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ARCHIVED - Additional PHAC DSDS Activities

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In addition to the FSDS requirements under the Greening of Government Operations focal area, the Agency is committed to additional sustainable development activities. These activities include the Sustainable Development Advocate, Strategic Environmental Assessments, the PHAC Dead Battery Recycling Program, and the PHAC National Energy Reduction Initiative. More information on these additional activities are found below.

The Sustainable Development Advocate

The role of the Sustainable Development Advocate is to promote and be a leader for sustainable development at the Agency. The Sustainable Development Advocate promotes sustainable development values, commitments and achievements among PHAC employees, partners and clients. The Advocate's leadership is vital in moving PHAC towards the integration of sustainable development principles and Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy commitments into the policies, programs and activities of the Agency. Advancing initiatives that touch on the three pillars of sustainable development is an opportunity to influence holistic, long-term positive health outcomes for Canadians, specifically through undertaking Strategic Environmental Assessments.

As a means of supporting this work, the Sustainable Development Advocate commits to ensuring all commitments for Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) are accomplished in accordance with the Cabinet Directive on Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals.

Strategic Environmental Assessments

Decision-making in PHAC considers sustainable development principles, including health aspects of sustainable development, on an ongoing basis through the departmental planning process, undertaking Strategic Environmental AssessmentsExternal Link (SEAs) and reporting in the Departmental Performance Report, which includes reporting on SEA performance. Consistent with the government's strong commitment to sustainable development, the Cabinet Directive on Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals requires that a SEA be conducted for policy, plan and program proposals destined for ministerial and cabinet approval, and the implementation of which may have important environmental effects. Ministers expect the strategic environmental assessment of a proposal to consider the scope and nature of likely environmental effects, the need for mitigation to reduce or eliminate adverse effects, and the likely importance of any adverse environmental effects, taking mitigation into account. The SEA should contribute to the development of policies, plans and programs on an equal basis with economic or social analysis; the level of effort in conducting the analysis of potential environmental effects should be commensurate with the importance of anticipated environmental effects.

To comply with the revised guidelines of the Cabinet Directive, the Public Health Agency of Canada commits to:

  1. Applying FSDS goals and targets when undertaking SEAs;
  2. Reporting on the results of SEAs in the Departmental Performance Report; and
  3. Describing the positive and/or negative contributions of a proposal to the achievement of FSDS goals and targets in the SEA public statements.

As a means of supporting this work, PHAC will implement an updated Agency policy on SEA and relevant guidelines to coincide with requirements set out in the revised Guidelines for Implementing the Cabinet Directive. The Agency will also update its suite of training and support materials (to reflect new guidelines, templates, training material, analytic tools, etc.) to support policy and program analysts in understanding and implementing new requirements and provide renewed training for senior analysts who are involved in policy development. Additionally, starting in 2011-12, the Agency will implement management elements to increase compliance rates to a minimum of 90% through compliance with SEA Preliminary Scans for Memoranda to Cabinet and Treasury Board Submissions. The Agency will report its SEA performance through the Departmental Performance Report.

SEAFootnote 4 Performance Measures and Baselines
Performance Indicators Baseline Year Preliminary Scan Baseline for Memoranda to Cabinet Detailed Assessment Baseline for Memoranda to Cabinet Preliminary Scan Baseline for Treasury Board Submissions Detailed Assessment Baseline for Treasury Board Submissions Baseline Total
Program Activity Architecture: SA 2.1.2 – Resource Management Services, SSA 2.1.3.1 – Real Property
Expected Result: Social, economic and environmental considerations are addressed at the earliest appropriate stage of planning to augment the positive outcomes and mitigate the negative effects.
Footnote 4
At PHAC, a Strategic Environmental Assessment is the process of determining important environmental impacts as an outcome of policy, plan and program proposals. As a process, the Agency considers Preliminary Scans as a mandatory requirement for all policy, plan and program proposals, in order to determine if a Detailed Assessment is required, based on important environmental impacts. However, due to the scope of its mandate, both historically and presently, PHAC has only completed Preliminary Scans as it does not develop policy, plan or program proposals that result in important environmental impacts. The Preliminary Scan is the instrument that allows the Agency to identify requirements for Detailed Assessments.
# of proposals submitted by PHAC to Cabinet or Treasury Board and approved 2009-10 7 0 11 0 18
# of proposals where a SEA was completed in compliance with the Cabinet Directive 2009-10 0 0 2 0 2
# of proposals where a SEA was completed and a commitment was made to FSDS goals and targets TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD
% of annual departmental compliance with the Cabinet Directive for SEAs 2009-10 0% N/A 19% N/A 11%

The PHAC Dead Battery Recycling Program

Batteries power toys, watches, cellular phones, music players, cordless computer equipment and other common household and business items. In 2004, an estimated 450 million consumer batteries were sold in Canada and approximately 348 million were discarded into landfills.

