Archived — Evaluation of the Internal Trade Secretariat Corporation

Final Report
March 2011

Tabled and approved at the Departmental Evaluation Committee on March 31, 2011

Table of Contents

Annexes (Separate document)

(Note: Annexes are available via an Access to Information)

  • Annex A: List of Documents Reviewed
  • Annex B: List of Interviewees
  • Annex C: Interview Guides
  • Annex D: Profile of intergovernmental Secretriats

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Executive Summary

Background

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.

Evaluation Approach

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.

Findings

Relevance

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.

Performance

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.

Performance Measurement

The Secretariat does not systematically review its performance in relation to intended outcomes. As such, the performance measurement of the ITSC could be improved.

Recommendation

The findings regarding performance measurement led to the one recommendation of the report:

Recommendation 1: Program management should seek the cooperation of other provincial and territorial partners on the ITSC Board of Directors in order to collectively encourage the ITSC to annually assess and report on its performance in relation to previously set targets.


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1. Introduction

This report presents the results of the second evaluation of the ITSC. The first was a formative evaluation completed in December 2003.

The purpose of the current evaluation is to assess the relevance and performance (effectiveness, efficiency and economy) of the ITSC. Particularly, the focus of the evaluation is on administrative efficiencies and effectiveness of the federal component of the services provided by the Secretariat.

The report is organized into four sections:  Section 1 provides the general background and objectives for the study along with a brief profile of the ITSC; Section 2 presents the methodology followed in conducting the evaluation work; Section 3 presents the findings; and Section 4 provides conclusions and a recommendation.

1.1 Background

The Agreement on Internal Trade (the Agreement or the AIT) is an intergovernmental trade agreement signed by Canadian First Ministers in 1995.1 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. The parties to the Agreement recognize and agree that enhancing trade and mobility within Canada would contribute to this goal.

Specifically, the signatories agreed to the following resolutions:

  • Promotion of an open, efficient, and stable domestic market for long-term job creation, economic growth, and stability
  • Promotion of equal economic opportunity for Canadians
  • Enhancement of the competitiveness of Canadian business
  • Promotion of sustainable and environmentally sound development
  • Consultation on matters related to internal trade
  • Recognition of the diverse, social, cultural, and economic characteristics of the provinces; and
  • Respect for the legislative authorities of Parliament and the provincial legislatures under the Constitution of Canada.2

To implement the Agreement, the CIT was formed. This Committee is comprised of Ministers of Internal Trade from every jurisdiction in Canada, except Nunavut. This body was supported in its duties by the Internal Trade Secretariat (ITS), which incorporated in 2006, and became the ITSC. Parties to the Agreement are members of the Corporation.


1 At present, Nunavut is not a signatory on the AIT but retains observer status. (Return to reference 1)

2 Agreement on Internal Trade (1995) (Return to reference 2)


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1. Introduction (Continued)

1.2 The Internal Trade Secretariat Corporation

The Secretariat is a neutral and independent intergovernmental body charged with the responsibility of providing administrative and operational support to the Ministerial Committee on Internal Trade, its Chair and other committees or working groups under the Agreement.3 The ITSC also administers the dispute resolution process under the AIT.4

Objectives

The primary objectives of the ITSC are as follows:

  • Provide administrative and operational support to the CIT, the working groups, and the panel hearings established under the Agreement
  • Facilitate ongoing negotiations to broaden and deepen the scope of the Agreement
  • Maintain close and continuous contact with federal-provincial-territorial governments to facilitate the effective operation of the CIT and sub-committees
  • Pursue the negotiations mandated by the Agreement; and
  • Assist in completing the outstanding obligations in the Agreement.

Stakeholders

The ITSC primarily serves stakeholders internal to governments (Parties to the AIT). However, given its knowledge of internal trade issues, staff also serve external stakeholders through personal contact and information provided on websites.

