The Canadian government passed a comprehensive Federal Sustainable Development Act in 2008, which gives legislative basis to international best practices for sustainable development planning and addresses deficiencies that were identified in Canada’s previous environmental planning system. The Act mandates the preparation of the new Federal Sustainable Development Strategy, which was published in 2010. The new legislation and strategy represent a significant advance in sustainable development planning that can provide a model for other jurisdictions. This paper evaluates these Canadian innovations in sustainable development planning against best practices criteria. The evaluation concludes that these new initiatives have improved the sustainable development planning system in Canada. Despite these improvements, there remain significant deficiencies in the Canadian system primarily related to the failure to set comprehensive sustainable development targets and prepare strategies to meet these targets. With improvements to address these deficiencies, the Canadian sustainable development planning system could act as a model for other jurisdictions on planning for sustainable development.
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