My name is Julie Gelfand, and I am the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development. I am pleased to present my Fall 2014 report.
The audits I am reporting on today underscore that the government does not have the answers to many questions that impact the future of sustainable development in Canada.
As Canadians, we expect the government to look out not only for the interests of the day, but also for those of future generations. As these audits show, there is some question about the extent to which the government is meeting this expectation.
This year’s audits show that despite some initiatives and progress in certain areas, there remain many unanswered questions. In many key areas that we looked at, it is not clear how the government intends to address the significant environmental challenges that future growth and development will likely bring about.
Among other questions, the government has not made clear the rationale for what projects will be subject to environmental assessments.
It has not defined a national plan, with the provinces and territories, to achieve Canada’s greenhouse gas emission target. It has also not determined which services it will focus on in the Arctic to support increased navigation and minimize environment and safety risks.
And it does not know what Environment Canada’s role will be in oil sands monitoring beyond March 2015.
I expect the government to have the answers to these questions. In my report, I have made many recommendations which the departments have accepted. I look forward to seeing what initiatives will be put in place in response to these recommendations.