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Reality Check

RC-23: Does Manitoba's Government abide by its
Sustainable Development Act?

Date Posted: August 20, 2011

Manitoba's Sustainable Development Act came into force in 1997. The purpose of the Act is: "to create a framework through which sustainable development will be implemented in the provincial public sector and promoted in private industry and in society generally."

The Act also requires a provincial Sustainability Report, which is reviewed and updated by Sustainability Roundtable every five years. The latest report was released in December 2010 on line only, and posted with a date earlier than its release.

Schedules A and B of the Act lay out sustainable development principles and guidelines, as the basis for making decisions relating to sustainable development, using the Act's principles and guidelines.

Section 3(1) of the act states: "The government shall have regard in all of its activities to sustainable development and the Principles and Guidelines set out in Schedules A and B." Part 2, section 3: Framework for Implementing Sustainable Development, has never been implemented.

Section 4(3) of the Act outlines the activities of the Round Table. The Table has rarely undertaken the research, programs, and investigations identified in the Act.

The Principles and Guidelines of Sustainable Development have been incorporated into the environmental impact statements, and licensing requirements for many projects in Manitoba, starting before proclamation of the Act. Recently Manitoba Conservation has dropped this requirement from environment effects assessments, and licensing requirements.

Sets of government sustainable development policy resulted from workshops and 'consultations' during the 1990's, conducted by the the staff unit for sustainable development. There have been updates for some of these. State of the Province reports were issued in the 1990s after discussion in workshops, and review of the report itself. The two 'Sustainability' reports released in the last decade were produced in house and apparently had no peer review or workshop based planning.

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