Major Environmental Agreement

1.119 Our five case studies provided additional information on the responsibility of responsible services for the outcome of their agreements. We found that, overall, there is no significant difference between the way the federal government manages and takes into account environmental policies and objectives set out in international environmental agreements and those defined elsewhere. There are no management guidelines, procedures or mechanisms that apply exclusively to international environmental agreements. Results similar to those of other government policies, programs or initiatives are in fact considered. We believe that this is neither an unexpected point of view nor a problem, as long as the principles of accountability are applied. However, we found that the key elements of accountability are not always present. 1.18 Despite the designation of a leading department for each international environmental agreement, there is no common mechanism for defining and formally delegating the competences of the responsible departments. The core role of feather administration is generally based on the mandate of the department and the responsibilities of the minister associated with it. Similarly, federal cabinet documents that authorize the negotiation and ratification of agreements (such as cabinet memorandums and decision files) can identify the lead division and, to some extent, describe its role. However, cabinet documents are not available to the public or members of Parliament by law and are therefore not sufficiently transparent for liability purposes. 1.24 The department`s performance reports must also strive to be concise and well understood by Canadians. Because they are not intended to be complete or provide comprehensive information on everything a federal department does.

Competing priorities often make it more difficult to report on all outstanding programs and initiatives. As a result, there is no indication that responsible departments will use departmental performance reports to report on the results of international environmental agreements. Nevertheless, the Treasury Board of the Secretariat of Canada encourages departments to channel readers to other publications or websites, using their service reports, where they can find more complete performance information. 1.127 In all cases, with the exception of the MARPOL Agreement, the responsible services indicated that they were conducting periodic performance checks to assess environmental outcomes on the basis of expected results. However, none of the departments had clear documentation of the findings of these audits. Despite the confusion, people are concerned about the effects of environmental agreements. A Gallup poll conducted in 2017 showed that Americans were worried about global warming at a three-year peak. 1.120 The three departments responsible for implementing the five agreements we reviewed – Environment Canada, Transport Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada – unanimously stated that their pen-level responsibility was clearly defined and delegated.