Government of Nova Scotia Government of Nova Scotia Nova Scotia, Canada


Sustainable Development Goals Act

Sustainable Development
Goals Act

Sustainable Development Goals Act

The Sustainable Development Goals Act sets ambitious new goals to fight climate change and will continue advancing Nova Scotia’s economic, social, and environmental well being.

This Act replaces the Environmental Goals and Sustainability Prosperity Act (EGSPA) which was originally passed in 2007. Most of EGSPA’s goals have been achieved.

Through consultation, Nova Scotians helped us develop this legislation. We thank all Nova Scotians who shared their comments. A short summary of what people shared is below.

We will consult again to develop goals in regulations. Once regulations are ready, the Act will be proclaimed.

Summary of Comments from Initial Consultation

The following is a short summary of what people shared.

Question 1: What are your thoughts on the proposed objectives and key concepts?

Many felt the objectives and key concepts were good. Some expressed concerns:

  • There is a need to take action.
  • The concepts are too vague and noncommittal. Clear goals and targets with timelines are needed.
  • They are too focused on economic aspects.
  • They are too focused on growth. We need degrowth, i.e. societies need to live within their means.

Question 2: What are your thoughts on the six areas of focus? Are there other areas we should consider?

Many felt the areas of focus were good. Many called for action or commented on a lack of action in the focus areas. Some felt that climate change mitigation and adaptation should be the highest priority.

Some people suggested other areas of focus. Some examples are:

  • Cleaner transportation
  • De-carbonizing electricity
  • Eco-friendly tourism
  • Sustainable food systems and production
  • Environmental bill of rights
  • Mi'kmaw rights and sovereignty
  • Recognizing and protecting aquatic species and habitats
  • Solid waste management
  • Poverty reduction
  • Supporting youth entrepreneurship

Some examples of other comments/ideas:

  • Active/public transportation is impractical in rural areas and for seniors
  • Need legislation to make construction more eco-friendly
  • Need stronger, more concrete language
  • Clean energy is too narrow
  • Should look into incineration of waste through highly efficient and filtered central heating systems
  • Should look to hydrogen

Question 3: The Minister’s Round Table on Environment and Sustainable Prosperity recommended that we rename this legislation the Sustainable Prosperity Act.  Do you agree?

Some expressed that the new name is good. Some felt the name doesn’t matter as much as the content.

Some said that “environment” and “goals” should not be removed. They felt the emphasis on prosperity would mean more focus on economic aspects.
There were a few suggestions for alternate names, such as:

  • Climate Change Crisis (or Emergency) Act
  • Sustainable Prosperity and Equity Act
  • Environmental Goals and Sustainability Act
  • Sustainable and Economic Prosperity Act
  • Sustainable Prosperity Goals Act

Other thoughts

In addition to answering the three questions, people also shared other thoughts. Many emphasized the need to take action now, especially on climate change. Some commented that this wasn’t the best form of consultation. One person was concerned about environmental action going too far and crippling the economy.

Some put forward additional ideas, such as:

  • Moving to reduce fossil fuels, net-zero greenhouse gas emissions
  • Reducing water consumption
  • Supporting local food production
  • The need to place less emphasis on growth (“donut economy” concept)

Some of the respondents used to the opportunity to express their concerns about:

  • Trails – some wanted them for active transportation only, some wanted them for ATVs
  • Transportation in rural areas
  • Mining
  • Clearcutting
  • Northern Pulp
  • Aquaculture