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Formative Evaluation of the U.S. Enhanced Representation Initiative

(August 2006)

(PDF Version, 396 KB) *

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

This formative evaluation of the U.S. Enhanced Representation Initiative (ERI) was commissioned by the Executive Coordinator of the ERI Secretariat in fulfillment of the obligations to the Treasury Board of Canada. It was managed by the Evaluation Division of the Office of the Inspector General, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) in collaboration with Evaluation Advisory Committee and carried out by a group of consultants between November 2005 and March 2006.

The primary objective of the ERI is to address the Government of Canada's business development priorities and advocate key Canadian interests, and issues that are considered to be vital to a strong Canada-U.S. relationship. The ERI targets this objective through enhanced representation throughout the U.S., and an expanded U.S. Mission network particularly in the new and emerging centres of the South and Southwest. The ERI initiative brings together the following departments and agencies: Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA); Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC); Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED); Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT); Industry Canada (IC); National Research Council of Canada (NRC); and Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD), which we refer to as the ERI Partners. The evaluation has concluded that the ERI Partners and the U.S. Mission network now have greater capacity for advocacy and business development programming as evidenced in output achievement to date such as advocacy materials and tools, development of regional or State-level strategies, media coverage, promotional events and market research reports, to name a few. In spite of the complexity of the ERI and the challenges which it presented, the implementation and operations management of the Initiative has gone very well. Mission establishments were created and staffed and management systems were put in place.

The secondary objective of the ERI is to accomplish the above through a partnership model that encourages government interaction to deliver programs and messaging in the U.S. in a cohesive and coordinated fashion. The evaluation has also concluded that overall working relations among ERI Partners, with the ERI Secretariat and the Missions are good and reflect significant partnership development.

Further Partnership Development

The Memorandum to Cabinet and the 2003 TB Submission, which created the ERI Initiative, were appropriate and timely responses to the need to strengthen Canada-US relations. A whole-of-government initiative was envisaged, but not all of the key federal departments at that time chose to participate, leaving the ERI partnership incomplete and somewhat tilted toward economic and commercial interests and therefore toward business development.

Recommendation 1:

That the ERI Partnership be expanded to include other federal government departments with an interest and investment in Canada-US relations to better actualise the whole-of-government approach.

Working relations among the current ERI Partners with the ERI Secretariat and the Missions reflect significant partnership development with shared Objectives and values. Nevertheless, the governance framework could be improved by better defining partner roles and responsibilities and clarifying shared accountabilities. Furthermore, in recognition that DFAIT retains ultimate accountability for the overall administration of the ERI and the achievement of results, its role should be explicitly identified in the governance framework. This will be particularly important as key federal departments join the ERI partnership.

Recommendation 2:

That current and future ERI Partners prepare a Governance Framework Agreement that is inclusive of partnership principles, explicitly identifying the lead Department(s), specifies financial management mechanisms, outlines the Partner's respective accountabilities, responsibilities and contributions to the ERI, and documents the role and responsibilities of the ERI Secretariat

Effective Use of Enhanced Representation Capacity

The right-sizing of territories, opening and upgrading of Missions and establishment of a network of Honorary Consuls has built important new Canadian representation capacity in the U.S. regions of strategic importance to Canada's interests. Heads of Mission, Political and Public Affairs officers and Commercial staff can all contribute to expanding advocacy programming. Non-DFAIT staff employed in the Missions facilitate the involvement of ERI Partners and other Canadian stakeholders in business development, and potentially advocacy programming. The challenge now is to ensure these resources are used more strategically.

High level strategic planning retreats and broad stakeholder conferences were held to identify a list of strategic priorities. However, there was little follow-through to ensure coordinated strategic planning for advocacy and business development programming throughout the new representation network. In order to complete the strategic planning process, it would have been necessary to determine the relative "weight" or importance of each strategic priority, allocate proportionate budget and to develop programming parameters and implementation timelines. Instead a responsive program delivery approach was adopted using the strategic priorities as a loose screen for reviewing project proposals. While strategic planning efforts continue separately on both advocacy and business development, neither the ERI Secretariat nor the non-DFAIT ERI Partners are currently involved which is inconsistent with the underlying values of a horizontal initiative.

Missions can obtain funding from a variety of programs for advocacy and business development programming. Unfortunately, each source of funds has its distinct proposal and approval processes, administrative and financial rules, implementation procedures and reporting requirements. This creates an unnecessary administrative burden and reduces the efficiency of Mission programming. The adoption of consistent and integrated approaches to funding and delivery mechanisms for advocacy and business development would improve the absorptive capacity of the Missions to implement a rapidly increasing volume of advocacy and business development programming.

Recommendation 3:

That DFAIT's management approaches to ERI advocacy and business development programming be strategically aligned, harmonised and synchronised to enable ERI Partners and Missions to plan comprehensively in a timely and integrated manner.

Top-Level Management Leadership Required

The evaluation found that the governance committees at the operational level are performing effectively in dealing with management issues in a timely manner. However, there is a lack of leadership from the senior ERI Governance Committees, in terms of policy guidance and performance reporting. Terms of reference for the ADM Policy Committee were not available at the time of the evaluation. The committee has only met once a year as opposed to tri-annually as planned. The ERI Partners, with the exception of DFAIT, are generally represented by their DG Alternates at the few committee meetings that have been held and the Records of Discussion contain few references to policy, strategic or performance related discussions. ERI Partner top-level management have not fulfilled their governance roles for providing policy guidance, ensuring strategic program direction and coordination.

Performance monitoring and reporting has not been a priority for the ERI Partners and Secretariat. The evaluation was provided with one progress/performance report. The draft "Report to Ministers on the First Two Years of Implementation" (June 2005) was presented by the Executive Coordinator to the DG Operations Committee and ADM Policy Committee on November 22, 2005, but has yet to be approved. The evaluation has concluded that the majority of the expected outputs for managing the partnership and for increasing Canadian representation capacity have been achieved as planned. However, there is little evidence readily available of short-term outcome achievement in terms of: raised awareness of Canada-U.S. interdependence or settlement of joint issues, raised awareness in the U.S. of Canadian technological capabilities, investment opportunities in Canada, or of U.S. market opportunities for Canadian firms. The ERI Partners have not fulfilled their governance and implementation roles in ensuring that ERI performance was monitored and reported on annually by the ERI Secretariat.

Recommendation 4:

That the governance of the program, in particular with respect to policy guidance, strategic planning and performance reporting be strengthened.

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Acronyms and Abbreviations

AAFC
- Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
ABD
- Advocacy and Business Development
ACOA
- Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
ADM
- Assistant Deputy Minister
AIF
- Atlantic Innovation Fund
APF
- Agricultural Policy Framework
ATIP
- Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership
BCM
- Communications Media Division, FAC/ITCan
BCS
- Communications Services Division, FAC/ITCan
BSE
- Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy
CBS
- Canada-Based Staff
CCC
- Canadian Commercial Corporation
CCEU
- Cabinet Committee on Economic Union
CED
- Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions
CLIMS
- Corporate Liaison Information Management System
CPM
- Commercial Program Manager
CSF
- Client Services Fund
DAEC
- Audit and Evaluation Committee, FAC/ITCan
DFAIT
- Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
DFA
- Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (Foreign Affairs)
DIT
- Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (International Trade)
DG
- Director General
DM
- Deputy Minister
EAC
- Evaluation Advisory Committee
EAT
- Tariffs and Market Access Division, FAC/ITCan
EDC
- Export Development Canada
ERI
- United States Enhanced Representation Initiative
ERICC
- ERI Communications Committee
FAC
- Foreign Affairs Canada
FDI
- Foreign Direct Investment
FY
- Fiscal Year
G8
- Group of Eight - the seven largest industrialized countries + Russia
GDP
- Gross Domestic Product
GOC
- Government of Canada
HOM
- Head of Mission
HR
- Human Resources
IBD
- International Business Development
IC
- Industry Canada
IRAP
- Industrial Research Assistance Program
ITC
- International Trade Centre
ITCan
- International Trade Canada
LES
- Locally-Engaged Staff
LISO
- Local Information Services Offices
MC
- Memorandum to Cabinet
NAFTA
- North American Free Trade Agreement
NATO
- North Atlantic Treaty Organization
NED
- The United States Enhanced Representation Initiative Secretariat
NGOs
- Non-Government Organizations
NRC
- National Research Council Canada
NUR
- Canada-U.S. Advocacy and Mission Liaison Division, Foreign Affairs
OAS
- Organisation of American States
OECD
- Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
OGDs
- Other Government Departments/Agencies
PERPA
- Political and Economic Relations and Public Affairs
PMTs
- Performance Measurement Tables
PNWER
- Pacific North West Economic Region
R&D
- Research and Development
RBM
- Results-Based Management
RMAF
- Results-Based Management Accountability Framework
ROD
- Record of Discussion and/or Decision
S&T
- Science and Technology
SARS
- Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
SC
- Standing Committee
SMEs
- Small and Medium-sized Enterprises
SPC
- Strategic Planning Conference
SRD
- Property Bureau, FAC/ITCan
STC
- Senior Trade Commissioner
TBS
- Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
TCS
- Trade Commissioner Service
TP
- Technology Partnering
TPI
- Technology Partnering Initiative
TOR
- Terms of Reference
TRIO
- Info management system used by the Trade Commissioner Service
UN
- United Nations
U.S.
- The United States of America
WD
- Western Economic Diversification Canada
ZIE
- Evaluation Division (DFAIT)
ZID
- Office of the Inspector General (DFAIT)

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1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background

This formative evaluation was commissioned by the Executive Coordinator of the United States Enhanced Representation Initiative Secretariat (NED) in fulfillment of the obligations made in the submission to the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS). The evaluation was managed by the Evaluation Division (ZIE) of the Office of the Inspector General (ZID), Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT). The Terms of Reference (TORs) were prepared by the Evaluation Division in consultation with the ERI Secretariat and Partners and the evaluation carried out by a group of consultants in accordance with the approved Work Plan. The reunification of ITCan/FAC, once again under the aegis of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), occurred after the field work and before the issuance of the evaluation report.

1.2 Context and Evaluation Rationale

Because of its size and vitality, the United States (U.S.) economy presents a tremendous opportunity for Canada in the areas of trade, technology and investment. However, the events of September 11, 2001 further emphasized the links between economic prosperity and national security and revealed a certain amount of vulnerability for Canada's prosperity in this time of major U.S. concern over national security. Canada's economic and political interests are therefore at stake in the United States, meaning more must be done to assert Canada's view, resolve problems and avoid new ones.

The existing level of resources of the Government of Canada in the U.S. did not allow an appropriate and effective focus on advocacy and business development in such a large territory. In the 2002 Speech from the Throne, the government alluded to a more sophisticated approach to increasing Canadian representation in the U.S. to improve advocacy of Canadian interests in that country. It is in that context, that the U.S. Enhanced Representation Initiative (ERI) was conceived. In November 2003, the TBS granted the ERI a budget of approximately $60 million over five years, beginning in September of fiscal year (FY) 2003-2004. An equal amount of funds was reallocated from partners' resources making the total budget available for ERI $118.2 million over five years.

Results for Canadians, the management framework for the federal government places the onus on public service managers to define expected results, continually focus attention towards results achievement, measure performance regularly and objectively, and learn and adjust to improve efficiency and effectiveness. They are accountable for the performance of their programs to higher management, to ministers, to Parliament and to the Canadian public. The NED Executive Coordinator commissioned this formative evaluation at the mid-term point of the ERI program to objectively assess progress made toward the achievement of expected results, as well as any issues related to the early implementation and management of the initiative.

1.3 Organisation of Report

This report is divided into six chapters with this introductory chapter being the first. The second chapter presents a brief profile of the ERI Program. Chapter three summarizes the evaluation mandate which was presented in detail in the approved Evaluation Work Plan. The evaluation findings and conclusions related to the evaluation issues according to the Evaluation Framework are presented in chapter four, while the general conclusions covering the evaluation issues related to relevance, results and cost-effectiveness are presented in chapter five. Chapter six contains the evaluation recommendations.

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2.0 ERI Program Profile

2.1 ERI Objectives

The primary objective of the ERI is to address the Government of Canada's (GOC) priorities, such as: stimulating investment in Canada, increasing trade with the U.S., promoting science and technology development and exchanges, reducing trade barriers and generally advocating key Canadian interests, and issues that are considered to be vital to a strong Canada-U.S. relationship (borders, security, agricultural and trade issues, energy and environment). The ERI targets this objective through broader representation throughout the U.S. and particularly in the new and emerging centres of the South and Southwest.

A secondary objective of the ERI is to accomplish the above through a partnership model that encourages government interaction to deliver programs and messaging in the U.S. in a cohesive and coordinated fashion. This horizontal partnership model would be adaptable to other regions.

2.2 Program Delivery

The expanded network of Canadian Missions will have an additional 81 employees, both Canada-based staff and locally engaged staff. In addition, a network of 20 Honorary Consuls will be created to represent and voice Canadian interests in regions where Canada is not represented at all.

2.3 Partnership and Governance

ERI is an example of the Canadian government's whole-of-government approach to dealing with horizontal issues aimed at boosting Canada's visibility and defending its interests. The Washington Advocacy Secretariat, the Cabinet Committee on Canada-U.S. Relations and the assignment of a Parliamentary Secretary for Canada-U.S. Relations, are other initiatives of government towards this new and more sophisticated approach. ERI is a partnership of departments and agencies, including:

  • Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)
  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)
  • Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED)
  • Foreign Affairs Canada (FAC), now Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT)
  • International Trade Canada (ITCan), now Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT)
  • Industry Canada (IC)
  • National Research Council of Canada (NRC)
  • Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD)

The Partnership operates through a committee structure at four levels: the Steering Committee of the Deputy Ministers (DM), the Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) Policy Committee, the Directors General (DG) Operations Committee and the Standing Committees (SC) on Advocacy and Business Development (ABD), Human Resources (HR) and Communications (COM).

The ERI Secretariat facilitates the governance of ERI. Through governance committee meetings and related communications, the Secretariat seeks input from ERI Partners, gives advice to partners, and receives direction from top-level management.

2.4 Resources

The ERI is a horizontal initiative incremental to other programs and resources in place throughout the U.S. The 2003 Treasury Board (TB) Submission sets out the contributions of each of the ERI Partners which is then matched by the fiscal framework as presented in Table 1 below. Transfers are made through the Annual Reference Level Update and presented in the main Estimates for 2004-05 (FAC) (now DFAIT), which administers the funds.

Table 1: ERI Funding by Source ($ x 1,000) *
Source2003/042004/052005/062006/072007/08Total
"FAC/ITCan"1,8005,4005,9505,9507,50026,600
IC6401,5601,9501,9501,5007,600
NRC805206506505002,400
WD3601,0401,3001,3001,0005,000
CEDQR3601,0401,3001,3001,0005,000
ACOA3601,0401,3001,3001,0005,000
AAFC1,5001,5001,5001,5001,5007,500
Partners Sub-total5,10012,10013,95013,95014,00059,100
Fiscal Framework2,1008,90017,05017,05014,00059,100
Total7,20021,00031,00031,00028,000118,200

* Source: ERI RMAF, June 2005

2.5 Expenditures

Expenditures, based on the approved funding, are projected by major function in Table 2 below. Amounts are based on expenditures incurred in 2003-04, forecasted for the current year and planned for 2005-06 and future years. Changes at the major function level, as shown, are not expected to be substantial as component expenditures are relatively fixed except for Program Funding.

Table 2: ERI Expenditures by Major Program Component ($ x 1,000) *
Function2003/042004/052005/06*2006/072007/08Total
Missions2,70911,59320,95117,64717,64770,547
Honorary Consuls1505382,0002,0002,0006,688
Program Funding2004,9117,6377,5875,58725,922
Corporate Management2921,1931,5671,4861,7166,254
Amount Lapsed6850000685
Sub-total of Expenditures4,03618,23532,15528,72026,950110,096
Reserve (annually accumulated)3,1642,765-1,1552,2801,0508,104
Total720021,00031,00031,00028,000118,200

* Source: ERI RMAF, June 2005
** Deficit to be offset from funds carried forward and re-profiled.

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3.0 Evaluation Mandate

3.1 Objectives and Scope

The purpose of this formative evaluation was to assess the overall implementation of the ERI, as per expectations outlined in the 2003 TB submission and accompanying Results Management Accountability Framework (RMAF). It examined evaluation issues related to relevance, program implementation and results achievement/success. The specific Objectives were as follows:

  • to determine the extent to which the program design, partnership and governance mechanism remain relevant and meet the current needs of the Government of Canada, ERI partners and other stakeholders;
  • to determine the efficiency and/or effectiveness of program implementation with a focus on governance, resource mobilization, international business development and advocacy programming approaches and performance measurement and reporting;
  • to determine the extent to which expected outputs and short-term outcomes have been achieved and the potential for successful achievement of medium term outcomes.

3.2 Clients and Stakeholders

The direct client for this formative evaluation is the ERI DG Operations Committee represented by the NED Executive Coordinator. Principal stakeholders of the ERI include other government departments and agencies (OGD), provinces/territories and business associations, businesses and members of the Canadian public having vested interests in Canada-U.S. relations and business development in the U.S.

3.3 Evaluation Issues and Questions

The evaluation was undertaken at approximately the mid-point of the ERI funding period and assessed overall program implementation progress since inception. The TBS Evaluation Policy (2001) was used to frame the key evaluation issues and questions on relevance, program implementation and results achievement/success. An Evaluation Framework inclusive of specific evaluation questions was developed and served as the main tool for implementing the evaluation in accordance with the approved Work Plan.

3.4 Methodology

The Methodology for data gathering was based on document review and analysis, interviews, surveys and site visits. Each evaluation team member was delegated specific responsibilities for evaluating different components of the ERI program. Key management documents were obtained from the ERI Secretariat, e.g., Memorandum to Cabinet, TBS submissions, RMAF, as well as governance committee meeting minutes, project lists and financial data which were analysed by the evaluation team. Once the instrumentation step was completed, the evaluation team planned and conducted interviews and Mission site visits, etc. as required. The data collected from the on-line surveys and governance committee member interviews was shared among the evaluation team members prior to commencement of the Mission site visits. Every effort was made to conduct joint interviews with key ADMs, ERI Secretariat staff and Washington Embassy staff to the extent that time, availability and the coordination of schedules was possible. The evaluation team interviewed 90 people and visited a representative sample of 7 Missions (Buffalo, Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Raleigh-Durham and Washington). A summary of the data collection activities, response rates and coverage are as follows:

  • On-Line Survey of Missions - 19/22 Missions responded - (90%)
  • On-Line Survey of Honorary Consuls - 6/12 HC responded - (50%)
  • Interviews (Governance) with ERI Partners - 7/7 ERI Partners - (100%)
  • Interviews with ERI Secretariat Staff - 4/4 management level - (100%)
  • Mission Site Visit Interviews - 7/21 Missions visited - (33%)

Subsequent to the presentation and discussion of the preliminary findings and conclusions, the evaluation team members prepared their respective sections of the draft evaluation report which was collated by the Evaluation Manager and forwarded to ZIE for review and revisions before being distributed to the Evaluation Advisory Committee (EAC) members.

