ARCHIVED - Evaluation of the Inuit Relations Secretariat

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Date: June 2011
(Project Number: 1570-7/09080)

PDF Version (191 Kb, 41 Pages)


Table of Contents




List of Acronyms

EPMRB
Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Branch

HRSDC
Human Resources and Skills Development

ICC
Inuit Circumpolar Council (Canada)

AANDC
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

IRS
Inuit Relations Secretariat

ITK
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

OGD
Other Government Departments

TI
Tungasuvvingat Inuit

TOR
Terms of Reference

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Executive Summary

Background

Prior to the establishment of the Inuit Relations Secretariat (IRS), there was no entity within Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) or elsewhere in the Government with a mandate to identify and advocate for the needs of Inuit in areas of federal responsibility. The Government had no centralized expertise or information on Inuit issues, federal spending on programs that benefit the Inuit, or the collective results of such programs.

In response to these gaps, and through discussions and work with the national representative organization, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), and other Inuit organizations, the role and mandate of the Secretariat were developed. Announced by the Prime Minister, the IRS was established in April 2005.

Overview of the Evaluation

This report presents the results of the Evaluation of the Inuit Relations Secretariat. The evaluation was undertaken at the request of the Secretariat's Executive Director in order to evaluate the Secretariat's results to date and to direct its future programming and planning activities.

This evaluation was led by the Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Branch of AANDC with the support of T.K. Gussman Associates Inc. in cooperation with DPRA Canada. Field work was conducted between February and September 2010. The evaluation period covers the period from 2005-06 to 2009-10.

The evaluation findings support the following conclusions:

Relevance – Needs

The creation of the IRS in 2005 is a step forward, marking the culmination of lengthy discussion surrounding the need to strengthen the government policy and programming of Inuit rights and a struggle to have Inuit voices heard within Canada's political system.

The Secretariat's objectives and activities meet an actual need, which has been well identified and is still relevant, to have a primary point of contact within the federal government, not only to raise awareness of Inuit issues and priorities within the federal public service but to also strengthen federal responses regarding Inuit issues in areas of federal responsibility.

Relevance – Alignment with Government Priorities

The role of the IRS is to support the development of federal policies and programming, ensuring that Inuit interests are taken into account in the federal government's strategic decisions. This is consistent with the position of the IRS within AANDC's Program Activity Architecture, under the Strategic Outcome 'The Government' and the sub-activity of 'Cooperative Relationships'.

The Secretariat's objectives and activities are also in line with the priorities of the Government of Canada in which the North has been identified as a priority. Officially adopted in 2009, Canada's Northern Strategy consists of four priority areas, one of which applies to the mandate of the IRS: to promote social and economic development. [Note 1]

The Secretariat's work is also directly related to the strategic results of AANDC, which aims to assist Aboriginal people and Northerners in their goal to have viable and healthy communities, and to ensure their economic and social development.

Relevance – Role and Responsibility of the Federal Government

The IRS is also consistent with federal responsibilities with respect to efforts to improve cross-government responses in areas of federal responsibility, and to ensure that the perspectives of stakeholders are taken into consideration in programming and policy.

The Secretariat's role is consistent with the roles and responsibilities of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada:

Effectiveness

The Secretariat's activities examined are consistent with the Secretariat's mandate. However, it was not possible to fully assess expected results or progress to outcomes because:

Information from the cases studies and interview provide a more in-depth understanding of the work of the Secretariat and evidence that the Secretariat is making progress in raising awareness of and attention to Inuit issues and priorities within the federal government. For example, the Secretariat has been able to:

Efficiency and Economy

Factors identified as contributing favourably to the Secretariat's work include the direct access to senior management provided by the Secretariat's functional reporting relations, the experience of the IRS' staff and their knowledge of the North and its residents, as well as of the Department and their proactive approach in both internal and external relations.

Factors identified as detracting from the Secretariat's performance include:

However, the Secretariat reports reflect an improvement in the development and use of planning tools and tracking files, particularly since fiscal year 2009-10, when the Secretariat began producing quarterly reports on the progress of its priorities and the tracking of its files.

Within the federal government, there is no other department or agency devoted to the overall coordination and advocacy of Inuit-specific priorities, policy or issues, and there is, thus, no significant duplication of the Secretariat's role within the federal system. There are, however, some agencies within the federal family that, although they have different mandates, play complementary roles both within the Department (Treaties and Aboriginal Government, Northern Affairs Organization, the Office of the Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians) or outside of the Department (such as Health Canada, Transport Canada, Environment Canada, Canada Post or Statistics Canada).

Outside of the federal government area, the Secretariat role begins where ITK's finishes. They collaborate together on several files. The Secretariat acts as a point of contact inside the Government of Canada to promote Inuit issues in order to include them into the public policies and programs. ITK represents the Inuit population and works with the Government of Canada for specific files.

Lessons Learned and Proposed Alternatives

The Secretariat demonstrates not only a real understanding of current and future challenges, but also the Secretariat's strengths and weaknesses. The proposed alternatives identified indicate a reflection on the Secretariat's structure, priorities and mandate. This evaluation demonstrates the capacity to implement activities related to the mandate and role, but few impacts are now measurable.

Some Inuit organizations would like the Secretariat to undergo major changes. The change most often mentioned is the necessity for the Secretariat to have more influence among other departments, and to no longer play the role of intermediary.

Lastly, the matter of Inuit living in urban areas was emphasized as a major issue, especially given the growing migration southward. It was suggested that the Secretariat deepen its commitment, dialogue, and partnerships with other programs, particularly the Urban Aboriginal Strategy.

Recommendations

  1. In light of growing interest in the North and other developments, as well as the IRS increasingly diversified portfolio, the Secretariat should formalize its approach to measuring results through the development of a performance measurement strategy, which meets current departmental standards, clarifies its expected outcomes, and continues to take into account the priorities of both the federal government and Inuit.

     
  2. To complement the performance measurement strategy and enhance efficiency, the Secretariat should develop a multi-year work plan that includes criteria for the selection of both longer-term projects and shorter-term activities, which can respond to emerging issues and challenges as well as mechanisms for identifying and mitigating risks.

  3. To support the orientation and measurement of its advocacy work, the Secretariat, in collaboration with its partners, should consider a strategy or strategies to measure changes in levels of awareness of Inuit issues within the federal government, as well as the extent to which they are being integrated into policies and programs.
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Management Response and Action Plan

Project Title:  Evaluation of the Inuit Relations Secretariat
Project #: 1570-7/09080

1. Management Response

The Inuit Relations Secretariat (IRS) is still a relatively young organization. In its five years of existence, it has largely planned its activities around opportunities that have emerged as a result of the convergence of Inuit needs and government priorities. The findings of the evaluation clearly indicate the need to put greater parameters and rigor around the identification and selection of priorities, as well as the need to place greater emphasis on clearly articulating desired outcomes and measuring performance. The need for longer-term and transparent planning is also recognized. The IRS largely agrees with the recommendations and commits to putting the appropriate measures in place to ensure the above takes place.

However, it must be recognized that the IRS plays a somewhat unusual role in Government. The IRS is not a program; it is an advocate and an awareness raiser and fulfils a role that is not entirely conducive to fully planned activities or easily measured outcomes. Playing the role of advocate must include being able to respond quickly to opportunities as they arise and not all opportunities will be known far in advance. As well, it can be very difficult, time-consuming and expensive to measure the effectiveness and impact of raising awareness. Finally, there needs to acknowledge the fact that the IRS is composed of a total of 17 full-time employees, with a very broad mandate and extensive corporate responsibilities as a result of being a distinct sector.

In the context of the above, it is crucial to develop planning and evaluation processes and tools that are in line with the capacity and scope of the organization. There is a risk with small organizations that a disproportionate level of effort is dedicated to planning, performance measurement and corporate support and too little effort gets dedicated to advancing the issues.

It is worth noting that undertaking this evaluation was at the request of the Secretariat as a matter of good management and not as a matter of program requirements. Constructively building on the findings of the evaluation provides an excellent opportunity to improve our performance. However, it must be kept in mind that the actions committed in the plan below will be proportional to the size of the IRS and in the context of the IRS' unique role.

Finally, it is very important to note that since the data gathering stage of the evaluation process was completed, the IRS has been responsible for several major accomplishments. These accomplishments are not referenced in any detail in the evaluation as a result of them having taken place in the post-evaluation period. The two major accomplishments are the culmination of over four years of perseverance by the Secretariat. The first accomplishment relates to the Government of Canada issuing an apology to the Inuit for relocation in the 1950s. The apology would not have happened had the IRS not taken on this file. Secondly and more operational, through Budget 2010, the IRS secured a $2.5 million grant for Nunavut Sivuniksavut to purchase a building, thus, allowing this award winning institution to have a permanent home and to double their student intake. Again, without the continuous advocacy and leadership of the IRS, this project would not have come to fruition.

