Photographs of some Parks Canada sites

Office of Internal Audit and Evaluation Parks Canada

Recommended for Approval by Parks Canada PMEC: June 18, 2018
Date approved by CEO: June 28, 2018

Table of Contents

Deputy Head Confirmation

I approve the Departmental Evaluation Plan of Parks Canada for the fiscal years 2018-19 to 2022-23, 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 five-year rolling 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]
________________________________
Daniel Watson
Chief Executive Officer
Parks Canada Agency


[June 28, 2018]
_______________________
Date

Executive Summary

The Parks Canada Evaluation Plan 2018-19 to 2022-23 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 to be completed during the five fiscal years covered by the plan, together with the associated resource allocation. It also provides a summary of progress on implementation of the evaluation plan from 2017-18. 

Parks Canada’s Office of Internal Audit and Evaluation adheres to Treasury Board Policy on Results and Directive on Results, including standards and mandatory procedures for evaluation.

Effective April 2018, Parks Canada has replaced its Program Alignment Architecture and Performance Management Framework with a new Departmental Results Framework and Program Inventory comprised of five programs. Using this Program Inventory as a starting point, we developed an evaluation universe (i.e., all the individual “evaluable programs”) that consists of 32 entities.

This evaluation plan gives priority to mandatory evaluations as described in the Mandatory Procedures for Evaluation. Evaluations of all other entities were prioritized based on nine dimensions (e.g., materiality, known problems impacting program performance, program complexity). 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 2018-19, the evaluation unit consists of a Chief Audit and Evaluation Executive and six evaluator positions. This unit will complete three evaluations carried over from 2017-18, provide ongoing support to two interdepartmental evaluations and launch one new evaluation. The function will also support the development and review of Performance Information Profiles required for the implementation of the Agency’s Departmental Results Framework. 

1. Introduction

The Parks Canada Evaluation Plan 2018-19, consistent with the Treasury Board 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 fiscal year 2018-19 to 2022-23, together with the associated resource allocation. 

2. Parks Canada Agency

Parks Canada was established as a separate departmental corporation in 1998. The Agency's mandate is to:

On behalf of the people of Canada, 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 reports directly to the Minister. 

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. To fulfill its mandate, Parks Canada staff work at sites in every corner of Canada and collaborate with Indigenous peoples, communities, businesses, academic institutions, and non-governmental organizations. The support and collaboration of partners and stakeholders are essential to Parks Canada’s ability to achieve its mandate.

Parks Canada Departmental Results Framework

Parks Canada’s Departmental Results Framework (DRF) came into effect April 1, 2018. Under this Framework, Parks Canada has defined one Core Responsibility and three Departmental Results (Table 1). The Program Inventory (PI) that supports the DRF is comprised of five programs.

Table 1: Parks Canada Agency Departmental Results Framework
Core Responsibility: Protecting and Presenting Canada’s Natural and Cultural Heritage
Departmental Result Departmental Result Departmental Result
Canada’s natural heritage is protected for future generations. Canada’s cultural heritage is protected for future generation. People connect to and experience Canada’s natural and cultural heritage in ways that are meaningful to them.
Program Inventory
Heritage Places Establishment Heritage Places Conservation Heritage Places Promotion and Public Support Visitor Experience Heritage Canals, Highways and Townsite Management

Priorities and Operating Context 2018-19

As outlined in its Departmental Plan 2018-19, Parks Canada’s priorities include the following:

  • Natural Heritage Protection - Parks Canada will expand the systems of national parks and national marine conservation areas, contributing to the development of an ecologically connected and representative network of protected areas, and to the achievement of international conservation targets. Informed by best scientific evidence and Indigenous knowledge, Parks Canada will conserve and restore existing national parks and national marine conservation areas, including by bringing enhanced attention to ecological integrity as a first priority in all decision-making in national parks. Additional 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.
  • Cultural Heritage Protection - Parks Canada will ensure that places, persons and events of importance to Canadians are formally recognized, take measures to safeguard Canada’s historical and archaeological objects, cultural landscapes and archaeological sites and improve the condition of heritage structures.
  • Connecting to Canadians - Parks Canada welcomes all Canadians to visit, connect to and value their natural and cultural heritage. The Agency will encourage Canadians to experience national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas and to learn more about the environment and Canada’s heritage. The visitor experience will include a focus on connection to nature and history. Parks Canada will provide visitor experiences that attract a broader diversity of Canadians, including youth and urban Canadians. Towards these objectives, the Agency made admission free for youth 17 and under effective January 2018 and continues to provide free admission to any adult who has become a Canadian citizen in the previous 12 months. The Minister’s mandate letter also commits the Agency to expand the Learn-to-Camp program to ensure that more families have an opportunity to experience Canada’s outdoors. The Agency will continue to be a key player in supporting tourism in Canada and work with nearby communities to foster economic opportunities. In addition, Parks Canada will work with Indigenous communities on opportunities for interpretive and storytelling programs rooted in traditional activities and knowledge.
  • Asset Sustainability - Parks Canada will continue to implement infrastructure projects to address deferred work and improve the condition of its contemporary assets and heritage structures. The Agency will also continue to make progress on a sustainable asset plan to protect cultural heritage and support program and service delivery for the long term.