A more detailed description of the evaluation Methodology can be found in the approved Evaluation Work Plan.

3.5 Constraints

No serious constraints were encountered during the implementation of this evaluation, other than those previously identified in the evaluation work plan, i.e., budget, deadlines, access to respondents and survey response rates. Some difficulties were encountered in receiving FAC approvals for Mission site visits which caused implementation delays and revisions to the schedule of activities. The visit to Dallas/Houston was cancelled and instead a video conference took place. While the on-line survey response rate for Missions was high, the number of responses from Heads of Mission (5/22) was low and less representative than otherwise expected. The postponement of the Evaluation Advisory Committee meeting to review the preliminary findings/conclusions and subsequent delays in receiving feedback on factual inaccuracies resulted, again, in some slippage in the preparation and submission of the draft report.

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4.0 Evaluation Findings and Conclusions

4.1 Relevance

4.1.1 Appropriateness of Design

The September 2002 Speech from the Throne called for an increase in Canada's presence in the U.S. to expand fair and secure commerce, and to brand Canada. The Memorandum to Cabinet (MC) on "Enhanced Representation in the United States: Advocacy and Business Development"(1) (February 2003), presented an analysis of the economic, security and political context and strong rationale for what has come to be known as the U.S. Enhanced Representation Initiative. The MC called specifically for maximizing Canadian representation at the grassroots level, for an innovative approach to advocacy and business development and a partnership approach inclusive of all interested federal departments. The ERI was, from the start, conceived as a horizontal initiative which is defined as "an initiative in which partners from more than one organization have established a formal funding agreement to work towards the achievement of agreed upon GOC outcome(s)" (TBS 2005).

In October 2003, DFAIT presented the Treasury Board (TB) Submission inclusive of an RMAF and Governance Framework Agreement, on behalf of the ERI Partners. The submission was approved the following month with conditions, i.e., $10. M in funds from the fiscal framework were withheld beginning with FY 2005-06 upon consideration of a Governance Framework that better reflected the breadth of Canadian government interests in the U.S. and an RMAF with better indicators and targets to measure outcomes(2). Both documents were to be submitted for approval prior to December 31, 2004. Nevertheless, the 2003 TB Submission document itself contained ample information on key design elements to guide program management. For example, it contained detailed financial planning information, addressed audit and evaluation requirements and outlined the main programming components. Of particular importance are the comprehensive analysis, rationale and plan presented for right-sizing and expanding Canadian representation capacity in U.S. regions of strategic importance. A list of advocacy priorities to be addressed through the ERI program was also provided to guide program implementation.

RMAF Development

Work on the subsequent RMAF by the ERI Secretariat started in August 2004 with a review of the requirements with the TBS, at which time the latter did not insist on a separate Governance Framework. A draft RMAF, inclusive of a chapter describing the governance structure, was submitted in December 2004 which met the outstanding conditions and was finalized in April 2005. The ERI Partners were informed and consulted during the development stage generally and specifically with respect to the development of the Logic Model and the Performance Measurement Framework. Thereafter, they were given an opportunity to review the RMAF, to make comments and suggest changes prior to requesting Ministerial approval. When asked, they were unanimous in their opinion that it now reflects their collective views, intentions and expectations. Although this consultation process took somewhat longer than expected, the TBS Submission/RMAF was finally approved without conditions in June 2005,(3) a little less than two years after the ERI program launch. However, during the time of RMAF development and TB submission approval, implementation of the ERI continued apace.

An analysis of the design of the ERI program, as described in the April 2005 RMAF, reveals a reasonable balance between the program's rather substantial resources, its programming scope (reach) and its expected outputs and short-term outcomes. One caveat however is the somewhat overly ambitious short-term outcomes, related to the raised awareness in the U.S. of investment opportunities in Canada, Canadian technological capabilities, as well as on Canada-US interdependence in North American security and economy which may take longer to manifest themselves than typical short-term outcomes. Another observation is that the medium and long-term outcomes are unlikely to be attributable to only the ERI, but are rather shared outcomes with all other complementary GOC programs and initiatives.

Conclusion 1: While the principal design elements of the ERI as presented in the RMAF are appropriate, i.e., logic model, risk management and performance measurement strategies, the document took longer than expected to prepare having been approved by TBS 18 months after program launch.

Enhanced Strategic Planning

The presence of a well articulated implementation strategy for each of the major ERI program components was assessed by the evaluation. The October 2003 TB Submission articulated a detailed implementation plan for right-sizing and expanding Canadian representation capacity in U.S. regions of strategic importance. In addition, it also stated, "[T]hat the Secretariat will provide an enhanced level of strategic planning in a coordinated, one point of contact manner." Not long after, in January 2004, a "Strategic Planning Retreat"(4) was held for ERI Partner ADMs and DGs and U.S. Heads of Mission (HOM) which generated four key expected results and twelve strategic priorities. The strategic priorities were then discussed and validated at the "Canada-US Strategic Planning Conference"(5) in April 2004 by a broader representation of stakeholders including other federal government departments, and provincial representatives. The strategic priorities have since served as a screen for the approval of advocacy and business development projects. The evaluation did not find any evidence that these strategic planning events were used to inform the development of an implementation strategy or plan for either advocacy or business development programming, although one strategic document currently under development by ITCan is the U.S. Commercial Strategy. Generally, there appears to have been little research, analysis, priority setting, consultation or strategic planning on key advocacy issues. Nevertheless implementation of advocacy and IBD initiatives has been aligned with established strategic priorities.

Conclusion2: The ERI Secretariat has not adequately pursued strategic planning on advocacy and business development programming in a manner consistent with a horizontal initiative and the involvement of ERI Partners.

4.1.2 Partnership

In 2003, it was considered innovative to form partnerships for a horizontal initiative such as the ERI which was originally conceived as a whole-of-government approach and open to all interested federal departments. While the original signatories to the MC represented three Departments, or four ministries(6), it was considered a first step in the right direction. Based on interviews with key players at the time, every effort was made to involve OGDs, e.g., Environment Canada, Heritage Canada, etc., as partners for the 2003 TB Submission, but financial constraints and competing priorities were the key obstacles to expanding the partnership. In the meantime, the portfolio of agencies under the Industry Canada mandate had been accorded departmental status and with the subsequent split of DFAIT, the ERI partnership(7) had grown to a total of eight federal government departments.

Most ERI Partners are comfortably engaged in business development programming and consider it relevant to their departmental mandate. It is a natural fit for the regional development agencies that, according to mission staff, are making an important contribution when they also engage the Provinces in project activities. NRC has also found their involvement in science and technology projects to have been very beneficial and an excellent way to establish linkages between their Research Institutes and their U.S. counterparts and audiences. While the ERI Partners feel that they are now beginning to work constructively with the Missions on business development programming, Mission staff also expressed their expectation that they take more responsibility for the project planning and implementation, especially of in-Canada project related activities.

Some ERI Partners had not been significantly involved in advocacy in FY 2004-05 due to unfamiliarity with the advocacy programming approach for Canada-U.S. issues and procedures. During a DG Committee meeting in early 2005, Partners were reminded that they shared the challenge and responsibility of determining how to effectively use the advocacy budget. In order to assist them, NAL was asked to provide a clear definition of advocacy along with examples of "best case studies" which would serve as a model from which Partners could develop their own project proposals. Some interviewees have expressed the lack of understanding and involvement of ERI Partners in the area of advocacy, but also recognised that Missions as well as FAC-HQ have failed in explaining how advocacy can help ERI Partners achieve their departmental Objectives. It is also recognized that some Partners, do not have Advocacy issues at this time. One exception is AAFC which has always had an interest in advocacy programming and became actively involved with the ERI's Advocacy program in 2005-06 when ERI Partners received direct project funding for Advocacy through the re-allocation of expected surplus funds that summer. Other ERI Partners are beginning to show some limited interest in advocacy programming, and this is an area where there continue to be opportunities for development.

Based on interview data, most ERI Partners are in favour of expanding the partnership to OGDs who have an interest and contribution to make to the program's Objectives. Mission staff interviewed during site visits were also supportive of expanding the partnership to include OGDs with whom they work on a regular basis. Recent efforts by the ERI Secretariat in this regard are promising in that representatives from four key departments, i.e., Environment Canada, Canadian Heritage, National Defence and NRCan, attended the November 2005 meeting of the ADM Policy Committee in order to be in a better position to consider ERI buy-in. According to the meeting's record of discussion (ROD) these same departments were invited to send representatives to the meetings of the ERI Standing Committees. Of those invited, only ITCan/FAC ADMs attended.

Conclusion 3: Overall working relations among ERI Partners, with the ERI Secretariat and the Missions are good reflecting significant partnership development; however, the involvement of other key Departments is essential for the whole-of-government approach to be effective.

Partner Communications and Relations

Based on TBS guidance on "Managing Collaborative Arrangements" (TBS 2003), the evaluation expected to find ERI Partners with common values and expectations, shared Objectives, transparent decision-making and open communications. The ERI Partner representatives we interviewed expressed their adherence to the underlying values, expectations and Objectives of the initiative. They felt that they had equal opportunity for input into governance/management issues and appreciated the transparent decision-making approach that had been adopted by the governance committees.

While they experience open and informal lines of communications among themselves and with the ERI Secretariat outside the governance structure, some ERI Partners did identify limited formal internal communications on key program development and management issues. For instance, Partners were unclear as to the rationale for the expansion and creation of selected Missions, felt unacquainted with advocacy programming, unclear as to their responsibilities and processes for performance measurement and reporting, or perceived the ERI Secretariat as insufficiently independent of the FAC North America Bureau. These are examples of where regular internal communications could avoid misunderstandings, clarify accountabilities and dispel some misconceptions.

Conclusion 4: The ERI Partners have a common understanding of the program's values, Objectives and experience open lines of informal communication with each other and the Secretariat, although the noted absence of formal communications could jeopardise continued partnership development.

4.1.3 Governance Structure

The 2003 TB Submission was approved on the condition that both the Governance Framework and RMAF be resubmitted, however it was subsequently decided that the Governance Framework could be integrated into the ERI RMAF. Based on TBS guidance on developing RMAFs for horizontal initiatives, the evaluation expected to find a formal governance structure, well-defined partner roles and responsibilities, a description of the decision-making processes, a dispute resolution mechanism and a description of how the financial resources were to be distributed amongst and used by the various partners (TBS 2002). More recent TBS guidance on the management of horizontal initiatives stipulates that the governance framework must detail the governance structures, roles and processes that have been put in place to manage the initiative (TBS May 2005). The guidance on what constitutes a Governance Framework has thus remained relatively consistent over the years. Chapter 5.0 of the ERI RMAF (April 2005) presents a governance structure, its constituent committees and an update on governance committee meetings and consultations. In addition, it provides for linkages with the Canada-PCO Secretariat and addresses TBS concerns for a whole-of-government approach. It outlines the need for involvement by OGD in the governance structure and sponsor broad-based outreach/consultations to ensure a coordinated approach among all stakeholders. It should also be noted that the ERI Partners are also profiled elsewhere in the document.

While there is very little specific guidance available on determining an appropriate governance structure for horizontal initiatives, it is suggested that "committee layering should be avoided" (TBS 2003). Using the TBS Database on Horizontal Initiatives, the evaluation compared the committee structures of ten horizontal initiatives, including the ERI. In comparison, the ERI committee structure, as approved in the RMAF, is more layered and has more standing committees than the other horizontal initiatives of equal or larger size. Ultimate reporting accountability in most cases is with either a Ministerial Committee, e.g., Species at Risk, Canadian Biotechnology Strategy, Rural Development, or the Minster(s) of the lead Departments, e.g., Climate Change, Federal Contaminated Sites. The ERI is unique in that ultimate accountability appears to be with the DM Steering Committee.

The RMAF chapter on the governance structure presents each committee's responsibilities and expected frequency of meetings. Although not specifically stated, the composition of each committee is to be representative of the partnership. Some ERI Partners, especially the smaller development agencies have found this committee structure to be very demanding on their human resources. Even AAFC has opted to appoint the same person to the three Standing Committees and as an alternate for the DG Operations Committee.

What is not available in a comprehensive document is a clear explanation of the decision-making processes and financial controls that have been put in place to manage the initiative. It is noted that "the ERI Partnership strives for decision-making by consensus"; this is a laudable but challenging principle. The delegated authorities and functional relations between the committees are either not explicit or contradictory. For example, the Standing Committees are to be of an "advisory nature" to the DG Committee, however, the Advocacy and Business Development Committee is described as responsible for "the approval for/of advocacy and business development plans and proposals, location of new or enhanced offices, etc." The draft terms of reference for the committee provided to the evaluation also state that, "[T]he ABDC has authority to approve projects greater than $25,000". Setting a minimum as opposed to a maximum financial limitation for this Director/Deputy Director Committee is not only contradictory to its advisory role, but is not consistent with common financial management procedures and controls. While the 2006-07 Programming Funding Guidelines for Missions approved by the DG Ops Committee on February 2006 sets a maximum approval authority of $100,000 for individual projects submitted to the ABD Committee, this inconsistency has not yet been addressed in the draft terms of reference for the ABD Committee. Draft terms of reference for the DM, ADM and DG Committees were not available in order to fully examine respective mandates and delegated authorities.

The RMAF describes the ERI Partners' overall mandates but not their respective roles and responsibilities for the governance, administration or implementation of the initiative, particularly with regard to the identification of a lead department. FAC and ITCan were identified in the governance structure as "two key partners" by virtue of their legislated mandates and ownership of the resources, i.e., Missions and staff, needed to implement ERI. They were also identified as "co-hosts" in the Chapter 6.0 Linkages to Program Activity Architecture. The latter chapter identifies the direct linkages between the ERI Core Functions and the relevant strategic outcomes of the two "co-host" departments(8). While the implication is that these two departments are accountable(9) for the ERI, there appears to be some contradictory information related to the ERI Secretariat which reports to the DG Operations Committee and is hosted for "administrative purposes" within the FAC North American Bureau.(10)

"The establishment of the ERI Secretariat within DFA facilitates mission management. In fact, practices for the management of human, financial and real property resources, advocacy and business development were already well established prior to the inception of the Initiative. As the ERI Secretariat is hosted within the organizational framework of DFA, and because this department serves as the funding agency, DFA therefore retains ultimate accountability for the overall administration of the ERI" (TBS Submission 2005).

What is implicit in the RMAF is unequivocally claimed in the TB Submission document resulting in some lack of clarity, if not incoherence, with respect to the designation of a lead department(s). This situation may be somewhat easier to clarify now with the reunification of ITCan/FAC once again under the aegis of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT). Nevertheless, it is important that the ERI partners be aware of the accountability implications and limitations of the financial mechanisms used to fund the ERI as determined by the Financial Administration Act (FAA) and relevant TBS policies.

The TB submission (2003) serves as a formal funding agreement between the participating Departments with the approval of the Ministers involved. ERI Partners' contributions, frozen allotments of G&C and O&M funding, were transferred as Vote 1 (O&M) funds to DFAIT (FAC) through the Supplementary Estimates process. The spending authority over these funds was not delegated, but rather transferred to DFAIT (FAC) which now has full authority and responsibility to deliver the ERI program. The challenge will be to delineate the areas of shared accountability and the concomitant decision-making authorities in a manner that is conducive to horizontal cooperation between current and future ERI Partners.

Conclusion 5: The ERI governance framework should be improved by presenting well-defined partner roles and responsibilities, identifying lead department(s) and by clarifying shared accountabilities.

4.2 Program Implementation Issues

4.2.1 Governance Structure Implementation

The management of a horizontal initiative is about working collaboratively across organizational boundaries which would be impossible without the effective implementation of the governance structure and ancillary activities. It involves bringing people from diverse management cultures and practices to work together on committees, teams and in networks with a common purpose and shared Objectives. Developing a common management culture among the partners is an essential ingredient to an effective partnership and good governance. The Secretariat of a horizontal initiative generally plays a vital role in facilitating the implementation of the governance structure/framework. This was recognized in the 2003 TB Submission and reiterated in the approved RMAF as follows.

"The ERI Secretariat facilitates the ERI governance mechanism. Through Committee meetings and related communications, the Secretariat seeks input from partners, gives advice to partners, and receives direction from senior committees of the Partnership. To support the governance mechanism, the Secretariat convenes meetings and undertakes program research, strategic planning, funding and resource allocation, assuming overall responsibility for tasking, liaison, monitoring, performance measurement, reporting and administration services" (RMAF, pp 25)

Interviews with the ERI Partners focused to a considerable extent on their involvement, understanding, assessment and satisfaction with the governance committees and related activities. The general consensus was that the strategic planning events in early 2004 were very effective in bringing stakeholders together to articulate some broad strategic priorities, but that the strategic planning process was not continued. Other governance activities were also much appreciated especially by the less experienced ERI Partners, e.g., attending HOM and STC/PERPA Meetings, participating in Mission Site Visits, etc. Efforts in this regard raised their level of awareness and understanding of the role of the Missions and the types of programming they undertake. When asked their assessment, the ERI Partners, without exception, felt that these governance events and activities had met their expectations.

The implementation of the governance committee structure began soon after the launch of the ERI in September 2003, although some ROD for the early meetings were not available. A review of the list and the available ROD reveals the following:

  • The DM Committee which should meet annually has last met on January 2004;
  • The ADM Policy Committee which should meet tri-annually has met once a year;
  • The ADM Policy Committee ROD contain few references on policy, strategic or performance related discussions;
  • The ERI Partners, with the exception of ITCan/FAC, are generally represented by their DG Alternates on the ADM Committee;
  • The PCO Canada-US Secretariat representative has attended several ADM and DG Committee meetings;
  • The DG Operations Committee meets at least quarterly and is attended by most DGs regularly, with the exception of AAFC and IC;
  • The DG Operations Committee has been focussed on operational issues, in particular the reallocation of budgetary surpluses in 2005-06; and
  • The Standing Committee meetings are held regularly and are well attended.

