Income Assistance Reform: Enhanced Service Delivery

General information

Lead department: Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada

Federal partner organization: Employment and Social Development Canada

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): $241,100,000

Total federal planned spending to date (dollars): $241,100,000

Total federal actual spending to date (dollars): $123,573,014

Funding contributed by non-federal and non-governmental partners: Nil

Governance structures: The Income Assistance Reform Initiative is supported by an intergovernmental governance structure designed to ensure that: targets are met through regular reporting; on-reserve Income Assistance Reform policy objectives are respected; duplication is reduced; and efficiency is achieved. The governance structure is comprised of headquarters and regional representatives from INAC and Employment and Social Development Canada, as well as representatives from Treasury Board Secretariat and Health Canada.

Description: The Income Assistance Reform Initiative was announced as part of Budget 2013. It is a collaborative effort between INAC and Employment and Social Development Canada to help increase the employability of youth in receipt of income assistance. The program has two components. The first is Enhanced Service Delivery ($132,500,000), administered by INAC, which implements a case management approach to identifying a client's barriers to employment. This includes implementing a personalized plan for appropriate training and support through referrals to pre-employment and other services.

The second component is the First Nations Job Fund ($108,600,000), which is a labour market program administered by Employment and Social Development Canada. This Fund provides personalized job skills training and supports to youth referred by Enhanced Service Delivery case workers and delivered through the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy delivery network. The two departments allocate funding according to a proposal-based process. First Nation organizations that receive funding are required to implement mandatory participation for the targeted age cohort: youth aged 18 to 24 years who currently receive or are eligible for income assistance. Youth screened into the Income Assistance Reform Initiative are limited to one-time interventions and must be considered prospectively "job-ready" within one year.

Fiscal year of planned completion of next evaluation: The evaluation of the Income Assistance Reform Initiative was completed in 2015, and the initiative sunset on March 31, 2017; therefore, a future evaluation has not been scheduled.

Shared outcome of federal partners:

Expected outcome or result of non-federal and non-governmental partners: In Ontario, the Employment and Social Development Canada component is implemented under the Ontario Works Employment Assistance program; INAC actively pursued partnerships with First Nations and the province of Ontario to ensure these clients have access to employment opportunities.

Performance highlights: Since its launch in 2013–2014, the Income Assistance Reform Initiative has had excellent outcomes. As of March 31, 2017, more than 10,400 on-reserve young adults have received case management support and nearly 7,300 young people have left the Income Assistance program.

In 2016–2017, approximately 1,798 young people in the Income Assistance Reform Initiative returned to employment or full-time studies, while another 741 left for other reasons, surpassing the initiative's goal of getting 534 clients off assistance. Some 34% of communities also took part in the reform initiative, including in Ontario, and $9.5 million went to the Ontario Works program, which provides Enhanced Service Delivery on behalf of INAC. These additional resources helped increase the number of Ontario First Nation communities that offer case management and pre-employment activities.

Performance information

Federal organizations Link to the Department's PAA Contributing programs and activities Total allocation (from start to end date) 2016–2017 Planned spending (dollars) 2016–2017 Actual spending (dollars)
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada Sub-Program 2.2.1: Income Assistance Income Assistance Program — Enhanced Service Delivery $132,500,000 $39,200,000 $26,490,488
Employment and Social Development Canada Skill and Employment Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy — First Nations Job Fund $108,600,000 $31,409,566 $15,412,216
Total for all federal organizations $241,100,000 $70,609,566 $41,902,704
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
2016–2017 Expected results 2016–2017 Performance indicators 2016–2017 Targets 2016–2017 Actual resultsa Data source and frequency of monitoring and reporting
Participants in the Income Assistance Reform Initiative have increased employability Number of additional case managed clients 3,904 new clients by March 31, 2017 2,498b Source: Income Assistance Data Collection Instrument.
Frequency: Quarterly
a Performance indicators are defined in the Performance Measurement Strategies and/or Performance Measurement Frameworks of each federal partner.
b Based on current INAC program data; final data will be available in Fall 2017.
Employment and Social Development Canada
2016–2017 Expected results 2016–2017 Performance indicators 2016–2017 Targets 2016–2017 Actual resultsa Data source and frequency of monitoring and reporting
First Nations Job Fund clients on-reserve are employed and integrated into the labour market Proportion of clients who obtained employment following service interventions 30% of clients by March 31, 2017 18%; 334 of clients referred were employed Source: Administrative Data file
Frequency: Quarterly
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 a variety of reasons, including: initial delayed implementation of the program; capacity-building of First Nations organizations; overestimation of youth meeting eligibility requirements of the program (e.g. the number of youth that could be employable within one year was lower than originally anticipated); and limited program expansion in the final year of the initiative. Of the planned $39.2 million in spending for 2016–2017, the actual spending was $26.5 million. Of the 3,904 new clients expected to be case managed, 2,498 new clients were actually case managed, accounting for lower than planned spending.

Employment and Social Development Canada
Spending for the First Nations Job Fund was based on cost per client. All clients served by the Fund must have been referred by Enhanced Service Delivery. Of the 3,904 clients expected to be referred, 1,891 clients (approximately 48% of clients expected) were actually referred and served, accounting for lower-than-planned spending.

Contact information

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