Office of Internal Audit and Evaluation Parks Canada
Recommended for Approval by Parks Canada PMEC: June 27, 2017
Date approved by CEO: July 7, 2017
- Deputy Head Confirmation
- Executive Summary
- Parks Canada Agency
- Evaluation Function
- Progress on Implementation of DEP 2016-17
- Overview of the annual evaluation planning exercise
- Five-year schedule of evaluations
- Appendix A. Dimensions for Evaluation Priority Ratings
Deputy Head Confirmation
I approve the Departmental Evaluation Plan of Parks Canada for the fiscal year 2017-18, which I submit to the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat as required by the Policy on Results.
As per section B.2.3 of the Mandatory Procedures for Evaluation, I confirm that this Departmental Evaluation Plan:
- Plans for evaluation of all ongoing programs of grants and contributions with five-year average actual expenditures of $5 million or greater per year at least once every five years, in fulfillment of the requirements of subsection 42.1 of the Financial Administration Act;
- Meets the requirements of the Mandatory Procedures for Evaluation; and
- Supports the requirements of the expenditure management system including, as applicable, Memoranda to Cabinet, Treasury Board submissions, and resource alignment reviews.
I will ensure that this plan is updated annually, and I will provide information about its implementation to the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, as required.
[original signed by]
Chief Executive Officer
Parks Canada Agency
[7 July 2017]
The Parks Canada Evaluation Plan 2017-18 outlines the mandate, organizational structure and resources for evaluation in the Agency, the considerations employed in developing the Plan and details of individual evaluation projects for FY 2017-18, together with the associated resource allocation. It also provides a summary of progress on implementation of the evaluation plan from 2016-17.
Parks Canada’s Office of Internal Audit and Evaluation (OIAE) adheres to the government’s policy, directive, mandatory procedures and standards for evaluation.
Under the new Treasury Board (TB) Policy on Results, Parks Canada has until November 2017 to replace its Management, Resource and Results Structures (i.e., Strategic Outcome and Program Alignment Architecture) with a Departmental Results Framework (DRF). This transition was still in progress at the time of the development of this evaluation plan. As a result, Parks Canada is unable to submit a five-year evaluation schedule for 2017-18 to 2021-22. The focus for evaluation planning was thus restricted to evaluation priorities for the coming fiscal year (i.e., projects to be initiated and/or approved in 2017-18).
To assist in planning evaluations for the 2017-18 fiscal year, we developed a preliminary evaluation universe (i.e., all the individual
“evaluable programs”) that consists of 26 entities. This list consists primarily of the sub-programs that existed in the Agency’s previous Program Alignment Architecture, as well as the Agency’s ongoing grant and contribution programs. These entities were prioritized based on eight dimensions (e.g., materiality, known problems impacting program performance, program complexity, reach of entity). Under policy, it is expected that all of Park’s Canada’s programs and spending will be periodically evaluated, with evaluation priority ratings serving to help schedule the timing and the scope and scale of the evaluations.
For 2017-18, the evaluation unit consists of a Chief Evaluation Executive (CEE) and six evaluator positions. This unit will complete three evaluations carried over from 2016-17, provide ongoing support to three interdepartmental evaluations and launch two new evaluations. The function will also support the development of the Agency’s Departmental Results Framework and completion of a neutral assessment of the Agency’s evaluation function, as required.
The Parks Canada Evaluation Plan 2017-18, consistent with the Treasury Board (TB) Policy on Results, outlines the mandate, organizational structure and resources for evaluation at Parks Canada, the strategy and process employed in developing the plan, and details of individual evaluation activities for the FY 2017-18, together with the associated resource allocation.
Parks Canada Agency
Parks Canada was established as a separate departmental corporation in 1998. The Agency's mandate is to:
Protect and present nationally significant examples of Canada's natural and cultural heritage, and foster public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment in ways that ensure the ecological and commemorative integrity of these places for present and future generations.
Responsibility for the Parks Canada Agency rests with the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change. The Parks Canada Chief Executive Officer (CEO) reports directly to the Minister.
Parks Canada Priorities and Operating Context 2017-18
Parks Canada has operations across Canada. It is responsible for the management and administration of 46 national parks, four national marine conservation areas, 171 national historic sites (including nine historic canals), and the Rouge National Urban Park. Parks Canada employees and resources are active in hundreds of communities and remote locations from coast to coast to coast. The support and collaboration of partners and stakeholders are essential to Parks Canada’s ability to achieve its mandate.
Parks Canada’s priorities and operating context for 2017-18 include the following:
Target 1 of 2020 Biodiversity Goals and Targets for Canada states that: "By 2020, at least 17% of terrestrial areas and inland water, and 10% of coastal and marine areas, are conserved through networks of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures." As an interim target, the Government of Canada has also committed to increase the protection of Canada’s marine and coastal areas to 5% by 2017. In addition to co-chairing a National Steering Committee to develop to the collective pathway towards this target, Parks Canada expects to support these targets by advancing two national park proposals and at least four national marine conservation proposals.
Parks Canada continues to undertake natural and cultural resource conservation and restoration actions that contribute to the government’s priorities of a clean environment and a vibrant Canadian culture and heritage, and result in tangible and measurable conservation outcomes. Priority actions highlighted in the Minister’s mandate letter include enhanced protection of Canada’s endangered species and ongoing planning and monitoring to identify and develop adaptation measures to address threats of climate change. The Agency’s current priorities for cultural resource management include infrastructure investments (see Asset Investment – below) and work towards the consolidation of the Agency’s large collection of historical and archaeological objects.
In 2017, as part of the Canada 150 celebrations, entry will be free to all the Agency’s parks and sites. Parks Canada will also offer special programming including celebrations to commemorate the 100th anniversary of national historic sites, which also occurs in 2017. This could lead to an increase in visitors at some Parks Canada places. The Agency is working to balance visitation across the system, while striving to ensure that visitors are satisfied with the services offered and that the natural and cultural resources of these places are protected.
Parks Canada is developing and innovating its programs and services to fulfill the Government of Canada’s priority to have more Canadians experience and learn about the environment and their heritage places. The Agency is tailoring experiences to a changing demographic, implementing strategies to ensure targeted audiences such as youth, new Canadians and urban audiences are inspired to visit and connect. Towards these objectives, starting in 2018, the Agency is committed to ensure that admission for children under 18 is free and will continue to provide any adult who has become a Canadian citizen in the previous 12 months one year’s free admission. The Minister’s mandate letter also commits the Agency to an expanded Learn to Camp program, to ensure that more low- and middle-income families have an opportunity to experience Canada’s outdoors. Parks Canada is also working with other parks systems and with stakeholder organizations to advance the #NatureForAll campaign as part of an international partnership led by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
Parks Canada has been working with the Government of Ontario to enhance the Rouge National Urban Park, including improved legislation to protect this important ecosystem and guide how the park will be managed. Amendments to existing legislation passed Third Reading in the Senate in June 2017. Through the passing of this Act, Parks Canada will now be in a position to complete land assembly for the park (expected to be completed by the end of 2018-19). The Agency has until the end of 2020-21 to make this new park fully operational.
Parks Canada currently works with over 300 Indigenous communities across the country in the management of Parks Canada’s heritage places, including 29 cooperatively managed heritage places. The Agency is dedicated to the Government of Canada’s larger commitment to a renewed nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous Peoples based on reconciliation, recognition of rights, respect and partnerships. Parks Canada has identified actions towards reconciliation that must be implemented in consultation and collaboration with Indigenous Peoples and in coordination with other federal departments.
Parks Canada manages a complex portfolio of built assets currently valued at approximately $17.5B. The overall condition of this portfolio has been in decline for years. This includes significant and irreplaceable examples of Canada’s cultural heritage. The Agency is investing over $3B over five years to improve the condition of its contemporary assets and heritage buildings and structures. However, the Agency’s ability to maintain its built asset portfolio for the long-term remains a key risk for the Agency.
Parks Canada lacks current and reliable information in several of its business areas. The collection of timely, quality data and new, modernized and integrated information systems are required to provide for evidence-based decision-making and reporting. Numerous initiatives are in progress or planned to address this issue but these will take time to implement.
The evaluation function at Parks Canada adheres to the TB Policy on Results (2016), and associated directives, mandatory procedures, standards and guidelines of the Government of Canada.
Parks Canada’s Charter for the Evaluation Function was last updated in March 2015. As per this Charter, the mandate of the evaluation function is:
To contribute to the achievement of Parks Canada's mandate by providing the CEO with evidence-based, credible, neutral and timely information on the ongoing relevance, results, and value of policies and programs, alternative ways of achieving expected results, and program design improvements.