The Secretariat's stakeholders include:

  • The Ministerial Committee on Internal Trade
  • Internal Trade Representatives
  • Working groups and/or sectoral committees
  • Dispute resolution panels and those in dispute; and
  • External stakeholders, including business firms & associations, labour groups, consumers groups, other public interest groups, academic or research institutions, and the general public.

Federal stakeholders of the ITSC include the Minister of Industry, as a member of the CIT and of the Corporation, as well the federal Internal Trade Representative (an Industry Canada employee), and a small number of other federal stakeholders (for example, those involved in the dispute resolution process).

Resources

All parties share the operating costs of the Secretariat. The federal government provides 50% of the funding to the ITSC's annual budget, with the provincial and territorial signatories providing the remaining 50% based on their relative shares of the Canadian population.5 IC is authorized to provide up to $550,000 per year to the Secretariat although the planned amount for 2010–2011 is under $300,000.

The Secretariat is comprised of 3 FTEs. It is overseen by an Executive Director, who reports to the Board of Directors and its Chair. The Executive Director is supported by two officers.6

Activities, Outputs and Outcomes

The key activities of the ITSC are as follows:

  • Operational Services—To provide efficient and effective operational support to the Committee on Internal Trade, the Board of Directors, committees and working groups for the ongoing implementation of the Agreement.
  • Administrative Services—To provide sound management of both human and financial resources.
  • Dispute Resolution—To administer the dispute resolution mechanism of the Agreement to ensure it operates in a fair, transparent, effective and efficient manner.
  • Information Services—To include accurate and timely information to the Parties, and in some cases the general public, through posting on the AIT website. Information services also include the maintenance of MARCAN and REGISTREX, which are aimed at external stakeholders.
  • Communications Services—To inform both internal and external stakeholders of the objectives and achievements of the Agreement, as well as increase general public understanding.

3 Article 1603 (4) of the AIT (1995) (Return to reference 3)

4 ibid (Return to reference 4)

5 Draft Terms of Reference (2010) (Return to reference 5)

6 The Chair is a Board member from a province / territory or the federal government and changes from year to year. (Return to reference 6)


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1. Introduction (Continued)

1.2 The Internal Trade Secretariat Corporation (Continued)

Figure 1 presents the ITSC logic model and demonstrates how the activities, outputs, and outcomes of the ITSC align.7

Figure 1: ITSC Logic Model
Figure 1: ITSC Logic Model[Description of Figure 1]

7 Performance Measurement Strategy and Evaluation Plan For the Internal Trade Secretariat Corporation (March 25, 2010) (Return to reference 7)


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2. Methodology

The purpose of the evaluation was to assess the relevance and performance of the program as required by the Treasury Board Policy on Evaluation. The focus was on the administrative efficiencies and effectiveness of the federal component of the services provided by the Secretariat.

2.1 Evaluation Issues

The evaluation covered the period from 2005–06 to 2010–11. It addressed the following evaluation issues:

Relevance:

  1. Is there a continued need for a Secretariat to support implementation of the Agreement on Internal Trade?
  2. Is the function of the ITSC consistent with federal government priorities and responsibilities, particularly within Industry Canada?

Performance—Effectiveness, Efficiency and Economy:

  1. Has the ITSC provided effective support services to federal stakeholders in facilitating progress towards implementation of the AIT?
  2. Have the ITSC services been delivered in a cost-efficient manner?
  3. Is the ITSC's governance structure satisfactory?

2.2 Evaluation Methodology

The evaluation has been calibrated to take into consideration the low materiality of the federal grant 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 ITSC staff and federal stakeholders; and a comparison with other intergovernmental Secretariats.

2.2.1 Document review

The document review includes program documents such as Operating Plan and Budget documents, meeting Records of Decisions, and the Agreement on Internal Trade Annual Reports. In addition, findings from the previous evaluation report (2003) were useful to help avoid duplication. The document list is attached as Annex A.

