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This document presents Indian and Northern Affairs Canada's (INAC) plan to assess the value for money of its programs, policy frameworks and approaches. The Evaluation Plan covers the five year period from 2007-2008 to 2011-2012.
The plan proposes increased coverage from recent years to address the requirements of the Transfer Payment Policy and the Federal Accountability Act. The Act calls for a "review", i.e., evaluation, of all direct spending, including transfer payment programs to be covered each five years.
Purpose of Evaluation
The role of the evaluation function is to provide Ministers, central agencies and Deputy Ministers with regular evidence-based assessments of the performance of programs and other initiatives as well as insights on whether they continue to be relevant. It should be a key source of neutral performance information.
Evaluation is expected to inform decisions about new program and policy approaches, provide guidance on necessary
policy and program improvements, and support departmental accountability to Parliament and Canadians by helping
deputy heads to manage for results.
The evaluation function is currently guided by Treasury Board's 2001 Evaluation Policy. A revised policy, expected in fall 2007, will increase evaluation requirements to support Treasury Board's renewed expenditure management system. The proposed policy has been respected in the drafting of this plan.
The policy's expected results are:
neutral, credible and timely evidence-based information for government and Parliament on the relevance and
five-year cyclical evaluation of all grant and contribution spending (the policy is the means for addressing transfer
payment review requirements of the Federal Accountability Act);
annual assurance from the Head of Evaluation of the adequacy of departmental performance measurement.
With the requirement for additional evaluation coverage, Treasury Board has expanded its definition of evaluation
instruments and approaches. Reviews and management consulting studies can now be considered "value-for-money"
The 2007-2008 to 2011-2012 Evaluation Plan proposes a strategic, risk-based approach to the assessment of the
department's programs and activities.
It covers all grant and contribution programs and in many cases proposes a strategic approach of program clusters. This
approach allows for the evaluation function to study and conclude on entire policy areas, using an optimized number of
studies focused on broader horizontal issues. This approach also supports annual reporting along the structure of the
department's Program Activity Architecture.
The plan also proposes a series of special studies to address horizontal risks and factors that affect, either directly or
indirectly, achievement of the department's intended results by assessing some of the complexities of INAC's operating
environment and strengths of current practices, instruments and approaches.
A number of assumptions have been made in developing the plan:
Introduction of a revised Policy on Evaluation;
Treasury Board Secretariat acceptance of cluster evaluations that are based on the department's Program Activity
Evaluations supporting Treasury Board Secretariat accountability requirements would be led by the Evaluation
Documentation of INAC's "evaluation universe" was a critical first step in developing the plan to ensure its
comprehensiveness. An analysis was done of the department's Program Activity Architecture, its grant and contribution
programs, their authorities and expiry dates, and the department's major policies and policy frameworks.
The plan reflects INAC's Program Activity Architecture (PAA) elements / strategic outcomes and its grant and contribution programs.
A second step was to identify past commitments to and central agency expectations for evaluations, which required a
review of departmental Treasury Board submissions, program authorities; management responses to Auditor General
audits, and recent evaluation plans.
In addition, an analysis was done of issues and risks related to achievement of expected outcomes based on
management risk discussions, evaluation and audit findings, including the Office of the Auditor General audit findings;
reports, and other documentation of program design and delivery issues facing the department .
Some major risk factors related to INAC programming are discussed below. A crosswalk has been done to identify links
between these risks and the evaluation projects, these are shown in the plan that begins on page 9.
The INAC Evaluation Plan, 2007-2008 to 2011-2012 proposes comprehensive and sustainable coverage of the department's programs and activities.
The plan proposes a total of 38 evaluation projects over a five-year period, focussed on INAC's key policy and program
areas. Of these, 33 projects provide evaluation coverage of the department's approximate 55 grant and contribution
authorities and five special studies to assess factors that cut across programs and policies and that affect, either directly or indirectly, achievement of the department's objectives.
Tables in the next section present evaluation projects and special studies. Appendix A presents evaluation projects by sector and year.
The Treasury Board policy requires that evaluation plans take account of risk. The following bullets suggest risk factors for INAC. They have been considered in the identification of evaluation projects and will be further considered in the identification of evaluation issues for individual projects. It should be noted that many of these risk factors are closely interrelated.