The general consensus among ERI Partners is that there is insufficient involvement by top-level management in the governance structure, especially at the ADM level resulting in a lack of leadership, but that the governance committees at the operational level are performing very effectively, dealing with important management issues in a timely manner. Most ERI Partners recognise FAC/ITCan expertise in their respective mandates and appreciate the consensual decision-making processes adopted by the governance committees. On the other hand, they also take exception when these two key partners "table drop" proposals without advance notice or sufficient time to review before thoughtful decisions are required. Nevertheless, these are exceptions, under sometimes exceptional circumstances, to an otherwise smooth, collegial and transparent committee decision-making process. The only exception at the operational level is the Communications Committee which has not gained momentum until recently due to an unclear mandate and weak support from the ERI Secretariat.

Conclusion 6: The ERI Secretariat has been effective in facilitating the governance committee structure at the operational level and in developing a common management culture among the partners.

Conclusion 7: The ERI Partners and Secretariat have not been successful in getting ADM involvement in the governance of the ERI program on policy, strategic and performance related issues which is needed for the "whole-of-Government" approach to Canada-U.S. relations be effective.

4.2.2 Resource Mobilisation

The evaluation expected to find a program where adequate financial, human and material resources are mobilised where and when they were required according to a multi-year or annual implementation plans. A multi-year program implementation plan is generally one of the first deliverables of a newly approved initiative after the approval of a TB Submission and accompanying RMAF. The presence of such a plan facilitates iterative annual program work planning.

Multi-Year and Annual Implementation Planning

Due to the rejection of the first RMAF with the 2003 TB Submission, a multi-year implementation plan was never completed. The ERI Secretariat does however maintain/adjust costing templates on 5-year summary sheets which is the principal financial planning document and serves to reinforce program planning. By monitoring expenditures and funding availability, and informing the governance committees of emerging needs/changes in priorities, the ERI Secretariat provides advice and support to facilitate effective implementation.

The 5-year costing templates represent the "A-base" of planned expenditure allocations and are used to establish the budget of all ERI funded programs. Annual program planning for the coming fiscal year starts in February with the overall allocation approval from the DG Operations Committee. The objective is to provide the ERI Partners with a final program funding allocation by the end of February for the coming year. Partners and Missions then plan accordingly and submit a list of project proposals for approval by various committees and the ERI Secretariat. Approved projects are then included in the Annual Work Plan for that year.

The plans contained in the MC and subsequent TB Submission (2003) for increasing Canadian Representation has been implemented as intended, on schedule and under-budget resulting in successive EOY surpluses. Surpluses carried forward or re-profiled have ranged from $3.1 M to $4.5 M each year due primarily to efficiencies realised in leasing micro-offices, lower than expected staffing costs and the somewhat slower than expected implementation of Honorary Consuls. Disbursements related to increasing Canadian Representation capacity represent 61% of total expenditures.

Business development programming, including the Technology Partnership Initiative (TPI), was launched one year ahead of the 2003 TB Submission schedule but gained momentum quickly with most ERI Partners involved. This has been accomplished by 'creating /increasing' IBD funding from within existing total ERI allocations by refining ERI expenditures for all other activities to reflect the most current cost data and by carrying forward unspent allocations from previous years. By doing this, the ERI Secretariat was able to support IBD spending of $2.04 M in 2004-05 and increased spending of $2.82 M in FY 2005-06. Disbursements related to Business Development programming have increased by 300% and represent 14% of total program expenditures. Over the same time period, Advocacy programming has/or will spend within 10% of its allocated budget over the past two years. A large proportion of its funds ($1.36 M) were allocated to the Washington Embassy, and primarily used by the Advocacy Secretariat.(11) Disbursements related to Advocacy programming represents 10% of total program expenditures.

The delay in the preparation/submission/approval of the TB Submission/RMAF until June 27, 2005 caused a delay in the release of the frozen allotment of $10 M. This delay became a financial constraint to full program implementation. The DG Operations Committee was able to approve initial program funding allocations at its February 3, 2005 meeting and with approval of the TB submission and related release of frozen allocations requested the development of a revised and accelerated implementation plan for 2005-06. The ERI (ABD) Sub-Committee on Reallocating Funds finalised on June 16, 2005 its expenditure recommendation on the $6,526,000 available surplus and on July 13, the DG Operations Committee approved in principle the "common benefits initiatives" of the proposal. While the re-allocation of up to $3 million to the Partners for additional program funding" for IBD was also considered at the July 13 meeting, decision was deferred pending review projects and workload capacity of U.S. missions for IBD projects. The mobilisation of these substantial financial resources and subsequent program planning was completed and approved on September 8, 2005. As well, the Common Benefits Initiative, approved in principle on July 13, was approved to address the need for additional FTEs in Ottawa and to address the concerns of Mission absorptive capacity for Advocacy projects. The normal planning process should be re-established for FY 2006-07 since the DG Operations Committee has already approved Program Funding allocations totalling $8 million at their most recent meeting of February 1, 2006.

Conclusion 8: The June 2005 approval of the TB Submission and RMAF, being well into the new fiscal year, constrained the development and implementation of full advocacy and business development programming in FY 2005-06.

Other Constraints to Implementation

During the Mission site visits, Mission staff noted that the ERI Partner and Mission planning cycle, proposal submission, review and approval processes for Advocacy and IBD were not in sync with each other, or with the fiscal year, resulting in some cases in late approvals, late funding and reduced time for project implementation. Several ERI Partners also expressed their concerns that they are not informed sufficiently in advance of timelines for project proposal submissions resulting in late approvals and rushed implementation. Mission staff in general also expressed a need for more clarity on annual budgets, permissible use of funds, project proposal submission criteria and deadlines, as well as project performance tracking tools. While eligible funding guidelines have been developed, they have not as yet been made available to Mission staff.

On-line survey responses identified limited human resources and local staffing as constraints to ERI project implementation. While one third of Commercial staff did not identify any constraints, more than half felt that ERI projects with multiple partners required additional liaison, coordination and financial management effort without the benefit of incremental increases in administrative staff. Many PERPA Officers observed that expanding priorities and demands have put pressure on their human resource capacity to implement advocacy programming. "It is not easy to add personnel with the right qualifications and hiring determinate personnel can be difficult - especially at the mid-level." They expressed a need for staff with specialised knowledge and skills for temporary duty to work on advocacy issues, there was also an unfulfilled need for administrative support, e.g., SWAT teams, to assist in preparations for Mission openings.

Conclusion 9: The absorptive capacity of the Missions to implement a rapidly increasing volume of Advocacy programming may be limited because of a lack of synchronization of the project planning, approvals and funding processes, competing/coinciding Mission priorities, as well as limited human resources and local staffing constraints.

4.2.3 Increasing Canadian Representation Approach

The ERI was designed to increase Canada's presence in the newer centers of economic and/or political power by (1) right-sizing of Missions and their territories, (2) establishing new Missions in selected regions, and (3) appointing Honorary Consuls in the smaller, yet still important, centers elsewhere in the U.S. The objective of this approach was to ensure Canada will be able to actively promote its interests both now, and in the future. Several regions were identified in the MC and TB Submission as warranting enhanced representation because growth in important sectors of their economy parallels Canada's emerging and priority sectors. These regions are Southwest, Midwest, California, Texas, Southeast, Alaska, Pennsylvania, Arizona and New Mexico.

Right-sizing Missions and Territories

The right-sizing of Missions and their territories in the U.S. was based on solid research and analysis of the growth of regional markets, shifts in political influence and the need to work outside the belt-way at the grassroots level. It did however come at a cost as many staff positions were eliminated in the Northeast U.S. and in Missions where new satellites were being established as Consulates or Consulates General. In total, 21 positions were identified for elimination in 2003. This right-sizing was completed for 18 positions in 2003/04, and one position was vacated in 2004/05. The final two were only vacated in 2005/06 due to special incumbent-related circumstances. The position reductions enabled DFAIT to contribute $3.2 million annually as part of its $26.6 million total commitment to the ERI.

According to HOM and managers, the right-sizing of Missions and their territories, including the establishment of Denver, upgrading of Miami and San Francisco, allows for a better coverage of the territory under each Mission's jurisdiction. It brings them closer to regional and sub-regional centres of decision and allows closer contacts with local communities in the territory. For example, the downsizing of Minneapolis' territory from eight (8) states to five (5) with its establishment of (9) officers allows further concentration on key priorities/issues. The Mission has been able to target North Dakota where the issues of softwood lumber and Devils Lake has been looming large. Denver, an early ERI Mission upgraded since, picked up three (3) former states from Minneapolis and one (1) from Los Angeles. Eleven (11) officers cover this territory which could not get proper attention previously. Denver has targeted Montana where the campaign against the import of Canadian cattle has been fierce. The increased Canadian capacity is apparent in these areas. However, while some Missions are improving territorial coverage through more regular travel and targeted initiatives, others are still focusing their main activities around the immediate location of their Mission.

Based on site visit interviews with Mission staff in multi-post areas we can say that they have struggled with how territorial or sector responsibilities should be handled as a result of their new (right-sized) territories. They debated whether responsibilities should be divided along geographical boundaries or by sector of interests. There has been some central guidance on the issue but it does not seem to be supported by a clear policy, procedures or processes. Different arrangements have been reached to address regional circumstances and program needs. For example, for IDB, Raleigh-Durham and Atlanta have designated Raleigh Durham as the lead post for bio-technology for the territory of the two Missions but no sharing arrangements exist for all other priority sectors. In California, the division of responsibilities has been generally north-south however the Missions are still fine tuning the division of IBD sector responsibilities among themselves.

New and Upgraded Missions

New or upgraded Mission facilities were secured and/or enlarged as planned. The opening of new Missions in Anchorage, Denver, Houston, Phoenix/Tucson, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham and San Diego has significantly changed the presence and visibility of Canada in these new centers and has started to attract the attention of Canadian interest for these markets and decision centers. The upgrading of the Consulates in Miami and San Francisco to Consulates General is also significant as it gives Missions the ability to concentrate more resources in the territory of accreditation.

HOM and program managers have indicated that the expansion of the Mission infrastructure has taken place in areas of strategic importance whether in specific sectors (e.g., IT and Biotech), or in strategic geographic regions (e.g., Research Triangle Park is key R&D area). In the Carolinas for example, the new Mission covers Charlotte, the second largest financial centre in U.S.; this strategic importance has furthermore been recognized through the appointment of an Honorary Consul in Charlotte. The presence in Anchorage reflects heightened interest in energy and environment in Alaska. The energy sector and to a lesser extent ocean technologies were the main considerations for opening the Houston office.

The openings of the new offices have afforded unparalleled short-term visibility in these communities upon which Mission staff are building a more sustainable penetration. In Raleigh-Durham for example, there has been considerable media coverage since the time of the official opening of the Mission by the Minister for International Trade. The Consul has been able to build on this media attention to continue to get press interest in the potential partnerships between business and institutions on both sides of the border. As a result, the Consul has received many meeting and speaking invitations allowing him to position Canada favourably in the local communities.

Honorary Consuls

Role of Honorary Consuls

"Our goal is to be responsive to Canadian commercial and policy priorities. In consultation with Consul General and Commercial staff the focus of activities are identified and targeted. We determine specific commercial targets and economic segments to develop based upon request from Canada. The political issues are more or less governed by events such as cattle trade or softwood lumber for advocacy and I then make appropriate contacts with Congressional delegation, Governor and local leaders and press for advocacy."

     - HOM

Fourteen Honorary Consuls have been appointed for the following locations: Cleveland, Memphis, New Orleans, Omaha, Pittsburgh, Portland (ME), Portland (OR), Richmond, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Juan, Tampa, Charlotte and Helena. HOM and program managers are generally very positive about their Honorary Consuls who in their view are cognizant of Canada's Objectives and the role they can play in their region. In the main, Missions obtain valuable advice, access and assistance on advocacy or business development initiatives.

Both HOM and Honorary Consuls state that they are in frequent contact, some almost daily, and some weekly. When asked what their main involvement should be in their territory they responded with:

  1. the identification of new commercial opportunities for Canadian companies,
  2. keeping Consul General informed of important political and policy developments in the area, and
  3. raising awareness of Canadian cultural assets, natural resources and bilateral relations. It should also be noted that Honorary Consuls feel some pressure to provide general services. A survey of 50% of the Honorary Consuls corroborates this assessment by Mission staff.

Conclusion 10: The right-sizing of territories, opening and upgrading of Missions and establishment of a network of Honorary Consuls is proving to be an effective way to build new capacity in the regions targeted by ERI.

Mission Staffing

While the ERI staffing program was at first viewed as slow and bureaucratic, it is increasingly viewed by most ERI Partners as a smooth, efficient, transparent and fair process. ERI Partners' employees are able to compete for CBS positions in the U.S. Missions, except for those in the Washington Embassy and Permanent Missions to the United Nations (UN) and Organisation of American States (OAS). All ERI Partners recognize that positions must be staffed to fill the needs of Missions with the most suitable personnel and that there is no specific ratio of DFAIT to other ERI Partner staffing. Based on data tables provided by the ERI Secretariat, non-DFAIT partners have been successful (confirmed or proposed) in 26/61 (42%) positions staffed through the ERI process. To ensure that all employees can compete on an equal footing with FAC/ITCan Foreign Service officers, the ERI Secretariat makes training and temporary duty opportunities available for prospective ERI Partner candidates. It also has overview responsibility to ensure that both CBS and LES Mission staff are adequately trained.

The opening-up of the "diplomatic service" through the appointment of non-DFAIT Mission staff has increasingly gained acceptance and momentum. Some HOM have expressed their support for increasing the presence of ERI Partners within their Missions as a way of responding to the whole-of-government approach and to better leverage their departmental resources. These assignments enable Missions to develop strong internal synergies and improve their ability to deal with a larger array of specialized issues and partner priorities. Several responses to the on-line survey by Mission staff suggest that more temporary duty assignments by specialised Canadian personnel would also ease some of the human resources constraints at critical times and on critical issues.

Conclusion 11: The presence of non-DFAIT ERI Partner staff in U.S. Missions is beneficial and facilitates implementation of the whole-of-government approach.

The Business Models

Some Challenges Facing New HOM

"New HOMs in ERI hubs and spokes who have gained their experience in partner organizations face a very steep learning curve - departmental culture, processes, issues to name but a few. For example, what are realistic expectations of a new team? How to prepare the new strategic business plans? How to manage the hub and spoke model? How does a 'working mission' operate once it is fully functional? What is the role of the CMM?

Open a dialogue with these HOMs to identify their requirements and develop appropriate solutions."

- Report on Workshop for New ERI Missions held on Monday, 7 February 2005.

Some variations of hub-spoke-satellite business model have been adopted to run the new offices. An example of the hub-spoke-satellite model is Los Angeles-Phoenix-Tucson. Tucson (satellite) reports to Phoenix (spoke) which in turn reports to Los Angeles (hub). Other examples are the hub and spoke relationships of Dallas and Houston, of Atlanta and Raleigh-Durham.

Most HOM have said that the hub and spoke model has worked effectively but not without some challenges. Reporting arrangements vary from Mission to Mission. For example, the program manager in Houston reports to the Commerce program manager in Dallas while the program manager in Phoenix reports to the HOM in Los Angeles, IDB included. The same arrangement as Phoenix applies for the Consul in Raleigh-Durham reporting to Atlanta. In both cases, the relationship of the program manager to the HOM is clear, however the relationship with the Hub IDB program manager is not articulated and has been left to the discretion of those involved. This hybrid reporting may cause difficulty for day-to-day management as HOM do not manage programs. HOM observed that Hubs do not like to relinquish much in the way of control or responsibility for the spoke's territory. Mission staff also noted that not all parts of the Hub take on their share of administrative responsibility for supporting elements of the spoke's operations. A group report during the "Workshop for New ERI Missions" stated, "[T]here is a 'we-they' dynamic in some hub-spokes for administrative services. The quality of service provided suffers."

New spoke and satellite Missions were opened through leased executive suites for the new offices. HOM are generally pleased with this approach which has permitted prompt establishment of the Canadian presence and has given managers the ability to expand flexibly as new resources were added. Managers are generally satisfied with the executive services provided and find that the lean office model with its limited administrative burden provides an incentive to network outside the office. On the other hand, some Mission staff expressed frustrations with this office model during site visit interviews and during the "Workshop for New ERI Missions". Issues respecting the use of executive suites that were raised included the poor performance of Secure Remote Access to Signet, the lack of IT/computer service support, the lack of visibility of Canada and security implications for this type of office model.

Managers at some of these new Missions indicate that there are some pressures to provide consular, immigration and other services locally. The pressure often comes from the local Canadian community but also from local contacts. Most are resisting these pressures so that the Mission does not detract from its main focus on advocacy and business development. One HOM who has noted that a new Mission has opened the door to providing such services has said that "we risk to lose the focus" of our new Missions. In this HOM's words, "if we do advocacy, we do advocacy; if we do business development, we do business development" implying that they should not try to be all things to all people.

Conclusion 12: Apportioning hub/spoke/satellite accountabilities, reporting relationships and territorial responsibilities has been ad-hoc for many Missions due to the absence of clear policies/guidelines.

4.2.4 Advocacy Programming Approach

As stated in the April 2005 RMAF, the primary objective of the ERI is to address GOC priorities through advocating interests and issues considered vital to a strong Canada-United States relationship. Advocacy and Public Diplomacy are based on the simple idea of bringing the Public into the realm of foreign policy and diplomacy. In Canada, Public Diplomacy is defined as a "transformative tool", key to providing DFAIT with a flexible set of instruments of persuasion and influence. DFAIT organizes its Public Diplomacy programs and activities in a three-layered pyramid:

  • Advocacy designates initiatives, projects and activities that address pressing issues through targeted messages;
  • Profile-raising means longer-term strategies to create a wider, more general understanding of Canada;
  • Relationship-building entails developing dialogue and understanding through long-term programmes that can withstand short-term vicissitudes.