In delivering on these results, Parks Canada contributes to the following government-wide priorities:

  • A clean environment and a strong economy
  • Open and transparent government
  • Social inclusion and diversity
  • Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples

In May 2018, the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change released her response to the most recent Minister’s Round Table on Parks Canada (2017). This document makes numerous additional commitments against three priorities for Parks Canada:

  1. Protect and Restore our national parks and historic sites through focussed investments, working with Indigenous peoples, working with provinces and territories, and ensuring that ecological integrity is the first priority in decision-making.
  2. Enable people to further Discover and Connect with our parks and heritage through innovative ideas that help share these special places with Canadians.
  3. Sustain for generations to come the incredible value – both ecological and economic – that our parks and historic sites provide for communities.

3. Evaluation Function

Applicable Policies and Professional Standards

The evaluation function at Parks Canada adheres to Treasury Board Policy on Results, Directive on Results, Standard for Evaluation and Mandatory Procedures on Evaluation (2016).

Mandate and Services Offered

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.

Governance

Parks Canada’s Performance Measurement and Evaluation Committee (PMEC) serves as an advisory body to direct and oversee the evaluation function. As per the Terms of Reference for this committee (draft), PMEC is represented by the members of the Agency’s Executive Management Committee, chaired by the CEO

Under the TB Policy on Results, this committee is responsible for reviewing and providing advice or recommendations to the CEO related to evaluation, including:

  • The availability, quality, utility and use of performance information;
  • 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 in Figure 1. For 2018-19, the unit consists of six permanent evaluator positions, including the Head of the Evaluation Unit. However, ongoing human resource actions mean that the effective staff complement for this year is estimated to be closer to 4.5 full-time equivalents (FTEs).

Figure 1: Organization of Parks Canada’s Evaluation Unit

Organizational Structure and Resources Chart - Long description
  • Chief Executive Officer
    • Chief Audit and Evaluation Executive PCX-03
      • Executive Assistant AS-01
      • Head, Evaluation Unit ES-06
        • Senior Evaluator ES-05
        • Senior Evaluator ES-05
        • Senior Evaluator ES-05
        • Senior Evaluator ES-05
        • Evaluator ES-03

The budget for the Agency’s evaluation unit covers salaries (i.e., the six evaluator positions), project operations and maintenance (O&M) (e.g., travel 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 2017-18 and forecasted expenditures in 2018-19 are shown in Table 2. 

Table 2: Actual and Forecasted Expenditures, 2018-19
  Available
Budget
($000)
Expenditures ($000) Forecasted Expenditures
as % of Available Budget 
2017-18 2018-19
Actual Forecast
Salaries 640 417 566 88%
Project Costs 170 27 100 85%
Non Project O&M 65 45
Total 810 509 711 88%

Evaluation Capacity and Project Timeline

Given current organizational structure, the total available resource capacity of the evaluation unit is estimated to be approximately 6,300 hours of effort (840 person-days) per year (based on six permanent positions). This includes time for quality assurance of all evaluation projects. The estimate has been adjusted to account for employee leave provisions, professional development, and time related to administration and administrative support for other key evaluation activities to be undertaken:

  • Reviewing Memoranda to Cabinet and Treasury Board submissions to ensure plans for performance information and evaluations are sufficient and that information on past evaluations is accurately presented and balanced;
  • Supporting the Agency’s strategic planning and reporting activities, including the development and review of Performance Information Profiles for the each program; and
  • Providing expert advice and services in the areas of evaluation and performance measurement for program initiatives and to support broader Agency priorities.

Evaluation projects fall into one of three size categories defined by the estimated hours of work: small (≤1,000 hours of work – up to 1 year), medium (≥2,500 hours – up to 18 months) or large (over 2,500 hours or 2 years).

Based on past experience given this capacity, Parks Canada’s Evaluation Unit can administer a maximum of three substantive (i.e., medium to large) evaluations at any given point in time unless additional contract resources are used.

4. Progress on Implementation of Departmental Evaluation Plan (DEP) 2017-18

Parks Canada’s Evaluation Plan for 2017-18 was approved by the CEO in July 2017. Under the new Treasury Board Policy on Results, Parks Canada had until November 2017 to replace its Management, Resource and Results Structures (i.e., Strategic Outcome and Program Alignment Architecture) with a DRF. This transition was still in progress at the time of the development of the evaluation plan. As a result, Parks Canada was unable to submit a five-year evaluation schedule for 2017-18 to 2021-22 and the focus for evaluation planning was restricted to evaluation priorities for the coming fiscal year (i.e., projects to be initiated and/or approved in 2017-18).

Table 3 presents details on the projects scheduled to be initiated and/or completed in 2017-18 as per this plan and their current status.

Table 3: Progress on Implementation of DEP 2017-18
Evaluation Actual or Planned Dates
Start Expected Approval
(as of July 2017)
Revised Approval
(as of June 2018)
Carried over from 2016-17
Townsite Management November 2014 May 2017 n/a
National Historic Site Conservation September 2015 December 2017 June 2018
National Historic Site Visitor Experience September 2015 December 2017 June 2018
New in 2017-18
Visitor Safety September 2017 March 2019 March 2019
Highway (Roadway) Management November 2017 March 2019 December 2019
Contributions to Interdepartmental Evaluations for 2017-18Footnote 1
Clean Air Agenda – Adaptation Theme June 2014 June 2017 September 2017
Species at Risk December 2015 June 2017 June 2018
Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan February 2017 December 2018 December 2018

One evaluation was approved within the fiscal year (i.e., Evaluation of Townsite Management in May 2017). This evaluation met timelines for transmission to the Treasury Board Secretariat and public posting on Parks Canada’s website, as per the TBS Policy on Results.Footnote 2 The two other evaluations carried over from 2016-17 are now progressing through the reporting phase with expected approval before the end June 2018.