Clarity of strategic directions and objectives/expected outcomes: In some cases, objectives of programs/policies were not well articulated at the outset, and in others, the focus of INAC programs and initiatives has changed since
their introduction, with the result that intended outcomes are no longer clearly defined or there are flaws in design
theories or gaps in programming, for example preventive programming.
Performance, results and reporting: In some areas, as pointed out by the Office of the Auditor General, Treasury Board and Parliamentary committees, the department lacks results information and evaluative work needed to clearly demonstrate a causal link between its investments and the outcomes achieved, thereby jeopardizing its ability to make a successful business case for additional resources, when needed.
Accountabilities: Authority has been delegated to First Nations for delivery of many Indian and Northern Affairs Canada programs, yet the accountability for these programs remains with the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs. Although responsible, in both legislation and public expectation, for programs/services to enhance or to ensure the well-being of First Nations, INAC has little control over their quality, timeliness, and effectiveness.
Inter-jurisdictional relationships: Some programs are delivered in fields where standards and practices are provincially regulated. In some cases, program design / delivery has not kept up with changes in provincial programs or standards, e.g., Child and Family Services.
Processes and authorities: Some INAC objectives must be achieved through negotiations with First Nations, e.g.
comprehensive, specific and special claims and INAC does not control the pace or outcomes. First Nations may choose litigation over negotiation, or decide not to ratify an agreement-in-principle.
Coordination between federal programs for Aboriginal peoples: A number of federal departments have similar programs targeted to the same population, especially in the social sector. There has been little analysis of the extent to which these programs complement or overlap, or whether coordination can be improved. INAC is often seen as the lead on issues that affect Aboriginal peoples, even when that role more properly lies with other departments.
Functional guidance and regional delivery: INAC operations are highly decentralized. Decentralization has put pressure on coordination mechanisms to ensure the integration of regional practices with headquarters policies and priorities. Notional budget allocations hinder the tracking of actual expenditures and efforts in relation to outcomes and blur the lines of accountability. Roles and responsibilities of regions in regards to community development, and outcome monitoring and result-based management are not always clear or consistent and there also are some gaps in functional guidance due to weaknesses in program control frameworks.
Capacity and governance: First Nations that deliver INAC programs are, in some cases, hampered by poor governance regimes, the lack of trained local personnel, and other limitations arising from their small size and the remoteness of their communities. The lack of adequate arrangements to ensure accountability from delivery organizations to First Nations is exacerbated by the absence of an independent complaints and allegations process for First Nations.
Funding instruments: The government's funding instruments may be poorly suited to the objectives and business of this department, as they focus on short term activity, compliance monitoring and reporting to government rather than creating First Nations governments with a long term vision who are accountable to the communities they serve.
Comprehensive community planning for First Nations: With few exceptions, the department's financial support has been provided on the basis of approved authorities and formulae rather than comprehensive community plans, although community building and economic development would be better served by integrated and comprehensive programming that responds to local priorities.
Performance information: Much information is collected from First Nations, but the information collected provides little insight into the performance of the department's funding programs and is not used effectively. Information often tells us only that money has been spent. There is also a lack of performance information on the effectiveness of aboriginal institutions put in place to deliver services outside of the Indian Act and to develop a First Nation public service.
Financial and legal issues: The department's legal obligations give rise to significant financial obligations, e.g. obligations related to renewal of land claim agreement implementation plans and changes in provincial/territorial legislation and standards.
