 200 social media posts and replies, and more than 190 comments that were provided as part of a letter-writing campaign on nuclear energy. More than 1000 of you attended webinars and presentations on the FSDS. We heard from Canadians across the country, including governments, Indigenous organizations, non-governmental organizations, academics, businesses and individuals. You provided ideas, feedback and suggestions that have helped us build on past progress and make our strategy stronger.

Drawing on this input, over the next 3 years we will continue to work toward our vision that Canada is one of the greenest countries in the world and our quality of life continues to improve.

As in the 2016–2019 strategy, our work in 2019–2022 will centre on 13 aspirational, long-term goals that reflect the Canada we want and are a Canadian reflection of the environmental dimensions of the global Sustainable Development Goals:

  • Effective action on climate change – A low-carbon economy contributes to limiting global average temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius and supports efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius
  • Greening government – The Government of Canada will transition to low-carbon, climate-resilient, and green operations
  • Clean growth – A growing clean technology industry in Canada contributes to clean growth and the transition to a low-carbon economy
  • Modern and resilient infrastructure – Modern, sustainable, and resilient infrastructure supports clean economic growth and social inclusion
  • Clean energy – All Canadians have access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy
  • Healthy coasts and oceans – Coasts and oceans support healthy, resilient and productive ecosystems
  • Pristine lakes and rivers – Clean and healthy lakes and rivers support economic prosperity and the well-being of Canadians
  • Sustainably managed lands and forests – Lands and forests support biodiversity and provide a variety of ecosystem services for generations to come
  • Healthy wildlife populations – All species have healthy and viable populations
  • Clean drinking water – All Canadians have access to safe drinking water and, in particular, the significant challenges Indigenous communities face are addressed
  • Sustainable food – Innovation and ingenuity contribute to a world-leading agricultural sector and food economy for the benefit of all Canadians
  • Connecting Canadians with nature – Canadians are informed about the value of nature, experience nature first hand, and actively engage in its stewardship
  • Safe and healthy communities – All Canadians live in clean, sustainable communities that contribute to their health and well-being

Medium-term targets and short-term milestones support each goal. Action plans describe what we will do to achieve our goals and targets.

Meanwhile, cross-cutting priorities such as conducting robust and thorough environmental assessments, respecting the rights of Indigenous peoples, ensuring that environmental effects are fully considered in policy, plan and program development, and implementing strong environmental legislation will support progress in all areas of the FSDS.

We acknowledge that we cannot achieve sustainable development alone—partners such as provinces and territories, Indigenous peoples, communities, businesses, scientists, academia and non-governmental organizations all play a role in helping us meet our objectives.

Finally, we need your help—you can make a difference in areas such as addressing climate change, protecting ecosystems and improving air quality. We hope that you’ll take action, and that you’ll continue to provide input and ideas to help us further refine our sustainable development vision and long-term goals.

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