Related services provided by the evaluation unit in Parks Canada’s Office of Internal Audit and Evaluation include:
- Evaluations of programs, priorities, policies, functions and other issues or themes (i.e., treating the core issue of relevance and performance).
- Collaboration with Program Officials to develop a summary of evaluation needs for each Program.
- Advice, as required, on the alignment, validity and reliability of indicators in the Departmental Results Framework and Program Information Profiles, and their usefulness to support evaluation.
- Support to Program Officials, as required, in verifying the sufficiency of plans for performance information and evaluation and accuracy of information of past evaluations in Cabinet documents.
Parks Canada’s Performance Measurement and Evaluation Committee (PMEC) serves as an advisory body to direct and oversee the evaluation function. This committee is represented by the members of the Agency’s Executive Management Committee, chaired by the CEO. Terms of Reference for this committee have yet to be approved.
Under the TB Policy on Results, this committee is responsible for reviewing and providing advice or recommendations to the CEO on Related to evaluation:
- The availability, quality, utility and use of performance information including for evaluation;
- The Agency’s evaluation planning, resources and activities, including recommending approval of the Agency’s multi-year evaluation plan;
- Evaluation reports and summaries, including management responses and action plans;
- The implementation of management action plans in response to evaluations; and
- The neutral assessment of the evaluation function.
They are also responsible for ensuring use of performance measurement and evaluation information for Agency planning and priority setting, policy or program development, resource allocation and reallocation, other corporate management decision-making processes as well as central agency processes and Cabinet documents.
Organizational Structure and Resources
The organizational chart for the evaluation unit is shown above. The unit currently consists of a six permanent evaluator positions, including one Head of Evaluation.
The effective staff complement for 2017-18 is estimated to be 5.1 FTEs due to one employee’s assignment out, one employee’s language training and ongoing staffing.
The budget for the Agency’s evaluation unit covers salaries (i.e., the six evaluator positions), project O&M (e.g., contract and publication costs) and non-project O&M (e.g., training, office supplies, etc.).
The available budget for the evaluation unit along with actual expenditures in 2016-17 and forecasted expenditures in 2017-18 are shown in the following table.
|Forecasted Expenditures as % of Available Budget|
|Non Project O&M||46||86|
Progress on Implementation of DEP 2016-17
Parks Canada’s Evaluation Plan for 2016-17 to 2020-21 was approved by the CEO in June 2016. The TB Policy on Results was introduced in July 2016.Footnote 1 This policy added flexibilities for evaluation and changed coverage requirements. As a result, amendments to the multi-year plan were approved by the CEO in September 2016.
The following table presents details on the projects scheduled to be initiated and/or completed in 2016-17 as per the amendments to the multi-year plan and their current status.
|Evaluation||Actual or Planned Dates|
(as of September 2016)
(as of May 2017)
|Carried over from 2015-16|
|Law Enforcement||November 2014||October 2016||March 2017|
|Townsites Management||November 2014||October 2016||May 2017|
|National Historic Site Conservation||September 2015||December 2016||December 2017|
|National Historic Site Visitor Experience||September 2015||December 2016||December 2017|
|General Class Contribution Program||October 2015||August 2016||March 2017|
|New in 2016-17|
|National Park Visitor Experience||July 2016||September 2017||(not started)|
|Heritage Canal Management||September 2016||March 2018||(not started)|
|Highway Management||September 2016||March 2018||(not started)|
|Contributions to Interdepartmental Evaluations for 2016-17Footnote 2|
|Climate Change Adaptation (Clean Air Agenda)||June 2014||June 2017||TBD|
|Species at Risk||December 2015||June 2017||TBD|
|Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan||February 2017||December 2018||TBD|
Two evaluations were approved within the fiscal year (i.e., Law Enforcement and General Class Contribution Program), and one was approved in May 2017 (i.e., Townsite Management). Each of these was transmitted to the Treasury Board Secretariat within 5 business days, meeting requirements of the TB Policy on Results.Footnote 3 Given recent approval, public release of these evaluations is still pending. The two other evaluations carried over from 2015-16 are now progressing through the reporting phase with expected approval before the end of the calendar year.
