Income Assistance Reform: Enhanced Service Delivery

Name of lead department: Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC)

Federal partner organization: Employment and Social Development Canada: Skills and Employment

Non-federal and non-governmental partners: Not applicable

Start date: June 2013

End date: March 31, 2017

Total federal funding allocated (start to end date): $241,500,000

Funding contributed by non-federal and non-governmental partners: Not applicable

Description: This initiative to improve the on-reserve Income Assistance program, as announced in Budget Plan 2013, has two components: Enhanced Service Delivery, which is administered by INAC, and the First Nations Job Fund, which is administered by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). The two departments allocate funding according to a proposal-based process. First Nation organizations that receive funding are required to implement mandatory participation in personalized case management. They serve clients using a case-management approach that includes: intake and triage; an employability assessment; a personalized action plan; and referral to training services. In order to be eligible to participate in the initiative, Income Assistance clients must be between the ages of 18 and 24 and must be employable subject to one year of training or less. The First Nations Job Fund is designed to provide training opportunities and supports to clients referred from First Nations using the Enhanced Service Delivery approach.

Shared outcome:

Governance structure: Enhanced Service Delivery is supported by an interdepartmental governance and oversight structure comprising headquarters and regional representatives from INAC and Employment and Social Development Canada. This governance structure includes Regional Implementation Teams, a Program Review and Advisory Committee and an Oversight Committee that also includes representatives from the Treasury Board Secretariat and Health Canada. Each of these governance bodies helps implement Enhanced Service Delivery and the First Nations Job Fund. They also work to ensure that the program meets targets, respects the objectives of the on-reserve Income Assistance reform policy, reduces duplication and works efficiently.

Performance highlights: The results as of the end of 2014–2015 indicate that over 8,800 First Nations youth between 18 and 24 years old have been case-managed since the inception of the Reform in 2013–2014. This number includes new clients as well as carry-over clients who may have started their employment action plan in the previous year. Approximately 3,500 youth have exited Income Assistance, transitioning either into employment or returning to school full time, which exceeds the target of 2,355 clients for 2015–2016. As well, 30% of communities are participating in the Income Assistance Reform Program, including Ontario. In Ontario, $8.5 million was allocated to the provincial Ontario Works Program, which delivers Enhanced Service Delivery on behalf of the Department. This increased allocation of resources in Ontario resulted in an increase in the number of First Nations communities delivering case management and pre-employment activities in this province.

Performance Information
Federal organizations Link to the organization’s program Contributing programs and activities Total allocation (from start to end date) (dollars) 2015–2016 Planned spending (dollars) 2015–2016 Actual spending (dollars) 2015–2016 Expected results 2015–2016 Actual results against targets
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada The People/Social Development/Income Assistance Income Assistance Program — Enhanced Service Delivery $132,500,000 $41,840,000 18,100,000 ER1.1 T1.1
Employment and Social Development Canada Skill and Employment Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy — First Nations Job Fund $109,000,000 $59,372,000 $9,030,024 ER1.2 T1.2
Total for all federal organizations $241,500,000 $101,210,000 $27,130,024  
2015–2016 Expected results 2015–2016 Targets 2015–2016 Actual results against targetsa
Number of additional clients case managed
Fewer Enhanced Service Delivery providers were ready to deliver services than anticipated. Several providers did not have sufficient human resources to leverage the provision of case management supports, and therefore could not deliver services to their clients until they built sufficient capacity within their organizations. As a result, time and program funds were directed to strengthening management capabilities, training staff, and networking to build service delivery infrastructure, rather than assessing and referring clients to services.
Number of additional clients for First Nations Job Fund
Recent economic downturns likely played a role in the low referrals to the First Nations Job Fund in 2015–2016. The departments and communities are working together to enhance local capacity, strengthen local partnerships, and leverage opportunities in periods of economic downturn.
A second key reason for a low referral rate is that many clients require more pre-employment interventions than originally anticipated.
a Performance indicators are defined in the Performance Measurement Strategies and/or Performance Measurement Frameworks of each federal partner.

Comments on variances:
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
The variance between Planned and Actual Spending was due to the Income Assistance Reform Program starting later than anticipated.

Employment and Social Development Canada
Spending for First Nations Job Fund (FNJF) is based on cost per client. All clients served by FNJF must be referred by Enhanced Service Delivery.
In the first year of the program (2013–2014), $8.05 million was re-profiled equally to all remaining fiscal years. In 2014–2015, $11.9 million was re-profiled to 2015–2016 in anticipation of low referrals from Enhanced Service Delivery. This left planned spending for 2015–2016 at $59.4 million (including funds re-profiled from 2013–2014 to 2014–2015). Of this, actual spending was $9 million. Of the 5,988 clients expected to be referred to FNJF by Enhanced Service Delivery, 916 clients (approximately 15% of expected) were actually referred and served by FNJF, accounting for lower-than-planned spending.

Results achieved by non-federal partners and non-governmental partners: In Ontario, the ESD component is implemented under the Ontario Works Employment Assistance program. Therefore, INAC actively pursued partnerships with First Nations and the province of Ontario to ensure First Nations in the province have access to employment opportunities.

Contact information:
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
Brenda Shestowsky
Director, Income Support Directorate
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
Telephone: 819-997-8212

Employment and Social Development Canada
Althea Williams
Program Policy Division
Aboriginal Affairs Directorate
Employment and Social Development Canada
Telephone: 819-654-3127

Date modified: