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Sustainable Development Strategy 2007-2010

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Sustainable development (SD) is gradually taking root in the activities, programs and policies of federal departments, governments and, by extension, throughout Canadian society. Since federal departments have SD obligations and have been required to submit a Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS) to Parliament every three years since 1997, the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) is moving ahead with its SD agenda with the adoption and publication of this fourth SDS.

A concept that is increasingly becoming accepted and incorporated into current organizational practices, SD is basically an approach to organizing our society so it can meet the needs of our citizens, now and in the future, while at the same time respecting the limits and capacities of the natural environment. For an organization like CSC, SD means continually and carefully considering the social, economic and environmental implications of our choices, decisions and everyday actions.

The tabling in Parliament of the Correctional Service of Canada’s first Sustainable Development Strategy in 1997 marked the beginning of our participation in a formal planning and reporting process to implement SD throughout the federal government. Recognizing the uniqueness of our operations, we, as an agency within the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada (PSEPC), voluntarily developed and implemented three Sustainable Development Strategies over the past ten years. We will continue to submit our own strategy separate from that of the Department or other agencies within the Department and we will also continue to work with other federal government departments in order to integrate our approach with those of the federal government as a whole.

Over the past ten years, we have focussed our efforts on measures to strengthen our ecological foundations and foster an organizational culture that incorporates SD into all of its activities. Some achievements and progress are as follows:

  • adding an environmental officer position at national headquarters and in each of CSC’s five regions (1998-1999);
  • an environmental awareness/communications program through articles in each issue of the quarterly corporate review, “Let’s Talk” (since 1998);
  • conducting Phase I environmental assessments on all of our operational facilities (1998-1999);
  • development and implementation of tools to monitor our energy and water use, as well as databases and inventories of our main environmental issues (since 1999);
  • completion of environmental capital projects in the order of $3 million annually (since 1999‑2000);
  • a comprehensive program for replacing our petroleum storage tanks and managing our contaminated sites (since 2000);
  • environmental training sessions for front-line staff in each institution (2002-2003);
  • adoption of an internal environmental policy [Commissioner’s Directive 318] and environmental guidelines [CD 318-1 to 318-9], which are the basis of our organization’s environmental management system (June 2003);
  • introduction of self-reporting tools (management control frameworks, or MCFs) and carrying out internal environmental audits (2004-2005);
  • development of an environmental/SDS accountability framework (2005-2006).

On the strength of this, and despite the progress we have made with respect to environmental management in the past ten years, the lessons learned indicate that we can still do better to further SD, to achieve expected results and meet our renewed environmental commitments.

Accordingly, in this SDS, we have once again confirmed our priorities and we will focus on concrete measures to achieve future-oriented results. Since we have limited resources allocated for this, we believe that in order to protect the environment and strengthen the impact of our SDS, as much attention should be given toward initiatives to implement our commitments, than there is toward performance reporting requirements.