Where we are now
As we chart our path forward, we need to take into account how Canada currently performs on sustainable development compared with other countries. Studies that rank countries on sustainability performance provide insight into where Canada is doing well and where we still need to improve.
For example, the 2018 Yale Environmental Performance Index ranked Canada 25th out of 180 countries on environmental health. Canada’s ranking stayed the same between the 2016 and 2018 indices. The 2018 assessment showed that Canada is doing well in air quality (ranking fourth), exposure to heavy metals (10th) and sustainable agriculture (12th). Canada scores lower on climate and energy (137th), sustainable fisheries (121st), and air pollutant emissions intensity (110th).
The 2018 SDG Index and Dashboards Report, led by Professor Jeffrey Sachs, ranked Canada 20th of 156 countries in terms of implementing the SDGs. It shows that Canada is doing well on SDG 4, quality education; and SDG 7, affordable and clean energy. More action is needed to achieve SDG 12, responsible consumption and production; SDG 13, climate action; and SDG 17, partnerships for the goals.
Our strategy includes goals and targets to drive further progress in areas where we’re doing well and to help us advance in areas where we continue to face challenges. For example:
- our Safe and Healthy Communities goal includes targets to further improve air quality in Canadian communities and protect Canadians from risks posed by harmful substances
- our Sustainable Food goal includes a target aimed at ensuring that agricultural land supports biodiversity and that farming does not compromise water and soil quality
- our Effective Action on Climate Change goal shows what we’ll do, in partnership with provinces and territories and with meaningful involvement with Indigenous peoples, to work toward our target to reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions 30% from 2005 levels by 2030, as well as to grow the economy and build climate resilience