2. Action Plan

RecommendationsActionsResponsible
Manager
(Title / Sector)
Planned
Start and
Completion
Dates
1. In light of growing interest in the North and other developments, as well as the IRS's increasingly diversified portfolio, the Secretariat should formalize its approach to measuring results through the development of a performance measurement strategy, which meets current departmental standards, clarifies its expected outcomes, and continues to take into account the priorities of both the federal government and Inuit. We ___do__ concur.
(do, do not, partially)
Executive Director, Inuit Relations Secretariat Start Date:

May 2011
A performance management strategy will be developed using the multi-year plan developed in recommendation #2 as a basis. Completion:

December 2011
2. To complement the performance measurement strategy and enhance efficiency, the Secretariat should develop a multi-year work plan, which includes criteria for the selection of both longer-term projects and shorter-term activities, which can respond to emerging issues and challenges as well as mechanisms for identifying and mitigating risks. We __do___ concur.
(do, do not, partially)
Executive Director, Inuit Relations Secretariat Start Date:

May 2011
The IRS will work with Inuit organizations to develop a multi-year work plan that includes a process to rationalize priorities. Completion:

April 2012
3. To support the orientation and measurement of its advocacy work, the IRS should consider a strategy or strategies to measure changes in levels of awareness of Inuit issues within the federal government as well as the extent to which they are being integrated into policies and programs. We __do___ concur.
(do, do not, partially)
Director, Outreach and Liaison, Inuit Relations Secretariat Start Date:

September 2011
As part of the performance measurement strategy (#1 above), the IRS will develop and implement a strategy to measure changes in levels of awareness of Inuit issues within the federal government as well as the extent to which these issues are integrated into the development and implementation of policies and programs. Completion:

April 2012

I recommend this Management Response and Action Plan for approval by the Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Committee

Original signed by:

Judith Moe
A/Director, Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Branch

I approve the above Management Response and Action Plan

Original signed by:

Christopher Duschenes
Executive Director, Inuit Relations Secretariat

The Management Response / Action Plan for the Evaluation of the Inuit Relations Secretariat were approved by the Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Committee on June 20, 2011.

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1. Introduction

1.1 Overview

This report presents the results of the Evaluation of the Inuit Relations Secretariat(hereinafter the IRS or the Secretariat). The evaluation was undertaken at the request of the IRS' Executive Director in order to assess results to date and inform future directions. The study focuses on the period between the Secretariat's establishment in 2005 up to late 2010.

The remainder of this section provides a brief overview of the Secretariat. Section 2 presents an overview of the evaluation objectives, scope, management and limitations. The next three review the evaluation's findings, and Section 6 presents the evaluation's conclusions and recommendations. Appendices include the IRS' recently developed logic model and the evaluation matrix, which includes the questions used to guide research, data collection and analysis.

1.2 Profile of the Inuit Relations Secretariat

The Secretariat's structure

Prior to the establishment of the IRS, there was no entity within Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) or elsewhere in the Government with a mandate to identify and advocate for the needs of Inuit in areas of federal responsibility. The Government had no centralized expertise or information on Inuit issues, federal spending on programs benefitting the Inuit, nor the results of such programs.

In response to these gaps, and through discussions and work with Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) (the national Inuit organization) and other Inuit organizations, the role and mandate of the Secretariat were developed. Announced by the Prime Minister of Canada, the IRS was established in April 2005. Located within AANDC, the Secretariat provides advice and expertise on Inuit issues to the federal government. The Secretariat's mandate was initially directed to:

By 2008 [Note 2], the IRS' mandate had broadened to include objectives for:

The IRS is headed by an Executive Director who reports directly to the Deputy Minister, and currently has a staff of 16 full-time indeterminate employees, 60 percent of whom belong to Aboriginal groups. [Note 3]

The IRS' work is carried out by two directorates [Note 4]:

In 2007-2008, the Secretariat also assumed some responsibilities administering funding related to 1) institutional capacity development under the authority: Contribution to support the basic organizational capacity of representative Aboriginal organizations; and 2) policy development under the authority: Consultation and Policy Development. According to AANDC's 2009 Summative Evaluation of Consultation and Policy Development and Basic Organizational Capacity Funding [Note 5], eight national, regional and urban organizations (or members of these organizations) were receiving support through one and/or the other authority by the end of 2008:

Key Stakeholders

The Secretariat's stakeholders include Inuit organizations, other federal departments with primary responsibility for specific Inuit concerns and other levels of government.

Resources

In 2005, the IRS received approval for $10 million to establish and maintain the Secretariat over a five-year period. In 2006, budget restraint measures were put in place, which resulted in the withdrawal of dedicated funds. Since then, the Secretariat has been funded internally, primarily by the Deputy Minister's Office, at a reduced level (i.e., $1.78 million in lieu of $2.5 million for the fiscal year 2009-10, excluding funds for grants and contributions).

In 2010-11, the IRS received A-Based funding for the first time, including $1.3 million in salaries and $452,000 in Operations and Maintenance. It also received contribution funding, including approximately $3 million related to the administration of Basic Organizational Capacity Development, as well as $500,000 from the Deputy Minister's office in support of Inuit organizations. Table 1 below presents expected expenditures over the life of the IRS:

Table 1: Inuit Relations Secretariat Budget, 2005-06 to 2010-11
Budget
component
2005-062006-072007-082008-092009-102010-11
Operating expenditures 1,537,583 2,168,000 2,925,000 1,507,147 1,685,478 1,762,346
Grants and Contributions:   1,031,000 400,000 300,000 3,490,000 5,163,762

Policy and Research Development

  1,031,000        

Basic organizational capacity [Note 6]

        2,990,800 2,199,800

Consultation and policy development [Note 7]

    400,000 300,000 500,000 463,962

Nunavut Sivuniksavut grant

          2,500,000
Total budget 1,537,583 3,199,000 3,325,000 1,807,147 5,175,478 6,926,108

Source: internal documents.

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2. Evaluation Methodology

2.1 Evaluation Scope

In accordance with Treasury Board's 2009 Policy on Evaluation, the evaluation focused on the following issues:

The evaluation set out to examine the work of the IRS from its inception in 2005 to September 2010. As such, the evaluation touches upon the IRS' support to Inuit organizations via two AANDC spending authorities: Contribution to Support the Basic Organizational Capacity of Representative Aboriginal Organizations and Contributions for the Purpose of Consultation and Policy Development. However, these activities were not examined in-depth as the authorities had recently been evaluated and the Department is in the midst of developing a new departmental wide approach to capacity development.  [Note 8]

The evaluation was also expected to expand upon a finding of the 2010 Summative Evaluation of the Contribution for Inuit Counselling in the South. This evaluation had noted that, in line with efforts to track Inuit-specific spending, the IRS has been required to route funding proposals and reports submitted by Inuit-led organizations. The 2010 evaluation found that this lens offered an important vantage point for examining reporting burden issues and the consistency of performance measurement across the Department. However, shortly after that evaluation was completed, the IRS reported that it no longer was required to perform this task. As such, the issue was not pursued in this study.

Appendices A and B present the IRS' recently developed logic model and the evaluation matrix, which were used as guides to addressing the evaluation issues identified above.

2.2 Evaluation Methodology

The findings, conclusions and recommendations for this evaluation are based on the collection, analysis and triangulation of information derived from the following multiple lines of evidence:

Literature and Background Document Review: Over 70 sources were reviewed as a component of the evaluation. Selection was based on the extent to which the literature and documents highlighted implementation results (e.g., lessons learned / best practices) and the extent to which they addressed the issue of the Secretariat's relevance with respect to meeting Inuit needs and priorities. Resources included Government of Canada documents from other government departments, past evaluations, documents retrieved from national Inuit organizations (e.g., Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Pauktuutit), speaking notes, census data, and the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.

IRS Document and File Review: IRS documents (n=33) were reviewed covering the Secretariat's creation and implementation (e.g.: financial data, planning reports, performance measurement frameworks, progress reports) as well as files supported or administered by the Secretariat.

Key Informant Interviews: Thirty-two interviews were carried out with representatives from the following organizations: Secretariat officials (n=3); AANDC officials (Headquarters and regions) (n=7); members of the Interdepartmental Directors General Standing Committee on Inuit Issues (n=6); officials from other levels of government (n=3); representatives from national, regional, urban and international Inuit organizations and self-governing Inuit (n=10); and contribution / contract agreement recipients (n=2). Interviews were conducted to gather knowledge, perceptions and experiences about the Secretariat in relation to the identified evaluation issues. Interviews were conducted in-person or by telephone using a semi-structured set of questions. The interview sample was developed on the basis of preliminary research and the recommendations of Inuit organizations and the IRS.

