Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Statement of ACOA’s Contribution to the
Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS)

Website component of the 2011-12 Performance Report on the Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy (DSDS)[1]

1. ACOA’s Sustainable Development Vision

The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) is a participant in the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS). The FSDS represents a major step forward for the Government of Canada by including environmental sustainability and strategic environmental assessment as an integral part of its decision-making processes. ACOA is implicated under Theme I, “Addressing Climate Change and Air Quality” and under Theme IV, “Shrinking the Environmental Footprint – Beginning with Government.”

2. The 2012 FSDS Progress Report and the 2011-12 performance report on the Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy (DSDS)

The information provided on this website is supported by the 2012 FSDS Progress Report. State of the environment indicators presented in Departmental Performance Reports and FSDS Progress Reports demonstrate the Government of Canada’s progress towards environmental objectives and sustainable development goals and targets as laid out in the FSDS. These documents track progress on measures of environmental and socioeconomic issues at broad outcome levels. This website outlines departmental FSDS implementation strategies and corresponding performance information applicable over the intermediate and immediate timeframe.

3. ACOA’s Decision-Making and Sustainable Development Practices

ACOA has set an example in its internal operations by:

  • Pursuing the best practices in environmental management and pollution prevention, including recycling and waste reduction. ACOA is on track to achieve all targets that were identified in the Greening of Government Operations table under Theme IV of the FSDS.
  • Participating in the following sustainable development interdepartmental working groups: FSDS Associate Deputy Minister Committee, FSDS Director General Committee
  • Educating ACOA staff on environmental issues and concerns and providing them with the resources to carry out the Agency’s sustainable development agenda through a general Intranet article on the subject of the Agency’s commitment to the FSDS, as well as target-specific articles outlining how employees can contribute (e.g. green meetings, paper reduction)
  • Setting measurable targets, reporting progress and reviewing Agency contributions to the FSDS on a yearly basis through the Agency’s Main Estimates process.

During 2011-12 ACOA considered the environmental effects of its initiatives (subject to The Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals), and determined that no strategic environmental assessments were required.

4.  Summary of the performance of departmental implementation strategies identified in Themes I-III of the FSDS

The Agency’s Policy, Advocacy and Coordination program activity focused on energy and the environment through its advocacy work promoting Atlantic Canada’s energy sector, including renewable energy, and facilitating the advancement of the region’s potential through the Atlantic Canada Energy (ACE) office. The energy and environment sectors were a focus also for ACOA’s coordination program sub-activity through the Atlantic Energy Gateway (AEG) initiative. The AEG supports Theme I of the FSDS: “Addressing Climate Change and Air Quality”. Through the FSDS, the federal government has committed to “reduce greenhouse gas emission levels to mitigate the severity and unavoidable impacts of climate change.”[2] Strategies to meet this goal include “providing sustained action to build a low-carbon economy and make Canada a world leader in clean electricity generation.”[3] The work of the AEG supports this strategy and will assist Atlantic Canada in developing its low-carbon economy. 

The Atlantic Energy Gateway (AEG) process was initiated by the Government of Canada with the objective of enhancing regional cooperation towards the development of Atlantic Canada’s clean energy resources. Managed by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and Natural Resources Canada, with the Atlantic Provinces and regional utilities, research work under the AEG found significant potential benefits from regional collaboration in this sector, including cost efficiencies, greater diversity in clean and renewable energy supplies, enhanced stability for ratepayers and much lower greenhouse gas emissions in Atlantic Canada. Over the study period (2015 to 2040), regional GHG emissions could fall by 37 percent to 7.8 megatonnes annually. Additional information on the Atlantic Energy Gateway, along with the executive summaries of the studies, is available at:

5. Summary of the performance of additional sustainable development activities

In Atlantic Canada, ACOA is also helping to develop more competitive, resource-efficient and sustainable businesses and communities through its funding programs. For example, the Agency supports innovative research and commercialization activities in the clean energy sector through the Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF). Most recently, AIF has funded a university project to develop a process to lower the cost of manufacturing molecular pure carbon; a critical ingredient for the plastic solar cell market. Other examples of ACOA support for innovation in this area include: street and area lighting systems that eliminate mercury and lead in the manufacturing process while providing energy-savings of up to 80%; work on more efficient wind turbines; and research into green hydrocarbons.

Additional information on ACOA’s programming is available at

6.  Link to ACOA’s 2011-2012 Departmental Performance Report, supplementary table related to Theme IV: Greening Government Operations

7. Link to the FSDS website, hosted by Environment Canada

For complete details on the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy, see


[1]  Together the sustainable development performance content contained within this 2011-12 Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy (DSDS) website and the 2011-12 Departmental Performance Report (DPR) is considered the 2011-12 Performance Report of the Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy (DSDS).

[2] Planning for a Sustainable Future: A Federal Sustainable Development Strategy for Canada. Available at

[3] Planning for a Sustainable Future: A Federal Sustainable Development Strategy for Canada, p. 20, Environment Canada, 2010.