Heads of Missions and officers interviewed in the course of this evaluation repeatedly asserted that advocacy works and that, in their experience, Canada's diplomacy in the United States reaches its highest level of effectiveness when it:

  • deals with concrete issues in a practical, problem-resolution manner and seeks to change US perception at the margin or to make small incremental gains;
  • uses Americans as lever to bolster its access, to disseminate its ideas, and to demonstrate that Canadians and Americans have shared concerns, interests, and Objectives;
  • shows its American interlocutors a win-win situation or opens them an opportunity;
  • starts at the grass root level, works locally as much as possible and takes into account the quasi-domestic nature of the relationship; and
  • speaks clearly and plainly to Americans, is frank and conveys neither ambiguity nor second thoughts.

In broad terms, ERI advocacy programming was found to be based on this structure and approach. The presentation of our evaluation findings begins with an analysis of progress made in the three key components of a successful advocacy program: presence, messaging, and networks/partnerships, before addressing some more specific operational issues.

Presence

Two years after the establishment of ERI, Canada possesses a significantly stronger presence in the U.S., more widely and evenly distributed across the territory and thereby facilitating the targeting of the new centres of political and economic importance. In numbers alone, the addition of 6 Missions and some 80 officers has allowed each piece of Canada's diplomatic network to be closer to its target audiences and more focussed on its priorities. ERI has enhanced Canada's ability to advocate its views and better defend and promote its interests. Missions can devote additional time and attention to problem issues or jurisdictions, for instance water management and border security or the States of North Dakota and Montana, which are critical to Canada's interests.

Although advocacy is still considered a PERPA core activity, notably at the implementation stage, it has become an extensively shared responsibility. HOM, PERPA officers and many IBD officers are active advocates. During mission site visits each group was found to bring to bear its own perspective and often, but by no means systematically, to handle its own set of issues. Hence, Border and Security concerns are generally managed by the PERPA section while Senior Trade Commissioners (STC) look after Trade Policy questions. However, at all Missions, HOM and officers were seen to work as teams and to share the work so as to optimize effectiveness.

Mission site visits confirmed the axiom that HOM are Canada's prime advocates. Their presence, messaging and ability to create or strengthen dialogues or partnerships between Canadians and Americans appear to be the key determinant of the quality and effectiveness of Canada's advocacy programming. Much of the ultimate success of ERI may therefore depend on the level and quality of support that this small group of men and women receives from DFAIT and ERI partners.

The assignment of advocacy officers from ERI Partners, notably AAFC, was found to contribute to the Missions' ability to present well crafted technical briefs, to make convincing evidence-based arguments, and to demonstrate, as on BSE, that an integrated North American market is more advantageous to Canadian and American beef producers and processors than two markets split apart by bans and other restrictions.

Advocacy programming has benefited from the establishment of new Missions, right-sizing of territories of accreditation, and the involvement of all Mission staff more so than from the establishment of new PERPA positions. Altogether, ERI has resulted in the relocation of three (3) and creation of three (3) PERPA positions across the U.S. Mission network.

Conclusion 13: ERI has enhanced Canada's presence to advocate its views in the US primarily because new Missions have been established, territories of accreditation right-sized, and because HOM, PERPA and Commercial officers all perform advocacy work.

Messaging

ERI Advocacy programming and messaging is based on the strategic priorities that were defined in early 2004 during the twin strategic planning meetings at the Chateau Montebello and Chateau Laurier. They are consistent with those identified in the 2003 TB Submission cited above and have since been used as eight (8) commitment titles around which ERI advocacy programming is organized. They are:

  1. Strategic Representation and Engagement
  2. Border Security
  3. International Security/Terrorism
  4. Integrated North American Market
  5. Energy
  6. Environment
  7. Social Issues
  8. Other Trade Issues

The Treasury Board Submission and RMAF both call for the preparation of thematic strategies. It was expected that for each of the 8 commitment titles there would be a corresponding thematic strategy document. These documents would provide guidance to the ERI partnership and Missions as to the relative priority of each of the eight commitments, the planned level of effort and financial allocation, and desired types of projects and initiatives for Missions to propose. Such strategic guidance might also alert Missions to the role (support, informal coordinator, lead Mission) that they ought to play, on their own and/or in coordination with other Missions, the Embassy or ERI partners, for each commitment title.

At present, Missions draft their ERI advocacy project proposals to fit within these 8 commitments, e.g., in FY 2005-06 Buffalo submitted three proposals under "International Security/Terrorism". The proposals were Cultivate key security related people; Develop Canadian connections with cyber security; and Targeted Outreach to Reps/Staffers on Human Security issues. As of August 2005, two proposals had been approved and the third was still pending approval by NAL.

While a fair amount of give and take occurs between FAC and the Missions, it does appear that the development of regional or State-based strategies and detailed project proposals is essentially carried out by the Missions. Some Missions, e.g., Denver, Minneapolis and, in a more tentative manner, Buffalo, have or are coming forward with comprehensive advocacy approaches to address specific issues (water management, energy, border cooperation) or clusters of issues that are particularly relevant to their region of accreditation. Mission site visits confirmed that all Missions prepare their Annual Advocacy Plan which is structured on the 8 commitment titles. They provide information on their planned project activities and identify partners as well as expected outputs and budgets. In addition, they also prepare and submit detailed project proposals to FAC/NAL. They use the ADB Project Template if the project is anticipated to cost more than $25,000 (in such cases, projects are reviewed by NAL, which then submits the projects to the ERI-ADB Committee for approval). This entire process reveals strong and direct linkages from the 2003 TB Submission to the Montebello/Laurier strategic priorities and through to advocacy programming, i.e., project proposal development, approval and implementation. Coherent messaging through the projects can thus be said to derive directly from the key strategic priorities.

Conclusion 14: Advocacy programming is based on a stable set of strategic priorities which are reflected in eight commitments titles that are to be used for Mission planning, financial management and reporting.

The ERI advocacy priority setting, programming and project planning as described above is designed to concentrate resources on issues of greatest importance. On the ground, however, advocacy projects and activities have to be framed as Canada's position on or response to a specific foreign policy issue, e.g., BSE, WHTI, Devils Lake, SPP, etc. To keep abreast of developments and to run effective advocacy campaigns, DFAIT and the Missions have developed issue-specific monitoring tools, e.g., the Devils Lake Advocacy and Media Outreach Chart and re-structured tactics and strategies to correspond more directly to the issue at hand. This is leading to thematic strategies and issue-driven advocacy campaigns, although not in any systematic way. Furthermore, coordination among Missions and the orchestration of the presentation of the Canadian message remains reactive and ad hoc rather than based on explicitly defined thematic advocacy strategies.

Conclusion 15: Advocacy programming is not systematically linked to explicitly defined thematic advocacy strategies developed to orchestrate Canada's response to a specific foreign policy issue, e.g., BSE, WHTI, Devils Lake, SPP, etc.

Networks and Partnerships

Networks and Partnerships, the third component of advocacy programming, could well represent the more complex yet the most promising consequence of the Introduction of ERI. Based on interviews with DFAIT Headquarters (HQ) personnel and Mission interviews, the traditional management approach has been a direct one-on-one relationship between DFAIT and each Mission. With HQ guidance, the latter are essentially treated as autonomous entities, each responsible for its own territory, projects and activities, and therefore for the management of its own issues. Two years into the ERI program there is an increasing recognition both at DFAIT HQ and at Missions that this system, though well conceived and capably executed, may not be entirely adequate. The following four developments in advocacy programming identified during Mission site visits demonstrate considerable divergence from the traditional management model.

First, collaborative projects involving more than one Mission have become far more frequent, e.g., Cattle Identification Sessions, a project shared among Seattle, Dallas and Minneapolis; Preparation for US Farm Bill Advocacy, a project shared among Atlanta, FAC, Minneapolis, Denver, Seattle and Washington. Second, informal and formal networks are multiplying among Missions as well as with the Embassy and ERI Partners. At the grass-root level, groups of officers who happen to work on the same issue at a particular time get into the habit of exchanging emails and phone calls to share information, speech modules, and ideas. At the management level, regularly scheduled conference calls facilitate the common monitoring and management of issues. At the aggregate level, the five (5) recently established Strategic Networks: Security Co-operation, Economic Competitiveness, Energy Innovation, Demographics and Great Lakes are focussing attention on major and/or pressing issues and functioning as a coordination mechanism.

Third, there is an increasing reliance on common-use advocacy tools, including data bases of key contacts. The Embassy in Washington has been instrumental in the development of most of these instruments, as exemplified in GoCCART, Connect2Canada and CongressPlus. Fourth, Mission staff acknowledge that their activities are most effective when they add or complement actions taken at the Embassy and/or at other Missions. For example, last January, a Representative from Utah stated erroneously in a local newspaper that: "all 23 of the 9/11 hijackers entered the country through Canada...and that just as many criminal illegal aliens come through Canada as Mexico". The statement caught the attention of a local member of Connect2Canada who duly informed the Embassy. The congressional liaison office touched base with Denver and both Missions took action. An Embassy correction was sent to the newspaper and the Representative did acknowledge that he was mistaken. Though anecdotal, this story illustrates the efficacy of common-use advocacy tools and the collaborative efforts of the U.S. Mission network.

Though it seems to be occurring spontaneously, the emergence of a network/issue management system is taking on greater importance. There was strong evidence at both the Missions and the Embassy that the staff look forward to stronger linkages among themselves, and communications with DFAIT HQ and ERI Partners. It was reported by missions that the existence of a coordinating hub in Ottawa reduces the number of contacts and calls that a Mission has to make on any given issue and ensures coherent messaging and a unified strategy. It is anticipated that the coordination of training and support by the ERI Secretariat will assist ERI partners, notably the smaller agencies, to familiarize themselves with advocacy programming and gradually become more active participants.

Conclusion 16: The emergence of informal networks plus the development of coordinating mechanisms among Missions, and between them, the Embassy and HQ constitute an innovative approach to managing advocacy issues in a timely manner and to coherent messaging at a regional and inter-state level.

Fund Allocation to Missions and Commitment Titles
Table 3: FY 2005-06 Advocacy Project Budget Allocations as of August 2005 (Sums in $ 000).
MissionI
Strat-
egic
Rep>
II
Border
Security
III
Intn'l
Security
IV
Social
Issues
V
Envt
VI
Energy
VII
Integrd
NA
Market
VIII
Other
Trade
Total
Atlanta24.50035300$35
Boston10.511421020$30
Buffalo32.526.572.5103.5590$141
Chicago11.50186.554290$74
Dallas42.5359.50384.550$179
Denver37.50000085.50$123
Detroit68.560017.301,50$97
Los Angeles12837821.20255$116
Miami4.517.521458$33
Minnea-
polis
47.50009101310$197
New York/
Prince-
ton
68.505.500275815$174
Phila-
delphia
00000000$ 0
Phoenix/
Tucson
00000000$ 0
San Fran-
cisco/
San Jose
7.5220051051,50$100
Seattle882085830210$180
Wash-
ington
499.8241.712041.4180266.540$1,281
Totals$955$341$125$31$127$366$749$68$2,760

The above table suggests that up to 4 types of imbalances may exist in the advocacy project budget allocations and thus in programming and spending:

  1. Washington consumes about 47% of the budget. This may be justified to some extent by the importance the Embassy plays as creator/provider of common tools (GoCCART, Connect2Canada) and as a central point of service, but also reflects the fact that the Embassy is better staffed with experienced personnel focussed on advocacy than the other Missions.
  2. Advocacy programming and project workload vary considerably among Missions. The wide variance do not seem to reflect differences in staff complements, level of responsibility or advocacy issue but rather in commitment to advocacy and managerial effectiveness.
  3. Allocation of funds among the 8 commitment titles also varies considerably. Catch all and Commitments I, VII and VIII, represent 64% of the total budget. This percentage does not change when Washington is taken out of the equation. It would therefore appear that advocacy expenditures and by extension advocacy programming possesses a distinctive trade and economics slant. This is further borne by the modesty of programming under International Security and Terrorism and Social Issues (Commitments III and IV).
  4. Since the quasi totality of project proposals emanate from the Missions, the spending pattern and totals would seem to reflect primarily the imagination and level of effort of Mission staff to the challenges or opportunities that they encounter in their territory of accreditation, and subsequently categorised according to the ERI key strategic priorities. There is little or no evidence that the spending pattern reflects an overall advocacy vision with weighted priorities, the conduct of coordinated country-wide advocacy campaigns or that it corresponds to what should be programmed to resolve related foreign policy issues.

Conclusion 17: Advocacy programming allocations do not reflect an overall integrated approach with weighted priorities and thematic strategies for the eight commitments.

Project Proposal Approval Process

In early 2004, the DG OPs Committee established a two track system for approving projects and business plans. The principles of this process include:

  1. Allocation of Program Funding for Advocacy and IBD;
  2. IBD Program Funding is separately identified as Mission, Partner and TPI sub-allocations;
  3. Advocacy funds are disseminated to DFAIT (U.S. Relations Division);
  4. All IBD funds are disseminated to DFAIT (U.S. Business Development Division) and ERI Partners;
  5. Missions receive funding primarily from their DFAIT co-ordinating Division but also from non DFAIT partners for shared projects;
  6. Mission advocacy project proposals of $25,000 or less are submitted to NAL for approval; beyond that sum, they are submitted to the ABD Committee for approval.

Presumably, in order to ensure "consistency in messaging" advocacy projects would be managed centrally. A possible result of this is the observation that at the end of FY 2004-05, the ABD Committee had received a smaller than expected number of advocacy proposals. Nevertheless, FAC expects advocacy expenditures for 2005-06 to exceed 90% of approved allocations.

Missions do report that with their existing complement of PERPA officers, it is difficult to accomplish more. They also assert that Missions would perform more efficiently in a more decentralised system and with simpler procedures. They said that in a few instances their project proposals were not acknowledged, that responses could be months in coming and that in 2005, ERI advocacy funding only became available in late summer. Such bottlenecks which no doubt impair the efficacy of advocacy program delivery might be alleviated to some degree if the ERI applied the same management style and program delivery approach to both advocacy and business programming, and if such programming were better synchronised with the Mission planning and fiscal cycles.

Multiple Funding Sources

Not all Missions have the same access to the same operational funds. Those Missions to whom Public Diplomacy, US Advocacy and ERI Advocacy funds are all available tend to strategize and reserve particular funds for particular uses. In these instances, in New York and Washington for example, Public Diplomacy funds tend to be dedicated to cultural or artistic activities. On the Trade side, ERI advocacy funds may be blended with CSF funding. The practice seems to reflect a need and should therefore probably not be discouraged. The practice also reveals that, largely because each of these funds was created for a specific purpose and without consideration for other funds, the system reveals overlaps and gaps. Some sectors of activity and some types of projects and activities can be financed under more than one fund while other projects, probably just as important and timely, do not fully qualify under any of the existing funds. Finally, when a blend of funds had been used to finance a particular activity, the Mission officers find it more difficult to fulfil their responsibilities for performance monitoring and reporting.

Conclusion 18: The lack of harmonization among funds and existence of distinctive proposal and approval processes, administrative and financial rules, implementation procedures and reporting requirements is a constraint to advocacy programming.

4.2.5 Business Development Programming Approach

Business development programming is guided by ITCan priorities, the Mission's assessment of local/regional opportunities and challenges, as well as the experience of Commercial Program Managers (CPM) and Commercial Officers (CO) working with Canadian business clients and Canadian partners. Commercial sections in U.S. Missions have access to various sources of funds (budget envelopes) of which the ERI is but one to develop and implement a business development program. Missions are engaged in a broad range of proactive initiatives in their markets designed to advance Canadian interests in market access, trade advocacy, exports, investment, and science and technology. Typical activities of business development programming include, among others: market analysis, dissemination of market intelligence/information, incoming and outgoing missions; participations in conferences, fairs; outreach and outcall programs; branding/public campaigns; workshops; networking events; group visits, etc.

Strategic Focus and Priority Sectors

There is a consensus among Commercial staff that business development programming is the appropriate way to enhance Canada's interests in the U.S. for a number of reasons. It provides local networking opportunities, it increases business to business interaction, it raises awareness within U.S. business communities of the business opportunities in Canada and it demonstrates Canadian capabilities in sectors of strategic importance to Canada's commercial interests. In 2005-06, 22 priority sectors were identified in the Mission's Annual Business (action) Plans. The priority sectors selected by the new and upgraded ERI Missions are presented in Table 4 below:

Table 4: Priority Sectors by ERI Mission
New Mission
Upgraded mission
Priority sectors
DenverAgriculture, Food & Beverage
Aerospace(Space) & Defence
Bio-Industries
Building Products & Construction
Health Industries , ICT
Oil & Gas Equipment & Services
HoustonOcean Technologies
Oil & Gas Equipment &Services
MiamiAgriculture, Food & Beverage
Building Products & Construction
ICT
PhiladelphiaAgriculture, Food & Beverage
Chemicals
Fish and Seafood Products
Health Industries, ICT
Phoenix/TucsonAboriginal Products, Services & Technologies
Aerospace & Defence
Bio-Industries
Building Products & Construction
Health Industries, ICT
Raleigh-DurhamAgriculture, Food & Beverage
Automotive
Bio Industries
Health Industries, ICT
San DiegoBio-Industries, ICT
San FranciscoAgriculture, Food & Beverage
Agricultural Technology & Equipment
Aerospace & Defence
Bio-Industries
Environmental Industries
Fish & Seafood Products
Health Industries, ICT

Source: IBD Planning and Reporting Template, ITCan/TBX, Dec. 2005

The choice of priority sectors is not directly linked to a particular strategy, although it is understood that a U.S. Commercial Strategy is being developed. It reflects moreover the characteristics of the regional market in which each Mission is located and the interests of Canadian partners. A concerted effort is made by Commercial staff in conjunction with partners to identify and develop projects within these priority sectors. To the extent that the strategic priorities of ITCan, ERI Partners, OGDs and Canadian business clients are made known and incorporated into the Mission's business planning process, Commercial staff are satisfied that they are focussed on the sectors of strategic importance to Canada's commercial interests.

An analysis of 101 IBD project reports with ERI contributions in FY 2004-05, as well as all 2005-06 project proposals found that, with few exceptions, IBD projects meet the GOC's economic and trade Objectives, ITCan strategic Objectives, and fall within the selected priority sectors of Missions. ERI projects cover all elements of IBD, i.e., trade, investment and science and technology (S&T), as well as market access. There is an increased emphasis on S&T in many regions, particularly in the Southwest, California, and Southeast. This is reflected in the Trade Partnering Initiative element of ERI and its many projects. The TPI program conducted a study entitled "Selecting Science and Technology Targets in the United States" which was presented to the Canadian S&T community in September 2005. It is the strategy for delivering TPI against the opportunities in the US marketplace. To date, there have been a total of 66 TPI projects and missions.  Disbursements increased from $150,000 in the first year to a total of $338,000 this fiscal year.

