In his report tabled in the House of Commons on October 7, 2010, Scott Vaughan, Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, criticized the federal government for not keeping its commitments to take the lead in protecting the environment and moving towards sustainable development.

“Our report points to some common and long-standing weaknesses in the way the government has been managing environmental issues, from a lack of critical data, the inadequate information about key environmental threats, to a lack of plans to tackle those threats” said Mr. Vaughan.

The report indicates that the government’s failure to lead is evident in the absence of a federal strategy for adapting to climate impacts, despite commitments going back 18 years. This has left departments without the central direction they need to coordinate their own adaption efforts.

The report also notes the government’s failure to identify and collect the information it needs to manage critical environmental issues, from information on water quality, to the absence of a national and up-to-date evaluation of the risks of oil spills from ships.

The chapter “The Commissioner’s Perspective” is available on the Office of the Auditor General of Canada website.