The two evaluations scheduled to be initiated in 2017-18 are both in progress. The Evaluation of Visitor Safety is currently considered to be on track for approval by its original timeline of March 2019. In Fall 2018, the scope of the Evaluation of Highway Management was expanded to include all roadways managed by Parks Canada and as a result the expected approval date revised to December 2019.

Three horizontal evaluations were also in progress in 2017-18, each led by Environment and Climate Change Canada. The Evaluation of the Clean Air Agenda – Adaptation Theme was approved in September 2017. Parks Canada’s management response to this evaluation was approved in February 2018 and has been posted to the Agency’s website. As of May 2018, the other two horizontal evaluations remain in progress.

In 2017-18, Parks Canada’s also engaged a consultant to complete a neutral assessment of the evaluation function (required under Treasury Board Policy on Results). The final report from this assessment was delivered in September 2017. The assessment found that the evaluation function at Parks Canada was in general conformance with the Treasury Board Policy on Evaluation (2009) and had taken initial steps towards implementation of the Treasury Board Policy on Results (2016). The report made five recommendations to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the evaluation function. Management actions in response to these recommendations are now being implemented.

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 until recommendations are fully addressed. A summary of progress in implementing actions is tabled at least twice a year at the Agency’s Performance Measurement and Evaluation Committee. The most recent status update was completed in March 2018.

5. Overview of the Annual Evaluation Planning Exercise

In July 2016, the Treasury Board Policy on Evaluation (2009) was rescinded and replaced with a new Treasury Board Policy on Results. This policy gives more flexibility to evaluation, both in terms of coverage and the methods and timing of evaluations, so that it can be more responsive to user needs and more useful to departments.

‘Periodic evaluation’ means that programs or spending should rarely be unevaluated for extended periods of time and rarely, if ever, be indefinitely unevaluated.

The Treasury Board Policy on Results recognizes two types of evaluation:

  • Mandatory Evaluations – evaluations that must be completed at pre-defined times due to specific triggers or as a result of commitments.
  • 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.

In selecting entities to be evaluated, priority is first given to all mandatory evaluations. Once these are accommodated within the evaluation plan, discretionary evaluations of the remaining entities in the evaluation universe (see Appendix B) are planned based on an analysis of risks, needs and priorities, as well as consultations with the Treasury Board Secretariat.

Identification of Mandatory Evaluations

Under the Treasury Board Policy on Results, mandatory evaluations are required for:

  • All ongoing programs of grants and contributions with five-year average actual expenditures of $5 million or greater per year (as required by the Financial Administration Act, s. 42.1); and
  • Programs where evaluation is required as a result of commitments in submissions approved by the Secretary of the Treasury Board of Canada.

As of 2018-19, Parks Canada delivers two programs requiring mandatory evaluation (Table 4). This includes one ongoing grant and contribution programs (i.e., the General Class Contributions Program) and the Law Enforcement Program, for which an evaluation is required once every five years as a condition of funding. Evaluations of each of these programs were approved in March 2017 and they are thus scheduled for their next evaluation in 2021-22.

Two additional ongoing grant and contribution programs do not currently meet the expenditure threshold for evaluation. 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 Financial Administration Act.

Table 4: Identification of Mandatory Evaluations
Title of Program Authoritative Basis Five-Year Actual Average ExpenditureTable note a Approval Date of Last Evaluation Approval Date of Next Evaluation Considerations
Ongoing Grant and Contribution Programs
General Class Contribution Program (GCCP) Contribution $5.0M March 2017 March 2022 The GCCP contributes to all of the Agency’s programs.
Grant to the International Peace Garden Grant $22.7K n/aResults achieved table note b Previously evaluated as an appendix to the Evaluation of the GCCP.
National Historic Sites Cost-Sharing Program Contribution $3.8M December 2012 n/aResults achieved table note b n/a
Other Mandatory Evaluations
Law Enforcement TBS Commitment n/a March 2017 March 2022 Evaluation required every five years as a condition of funding.

Identification of Discretionary Evaluations

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. This Program Alignment Architecture was replaced with the Parks Canada’s new Departmental Results Framework effective April 1, 2018.

Recognizing this new framework, Parks Canada’s evaluation unit revised its evaluation universe as part of the annual evaluation planning exercise for 2018-19. A summary of revised evaluation universe elements is found in Appendix B. This universe now consists of 32 entities. To facilitate evaluations of program efficiency, these entities are primarily comprised of activities in Parks Canada’s Financial Coding Booklet 2018-19. Additional entities are identified based on requirements for mandatory evaluation, links to Parks Canada’s priorities (e.g., asset sustainability) and/or to broader government priorities (e.g., reconciliation with Indigenous peoples). Four interdepartmental programs subject to horizontal evaluations requiring Parks Canada participation are also included. 

The entities were assigned priority ratings on nine dimensions adapted from the Treasury Board Secretariat’s Guide to Developing a Departmental Evaluation Plan (see Appendix C). Rating of priorities for this planning period were informed by a review of Parks Canada priorities and operational context for 2018-19 (as identified in introduction) and discussions with members of Executive Management Committee and their management teams between January and March 2018. Scheduling considerations were also discussed with Parks Canada’s Strategic Direction and Policy Committee in February 2018.