In addition, a review was undertaken of other federal government Secretariats, and in particular, the Canadian Intergovernmental Conference Secretariat (CICS), the Council of the Federation (CF), and the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME).

2.2.2 Interviews

A total of ten interviews were completed with representation as shown in Table 1.

Table 1: Representation in Key Informant Interviews
Group Number of interviews
Industry Canada 4
ITSC Staff 3
Other federal government departments 3
Total 10

A list of interviewees is provided in Annex B and the interview guides in Annex C.

2.3 Methodology Limitations

Some limitations existed with respect to the methodologies employed. First, the evaluation team interviewed 10 federal representatives and did not interview other provincial members that ITSC is responsible for providing services. Therefore, findings and recommendations are limited to federal views. Second, some questions do not contain evidence from multiple sources. As such, the cross-checking of data from one source with that from another source was not feasible in all cases.

Nonetheless, the evaluation team conducted in-depth interviews, reviewed documents, and compared the ITSC with other similar intergovernmental organizations. These methods and the associated limitations were deemed appropriate for an evaluation of a program of the scale of the ITSC in which IC currently contributes less than $300,000 per year.


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3. Findings

This section of the report outlines the findings of the evaluation, organized by the two major themes of relevance and performance. It also presents some findings with respect to performance measurement.

3.1 Relevance

Issue 1—Is there a continued need for a Secretariat to support implementation of the Agreement on Internal Trade?

Summary of findings: There is a continued need for the ITSC to support the parties that implement the AIT.

The private sector and organizations at both the national and international levels have openly pressed for the removal of internal trade barriers. Internal trade barriers have an economic and social cost for Canadians. They weaken Canada's economic efficiency by raising costs and limiting choices for consumers, exacerbating labour shortages, preventing firms from growing large enough to compete with their foreign competitors, and causing investors to establish their business elsewhere. They discourage foreign investment in Canada as a result of perceptions abroad of a fragmented and distorted internal market. Finally, the difficulties facing workers in having their occupational qualifications recognized across Canada hinder the development of an efficient labour market.

The ITSC, by facilitating the implementation of the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT), contributes to the removal of these internal barriers. There is no other federal department or agency coordinating internal trade issues at a strategic level.

Article 1603 of the AIT requires that the CIT establish a Secretariat. Furthermore, Section 11 of the Agreement on Internal Trade Implementation Act commits the federal government to following the AIT. Therefore, the federal government is bound by a federal-provincial agreement and its own legislation to maintaining a Secretariat.

IC representatives and other federal partners interviewed suggested that there is a continued need for the ITSC for the following reasons:

  • there is a need for a body to facilitate the implementation of the AIT by providing administrative support
  • it would be difficult to achieve the same level delivery of services without the support of the ITSC
  • an independent body is impartial and avoids the perceptions of  bias or conflict of interest
  • an independent body helps facilitate the dispute resolution process; and,
  • a permanent body such as the ITSC provides consistency in an approach to internal trade issues in Canada.

Issue 2—Is the function of ITSC consistent with federal government priorities and responsibilities, particularly within Industry Canada?

Summary of findings: The function of the ITSC is aligned with federal government priorities and responsibilities and is consistent with Industry Canada's strategic outcomes.

Evidence from the document review and interviews indicates that the function of the ITSC is aligned with federal government priorities and is consistent with Industry Canada's strategic outcomes.

Federal priorities related to internal trade were highlighted in the 2008 Speech from the Throne. Specifically, the Speech indicated that the Government had committed to work with the provinces "to remove barriers to internal trade, investment and labour mobility by 2010". The mandate of the ITSC is to serve and support the CIT in the implementation and operation of the AIT. Therefore, the ITSC, in supporting the CIT to achieve the objectives of the AIT, is facilitating internal trade priorities outlined in the 2008 Speech.

