Evaluation of the First Nations Water and Wastewater Action Plan - Follow-up Report Status Update as of December 31, 2014

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Action Plan Implementation Status Update Report to the Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Committee - As of December 31, 2014

Regional Operations

Evaluation of the First Nations Water and Wastewater Action Plan
Approval Date: 22-10-2013
Project Recommendations Action Plan Expected
Completion Date
Program Response
1. Work with First Nations and Health Canada to develop a long-term strategy for investments in water and wastewater infrastructure and maintenance in order to address the pervasive and longstanding issues of water and infrastructure quality and maintenance. In response to the 2009-2011 National Assessment of First Nations Water and Wastewater systems, AANDC worked with First Nations and other stakeholders to develop a long-term strategy to improve on reserve water and wastewater, resulting in a three pillar approach: 1) enhanced capacity building and operator training; 2) enforceable standards and protocols; and, 3) infrastructure investments. These priorities will continue under any future strategy. As FNWWAP ends on March 31, 2014, AANDC and Health Canada are actively engaged in exploring options for investments in water and wastewater infrastructure on reserve and will develop a strategy to guide activities beyond FNWWAP. March 31, 2014

Revised Completion
Date: March 31, 2016

Status: Underway

Update/Rationale:
As of 30/09/2014:
Extending the First Nations Water and Wastewater Action Plan to 2016/03/31 is allowing AANDC to continue to work with First Nations and Health Canada to advance key elements of FNWWAP's strategy, which is being implemented on four fronts:

  1. Enhanced capacity building and operator training;
  2. Enforceable standards and protocols;
  3. Infrastructure investments; and,
  4. Protection of public health.
Accordingly, FNWWAP funds have been distributed to First Nations and other parties to:

  • Continue operators training and enhanced capacity building;
  • Support the operation and maintenance of existing facilities; and to
  • Prioritize investments in infrastructure in order to address higher risks.

AANDC is supporting implementation of this longer-term strategy as well as monitoring progress and results achieved for 2014-15.

AES: Underway
The 2 year extension with additional funding has been approved.  As a result, a new completion date has been set for 2016.  Recommend acceptance of new completion date.

2. Ensure that the Regulations ensuing from the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act are developed with the engagement of First Nations, and that roles and responsibilities, both current and subsequent to the ensuing Regulations, are clearly understood and communicated. The department is committed to working with First Nation organizations, Provincial and Territorial governments to develop regulations, region by region, to support communities in bringing drinking water and wastewater systems into regulatory compliance. Support will be provided to First Nation organizations to develop regulatory proposals based on existing provincial and territorial regulations, with adaptations as appropriate. Develop regulations by December 2017

Status: Underway
Update/Rationale:
As of 30/09/2014:

In collaboration with First Nations and other stakeholders, regulations will be developed in three phases, three regions per phase.

Phase 1, developing regulations for the Atlantic, Yukon, and Northwest Territories regions, is planned to be completed by December 2015.

Development of regulations for the six remaining regions will occur in the subsequent phases, with all regulations projected to be completed by December 2017.

Engagement with First Nations and other stakeholders was officially launched on Tuesday October 14, 2014. The launch included a news release, an email from the Deputy Minister to Chiefs advising that information packages were being mailed, and an update to the AANDC website setting out the process for development of regulations.

AES:  Underway
The Program has modified the completion date to develop a total of 9 sets of regulations for December 2017. AES is aware of this new completion date and will monitor the progress. 

3. Engage First Nations to develop a concrete plan to address issues of recruitment, retention and capacity development of trained and skilled operators. As part of the response to the 2009-2011 National Assessment of First Nations Water and Wastewater Systems, AANDC developed a strategy with First Nations to reduce system risks. The top priority of that ongoing strategy is enhanced capacity building and operator training. AANDC agreed that trained and certified operators are key to reducing risk and helping to ensure safe drinking water in First Nation communities. To support First Nations in developing and retaining the capacity to operate and maintain water and wastewater systems. AANDC will provide funding for operator training and the Circuit Rider Training Program. AANDC will work with First Nations and First Nations technical organizations to identify barriers to develop measures to improve recruitment, retention, and capacity development of operators. Plan for measures to improve recruitment, retention, and capacity development created by March 31, 2014

Status: Completed – Closed

Update/Rationale:
As of 31/03/2014:
Regional offices have implemented tools to support First Nations in recruiting and retaining operators, including salary top-ups and training. AANDC is funding the Circuit Rider Trainer Professional Association in 2014-15 to create new training materials for Circuit Riders to use with operators. In 2013-14, AANDC has produced and distributed technical guides and templates to develop the capacity of operators and support them in reducing management risks associated with the systems they operate, in areas of maintenance management, source water protection and emergency response. In 2014-15, Circuit Rider Trainers were invited to work with operators to apply the guides and help them develop and implement their own site-specific management plans.  AANDC continues to provide funding to First Nations for Operator Training and to fund the Circuit Rider Training Program to provide on-site, hands-on training to operators of First Nation water and wastewater systems.