Table 5: Proposed Project Schedule, 2018-19 to 2022-23 
Evaluation Project 2018-19 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22 2022-23
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
Heritage Places Establishment
Establishment of Protected Area for Nature               x x x x x                
Heritage Places Conservation
Active Management of Natural Resources                         x x x x x x    
Ecosystem Condition Monitoring         x x x x x x                    
Species at RiskTable note * x                       x x x x x x x x
Contaminated SitesTable note * x x x                                  
Conservation Science and Maintenance x                                      
Cultural Resource Condition Monitoring                                      
Heritage Places Promotion and Public Support
Promotion and Outreach                 x x x x x x            
Learn-to-Camp Program         x x x x                        
Visitor Experience
Visitor Activities, Services and Facilities x                                      
Interpretation                           x x x x x x
Camping and Diversified Accommodations                                 x x x
Visitor Safety x x x x                                
Heritage Canals, Highways and Townsite Management
Heritage Canal Management           x x x x x x                  
Highway (Roadway) Management x x x x x x x                          
Horizontal or Thematic
Law Enforcement and Compliance   x x x               x x x x          
Asset Sustainability                     x x x x x x        
Indigenous Engagement and Reconciliation                                 x x x
General Class Contribution Program                         x x x x        
Youth Employment StrategyTable note *         x x x x                        
Expected Substantive Evaluations in Progress 4 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 6 6 6 6 4 4 3 3
Legend:
x Mandatory evaluation or work in progress.
x Discretionary evaluation.

Programs and Spending Not Covered in Five-Year Schedule

Table 6 identifies the programs or program elements that are not covered in this five-year schedule and provides a rationale for their exclusion. 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.

Table 6: Parks Canada Evaluation Entities Not Covered in Five-Year Schedule
Program Evaluation Entity Last Approved Evaluation Rationale for Not Evaluating Program or Spending
Heritage Places Establishment National Historic Site Designation 2015 Evaluation recently conducted. This programs element is also likely to undergo major changes in the short-term.
Other Heritage Places Designation 2015 There is a low materiality associated with these program elements. No senior management or program need for evaluation was identified.
Heritage Places Conservation Ecosystem Science --
Agriculture (National Urban Park) --
Other Heritage Places Conservation 2015
NHS Cost-Sharing Program 2012
Grant to the International Peace Garden 2017
Heritage Places Promotion and Public Support Partner and Stakeholder Relations --
Visitor Experience Camping and Diversified Accommodations 2012 An evaluation of this entity will have been initiated but not completed by the end of the five year period. It will also be partially addressed through other planned evaluation work (e.g., Evaluation of Asset Sustainability).
Heritage Canals, Highways and Townsite Management Townsite Management 2017 Evaluation recently conducted.
Horizontal or Thematic Climate Change Adaptation 2017 Evaluation and external audit recently conducted.
Impact Assessment -- There is a low materiality associated with these thematic elements. These programs are also likely to undergo major changes in the short-term.
Management Planning and Reporting --
Indigenous Engagement and Reconciliation -- An evaluation of this entity will have been initiated but not completed by the end of the five year period.
Internal Services Internal Services -- Evaluation not required under the Treasury Board Policy on Results. No senior management or program need for evaluation was identified.

Appendix A:  Five-year Schedule of Evaluations

Evaluation projects for 2018-19 to 2022-23 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.

