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Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

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An Evaluation of Co-Location Arrangements and The Policies and Practices Towards Provincial/Territorial Representation Abroad

June 2009

(PDF Version, 336 KB) *

Table of Contents

Abbreviations, Acronyms and Symbols

APD
International Platform Branch - Representation Abroad Secretariat
CBS
Canada Based Staff
CIC
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
CMM
Committees on Mission Management
DFAIT
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
EAC
Evaluation Advisory Committee
EDC
Export Development Canada
HOM
Head of Mission
IMC
International Marketing Centers (Ontario)
LES
Locally Engaged Staff
MCO
Management Consular Officer
MITNET
Departmental telecommunication network connecting DFAIT, its partners and Canadian missions abroad
MOU
Memorandum of Understanding
MRI
Ministère des Relations Internationales (Québec)
NAFTA
North America Free Trade Agreement
OGD
Other Government Departments (Federal-Canada)
PERPA
Political Economic Relations and Public Affairs
PRD
Intergovernmental Relations and Public Outreach Bureau, DFAIT
SIGNET
Departmental computer network connecting DFAIT, its partners and Canadian missions abroad
SPA
Special Purpose Account
STC
Senior Trade Commissioner
TBS
Treasury Board Secretariat
TRIO
Database Connecting Clients, Contacts and Colleagues
UNESCO
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

Acknowledgements

This evaluation could not have been made possible without the collaboration of many individuals in Canada, in the provinces, in Canada's Diplomatic Missions and the diplomatic and commercial representatives of foreign countries.

The evaluation team would like to express their appreciation to all who contributed their time, energy, comments and advice for this evaluation. In particular, we would like to acknowledge:

  • The Evaluation Advisory Committee members, who were generous in committing their time and energy in providing their guidance and advice;
  • The representatives of provincial/territorial governments both in provincial/territorial capitals and abroad, who provided detailed information about their activities and comments on their relationships with Canadian missions; and,
  • The PRD and APD Secretariat, who provided documents, support, dedication and energy. PRD in particular, was instrumental on international comparisons.

Finally, but not least, the Heads of Mission, Canada-Based Staff and Locally-Engaged Staff, stakeholders, Canadian and external clients in China, Japan, India, Germany, United Kingdom, Mexico and the United States of America who were hospitable in their reception, and helpful in ensuring that the evaluation team was able to complete their data collection in a timely (and friendly) manner.

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Executive Summary

Evaluating the relevance and performance of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada's (DFAIT) policies and practices towards facilitating and supporting provincial representation abroad, at this present time of a global economic crisis, offers a timely assessment of these practices. Since Confederation, the Government of Canada has been supportive of provincial-territorial representation abroad with few exceptions. It also has adjusted to the changes in the nature and extent of provincial representation abroad both in times of fiscal restraint and economic prosperity.

In compliance with the TB Evaluation Policy and DFAIT's Evaluation Five-Year Plan, this evaluation examines the Department's co-location with provincial representatives at Canadian Diplomatic Missions. It also explores the Department's relationship with and practice towards provincial stand-alone offices and/or through independent contractual arrangements.

The increased presence and role of sub-national entities and their impact on international affairs highlighted the importance of assessing the role of DFAIT and how it manages federal-provincial international relations.

At present, Alberta (AB), British Columbia (BC) Ontario (ON) and Quebec (QC) are the most active provinces abroad with representation in 17 countries, representing 15% of countries where Canada has representation. Alberta and Quebec have both co-location offices and maintain a network of stand-alone offices. Ontario has co-location offices and a number of locally engaged in-market consultants, while BC has only employed locally engaged consultants to represent its interest.