Some IBD projects consist of outreach in Canada either in response to ERI Partner requests and for Commercial staff to prepare initiatives scheduled to take place in their territory. Further analysis of the 2004-05 project reports reveals that 52% (52/101) of these projects are multi-office initiatives involving several Missions, as well as either regional trade networks, ITC Offices across Canada, or the Embassy. The majority of Commercial staff responding to the on-line survey also indicated that business development strategies are being implemented to some degree at the inter-state and regional levels. Examples provided were as follows: the Bioscience Group (Atlanta - Raleigh-Durham), two state biotech mission (Denver), IBD strategy for New England (Boston), IBD strategy for SWUSA (six missions).

Conclusion 19: Business development programming corresponds to Canada's commercial interests and the sector priorities of the ERI Partners involved.

A Decentralised Approach

A Suggestion for Improvement

"ITCan needs to start its planning process earlier, approve funding earlier and develop common language with ERI partners with regard to IBD planning. If we had a full 12 months to plan, develop and implement projects with a stable expectation of funding, we would end up with better projects."

     - Commercial Officer

In consultation with ITCan HQ, Canadian businesses and partners, CPMs develop a business plan that includes ERI. A number of informal regional consultative processes with ERI Partners, OGDs, Provinces, International Trade Centres and ITCan HQ have evolved to help define the Mission's priorities. Last year, there were regional meetings held in Denver, Chicago and Portland (ME). Some Missions conducted individual or multi-Mission retreats to prepare their Annual Business Plans. However, these retreats and regional meetings are not part of a centrally planned, formalised and systematic approach to determining regional market strategies and priorities, but rather reflect Mission-level initiatives.

Included in the preparation of the Mission Annual Business Plan are the constituent projects which may/may-not include ERI funding and ERI Partner agreement. Where they do involve ERI funding, these project "proposals" are forwarded, as constituents to the overall Mission IBD business plan, to the ERI ABD Committee for review and information and to release funding, but not for approval. The decentralised approach to business development programming places that accountability with the HOM as part of the business planning approval process. Once the business plan is approved, CPMs/ STCs are autonomous in their management of the constituent projects and activities depending on changing circumstances. Some Partners might withdraw, local business interest wane, trade events get cancelled, etc. CPMs/STCs have delegated decision-making authority to make adjustments accordingly, often entailing the reallocation of funds from one project to another, cancelling or initiating new projects.

Another Suggestion for Improvement

"ERI would benefit from focussing less on projects and more on results. Funds should be allocated on the assumption that they will generate the expected results. The methods for reaching the results should be left to the posts and sector/project officers to determine."

     - Commercial Officer

Several Commercial staff suggested in their on-line survey responses that ERI partners should attend regional and Mission business planning meetings to share priorities identify and develop joint projects. In addition to those cited in the adjacent text box, other suggestions to improve the ERI business development programming were: advance planning ahead of the fiscal year, a faster project review process, a better mix of 'technology' versus 'export' projects, more ERI partner involvement in project implementation and more control over ERI allocations to Missions.

Multiple Funding Sources

Traditional IBD promotional activities remain the platforms for a visible presence in US markets. ERI has provided the funds needed for more and bigger theme-based missions and trade shows involving more partners. Among the ten projects with the largest ERI disbursements in 2004-05, six involved promotional events, e.g., trade shows, industry forums, conferences, etc., at which Canadian capabilities are marketed. All of these projects benefited from multiple sources of funding from either the CSF, Branding Canada, O&M budgets, and leveraged funds from ERI Partners, OGDs, Provinces and industry. An analysis of 2004-05 project reports from the IBD Planning and Reporting system revealed that 63% of projects (47/75) had multiple sources of funding when the ERI contribution was above $2,000, while only 39% of projects (10/26) had multiple sources of funding when the ERI contribution was below $2,000. The ERI is an incremental source of funding to Missions which is used to facilitate the involvement of Canadian partners in large promotional events, which otherwise may not have been possible. This incremental funding is leveraged with financial contributions from Canadian Partners, businesses and local partners in the U.S.(12)

Conclusion 20: Delegated decision-making authority to Commercial Program Managers for business development programming alleviates some of the complexities of managing multiple sources of funding.

Engaging ERI Partners

Most Commercial staff indicated that IBD programming guidance has changed somewhat because of ERI's whole-of-government approach to partnerships. It has reinforced collaboration as a way of working with non-DFAIT Departments, regional development agencies, Provinces and other stakeholders. The evaluation found that the approach was pervasive throughout the Mission network.

A third of the on-line respondents did however express some frustrations with the amount of time it takes to obtain ERI Partner concurrence or involvement in projects and then subsequent delays. The perception among Commercial staff who were interviewed is that the ERI has enabled ERI Partners to be engaged in business development programming even though they "sometimes have to be 'pulled-in' but with some effort, they do provide valuable input." In the future, Commercial staff look forward to the more proactive involvement of ERI Partners in the development of Mission business plans, project design and some aspects of implementation.

Conclusion 21: Mission interaction with ERI Partners is generally very active, but the non-DFAIT Partners' involvement with the missions in choosing priorities, planning and implementation of ERI initiatives is not systematic.

Programming Innovations

The majority of Commercial staff interviewed during site visits indicated that the ERI has enabled them to take new/more sophisticated IDB approaches. Two thirds of Commercial staff who responded to the on-line survey confirmed the view that ERI funded projects are, at least somewhat, different because of the partnership requirement which ensures that projects and activities are developed with a better understanding of Canadian interests and strategic priorities. However, the balance of Commercial staff saw little difference, since their IBD programming had traditionally included Canadian partners and business clients as the following quotes attest. "In my sector the IBD program has always been delivered in consultation with partners. This post tends to be very capable of generating enough interest on the part of our partners and business clients to convince them to assist in covering costs."

There is also a recognition that business development needs to be complemented by advocacy and public diplomacy initiatives which can play important roles in building local networks and implementation capacity. Integrating trade advocacy considerations into business development programming has gained support with DFAIT senior management and taken on greater importance by Mission staff. New innovative ERI advocacy tools such as GoCCART and Connect2Canada are becoming available, and the linkages between trade advocacy and business development are becoming more evident. However, many Commercial staff are not acquainted with these new tools and their potential nor are they experienced in trade advocacy programming. Nevertheless while many projects remain traditional, a number of longer term projects which are more strategic, targeted and innovative suggest that more novel and effective practices are emerging. The main changes observed during site visits, in good part because of ERI, were:

  • The scope of eligible funding has expanded. Expenditures not available under other funding are now eligible such as event related staff travel, salaries up to 15 percent for events, hiring of consultants and suppliers; For example, Washington has been able to have research done in regulatory areas to help them embark on meaningful regulatory cooperation. Some missions have been able to acquire temporary help for specific events.
  • The ability to pool resources with outside partners including local ones is greater. This has allowed missions to use minimal funding as a catalyst to develop initiatives previously not possible. ERI has greatly facilitated partnering with local organizations: missions expanded access to new networks and events, leveraged more local support and funding, and increased visibility in local communities and industries. For example, Los Angeles was able to leverage a small contribution tenfold to help mount a very successful partnering forum, the California-Canada Innovation Summit. Another example: Canada was able to participate in an energy venture capital conference in Houston by contributing to the cost of the organization of the event. As a result seven (7) of 32 spots at the meeting were obtained for Canadian firms to make presentations to venture capitalists. Access to venture capital events is often very difficult.
  • Missions have been encouraged to engage in more strategic efforts and to work with other missions either from a sector or regional perspective. The twice yearly Life-Science meetings in Canada provide such an opportunity. The informal Denver-Houston-Anchorage connection for oil and gas interest is another example. Multi-posts/partners initiatives are not as easy to structure thus being somewhat of a disincentive for initiating regional or cross-mission projects. The majority of staff at missions remarks that projects with multiple partners require additional liaison, and extra coordination and financial management. If missions envisage joint funding, the problem is exacerbated. For example, the development of a New York-Buffalo project on homeland security technology partnership (to tap U.S. Homeland Security procurement and partnership potential) was quite protracted because of the difficulties faced by the mission to combine their separate funds in order to contract the work to an outside consultant.

Conclusion 22: The ERI business development program is progressing in the right direction; there is an emerging use of the program for multi-partner, regional, interstate and innovative initiatives.

4.2.6 Performance Monitoring and Reporting

Managing for results is not a new concept in the federal government with the first central agency initiatives dating back to the mid-1990s. While implementation progress was initially slow, it has gained momentum along with the amount and precision of central agency guidance provided to federal departments. However, the implementation of results-based management (RBM) by departments in the context of horizontal initiatives has faced some unique challenges in coordinating efforts across organisational boundaries, and in the absence of specific guidance and tools they have often faltered in fulfilling their accountability for results.

Responsibilities

Recognising the importance of managing for results, the ERI Partners made a clear commitment in the 2003 TB Submission to use the RBM approach to "evaluate the effectiveness of the ERI and provide information for focussing resources on results to be achieved." The ERI Secretariat was mandated with the responsibility to support the various governance committees by measuring/evaluating progress and by advising them on an annual basis on ERI status, accomplishments and outstanding issues. Fulfilling this mandate was complicated by the TBS rejection of the accompanying RMAF and left the ERI Secretariat without an agreed upon performance measurement framework to implement. This situation was not resolved until the June, 2005 approval by TB of the new RMAF in which, again, the ERI Secretariat was mandated with overall responsibility for ensuring the success of the performance measurement strategy, "[T]he Secretariat will be responsible for establishing a robust performance measurement/monitoring system involving all partners and missions." Based on the RMAF, Table 5 below summarises, by ERI Core and Support Function, the main data collection and performance reporting responsibilities for outputs and short-terms outcomes.

Table 5: ERI Performance Monitoring and Reporting Responsibilities
Core & Support
Functions / Results Level
Responsibility
Data CollectionReporting
Managing the Partnership
- Outputs
- Short-Term Outcomes
NED
NED
NED
NED
Canadian Representation
- Outputs
- Short-Term Outcomes
NED, Missions
NED
NED, Missions
NED
Advocacy
- Outputs
- Short-Term Outcomes
NAL, Missions
BCS/NAL/NED
NAL
NAL, NED
Business Development
- Outputs
- Short-Term Outcomes

Missions, ERI Partners
Missions, ERI Partners

Missions, ERI Partners
Missions, CSF unit
Partnership and Canadian Representation

At this point in the ERI implementation process the evaluation expected to find ample output and short-term outcome data collected and reported on Managing the Partnership and Increasing Canadian Representation. The ERI Secretariat (NED) has in fact maintained administrative files sufficiently well to produce performance data on almost all output level indicators. Data tables were available comparing target and actual quantitative data for governance committee meetings, Mission openings, staff appointments by ERI Partner and Honorary Consul appointments. Project lists for advocacy and business development were available by Mission, as well as a list of strategic planning and consultation events with reports. Similar output indicator data on the Communications Program was not readily available, nor was any data on the related short-term outcomes because the planned annual ERI Partner and client satisfaction surveys had not been completed at the time of the evaluation.

Advocacy Programming

How can performance monitoring of advocacy programming be improved?

"Make the performance monitoring/results achieved separate from the reporting on the events themselves. Put the results up front and the events in the background. List the results by order of magnitude (top ten where advocacy made a difference) on a single sheet of paper. In the last two years there have been at least five clear victories for the advocacy program: change in US position on BSE; compromise on Devil's Lake; changing small but significant number of House of Representatives votes on oil drilling in the Arctic refuge; making Canadian contribution to Katrina relief better known; and, greater awareness of magnitude of Canadian energy supplies to the USA."

     - PERPA Manager

Given that there has only been one complete fiscal year, i.e., FY 2004-05 of advocacy and business development programming, the evaluation expected to find some basic data collection tools developed and being used to generate output and some short-term outcome data that could be used for reporting purposes. Regarding the Advocacy Core Function, NAL has developed an Advocacy Report Card which is completed on a weekly basis by the Missions. While it is event/activity based it does capture the output indicator data on the networking and media outreach outputs. Performance data on the other outputs was not readily available. The RMAF identified a need for two survey/polls of US business and political elite in order to measure short-term outcomes, the first of which was to be used to establish baseline measures and be conducted in FY 2005-06. Performance data on short-term outcomes was unavailable because the survey/poll had not been completed at the time of the evaluation.

This was confirmed in the on-line survey responses of PERPA staff who said that they are involved in monitoring and reporting on advocacy projects through weekly detailed Advocacy Report Card and event reports. Other than the weekly reporting on advocacy activities, no tools have been developed to monitor the results of ERI projects, nor any baseline data collected. The majority of PERPA staff said that ERI partners are either not or only somewhat involved in monitoring and reporting on advocacy projects. A little less than half of the respondents admitted to never having collected data on the results of ERI projects, while the other half report semi-annually or annually on their Mission's advocacy program as a whole. "ERI-funded projects are captured in the regular reporting of the mission - we haven't tended to make distinctions as to whether projects were ERI or non-ERI supported." When asked how frequently they have used performance information on the results of ERI projects for management decision-making, more than half of the PERPA staff responded never, while the balance suggested that it is a regular part of their advocacy program review. One exception is the usage of the electronic advocacy tools, i.e., website, GoCCART and Connect2Canada, which is monitored on a monthly basis by the Washington Advocacy Secretariat to determine who uses these systems, on what issues and how the information is being accessed. PERPA staff made some insightful suggestions as to how performance monitoring of the ERI program can be improved. The text box above is one detailed example, while some other ideas are as follows: define process benchmarks to measure the before and after effect of ERI, NAL/Mission agreement on uniform performance measures, patience and an understanding of the hard-to-quantify nature of advocacy results is required.

Business Development Programming

How can performance monitoring of business development be improved?

"Tools to measure results, such as TRIO, clearly exist on the IBD side. On the PERPA side these tools, other than those such as the Advocacy Report Card are more difficult to evaluate. We have to satisfy several performance indicator systems which is confusing. We would favour one overall performance indicator protocol for all our activities."

     - HOM

"Accountabilities for results keep changing in a way which makes management difficult. What we need is a series of consistent measures for all sources of funding, not just those for ERI."

     - Commercial Program Manager

Regarding the Business Development Core Function, the IBD (CSF) Planning and Reporting Template is being used by all Missions to post their Annual Business (Action) Plans and by some to capture performance data, mostly output, on ERI funded business development initiatives. The ITCan Policy and Strategic Planning Division (TBX) provided a useful data dump of the reporting template for FY 2004-05 by sorting for business development initiatives that had reported an ERI contribution. Analysis of this data provided some insight into sector involvement and the breadth of trade, investment and S&T activities by Mission. At this stage in its development, this reporting system is not a reliable source of short-term outcome achievement data because it relies on a single data source, i.e., Commercial Officers, and the (CSF) short-terms outcomes do not align exactly with those of the ERI logic model.

The on-line survey responses of Commercial Officers indicated that they are generally involved in monitoring and reporting on ERI projects through the IBD Planning and Reporting system, TRIO and/or event/mission reports. It is noted, however, that TRIO has not been implemented in all U.S. missions. Many noted that Canadian partner involvement in reporting is on an as required basis and not systematic. While a variety of data collection techniques, e.g., written or email survey, telephone interviews, are used by Commercial staff to follow-up on missions and events, it is very Mission specific and in one third of the cases no data collection tools have been developed to gather data from clients on the results of ERI projects. Not surprisingly, no baseline data on ERI results has been collected by the majority of Missions, nor is data collected and reported on ERI projects on a regular basis. Generally, missions will review their IBD program performance as a whole and adjust their programming activities for the following year accordingly. As for TPI, reports exist for all TPI elements.  TPI mission participants have been surveyed as to their satisfaction and the results generated from their participation in TPI projects.  This is an annual exercise and will be repeated to track all TPI mission participants over the 5-year life-span of ERI to determine long-term technology partnering results.  A client evaluation and TPI evaluation summary report for FYs 2003/04 and 2004/05 was submitted to the ERI partners in August 2005.

The HOM and Commercial staff made some insightful suggestions in the above text box as to how performance monitoring of the ERI program can be improved. Some other ideas are as follows: clearer guidelines from the ERI Secretariat, a customized tool designed for quick and easy follow-up with clients, a greater role for partners in tracking and reporting and a better institutional tracking and reporting system.

Conclusion 23: The ERI Secretariat has not adequately fulfilled its responsibilities for establishing a robust performance measurement/monitoring system for advocacy and IBD involving all ERI Partners and Missions.

ERI Partners' Roles

The evaluation team was informed by the ERI Secretariat that it has not received any reports from the responsible FAC/ITCan Divisions on outputs or outcomes on the Advocacy or Business Development Core Functions. Other ERI partners readily admit to not being systematically involved in performance monitoring and reporting and look to the ERI Secretariat to provide guidance on processes, reporting tools/formats and technical support to assist them in fulfilling their performance measurement responsibilities.

The evaluation was provided with one progress/performance report. The draft "Report to Minster's on the First Two Years of Implementation" (June 2005) was presented by the Executive Coordinator to the DG Operations Committee and ADM Policy Committee on November 22, 2005. The report focuses on the Support Functions of Managing the Partnership and Increasing Canadian Representation for which the ERI Secretariat is directly accountable. Its use of available statistical data to report against the expected outputs and targets established for these programming areas is limited. Its extensive use of "Selected Success Stories", while it could enrich a well constructed performance story supported by statistical data, remains anecdotal and would not stand-up well to scrutiny as reliable evidence of performance. The concerns raised in the ADM Policy Committee ROD of the November 22nd with regard to the need for quantifiable measures of success are well advised.

An evaluation of performance monitoring and reporting would not be complete without an examination of the extent to which FAC and ITCan are reporting to Parliament on the ERI program. A word search of their Reports on Plans and Priorities (RPP) and Departmental Performance Reports (DPR) for "U.S. Enhanced Representation Initiative (ERI)" and its various derivatives was undertaken and the references documented and analysed. The FAC 2004-05 and 2005-06 RPPs contained little planning information of any significance on the ERI. The ERI contribution to FAC Strategic Outcomes was however extensively reported in 2004-05 DPR. The 2004-05 ITCan RPP contained some ERI planning information, but its contribution to ITCan Strategic Outcomes was not included in the Our Performance and Accomplishments section in the 2004-05 DPR.

