Sustainable development strategies introduced regularly by the Canadian government since the mid-1990s have largely failed to produce results, according to a new audit. A report by Environment Commissioner Ron Thompson notes that officials seem to just go through the motions, that there is no accountability, and that there has been no provision of “baselines or targets against which departments could monitor or report on their progress.” Says Thompson, “We have found little evidence that the strategies have encouraged departments to integrate protection of the environment with economic and social issues in a substantive or meaningful way.” He adds that “the ambition and momentum that existed in the early stages of sustainable development strategies has faded.” To sum up: “The strategies are a major disappointment.” Environment Canada says it will review its policies and practices.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.