Batteries including lead-acid, lithium, nickel-cadmium, silver oxide and mercury batteries pose a higher threat to human and environmental health as they contain heavy metals, many of which are toxic substances scheduled under the Canadian Environmental Protection ActExternal Link, 1999. Improper disposal of large numbers of batteries also pose a safety risk, since batteries are prone to react and overheat.

PHAC is actively participating in sustainable development activities such as the controlled disposal of dead batteries through its recycling program. As a means of supporting this work, PHAC commits to having a fully-implemented National Dead Battery Recycling Program in all 13 major PHAC buildings from Vancouver to Halifax by March 31, 2014. Further, The Agency will enhance tracking and reporting functions to demonstrate the quantity of batteries diverted from landfills by March 31, 2014.

PHAC Dead Battery Program Performance Measures and Baselines
Performance Indicators Baseline Year Program Baseline
Program Activity Architecture: SA 2.1.2 – Resource Management Services, SSA 2.1.3.1 – Real Property
Expected Result: Heavy metals found in batteries are disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner to mitigate threat to human and environmental health.
# of major PHAC buildings 2010-11 13
# of major PHAC buildings with Dead Battery Recycling Programs fully-implemented 2010-11 9
# of major PHAC buildings without Dead Battery Recycling Programs fully-implemented 2010-11 4
# of batteries diverted from landfills 2013-14 To Be Determined

The PHAC National Energy Reduction Initiative (NERI)

It would take 13,476,639Footnote 5 trees to offset the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere by Canadian public servants each year because of electrical equipment being left on at night and over weekends. This is the equivalent of burning approximately 316,287Footnote 6 litres of gasoline - that is enough to drive around the earth’s equator almost eight times.

To mitigate these effects, in 2007, the PHAC Quebec Region demonstrated that staff can significantly reduce their unnecessary, after-work (or phantom) energy use. Following this success, volunteers from PHAC and Health Canada conducted PHAC’s First National Energy Reduction Initiative in May 2008, the Second PHAC NERIExternal Link in November 2008External Link, and the Third PHAC National Energy Reduction Initiative in June 2010. While the Second National Energy Reduction Initiative showed phantom energy use had been reduced by 42% per person, the results of the Third National Energy Reduction Initiative showed a sharp loss of momentum. When extrapolated to all employees, an estimated 870,435 kilowatt hours were being needlessly wasted each year at PHAC and could be saved with no more effort than it takes to turn off a switch. If employees work together, they can help PHAC save up to $90,000 a year. Although it is impossible to fully eliminate all phantom energy, the Second Energy Initiative demonstrated that more than $29,000 could be saved through the efforts of volunteers.

The new Federal Sustainable Development StrategyExternal Link directly compliments the Agency’s annual NERI’s through the federal greenhouse gas emissions reduction related to taking action now to reduce levels of greenhouse gas emissions from its operations to match the national target of 17% by 2020. Further, each of the non-greenhouse gas emissions targets indirectly compliments the goal of the National Energy Reduction Initiative – to theme 4 of the FSDS or greening government operationsFootnote 7.

As a means of supporting this work, PHAC commits to not only conduct its Fourth National Energy Reduction Initiative in 2011-12, the Fifth National Energy Reduction Initiative in 2012-13 and the Sixth National Energy Reduction Initiative in 2013-14, but also to enhance and update its accommodation fit-up standards and policies to include a green energy smart bar for every Agency workstation. Further, the Agency supports its FSDS commitments to ensure that at least 90% of new purchases of printers, faxes, scanners and photocopiers will have environmental features, such as Energy Star as of April 1, 2011 and achieve an 8:1 average ratio of office employees to printing units by March 13, 2013.

National Energy Reduction Initiative Performance Measures and Baselines
Performance Indicators Baseline Year Program Baseline
Program Activity Architecture: SA 2.1.2 – Resource Management Services, SSA 2.1.3.1 – Real Property
Expected Result: PHAC facilities are managed and operated in a sustainable and financially responsible manner, throughout its life cycle.
# of PHAC offices assessed (% of total Agency offices) 2010-11 2074 (71.51%)
# of PHAC electrical equipment assessed 2010-11 7228
# of kWh/year used by PHAC phantom energy use 2010-11 870.435 kWh/year
# of avoidable CO2 tonnes per year by PHAC 2010-11 866.95 tonnes/year
# of avoidable CO2 tonnes per year by PHAC 2013-14 -866.95 tonnes/year

Footnote 5
Extrapolation from PHAC’s Third Energy Assessment Report (2010)
Footnote 6
www.oee.nrcan.gc.ca/transportation/tools/fuelratings/ratings-details.cfm?id=72196External Link
Footnote 7
It is important to note that laboratory buildings are quite different from offices buildings with respect to sustainability; however, both types of buildings seek to reduce energy and water consumption as a foundational contribution to sustainable development.

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