Thematic Case Studies: The four thematic case studies described below were selected to represent the range of activities in which the IRS has been engaged and were intended to provide the evaluation with a more in-depth understanding of the work and achievements of the Secretariat:

All case studies involved key informant interviews (in-person and/or by telephone) and document reviews. In addition, a site visit to Nunavut was conducted to support the development of the Pangnirtung 'Making Connections' case study. The visit coincided with a three-day Partnership Board meeting, which had been called by the IRS to determine the interest of proposed partners and the next steps. The site visit also allowed for the Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Branch (EPMRB) staff to conduct a small number of interviews in Iqaluit in support of the overall study.

2.3 Limitations

The findings of the evaluation are limited by a variety of factors:

2.4 Project Management, Quality Assurance and Engagement

 EPMRB directed and managed the evaluation in line with its Aboriginal Engagement Policy and Quality Assurance Strategy. Evaluation research was largely conducted by the independent consulting firm T.K. Gussman Associates Inc., in cooperation with DPRA Canada, which between February and September 2010 undertook the literature and document reviews, key informant interviews and three of the four case studies (the fourth being conducted by EPMRB evaluators).

In line with EPMRB's Aboriginal Engagement Policy, the perceptions of Inuit organizations were sought throughout the evaluation process. The Terms of Reference and evaluation questions were informed, for example, by preliminary research, including exchanges with representatives of the following Inuit organizations: Avataq Cultural Association, Nunavut Sivuniksavut, Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC), Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., ITK, Pangnirtung Community, Inuvialuit Regional Council, Pauktuutit, Kivalliq Inuit Association, Tungasuvvingat Inuit (TI) and Nunatsiavut Government. Representatives from the following organizations were also invited to provide input: Makivik, Kitikmeot Inuit Association and Qikiqtaaluk Inuit Association.

An advisory committee, composed of representatives from a subset of the organizations identified above, was also established as part of this evaluation. Participating organizations include ITK, Pauktuutit, Nunatsiavut Government, ICC – Canada and TI. While not all committee members responded, all were invited to review and comment on the evaluation's methodology report and to validate the findings of the evaluation.

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3. Evaluation Findings - Relevance

Findings

  The evaluation findings provide evidence that there is a continuing need for a focal point within the federal government for Inuit issues and advocacy, given:

  • The Inuit population faces an array of contemporary and historic issues, which cross-cut the mandates of various federal departments and span community, regional, sectoral, national, and international levels;

  • Evidence of uneven knowledge and awareness of Inuit issues, needs and priorities (as well as northern realities) within AANDC and across the federal government; and

  • The Inuit population has distinct characteristics that differentiate it not only from Canada's general population, but also from the other Aboriginal groups.

The Secretariat's objectives and activities remain consistent with the Government of Canada's priorities and directly related to the Department's strategic outcomes, particularly in light of the recent Northern Strategy.

The IRS is also consistent with federal responsibilities with respect to efforts to improve cross‑government responses in areas of federal responsibility and efforts to ensure that the perspectives of stakeholders are taken into consideration in programming and policy.

3.1 Continuing Needs

To what extent do the Secretariat's objectives and activities address an actual need?

The Secretariat's objectives and activities respond to a real need, well identified and still pressing, for a central contact point within the federal government, not only to raise awareness of Inuit issues and priorities within the federal public service, but to also strengthen federal responses to Inuit issues in areas of federal responsibility. [Note 12]

In 2006, almost 4.2 percent of people who identified themselves as an Aboriginal person – 50,485– reported that they were Inuit (2006 Census data). Inuit represent Canada's smallest Aboriginal group. This group has distinct characteristics that differentiate it not only from Canada's general population, but also from the other Aboriginal groups.

Though Inuit live in all regions of Canada, most (80 percent) are in Inuit Nunangat (a term meaning 'Inuit homeland'), a territory covering one-third of Canada's landmass spreading from Labrador to the Northwest Territories and is composed of four distinct regions. Under their respective land claim agreements, Inuit were granted title to certain blocks of land:

  • In Nunavut (the largest and most populated territory), Nunavummiut (residents or Inuit from Nunavut) have legal title to 352,191 square kilometres of land, of which 37,000 square kilometres include mineral rights.

  • In Nunavik, Nunavimmiut (Inuit from northern Quebec) exercise rights on over 64,000 square kilometres of land.

  • In Nunatsiavut, northern Labrador Inuit have legal title to 72,520 square kilometres within the Settlement Area, and have mineral rights to 15,800 square kilometres of land.

  • In the Inuvialuit settlement, the Inuvialuit (Inuit from the Northwest Territories) have legal control of 91,000 square kilometres of land, of which 13,100 square kilometres include mineral rights.

Although Inuit from these four regions share a common culture and many traditions, each of these regions has linguistic, social, demographic and geographic particularities. Inuit Nunangat and its four regions include 53 communities, most of which (70 percent) have less than 1,000 inhabitants.

Though only a moderate number of Inuit live outside of Inuit Nunangat, it is always growing and thereby, adding to the issue of integration into urban areas. In 2006, 17 percent of Canada's Inuit (8,395 people) were living in urban areas outside of Inuit Nunangat, i.e. a 13 percent increase from 1996. That proportion is now estimated to be about 20 percent. Outside of Inuit Nunangat, the major cities with the largest Inuit populations in 2006 were Ottawa–Gatineau (725 people in 2006 and estimated at 1,500 in 2009); Yellowknife (640); Edmonton (590); Montreal (570); and Winnipeg (355). [Note 13]

The Inuit population is very young, with a median age of 21, [Note 14] compared to 27.5 years of age for the other Aboriginal groups (Status and non-Status Indians and Métis) and 40 years of age for non-Aboriginal people. Its growth rate is also twice that of Canada's general population (2.1 percent for the 2006-11 period compared to 0.8 percent), making it the Aboriginal group with the highest growth (1.6 percent for the same period for the other Aboriginal groups). [Note 15] This population will remain young for a long time, on the one hand, because of its population growth, since it is estimated that in 2026, 32 percent of the Inuit population will be less than 15 years of age, and on the other hand, because of the lower life expectancy among Inuit (63 years for men and 72 years for women, compared to 77 years for men and 82 years for women in Canada's general population).

The main impacts of the population's composition and trends are putting significant pressure on the education system, and because of the number of young people in transition, it is putting increased pressure on the housing stock, which cannot meet demand. A large number of Inuit still lives in overcrowded dwellings and in 2006, 12 percent of Inuit were living in dwelling units averaging 1.5 people or more per room, compared to one percent for the non-Aboriginal population.

While the educational level is higher among Inuit aged between 25 to 34 years old, which are four times more likely to hold a secondary school diploma or higher than Inuit aged 65 and over, there is still a significant gap between Inuit of Inuit Nunangat and non‑Aboriginal people. However, this gap is significantly reduced for Inuit of the same age group who live outside of Inuit Nunangat. There are similar trends in terms of unemployment and income where the gap is narrowing between the Inuit population living outside of Inuit Nunangat and the non-Aboriginal population, while this trend is not observed for the Inuit population of Inuit Nunangat.

Several findings, confirmed both by interviews and case studies, can therefore be made from this brief overview of the Inuit population:

  • The Inuit population faces an array of contemporary and historic issues, which cross-cut the mandates of various federal departments and span community, regional, sectoral, national and international levels.

  • An increased movement southward, especially to urban areas, thereby, raising issues relating to integration, isolation and availability of adapted services.

  • The significance of social health determinants, in particular, maternal and child health.

  • The significance of increased Inuit participation in the economy as the most effective way to improve the well-being and quality of life of Inuit people in Canada.

  • The education issue as a change driver, especially in the context of a very young population.

  • The crucial issue of housing.

  • Lastly, the significance in helping the Inuit population in the North to build viable and healthy communities in a context of environmental changes in the Arctic, including climate change and pollution.

Establishment of the Secretariat in Relation to Need

While the above paragraphs highlight the complexity of issues facing the Inuit, they also provide evidence of the continuing need for a focal point within Government for Inuit issues. Many of those interviewed also stressed the need for an organization inside Government to represent Inuit issues, to establish and develop relations between the Government and Inuit organizations, and to raise awareness in that regard within other government departments and agencies.

Federal government respondents noted that a primary point of contact remains important because there is still a general lack of knowledge in the federal sector regarding Inuit issues.

Inuit representatives considered a primary point of contact to be necessary because there is a need and a desire to build awareness of the Inuit population within the federal government and also, within the general population. Some of the most common misconceptions, even within AANDC, include believing that Inuit live on reserves, that their relations with the federal government are subject to the Indian Act, and that they are only present in Nunavut, or that their socio-economic characteristics are identical to those of other Aboriginal groups. All respondents also emphasized the need and importance of having an organization, such as the Secretariat, as a basis for drawing attention to and ensuring that Canadians understand and remember the historical events involving Inuit.

3.2 Consistency with Government Priorities, Departmental Strategic Outcomes, and Inuit Priorities

To what extent are the Secretariat's objectives and activities consistent with government-wide priorities, departmental strategic outcomes, and Inuit priorities?