Given the sensitive nature of federal-provincial relations in general and the relatively limited availability of public information on these arrangements, the methodology for this evaluation was based primarily on interviews and survey data from co-located and stand-alone offices. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with provinces active abroad, federal representatives, business clients, representatives of host countries and representatives of other countries with sub-national representation abroad. Based on the analysis of interview data, the evaluation findings; in summary, showed that:

  • Canada, among like-minded federal nations, has an open, inclusive and innovative model in its relationship and co-location arrangements with the provinces.
  • Federal practices and policies towards provincial representation are viewed positively by provinces and are relevant to enhancing Canadian presence and promoting Canadian economic interests abroad.
  • Provincial offices provide value-added to missions' programs and are considered assets that bring extra resources and specialized expertise.
  • Federal-provincial relations, while effective, are subject to challenges in terms of integration with mission management, which continues to be in a process of evolution and improvement. More specifically:
    • The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is an effective but limited tool to manage federal-provincial relationships in the case of co-location.
    • There is sound co-operation and good integration at Mission between Federal officials and Provincial Representatives. However, respecting the separate character of federal and provincial programs is a key challenge at missions.
    • Federal officers are careful not to share sensitive information and give undue trade and investment advantages to provinces that are present on site, and this requires close attention and vigilance.
    • Increased coordination of priorities and planning between federal and provincial officials could lead to better cooperation and synergies.
    • There is no systematic mechanism for reporting on results achieved from the co-location program.
    • The Canada brand is positively affected by provincial representation as most provinces brand themselves as "Canada" and they all have an interest in promoting a positive image of Canada.
    • The precise impact of the presence of provinces within Canadian missions on the use of federal resources is difficult to quantify but appears to be neutral.
    • While a lot of progress has been made to simplify and improve the accounting procedures, there is still a need to increase the level of understanding of these procedures among federal officials and provincial co-locators.

The evaluation has established four main recommendations to continue to promote efficiencies and effectiveness:

  • That Missions aim at reaching an acceptable balance between the objectives of sound integration of provincial representatives and the respect for each level of government distinct mandates.
  • That the Department and its Missions adopt measures to increase the knowledge and understanding of the respective roles and mandates of federal and provincial representatives and of the policies and practices guiding this relationships with provincial representatives.
  • That DFAIT, provinces and missions continue to improve the efficiency of the administrative and financial procedures related to its co-location practices.
  • That DFAIT develop objective performance indicators to measure its activities towards the effective management of its policies, practice and programs with regard to provincial representation abroad subject to further dialogue in the Department and with provinces and territories.

Please refer to "Section 6: Recommendations" for a more detailed breakdown.

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1.0 Introduction

1.1 Purpose

The purpose of this evaluation is to assess the relevance and performance of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada's (DFAIT) current formal co-location arrangement with Canadian Provinces and Territories. The evaluation also examines the Department's relationship with and policy towards other models of provincial representation including stand-alone provincial representative offices and independent contractual arrangements. In addition, this evaluation addresses to what extent can and should the provinces integrate at missions.

Provincial representation abroad raises many issues in the field of international relations. The two key issues that this evaluation examined were the increased presence of sub-national interests abroad and their impact on international affairs as related to their jurisdictions.

According to Treasury Board Secretariat's (TBS) policy on evaluation (April 2009), the main focus of the evaluation is to assess relevance and performance. Evidence gathered on the relationship with provincial representatives in general and co-location arrangements in particular have therefore been assessed on those evaluation criteria with regard to Canadian, Departmental, and Provincial interests.

1.2 DFAIT's Management of Intergovernmental Relations

At Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, intergovernmental affairs represent a crucial area in the provision of activities aimed to advance Canada's foreign policy as well as its investment and trade priorities. This is accomplished by building an international environment that is favourable to Canada's political and economic interests.

The Intergovernmental Relations and Public Outreach Bureau (PRD) develops policies and practices, and provides advice to ensure that intergovernmental affairs programming reflects the government's international priorities.1 With regard to federal-provincial-territorial relations, these activities involve, but are not limited to, the provision of advice on inter-governmental relations, consultations with the provinces, federal-provincial-territorial meetings, negotiation and establishment of MOUs with the provinces as well as policies, practices towards provincial representation abroad. These policies and practices, and in particular co-location with the provinces, are the subject of this evaluation, and are an area of responsibility for this Bureau.

