Parks Canada Agency response approved by the CEO on February 5, 2018

Program Description

  • The Government of Canada’s Clean Air Agenda, in effect until 2015-16, was intended to address climate change and air pollutants via five program themes, one of which was the Adaptation Theme.
  • The Clean Air Agenda Adaptation Theme was a five-year (2011-12 to 2015-16) $181.6 million initiative aimed at helping Canadians adapt to climate change and delivering on the federal role as defined by the Federal Adaptation Policy Framework. The Theme was coordinated by Environment and Climate Change Canada.
  • Parks Canada’s contribution to the Adaptation Theme, “Understanding Climate-Driven Ecological Changes in Canada’s North”, was an assessment of how ecological integrity and traditional land use may be affected by climate-driven changes in northern national parks ($4.5 million).

The full version of the evaluation report is available at Evaluations: Environment and Climate Change Canada. For more information on Parks Canada’s response, contact oiae.bvie@pc.gc.ca.

Purpose and Scope of Evaluation

This was an evaluation of the relevance and performance of the overall Clean Air Agenda Adaptation Theme, as opposed to an evaluation of individual program elements. While data was collected and analyzed for all 10 program elements, the degree of detail provided at the individual program level is limited.

The evaluation covers the period from 2011-12 to 2014-15. For more details on the questions, expectations, methods and limitations of the evaluation, consult the full report.

Findings

Relevance

  • Evaluation findings indicate that there is a continued need for initiatives to help Canadians adapt to climate change and the risks and opportunities it creates. The Adaptation Theme was aligned with federal roles, responsibilities and priorities.

Effectiveness

  • Program elements supported targeted communities and sectors to assess risks and opportunities arising from climate change through the development of models, projections and scenarios. Parks Canada contributed to this outcome by conducting ecotype mapping in five Northern national parks in support of its Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment project.
  • Evidence reveals numerous specific examples of adaptation measures from a majority of the Theme’s relevant program elements. Parks Canada identified new monitoring measures for all northern national parks. These new measures were incorporated into each park's long-term operational plan for ecological integrity condition monitoring and data acquired are intended to support future climate adaptation planning.
  • Program elements are generally viewed to have contributed to awareness of relevant adaptation measures among targeted communities and sectors. As part of its contribution, Parks Canada conducted workshops in eight northern communities for four northern national parks. However, the evaluation found more could be done by federal partners to encourage the participation of existing and potential stakeholders, to increase overall program effectiveness.
  • Some progress had been made towards increasing the capacity of individuals, communities and sectors to adapt to climate change through participation in projects, knowledge sharing and enhancing research capacity. For example, some baseline data is now available through Parks Canada’s contribution to identify regional changes due to climate change.
  • A majority of program key informants reported that governance at the program element level is clear and effective. Regardless, there was a strong desire for more collaboration and information sharing among program elements and among federal and non-federal program partners.

Efficiency and Economy

  • Findings suggest that program resources are being used efficiently and economically. Overall funding for Adaptation Theme activities includes both new and existing funding. Coordinated horizontal financial reporting occurs for the Adaptation Theme; however, the report only provides details for new funding. Some federal partners were unable to provide budget, expenditure figures for their existing funding or details to sufficiently account for variances between new or existing funding and actual expenditures. As a result, it was not possible to present a comprehensive picture of the total budget and expenditures for Adaptation Theme activities over the period from 2011-12 to 2014-15.

Recommendations and Management Response

Recommendations are directed to senior management of each of the nine federal organizations that were involved in delivering the Adaptation Theme programming. Each federal partner will address the recommendations in the manner that best meets the needs of their relevant program. Parks Canada is not a part of the next phase of the Adaptation theme. However, the Agency will take these recommendations into consideration in future adaptation activities.

Parks Canada has committed to identify, assess, prioritise and address climate change risks across the Agency’s areas of responsibility, in response to recommendations in the Commissioner of Environment and Sustainable Development’s 2017 Fall Report, Report 2 – Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change. Building on its existing programs and policies, Parks Canada will complete a comprehensive assessment of climate change risks and mitigation measures by Fall 2019. Parks Canada will continue to incorporate best practices and lessons learned from its participation in the Clean Air Agenda Adaptation Theme into the next suite of adaptation activities, including Parks Canada’s Climate Change Risk Assessment, Adaptation Framework, and Adaptation Workshops.

Within this context, Parks Canada’s response to each recommendation is as outlined below.

Recommendation 1:

Review current adaptation program delivery to identify opportunities to expand engagement among new and existing stakeholder groups and increase awareness of information, products or activities.

Management Response:

Agree. As part of the project, Parks Canada shared the results of its work under the Clean Air Adaptation Adaptation Theme with the Indigenous communities involved in the project. Currently, the Agency is also exploring different mechanisms to communicate these results, and also sharing the report with new and existing stakeholder groups at key meetings and conferences. Parks Canada is also identifying opportunities to increase awareness of its work through a variety of initiatives, including making the results available to interested members of the public through the website. Target: September 2018.

Recommendation 2:

Review mechanisms for collaboration and information sharing between the Adaptation program elements, as well as with other federal and non-federal program partners, in order to leverage best practices and resources and avoid duplication of effort.

Management Response:

Agree. Mechanisms for collaboration and information sharing were reviewed and implemented at the conclusion of the program. Parks Canada has established a Memorandum of Understanding with targeted federal departments, which facilitate collaboration on climate change adaptation. The agency also plays an active role with several other national collaboration and information-sharing committees and fora. Target: complete.

Recommendation 3:

Review the current performance measurement framework and data to improve tracking and reporting on progress towards Adaptation-theme level intended results.

Management Response:

Not applicable. Parks Canada is not a part of the next phase of the Adaptation theme. However, as part of its ongoing process to develop Performance Information Profiles in support of the Agency’s new Departmental Results Framework, Parks Canada will review its current performance measurement framework and data to identify and (if required) implement improvements to better track and report on progress related to intended results for climate change adaptation. Target: April 1, 2018.

Recommendation 4:

In collaboration with the departments’ respective Chief Financial Officers, review current processes for opportunities to improve program tracking and reporting of financial information for Adaptation program elements.

Management Response:

Not applicable. Parks Canada is not a part of the next phase of the Adaptation theme, and this recommendation applies only to current Adaptation program elements.