None of the evaluations scheduled to start in 2016-17 have yet been initiated. To some extent, this can be attributed to the above noted delays in ongoing projects and to capacity issues within the evaluation function. The effective staff complement for 2016-17 was 5 FTEs due to one employee’s language training and ongoing staffing processes.
In 2016-17, Parks Canada developed a ‘Managers’ Guide on the Evaluation Process’ as an information tool to provide managers with an outline of what they should expect throughout the evaluation process. The guide is also intended to clarify roles and responsibilities for the evaluation process and introduce timelines for key management actions (e.g., comments on draft reports, access timelines for information, etc.). Starting in 2017-18, the OIAE will track timing for key milestones and report on progress to PMEC. This data will be used to identify and address bottlenecks in the evaluation process. Better information on the time required to complete steps in the evaluation process should also lead to improved evaluation planning for future multi-year plans.
The process to complete a neutral assessment of the evaluation function (required under TB Policy on Results) was also initiated in 2016-17. A final report from this assessment is expected by Fall 2017. Where relevant, this report will include recommendations for improvement in the design or delivery of the evaluation function within Parks Canada.
Follow-up on Management Responses
The evaluation cycle includes a systematic follow-up on management actions in response to evaluation recommendations, at six months intervals. Responses are tabled at the Agency’s Performance Measurement and Evaluation Committee. This process continues for five-years or until all planned actions are complete. The most recent status update was completed in March 2017.
Overview of the annual evaluation planning exercise
In July 2016, the TB Policy on Evaluation (2009) was rescinded and replaced with a new TB Policy on Results. With the previous policy, the Agency’s evaluation universe (i.e., all the individual evaluable programs) consisted of 23 entities comprised primarily of sub-programs or aspects of sub-programs within the Agency’s Program Alignment Architecture (PAA).
Under the TB Policy on Results, Parks Canada has until November 2017 to replace its Management, Resource and Results Structures (i.e., Strategic Outcome and Program Alignment Architecture) with a Departmental Results Framework (DRF) – used to reports its high level core responsibilities and outcomes – and a Program Inventory (PI) – used to describe how the Agency is organized to fulfill its responsibilities. This transition was still in progress at the time of the development of this evaluation plan. As a result, Parks Canada is unable to submit a five-year evaluation schedule for 2017-18 to 2021-22. The focus for evaluation planning was thus restricted to evaluation priorities for the coming fiscal year (i.e., projects to be initiated and/or approved in 2017-18).
Identification of Mandatory Evaluations
- means that programs or spending should rarely be unevaluated for extended periods of time and rarely, if ever, be indefinitely unevaluated.
The TB Policy on Results recognizes two types of evaluation:
- Mandatory Evaluations
- evaluations that must be completed at pre-defined times due to triggers such as legislation (e.g., Financial Administration Act, s. 42.1) or as a result of commitments (e.g., as a condition of funding).
- Discretionary Evaluations
- evaluations of programs, priorities, policies, issue and themes for which the timing is not pre-defined. In principle, all programs and spending (except internal services) should be evaluated periodically. The timing of such evaluations is to be based on the analysis of risks, needs and priorities.
The following table identifies Parks Canada programs that meet or are likely to meet the definition of mandatory evaluations, including all ongoing grant and contribution programs. Three of the five programs listed have been scheduled for evaluation. These are:
- Two ongoing grant and contribution programs with a five-year actual average expenditure that is currently or is expected to be greater than $5M, i.e., General Class Contributions Program and Funding to Support the TransCanada Trail Foundation; and
- Law Enforcement Program, for which an evaluation is required once every five years as a condition of funding.
Evaluations of each of these three programs were approved in March 2017 and they are thus scheduled for their next evaluation in 2021-22. Expenditures on two additional ongoing grant and contribution programs do not currently meet the expenditure threshold for evaluation required under the Financial Administration Act (FAA, subsection 42.1). Parks Canada will continue to monitor planned expenditures against all ongoing grant and contribution programs as part of its annual evaluation planning exercise in order to ensure ongoing compliance with the FAA.
|Title of Program||Authoritative Basis||Five-Year Actual Average Expenditure*||Approval Date of Last Evaluation||Approval Date of Next Evaluation||Considerations|
|Ongoing Grant and Contribution Programs under Financial Administration Act|
|General Class Contribution Program (GCCP)||Contribution||$5.8M||March 2017||March 2022||Scope of GCCP is broad; contributes to many of the Agency’s programs and sub-programs.|
|Funding to Support the TransCanada Trail Foundation||Grant||$6.0M||March 2022||Evaluated as an appendix to Evaluation of GCCP. This program was valued at up to $25M from 2013-14 to 2016-17. While now sunset, a successor program announced in Budget 2017 proposes to invest $30M over five years, starting in 2017–18. The successor program will no longer have a fundraising matching requirement.|
|Grant to the International Peace Garden||Grant||$22.7K||n/a||Evaluated as an appendix to Evaluation of GCCP. At present, this program is not expected to meet the expenditure threshold for mandatory evaluation under the FAA; need for evaluation to be re-assessed as part of next annual evaluation planning exercise.|
|National Historic Sites Cost-Sharing Program||Contribution||$2.1M||December 2012||n/a||At present, this program is not expected to meet the expenditure threshold for mandatory evaluation under the FAA; need for evaluation to be re-assessed as part of next annual evaluation planning exercise.|
|Other Mandatory Evaluations|
|Law Enforcement||TB Commitment||n/a||March 2017||March 2022||Evaluation required every five years as a condition of funding.|
- Table 3 note *
Source: Data provided by PCA Finance based on Main Estimates
Identification of Discretionary Evaluations
Related to its Departmental Result Framework, Parks Canada’s Program Inventory (PI) consists of five programs, i.e.: Heritage Places Establishment, Heritage Places Conservation; Heritage Places Promotion and Public Support; Visitor Experience Program; and Heritage Canals, Highways and Townsites Management Program. These are also the five programs identified in the Agency’s Departmental Plan 2017-18.
To assist in planning evaluations for the 2017-18 fiscal year, we developed a preliminary evaluation universe that consists of 26 entities (Table 4). These include the 19 sub-programs that existed in the Agency’s previous Program Alignment Architecture, three ongoing grant and contribution programs, and four additional entities identified based on either TB requirements (e.g., Law Enforcement), the nature of the inherent risks (e.g., Visitor Safety and Prevention), and/or links to broader government priorities (e.g., Indigenous Affairs). Four cross-governmental programs subject to horizontal evaluations requiring Parks Canada participation are also included in the table.
The entities were assigned priority ratings on eight dimensions adapted from the TBS Guide to Developing a Departmental Evaluation Plan. Rating of priorities for this planning period were informed by a cross-walk of these five programs against Parks Canada priorities and operational context for 2017-18 (as identified in introduction) and discussions with members of Executive Management Committee and in some cases their management teams between February and April 2017. Scheduling considerations were also discussed with Parks Canada’s Agency Policy and Operations Committee and its Strategic Direction and Policy Committee in June 2017. See Appendix A for more details on priority ratings and other scheduling considerations.
|Program||Evaluation Entity||Priority Rating||Actual / Planned Expenditures
2015-16 to 2019-20
|Last Approved Evaluation|
|Yearly Average ($M)||Average % of Total Program Spending|
|Heritage Places Establishment||NP Establishment||M||7.8||1%||1%||Mar-14|
|Other Heritage Places Designation||L||4.3||0%||Jul-15|
|Heritage Places Conservation||NP Conservation||H||88.8||8%||16%||May-14|
|Other Heritage Places Conservation||L||7.1||1%||Jul-15|
|Climate Change Adaptation*||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||ongoing|
|Species at Risk*||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||ongoing|
|Heritage Places Promotion and Public Support||Heritage Places Promotion||M||27.2||2%||4%||--|
|Partnering and Participation||M||15.1||1%||--|
|Visitor Experience||NP Visitor Experience||H||325.2||30%||43%||Mar-12|
|NUP Visitor Experience||M||14.5||1%||--|
|NMCA Visitor Experience||M||4.1||0%||Mar-12|
|NHS Visitor Experience||H||62.2||6%||ongoing|
|Heritage Canal Visitor Experience||H||65.4||6%||Mar-12|
|Heritage Canals, Highways and Townsite Management||Townsite Management||M||15.7||1%||36%||May-17|
|Heritage Canal Management||H||188.6||17%||Mar-12|
|Horizontal Programs||Law Enforcement||M||9||1%||1%||Mar-17|
|Visitor Safety and Prevention||H||n/a||n/a||n/a||--|
|Youth Employment Strategy*||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||Feb-15|
|Ongoing G&C Programs (over $5M)||General Class Contribution Program||L||n/a||n/a||n/a||Mar-17|
|NHS Cost-Sharing Program||L||n/a||n/a||n/a||Dec-12|
|Grant to TCT Foundation||L||n/a||n/a||n/a||Mar-17|
- Table 4 note *
Horizontal evaluations of cross-government programs to support renewal of special purpose funding (e.g., Species at Risk, Clean Air Agenda) are included in the table and indicated by an asterisk (*); these are led by other federal departments/agencies.
