Evaluation of Shelter Allowance as it Relates to On-Reserve Housing - Follow-up Report Status Update as of March 31, 2013

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Action Plan Implementation Status Update Report to the Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Committee - As of March 31, 2013

EDUCATION & SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS AND PARTNERSHIPS

Evaluation of Shelter Allowance as it Relates to On-Reserve Housing
Approval Date: August 9, 2011
Project Recommendations Action Plan Expected Completion Date Program Response
1. Review the National Shelter Allowance policy, including the objectives and eligibility criteria to:
  • clarify the intended scope and intent of the funding and the degree to which it is expected to contribute to shelter costs and
  • ensure that it is applied in a consistent manner across regions and reflects the provincial comparability principle.
Social Policy and Programs Branch (SPPD) is in the process of developing a strategy to address the shelter allowance issues as part of the Income Assistance reform process. Completion Date

Fall 2011
Work plan
Status: Underway

Update/Rationale:
As of 31/03/2013
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SPPB has conducted an analysis of how the shelter allowance works in each region. There is substantial variability and getting to a uniform policy would require significant adjustments at the community level and significant incremental funding. Policy revisions would also have to be linked to broader housing policy issues. SPPB continues to assess how the Shelter Allowance Policy is working and identify gaps through compliance reviews of the Income Assistance Program. A phased approach is planned, starting with testing and shifting approaches for shelter regimes (e.g. development of rental regimes).

SPPB continues to work with the Community Infrastructure Branch (CIB), Health Canada and CMHC to improve and ensure program alignment.

SPPB is exploring potential partnership initiatives with CIB as pilot projects to help build community capacity to manage housing and to deliver the shelter allowance component of the income assistance program in alignment with provincial regulations in BC.

Three First Nation communities in British Columbia (Lowe Nicola, Seabird Island and Chemainus) have signed Interim Agreements with AANDC BC Region as a transitional step towards implementing incremental changes to shelter allowance and achieve provincial alignment.

Other pilot projects related to shelter allowance are being explored to test models that could contribute to facilitating incremental changes to the shelter allowance component of the Income Assistance Program. Funding options will be explored that leverage resources through partnerships with other federal departments, First Nations and other partners.

As a first step to engage FNs, AANDC has met with the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) in BC and AFN to seek their input on the options to move forward with adopting incremental changes to the shelter allowance component of the Income Assistance Program.

AES: Underway

SPPD is in the midst of projects and initiatives designed to advance program alignment and partnerships. Pilot projects are underway and they are beginning to engage First Nations on discussions of incremental change.
SPPB has initiated discussions with Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada’s (AANDC) Community Infrastructure Branch and regional offices, as well as Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) to identify issues and provincial comparability. A work plan is being developed targeting Fall 2011 to identify options for the renewal of the policy.

A Working Group (including, AANDC’s Community Infrastructure, Regional offices, Income Assistance Program and CMHC is in the process of being established. Its mandate will consist of:

  1. facilitating and defining the scope of the review process of the policy,
  2. engaging First Nation organizations at regional and national level,
  3. exploring and proposing options for the review of the shelter allowance policy within the context of the Income Assistance reform, and

Identifying roles and responsibilities with regard to compliance.
Spring 2012
Policy Revisions
2. Clarify AANDC's role and responsibilities with regard to monitoring the implementation of Shelter Allowance in First Nation communities. The Working Group will facilitate discussions with SPPB, AANDC’s regional offices and Community Infrastructure Branch, CMHC and other stakeholders.
  • SPPB will work with its partners to clarify roles and responsibilities.
As part of the Income Assistance program accountabilities, SPPB will work with its partners to continue strengthening the shelter allowance program management through the application of performance and risk management strategies and compliance activities.
Spring 2012 Status: Recommend to Close

Update/Rationale:
As of 30/09/2012


Social Policy Programs Branch has clarified the roles and responsibilities with regions, Community Infrastructure Branch, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Health Canada and other partners.

These roles and responsibilities will be shared with First nations and other stakeholders.

AANDC has developed an evergreen multi-step plan (see above) for the IA program that includes:
  • Alignment of the Key Performance Indicators.
  • Data Collection from a single point of data entry.
  • Data Collection Instrument (DCI) management.
  • Risk-based reporting.
AES: Closed – Fully Implemented

Structures and processes are in place to address this recommendation.
3. Clearly communicate the objectives of the Shelter Allowance program, as well as the determination of rates and eligibility criteria, to First Nations and other stakeholders. SPPB is aware that changes to policy need to be clearly communicated to all parties.

SPPB will work with the Working Group, partners and stakeholders to develop a communication strategy to communicate the objectives of the Shelter Allowance program and the recommended policy option with First Nation communities, partners and stakeholders.
Summer 2012 Status: Underway

Update/Rationale:
As of 31/03/2013


As the Shelter Allowance component of the IA program is under review and the implementation plan has not been approved yet, the Communication Strategy and media lines are still to be completed and shared. In the meantime, AANDC has engaged the Union of British Columbia Chiefs (UBCIC) in BC and the AFN in discussions around the reform of the Shelter Allowance component of the Income Assistance Program.

AES: Underway

SPPD is currently awaiting the completion of program review and an implementation plan, communication strategy and media lines.
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