Department of Justice Sustainable Development Governance and Implementation


The Federal Sustainable Development Act  requires the development of a government-wide sustainable development (SD) strategy supported by departmental strategies. The first federal strategy was developed and approved by the Governor in Council and tabled in Parliament on October 6, 2010. The Department of Justice, along with the other departments, is required to prepare its own strategy and include it in the Report on Plans and Priorities (RPP), beginning with the RPP for 2011-12.

In general, responsibilities for SD at Justice are organized around the three principal priority areas of the Department’s Program Activity Architecture — Stewardship of the National legal framework; Legal services to government programs; and Internal services. This document describes the governance and implementation structures relating to these responsibilities under four main headings: the Minister, Departmental Officials, Advisory Bodies, and Action Teams. It also outlines Justice’s reporting responsibilities in relation to SD.


The Minister is responsible for the development and implementation of the Department’s SD strategy, and for having each updated version tabled in Parliament. While all departments are required to update their strategies at least once every three years, the Department of Justice has made a commitment to update its strategy annually.

Departmental Officials

Deputy Minister and Senior Management

The Deputy Minister ensures that Justice provides the necessary support to enable the Minister to meet her SD responsibilities. The Deputy Minister designates a departmental SD Champion to provide leadership in this area. The Deputy Minister also chairs the Executive Committee, which, as the Department’s senior decision-making forum, is responsible for ensuring that all portfolios, sectors, branches and regional offices provide the required SD support relating to their business operations.

SD Champion

The SD Champion is a member of the Executive Committee and provides leadership on all matters relating to SD at Justice, with support from the SD Coordinator. The Champion

  • coordinates the formulation and implementation of SD strategies at Justice;
  • is the principal point of contact for interdepartmental relations pertaining to Justice’s SD responsibilities;
  • chairs the SD Steering Committee;
  • coordinates the Department’s responses to environmental petitions submitted under the Auditor General Act; and
  • monitors progress made by the Steering Committee and the SD Networks in implementing Justice’s SD Strategy.

SD Coordinator

The SD Coordinator supports the SD Champion and provides regular updates to the implementation plans. The Coordinator also:

  • prepares SD work plans, monitors progress on their implementation, and reports on them;
  • manages communications with interdepartmental SD committees;
  • collaborates with the Office of Strategic Planning and Performance Management in reporting on SD ;
  • organizes meetings of the SD Steering Committee and liaises with the Departmental Policy Committee Working Group in connection with SD matters;
  • provides support and advice to green teams and coordinates their work; and
  • conducts research on SD matters and keeps the departmental Web sites up to date.

Advisory Bodies

Two bodies provide advice and support relating to Justice SD responsibilities: the SD Steering Committee for overall guidance and the Policy Committee Working Group for matters related to policy activities at Justice.

SD Steering Committee

Chaired by the SD Champion, the Steering Committee is composed of senior managers from a cross-section of Justice (portfolios, sectors, branches and regional offices). The committee supports the work of the SD Champion, the SD coordinator, and the various SD networks. In particular, the committee:

  • provides overall guidance on the formulation of SD strategies and implementation plans and recommends the Justice SD strategy for approval;
  • promotes awareness of SD and understanding of its connection with the work of Justice;
  • engages management and employees in implementing SD in their respective areas and promotes best practices; and
  • meets at the call of the chair to consider progress in the implementation of SD strategies and proposed actions.

Policy Committee Working Group

This Justice working group has general responsibilities for supporting the Justice Policy Committee, including supporting the implementation of SD in relation to Justice policies, laws and programs. The Working Group:

  • supports the development of implementation plans for the SD Strategy as it relates to Justice policies, laws and programs;
  • supports the application of the Cabinet Directive on Strategic Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plans and Programs;
  • hosts events that make the connection between SD and Justice policies, laws and programs;
  • develops practical tools to assist persons (such as policy analysts) working with Justice policies, laws and programs in integrating SD in their work; and
  • encourages the deployment of tools and best practices in support of SD in connection with Justice policies, laws and programs.

Action Teams

Justice Green Teams

Coordinated by the SD Coordinator, Green Teams are established at a local level within the Department’s various portfolios, sectors, branches and regional offices.  They support the implementation of SD in several practical ways, such as:.

  • considering the environmental footprint of their sectoral or regional operations and proposing mitigating measures for “greening” the workplace; and
  • helping to publicize, marshal support for, and implement more ecological alternatives such as public transit, ride sharing, recycling, double-sided printing, and electronic paystubs.


The implementation of the Justice SD Strategy is to be monitored and reported on in a variety of ways, including

  • periodic reports to Executive Committee by the SD Champion on the implementation of the SD Strategy and other related SD matters and
  • annual reports in the Department of Justice Report on Plans and Priorities and Departmental Performance Report.
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