Five-year schedule of evaluations
As discussed, given the Agency’s ongoing transition to its new Departmental Results Framework and Program Inventory, Parks Canada is unable to submit a five-year evaluation schedule for 2017-18 to 2021-22. The focus for evaluation planning was restricted to evaluation priorities for the coming fiscal year and identification of mandatory evaluations. These projects are shown in the following table. Discretionary evaluations are scheduled as required based on evaluation needs identified by program, related program risks, or as identified by priority rating exercise.
|Topic||Requirement for Evaluation||Type of Evaluation||Actual or Planned Dates||Resources Required*|
|Start date||Completion of fieldwork||Completion of report||Date of Approval||Approx. hours||O&M
|Carried Over From 2016-17|
|Townsites Management||Discretionary – Priority||Impact and Delivery||Y||November 2014||October 2015||April 2017||May 2017||15||2|
|NHS Conservation||Discretionary – Priority||Impact and Delivery||Y||September 2015||October 2016||September 2017||December 2017||700||10|
|NHS Visitor Experience||Discretionary – Priority||Impact and Delivery||Y||September 2015||December 2016||October 2017||December 2017||850||10|
|New in 2017-18|
|Visitor Safety and Prevention||Discretionary – Risk||Impact and Delivery||N||September 2017||July 2018||December 2018||March 2019||1500||15|
|Highway Management||Discretionary – Risk||Impact and Delivery||Y||September 2017||July 2018||December 2018||March 2019||1500||15|
|Evaluations 2018-19 to 2021-22|
|Law Enforcement||Mandatory-TB Commit.||Impact and Delivery||N||September 2020||July 2021||December 2021||March 2022||n/a||n/a|
|GCCP||Mandatory – FAA||Delivery||N||April 2021||September 2021||December 2021||March 2022||n/a||n/a|
|Grant to TCT Foundation||Mandatory – FAA||Delivery||N||April 2021||September 2021||December 2021||March 2022||n/a||n/a|
|Contributions to Interdepartmental Evaluations for 2017-18|
|Climate Change Adaptation (Clean Air Agenda)||Evaluation led by ECCC that includes nine departments funded for climate change adaptation. PCA has a small role in the evaluation.||Y||June 2014||March 2015||June 2017||TBD||10||0|
|Species at Risk||Evaluation led by ECCC that includes ECCC, DFO and PCA. PCA has a relatively large role in the evaluation.||Y||December 2015||September 2016||June 2017||TBD||125||0|
|Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan (FCSAP)||Evaluation led by ECCC that includes 14 departments funded under FCSAP. PCA has a small role in the evaluation.||N||February 2017||November 2017||September 2018||December 2018||75||0|
- Table 5 note *
Estimated resource requirements are for 2017-18 only.
Programs and Spending not Covered in Five-Year Schedule
As noted above, the transition to the Agency’s new Departmental Results Framework as required by the TB Policy on Results was still in progress at the time of the development of this evaluation plan. As a result, Parks Canada is unable to submit a five-year evaluation schedule for 2017-18 to 2021-22. The focus for evaluation planning was thus restricted to evaluation priorities for the coming fiscal year (i.e., projects to be initiated and/or approved in 2017-18).
Parks Canada intends to ensure periodic evaluation of all Agency programs and spending. The decision to evaluate programs and spending not included in the coverage for this plan will be revisited next year based on the annual evaluation planning exercise.