Table 7: Five-Year Schedule of Evaluations
Evaluation Requirement for Evaluation Type of Evaluation Preliminary Objective / Scope Timing Resources RequiredFootnote 3
Start Approval Approx. Hours O&M
($000)
Year 1 (2018-19)
National Historic Site Conservation Discretionary – Priority Impact and Delivery To evaluate the relevance, effectiveness and efficiency of the National Historic Site Conservation sub-program. Scope includes conservation science and maintenance and cultural resource condition monitoring at all national historic sites owned and/or administered by Parks Canada. 09/2015 06/2018 3000 60
National Historic Site Visitor Experience Discretionary – Priority Impact and Delivery To evaluate the relevance, effectiveness and efficiency of the National Historic Site Visitor Experience sub-program. Scope includes the delivery of interpretive programs and visitor activities, services and facilities at all national historic sites administered by Parks Canada. 09/2015 06/2018 3000 60
Species at Risk Horizontal Impact and Delivery Evaluation led by Environment and Climate Change Canada that includes the Department of Fisheries and Ocean and Parks Canada. The evaluation’s scope includes performance against expected results for each of the five stages of the conservation cycle (2011-12 to 2016-17). 12/2015 05/2018 200 0
Visitor Safety Discretionary - Priority Impact and Delivery To evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of the Visitor Safety Program. Scope includes the delivery of all stages of visitor safety at all places owned/administered by Parks Canada since the implementation of the Directive on Visitor Safety in 2013. 09/2017 03/2019 1500 50
Formative Evaluation of the Compliance Planning Process Discretionary - Priority Delivery This evaluation will examine the effectiveness and efficiency of the integrated compliance and law enforcement planning process as described in the Parks Canada Compliance Guidelines (2018). 06/2018 03/2019 750 20
Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan Horizontal Impact and Delivery Evaluation led by Environment and Climate Change Canada that includes 14 departments funded under the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan. It will cover the relevance, design and delivery, and effectiveness of related activities (2012-13 to 2017-18). 02/2017 12/2018 100 0
Year 2 (2019-20)
Roadway Management Discretionary - Priority Impact and Delivery To evaluate the effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of roadway management (i.e., operations, maintenance and design & construction) of Parks Canada’s inventory of roadways (Category 1 to 6) and associated assets. This includes spending on rehabilitation and recapitalization of deferred work (2012-13 to 2017-18). Scope excludes roads in townsites and related to heritage canals. 11/2017 12/2019 3000 60
Learn-to-Camp Program Discretionary – Priority Impact and Delivery To evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of the Learn-to-Camp Program (2011-12 to 2018-19), with a focus on period since larger-scale program expansion in 2017. 04/2019 03/2020 1000 20
Youth Employment Strategy Horizontal Impact and Delivery Evaluation led by Employment and Social Development Canada that includes 12 departments. Summative evaluation of the Youth Employment Strategy (2016-2020), including Summer Work Experience. 04/2019 03/2020 75 0
Year 3 (2020-21)
Ecosystem Condition Monitoring Discretionary - Priority Impact and Delivery To evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of the activities related to the measurement and monitoring of ecological integrity measures in national parks, ecosystem monitoring activities in national marine conservation areas and the National Urban Park, and management of the Information Centre on Ecosystems data system. 04/2019 09/2020 1500 20
Heritage Canal Management Discretionary - Priority Impact and Delivery To evaluate the effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of the management of heritage canals and their associated assets (e.g., roadway and pedestrian bridges). Scope will include an evaluation of the effectiveness of the waterways management for purposes of public safety, navigation, recreation, and natural and cultural heritage conservation. 06/2019 12/2020 2500 40
Establishment of Protected Areas for Nature Discretionary - Priority Delivery This evaluation will focus on the implementation of the national park and national marine conservation area establishment processes, examining best practices and lessons learned as a means to increase program efficiency. 01/2020 03/2021 1500 40
Year 4 (2021-22)
Promotion and Outreach Discretionary - Priority Impact and Delivery To evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of Parks Canada’s promotion and outreach activities, including the implementation of the On Target Strategy aimed at introducing key audiences (e.g., youth, new and urban Canadians) to the Agency’s heritage places. 04/2020 09/2021 2000 20
Law Enforcement and Compliance Mandatory –
TBS commitment
Impact and Delivery To evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of the Law Enforcement Program and Parks Canada Compliance Guidelines (2018), including the extent to which prevention and response strategies serve to protect cultural and natural resources and contribute towards safe and high-quality site user experiences. Scope will focus on the period from 2015-16 to 2020-21. 01/2021 12/2021 1500 40
Asset Sustainability Discretionary - Priority Impact and Delivery Building off the findings of previous evaluations and other internal reviews, this evaluation would examine the effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of Parks Canada’s management of its build asset portfolio. The scope of the evaluation will include a summative assessment of the Federal Infrastructure Investment (2015-2020). 10/2020 03/2022 2000 20
General Class Contribution Program Mandatory - FAA Impact and Delivery To evaluate the relevance, effectiveness and efficiency of the General Class Contribution Program (2015-16 to 2020-21).   04/2021 03/2022 1000 10
Year 5 (2022-23)
Neutral Assessment of the Evaluation Function Mandatory – TBS Policy on Results Review A neutral assessment of the evaluation function is conducted at a minimum of once every five years. This work will be scoped to meet the CEO’s information needs with regards to policy compliance and effective implementation of the evaluation function. 04/2022 09/2022 200 65
Active Management of Natural Resources Discretionary - Priority Impact and Delivery To evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of activities for the active management of natural resources and ecological components in protected heritage places owned and/or administered by Parks Canada. This scope includes implementation of Conservation and Restoration funding (2016-2021), management of human/wildlife conflict, fire management, and management of hyper-abundant and invasive species. 04/2021 09/2022 2000 60
Species at Risk Horizontal Impact and Delivery Evaluation led by Environment and Climate Change Canada that includes the Department of Fisheries and Ocean and Parks Canada. The evaluation’s scope includes performance against expected results. 04/2021 03/2023 200 0
Interpretation Discretionary - Priority Impact and Delivery To evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of interpretation delivered by Parks Canada in its owned and/or administered heritage places. Scope would include the management and delivery of both the personal and non-personal interpretative programs, including Indigenous programming. 10/2021 03/2023 2000 60

Appendix B: Elements of the Evaluation Universe

Program Evaluation Entity Priority Rating Definition Recent Assurance Coverage
(since 2012)
Result: Canada’s natural heritage is protected for future generations.
Heritage Places Establishment 1. Establishment of Protected Areas for Nature M With the objective to establish at least one national park in each of Canada’s 39 natural regions and one national marine conservation area in each of Canada’s 29 marine regions, this entity includes all activities related to a five-step process to establish a national park or national marine conservation area (i.e., from identification of representative areas to negotiation of park agreements and formal establishment in legislation). This includes the preparation and maintenance of the National Parks and National Marine Conservation Areas System Plans.
  • Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development-Marine Protected Areas (2012)
  • Evaluation of the Advancing Conservation Interests in the Northwest Territories Initiative (Protected Areas Strategy) (2013)Table note *
  • Evaluation of Parks Canada’s National Parks Establishment and Expansion (2014)
  • Office of the Auditor General -Implementing the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement (2015)
  • Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development –Conserving Biodiversity (2018)
Heritage Places Conservation 2. Active Management of Natural Resources M

This entity includes activities related to the planning, implementation and effectiveness monitoring of active conservation interventions undertaken to maintain or improve ecological components of Parks Canada’s heritage places, including:

  • Conservation and Restoration (CoRe) Funding.
  • Prevention and management of human/wildlife conflict.
  • Fire management (i.e., control and management of wildfires and prescribed burns).
  • Management of hyper-abundant species, invasive species and wildlife diseases.