At a First Ministers' Meeting in 2009, the Prime Minister, premiers, and territorial leaders agreed on a work plan to harmonize business regulations and standards. This indicates that reducing internal trade barriers, which the ITSC facilitates, continues to be a Government priority.

The Department of Industry Act established the Department to foster a growing, competitive and knowledge-based Canadian economy. In particular, the Act specifies that one of the objectives of the department is that, "The Minister shall exercise the powers and perform the duties and functions (…) in a manner that will promote the mobility of goods, services and factors of production and of trade and commerce in Canada".8 The ITSC's function is consistent with Industry Canada's mandate as defined in this Act.

In Industry Canada's 2010–11 Program Activity Architecture (PAA),9 the ITSC is a sub-activity under the Marketplace frameworks and regulations Activity Program area and supports IC's strategic outcome: The Canadian Marketplace is efficient and competitive. The Industry Canada Report on Plans and Priorities, 2010–2011 indicates that the department strives to achieve an efficient and competitive marketplace by developing and implementing policies fundamental to the functioning of a market. These include laws and regulations governing internal trade. Therefore, it can be concluded that the ITSC function is consistent with Industry Canada's strategic objectives.


8 Department of Industry Act, Art. 5(b), January 16, 2011. (Return to reference 8)

9 Industry Canada. Report on Plans and Priorities, 2010–2011 (Return to reference 9)


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3. Findings (Continued)

3.2 Performance (Effectiveness, Efficiency, and Economy)

Issue 3—Has the ITSC provided effective support services to federal stakeholders in facilitating progress towards implementation of the AIT?

Summary of findings: Overall, the ITSC has been effective in providing services to federal stakeholders in its five service areas. Some stakeholders thought that the communications services could be strengthened.
Operational & Administrative Services

The ITSC provides administrative and operational support to those responsible for implementing the AIT. A review of the Operating Plan and Budget documents provides examples of the ITSC support to parties. These include the organization of annual meetings of the CIT and annual general meetings of the ITSC, including preparation of agendas, logistics, documentation, summary records; follow-up actions; as well as several face-to-face meetings of the Internal Trade Representatives (ITRs) and other committees or groups. In addition, the ITSC has organized between 30 and 60 conference calls each year for the ITRs and AIT Committees, and participated in 20 to 30 conference calls on labour mobility.

The IC and federal partner interviewees identified some challenges facing the ITSC, given the need to service thirteen parties in different time zones. Despite this, all of them consider the ITSC to be effective in providing administrative and operational support to the Committee on Internal Trade (CIT), the ITR (Internal Trade Representatives), the BoD (Board of Directors), and the various committees. The interviewees indicated that the ITSC has provided objective and professional services. Interviewees particularly highlighted the high level of the ITSC's staff knowledge and support and availability to parties.

The interviewees noted that the services offered by the ITSC are generally timely. However, they recognized that sometimes there are delays which are beyond the control of the ITSC. (e.g., delays in sign-offs of documents). As a result of these external delays, sometimes the ITSC is not able to meet its established quality standards (e.g., Records of Decisions circulated within 2-3 business days). The interviewees suggested that the ITSC might have some unrealistic targets and may wish to re-examine their service standards.

Dispute Resolution Services

An integral part of the Agreement is a dispute resolution process whereby parties undertake to resolve disputes in a conciliatory, cooperative and harmonious manner. The ITSC is responsible for administering this mechanism. Through this process, the ITSC provides administrative support for Proceedings (e.g. making arrangements for oral hearings and meetings of the Presiding Body); maintains the record of each Proceeding; forwards copies of any request for a Panel pursuant to all the other Parties and Participants; enters into the record all reports, decisions, orders and directions made by the Presiding Body; and forwards to Participants in a Proceeding copies of all such reports, decisions, orders and directions or other written communications of the Presiding Body.10

IC and federal partners interviewed suggested that the ITSC plays an important role in dispute resolution by providing clarity and objectivity. They all believe that the ITSC has been effective in managing the dispute resolution mechanism. The following is an illustrative comment:

"The dispute resolution aspects of service delivery are excellent. People are very good at redirecting efforts and smoothing out the processes."

