In accordance with the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals (2010), a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) was completed for the Post‑Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund (SIF). An analysis of the program determined that SIF will likely have positive direct and indirect environmental benefits over time which will serve to advance the goals and targets of the 2013–2016 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS).
Renewal and replacement of aging infrastructures to replace them with modern, more energy efficient and less environmentally impactful infrastructures is an important component of mitigating the long‑term negative environmental impacts of the use of post‑secondary research and teaching facilities. The SIF can support the development of enhanced research infrastructure that may reduce Canadian research facilities' environmental footprint and strengthen their capacity for research, innovation and industry‑related training.
An assessment of the SIF found positive direct and indirect environmental benefits for retrofitted or replaced institutional buildings. These include decreasing GHG emissions and air pollution and reducing the material requirements for goods and services affecting nature.
The SEA indicated that the SIF is likely to positively advance the following goals and targets of the FSDS through direct and indirect environmental benefits:
- Goal 1 and Target 1.1: Climate Change Mitigation – Relative to 2005 emission levels, reduce Canada's total Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions 17% by 2020.
- Goal 2 and Target 2.1: Outdoor Air Pollutants – Improve outdoor air quality by ensuring compliance with new or amended regulated emission limits by 2020 and thus reducing emissions of air pollutants in support of the Air Quality Management System objectives.
- Goal 3 and Target 3.11: Wastewater and Industrial Effluent – Reduce risks associated with effluent from wastewater (sewage) and industrial sectors by 2020.