Note: While management of species at risk, contaminated sites and environmental impact assessment are included as a separate entities in this evaluation universe, some aspects of these elements could be examined in an evaluation of this entity as they relate to program delivery (e.g., CoRe funded projects focused on species at risk).

  • Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development–Marine Protected Areas (2012)
  • Evaluation of the Health of the Oceans (HOTO) Initiative (2012)Table note *
  • Commissioner Of The Environment And Sustainable Development – Ecological Integrity in National Parks (2013)
  • Evaluation of Parks Canada’s National Parks Conservation (2014)
3. Ecosystem Condition Monitoring M Parks Canada assesses changes in national parks ecosystems, and the relevance of these changes to our management objectives through repeated measurements of the state of selected ecological measures in relation to reference thresholds. Similar measures of ecosystem components are also being established for national marine conservation areas and the National Urban park. The Information Centre on Ecosystems (ICE) is a data management system designed to provide a place for national parks, national marine conservation areas and the National Urban Park to manage their information and data for Ecological Condition Monitoring.
4. Ecosystem Science L This entity includes the Agency’s activities to provide expert ecosystem science advice and analysis on emerging natural science issues, concepts/methods and approaches; develop strategic programming for the Agency in the area of natural science (e.g. conservation in the North); promote scientific culture & use of science within the Agency; and represent Parks Canada on inter-departmental science & technology committees. Activities under this entity are undertaken to inform planning, policy development and management with regards to natural resources in Parks Canada places.  
5. Agriculture (NUP) L Parks Canada protects agricultural lands within the Rouge National Urban Park, promoting a vibrant farming community while protecting the natural and cultural heritage of the Rouge. Activities under this entity include: the administration of agricultural lease agreements and the development and implementation of beneficial management practices; Parks Canada's contribution to the implementation of these tools; and other activities that support viable farming in the national urban park.  
6. Species at RiskTable note * n/a Parks Canada is responsible for the protection of species at risk on all lands and waters administered by the Agency. This entity includes all activities related to policy development, planning, implementation, monitoring and reporting with regards to the recovery of species at risk.
  • Evaluation of the Programs and Activities in Support of the Species at Risk Act (2012)Table note *
  • Evaluation of Species at Risk (ongoing)Table note *
7. Contaminated SitesTable note * n/a Parks Canada is responsible for the identification and remediation of contaminated sites on all lands and waters administered by the Agency. This includes implementation of Parks Canada’s responsibilities under the interdepartmental Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan.
  • Evaluation of the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan (2014)Table note *
  • Evaluation of the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan (ongoing)Table note *
Result: Canada’s cultural heritage is protected for future generations.
Heritage Places Establishment 8. National Historic Site Designation M This entity involves the designation of places, persons and events of national historic significance. Parks Canada supports the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada to review all eligible nominations. This includes the preparation and maintenance of the National Historic Sites System Plan.
  • Evaluation of Parks Canada’s National Historic Sites Designations
    (2015)
9. Other Heritage Places Designation L The objective of this entity is the commemoration or designation of Federal Heritage Buildings, Heritage Railway Stations, Heritage Lighthouses, and Canadian Heritage Rivers. It also supports the nomination of sites for international programs such as UNESCO World Heritage, and the National Program for the Grave Sites of Canadian Prime Ministers.
  • Evaluation of Parks Canada’s Other Heritage Places Programs (2015)
Heritage Places Conservation 10. Conservation Science and Maintenance M This entity includes all activities undertaken to inform planning, policy development and implementation of management actions related to the conservation, maintenance and stabilization of cultural resources owned and/or administered by Parks Canada (i.e., landscapes and landscape features, buildings and engineering works, archaeological sites, archaeological and historical objects). This includes the identification and evaluation of cultural resources, including (as appropriate) development of Commemorative Integrity Statements and Cultural Resource Values Statements.

