Thank you, Madam Chair.
Perhaps I'll just point out and describe each of these components, and then draw the linkage between them. We're all aware of the cabinet directive on environmental assessment of plans, policies, and programs, where every minister is responsible for implementing the directive. The department itself plays a particular role in establishing the environmental framework against which departments would assess their priorities.
The targets that appear in the FSDS itself become the objectives against which the Department of Immigration, the Department of Health, and so on will assess their programs, plans, and priorities. Those assessments find their way into documents like memoranda to cabinet and Treasury Board submissions, where those assessments and works are done by individual ministers and submitted through that process. The report—and the commissioner's report that we're often talking about—has chosen to take a handful of departments each cycle and assess where they are in those processes. It's not a comprehensive view of how that cabinet directive is being implemented, but in every cycle there are a few departments that are reviewed by the commissioner of the Auditor General. PCO has a role to play in terms of the oversight it takes when it's reviewing and providing advice on memoranda to cabinet in general, and they have responsibilities related to that. The bottom line is that all departments and all ministries have a responsibility related to strategic environmental assessment.
Departmental sustainable development strategies are a child of the broad federal strategy, in which each of those 26 departments is required to put together a strategy relating how they will contribute to the goals and targets in the strategy. The Minister of the Environment is not responsible for every goal and target in the federal sustainable development strategy; her responsibility is to coordinate the efforts of all 26 departments in elaborating that strategy. Be it Environment and Climate Change Canada, Natural Resources Canada, or Health Canada, departments have specific strategies, and their ministers have responsibilities for the specific goals and targets inside those strategies.
Departmental strategies can include a lot of things. They include which goals, targets, and departmental actions departments are going to contribute to. They also include things like performance measurements and performance indicators, which can be used to track whether those targets are being put into place. They include other sustainable development contributions that a department may make outside of the federal sustainable development strategy. Many of you have noted that sustainable development can be considered broader than the goals and targets, and there are some departments that have commitments outside of the federal sustainable development strategy. Their departmental strategy includes those pieces as well, and it includes the public reporting dimensions on strategic environmental assessment.
The connections are in various places, yes, but the individual products and programs have different objectives. The strategic environmental assessment is your front-end decision-making advice to the minister's function. The federal sustainable development strategy and those departmental strategies are the plans, then, that come from those decisions. They include the monitoring means through indicators and performance measures, and then there is the public reporting side of that.
They are linked, yes, but they perform different functions inside of that. When we talk about “doing sustainable development”, it does not always equal “doing your SEAs”. There are a lot of things encompassed inside a departmental strategy that are related to sustainable development.
I thought I would just lay those pieces out for folks to understand where they are and how they fit together.