Conclusion 24: The ERI Partners have not fulfilled their governance and implementation roles in ensuring that ERI performance was monitored and reported on annually.

4.3 Results Achievement / Success

4.3.1 Output Achievement
Partnership Development

The evaluation expected to find outputs achieved as per the ERI logic model: "A Strategy for Enhancing Canada's Effectiveness in the US" replicated in the table below.

Support Function: ERI Program Management
ActivitiesOutputs
Managing the PartnershipGovernance Events
Communications Program
Program Development and Management

Governance Events: Governance Events consist of the meetings of the various ERI Governance Committees. To March 31, 2006, a total of 44 meetings had been held, mostly of the three Standing Committees and the Director General Operations Committee. In addition, the regular governance of the ERI is facilitated through the use of sub-committees and electronic approval of time sensitive funding decisions. Governance is a significant activity for the ERI Secretariat for partnership building and management of the Initiative. In addition to ongoing governance committee meetings described elsewhere in this report, there have been two main governance events: the ADM/DG Strategic Planning Retreat at the Chateau Montebello, January 19-20, 2004 and the Canada-US Strategic Planning Conference at the Chateau Laurier, March 31 - April 1, 2004. Some ERI Partners have participated in HOM/STI/PERPA meetings and have undertaken Mission visits with the Executive Coordinator. All ERI Partners feel that these events and activities have met their expectations.

Communications Program: The role of the Communications Committee was unclear at the beginning causing the slow launch of activities. It took quite a while to launch the ERI Extranet, but once launched has proven to be a very useful tool. A communications strategy/plan was recently submitted to the ERICC, but was rejected. There were no other products or services of note that were brought to the attention of the evaluation. Problems with the communications program have been aggravated by ERI Secretariat difficulties in staffing/retaining staff in the Communications Manager position. Sixty percent (60%) of ERI Partners felt that the communications program has performed less than expected.

Program Development and Management: The ERI Secretariat has kept Partners informed of in-Canada involvement with non-Partners (federal, provincial government) and has made recent efforts to involve them as observers in governance committee meetings. ERI Partners have been involved in program planning sessions with Missions, but have not been sufficiently involved in terms of in-Canada outreach and coordination implementation activities. They are not fully aware of the many other demands placed on the Missions, e.g., managing visits, consular, dealing with natural disasters, provincial and municipal delegations, resulting in unrealistic expectation. Eighty percent ( 80%) of ERI Partners felt that program development and management has met or exceeded their expectations.

Conclusion 25: The majority of the expected outputs related to Governance Events and Program Development and Management are being achieved, while the Communications Program has been slow to produce significant outputs.

Increasing Canadian Representation

The evaluation expected to find most outputs achieved as per the 2003 TBS Submission and ERI logic model: "A Strategy for Enhancing Canada's Effectiveness in the US" replicated in the table below.

Support Function: ERI Program Management
ActivitiesOutputs
Increasing Canadian Representation in the U.S.Missions Infrastructure
Staffing Program
Honorary Consuls Program

This component of the ERI is near completion and there is ample evidence both quantitative and anecdotal that considerable progress toward the achievement of expected outputs has being made. Eighty percent (80%) of ERI partners assessed the achievement of mission infrastructure and staffing outputs as having either met or exceeded their expectations, while fifty percent (50%) assessed the Honorary Consuls Program as having achieved less than expected. The following assessment is based on statistical data provided by the ERI Secretariat and evaluation observations and findings that have been elaborated upon elsewhere in this report.

Mission Infrastructure: The 2003 TBS Submission calls for: "enhancing two existing offices to Consulates General (Miami and San Francisco); creating one new Consulate General (Denver); creating six satellite Consulates to existing Consulates General (Houston, San Diego, Raleigh-Durham, Phoenix, Philadelphia and Anchorage)" (pp. 28). Identified Missions were right-sized on schedule, with 18 Trade and 3 PERPA positions abolished or made vacant. The identified Missions were also expanded, leased and staffed according to the planned schedule in the TB Submission.

Staffing Program: Canadian representation has been increased through the creation of 80 positions (59 incremental positions to pre-ERI complement) of which 26 are Canada-Based Staff (CBS) and 54 are Locally Engaged Staff (LES). In addition another 10 CBS positions were created for the ERI Secretariat. These positions were created and staffed according to the original plan contained in the 2003 TB Submission and in conjunction with the leasing or expansion of Mission offices.

Honorary Consuls Program: The 2003 TBS Submission contained an ambitious plan for 10 Honorary Consuls named in FY 2003-04 and another ten in 2004-2005. "The network of Honorary Consuls will be established to facilitate advocacy and business development in smaller, yet still important, centres where the establishment of a Consulate is not feasible at this time"(pp. 29). Nine (9) of the ten (10) Honorary Consul appointments for identified locations were confirmed by Order in Council by FY 2004-05, while an additional five(5) were confirmed in FY 2005-06. This means that 70% of the positions have been filled one year later than expected.

Conclusion 26: The majority of the outputs related to increased Canadian representation capacity in the U.S. have been achieved as planned, with the exception of the Honorary Consul Program which is somewhat behind an ambitious schedule.

Advocacy Programming

The evaluation expected to find outputs achieved as per the ERI logic model: "A Strategy for Enhancing Canada's Effectiveness in the US" replicated in the table below.

Core Function: Advocating Canadian Trade and Political Interests
Key ActivitiesOutputs
Engaging Canadian stakeholdersAdvocacy coordination events
Advocacy training
Strategic partnerships
Coordinating messaging and researchAdvocacy materials and tools
Web-based messaging
Establishing priority advocacy issuesThematic advocacy strategies
Mission advocacy plans
Engaging US decision-makersNetworking, outreach and building strategic partnerships
Engaging US mediaOpEds/responses to negative press
Media coverage of Canada-US issues
Media tours/outreach

Although ERI funding of Advocacy only began in 2004-05, there is some evidence, mostly anecdotal, that progress toward the achievement of expected outputs is being made. Fifty percent (50%) of ERI Partners assessed the achievement of advocacy outputs as having met their expectations, while forty percent (40%) did not feel that they had enough information to make a valid assessment. The following assessment is based on evaluation observations and findings that may have been elaborated upon elsewhere in this report.

Advocacy coordination events: When ERI was set up, advocacy planning and programming were based on two ideas: i) proposals are submitted and projects implemented Mission by Mission; and ii) on content, the essential link is between DFAIT and a Mission. Over time, as experience grew, greater recognition has been given to multi-Mission activities, to coordination and the need for orchestrated campaigns. The establishment of the 5 Thematic Networks and the Meeting of Western Missions and Provinces in Denver, in December 2005 are examples of ERI facilitated responses to coordinate planning and better integrate the needs of Partners, OGDs and stakeholders in delivering advocacy and IBD. Such responses are becoming more frequent and the number of coordination events is rapidly increasing.

Advocacy training: While a number of officers report that they have attended training sessions and seminars on Advocacy and Public Diplomacy, they suggest that greater use could be made of opportunities as they arise. Thus, it was noted that the biennial meeting of the American Association of Canadian Studies in the United States, an event attended by many junior PERPA officers, could also serve as an occasion to conduct a training seminar on academic relations or any other topic germane to their responsibilities.

Strategic partnerships: Network relationships, both formal and informal, are rapidly emerging and serve increasingly as the foundation of issue-based strategic partnerships. Buffalo, for example, is actively promoting the creation of a local partnership of good neighbourliness by bringing together all the individuals and groups that have connections, family or even property on the other side of the Niagara River. On a larger scale, the Connect2Canada initiative is spawning sub-groups focussed on events (election night in Canada), regions (Florida and the snowbirds), hobbies (a common passion for hockey) or issues (the war against terrorism). At present, these initiatives contribute to the recruitment of new members and the creation of local networks. In time they should mature into strong partnerships.

Advocacy materials and tools: Weekly advocacy reports help to keep up with activities. The ERI intranet site and Evergreen cards are deemed useful and pertinent though there is a broad perception that more materials are required. New tools, e.g., GoCCART, Connect2Canada and Congress-Plus are being introduced.

Web-based messaging: Both DFAIT and Washington are taking initiatives. While the main Departmental website (www.fac-aec.gc.ca/) seems to remain the main source of information and vehicle for web-based communication, other sites, more specialized, more directly targeted at the United States are being introduced, as for instance, CanadianAlly.com and Connect2Canada. Messaging strategy still appears tentative. As example, buried into CanadianAlly, a site that deals essentially with security and defence, is a "Myth Buster" page on immigration, BSE, Softwood, Canada's Marijuana Laws, and the 2003 brownout in New England (the Myth Buster page was last revised in March 2005). Neither the Departmental and Embassy websites seem to have links to Myth Buster.

Thematic advocacy strategies: DFAIT and Missions are increasingly linked in network-based initiatives on the border, the Great Lakes, softwood lumber and other issues. In an effort to improve effectiveness, new tools are being developed, as for instance an outreach diary on Devils Lake to track each intervention and its impact. At present however, issue-based coordination, orchestration and thematic strategies, as now takes place on the Arctic Refuge, seem to be the exception rather than the norm. In 2005, to bolster its advocacy on softwood lumber, DFAIT turned to the private sector. As a result the campaign ran on a second track rather than through the Mission network and normal ERI advocacy programming.

Mission advocacy plans: Missions are filing their yearly advocacy plans, while some missions, e.g., Minneapolis, Denver and Buffalo are developing regional or State-level advocacy strategies.

Networking, outreach and building strategic partnerships: Missions are most active at grass-root level advocacy. Priority is given to establishing networks of contacts and partnerships. Missions feel plugged in and better equipped, confident of reacting faster and more effectively to future crises. They report that with ERI advocacy funding they make better use of pre-existing networks, e.g., Canadian studies, create new partnerships on priority issues and work as coordinated team, including with the Embassy.

OpEds/ responses to negative press: Washington asserts and Missions confirm that ERI is making it easier to address misinformation at an early stage and to deal with it at the local level, where it can be handled and resolved with relative ease and speed.

Media coverage of Canada-US issues: ERI is being used to fund major public relations campaigns, for instance to put across Canada's case on Softwood lumber. Missions report that ERI functions best as a flexible tool, when they can adjust an advocacy initiative to their local circumstances. For example, New York found that it was more effective to target its BSE advocacy on restaurants rather than the public at large.

Media tours/outreach: Missions appear to favour this type of project, their twin targets being the media and legislative staffers. As a result, a fair proportion of ERI advocacy projects pertain to media and outreach activities.

Conclusion 27: Progress has been made toward the achievement of related outputs through ERI funding of advocacy programming.

Business Development Programming

The evaluation expected to find outputs achieved as per the ERI logic model: "A Strategy for Enhancing Canada's Effectiveness in the US" replicated in the table below.

Core Function: Canada/U.S. Business Development
Key ActivitiesOutputs
Collecting Market IntelligenceU.S. market opportunities sector analyses
Promoting Canadian exports in U.S.Promotional events and other business development activities
Promoting U.S. investment in Canada
Developing the export readiness of Canadian FirmsProvision of export advisory services
Enhancing the development of technology and its commercialisationTPI missions to the U.S.

The ERI business development programming only started FY 2004-05, nevertheless the evaluation expected to find the types of output identified in the logic model. Fifty percent (50%) of ERI Partners assessed the achievement of business development outputs as having met their expectations, while forty percent (40%) did not feel that they had enough information to make a valid assessment. The following assessment is based on an analysis of 101 ERI-funded project reports obtained from the IBD Planning and Reporting system, as well as evaluation observations and findings that may have been elaborated upon elsewhere in this report.

U.S. market opportunities sector analyses: Approximately 10 percent of ERI-funded projects generate these types of outputs, including: market research/reports, study of R&D sectors for potential collaboration or investment, review of procurement or regulatory practices, reports on buyers' behaviour and newsletters to Canadian clients and partners. More of these outputs are being produced than otherwise possible because related costs are not eligible under other funding sources.

Promotional events: Approximately 60 percent of the ERI-funded projects can be linked to these traditional multi-purpose promotional events, e.g., trade shows, industry forums, conferences, etc., which are designed to market Canadian capabilities and exports, promote investment in Canada, encourage technology transfers and collect market intelligence. More of these types of events are being organised and attended by ERI Partners and business clients than otherwise possible.

Export advisory services: Approximately 15 percent of ERI-funded projects included the provision of export advisory services.

TPI missions: There have been a total of 66 TPI projects and missions.  There are reports available on all of these missions and projects.   Disbursements increased from $150,000 in the first year to a total of $338,000 this fiscal year.  Projections for FY 2006/07 are for budget expenditures of $600,000 and upwards of 40 TPI projects and missions anticipated.

Conclusion 28: Based on the available data, the ERI is generating the types of business development outputs in the proportions that are typical of an IBD program and in greater quantity than would otherwise be possible.

4.3.2 Outcome Achievement
Partnership Development

The evaluation expected to find some short-term outcome achievement as per the ERI logic model: "A Strategy for Enhancing Canada's Effectiveness in the US" replicated in the table below.

Support Function: ERI Program Management
ActivitiesOutputsShort-Term Outcomes
Managing the PartnershipGovernance EventsERI partnership development
Communications Program
Program Development and Management

Collaborative Working Relationships: The ERI Partners have all expressed their satisfaction with the collaborative working relationships established with FAC/ITCan, among themselves, with the ERI Secretariat and the Missions. They assessed the progress made toward partnership development as either significant or important. Of particular importance is the opening-up of the "diplomatic service" through the appointment of non-FAC/ITCan HOM and staff. The invitation to ERI Partner DMs to review HOM Performance Management Agreements (PMA) was generally viewed as innovative and emblematic of the whole-of-government approach to the horizontal management of the U.S. Mission network.

Mission staff acknowledged the improved working relations with ERI Partners as the latter become more familiar with programming modalities, but would like them to play a more important role in project implementation. The involvement of the regional development agencies had also had the added benefit of involving the Provinces and establishing partnership relations with the Missions.

Inclusive Processes: ERI Partners felt that FAC/ITCan should be commended on their efforts to ensure inclusive processes and willingness to consider lessons-learned. ERI Partners have been involved in HOM, STC/PERPA meetings, workshops, etc. to which in the past they were not invited. They are appreciative of the consensus decision-making process adopted by the governance committees, particularly the recent decision to allocate surplus resources to ERI Partner projects. This has lead to better integration of core program activities among a number of ERI Partners, e.g., AAFC advocacy initiatives.

Conclusion 29: Considerable progress has been made toward partnership development among current ERI Partners and the Missions.

Increasing Canadian Representation

The evaluation expected to find short-term outcomes achieved as per the ERI logic model: "A Strategy for Enhancing Canada's Effectiveness in the US" replicated in the table below.

Support Function: ERI Program Management
ActivitiesOutputsShort-Term Outcome
Increasing Canadian Representation in the U.S.Missions InfrastructureIncreased capacity for advocacy and business development in the U.S.
Staffing Program
Honorary Consuls Program

The right-sizing of territories and additional physical, human and financial resources has significantly increased Canada's representation capacity and coverage in U.S. regions and states that were otherwise left under-represented. The question now arises as to whether these additional resources are being employed in a manner that will benefit Canadian partners and business clients.

The evaluation was able to collect some data on the achievement of this outcome through site visits and a survey of key ERI Partner representatives. It found that seventy percent (70%) of ERI Partners assessed the progress made toward increased capacity for advocacy and business development as either important or significant. Advocacy programming is still expanding to accommodate an evolving and more complex requirement for advocacy, but the creation of new web-based tools, i.e., Connect2Canada and GoCCart have made messaging more timely and more evidence based. AAFC is very pleased with the Minneapolis based Advocacy Specialist who has already produced important results on key issues. Recent approval of five LES Thematic Network Coordinators for subject-specific, multi-mission themed advocacy addresses some strategic planning capability/capacity issues raised elsewhere in this report.

The business development program has managed to accommodate the extensive interest of ERI Partners, while balancing this with necessary strong involvement of OGDs and non-federal interests. ACOA has increased its business development primarily in the Eastern States and in Florida with the assistance of the newly expanded Miami Mission. The newly opened or expanded Missions have been instrumental in working with the Regional Offices of WD to develop projects and plans with important implications for business clients and the research and development community. NRC research institutes have improved their networks within the Missions and as a result of joint initiatives have positioned their research within the US academic community. More extensive multi-mission planning, e.g., western partners meeting, is adding new depth to ERI Partner involvement in business development programming.

Conclusion 30: The capacity for advocacy and business development has been improved significantly, however, its effectiveness could be enhanced through better planning and coordination.

Advocacy Programming

The evaluation expected to find some short-term outcome achievement as per the ERI logic model: "A Strategy for Enhancing Canada's Effectiveness in the US" in the table below.

Core Function: Advocating Canadian Trade and Political Interests
Key ActivitiesOutputsShort-term Outcomes
Engaging Canadian stakeholdersAdvocacy coordination events
Advocacy training
Strategic partneships
Increased domestic engagement and coordination
Raised awareness of:
  • Canada-US interdependence in North American security
  • Canada-US interdependence in North American economy
  • Improved settlement of joint Canada-US issues
Coordinating messaging and researchAdvocacy materials and tools
Web-based messaging
Establishing priority advocacy issuesThematic advocacy strategies
Mission advocacy plans
Engaging US decision-makersNetworking, outreach and building strategic partnerships
Engaging US mediaOpEds/responses to negative press
Media coverage of Canada-US issues
Media tours/outreach

ERI advocacy funding is helping missions grapple with big issues and respond to the post 9/11 mindset that "security trumps trade". It is too early however to say whether these projects will facilitate border management or the resolution of other major issues. Thirty percent (30%) of ERI Partners surveyed felt that progress was significant. Sixty-five (65%) were unable to assess short-term outcome achievement due to a lack of available performance information. The following assessment is based on evaluation observations and findings that may have been elaborated upon elsewhere in this report.

Domestic engagement and coordination: ERI has enabled missions to work more closely with ERI partners and to develop networks that go beyond the core partnership. It appears that ERI is encouraging the emergence of informal and formal networks and of issue-based thinking and strategizing. Missions report that they are most effective when they have the freedom to translate general guidance into local initiatives (e.g. New York with softwood lumber and BSE) and can readily draw on tools and resources (speech modules, fact-sheets, background briefs, contact information, etc.). Finally ERI is perceived as a practical handle on the "quasi-domestic foreign relationship" with US as it brings Canadian interests together and allows direct access to many Canadian partners.