Note: Cultural resource impact assessment is included as a separate entity in this evaluation universe.
  • Evaluation of National Historic Site Conservation (ongoing).
  • Office of the Auditor General – Audit of Cultural and Historic Federal Properties (expected Fall 2018).
11. Cultural Resource Condition Monitoring M This entity includes all activities related to the monitoring and reporting on the condition, trend and related threats to cultural resources owned and/or administered by Parks Canada (i.e., landscapes and landscape features, buildings and engineering works, archaeological sites, archaeological and historical objects). This includes input into commemorative integrity reporting at national historic sites.
12. Other Heritage Places Conservation L Programs grouped under this entity provide conservation advice to Federal Heritage Buildings, Heritage Railway Stations, Heritage Lighthouses and Canadian Heritage Rivers. Parks Canada also provides direct professional support to National Program for the Grave Sites of Canadian Prime Ministers and manages Canada’s input into international programs such as UNESCO World Heritage.
  • Evaluation of Parks Canada’s Other Heritage Places Programs
    (2015)
  • Office of the Auditor General – Audit of Cultural and Historic Federal Properties (expected Fall 2018).
13. National Historic Site Cost-Sharing Program L Program assists eligible recipients in conducting activities aimed at ensuring the commemorative integrity of non-federally owned or administered national historic sites.
  • Evaluation of Parks Canada’s National Historic Sites Cost-Sharing Program (2012).
14. Grant to the International Peace Garden L The International Peace Garden (IPG) Inc. is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to create and maintain a garden as a memorial to the peace between Canada and the United States. Funds provided by Parks Canada are intended for general operations and maintenance.
  • Evaluation of Parks Canada’s General Class Contribution Program (2017) – Grant to the IPG was evaluated as an appendix to this report.
Result: People connect to and experience Canada’s natural and cultural heritage in ways that are meaningful to them.
Heritage Places Promotion and Public Support 15. Promotion and Outreach M Entity aims to strengthen awareness and appreciation of protected heritage areas administered by Parks Canada, including their natural and historical heritage, and to introduce key audiences (e.g., youth, new and urban Canadians) to these places. Guided by Parks Canada’s On Target Strategy, activities include advertising, off-site outreach and education, social and digital media, proactive media relations, and brand building initiatives. For the purposes of evaluation, this includes the sale of official Parks Canada merchandise.  
16. Learn to Camp Program L Targeted at families with young children and new Canadians living in urban centres, the Learn-to-Camp Program aims to increase these audiences’ knowledge and ability to plan and enjoy a Canadian camping experience while introducing them to the opportunities available when visiting Parks Canada locations. Launched in 2011, the program now includes four key components: (1) national season launch event; (2) overnight and day activities; (3) website; and (4) App. Parks Canada and MEC, Parks Canada’s national partner for the event, jointly present the Learn-to-camp activities.  
17. Partner and Stakeholder Relations M This entity encourages the participation of partners and stakeholders. Partnering arrangements advance shared or complimentary goals, and result in a wide range of collaborative activities and outputs (e.g., program delivery, scientific research, new products). Stakeholders engage with the Agency via activities such as the Minister’s Round Table, management planning and other public consultation processes, and the national volunteer program. This entity also involves maintenance and use of Stakeholder and Partner Engagement Registry.  
Visitor Experience 18. Interpretation M This entity includes all activities related to the provision of non-personal and personal interpretive programs designed to provide audiences with learning experiences, both included with entry and as provided for-fee, including related infrastructure (e.g., exhibits, interpretive panels).
  • Evaluation of the National Historic Site Visitor Experience (ongoing).
19. Visitor Activities, Services and Facilities H This entity includes a range of activities, services and products associated with pre-visit planning, the on-site visit (e.g., reception, recreation, special events, public conveniences), and post-visit communications to Parks Canada administered heritage places. This includes visitor facilities that support the visitor experience (e.g., visitor reception centres, trails, day use grounds).