AES: This action item has been fully implemented. The plan has been approved and the next phase will start this fiscal year.  AES recommend to close this action item.  Closed.

4. Engage First Nations to facilitate their readiness to comply with Regulations ensuing from the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act; The department will work with First Nations to develop regulations region by region. Phased regulation development will provide time for the Government and First nations to bring infrastructure, capacity and oversight to the level required to comply. Develop regulations by December 2017

Status: Underway

Update/Rationale:
As of 30/09/2014:
In collaboration with First Nations and other stakeholders, regulations will be developed in three phases, three regions per phase.

Phase 1, developing regulations for the Atlantic, Yukon, and Northwest Territories regions, is planned to be completed by December 2015.

Development of regulations for the six remaining regions will occur in the subsequent phases, with all regulations projected to be completed by December 2017.

Engagement with First Nations and other stakeholders was officially launched on Tuesday October 14, 2014. The launch included a news release, an email from the Deputy Minister to Chiefs advising that information packages were being mailed, and an update to the AANDC website setting out the process for development of regulations.

AANDC will continue to work with First Nations to prioritize investments to address high-risk systems and to prepare for compliance with future regulations. 

AES:  Underway
Good progress to date. Recommend acceptance of new completion date.

5. Plan future investments in infrastructure with an equal emphasis on investing in the capacity to operate and maintain new and existing systems long-term, including program flexibility to outsource water and wastewater servicing where community-level capacity is not practical. As part of the response to the 2009-2011 National Assessment of First Nations Water and Wastewater Systems, AANDC developed a strategy with First Nations to reduce system risks. The top priority of that ongoing strategy us enhanced capacity building and operator training. AANDC provides operation and maintenance funding for community infrastructure, in accordance with the Capital Facility and Maintenance Program Operation and Maintenance Policy. Maintaining existing assets remains a higher priority than construction of new infrastructure. AANDC is updating the tools used to calculate operation and maintenance funding requirements and reforming the approach to operation and maintenance funding and minor capital into a coherent asset management approach. The operation and maintenance funding changes are being implemented in Ontario Region in 2013-2014 and will be rolled out to other regions over the next three years.

Planning priority for capacity implemented April 1, 2012.

Asset management approach start date: April 1, 2013

1 additional region in 2014-15, 3 additional regions in 2015-16, 3 final regions in 2016-17.

Status: Underway

Update/Rationale:
As of 31/12/2014:

Guidance to First Nations is being drafted on how to report infrastructure operation and maintenance expenditures in financial statements.

AES:  Progress has been made.  AES recommends that this action item continue to be monitored and may be re-evaluated. Three regions are scheduled to be added (as per action item) in fiscal year 2015-2016.

6. Work with Health Canada to develop a robust Performance Measurement methodology that allows for the reliable periodic reporting of the stated outcomes of the FNWWAP including efficiency and comparability. AANDC will work with Health Canada to identify ways to improve performance measurement for the CFMP and to incorporate efficiency and comparability indicators

Comparability-November 2013: Explore use of existing data to measure comparability as part of the process for updating the programs Performance Measurement Strategy. The updated strategy will be completed by March 2014 in accordance with the Departments Performance Measurement Strategy Action Plan.

Efficiency- This activity will be captured under the FNWWAP efficiency indicator currently under development in accordance with Treasury Board guidelines. The development of these indicators is in the testing phase and is expected to be completed for the 2015-16 reporting cycle.

Status: Underway

Update/Rationale:
As of 31/12/2014:

An efficiency indicator for subprogram activity 3.4.1 – Water and Wastewater has been developed and is currently slated to be piloted for the 2014-15 fiscal year.  The efficiency of the FNWWAP will be measured using this indicator.

AES: Progress has been made. The efficiency indicator has been developed and is currently being tested. It will be included in the fiscal year 2015-16 reporting cycle.  AES will monitor the progress of this action item through the 2015-16 reporting cycle.

 
 
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