ARCHIVED - Evaluation of the Income Assistance Program - Follow-up Report Status Update as of March 31, 2008

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PROJECT TITLE
EVALUATION OF THE INCOME ASSISTANCE  PROGRAM
ACTION PLAN APPROVAL DATE: 12/19/2007
PROGRAM
SOCIO-ECONOMIC POLICY AND REGIONAL OPERATIONS (HEADQUARTERS) – SOCIAL POLICY AND PROGRAMS BRANCH
PROJECT RECOMMENDATION
1. Refocus the Income Assistance Program to include support to assist individuals in need to make the transition to work.
STATUS: Request to Close
ACTION PLAN EXPECTED COMPLETION DATE RESPONSE
  • The Income Assistance Program is being refocused through the introduction of active measures starting in Ontario in 2008-09. The active measures approach is aimed at helping income assistance clients make the transition from welfare to work. To introduce active measures in Ontario we will coordinate with the Region and the Province to ensure implementation.
Begin implementation in Ontario in 2008-09; other regions to follow in 2009-10 and beyond. Request to close. Implementation will not take place as planned. INAC will revisit the active measures approach as part of the policy renewal process for 2008-09.
  • The Income Assistance Program will seek funding in order to implement active measures in other regions.
Request to close. The Income Assistance Program did not receive policy approval.
  • Revise Program terms and conditions to reflect implementation of active measures.
A strategic planning session with the Regions will take place on June 26-27, 2008, to discuss future policy direction including active measures.
PROJECT RECOMMENDATION
2. Develop an active measures approach to delivering income assistance programming on-reserve, including organizational changes required for successful implementation at the community level.
STATUS: Request to Close
  • In consultation with the Regions, Provinces and First Nations, INAC will develop a statement of goals and objectives for the implementation of active measures. The statement will be used to increase awareness among all stakeholders of changes that will be needed to shift from passive to active programming.-May 30, 2008.
May 30, 2008 Request to close. Policy approval to implement active measures was not received. The development of a statement of goals and objectives will not be possible at this time.

Following the strategic planning session on June 26-27, 2008, INAC will develop a new policy direction that includes active measures as an option.
  • The Program will complete the implementation plan to introduce active measures in Ontario. Other Regions to follow. This plan includes:
    1. Regional frameworks with targets to reduce welfare dependency and improve outcomes for income assistance recipients
    2. Comprehensive First Nations community plans to meet regional targets
    3. Support for income assistance clients to improve their job readiness.
Start with Ontario in 2008.

Other Regions to follow in 2009-10 and beyond
Request to close. INAC did not receive policy approval to implement active measures. As a result, the Department will not be implementing active measures in Ontario at this time. However, Ontario Works (a form of active measures) is being implemented in 26 First Nations.

AES Comment: To close
PROJECT RECOMMENDATION
3. Strengthen capacity of First Nations income assistance service providers with adequate training, access to individual assessment tools and systems.
STATUS: Pending Implementation
  • Begin by working with Ontario in April 2008 to build First Nations capacity to deliver active measures.
October 31, 2008 INAC did not receive policy approval to implement active measures. As part of the policy renewal process for 2008-09 the Department will be developing program options including active measures.
  • As other regions become ready to implement active measures, the Social Policy and Programs Branch will encourage them to adopt a model used in British Columbia. The First Nations Social Development Society has been engaged by INAC to work with the region, the Province and First Nations to provide information to First Nations income assistance service providers regarding provincial requirements and train them on how to implement active measures.
Other regions to follow in 2009-10 and beyond This strategic planning session on June 26-27 help to establish a direction for the income assistance program to be reflected in the policy renewal document in 2008-09.

AES Comment: To be evaluated in 2008/09
PROJECT RECOMMENDATION
4. Improve coordination of the Income Assistance Program at the national, regional, and local levels with INAC's education, economic development and other social programs. Work with federal and provincial labour market partners to enable income assistance clients on-reserve to access a range of active measures.
STATUS: Pending Implementation
  • Social Policy and Program Branch will work with other INAC programs, in particular those focusing on education and economic development, to develop a plan to identify how these programs can work together with the IAP to increase the employability of income assistance recipients, in particular youth.
December 31, 2008 The Branch has had preliminary discussions with Education, Economic Development and HRSDC to inform them of ongoing progress and leverage resources for pre-employment activities (active measures) for youth.
  • Build on/strengthen existing partnerships and improved program coordination with Aboriginal Human Resource Development Agreements at the national, regional and local levels aimed at helping income assistance clients access employment assistance that will enable them to make the transition from welfare to employment.
Ongoing INAC has developed closer relationship with HRSDC and is exploring ways to work together to strengthen each other's programs in order to better serve income assistance recipients.
PROJECT RECOMMENDATION
5. Through its income assistance and other programs, in concert with other federal departments where appropriate, implement preventive strategies to ensure young people stay in school and graduate, and avoid welfare dependency. Explore transitional programs such as educational upgrading and skills training targeted to youth that access income assistance.
STATUS: Pending Implementation
  • Support the efforts by INAC Education and First Nations leaders and parents to ensure young people stay in school and graduate, and work on joint initiatives.
Ongoing INAC is exploring possible collaboration with Education and First Nations to encourage First Nations youth to stay in school.
  • Set up a committee, with INAC Education and Economic Development, and Aboriginal Human Resource Development Agreements, to identify innovative practices and develop educational upgrading and skill training program for First Nations youth.
December 31, 2008 INAC has identified contacts and started to discuss setting up a Committee with Education, Economic Development and HRSDC/AHRDAs.
PROJECT RECOMMENDATION
6. Improve program delivery and monitoring by addressing weaknesses in the basic needs component so INAC can more effectively plan for and manage changes introduced by provinces/territories, develop a sustainable coherent program, and to ensure services of a reasonably comparable nature.
STATUS: Pending Implementation
  • Revise the methodology for allocating resources to ensure a better alignment between funding and income assistance needs, to enable INAC to better forecast and manage changes in benefit rates introduced by provinces/territories, and improve program delivery.
March 31, 2009 As part of the policy renewal process INAC plans to strengthen the management control framework, including a performance measurement framework, RMAF and RBAF.

AES Comment: Statement needs to be strengthened re: Policy Renewal Process
  • Headquarters will strengthen the management control framework to facilitate monitoring and compliance to enhance program effectiveness, and reflect changes in the national program manual and program terms and conditions as required.
PROJECT RECOMMENDATION
7. Income Assistance Program and clarify accountabilities for monitoring, measuring and reporting on effectiveness and outcomes of the Program.
STATUS: Pending Implementation
  • The Social Policy and Program Branch will develop an RMAF with clear expectations and performance indicators such as welfare dependency rate and other outcomes for income assistance recipients, and a plan for ongoing performance monitoring and future evaluation work.
September 30, 2008 As part of the policy renewal process INAC will develop new outcomes and performance indicators for the RMAF.
  • Strengthen the management control framework in order to establish clearer roles and responsibilities for Head Quarters and the Regions.
March 31, 2009 INAC is working to identify gaps in the management control framework and define roles and responsibilities for HQ and Regions to address these gaps.

AES Comment: The program is being re-evaluated 2008-09 prior to seeking policy renewal.
 
 
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