Thank you. That's very helpful.
The act, as you have stated, is a whole-of-government approach to addressing the economic, social, and especially environmental challenges facing government and government decision-makers.
You've talked about the whole-of-government approach. You're familiar with the cabinet directive. The cabinet directive, supported by guidelines, requires federal departments and agencies to consider environmental concerns early in the planning of policy, plan, and program proposals before making irreversible decisions. The Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, as you know, recently issued a report. There are actually a number of reports. In the fourth report she says the following about the whole-of-government approach and the application of the directive: “Overall, we found that the departments and agencies we examined did not apply the Cabinet directive to almost 80 percent of their proposals. Only the Public Health Agency of Canada prepared preliminary assessments” and did a reasonable job of that.
We are expanding the number of agencies and departments that are going to be covered by the federal sustainable development strategy, and yet, even with this smaller number—26—of agencies that are covered right now, your department is not getting it done. This is certainly a failing grade from the commissioner, as 80% of the proposals did not apply the cabinet directive. That's only 20%. In any exam where you get 20% that's a failing grade. How do you expect that with the expansion of the number of agencies and departments that are covered, your department will be able to enforce what the act and the directive require?