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Sustainable Development Strategy 2007-2010

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Executive Summary

The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC), along with other federal departments and agencies, published its first Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS) in 1997, with revisions in 2000 and 2003. This is CSC’s fourth presentation. In it, we broaden our understanding of sustainable development (SD) as a concept, assess our progress to date and outline what we intend to achieve in the coming years. In the next three years, we will continue our efforts toward SD, at which point we will update the strategy again.

We understand SD to mean reaching a state where people’s basic needs are met and where they feel safe and act in harmony with the limited resources of our environment. This will require us to conduct our activities in a way that will enable the environment to provide for our needs without degrading it or depleting Canada’s or the world’s natural resources.

So far we have had three priorities: protection of our atmosphere, our water and our resources, both physical and human. We have continued to collect background data on our environmental impacts and have found the process challenging. We have made some progress on reducing pollution and resource consumption, albeit with various levels of performance from site to site. The task of achieving the SDS 2003 targets has been limited by numerous internal constraints, thus preventing us from fully meeting some targets. However, we did gain considerable experience and knowledge in the process that will be useful in the future.

In this SDS for 2007-2010, we expanded our efforts to achieve realistic targets and commitments based on our resource level. We have enlisted the help of CSC employees by holding consultations with interested parties. We are submitting a SDS with an emphasis on seven priorities that support the sustainable development goals of the federal government:

  1. Reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions;
  2. Protection of the atmosphere;
  3. Conservation of the tropospheric air quality (i.e., the air at ground level);
  4. Protection of the hydrosphere;
  5. Support of sustainable communities;
  6. Sustainable use of natural resources;
  7. Reinforcement of governance and decisions that support SD.

The focus of CSC’s mandate is to contribute to a just, peaceful and safe society through the care and custody of inmates, as well as the rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders into the community. To carry out its mandate, CSC operates penitentiaries and parole offices.

The sustainable development issues facing CSC are essentially unchanged from 1997. No major new environmental problems have appeared on a global or national scale. No major changes have been made to the strategic and legal framework governing CSC, and there have been no significant changes in the scale and nature of CSC operations. Our greatest challenge over the next three years will be maintaining a satisfactory performance with respect to our targets and commitments.

We have set out action plans that we hope will allow us to reach our goals. These action plans involve refining our baselines, finding alternatives and implementing changes. For each of our 14 commitments, measuring our performance will be straightforward, for we have carefully chosen targets that are relatively easy to measure. We will continue to implement data management systems that will allow us to quantify, store, retrieve and manipulate our data, and then make decisions about how to improve our environmental performance.