To be more specific, when a province or territory decides to pursue representation abroad, the provinces may present a co-location proposal to DFAIT as a form of representation abroad. In this case, PRD interacts and faciliates the co-location process with provinces in coordination with APD (International Platform Branch - Representation Abroad Secretariat).2 The Department offers co-location at Canada's Diplomatic Missions on a cost-recovery basis.

Based on its recent and regular consultation processes with provincial officials, PRD believes that provincial representation will either remain at the current level or grow slowly in the short-term. One possible mitigating factor would be the current global economic crisis, which might affect the capacity of provinces to sustain or grow their presence abroad. In any case, the Department should be well prepared to manage the relationship to promote Canadian interests globally. This evaluation, therefore, is timely in its effort to analyse situations where difficulties or challenges arise.

1.3 Evaluation Objectives and Scope

The objectives of the evaluation are:

  • To examine the linkages between co-location and the Department's strategic outcomes and government-wide priorities.
  • To assess the role of DFAIT in supporting provincial representation abroad.
  • To assess the various practices of Canadian Diplomatic Missions concerning their relationships with provincial representatives, co-located or in stand-alone arrangements.
  • To demonstrate to what extent the co-location arrangement is efficient and is achieving results.
  • To derive best practices from the relationships between Canadian Diplomatic Missions and provincial representatives, particularly those in co-location, in order to advise the Department on best processes and practices.

The evaluation focuses on the following:

  • Co-location procedures and practices from both the perspective of Federal officials and provincial representatives;
  • The nature and extent of the relationship between federal and provincial representatives abroad in areas such as inter-intra communication, information-sharing, collaboration/co-operation aspects of working relationships (including reporting relationships and lines of authority), as well as synergies, coverage and equity in the delivery of federal services;
  • The impact of the co-location relationship on Canada - its image, brand and interests;
  • The Department's role as a facilitator of provincial interests such as immigration, culture, trade and investment and labour to assess its impact as a value-added service to Canada's priorities and its foreign policy initiatives; and,
  • The relevant issues which promote and/or impede the effective collaboration of the federal-provincial representation in the pursuit of their common and respective objectives in other countries.

1.4 Context

1.4.1 Origin and Growth of Provincial Presence Abroad

Canada has a long history of supporting sub-national interests. Since Confederation, the federal government has continued to support and represent sub-national interests in its international efforts in recognition of the impact of international matters on areas of provincial jurisdiction.

The provinces' interest in international relations has been expressed, among other ways, in the opening of provincial offices abroad. One of the first active provinces in promoting its interests internationally was Quebec, which opened a bureau in Paris in 1882. This was followed by seven other provinces which opened representative offices in London between 1885 and 1913. At the time, these were not foreign representation because Canada was a Dominion of the British Empire.

The 1960s, '70s and '80s were a time of strong growth in provincial representation abroad. Their offices rose from 9 in 1960 (6 in London alone) to 76 in 1991. In 1991, every province had at least one foreign office. Several of these offices were quite large, offering a wide range of services, and were managed by provincial civil servants and local employees. Provincial offices implemented programs in support of provincial interests in areas of trade, investment, tourism and culture. Their activities added resources to the promotion of overall Canadian interests. However, both the provinces and the federal government realized at the time that more efforts should be made to coordinate federal and provincial activities abroad to maximize the outcomes of their presence.

In response to this challenge, Canada adopted a policy in 1985 that allowed for the provinces to create offices within Canadian Diplomatic Missions through co-location. This approach would allow the provinces and the federal government to collaborate in their efforts, increase cooperation, coordinate their messages and positions and avoid duplication. It would also ensure better responsiveness and sensitivity to provincial priorities abroad.