Note: Interpretation, camping and diversified accommodations, visitor safety, boating on heritage canals, and roadways that support the visitor experience are included with separate entities in this evaluation universe.
  • Evaluation of the Visitor Service Offer (2012).
  • Audit of Point of Sale (2016).
  • Evaluation of the National Historic Site Visitor Experience (ongoing).
20. Camping and Diversified Accommodations M This entity includes all elements associated with an overnight stay at Parks Canada’s protected heritage places. This includes planning, development and maintenance of front-country and back-country campsites, diversified accommodations (e.g., oTENTiks, cabins) and related infrastructure. This includes on-site and on-line administration of camping reservations via the Parks Canada Reservation Service.
21. Visitor Safety M There are two distinct dimensions to visitor safety - prevention and response. Related activities follow Parks Canada’s Directive on Visitor Safety (2012); these apply to all Parks Canada’s heritage places.
  • Evaluation of Parks Canada’s Visitor Safety Program (ongoing).
Heritage Canals, Highways and Townsite Management 22. Heritage Canal Management H Entity involves water management for purposes of (e.g.) navigation and recreation, protection of wildlife/habitat, flood control, supporting hydro and providing municipal water. It also involves the management of bridge and dam infrastructure at these heritage canals for public safety and to facilitate transit. For the purposes of evaluation, this includes all boating services such as the seasonal operation and maintenance of locks, lock stations, and provision of navigation services and facilities.
  • Evaluation of Through Waterway Management (2012).
23. Highway (Roadway) Management H Entity involves the management (i.e., operation, inspection, maintenance and design and construction) of all categories of roads and related roadway assets managed by Parks Canada. This includes all sections of the Trans-Canada and provincially numbered highway infrastructure within national parks and one national historic site, scenic drives, and roads that provide access to and circulation within Parks Canada’s heritage places (including for provision of internal services).
  • Audit of Twinning the TransCanada Highway Project (2012).
  • Evaluation of the Twinning of the TransCanada Highway in Banff National Park (2015).
  • Evaluation of Roadway Management (ongoing).
24. Townsite Management M Entity involves the provision of municipal services – e.g., drinking water, sewage treatment, road maintenance, snow removal, garbage pick-up – and management of related infrastructure to support residents and visitors in the five townsites of Field (Yoho National Park), Lake Louise (Banff National Park), Wasagaming (Riding Mountain National Park), Waskesiu (Prince Albert National Park), and Waterton (Waterton Lakes National Park). It also includes community planning and sustainable management of commercial growth in all townsites located in a national park.
  • Evaluation of Parks Canada’s Townsite Management Sub-Program (2017).
Horizontal and thematic
  25. Law Enforcement and Compliance n/a Law enforcement is used to support compliance with legislation and regulations aimed at protecting natural and cultural resources and providing high quality visitor experiences in heritage places administered by Parks Canada. This entity includes enforcement by dedicated Park Wardens and related program management, including application of Parks Canada’s Compliance Guidelines (2018).
  • Audit of Law Enforcement Program – Arming Initiative (2012).
  • Evaluation of Parks Canada’s Law Enforcement Program (2017).
26. Climate Change Adaptation M Climate change is a known threat to the conservation gains targeted by Parks Canada. This entity would include Parks Canada’s research into how climate change impacts protected spaces, as well as the application of conservation science to complete vulnerability assessments and identify actions required to help ecosystems adapt. It also includes activities to inventory archaeological and historic sites at risk from climate change and actions taken to record and preserve these places.
  • Commissioner Of The Environment And Sustainable Development – Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change (2017)
  • Evaluation of the Clean Air Agenda – Adaptation Theme (2017)Table note *
27. Asset Sustainability H This entity includes activities undertaken by Parks Canada to maintain or improve the condition of its built assets, including implementation of the Federal Infrastructure Investment and other related special purpose funds. This includes activities to evaluate strategic assets and identify the resources needed to restore and/or decommission contemporary and cultural infrastructure (as appropriate).  
28. Indigenous Engagement and Reconciliation H Canada’s approach to working with Indigenous Peoples is guided by the “PARKS” principles outlined in Promising Pathways and reconciliation agenda. This includes but is not limited to: engagement; consultation; negotiation; treaty implementation; commemoration and presentation; access; and harvesting. The Indigenous Affairs Branch’s support to Parks Canada to achieve these objectives is also included.  
29. Impact Assessment M Impact assessment is a systematic method of evaluating potential effects of Parks Canada’s decisions on natural and cultural resources prior to approval and implementation of a project so that effects can be avoided, mitigated, and monitored, as required. Activities undertaken in support of projects across all systems of heritage places (e.g., environmental impact assessment, cultural resource impact analysis, archaeological impact assessment). Related activities range from policy development to completion of assessments, implementation of appropriate mitigation measures, and project surveillance and monitoring.
  • Commissioner Of The Environment and Sustainable Development – Implementation of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (2014)
  • Audit of the Governance of the Federal Infrastructure Investment Program at Parks Canada (2017)
30. Management Planning and Reporting M Management planning is undertaken for Parks Canada's administered heritage places in accordance with legal requirements and Agency policies pertaining to planning and reporting. The management planning cycle is an iterative cycle of analysis, consultation, decision-making, implementation, monitoring, reporting and engagement that allows for regular assessment and adjustment of the management direction to achieve intended results.  
31. General Class Contribution Program (GCCP) n/a The GCCP is a funding authority available to Agency managers that identify use of a contribution agreement as the most effective means of achieving program objectives. The program assists eligible recipients in delivering a broad range of activities and projects in support of Parks Canada’s mandate.
  • Evaluation of Parks Canada’s GCCP (2017)
32. Youth Employment Strategy (YES)Table note * n/a Parks Canada participation in the government-wide YES is limited to the Summer Work Experience program. Related funded has historically been approximately $2 million per year.
  • Summative Evaluation of the Horizontal Youth Employment Strategy (2015)Table note *

Appendix C: Dimensions for Evaluation Priority Ratings

Dimension Score
4 2 0
Materiality >10%
(more than $97M)
5% to 10%
(approx.  $48 to 96 M)
<5%
(less than $47 M)
TBS Advice or Commitments Required in the next 12 to 18 months Required but not in the next 18 months None required
Advice from Treasury Board includes but is not necessarily limited to requirements in the TBS 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 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 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 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, non-governmental organizations, Indigenous peoples, etc.) targeted and/or directly impacted by program activities. Most program activities have ultimate beneficiaries, i.e., Canadians as a whole, who are not counted as the program reach. When the target reach of a program are organizations or provinces (e.g., national park and national marine conservation area establishment), we count reach as the number of groups targeted and not the size of the constituencies represented by these groups. Programs such as Heritage Places Promotion and Public Support and Visitor Experience have extensive program reach given they are intended to reach millions of Canadians and international visitors. Low reach is typified by entities such as Other Heritage Places Designation and Conservation, 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 national park and national marine conservation area establishment, 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, National Historic Site Designations is considered to have low complexity given the clear legal framework and its administration of a relatively well-defined and long-established process.
Risk to Health and Safety 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 and safety 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). Our rating does not assess the nature or quality of management measures to mitigate issues involved in program delivery, only the extent to which these considerations are inherent in delivery of the program. 
Risk to 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 the environment and Canada’s cultural heritage as a fundamental part of program delivery. The environmental and cultural impact of management decisions can 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 issues involved in program delivery, only the extent to which these considerations are inherent in delivery of the 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 programs with significant infrastructure investment; these are given at least a ‘moderate’ rating. Programs with high public visibility (e.g., Heritage Places Promotion) are also rated higher.