Information & Communication Services

One of the roles of the ITSC is to inform both internal and external stakeholders of the objectives and achievements of the Agreement, as well as increase general public understanding. The document review showed that the ITSC responded to over 400 inquiries from AIT parties and the general public in 2009–2010. Further, the ITSC prepared, revised, published, updated or assisted in drafting protocols of amendment, AIT Chapters, press releases, AIT Annual Reports, etc.

Based on the interviews of IC staff and federal partners, the ITSC has been effective at keeping the stakeholders informed about the current state of affairs, helping parties to administer the implementation of the AIT, keeping them on track, disseminating the internal trade information quickly, and ensuring an effective liaison function.

Some interviewees indicated that the ITSC did a good job at providing communication services and that these services were timely. Others suggested that it was not its strongest service. These interviewees believe the communication aspects and the outreach to external stakeholders could be improved and could be more professional. However, the interviewees noted that some stakeholders do not want the ITSC to play a communication role, so expanding this role may not be appropriate.

Interviewees also identified particular information and communication tools that the ITSC has managed and which have supported stakeholders in their role. First, REGISTREX11 has been developed by federal and provincial/territorial governments under the AIT to make it easier for corporations to do business anywhere in Canada by providing a single window for registration and reporting. Second, MARCAN12 was developed by federal and provincial/territorial governments under the AIT to provide links to websites that may publish tender notices for procurement opportunities within the Canadian public sector. It also provides information on rules, general complaint procedures, procurement contact as well as statistics on government procurement. Third, the ITSC has hosted and managed the Labour Mobility Coordinating Group website.13 Finally, the interviewees recognized the usefulness of the AIT website,14 managed by the ITSC, which contains public documentation such as the AIT and the protocols of amendment, dispute resolution, panel reports as well as the members' portal where they can easily find documents such as Records of Decisions. However, a few interviewees noted that the AIT website could be more user friendly and extended to all working groups.

Issue 4—Have the ITSC services been delivered in a cost-efficient manner?

Summary of findings: The ITSC has been diligent in managing costs and has been successful in significantly reducing overall expenditures and the resultant contributions required by the federal and provincial/territorial governments.

Evidence from a review of ITSC budgets and interviews with stakeholders revealed that the ITSC has been successful in managing its activities in a cost-efficient manner.

The ITSC has demonstrated consistent efforts to manage and reduce costs. The ITSC has reviewed all suppliers to use them more efficiently, has converted to an in-house payroll system, does its own annual reports and summaries, and now prints the binders internally instead of having them printed externally.

Interviewees reported that ITSC is cost-efficient and streamlined. The review of ITSC budgets15 provided evidence of overall cost savings. Specifically, the ITSC has been able to reduce its expenditures over the past few years from approximately $740,000 in 2005–2006 to approximately $525,000 in 2010–2011, requiring declining contributions from the federal and provincial/territorial governments.

Issue 5—Is the ITSC's governance structure satisfactory?

Summary of findings: The current ITSC governance structure appears to be satisfactory from the federal perspective and is similar to other secretariats that provide similar services to federal, provincial and territorial governments.

To help assess the governance structure question, the evaluation relied on interviews, a review of documents as well as a comparison undertaken with others intergovernmental secretariats.

ITSC Governance Structure

The ITSC current governance structure is formed around the CIT, a committee of ministers comprising representatives from all provinces and territories16 and the Minister of Industry. The CIT meets annually, and as necessary, to review progress under the AIT and its chairmanship is rotated each year on the basis of a roster of Parties. Decisions are taken by consensus.

