Final Evaluation of Industry Canada's Involvement in the International Telecommunication Union — Executive Summary
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), created in 1865, is the United Nations Specialized Agency for telecommunications. The ITU is an inter-governmental organization, based in Geneva, Switzerland, with 191 Member States party to its treaty instruments. As the global focal point for governments and the private sector, ITU's role in helping the world communicate spans three core sectors: radio communication, standardization and development. The key functions of the organization are its treaty-binding regulations and the facilitation of world-wide standardization of telecommunications.
As a state party to the Constitution and Convention of the ITU, and its complementary Administrative Regulations (i.e. the Radio Regulations and the International Telecommunication Regulations), Canada has been a member in its own right since 1932, following an act of Parliament to join the organization. Membership in the ITU conforms to Section 6 (e) of the Department of Industry Act whereby the Minister shall "take any action that may be necessary to secure, by international regulation or otherwise, the rights of Canada in communications matters." Canada's membership in the ITU and Industry Canada's leading role contribute to the Department's strategic outcome of a fair, efficient and competitive market place. and is listed in the Main Estimates as part of Industry Canada's Program Activity Architecture, under the Program Activity concerning the development of regulations, policies, procedures and standards governing Canada's spectrum and telecommunications industries and the digital economy, which is entitled "Spectrum, Information Technologies and Telecommunications Sector — Marketplace".
Industry Canada's ITU activities are carried out mainly by two sectors:
- the Strategic Policy Sector and
- the Spectrum, Information Technologies and Telecommunications Sector (SITT).
The two branches under SITT are directly involved in the ITU technical and regulatory issues. The Telecommunications Policy Branch of the Strategic Policy Sector is responsible for coordination of Canadian participation in ITU activities, as well as a broad range of organizational and governance issues related to the strategic policy direction and management of the Union.
An Evaluability Assessment1 (EA) was conducted in 2007–2008 to determine whether Industry Canada's involvement in the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) was ready for an evaluation, what might be the barriers to undertaking an evaluation and how best to implement an evaluation. The EA concluded that Industry Canada's involvement in the ITU was ready to be evaluated and that Industry Canada managers believed there was value in doing so. The EA also identified evaluation issues and potential evaluation methodologies. In the EA the following issues and questions were identified:
|Evaluation Issue||Evaluation Questions|
The Evaluability Assessment2 identified that Industry Canada's involvement in the ITU is a low risk activity. As such, the Evaluability Assessment suggested that a moderate evaluation effort would be appropriate. Accordingly, the following evaluation methodologies were employed in this evaluation:
- Document Review
- Review of Post-Conference Reports
- Program Manager Interviews
- Survey of Stakeholders
- Follow Up Interviews
- Interviews of Other Government Departments
- Interviews of ITU Officials and Representatives of other ITU Member Countries
- Succession Planning Analysis
These methodologies rely heavily on the subjective opinions of stakeholders, representatives of other government departments and retired ITU officials and representatives of other ITU member countries. However, it was expected that these groups would be unbiased in their opinions and would be quite willing to identify any shortcomings in Industry Canada's performance in relation to the ITU.top of page
The following conclusions were reached in relation to each issue as a result of the evidence collected through the evaluation:
- Industry Canada's involvement in the ITU is consistent with its mandate and Government directions.
- The mandate is derived from the Department of Industry Act and the Radio Communication Act. The ITU activity is also an identified element of Industry Canada's Program Activity Architecture and contributes to all three of its Strategic Outcomes. Finally, the activity is consistent with the directions set out by the Government in the 2008 Speech from the Throne.
- There is a continued need for Industry Canada's involvement in the ITU.
- Most stakeholders reported that there would be moderate to large impacts on their organization; Canadian telecommunication carriers, suppliers and manufacturers; and, Canadian users of spectrum and satellite, if Industry Canada no longer developed and submitted Canadian positions to the ITU. The implications are that it would be much more difficult, or impossible, for Canada to protect and access spectrum, satellite orbits and frequency assignments and to influence ITU regulations and standards.
- Industry Canada has been largely successful in achieving most of its intended outcomes in relation to its ITU activities.
- The evidence collected revealed that Industry Canada has been largely successful in contributing to most of the different levels of intended outcomes as depicted in the logic model for the activity (see section 1.3) While no direct evidence was collected that the activities contribute to the Industry Canada Strategic Outcomes, the logic described in section 1.3 would lead the evaluation team to conclude that the ITU activities are contributing to the Strategic Outcomes as well.
- Canada, as represented by Industry Canada, is a recognized leader at the ITU.
- Stakeholders, including ITU participants who have viewed Canada's performance at ITU forums, believe that Canada is a strong leader at the ITU. Stakeholders believe this is based on the merit of Canada's proposals and its high quality and well-known representatives. Evidence of Canada's leadership is portayed in the success Industry Canada achieves at the ITU and the high number of ITU leadership positions Canada has been successful in obtaining.
- Industry Canada's involvement in the ITU provides good value to Canada.
- When informed of the full cost of Industry Canada's participation in the ITU, almost all stakeholders suggested that this participation provides very good to excellent, value to their organization; the Canadian telecommunication carriers, suppliers and manufacturers; and Canadian users of spectrum and satellite.
- There is an opportunity for Industry Canada to improve its succession planning in relation to its ITU activities.
- In the conduct of the Evaluability Assessment, stakeholders suggested that succession planning may be an issue in relation to ITU activities. The analysis revealed that there are some demographics that suggest that succession planning will become an issue. However, a formal gap analysis has not been undertaken to determine the potential severity of this issue. While commitments have been made to develop and implement a formal SITT succession plan, this has not yet commenced. On the other hand, the evaluation found evidence that succession planning type activities, such as sending junior engineers to ITU conferences, occur.
There are two key findings from the evaluation that are not directly related to the evaluation issues:
- The most commonly cited Industry Canada-ITU weakness by stakeholders was that Canada does not send enough representatives to the ITU forums; and,
- Sending an insufficient number of representatives to ITU forums was the most commonly cited Industry Canada ITU weakness by stakeholders. However, this weakness was only cited by 25% of stakeholders. In addition, the evidence collected suggests that this may be simply a perception. Furthermore, the evaluation evidence suggests that Industry Canada has been successful in its ITU activities, suggesting that there is not a strong requirement for additional resources to be sent to ITU meetings
- Post-Conference reports do not provide a good indication of the level of Industry Canada's success at the ITU.
- The review of post-conference reports revealed a lack of consistency in format and content. While recent reporting has improved, there is still an opportunity to improve the reporting to demonstrate Industry Canada's performance at the ITU.
The following are the two evaluation recommendations relating to Industry Canada's involvement in the ITU:
- Develop an improved methodology for measuring and reporting the success of Industry Canada activities at the ITU.
- Follow through on the SITT HR Plan commitment to develop and implement a succession plan for SITT.
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