Co-location arrangements started in the late 1980's and early 1990s. In 1991, there were 10 provincial offices co-located within Canadian missions. However, provincial presence abroad, including co-location, was discontinued or reduced in capacity in the mid-1990s when provinces were faced with fiscal restraint. With the exception of Quebec and Alberta, all the other provinces closed their offices abroad. Alberta and Quebec either closed offices or reduced them in size.

In early 2000, provinces started to expand their presence abroad. Most of the new provincial offices were small (2-3 persons, generally including a civil servant coming from the provincial capital) and focused mostly on the promotion of trade and investment. Between 2001 and 2009, co-location arrangements have more than doubled (11 in 2001 to 26 in 2009).

1.4.2 Provincial Objectives, Priorities and Plans

At the time of this evaluation, provinces and territories remain active abroad, but four provinces in particular (Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec) have formal representation abroad.3 They represent 53 offices and a number of locally engaged consultants. Forty-nine percent (49%) of these offices are co-located (26) with missions, while 51% are stand-alone (27). Provincial civil servants head or direct most of these offices. The rest are either managed by locally engaged staff, through local consultants or through contracted third party arrangements.

In the USA, and particularly in Washington DC, some provinces use the services of lobbying firms to promote their image and economic interests and to convey their perspective on developments that may have an impact on these interests.

1.4.2.1 Nature and Extent of Provincial Co-location at Canadian Diplomatic Missions

Provincial offices co-located at Canadian Diplomatic Missions are present in 15% (17 of 110) of countries where Canada has representation. While this might look like a limited presence, provinces are active in strategically important geographic regions of the World such as Asia, Europe and the USA.

To be more specific, provinces are active in Asia (particularly in India, China and Japan) -- a region that continues to be significant for Canada in terms of its potential for increased trade and investment. The growing importance of large countries such as China, increasing global competition and the emergence of new business models creates both challenges and opportunities for provincial economies. Provinces are active in this region to attract investment, promote trade and compete for labour and talents. Provinces also offer high quality educational opportunities for overseas students.

Provinces are also active in the USA and Mexico. The USA remains Canada's most significant and closest economic partner (e.g., impact of free-trade under NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement). Some provinces, as mentioned earlier, are involved in policy advocacy and lobbying efforts in the USA, which is a relatively new dimension in federal-provincial-territorial relations. Canada has strategically increased its overall representation in the USA over the last 5 years and provinces have paralleled this trend.

Provinces have an important presence in Europe. Europe is our largest trade and investment partner after the United States, and provinces have close historical, institutional and cultural ties with many European regions. In addition, Europe offers research, development and financial-services opportunities.

In other regions of the World, provinces continue to be active on trade and investment, immigration, education and many other issues. South America arguably too is a region that represents sustained commercial interest to Canada and its provinces and territories; for example, a Canada-Chile partnership was signed only three-years ago.

The following is a brief overview of the international objectives and interests of the four provinces that are formally represented abroad.

1.4.3 British Columbia

In the 1980s and 90s, British Columbia had an international network of ten (10) offices. All of them were closed in 1999 and 2000 because of fiscal restraint. But, in 2005, British Columbia decided to re-establish a more modest network of representatives, consisting of small stand-alone offices managed by contract employees residing in the host countries.

British Columbia's representatives focus mainly on promoting investment and trade. They are also involved in managing visits by the province's premier and ministers, in cooperation with Canadian missions. The "Asia Pacific Initiative" report, published by the Ministry of Economic Development in 2005, examines the province's representation in Asia. It presents a vision of British Columbia as "Canada's Pacific Gateway" and recommended a network of representatives in major Asian countries.

After the report was published, British Columbia hired consultants to represent its trade interests. Today, it has a network of nine representatives abroad. These representatives are not British-Columbian civil servants, but contract employees hired locally either on an individual basis or as members of small consulting firms, with the support of a few locally-engaged employees. Six operate in South and East Asia, two in Europe and one in the United States. Currently, British Columbia is not co-located within Canadian diplomatic missions.