Internal Trade Representatives (ITRs) are senior trade officials appointed by each Party to the AIT and meet regularly as a committee or in working groups to direct the work of implementing the AIT. ITRs are also appointed by each Party to the AIT to serve as a BoD and to provide general guidance to the Executive Director in the administration and operation of the ITSC. The BoD manage the property and business of the Corporation and have power to authorize expenditures on behalf of the Corporation and to delegate to officers of the Corporation the right to employ and pay salaries to employees.

The AIT established a Secretariat to act as a neutral and independent coordinating support body to committees and working groups under the AIT. The Secretariat is headed by an Executive Director who reports to a Chair and BoD.

All IC staff and federal partners interviewed are satisfied with the current governance structure and suggested that no changes are required. ITSC staff, on the other hand, made two key comments. First, they suggested that a conflict of interest may exist for ITRs with their dual roles as board members and clients of the ITSC. Second, they suggested that the BoD members are relatively inexperienced in the functions which a corporate board plays and this presents an opportunity for improvement.

Comparative Review

For this review, the ITSC was compared with similar organizations that also deal with intergovernmental affairs and manage information, complex processes and working groups, and negotiations with stakeholders. These organizations are as follows: the Canadian Intergovernmental Conference Secretariat (CICS); the Council of the Federation (CF); and the Canadian Council of the Ministers of the Environment (CCME). (See Annex D for details.)

Excluding the CF, the other organizations have substantially the same mandate of supporting senior executives and committees or working groups in fulfilling their mandate. They also provide similar administrative services (e.g. meetings planning) to these groups. The CF has a different mandate and acts as a forum of discussion for promoting interprovincial-territorial cooperation.

The comparison revealed that each organization plays a role in intergovernmental relations, has a permanent status and acts as a neutral body. These features facilitate the preservation of corporate memory and allow for independent management. The CICS differs in its reporting relationship as it reports directly to governments because of its Agency status.

The governance structures of the ITSC, CF and CCME are similar; represented by a Committee of Ministers, generally composed of provincial/territorial and federal Ministers (except for the CF) that set the strategic directions. Their Board of Directors (or Steering Committee) have corporate functions and supervise the Secretariat. However, while the BoD of the CCME and CF consists of Deputy Ministers, the ITSC one does not but rather is composed of senior trade officials. The CICS has no BoD.

The comparative review revealed that the governance structure of the ITSC is similar to those of other secretariats that support federal-provincial/territorial governments in achieving common objectives. While two of the other secretariats in the comparison have a DM-level Board of Directors, IC staff and other federal partners suggested that the current governance structure for the ITSC is appropriate. In addition, the ITSC is the smallest secretariat in the comparison in terms of staff and annual budget.


10 AIT, Chapter Seventeen. (Return to reference 10)

11 http://www.registrex.net/eng/index.htm (Return to reference 11)

12 http://www.marcan.net/ (Return to reference 12)

13 http://www.ait-aci.ca/index_en/labour.htm (Return to reference 13)

14 http://www.ait-aci.ca/index_en.htm (Return to reference 14)

15 Internal Trade Secretariat, Operating Plan and Budget, 2005–2006 to 2010–2011. (Return to reference 15)

16 Nunavut has an observer status. (Return to reference 16)


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3. Findings (Continued)

3.3 Performance Measurement

Summary of findings: While the ITSC sets annual performance targets, it does not systematically review and report on its performance in relation to these targets.

During the course of the evaluation, the team reviewed a number of documents related to performance measurement. Performance measurement is a key element of program management in managing for results, assisting in funding allocation decisions, and providing program accountability. It is also specifically required to support program evaluation, as outlined in the Directive on the Evaluation Function.

The ITSC currently produces two performance reporting documents: an Operating Plan and Budget, and an Annual Report. These documents cover both the success of implementing the AIT as well as the ITSC's role in facilitating this. The documents highlight some of the planned and completed activities of the ITSC and set out some performance targets for the ITSC. However, the reports do not examine whether performance goals set in the previous year for the ITSC were achieved.