Appendix A. Dimensions for Evaluation Priority Ratings
(more than $97M)
|5% to 10%
(approx. $48 to 96 M)
(less than $47 M)
|TB Commitments||Required in the next 12 to 18 months||Required but not in the next 18 months||None required|
|TB Commitments include but are not necessarily limited to requirements in the TB Policy on Results for mandatory evaluation.|
|Government-wide and Parks Canada Priorities||Strong links to priorities||Moderate links to priorities||No direct links to priorities|
|Priorities of the Government of Canada include government-wide priorities (e.g., climate change, biodiversity, Indigenous Peoples’ reconciliation, gender-based analysis). These are identified on the basis of the Whole of Government Framework, Speeches from the Throne and in federal budgets. Parks Canada Agency priorities are those identified in Ministerial Mandate Letters, Parks Canada’s Departmental Results Framework and/or Departmental Plan, including corporate risk profile. Entities directly linked to both government-wide and Agency priorities are rated four (e.g., Indigenous Affairs). Entities related to Agency priorities are rated a two (e.g., asset investment) and activities not clearly related to the priorities are rated zero.|
|Known Problems||Managers or findings in previous evaluations indicate significant challenges impacting program performance.||Managers or findings in previous evaluations indicate some challenges impacting program performance.||Managers or findings in previous evaluations indicate few challenges impacting program performance.|
|Ratings are based on discussion with program managers within the Agency, reports on program performance, and previous audit and evaluation findings. Challenges impacting program performance may be identified in a number of areas, including but not limited to: the completeness of the sub-program’s performance framework (i.e., clarity of program objectives and evidence of systems and activities to monitor and report against related targets), program governance, asset condition, information management, and any reported failures in sub-program performance. New programs or programs that have recently undergone significant restructuring where performance has not yet been assessed are considered higher risk and so are also given higher ratings.|
|Extensiveness of Program Reach||Extensive, national and/or international intended direct program reach.||Moderate and/or regional intended direct program reach.||Limited and/or localized intended direct program reach.|
|The extent of program reach relates to the extent of the intended direct reach, i.e., the number of people or groups (communities, stakeholders, NGOs, Aboriginals, etc.) targeted and/or directly impacted by sub-program activities. Most program activities have ultimate beneficiaries, i.e., Canadians as a whole, who are not counted as the program or sub-program reach. When the target reach of a program are organizations or provinces (e.g., NP and NMCA establishment), we count reach as the number of groups targeted and not the size of the constituencies represented by these groups. Sub-programs such as Heritage Places Promotion and Visitor Experience have extensive program reach given they are intended to reach millions of Canadians and international visitors. Low reach is typified by the Other Heritage Places sub-programs, which target a limited number of partners or interested parties.|
|Complexity of Program||High Complexity||Moderate Complexity||Low Complexity|
|Program’s complexity is rated given factors such as number of delivery partners, legal context and degree of direct control over outcomes. Highly complex programs are exemplified by the NP and NMCA establishment sub-programs, which require extensive consultation and negotiations over many years with dozens of different stakeholders who differ in their capacities and interests, and have the capability to block a particular establishment process. By contrast, the NHS Designations sub-program is considered to have low complexity given the clear legal framework and its administration of a relatively well-defined and long-established process.|
|Health, Safety, Environment and Cultural Heritage||High degree of consequence associated with program failure.||Moderate degree of consequence associated with program failure.||Low degree of consequence associated with program failure.|
|Many of the Agency’s activities require consideration of health, safety, the environment and Canada’s cultural heritage as a fundamental part of program delivery. Considerations for health and safety include visitors (e.g., human wildlife-conflicts, potable water, search and rescue) and Parks Canada employees (e.g., law enforcement), but can also extend to groups or individuals who are directly and indirectly impacted by management decisions (e.g., highway condition, bridge and dam safety). The environmental and cultural impact of management decisions can also have important consequences on elements such as species at risk, contaminated sites and commemorative integrity. Our rating does not assess the nature or quality of management measures to mitigate these issues involved in sub-program delivery, only the extent to which these considerations are inherent in delivery of the sub-program.|
|Political and Public Sensitivity||High||Moderate||Low|
|Ratings for this dimension consider both the extent of recent public or political attention and the likely extent of sensitivity associated with possible program failure. Activities which have received recent public or political attention are rated higher (e.g., changes to visitor service offer), as are activities that have a high potential interest should they occur (e.g., the failure of a dam or a potable water system resulting in a significant number of injuries or deaths). We also expect political interest related to sub-programs with significant infrastructure investment; these are given at least a ‘moderate’ rating. Sub-programs with high public visibility (e.g., Heritage Places Promotion) are also rated higher.|