The role of the IRS is to support the development of federal policies and programming, which ensure Inuit interests are taken into account the federal government's strategic decisions. This is consistent with the position of the IRS within AANDC's Program Activity Architecture, under the Strategic Outcome 'The Government' and the sub-activity of 'Cooperative Relationships'.

In the 2004 Speech from the Throne, the Government of Canada identified the North as one of its main priorities. The Government of Canada officially announced that it would be developing the first comprehensive strategy for northern Canada, in cooperation with territorial partners, Aboriginal peoples and other northern residents. One of the objectives announced included sustainable economic and human development. [Note 16]

Officially adopted in 2009, Canada's Northern Strategy consists of four priority areas, one of which applies to the mandate of the IRS: to promote social and economic development. [Note 17] The following year, in 2010, the Speech from the Throne confirmed the importance attached to implementing the Northern Strategy, and the Government affirmed that it would "continue to give Northerners a greater say over their own future" [Note 18]

The Government of Canada's vision permeates the 2010–11 Report on Plans and Priorities of AANDC, which insists on the importance of "helping Canada's Aboriginal and northern peoples foster healthy and sustainable communities, and pursue economic and social development," and on the importance of "liaising effectively between the Government of Canada and Inuit communities, governments and organizations in the implementation of policies and delivery of services." [Note 19] The Department's plans and priorities also focus on Arctic science, including research that will also be advanced in "climate change adaptation and ecosystem contaminants [which are] key issues for sustainable, healthy northern communities." [Note 20]

3.3 Federal Roles and Responsibilities

What are federal roles and responsibilities toward Inuit?

Efforts to clarify and define federal responsibilities to the Inuit and the administration of their affairs have a long history. In 1935, a dispute regarding responsibility for Inuit issues opposed the Government of Canada and the Province of Quebec, which was sent to the Supreme Court. In April 1939, the Supreme Court of Canada stated in Re Eskimo that under the Constitution Act, 1867, Inuit were classified as Indians in Canada, and as such, the Government of Canada became de facto legally responsible for Inuit.

However, this decision did not solve all the issues related to integrating Inuit issues into the policies developed for Aboriginal people. In the 1950s and the 1960s, Inuit remained distinct from the First Nations in legislation and governance, even after the creation of AANDC in 1966. This meant that there was no specific legislation or policy for Inuit. [Note 21] Furthermore, Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 affirms the existing rights of Aboriginal peoples and stipulates that the latter include the Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada. [Note 22]

Currently in the North, the territorial governments generally provide the majority of programs and services to all Northerners, including Aboriginal people. However, AANDC funds and supports the following programs and activities in relation to Inuit communities and Inuit by:

  • providing some programs and services to Inuit communities, such as economic development and post-secondary education;

  • implementing self-government and land claim agreements with Inuit communities, including the claim that created the territory of Nunavut;

  • working with Inuit organizations, federal departments and agencies, and other stakeholders to improve government programs and policies for Inuit; and

  • developing the Government's Northern Strategy. [Note 23]

The Department "… has primary, but not exclusive, responsibility for meeting the federal government's constitutional, treaty, political and legal responsibilities to First Nations, Inuit, Métis and Northerners." [Note 24].






4. Evaluation Results - Effectiveness

Findings

The Secretariat's activities examined are consistent with the Secretariat's mandate.

However, it was not possible to fully assess expected results or progress to outcomes because:

  • The Secretariat works concurrently on a broad range of files and also responds to one-time requests. While this could be a reflection of the Secretariat's flexibility, the criteria by which the Secretariat selects projects is not clearly documented.

  • Moreover, the absence of clear targets, performance measures and a long-term work plan prevent a more systematic documentation and analysis of the IRS' results.

Information from the cases studies and interview provide a more in-depth understanding of the work of the Secretariat, and evidence that the Secretariat is making progress in raising awareness of and attention to Inuit issues and priorities within the federal government.

4.1 Progress towards the Achievement of Results

Are the Secretariat's expected outcomes consistent with the mandate, role and activities of the Secretariat, and are they clearly understood by key partners and stakeholders?

Over the period examined, the Secretariat's expected outcomes (as described in the Secretariat's communication activities) are consistent with its mandate, role and activities, as well as with establishing itself as a focal point within the Government.

Between 2007 and 2010, for example, the Secretariat carried out a variety of communications activities to raise awareness of Inuit organizations and its mandate. These included:

  • development of promotional materials describing its mandate and activities, including the launch of its own site on AANDC's website (which appears on the site's home Internet page);

  • organization of presentations across  the federal government to increase awareness of Inuit relations with the Crown and land claims;

  • participation in trade shows and the organization of meetings across various levels of Government, such as the Katimajiit held at Kuujjuaq in 2007 and other similar events with the Government of Nunavut and the Government of Quebec; and

  • the signing of an agreement with ITK and Carleton University in 2007 for the organization of information seminars on Inuit priorities and concerns. [Note 25]

The Secretariat has also supported relevant research and knowledge building (e.g., the Inuit Knowledge Project, a History of Canada's Relationship with Inuit, and the Inuit portion of a recent Environics study on urban Aboriginal people in Canada) [Note 26]. The Secretariat has also supported and promoted a wide range of arts and cultural events to promote awareness and appreciation of Inuit culture and the arts.

In terms of its advocacy efforts, the evidence indicates that the Secretariat has adopted a number of strategies to contribute to improved policy and programming. It participates, for example, in senior level meetings, presentations and workshops within AANDC and across Government. It is also involved at the departmental level in reviewing and commenting on policy and program proposals as a means of informing the development of policy and programming (e.g., Urban Aboriginal Strategy, Indian Government Support).

The Secretariat also collaborates on longer-term initiatives such as the negotiations with the European Union concerning the ban on seal products [Note 27], Inuit visibility at the Vancouver Olympic Games and the apology for the Inuit High Arctic Relocation [Note 28]. Since 2008, the Secretariat has been involved in major files by working for social housing solutions in Nunavik, setting up forums for Inuit participation in economic development, and sharing the funding and organization of a Summit on Inuit Education (April 2008) that brought various partners together to discuss challenges and best practices, and make recommendations on improving the success of Inuit students.

Furthermore, it also provides financial support and leadership towards improved policy and programming – such as the securing of financial support, in the form of a $2.5 million grant to expand the educational facilities of the Nunavut Sivuniksavut in Ottawa or working to revitalize a stalled horizontal initiative in Pangnirtung, Nunavut. This project was led by the Secretariat and has been done in partnership with other partners. [Note 29]

Clarity and level of understanding respecting expected outcomes and activities

The previous sections have highlighted the high volume and the diversity of files in which the IRS has been involved, both over the short and longer-term. The absences of clearly documented selection criteria or effective performance measurement strategy or workplan make it difficult to measure results, and also appear to have contributed to a lack of clarity about the IRS' work.

The level of understanding of partners and recipients, the different case studies and interviews conducted show wide variations depending on the partners and recipients' experience with the Secretariat. The Secretariat is quite well known within the Department but a number of interview and case study participants – both government and Inuit representatives – noted that they had limited knowledge of the Secretariat and its specific roles and responsibilities. For those respondents who are aware of the Secretariat, there is a fairly high level of knowledge and understanding of the IRS mandate, roles and responsibilities. These individuals noted that the Secretariat, inside the federal government, is responsible for raising awareness of Inuit needs and priorities, fostering relationships between Inuit organizations and the federal government, developing policy, and assisting Inuit in their dealings with the federal government. Some respondents, however, questioned the extent to which the Secretariat is actually able to accomplish these intended outcomes, given the factors such as its limited human and financial resource capacity and lack of control over files.

To what extent do the Inuit have an increased voice in federal policy development and decision making? [Note 30]

It has been clearly shown in the interviews and case studies that the Secretariat's involvement in the major files previously mentioned: negotiations concerning the ban on seal products, Inuit visibility at the Vancouver Olympic Games, the apology for the Inuit High Arctic Relocation, contribute to making Inuit concerns heard within Government, moreover, the Secretariat is also providing support to Inuit organizations to support improved policy and programming, for example, to support national level activities of the Ottawa based community centre: Tungasuvvingat Inuit.

However, it is difficult to determine if Inuit have a larger visibility in the federal government given the previous conclusions and the methodological limitations identified. Added to this is the fact that influence on policy development and decision making can only be measured over the long term and requires theoretical and methodological examination of the issues of the measurement.

To what extent has the Secretariat succeeded in strengthening relations with Inuit organizations?

The interviews and case studies clearly indicate that relations with Inuit organizations existed prior to the creation of the IRS in 2005. However, almost 70 percent of respondents (interviews and case studies) emphatically agreed that, overall, the Secretariat contributes to the establishment and maintenance of lasting relations with Inuit organizations, and that this is true for the wide range of issues to which the Secretariat lends its support.

