There are three broad areas of environmental management at Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC): (1) environmental programs and activities delivered directly to First Nations for the protection of reserve lands and other lands under INAC jurisdiction; (2) environmental programs and activities delivered in the North; and (3) environmental activities aimed at minimizing the department's own environmental footprint.
First Nations living on reserve face the same environmental challenges that all Canadians face. These challenges relate to the contamination of air, land and water that may result in threats to human health and the environment.
INAC plays a role in ensuring the health and safety of First Nations people through programs to protect the environment on reserve lands and other lands under INAC jurisdiction.
Environmental protection programs are delivered in partnership with First Nations, and are guided by INAC's environmental policy framework, as well as INAC's approach to implementing the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy. The Contaminated Sites Management Program is INAC's primary environmental program on reserve, and helps First Nations clean up high risk contaminated sites.
Other programs delivered in partnership with First Nations, such as the Lands and Economic Development Services Program, aim to raise awareness and provide training on environmental issues on reserve and promote compliance with federal environmental legislation.
Through the delivery of its programs and application of its environmental policy framework, INAC has an opportunity to demonstrate leadership and promote best practices with respect to environmental management on reserve. An example of this is INAC's Environmental Review Process for Projects on Reserve Land, which identifies risks associated with projects on reserve lands and determines that potential significant adverse environmental effects are not likely prior to issuing any departmental authorizations.
INAC also has environmental responsibilities in the North, with respect to protecting northern water, adapting to climate change, and cleaning up contaminants.
For more information visit INAC's environmental roles and responsibilities in Canada's North.
Greening Government Operations
The federal government has a responsibility to minimize the environmental footprint of its operations and the Office of Greening Government Operations (OGGO) sets government-wide priorities, accountabilities and targets towards this end.
INAC contributes to the Greening of Government Operations by minimizing energy and paper consumption, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and ensuring a high standard of environmental performance for its buildings and vehicle fleet.
Additional information on INAC's efforts to minimize its environmental footprint is available in Section 2 of INAC's Sustainable Development Strategy.
- Date modified: