Evaluation of the Internal Trade Secretariat Corporation
The Agreement on Internal Trade (the Agreement or the AIT) is an intergovernmental trade agreement signed by Canadian First Ministers in 1995. Its purpose is to reduce and eliminate, to the extent possible, barriers to the free movement of persons, goods, services and investments within Canada and to establish an open, efficient and stable domestic market.
To implement the Agreement, a Ministerial Committee on Internal Trade (CIT) was formed. This body is supported in its duties by the Internal Trade Secretariat Corporation (ITSC).
The ITSC undertakes five primary activities:
- Provides administrative and operational support to the CIT, the working groups, and the panel hearings established under the Agreement
- Facilitates ongoing negotiations to broaden and deepen the scope of the Agreement
- Maintains close and continuous contact with federal-provincial-territorial governments to facilitate the effective operation of the CIT and sub-committees
- Pursues the negotiations mandated by the Agreement; and
- Assists in completing the outstanding obligations in the Agreement.
This report presents the results of an evaluation of the ITSC. The evaluation covered the period from 2005–06 to 2010–11 and examined the continued need for the function, consistency with Government priorities, effectiveness, cost-efficiency and governance.
The evaluation has been calibrated to take into consideration the low materiality of the federal grant (under $300,000 planned for 2010–2011) and the administrative nature of the services provided by ITSC. As a result, the lines of evidence are limited to a review of documents; interviews with ten federal stakeholders; and a comparison with other intergovernmental Secretariats.
Evidence shows that there is a continued need for the ITSC in supporting parties involved in the implementation of the AIT. Further, the ITSC supports the federal government's priorities and Industry Canada's strategic outcomes.
Overall, the ITSC has been effective at providing support to federal stakeholders in facilitating progress towards implementation of the AIT. Specifically, the ITSC has played a key role by providing operational, administrative, information, communication, and dispute resolution services. ITSC services have been delivered in a cost-effective manner, and the governance structure appears to be satisfactory.
The Secretariat does not systematically review its performance in relation to intended outcomes. As such, the performance measurement of the ITSC could be improved.
The findings regarding performance measurement led to the one recommendation of the report:
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