Since 2007, members of the Secretariat team have spent time in each of the four Inuit regions to identify Inuit concerns and ensure that they are adequately represented within the federal government. This arrangement increases the Secretariat's recognition and helps build lasting relationships. The Secretariat also offers a "How Ottawa Works" workshop to representatives of Inuit organizations explaining its framework, as well as decision-making process for federal government. No other organizations provide this activity that is customized to Inuit organizations. The workshop not only helps demystify the world of the federal government but also supports the work of Inuit organizations. Activity reports also show that these contacts can form the basis of longer-term relationships since they often lead to meetings between Inuit organizations and representatives of other government departments. For example, negotiations concerning seal products also involve Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

It can be confirmed that the Secretariat is fulfilling some elements of its mandate, such as serving as the point of contact within the federal government on Inuit matters; as well as targeting and sharing opportunities to respond to the priorities of the Inuit population.

To what extent has the Secretariat succeeded in strengthening relations with other departments and other levels of government?

The Secretariat has succeeded in building a network of relations with other branches of AANDC, other federal departments and other levels of government, including Quebec and Nunavut.

The case study evidence indicates that it is working with a wide range of partners over files that span community, sectoral, regional, national, and international arenas and/or participating in forum conducive to building partnerships and influencing decision making, such as its position as an ex-officio member of the recently formed National Committee for Economic Development for Inuit Nunangat.

Project documentation and case studies interviews also identify projects or initiatives in which partnerships have been key, including:

  • The "Making Connections" project with the Pangnirtung community, which involves efforts to improve the horizontal coordination and delivery of programs managed by various departments and through establishing simplified reporting mechanisms tailored to the North.
Pangnirtung: Making connections for youth (Federal Contributions)
Federal Partners2010/112011/12
Agriculture $0.00 $30,000.00-$100,000.00
Health $25,000.00 45,000
Heritage $47,695.00 $50,000.00
HRSDC $15,340.00 $45,000-$120,000
AANDC $69,800.00 $35,000.00
Justice $0.00 $50,000.00
Public Safety $155,585.00 $443,248.00
  • Involvement and support in the implementation of a partnership between the Nunavik, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and Quebec governments to develop a housing project in Nunavik.

  • Collaboration with the National Film Board of Canada towards the development of the Inuit audio visual legacy project Unikkausivut: Sharing Our Stories.

However, there is evidence that the value-added of some initiatives or strategies undertaken warrant review and revision. For example, the implementation of the Director General's Standing Committee on Inuit Priorities, chaired by the Executive Director of the Secretariat, has created an exchange forum whose activities focus on Inuit issues: federal policies and programs specific to the Inuit, programs with an Inuit-specific component, or pan-Aboriginal programs.

The establishment of this committee is an important step in the Secretariat's activities. It also provides greater visibility to Inuit organizations that are invited to make presentations to the committee. However, the directors general does not always sit at the table, thereby limiting the scope and impact of such a committee. Further, the meetings have been irregularly spaced and increasingly limited (three in 2007, then annually since then).

To what extent has the Secretariat succeeded in leveraging resources from multiple sources to address Inuit priorities?

Limited evidence has been produced to clearly identify the IRS' success in leveraging support. However, the evaluation's case study on the "Making Connections' project clearly demonstrates the Secretariat's success in bringing partners and financial support to the table.

To what extent has the Secretariat succeeded in bringing greater coherence, relevance and effectiveness to federal policies and programs as they affect the Inuit?

To what extent has the Secretariat succeeded in raising awareness of Inuit issues within the federal government (e.g., via research, information sharing and the repository of data)?

The time that has elapsed since the creation of the Secretariat and this evaluation does not allow for a clear and precise answer to these questions. Opinions regarding the success of the Secretariat in terms of increasing awareness are also divided, though the interviews found a somewhat positive to very positive perception within the federal government (including AANDC). That perception is more divided among Inuit organizations and recipients. Despite that, all respondents, regardless of their location, were able to give specific examples of activities or events that contributed to creating a better understanding of the Inuit: for example, funding in support of the Ottawa Inuit children's centre, the organization of communications events on Inuit issues, and a day devoted to Inuit as part of Aboriginal Awareness Week.

One of the Secretariat's key file was a pilot project in Pangnirtung, where the Secretariat coordinated the efforts of different federal, territorial and local stakeholders to implement a development project for young people between the ages of 16 and 30 within the Pangnirtung community. The project was selected by AANDC to be included in its action plan for the introduction of a new policy on transfer payments in 2008, and it was also adopted as a pilot project of the Treasury Board's Centre of Expertise on Grant and Contribution (this centre was established to support the key objectives of the revised 2008 Policy on Transfer Payments).

Have there been any unintended impacts, either positive or negative?

The evaluation produced no evidence of any unexpected impacts, positive or negative.






5. Evaluation Results - Efficiency and Economy

Findings

Factors identified as contributing favourably to the Secretariat's work include the direct access to senior management provided by the Secretariat's functional reporting relations, the experience of the IRS' staff and their knowledge of the North and its residents, as well as of the Department and their proactive approach in both internal and external relations.

Factors identified as detracting from the Secretariat's performance, include:

  • Delays in start-up and orientation due to the withdrawal in and subsequent reductions in funding.

  • The broad range of subjects with which the IRS deals given its current size and resourcing, coupled with the potential for greater demands given increasing interest in the North, which could, over the medium term, pose challenges to the mandate and organization of the Secretariat.

  • The lack of clear criteria for engaging in activities and the lack of clear targets and performance measures (as earlier identified in Section 2 and throughout this report).

Lessons learned include the value of partnerships and networking to concrete practical results and the potential strengthen dialogues and partnerships with other key initiatives, programs and departments with significant focus on Inuit, such as Health Canada or in issue areas affecting Inuit, for example, the Office of the Federal Interlocutor, which holds responsibility for the Urban Aboriginal Strategy.

5.1 Appropriateness of the IRS' Approach

Are the most appropriate and efficient means being used to achieve the Secretariat's objectives?

Given the evaluations scope, and gaps in data, the evaluation was not able to respond to the question of the extent to which the Secretariat is effectively meeting its expected outcomes, within its current budget, and without unwanted negative outcomes.

The evaluation did find evidence, however, of factors that are affecting its efficiency, both positive and negative, as well as lessons learned, which could continue to be reinforced to support the achievement of objectives.

5.2 Factors Influencing Relevance and Performance

What factors, internal and external, have influenced the Secretariat's efficiency, performance and relevance? And how?

Internal Factors influencing the Secretariat

The evaluation found that some internal factors positively influence the performance and effectiveness of the Secretariat, particularly, staff knowledge of the North and its residents, their visibility within the Department, their proactive approach in both internal and external relations and a significant Aboriginal representation on the Secretariat staff. Secretariat and other government interviewees noted that as a consequence of the high Aboriginal composition of the staff, the Secretariat has been able to put an Aboriginal face on the federal government and has been able to draw on regional knowledge and contacts to develop a good understanding of the "lay of the land". Moreover, because many Inuk staff worked for one or more Inuit organizations before joining the federal government, the Secretariat team has been able to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the organizations.

As noted by Secretariat officials, since the Secretariat Executive Director sits on so many senior level committees, the Secretariat is well positioned, in the sense that it gets good visibility with senior managers in the Department at decision-making tables. Government and Inuit representatives remarked that the leadership abilities, knowledge base and skill levels of the Secretariat's Executive Director and the Unit directors, along with strong back-up from the rest of the staff, has helped to propel Inuit issues forward. Government officials also mentioned that the ability of Secretariat staff to build durable relationships/partnerships with individuals in other organizations, has allowed it to get work done when the Secretariat did not have the internal capacity to complete that work on its own.

Inuit representatives and case study participants referred to the positive manner in which Secretariat staff interacted with Inuit communities and organizations. Respondents described the respectful way in which Secretariat staff engaged communities (e.g., do not engage communities in an academic or political manner but rather in a practical – "roll up their sleeves and get to know the community" – way), the proactive approach in which the Secretariat applied to relationship building between Inuit organizations and the federal government, and the fact that the Secretariat acknowledges the strengths and uniqueness of the Inuit population (i.e., does not focus exclusively on the negative social problems). Other facilitating factors identified by Inuit representatives included: effective communication with regional associations about deadlines and proposal submissions; and, the Secretariat's knowledge and connections within the federal system.

At the same time, some factors affect the Secretariat that could, in the medium term, pose challenges to the mandate and the organization of the Secretariat. One of these is its role, which consists of defending Inuit interests and the difficulty of measuring the impact of this activity. Another factor is the broad range of issues and projects that must be dealt with and the increasing interest in the North.

Other factors were identified that challenge the effectiveness of the Secretariat. Internal factors mentioned by Secretariat officials include the Secretariat's lack of ownership over specific issues – it does not "own" any files. This poses a challenge when it comes to policy development. As a result, Secretariat staff must depend heavily on their formal and informal contacts in order to be brought into discussions. Generally speaking, the Secretariat needs partners who can help advance its strategic objectives on behalf of Inuit. This also makes it difficult for the Secretariat to set a research agenda without ownership over policy or program scope. While the Secretariat is able to prioritize work against departmental and Inuit priorities, it is still left with a very broad range of issues to cover, and the Secretariat has no ability to match them to a policy agenda.