Raised awareness: In the absence of objective feedback or opinion polls, the Missions and thus the evaluation can only make educated guesses as to the outcomes of their advocacy activities and projects. Their judgments are guarded though hopeful. The general perception is that Canada's role and contribution are still not well known in the United States. Missions often perceive advocacy as a prime function but not necessarily their main function. They tend to dwell on the positive aspects and opportunities of the Canada-US relationship in order to maximize their audiences and impact. They implement a host of practical projects designed to demonstrate that Canada is a reliable partner and friend of the US. There is some reluctance however to raise or deal with issues on which Canada and the US diverge (guns, marijuana, gay-marriage, Internet Pharmacies).

Conclusion 31: Substantial progress has been made toward increasing domestic engagement and coordinating outputs, but there is little evidence readily available of raised awareness of Canada-U.S. interdependence or settlement of joint issues due to a lack of surveying/polling.

Business Development Programming

The evaluation expected to find some indication of short-term outcomes achievement as per the ERI logic model: "A Strategy for Enhancing Canada's Effectiveness in the U.S" in the table below.

Core Function: Canada/U.S. Business Development
Key ActivitiesOutputsShort-term Outcomes
Collecting Market IntelligenceU.S. market opportunities sector analysesIncreased number of export-ready firms
Increased Canada-U.S. sharing of technologies
Raised awareness in the U.S. of investment opportunities in Canada
Raised awareness in the U.S. of Canadian technological capabilities
Raised awareness of U.S. market opportunities for Canadian firms
Promoting Canadian exports in the U.S.Promotional events and other business development activities
Promoting U.S. investment in Canada
Developing the export readiness of Canadian FirmsProvision of export advisory services
Enhancing the development of technology and its commercialisationTPI missions to the U.S.

Evaluation of these short-term outcomes has been problematic because of the absence of available performance monitoring data in the form of U.S. business community opinion polls, Client Survey of Canadian business, or data in even its most raw form, i.e., ITC project reports, etc. Since the evaluation did not plan any such primary data collection, there is really little that can be said with any certainty, other than the business development programming activities and output achievement are aligned to make a contribution to these short-term outcomes. Given that the absence of baseline data on any of the related indicators, any measurement of progress would be impossible in any case. Eighty percent (80%) of the ERI Partners surveyed were also unable to assess short-term outcome achievement due to a lack of available performance information.

Conclusion 32: There is little evidence at this stage to demonstrate the extent of achievement of the expected short-term outcomes for the business development program.

4.3.3 Unintended Consequences

Two unintended consequences worthy of note were identified during the course of the evaluation. The first is related to the opening of new Missions, particularly those with a business development mandate. Some pressure from local communities is building for these new Missions to assume a general representation function, including the provision of consular and immigration services. Some Missions have resisted these pressures, while others have allocated available resources to respond directly. The intended focus of these Missions on trade advocacy and business development could be adversely affected if this tendency continues.

The second is a direct consequence of the whole-of-government approach. The Missions play a central role in ERI program implementation and are encouraged to work in partnership with ERI Partners, OGD, Provinces, as well as their usual Canadian business clients and local U.S. business and political elite. The direct involvement with Missions by Canadian Partners without their off-setting organisational, logistic and administrative support has put additional pressure on Mission staff resources, adversely affecting the quality of advocacy and business development programming.

Conclusion 33: These unintended consequences should be integrated into future risk monitoring processes and performance reports.

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5.0 General Conclusions

5.1 Relevance

The contextual factors since the approval of the ERI have not changed. The U.S. and Canada remain one another's largest trading partners, the post 9/11 "security trumps trade" attitude in Washington prevails, and the outstanding trade and social issues hampering relations between the two countries remain the same. Heightened advocacy efforts remain essential to protecting our economic relationship with the U.S. which is crucial to continued Canadian prosperity.

The Memorandum to Cabinet and the 2003 TB Submission were appropriate and timely responses to the need to strengthen Canada-US relations and contained substantial contextual analysis and detailed plans for increasing Canadian representation capacity. A whole-of-government initiative was envisaged, but not all of key federal departments at that time chose to participate, leaving the ERI partnership incomplete and somewhat tilted toward economic and commercial interests and therefore toward business development.

While high level strategic planning retreats and broad stakeholder conferences identified a list of strategic priorities, there was little follow-through to ensure coordinated strategic planning for advocacy and business development programming. Required for each strategic priority was a determination of, e.g., relative "weight" or importance, proportionate budget allocations, programming parameters and implementation timelines, to complete the strategic planning process. Instead a responsive program delivery approach was adopted using the strategic priorities as a loose screen for reviewing project proposals. While strategic planning efforts continue on both the advocacy and commerce sides, neither the ERI Secretariat nor the non-DFAIT ERI Partners are currently involved which is inconsistent with the underlying values of a horizontal initiative.

The principal program design elements contained in the ERI RMAF remain appropriate, i.e., the logic model, risk management strategy and performance measurement strategy. The governance framework however is incomplete in several respects, but most importantly in presenting well-defined partner roles and responsibilities, explicitly identifying the lead department(s) and clarifying shared accountabilities. While there are some misunderstandings among ERI Partners, good overall working relations among them and with the ERI Secretariat and the Missions reflect significant partnership development.

General Conclusion 1: The ERI Objectives and basic program design characteristics remain relevant, however, a better unified whole-of-government approach to strategic planning and implementation should be implemented for an enhanced effectiveness in advocacy and IBD programming.

5.2 Program Implementation Issues

The right-sizing of territories, opening and upgrading of Missions and establishment of a network of Honorary Consuls has built new capacity in the U.S. regions of strategic importance to Canada's interests. This physcial presence is enhanced when HOM, PERPA and Commercial staff become involved in advocacy programming. Non-DFAIT staff employed in the Missions facilitates the involvement of ERI Partners and other Canadian stakeholders in business development, and potentially advocacy programming. The challenge now is to employ these resources in new and innovative ways that are more efficient and effective than in the past.

A Mission Perspective

"ERI funding is very specific and lacks flexibility. As the climate and priorities change at Post, the ERI budget doesn't keep pace. In fact, it imposes more administrative work than substantive, quality work that should be carried out to advance Canada's priorities."

     - PERPA Manager

ERI advocacy programming is based on a set of strategic priorities which are presumably to be used to guide Mission planning, financial management and reporting. While eight commitment titles based on the strategic priorities are used to account for project disbursements, thematic advocacy strategies for them have not been prepared to guide Mission planning and project development. The existence of distinctive proposal and approval processes, administrative and financial rules, implementation procedures and reporting requirements for the various advocacy and public diplomacy funding sources available to PERPA staff is an administrative burden and constraint to efficient advocacy programming. The absorptive capacity of the Missions to implement a rapidly increasing volume of advocacy programming is also limited by competing/coinciding Mission priorities, as well as limited human resources and local staffing constraints. Consequently, the effectiveness of ERI advocacy programming in addressing Canada's most pressing foreign policy issues has yet to reach its full potential.

Another Mission Perspective

"As a new program there are perhaps still some inefficiencies in the supporting processes - with some being too cumbersome for the size and nature of the programs and activities being handled. However, with time and experience this should improve. There is also the challenge of not yet having on-board all of the key departments and agencies so that from a coherent planning and implementing point of view not everyone is at the table and working from the same guidelines."

     - Commercial Program Manager

In the absence of a U.S. commercial strategy for the GOC, Missions are guided by the sector priorities and commercial interests of their Canadian government partners and business clients. ERI Partner involvement in identifying sector priorities, planning and implementation of joint business development projects is not however consistent across the Mission network. In comparison to their PERPA colleagues, Commercial Program Managers enjoy more delegated decision-making authority to manage their business development program which alleviates some of the complexities of managing multiple sources of funding. ERI-funded project proposals and reports reflect an emerging use of multi-partner, regional, interstate and innovative initiatives in priority sectors for stakeholders.

The late submission of the second TB Submission and RMAF and the resultant financial constraints impeded efficient advocacy and business development programming in FY 2005-06. While the ERI Secretariat has been effective in facilitating the governance committee structure at the operational level and in developing a common management culture among the partners, it has not adequately prioritized planning, internal communications and performance measurement/monitoring. ERI Partner top-level management have not fulfilled their governance roles for providing policy guidance, ensuring strategic program direction and coordination, nor for ensuring adequate oversight of program performance.

General Conclusion 2: The fact that both advocacy and business development are supported by multiple sources of funding, each having its own planning, implementation and reporting requirements, is creating administrative inefficiencies and will negatively impact on each program's effectiveness.

5.3 Results Achievement / Success

This formative evaluation was conducted at the mid-point of the ERI five-year funding period covering the first 2 ½ years. As is often the case, implementation of different components of the program was staggered over this period. The key activities of managing the partnership and increasing Canadian representation were launched immediately. The majority of the expected outputs of these activities have been achieved. At the outcome level, the current ERI Partners have developed good working relations among themselves, with the ERI Secretariat and the Missions. While the capacity of the Mission network in the U.S. for advocacy and business development has been substantially increased, the slow development of appropriate strategic and programming support may diminish the effective use of this newly developed capacity.

ERI involvement and funding of Advocacy programming began in FY 2004-05 as planned. While it is still in the early stages of implementation some progress has been made toward the achievement of expected outputs, especially those generated when engaging Canadian stakeholders, as well as coordinating messaging and research. The weakest area of programming is in developing thematic advocacy strategies which was integral to the business case argument for the approved ERI funding of five (5) LES Network Coordinator positions. It is expected that this weakness will be addressed shortly after the five Thematic Networks become operational. At the outcome level, substantial progress has been made toward increasing Canadian domestic engagement and coordination, but there is little evidence readily available of raised awareness of Canada-U.S. interdependence or settlement of joint issues. This is not to say that progress toward the achievement of these short term outcomes has not been made, but rather that the evaluation has no basis for judgement.

ERI funding of business development programming began in FY 2004-05, one year ahead of the planned implementation schedule. Based on the available data, this core function is generating the types of expected outputs in the proportions that are typical of an IBD program and in greater quantity than would otherwise be possible. Greater participation in and organisation of more or larger promotional events is predominant, as well as additional research into market opportunities and sector analyses incremental to that done by the DFAIT Market Research Centre. At the short-term outcomes level however there is little evidence to demonstrate the raised awareness in the U.S. of Canadian technological capabilities, investment opportunities in Canada, or of U.S. market opportunities for Canadian firms. This is not to say that progress toward the achievement of these short term outcomes has not been made, but rather that the evaluation has no basis for judgement.

However, it should be noted that the effective utilisation of the advocacy and business development capacity for outcome achievement is uncertain without effective strategic planning and program support functions.

General Conclusion 3: ERI Partners and the U.S. Mission network have greater capacity for advocacy and business development programming as evidenced in output achievement to date.

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6.0 Recommendations

6.1 General Recommendations

Recommendation 1: That the ERI Partnership be expanded to include other federal government departments with an interest and investment in Canada-US relations to better actualise the whole-of-government approach.

Recommendation 2: That current and future ERI Partners prepare a Governance Framework Agreement that is inclusive of partnership principles, explicitly identifying the lead Department(s), specifies financial management mechanisms, outlines the Partner's respective accountabilities, responsibilities and contributions to the ERI, and documents the role and responsibilities of the ERI Secretariat.

Recommendation 3: That DFAIT's management approaches to ERI advocacy and business development programming be strategically aligned, harmonised and synchronised to enable ERI Partners and Missions to plan comprehensively in a timely and integrated manner.

Recommendation 4: That the governance of the program, in particular with respect to policy guidance, strategic planning and performance reporting be strengthened.

6.2 Specific Recommendations

The following recommendations address Partnership Development and Governance issues:

Recommendation 5: That the ADM Policy Committee be chaired by DFAIT, with the ADMs of the NA Bureau and the World Markets Bureau serving as co-chairs.

Recommendation 6: That the ERI Secretariat include agenda items for the ADM Policy Committee meetings of high-level management importance related to policy issues, strategic planning and ERI performance.

Recommendation 7: That the DG Ops Committee be co-chaired by DFAIT and an ERI Partner, the former alternating every other year between the responsible DGs of the NA Bureau and the World Markets Bureau.

Recommendation 8: That the ERI Secretariat prepare draft TOR for the ADM Policy and DG Operations Committees which reflects ERI Partner roles and accountabilities.

Recommendation 9: That the Standing Committee for Advocacy and Business Development be responsible for ensuring strategic programming coherence in its assessment of all ERI Partner and Mission project proposals.

The following recommendations address Program Management and Communications issues:

Recommendation 10: That the ERI Secretariat in consultation with the Communications Committee prepare a draft communications plan which addresses internal communications issues.

Recommendation 11: That the ERI Secretariat together with DFAIT's relevant bureaux monitor and report on individual Mission absorptive capacity for advocacy and business development programming and make appropriate recommendations to further enhance that capacity to an optimum level.

The following recommendations address Canadian Representation Capacity issues:

Recommendation 12: That the ERI Secretariat together with DFAIT's relevant bureaux monitor and report on the adequacy of territorial coverage by Missions.

Recommendation 13: That the ERI Secretariat together with DFAIT's relevant bureaux monitor and report on the effectiveness of small leased offices to determine if they retain their primary focus and, if applicable, whether the model could be applied elsewhere.

Recommendation 14: That HOMs and Honorary Consuls be surveyed annually to assess the effectiveness of this approach to enhancing Canadian representation in regions covered by the Honorary Consuls.

Recommendation 15: That operational guidance be provided to Missions in the form of a standard MOU template and guidelines for determining appropriate accountabilities and relationships for hub/spoke/satellite arrangements.

The following recommendations address Advocacy and Business Development Programming issues:

Recommendation 16: That DFAIT's NA Bureau and World Markets Bureau coordinate their strategic planning for advocacy (i.e., thematic strategies) and business development (i.e., U.S. Commercial Strategy) with the ERI Secretariat and facilitate the involvement of ERI Partners, OGDs and other stakeholders in consultations when and as appropriate.

Recommendation 17: DFAIT should play a facilitator role for planning with the ERI Partners and OGDs to enable a more effective approach to advocacy program delivery.

Recommendation 18: That DFAIT and other ERI Partners facilitate the emergence of formal and informal Mission networks on all major advocacy issues.

Recommendation 19: That DFAIT's World Markets Bureau together with the ERI Secretariat identify and document past/ongoing examples of innovative business development projects with demonstrated effectiveness and make them accessible to Partners, Missions and other relevant international trade bureaux, e.g., World Markets, Business Development, Investment Partnership, Science and Technology, Trade Policy, etc. through the ERI Extranet.

Recommendation 20: That DFAIT's NA Bureau together with the ERI Secretariat identify and document past/ongoing examples of innovative advocacy projects/tools with demonstrated effectiveness and make them accessible to Partners, Missions and other relevant international trade bureaux, e.g., World Markets, Business Development, Investment Partnership, Science and Technology, Trade Policy, etc.

Recommendation 21: That the various Mission sponsored regional consultations with Partners, OGDs, Provinces, regional offices and HQ be examined to ascertain whether they should be formalised and systematically planned.

The following recommendations address Performance Measurement and Reporting issues:

Recommendation 22: That the ERI Secretariat coordinate performance measurement and reporting with DFAIT's NA Bureau and World Markets Bureau and provide guidance to ERI Partners and Missions on processes, reporting tools/formats and technical support to assist them in fulfilling their performance measurement responsibilities and that baseline data be gathered using FY 2005-06 to measure progress.

Recommendation 23: That the ERI Executive Coordinator submit an Annual Progress/Performance Report including output and outcome achievement to the DG Operations Committee which, upon acceptance, is referred to the ADM Policy Committee for approval. This should be competed shortly after fiscal year end to permit inclusion of ERI performance information in DFAIT's DPR.

Recommendation 24: That DFAIT include ERI planning information in its RPP and that it report on the ERI's contribution to its strategic outcomes in its DPR. This will require the ERI Secretariat to complete a Horizontal Initiative Template for inclusion in both every year.

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Annex A: Management Response

Background

Because of its size and vitality, the United States (U.S.) economy presents a tremendous opportunity for Canada in the areas of trade, technology and investment.

In recent years there has been a significant shift in U.S. population and economic strength toward the south and southwest of the U.S., regions where Canada is not as well known as in the older north and northeast. President Bush's election heralded a new era in which Canada would have to work much harder to win support from the U.S. administration on key issues.

The events of September 11, 2001 further emphasized the links between economic prosperity and national security and revealed a certain amount of vulnerability for Canada's prosperity in this time of major U.S. concern over national security. Canada's most important economic and political interests are at stake in the United States, meaning more must be done to assert Canada's views, resolve problems and avoid new ones.

The existing level of resources of the Government of Canada in the U.S. did not allow an appropriate and effective focus on advocacy and business development in such a large territory. In November 2003 the Treasury Board approved a submission from the departments that had formed a partnership for Enhanced Representation in the U.S. This provided a budget of $118.2 million over five years with approximately $60 million sourced from the fiscal framework and an equal amount from Partners beginning in September of fiscal year (FY) 2003-2004.

This approval was based on, among other requirements, a formative evaluation, to be completed in 2005, to assess the overall implementation of the ERI. Timely completion of the evaluation however, was not realized due to a necessary change in approach to the work by the Office of the Inspector General and by resource limitations of that office.

Management Conclusions of the Formative Evaluation

The Partnership is pleased to accept the Report in recognition of the value of a Formative Evaluation for cost-effective management.

The Partnership is pleased that the Formative Evaluation has found numerous positive results: "...the ERI Partners and the U.S. Mission network now have greater capacity for advocacy and business development programming as evidenced in output achievement to date such as advocacy materials and tools, development of regional or State-level strategies, media coverage, promotional events and market research reports, to name a few. In spite of the complexity of the ERI and the challenges which it presented, the implementation and operations management of the Initiative has gone very well. Mission establishments were created and staffed and management systems were put in place.

The secondary objective of the ERI is to accomplish the above through a partnership model that encourages government interaction to deliver programs and messaging in the U.S. in a cohesive and coordinated fashion. The evaluation has also concluded that overall working relations among ERI Partners, with the ERI Secretariat and the Missions are good and reflect significant partnership development."

The Partners note with satisfaction the many positive conclusions in the Report and are proud of the accomplishments of ERI implementation. The ERI has been recognized as a complex horizontal initiative and is notable for the processes created for funding advocacy and business development activities, the financial control and reporting processes which were established, the Partner wide staffing process, Partner opportunities for Temporary Duty assignments and the whole governance committee process.

Other notable achievements include the development and implementation of the innovative Honorary Consul program, the Spousal Employment Pilot Project, and the new "light" Consulate format.

An ongoing challenge that is being successfully met by the Secretariat is the management of the ERI budget. Funding was originally established in 2003 before the ERI Secretariat was created and without a detailed implementation schedule and related budget. As a consequence, there has been an imbalance between annual funding and annual expenditures. To resolve this, the Secretariat has had to vigilantly track in-year surpluses, validate Partners' programming requirements and establish reprofile and/or carry-forward requests to central agencies.

Recommendations

The ERI Partnership is in agreement with most of the recommendations and will take specific actions to address them where still necessary. In the case of other recommendations, the Partnership has noted its views.

Recommendation 1:

That the ERI Partnership be expanded to include other federal government departments with an interest and investment in Canada-US relations to better actualize the whole-of-government approach.

Response

The Partnership is in agreement with this recommendation, which is based on a condition of the November 2003 Treasury Board approval. The ERI Secretariat has canvassed the most likely departments to join the ERI and these have been regularly participating as non-voting members in various meetings of the ERI Governance committees.

Action Plan

Departments and Agencies of the GOC having direct involvement with Canada-U.S. issues in advocacy and business development will be asked to join an expanded (ERI) Partnership. There are several options to be explored for doing this.

Tentative completion dates
  • The invitation will be made this fall. The specific timing of this will have to coincide with any initiatives taken in respect to ERI renewal.
Responsibility
  • ERI Secretariat

Recommendation 2:

That current and future ERI Partners prepare a Governance Framework Agreement that is inclusive of partnership principles, explicitly identifying the lead Department(s), specifies financial management mechanisms, outlines the Partners' respective accountabilities, responsibilities and contributions to the ERI, and documents the role and responsibilities of the ERI Secretariat.

Response

The Partnership agrees with this recommendation. Much of the information currently exists, though in stand-alone documents such as committee terms of reference and the Program Funding Guidelines.

Action Plan

Partners will be asked to define their accountabilities, responsibilities and the contributions that they will make to the Partnership and a comprehensive evergreen administration manual will be compiled.

Tentative completion dates
  • Definition of Partner roles will be initiated by October 31, 2006 and scheduled for completion by current Partners by January 31, 2007
  • Definition of the Secretariat's role will follow the same schedule.
  • a Governance Framework Agreement incorporating all of the above will be concluded by March 31, 2007
Responsibility
  • ERI Secretariat to initiate, coordinate and draft
  • ERI Partners to provide input

Recommendation 3:

That DFAIT's management approaches to ERI advocacy and business development programming be strategically aligned, harmonized and synchronized to enable ERI Partners and Missions to plan comprehensively in a timely and integrated manner.

Response

The Partnership accepts the principle that programming be aligned to meet identified priorities and that Partner and Mission planning be harmonized with respect to content and synchronized in respect to timing. It is noted however that, particularly with respect to advocacy projects, these often cannot be planned in advance as activities/projects must be organized to take advantage of opportunities to address current/emerging issues. Business development projects on the other hand are driven by the needs of specific company clients.

The Program Funding Guidelines for 2006-07 approved by the ERI DG Operations Committee set out different processes to take these factors into account. The Program Funding Guidelines and funding allocations for 2007-08 will similarly take emerging issues and government priorities into consideration.

It is noted that the re-integration of DFAIT will allow for easier coordination of planning.

Action Plan

The planning cycle will be advanced so that draft Mission/Partner plans will be ready for review by all concerned at the time of the STC/PERPA meetings in early February.

Tentative completion dates
  • Planning instructions for 2007-08 will be communicated by October 31, 2006.
Responsibility
  • ERI Secretariat to facilitate discussions on the scheduling of integrated planning
  • DFAIT (FAC and ITCan) to implement planning for advocacy and business development

Recommendation 4:

That the governance of the program, in particular with respect to policy guidance, strategic planning and performance reporting be strengthened.

Response

The Partnership accepts this recommendation, particularly with respect to developing performance measurement and reporting systems within Partner organizations. It is also recognized that the focus of ERI programming, resource allocations against Strategic Priorities, needs to be reviewed and brought to the attention of senior levels of the ERI Governance structure.

Action Plan

The ADM Policy Committee will be increasingly engaged in decision-making re the ERI.

Tentative completion dates
  • Ongoing.
Responsibility
  • The ERI Secretariat and Partners will jointly propose suitable agenda materials to give policy structure to the focus of ERI activities

Recommendation 5:

That the ADM Policy Committee be chaired by DFAIT, with the ADMs of the NA Bureau and the World Markets Bureau serving as co-chairs.

Response

With the re-integration of DFAIT, the ADM for North America has responsibility for both advocacy and business development activities in the U.S.A.

Action Plan

No action required.

Recommendation 6:

That the ERI Secretariat include agenda items for the ADM Policy Committee meetings of high-level management importance related to policy issues, strategic planning and ERI performance.

Response

The Partnership endorses this recommendation while noting that the responsibility for identifying, analyzing and recommending policy for the ERI resides with the Partners and is implemented by the Secretariat at their direction.

Action Plan
  • The ERI Secretariat and Partners will jointly propose suitable agenda materials, particularly in respect to ERI operational policy, planning and performance to give policy structure to the focus of ERI activities
  • Terms of Reference will be developed for the ADM Policy Committee defining the scope of this Committee; this will give guidance to the nature of agenda items to be discussed by this committee.
Tentative completion dates
  • Terms of Reference will be developed in draft form by November 30, 2006.
Responsibility
  • ERI Secretariat and Partners

Recommendation 7:

That the DG Ops Committee be co-chaired by DFAIT and an ERI Partner, the former alternating every other year between the responsible DGs of the NA Bureau and the World Markets Bureau.

Response

The Partnership appreciates the value that the Executive Coordinator of the ERI has provided as Chair of the DG Committee during the formative period of the ERI. The Partners believe that a non-voting chair is the best guarantee of impartial management. In any event, the Executive Coordinator reports to the ADM of North America, DFAIT.

It is also noted that the chair function requires a full time commitment.

Action Plan

No action is required as the Response reflects the current practice.

Recommendation 8:

That the ERI Secretariat prepares draft TOR for the ADM Policy and DG Operations Committees which reflect ERI Partner roles and accountabilities.

Response

The Partners fully support this recommendation and note that Terms of Reference have already been prepared and approved for the DG Operations Committee.

Action Plan

Terms of Reference for the ADMs' Policy Committee will be developed in draft form by November 30, 2006.

Responsibility
  • ERI Secretariat with Partners

Recommendation 9:

That the Standing Committee for Advocacy and Business Development be responsible for ensuring strategic programming coherence in its assessment of all ERI Partner and Mission project proposals.

Response

The Partnership accepts this recommendation in principle noting that this responsibility is now performed by DFAIT/NAD in respect to Advocacy projects costing less than $50,000 and by the ABD Committee for projects in excess of this amount. The responsibility for ensuring strategic programming coherence for business development projects currently rests with the ERI Secretariat. The ABD Committee has been informed of Partners and missions plans and projects and will be asked to discuss how its oversight role could be used to determined how best to achieve strategic programming coherence.

Action Plan

The approval process for advocacy and business development projects will be reviewed by the ABD Committee and recommendations will be made to the DG and ADM committees.

Responsibility
  • ERI Secretariat and ABD Committee

Recommendation 10:

That the ERI Secretariat in consultation with the Communications Committee prepares a draft communications plan which addresses internal communications issues.

Response

The Partnership fully supports this recommendation and also plans to address communications external to the ERI Partnership that relate to the ERI.

Action Plan

A communication strategy and a near-term implementation plan will be prepared by January 31, 2007.

Responsibility
  • ERI Secretariat

Recommendation 11:

That the ERI Secretariat together with DFAIT's relevant bureaux monitor and report on individual Mission absorptive capacity for advocacy and business development programming and make appropriate recommendations to further enhance that capacity to an optimum level.

Response

The Partnership fully supports this recommendation. While posts already must give their concurrence on individual Partner projects, they will also be asked periodically to comment on their ability to respond to their total workload. It is noted in this respect that the Partners have been asked as part of the ongoing financial management of the 2006-07 budget, to identify any additional resource requirements at the missions.

Action Plan

The absorptive capacity of missions will continue to be monitored by the ERI Secretariat and findings reported to DGs' Operations Committee.

Responsibility
  • ERI Secretariat

Recommendation 12:

That the ERI Secretariat together with DFAIT's relevant bureaux monitor and report on the adequacy of territorial coverage by Missions.

Response

The Partnership fully supports the need for regular monitoring of territorial coverage. There has been ongoing work on this issue and it is recognized that a more formal approach may be useful.

Action Plan

A review will be conducted.

Responsibility
  • ERI Secretariat with direct involvement of DFAIT/NAL

Recommendation 13:

That the ERI Secretariat together with DFAIT's relevant bureaux monitor and report on the effectiveness of small leased offices to determine if they retain their primary focus and, if applicable, whether the model could be applied elsewhere.

Response

The Partnership fully supports this recommendation. This work is ongoing and certain remedial actions respecting the facilities of the new missions have already been taken. The Secretariat will initiate a formal review of the new missions to ensure cost-effectiveness.

Action Plan

A review will be initiated by the Secretariat, in conjunction with DFAIT (NAM, NAD, WMA and the Property Bureau), and completed early in fiscal 2007-08. The findings will be brought before the DG and ADM Committees.

Responsibility
  • ERI Secretariat and DFAIT (NAM)

Recommendation 14:

That HOMs and Honorary Consuls be surveyed annually to assess the effectiveness of this approach to enhancing Canadian representation in regions covered by the Honorary Consuls.

Response

The Partnership accepts this recommendation in principle but considers annual surveying to be excessive. Discussions regarding the effectiveness of Honorary Consuls will be scheduled during the annual meetings of HOMs and Honorary Consuls.

Action Plan

Meeting Agendas for the annual meetings of HOMs and Honorary Consuls will be made to include discussion items respecting the effectiveness of the use of Honorary Consuls. The results of such discussions will be reported to the Partners.

Responsibility
  • ERI Secretariat and DFAIT (NAD)

Recommendation 15:

That operational guidance be provided to Missions in the form of a standard MOU template and guidelines for determining appropriate accountabilities and relationships for hub/spoke/satellite arrangements.

Response

The Partnership accepts the principle of this recommendation but notes that sectoral or issue responsibilities are as much determined by staff expertise as by functions and territory. Most hub and spoke relationships are already covered by MOUs. A template defining roles and responsibilities will be developed and applied to the various hub/spoke/satellite arrangements to promote operational effectiveness.

Action Plan

A template defining roles and responsibilities will be developed by December 31, 2006 and completed by January 31, 2007.

Responsibility
  • ERI Secretariat with direct support from DFAIT/NAL

Recommendation 16:

That DFAIT's NA Bureau and World Markets Bureau coordinate their strategic planning for advocacy (i.e., thematic strategies) and business development (i.e., U.S. Commercial Strategy) with the ERI Secretariat and facilitate the involvement of ERI Partners, OGDs and other stakeholders in consultations when and as appropriate.

Response

The Partnership supports this recommendation, noting that the North America Commercial Relations Bureau with support from various Bureaux of the Investment and Innovation Branch will be responsible for leading the planning of business development strategy.

All Partners will be asked, as appropriate, for their interest in leading strategic planning within areas of their mandate.

Action Plan

Lead Partners will be identified at the next DGs' Operations Committee meeting in October, 2006, and will be asked to define their strategic direction, planning processes and any intermediate results required by December 31, 2006.

Responsibility
  • ERI Secretariat to initiate and coordinate
  • Partners to develop the approach

Recommendation 17:

DFAIT should play a facilitator role for planning with the ERI Partners and OGDs to enable a more effective approach to advocacy program delivery.

Response

The Partnership fully supports this recommendation and recognizes that advocacy and business development are interrelated.

Action Plan

The widespread use of regional planning among missions, Partners, and other stakeholders will facilitate integration of advocacy with business development requirements. A comprehensive list of issues requiring advocacy initiatives will be developed.

Tentative completion dates
  • A series of recommended regional planning events will be determined by September 30, 2006.
  • A list of major advocacy initiatives required will be compiled by January 31, 2007.
Responsibility
  • DFAIT Partners to lead

Recommendation 18:

That DFAIT and other ERI Partners facilitate the emergence of formal and informal Mission networks on all major advocacy issues.

Response

The Partnership supports the concept of missions and Partners working in networks. Formal networks will be established and resourced as required/opportune. Informal networks are free to emerge in response to ongoing issues and mission/staff involvements.

Five regional networks have already been established to address issues of strategic interest/concern to Canada.

Action Plan

No proactive actions are required at this time; it will be important to recognize the need of such networks and to encourage/support their formation as required/opportune.

Responsibility
  • ERI Partners

Recommendation 19:

That DFAIT's World Markets Bureau together with the ERI Secretariat identify and document past/ongoing examples of innovative business development projects with demonstrated effectiveness and make them accessible to Partners, Missions and other relevant international trade bureaux, e.g., World Markets, Business Development, Investment, Extranet.

Response

The Partnership fully supports this recommendation. It is noted that the U.S.- related responsibilities of the DFAIT's World Markets Bureau are now assigned to the North America Commercial Relations Bureau.

Action Plan

No action is required as reports of such events are being posted to the ERI Extranet on an ongoing basis.

Recommendation 20:

That DFAIT's NA Bureau together with the ERI Secretariat identify and document past/ongoing examples of innovative advocacy projects/tools with demonstrated effectiveness and make them accessible to Partners, Missions and other relevant international trade bureaux, e.g., World Markets, Business Development, Investment Partnership, Science and Technology, Trade Policy, etc.

Response

The Partnership fully supports this recommendation. It is noted that the U.S.- related responsibilities of the DFAIT's World Markets Bureau are now assigned to the North America Commercial Relations Bureau.

Action Plan

No action is required as reports of such events are being posted to the ERI Extranet on an ongoing basis.

Recommendation 21:

That the various Mission sponsored regional consultations with Partners, OGDs, Provinces, regional offices and HQ be examined to ascertain whether they should be formalized and systematically planned.

Response

The Partnership supports this recommendation in principle. DFAIT and the ERI Secretariat will work together to establish the concept of regional planning across the U.S., generally using the model used for the Western Missions in 2005.

Action Plan

The degree of how formalized and comprehensive regional planning should become will be examined by Partners and the Secretariat by September 30, 2006 and appropriate recommendations will be made for discussion at upcoming ERI governance committee meetings.

Responsibility
  • ERI Secretariat to initiate and coordinate
  • Partners to develop and implement

Recommendation 22:

That the ERI Secretariat coordinates performance measurement and reporting with DFAIT's NA Bureau and World Markets Bureau and provide guidance to ERI Partners and Missions on processes, reporting tools/formats and technical support to assist them in fulfilling their performance measurement responsibilities and that baseline data be gathered using FY 2005-06 to measure progress.

Response

The Partnership supports this recommendation in principle. The importance of performance measurement is fully recognized. The Secretariat will work with Partners to define information needs. Performance measurement systems meeting the needs of the ERI, as defined in its RMAF, must come to exist and be operational in Partner organizations. Baseline data will be gathered as soon as there is Partner agreement on results indicators. It is recognized furthermore that performance management must not only be coordinated in DFAIT with the North America Branch but also with other Branches providing direction in respect to performance management (for example, investment and science and technology).

Action Plan
  1. The ERI Secretariat will meet and work with Partners to establish a measurement framework in consideration of RMAF requirements. This will be established by March 31, 2007.
  2. The Secretariat will, with Partners, implement a requirement for project reporting to document the strategy, utilization of funds and results achieved by ERI projects. This will be implemented by March 31, 2007 for projects funded and completed in 2006-07.
Responsibility
  • ERI Secretariat to coordinate and identify information requirements
  • Partners to develop and implement workable measurement framework
  • Partners to submit reports on ERI funded projects and events to the ABD Committee

Recommendation 23:

That the ERI Executive Coordinator submit an Annual Progress/Performance Report including output and outcome achievement to the DG Operations Committee which, upon acceptance, is referred to the ADM Policy Committee for approval. This should be completed shortly after fiscal year end to permit inclusion of ERI performance information in DFAIT's DPR.

Response

The Partnership supports this recommendation in principle, noting that an Annual Report for FY 05-06 has been completed. The Partnership will provide this document and future Annual Reports to DFAIT corporate planners for possible inclusion in DFAIT's DPR.

Action Plan

The ERI annual Report will be made available to DFAIT corporate planning

Responsibility
  • ERI Secretariat

Recommendation 24:

That DFAIT include ERI planning information in its RPP and that it report on the ERI's contribution to its strategic outcomes in its DPR. This will require the ERI Secretariat to complete a Horizontal Initiative Template for inclusion in both every year.

Response

The Partnership fully supports this recommendation. The suggested information and horizontal templates have been prepared by the Secretariat for corporate planning in recent years and will continue to be completed.

Action Plan

The Secretariat will continue to respond to the information requirements of DFAIT Corporate Planning.

Responsibility
  • ERI Secretariat

1 Signed by the Ministers of Industry, International Trade, Foreign Affairs, and Agriculture and Agri-Food.

2 Reference TB decision November 2003.

3 Reference TB decision June 2005.

4 A summary report was prepared titled "Key Expected Results and Strategic Priorities for the Enhanced Representation Initiative and Canada-US Relations".

5 A report on the conference or list of recommendations was not available.

6 Although there were three Departments, there were in fact four Ministers who signed, including the two Ministers for the Departments of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, and one each for Industry and Agriculture.

7 The ERI partnership consists of: Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Industry Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Western Diversification, Canada Economic Development - Quebec, and the National Research Council.

8 Linking the ERI Horizontal Program Activity Architecture (HPPA) with the Departmental PAA(s).

9 The auditor general defines accountability as - a relationship based on the obligation to demonstrate, review and take responsibility for performance, both the results achieved in light of agreed expectations, and the means to achieve them.

10 It is common practice for the lead department to host the secretariat.

11 Actual disbursements for FY 2005-06 were not yet available at the time of the evaluation.

12 In 2003-04 the DFAIT NA Bureau generated $1 of leveraged revenue for every $7 of CSF funding the Missions received. Formative Evaluation of the Trade Commissioner Service, Client Service Fund, March 2005.

Office of the Inspector General

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Date Modified:
2012-09-21