The requirement for improved performance measurement related to the ITSC was identified in the 2003 Formative Evaluation of the ITSC. The following recommendation was made:

"That the ITS staff identify clearly those performance targets that are new each year, modifications that are made to previously set targets, actual performance against each target, and explain why any targets were not met and how the situation could be addressed".

When seeking renewed funding for the ITSC in 2009, Industry Canada committed to developing a Performance Measurement Strategy (PMS) in support of an evaluation of the relevance and effectiveness of the Secretariat in supporting the Government of Canada as a member of the CIT. This strategy was completed in March 2010 but there is no evidence that it has been implemented. As such, the performance data had not yet been collected to support an evaluation.

Recommendation 1: Program management should seek the cooperation of other provincial and territorial partners on the ITSC Board of Directors in order to collectively encourage the ITSC to annually assess and report on its performance in relation to previously set targets.

4. Conclusions and Recommendation

This section provides conclusions and a recommendation on the evaluation issues of relevance and performance for the ITSC, as well as performance measurement.

Relevance

Regarding relevance, the evaluation determined that:

  • there is a continued need for the ITSC to support the parties that implement the AIT; and,
  • the function of the ITSC is aligned with federal government priorities and responsibilities and is consistent with Industry Canada's strategic outcomes.

Performance

Regarding performance, the evaluation determined that:

  • the ITSC has been effective in providing services to federal stakeholders in its five service areas
  • the ITSC has been diligent in managing costs and has been successful in significantly reducing overall expenditures and the resultant contributions required by the federal and provincial and territorial governments; and,
  • the current ITSC governance structure appears to be satisfactory from the federal perspective and is similar to other secretariats that provide similar services to federal, provincial and territorial governments.

Performance Measurement

Regarding performance measurement, the evaluation determined that:

  • the ITSC does not systematically measure its performance in relation to its intended outcomes
  • the ITSC does set out annual performance targets but it does not report on how successful it has been in achieving those targets; and,
  • a Performance Measurement Strategy was developed for the ITSC in 2010 but there is no evidence that it has been implemented.

These finding led to the following recommendation:

Recommendation 1: Program management should seek the cooperation of other provincial and territorial partners on the ITSC Board of Directors in order to collectively encourage the ITSC to annually assess and report on its performance in relation to previously set targets.

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Management Response and Action Plan

Management Response and Action Plan
Recommendation Management Response and
Planned Action
Management Accountability Action Completion Date

Recommendation 1:

Program management should seek the cooperation of other provincial and territorial partners on the ITSC Board of Directors in order to collectively encourage the ITSC to annually assess and report on its performance in relation to previously set targets.

Agreed.

Action Plan

The federal member on the Board of Directors of the Internal Trade Secretariat Corporation (ITSC) will seek approval from his provincial and territorial counterparts to direct the Executive Director of the ITSC to include an assessment of the ITSC's performance relative to targets in the next Operating Plan and Budget. This Board meets several times per year at the call of the chair, currently Prince Edward Island. The federal representative will start to engage his provincial and territorial colleagues at the next meeting of the Board which is expected to take place soon.

Senior Director, Corporate and Insolvency Law Policy and Internal Trade

Upon approval of the Operating Plan and Budget for the fiscal year April 1, 2012 – March 31, 2013. The Board is expected to approve this plan in February 2012.


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Description of Figure 1

Figure 1 is a graphical representation of the ITSC logic model. The logic model demonstrates the program's inputs and how the resulting activities are expected to lead to outputs and outcomes. The financial resource inputs to this model is an annual budget of $525,000 which is 50% federally funded for the fiscal years of 09/10 and 10/11. The human resource inputs to this model are one Executive Director and two officers. The model follows ITSC bylaws which use the embedded governance model. There are five key activities of the program: operational services, administrative services, dispute resolution services, information services and communication services.

The activities within operational services are expected to lead to two key outputs:

  1. meeting logistics and full documentation and,
  2. meeting protocols of amendment and an up-to-date AIT.