Both government officials and Inuit representatives, as well as case study participants, emphasized that the small size and limited capacity of the Secretariat restricts the number of activities it can engage in, and, consequently, could limit the breadth and depth of its impact. Moreover, while the size of the Secretariat has remained stable, the demands, which are being placed on it have grown or have the potential to grow. Internally, for example, in 2007, the IRS was tasked with the responsibility of administering contribution agreements. This includes responsibility for administering funds related to Contributions for Basic Organizational Capacity and Contributions for Purpose of Consultation and Policy Development[Note 31]

External Factors influencing the Secretariat

A key issue to take into consideration is the performance and efficiency of the Secretariat, which concerns events that took place shortly after its establishment in 2005 and resulted in both the reduction of resources. In 2006, the IRS faced significant challenges to its survival when shortly after its inception, budget restraints were introduced by a new government. IRS' Treasury Board authority was then cancelled and its dedicated funds were withdrawn. While the role and the importance of the IRS were recognized by a decision to continue to fund the function internally, the credibility of the organization and its potential was put at risk.

The key result of these factors has been the time taken for the Secretariat to adjust to the changes. During the course of the evaluation, it was clear that not all involved Inuit organizations had accepted the changes, which also included the rejection of a partnership accord with the Government, including plans for moving forward a Canada–Inuit Action Plan. In light of these gaps in planning, project selection criteria and performance reporting take on a special significance.

Other factors mentioned during the key informant and case study interviews, and highlighted in the literature review, include the increased interest in the Arctic on a global scale, which may also result in increasing policy pressures affecting Arctic communities and Inuit advocacy. For example, growing international interest in Arctic regions has influenced Canada's Northern Strategy. "This growing interest underscores the importance of Canada to exert effective leadership both at home and abroad in order to promote a prosperous and stable region responsive to Canadian interests and values"[Note 32]

This interest also stems from concerns for environmental changes in the Arctic, including climate change and environmental pollution, which could also impact the relevance of the Secretariat. Climate change is a significant factor influencing Arctic policy and indirectly influencing the policy environment within which the Secretariat operates and the priorities of Secretariat's partner organizations. Capacity of Inuit organizations to function effectively may also play a role in the relevance and efficiency of the Secretariat. Without adequate support, Inuit organizations cannot contribute to Government of Canada consultations or participate in policy discussion. Inuit socio-demographic factors may influence performance, as well as challenge the Secretariat's strategic outcomes insomuch as changing population composition and characteristics, which can lead to changing needs and priorities.

5.3 Duplication and Overlaps

Within the federal government

Within the federal government, there is no other department or agency devoted to the overall coordination and advocacy of Inuit-specific priorities, policy or issues, and there is, thus, no significant duplication of the Secretariat's role within the federal system. There are, however, some agencies within the federal family that, although they have different mandates, play complementary roles.

Within the Department:

  • Treaties and Aboriginal Government.

  • Northern Affairs Organization.

  • The Office of the Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians  [Note 33] at AANDC is another example of an agency with complementary roles since it is involved in advocacy, relationship building, and increasing awareness. Unlike the Secretariat, the Office of the Federal Interlocutor carries out these roles in an effort to find practical ways to improve federal programs and services for a broader group of Aboriginal people, namely Métis, non‑Status Indians and urban Aboriginal people (including urban Inuit). [Note 34]

Outside of the Department:

  • While involved in issues similar to those of the Secretariat (e.g., Inuit advocacy, expertise/information, liaison and policy development), the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (Health Canada) [Note 35] is the focal point for responding specifically to Inuit health concerns and for assisting Health Canada in effectively addressing Inuit health issues.

  • Several federal departments have regional offices in the North (Transport Canada manages the airports in the Inuit communities, Canada Post manages the post offices, Environment Canada manages the local meteorological stations, Statistics Canada gathers and analyses data related on Inuit, and so on).

The IRS reported to evaluators that it has restricted its work (if not its partnering efforts) in areas where there is a primary interest. This makes sense from a strategic perspective, but has not been made clear to the general public and contributes to some early confusion amongst the evaluators and key informants as to the scope of the Secretariat's activities and/or the rationale for not working in some areas. [Note 36].

Outside of the federal government

Outside of the federal government area, the Secretariat's role begins where ITK's finishes. They collaborate together on several files. The Secretariat acts as a point of contact inside the Government of Canada to promote Inuit issues in order to include them into the public policies and programs. The Secretariat is also a source of information, advice and expertise on Inuit matters inside AANDC, as well as inside the Government of Canada. The Secretariat works mainly with the federal government and its departments and agencies. IRS collaborates with other Inuit organizations, Inuit territorial and municipal governments, and the communities. On those occasions, the Secretariat represents the Government of Canada and also serves as a partner to leverage moneys and negotiate with other countries and international organizations.

ITK's role consists of regrouping the Inuit organizations and people and to speak on their behalf on different tribunes, with governments and the public at large. As a national advocacy organization, ITK promotes the interests of Inuit regarding environmental, social, cultural, and political issues and challenges faced by Inuit organizations, communities and people. Also, ITK takes position in the public debates in order to push their political, economic and health agenda. ITK works for the Inuit organizations and population. ITK represents the Inuit population and works with the Government of Canada on specific files. ITK proposed the creation of a point of contact inside the Government of Canada, which resulted in the creation of IRS.

5.4 Lessons Learned and Alternatives/Modifications Suggested

What lessons have been learned from the Secretariat or other horizontal initiatives of a similar nature, which could improve outcomes and efficiency?

The results of interviews with key stakeholders and case study participants, as well as a review of Secretariat documents, indicated a number of ways in which the appropriateness and efficiency of the Secretariat could be improved:

  • The Secretariat should continue to pursue dialogue and partnerships with other key initiatives, programs and departments, such as Health Canada and the Office of the Federal Interlocutor (particularly with respect to the Urban Aboriginal Strategy).

  • Some Inuit organizations would like to see major changes in the Secretariat. The most frequent suggestion concerned was the need to make the Secretariat an independent agency, not tied to the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, or a separate entity reporting to the Minister. No additional evidence to support this view was found during the current evaluation. Two other options were identified: integration of the Secretariat with the Department's Policy and Strategic Direction Branch or integration of the Secretariat with the Northern Affairs Program; or limitation of the capacity of any entity to work effectively on files outside the North (see, for example, AANDC's findings respecting the challenges connected with the Northern Affairs management of urban Inuit issues South of 60). Both options would lessen the Secretariat's direct functional reporting relation with the senior most official in the Department. Concerns were also raised to the effect that integrating the Secretariat with any other department could result in Inuit issues and priorities being "buried" or lost.

Interview respondents and case study participants suggested other changes that could contribute to strengthen the work of the Secretariat and align with the evaluation's findings on relevance and performance reported earlier in this document, or which merit further consideration:

  • Greater clarity is required in respect to the rationale for the activities it is undertaking and/or the criteria by which the IRS opts to pursue opportunities.

  • Some respondents felt that the Secretariat needed a stronger presence in Inuit regions in the provinces and territories. For example, a Secretariat representative in the Northwest Territories, Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, and in Nunavut, could increase the number of partnerships at all levels and use a communications strategy aimed at making the Secretariat better known in remote areas.

     
  • In terms of the Secretariat's activities, some respondents from Inuit organizations emphasized the need for the Secretariat to publish more information that deals expressly with the Inuit (statistics, information on Inuit culture, etc.). In addition, the question of implementing programs intended for Inuit by the Secretariat was raised as a possibility.

  • Finally, the matter of urban Inuit was raised as a major issue, given the increasing migration from North to South. It was suggested that the Secretariat needs to strengthen its commitment, dialogue and partnerships with other programs, especially, the Urban Aboriginal Strategy. One respondent noted that the Secretariat's role and mandate were established before the creation of the current regional structure of the Office of the Federal Interlocutor, and an adjustment in Secretariat structure is needed to respond to the needs of urban Init and to create partnerships for that purpose.






6. Conclusions

6.1 Conclusions

This report provided the findings of an Evaluation of the Inuit Relations Secretariat. As noted at the onset of the report, the evaluation was not conducted in response to a federal or departmental requirement but at the request of the Secretariat's Executive Director. In line with Treasury Board requirements, the evaluation examined the Secretariat's relevance and performance and arrived at the following conclusions:

Relevance – Need

The objectives and activities of the Secretariat respond to a real need, well identified and still pressing, for a central contact point within the federal government to ensure that Inuit concerns are expressed, and that their particular issues and priorities are made known. In creating IRS, the Government of Canada acknowledged the importance of a central contact point for Inuit issues and beginning a new era of cooperation with Inuit organizations.

Relevance – Alignment with Government Priorities

The Secretariat's objectives and activities remain consistent with the Government of Canada's priorities and directly related to the Department's strategic outcomes, particularly in light of the recent Northern Strategy.

Relevance – Role and Responsibilities of the Federal Government

The IRS is also consistent with federal responsibilities with respect to efforts to improve cross‑government responses in areas of federal responsibility, and efforts to ensure that the perspectives of stakeholders are taken into consideration in programming and policy.

Effectiveness

The Secretariat's expected results are consistent with its mandate but remain difficult to measure in the absence of a performance measurement strategy, which in line with departmental practice would bring more clearly laid out targets, performance measures and mechanisms for reporting and disseminating information. Such an exercise could also contribute to enhance its transparency and profile before partners.

The Secretariat is involved in a wide range of files. Some of these are part of the needs and priorities identified when the Secretariat was first established, while other files respond to one‑time requests dictated by current events. The fact that the Secretariat works concurrently on many files, which are not part of a specific work plan, and also responds to one-time requests does not promote the achievement of short-term results. Greater coherence in the choice of priorities is necessary if the expected results are to be achieved.

Nevertheless, the Secretariat has been able to:

  • Develop a network of relations with other branches of AANDC, with other federal departments and other levels of government, including Quebec and Nunavut.

  • Involve itself in major files, contributing support to the views of Inuit.

  • Commit to supporting implementation of funding packages and supporting horizontal initiatives. It has achieved some impacts with specific projects, but this is still in development.

  • Play a role within the Department by reviewing and commenting on a number of policy and program proposals to ensure that the Inuit perspectives have been considered. This is a key activity that underlines the importance of having an oversight role within the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada qualified to evaluate the proper handling of Inuit issues. Given the volume of policy and program proposals generated in the Department, this is a demanding responsibility and additional resources should be provided to the Secretariat on a permanent basis.

  • Overall, it is difficult to measure the influence of the Secretariat on policy development and decision making because of the short period of time in which the Secretariat has been in operation and the status of the initiatives it has been involved in.

Efficiency and Economy

Secretariat reports reflect an improvement in the development and use of planning tools and tracking files, particularly, since fiscal year 2009-10, when the Secretariat began producing quarterly reports on the progress of its priorities and the tracking of its files. However, there still appears a need to develop a performance measurement strategy to improve the management of results, particularly, with respect to its efforts in advocacy and performance measurement, and to better report on and publicly disseminate information on its file selection criteria, activities and results.

Information collected as part of the evaluation indicates that the actions of the Secretariat are prompted by requests from within the Department, other departments and Inuit communities and organizations.

Many factors influence the efficiency, performance and relevance of the Secretariat. Internal factors that positively influence its efficiency and performance include its staff and their knowledge of the North and its residents, the visibility of the Secretariat within the Department, and its proactive approach in both internal and external relations.

Challenges facing the Secretariat include its role of promoting Inuit interests and the broad range of subjects with which it must deal. Added to this is the increasing national and international interest in the North, which could, over the medium term, pose challenges to the mandate and the organization of the Secretariat.

Lessons Learned and Proposed Alternatives

The Secretariat demonstrates not only a real understanding of current and future challenges but also its strengths and weaknesses. The solutions identified indicate a reflection on the Secretariat's structure, priorities and mandate. This evaluation demonstrates the capacity to implement activities related to the mandate and role, but few impacts are now measurable.

Some Inuit organizations would like the Secretariat to undergo major changes. The change most often mentioned is the necessity for the Secretariat to have more influence among other departments, and to no longer play the role of intermediary.

Lastly, the matter of Inuit living in urban areas was emphasized as a major issue, especially given the growing migration southward. It was suggested that the Secretariat deepens its commitment, dialogue, and partnerships with other programs, particularly the Urban Aboriginal Strategy.

There is no other department or agency within the federal government devoted to the overall coordination and advocacy of Inuit-specific priorities, policy or issues, and there is, thus, no significant duplication of the Secretariat's role within the federal system. There are, however, some agencies within the federal family that, although they have different mandates, play complementary roles. Within the Department: Treaties and Aboriginal Government or the Northern Affairs Organization or the Office of the Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians; and outside of the Department, the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (Health Canada).

6.2 Recommendations

  1. In light of growing interest in the North and other developments, as well as the IRS' increasingly diversified portfolio, the Secretariat should formalize its approach to measuring results through the development of a performance measurement strategy, which meets current departmental standards, clarifies its expected outcomes, and continues to take into account the priorities of both the federal government and Inuit.

  2. To complement the performance measurement strategy and enhance efficiency, the Secretariat should develop a multi-year work plan that includes criteria for the selection of both longer-term projects and shorter-term activities, which can respond to emerging issues and challenges, as well as mechanisms for identifying and mitigating risks.

  3. To support the orientation and measurement of its advocacy work, the Secretariat, in collaboration with its partners, should consider a strategy or strategies to measure changes in levels of awareness of Inuit issues within the federal government, as well as the extent to which they are being integrated into policies and programs.






Appendix A - Logic Model

This model was developed internally as a planning tool.
Logic Model - IRS Strategic Outcome #1

Strategic Outcome #1 : Strengthened regional partnerships and improved information base
ActivitiesAccountabilityImmediate
outcomes
(this year)
Intermediate
outcomes
(2-5 years)
End
outcome
(6 to 20 years)
Collaborating with ITK to support the National Committee on Inuit Education Accord. O&L 1. Improved and increased level of communication between senior officials at AANDC and in regional Inuit organizations 1. Clarity on federal roles and responsibilities vis-à-vis Inuit organizations and governments Improved socio-economic conditions in Inuit communities especially in areas of federal responsibility.
Partnering with Parents and Communities in Education Project. O&L 2. Thorough understanding of regional Inuit organizational priorities and linkages in areas of federal interest. 2. Better cooperation and understanding with Provinces and Territories on Inuit issues.
IRS presentation to regional Inuit organizations. O&L 3. Key information at hand to be able to provide timely advice and to feed into budget/SFT etc opportunities. 3. Inuit needs more effectively addressed in areas of federal programming.
Supporting the work of the Katimajiit RT with focus on social housing R&P
Continue work as member of NEDCIN. R&P
Complete study on Inuit governance capacity (to inform IGSP renewal). R&P
Ongoing meetings and conference calls with Inuit organizations and governments. R&P / O&L
Accelerate work on the emerging issues (Inuit graves) and Inuit Knowledge Project and database management. R&P

Logic Model - IRS Strategic Outcome #2

Strategic Outcome #2 : Opportunity driven sector and OGD partnerships
ActivitiesAccountabilityImmediate
outcomes
(this year)
Intermediate
outcomes
(2-5 years)
End
outcome
(6 to 20 years)
Continue INUIT/IRS presentations to key senior management within AANDC and OGDs. O&L 1. Key Inuit issues presented to senior executive teams in sectors and departments with the greatest current and future potential to have an impact on Inuit quality of life. 1. Increased awareness of Inuit issues among key federal decision-makers. Improved socio-economic conditions in Inuit communities especially in areas of federal responsibility.
Raise awareness of issues and potential opportunities through participation on key senior management committees at AANDC, and joint committees with key federal departments in key socio-economic areas. R&P 2. Opportunities for Inuit input identified and seized in emerging or changing policy and program areas. 2. Program and Policy renewal (internal and OGD) better reflect Inuit issues.

Logic Model - IRS Strategic Outcome #3

Strategic Outcome # 3 : Increased awareness of Inuit across the federal government
ActivitiesAccountabilityImmediate
outcomes
(this year)
Intermediate
outcomes
(2-5 years)
End
outcome
(6 to 20 years)
Dissemination of products within AANDC and externally at conferences and forums. O&L 1. Greater visibility of Inuit issues and culture within AANDC. 1. Inuit consulted on federal issues that affect them Improved socio-economic conditions in Inuit communities especially in areas of federal responsibility.
Continue to generate interest in Inuit issues through events with speakers, arts and culture (films / artists) and publications (e.g., IRS Progress Report) and attendance at research conferences and forums. O&L / R&P 2. Increased ability to respond to requests for Inuit awareness raising events and training from AANDC and OGDs. 2. GoC employees have an increased awareness of Inuit issues.
Continuing web-based outreach and liaison activities through enhancement of content on the AANDC and IRS web pages (Inuit Nunangat on-line Community Profile map and cultural showcase section). O&L 3. Increased ability to respond to requests for information related to Inuit from AANDC and OGDs.








Appendix B - Evaluation Matrix

Issues / QuestionsData IndicatorsLiterature &
Background
Document
Review
Key Informant InterviewsIRS
Document &
File
Review
Case
Studies
IRSGovernmentInuit
Organizations,
Program
Recipients
External
subject
matter
experts
Relevance
1. To what extent do the IRS' objectives and activities (focal point for Inuit issues / advocacy, relation building and awareness building) address an actual need?
  • Continuing need for the IRS to serve as a focal point, for advocacy and relation building (from both Inuit and federal perspectives)
X X X X X X X
2. To what extent are the IRS' objectives and activities consistent with government wide priorities, departmental strategic outcomes, and the priorities of Inuit?
  • IRS' objectives/
    activities consistent with:
    • Federal government objectives and priorities;

    • AANDC objectives and strategic outcomes; and

    • Inuit organizations' objectives and priorities.  
X X X X   X  
3. What are federal roles and responsibilities vis-à-vis Inuit?
  • Description of federal roles and responsibilities vis-à-vis Inuit
 
X X X X X    
4. Is the role played by the IRS consistent with federal roles and responsibilities
  • Degree of consistency with recognized role and responsibilities of the federal government

  • Evidence of overlap or complementarity with the role of Inuit organizations or others.
X X X X   X  
Design and Delivery
5. Are the IRS' expected outcomes consistent with the mandate, role and activities of the IRS and are they clearly understood by key partners and stakeholders?
  • Comparison of expected outcomes to the activities and mandate of the IRS

  • Quality and clarity of performance logic

  • Perspectives of federal govt officials and Inuit organizations
 
  X X X X X X
6. How effectively are results measured and documented?

*This question is not in the TORs*
  • Assessment of logic model and performance measurement system
  X X     X X
Effectiveness (Performance /Success)
7. To what extent is the IRS succeeding in bringing greater coherency, relevance, and effectiveness to federal policies and programs as they affect Inuit?
  • Impact of activities designed to bring greater coherency, relevance and effectiveness to federal policies affecting Inuit (e.g. timeliness of input, level of participation or IRS in federal policy development, extent of input)
  X X X   X X
8. To what extent do Inuit now have a voice in federal policy development and decision-making? Degree to which identified [Note 37] AANDC and other federal policies affecting Inuit take into consideration Inuit issues/ perspectives and engaging Inuit in their policy design and decision-making X     X X X X
9. To what extent has the IRSsucceeded in :
  • Strengthening relationships with Inuit organizations;

  • Strengthening relations with other government departments and with other levels of government;

  • Raising awareness of Inuit issues within the federal government (e.g. via research, information sharing and the repository of data); and

  • Leveraging resources from multiple sources to address Inuit priorities?
  • Impact of activities designed to address these four areas

  • Degree to which achievements in these 4 areas are attributed to the IRS

  • Mechanisms by which the IRS ensures collaboration (ex: requests and receives feedback, input, etc.)
  X X X   X X

10. Have there been any unintended impacts, either positive or negative?

  • Unintended impacts as identified by key partners and stakeholders
  X X X   X X
Effectiveness (Efficiency and Economy)
11. To what extent is the IRS effectively meeting its expected outcomes, within its current budget, and without unwanted negative outcomes?
  • Relation/logic between the current budget and/or expenditures and expected outcomes
  X X     X X
12. What factors, internal (e.g., organizational structure, position within the federal government, design and delivery, implementation) and external (e.g., unexpected funding pressures, new responsibilities, increasing attentions on the North) have influenced the IRS' efficiency, performance and relevance? And how?
  • Identification of factors that have contributed to improved performance

  • Identification and analysis of challenges/barriers
X X X X X   X
Lessons Learned & Alternatives
13. What lessons have been learned from the IRS or other horizontal initiatives of a similar nature which could improve the IRS' outcomes and efficiency?
  • Lessons learned from the IRS or similar initiatives.
X X X X X   X
14. Are the most appropriate and efficient means being used to achieve the IRS' objectives? [Note 38]
  • Analysis of activities in relation to available input resources and funding provisions
 
X X X X X   X








Footnotes:

  1. Government of Canada, Canada's Northern Strategy, 2009. (return to source paragraph)

  2. Inuit Relations Secretariat, Progress report, June 2007-December 2009, 2009, 39p. (return to source paragraph)

  3. Source: Executive Director of the Secretariat. (return to source paragraph)

  4. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Inuit Relations Secretariat Progress Report, June 2007 - December 2008. Most recently accessed February 2011. (return to source paragraph)

  5. INACEPMRB, Summative Evaluation of Consultation and Policy Development and Basic Organizational Capacity Funding. February 16, 2009, Annex 6. (return to source paragraph)

  6. Contribution to support the basic organizational capacity of representative Aboriginal organizations. (return to source paragraph)

  7. Channelled via Contributions for the purpose of consultation and policy development. (return to source paragraph)

  8. Indian and Northern Affairs, Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Branch, 2009, Summative Evaluation of Consultation and Policy Development and Basic Organizational Capacity Funding, February 16, 2009. (return to source paragraph)

  9. This section of the report addresses the sub-question How effectively are results measured and documented (return to source paragraph)

  10. INAC, 2010, Summative Evaluation of the Contribution for Inuit Counselling in the South, May 14, 2010. (return to source paragraph)

  11. INACEPMRB, Summative Evaluation of Consultation and Policy Development and Basic Organizational Capacity Funding, Gatineau, 2009, 93 p. (return to source paragraph)

  12. The data presented are limited by the frequency of the census. However, recent studies or data were released on Inuit issues between 2009 and 2011 by other federal department such as data published in 2009 by the Public Health Agency of Canada or academic studies such as: Luo, Zhong-Cheng, Senécal, Sacha, Simonet, Fabienne, Guimond, Éric, Penney Christopher and, Wilkins, Russell, Birth outcomes in the Inuit-inhabited areas of Canada  , - January 25, 2010. MacDonald, N, Paul C. Hébert and Matthew B. Stanbrook, Tuberculosis in Nunavut: a century of failure   in Canadian Medical Association Journal, February 14, 2011. (return to source paragraph)

  13. Summative Evaluation of the Contribution for Inuit Counselling in the South, Op. Cit. (return to source paragraph)

  14. The median age is the point where exactly one-half of the population is older and the other half is younger. Source: Statistics Canada, Census of Population, 2006. (return to source paragraph)

  15. Sources: Aboriginal Demography - Populations, Household and Family Projections, Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, 2007 and Statistics Canada, Catalogue No 91-213-SCB and 91-520-SCB. (return to source paragraph)

  16. Speech from the Throne, October 5, 2004. (return to source paragraph)

  17. Government of Canada, Canada's Northern Strategy 2009. (return to source paragraph)

  18. Speech from the Throne, March 3, 2010. (return to source paragraph)

  19. Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and Canadian Polar Commission, Report on Plans and Priorities - Estimates 2010-2011  , p. 3, (return to source paragraph)

  20. Ibid p.10. (return to source paragraph)

  21. Bonesteel, Sarah, Op. Cit. p. 4-5, 9. (return to source paragraph)

  22. Government of Canada, Justice Canada, Constitution Act, 1982  . Most recent consultation: January 31, 2011. (return to source paragraph)

  23. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. Mandate, Roles and Responsibilities. (return to source paragraph)

  24. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. First Nations and Inuit Transfer Payments, 2009. (return to source paragraph)

  25. The  Katimajiit Conference (return to source paragraph)

  26. Environics Institute, (2010), Urban Aboriginal Peoples Study (return to source paragraph)

  27. In September 2009, the European Union imposed a ban on the importation of seal products into European Union countries. The ban targets the commercial hunt and includes an Inuit exemption for traditionally-harvested products. However, the European seal bans of the 1980s also contained Inuit exemptions and have caused a severe drop in demand for seal products regardless of their origin. In November 2009, Canada took its case to the World Trade Organization requesting consultations with the European Union concerning the regulation and subsequent related measures. The ban came into effect August 20, 2010. (return to source paragraph)

  28. Apology for the Inuit High Arctic Relocation. Speaking notes for the Honourable John Duncan, P.C., M.P., Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians. August 18, 2010. Inukjuak, (Nunavik). For a detailed list, see p. 16.(return to source paragraph)

  29. For a detailed list, see p. 16. (return to source paragraph)

  30. This question has been modified from the original matrix question. (return to source paragraph)

  31. INACEPMRB, Summative Evaluation of Consultation and Policy Development and Basic Organizational Capacity Funding, Gatineau, 2009, 93 p. (return to source paragraph)

  32. Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, Canada's Northern Strategy, p. 1, Op. Cit. (return to source paragraph)

  33. For further information, see: Office of the Federal Interlocutor (return to source paragraph)

  34. Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada and Canadian Polar Commission, Report on Plans and Priorities, Op. Cit. (return to source paragraph)

  35. For further information, see: First Nations and Inuit Health Branch   (return to source paragraph)

  36. See for example, INAC, IRS, 2009), Inuit Relations Secretariat Progress Report, June 2007 - December 2008. (return to source paragraph)

  37. "Identified" policies indicate those policy areas which will be specifically examined through case studies as well as areas of policies identified through the evaluation research. (return to source paragraph)

  38. Through the development of the methodology report, it was determined that questions 9 and 13 in the Terms of Reference were the same, and thus they have been merged in the evaluation matrix under question 14. (return to source paragraph)

 
 
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