Sustainability in Canada 101 – Part 1



You may already be familiar with the terms ‘sustainability’, ‘sustainable’ & ‘sustainable development’ and if not, it is important to become familiar with them now. These words are becoming some of the most important buzz words you have ever heard. And it is very important to note at all times that technology & science are walking hand in hand with sustainability.

Definitions Under the Federal Sustainable Development Act of Canada

  • “sustainability”“sustainability” means the capacity of a thing, action, activity, or process to be maintained indefinitely.
  • “sustainable development”“sustainable development” means development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs

The FSDA was implemented in 2008. There are many reasons why this Act came into law, including Agenda 21 & the United Nations and the North American Free Trade Agreement. along with the entire ideology & desire of saving the environment.

Why is this Important?

“Sustainable development is about meeting the needs of today without compromising the needs of future generations. It is about improving standard of living by protecting human health, conserving the environment, using resources efficiently and advancing long-term economic competitiveness. It requires the integration of environmental, economic and social priorities into policies and programs and requires action at all levels – citizens, industry, and governments.”

The FSDA is guided by the “precautionary principle”:

means the principle that where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation

In a nutshell, the sustainable development model is designed to change the way we perform our activites, in our working & everyday lives.  We have clearly seen some of these goals introduced into our society which really started with the basic concept of recycling.  Now we are into the information technology & renewable, sustainable & clean tech energy age.

Our working lives are as important to us as are our everyday lives.  Right now, businesses, companies, plans, designs, infrastructure, you name it, are all adapting the sustainable development model.  Much of the concepts in this model revolve around technologies and how their uses “protect & enhance” our environment.

Our work, functions, tasks, duties, responsibilities are and will be affected by sustainable development.  It is here that it is important to think about what the possibilities could be in the near future & even later, so that whatever regulations, laws & expectations & technological economies according to the sustainable development model are introduced, our working lives are also able to “protect & enhance”.  This does require considering expanding our personal skill levels & knowledge.

Everything is being and will eventually be evaluated for ‘sustainability’.

sustainable future

I Want to Know More About Sustainable Development.

As we have seen in Canada in places like B.C. & especially in Ontario, with its Green Energy & Economy Act, the use of energy producing technolgies has increased massively. A focus has been placed on solar, wind, water & biotechnologies, but it does not stop there.  Infrastructure around us is being redesigned & recreated, and as the bridges, roads, electrical grids etc. change, it’s all based on technology that for now, we are calling “environmentally friendly”, “renewable”, “cleantech”.  It’s all really part of sustainability.

The best way to start is at the beginning. Becoming familiar with documents such as Agenda 21 & the North American Free Trade Agreement will help but be warned, they are long! Understanding Ontario’s Green Energy & Economy Act is a great benefit because this is law and we must be responsible enough to understand it so that we may best move forward.

Becoming familiar with the Ontario Power Authority’s website is also important for a number of reasons.  The OPA shapes the way energy looks in Ontario by creating plans & goals for energy & influences the energy laws that can & do change the way we act in our lives, working & personal.  All of the rules & applications for the Feed-In-Tariff (& MicroFIT) & Standard Offer Program are there as well.

In Part 2 of Sustainability in Canada 101, we’ll explore what the “precautionary principle” means. Or at least try to. I am always open to learning more, so if I’m not getting it, I hope one of my knowledgeable readers might intervene with good info.

And do some homework, because it will help you to understand. Sort of.

But what do I know?



  1. […] a future of big business, oil & gas and re-affirming within the minds of these students that, as defined under the Canadian Federal Sustainable Development Act, these not so green and not so environmentally friendly types of energy, are sustainable.  […]

  2. […] have suggested in several of my past posts, here & here, that sustainability in Canada is a really slippery slope, especially when it comes to the law.  […]

  3. Right on!


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