These key outputs are in turn expected to reach the Ministerial Committee on Internal Trade (CIT), the Internal Trade Representatives (ITRs), Working Groups, and Dispute Resolution Panels. The reach to these groups is expected to produce the immediate (ITS) outcomes of internal clients receiving effective and efficient support services. This immediate outcome is expected to lead to an intermediate outcome where the full implementation of the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) is facilitated. Finally, this intermediate outcome is expected to lead to the ultimate outcome whereby the Canadian marketplace becomes efficient and competitive.

The activities within administrative services are expected to lead to two key outputs:

  1. operating plans and budgets and,
  2. financial accounts, reports, audits and invoices.

These key outputs are expected to reach to Members of the ITSC Board of Directors, ITSC Management, and the ITSC Executive Director. This reach is expected to lead to the immediate (ITS) outcome whereby sound governance and management structures are in place. This immediate outcome is expected to lead to an intermediate outcome where the full implementation of the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) is facilitated. Finally, this intermediate outcome is expected to lead to the ultimate outcome whereby the Canadian marketplace becomes efficient and competitive.

The activities within dispute resolution services are expected to lead to two key outputs:

  1. meetings, consultations and panels and,
  2. dispute statistics, summaries, panellists and screeners.

These key outputs are expected to reach the Ministerial Committee on Internal Trade (CIT), the Internal Trade Representatives (ITRs), Working Groups, and Dispute Resolution Panels as well as external stakeholders, namely businesses and representatives, labour, consumer and other interest groups, academics and public. This reach is expected to produce immediate (ITS) outcomes whereby administration of the dispute resolution mechanism is fair, transparent, effective and efficient; accurate and timely information management exists and a distribution system is in place for stakeholders; and, information and knowledge of the AIT is increased. These immediate outcomes are expected to lead to an intermediate outcome where the full implementation of the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) is facilitated. Finally, this intermediate outcome is expected to lead to the ultimate outcome whereby the Canadian marketplace becomes efficient and competitive.

The activities within information services are expected to lead to two key outputs:

  1. annual and sectoral reports and other reports as requested, and
  2. websites' content and hits.

The two key outputs of information services reach different actors and produce different outcomes. The first key output, annual and sectoral reports, is expected to reach the Ministerial Committee on Internal Trade (CIT), Internal Trade Representatives (ITRs), Working Groups, and Dispute Resolution Panels. This reach is expected to lead to the immediate (ITS) outcome where both the administration of the dispute resolution mechanism is fair, transparent, effective and efficient; and, accurate and timely information management and the distribution system is in place for stakeholders. The second key output, websites' content and hits, is expected to reach external stakeholders exclusively, namely businesses and representatives, labour, consumer and other interest groups, academics, public. This reach is expected to produce two immediate (ITS) outcomes:

  1. accurate and timely information management and a distribution system in place for stakeholders, and
  2. information and knowledge of the AIT is increased.

The immediate outcomes of both key outputs of informational services mentioned earlier are expected to lead to an intermediate outcome where the full implementation of the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) is facilitated. Finally, this intermediate outcome is expected to lead to the ultimate outcome where the Canadian marketplace becomes efficient and competitive.

The activities within communication services are expected to produce two key outputs:

  1. websites' content and hits, and
  2. communications plan, stakeholder liaison, and responses to enquiries.

Both of these key outputs are expected to reach external stakeholders, namely businesses and representatives, labour, consumer and other interest groups, academics and the public. This reach is expected to produce two immediate (ITS) outcomes:

  1. accurate and timely information management and distribution system is in place for stakeholders and
  2. that information and knowledge of the AIT is increased.

These immediate outcomes are expected to lead to an intermediate outcome where the full implementation of the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) is facilitated. Finally, this intermediate outcome is expected to lead to the ultimate outcome whereby the Canadian marketplace becomes efficient and competitive.

Return to Figure 1

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