In accordance with the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals, a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Preliminary Scan was completed for the continuation of the Prime Minister's Awards (PMA). The analysis indicated the proposal is unlikely to have any important environmental effects but may help to indirectly advance progress of some 2016–2019 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) goals and targets.
The PMA aim to honour Canada's most innovative and outstanding educators and share their best teaching practices. Renewed investments in PMA will support seventeen new science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) awards and help to advance the Government's Innovation and Skills Plan. The PMAs encourage best practices from Canadian educators, thereby better preparing our youth for an innovation and digital-based economy.
The PMA revised nomination criteria honour Canada's best educators who encourage youth to become conscientious global citizens and to critically consider real world issues, including complex environmental issues (such as climate change) and possible solutions. Many of the educators that are honoured and promoted find unique and innovative ways to teach their students to care for these issues, and become better global citizens.
The ultimate outcome of the program is aimed at preparing youth for success in an innovative and digital based economy. According to a 2013 study completed by the Council of Canadian Academies, ICT has important positive, indirect environmental effects as it supports greening of the economy, clean tech development and digital adoption across the economy, and the development of smart cities.
The PMA also support Canada's commitment to make progress on the United Nation's Agenda 2030 and the Global Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 4: Quality Education for All, Goal 8: Inclusive and Sustainable Economic Growth, and Goal 9: Fostering Innovation. It is possible that the renewed PMAs with its focus on STEM, ICTs and innovation may indirectly advance progress on the following 2016–2019 FSDS goals and targets:
Effective action on climate change
- Long-term goal: A low-carbon economy contributes to limiting global average temperature rise to well below two degrees Celsius and supports efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius
- Medium-term target: By 2030, reduce Canada's total GHG emissions by 30%, relative to 2005 emission levels
- Long-term goal: A growing clean technology industry in Canada contributes to clean growth and the transition to a low-carbon economy
- Medium-term target: Implement our Mission Innovation commitment to double federal government investments in clean energy research, development and demonstration, by 2020, from 2015 levels