-Authority /year of expiry/
-Annual allocation (07/08)
Capacity and governance
Financial and Legal issues
1. Income Assistance, National Child Benefit Reinvestment (A program-led review of Assisted Living is
Grants to provide income support to
indigent on-reserve residents / 2008 /
Contributions to provide income support to
indigent on-reserve residents / 2008/
Contributions to provide programming for
low income reserve residents with children
under the National Child Benefit
Reinvestment Initiative / 2008 / $52,000,000
Social Development: The Way Forward
2. Family Violence Prevention
Contributions to support culturally
appropriate prevention and protection
services for Indian children and families
resident on-reserve / 2012 / $30,400,000
3. Child Welfare (includes
Child and Family
Contributions to support culturally
appropriate prevention and protection
services for Indian children and families
resident on-reserve / 2012 / $487,000,000
Comprehensive Healing Strategy (Program-led review
Funding through following authorities – Policy and Consultation, Education, Social
Development, Capital Facilities and Maintenance, Lands and Estate Management
5. Elementary and
Payments to support Indian, Inuit and Innu
for the purpose of supply public services in
education / 2008 / $1,424,255,000 (includes
elementary and secondary education,
special education, cultural centres and
youth employment strategy)
Grants to Indians and Inuit to provide
elementary and secondary educational
support services / 2008 / $150,000
Grants to Inuit to support their cultural
advancements / 2008 / $45,000
Contributions under the First Nations
SchoolNet Program / 2009 / $5,800,000
2005 Education Action Plan
6 Post Secondary
Grants to Indians and Inuit to support their
post-secondary educational advancements
/ 2008 / $1,100,000
7. First Nations Water
Management (TOR in
Payments to support Indians, Inuit and Innu
for the purpose of supplying public service
in capital facilities and maintenance / 2010 /
INAC Long Term Capital Plan
Federal government Policy Framework
Plan of Action on Drinking Water
8. Long-term Capital
9. On-Reserve Housing
(joint INAC /CMHC)
10. First Nations
Special Studies – Chief Audit and Evaluation Executive
Timeframe Fiscal Year
An analysis of the effectiveness/appropriateness of funding
arrangements available to the department for its programs/initiatives
(Alternative Funding Arrangements, Flexible Transfer Payments,
Contribution Agreements, Comprehensive Funding Arrangements) in the
context of the government's/ department's broad policy objectives for its
work with Aboriginal peoples.
An analysis of departmental processes for coordination and delivery of
departmental program/initiatives via regional offices, including
performance monitoring and progress reporting.
An assessment of the accountability provisions in departmental funding
arrangements and whether satisfactory arrangements are being made
for progress reporting by INAC to Parliament and Canadians and progress reporting by Aboriginal organizations to their communities.
An analysis of the extent to which there is comprehensive community
planning by Aboriginal organizations and an assessment of impact of
comprehensive community planning projects now underway.
(to be done
Each year, an assessment of performance information being collected by
the department and its usefulness for departmental results reporting
purposes will be prepared, with a particular emphasis on performance
information for programs due to be evaluated in the following year.
Evaluation projects are led by Senior Evaluation Managers, with support from other staff of the department's Audit and Evaluation Sector and, in most cases, consulting resources. The project evaluation teams will seek input from other
departmental officials, especially departmental officials with management responsibilities related to the program being evaluated, as needed.
The Senior Evaluation Managers will generally call on consulting companies to do fieldwork related to evaluations, e.g., literature reviews, interviews, case studies and expert focus groups.
Costs of consulting resources will vary, depending on project's scope and complexity. A preliminary per project estimate could range from $175,000 to $500,000. Project consulting costs will be borne by the responsible sector and Audit and Evaluation Sector. A detailed cost estimate will be developed by the Senior Evaluation Manager prior to its
commencement, a part of the project terms of reference. Once Terms of Reference are approved by departmental senior
management, sectors will be expected to arrange for the transfer of their share of project costs.
Costs of special projects that are not sector- or authority-specific will be borne by Audit and Evaluation Sector.
Consultations on the proposed strategic approach have taken place with Treasury Board's Centre of Excellence for
Evaluation, which endorses it.
The plan was discussed with the senior management of all sectors in INAC to ensure that it provides for needed coverage
and that the approach is sound.
Feedback on the plan was requested from, and discussions were held with, all Assistant Deputy Ministers and their
management teams. Meetings were also held with a number of Directors General, and their suggestions were
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada Evaluation Plan
The plan will be updated and tabled at the Audit and Evaluation Committee annually, to take account of evolving needs for coverage and strategic information. Because it is a rolling plan, annual update will also identify evaluation activities for the fifth year of the plan.
The updated plan will reflect work not completed as planned and carried over to another fiscal year.
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada Evaluation Plan