British Columbia is considering an expansion of its network, especially in Asia, but also in Europe, the United States and Latin America. It is unknown at this time whether the province will proceed with this expansion given the current economic situation.

1.4.4 Alberta

Alberta has a long history of foreign representation. As early as 1913, the province opened an office in London. It was closed in the 1920s and re-opened in 1948. Another bureau opened in Los Angeles in 1964. In the 1970s and 1980s, Alberta had a significant network of foreign offices. All but three of these were closed in the fiscal consolidation efforts of the 1990s. As of 2002, Alberta began to rebuild a more modest network with small offices focussing on investment and trade, co-located within Canadian missions.

Today, Alberta has in total ten foreign offices: seven offices co-located within Canadian missions and two stand-alone offices that survived the cuts of the 1990s. Two of its offices are located in China (including Hong Kong). The others are in the following locations: the United States, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. The offices are managed by Albertan civil servants with the support of one or two (sometimes up to five) locally engaged employees.

The Alberta Foreign Offices Review Committee's 2007 report, mandated by the Alberta government to study this matter, indicates the importance of the province developing its own network of representatives abroad to enhance Alberta's competitiveness on international markets. The report suggests new offices in India, California, Brazil and China (Shanghai) and Russia, among other locations. It is unknown at this point in time whether the province will move forward in this regard given the current economic context.

Alberta's foreign priorities are promoting investment and trade, finding skilled labour and promoting higher education in Alberta. Albertan representatives also manage visits by the province's premier and ministers, in cooperation with Canadian missions. The Washington office ensures understanding of Alberta's perspectives on U.S. policies that could impact Albertan interests (energy policy, for example). Alberta's geographic priorities are the United States, Asia and Europe.

1.4.5 Ontario

Like other provinces, Ontario had a vast network of presence abroad in the 1970s and '80s. In 1991, this network consisted of 16 independent offices and one co-location. Almost all were closed in 1993 because of fiscal restraint.

In 2002, Ontario began re-establishing its presence abroad. All of its representatives are co-located within Canadian Diplomatic missions. Their representation is relatively modest in size; with each one headed by one Ontario civil servant with the support of one local employee.

Ontario's objectives focus primarily on promoting trade and investment. Their co-located representatives manage what is referred to as international marketing centers (IMC). They also manage visits by the province's leaders (premier and ministers), in cooperation with federal officials at Canadian missions.

Presently, Ontario has eleven (11) offices co-located within Canadian missions in North America, Asia and Europe. In addition, and separate from these offices, Ontario also has a network of seventeen (17) in-market consultants who promote investment and trade in many areas of the United States, Asia, Europe and Latin America. Ontario does not plan to expand this network in the near future.

1.4.6 Québec

In 1882, Quebec appointed a representative to Paris; followed by a general agent to London in 1911. It opened the first provincial bureau in New York, the United States, in 1943. In the 1970s and '80s, it developed a vast foreign network that was reduced during the fiscal restraint of the 1990s. Some of these offices, however, re-opened a few years later.

The Government of Quebec's international policy (2006) identifies the following international priorities:

  • strengthen Quebec's capacity for action and influence;
  • foster Quebec's growth and prosperity;
  • contribute to the security of Quebec and North America;
  • promote Quebec's identity and culture; and
  • contribute to international solidarity efforts.

Quebec's network of representatives abroad is larger and more autonomous than any other province's. It has 19 independent foreign offices (eight in Europe, seven in North America, two in South America and two in Asia). Some of these offices (the seven "Délégations générales") are large in size (employ at least 10 provincial civil servants in addition to local employees) and cover a wide range of activities: trade and investment, political and institutional relations, education, culture, immigration and public affairs. Other Quebec offices are more modest in configuration where locally-engaged employees manage satellite offices.

In addition, Quebec has eight co-located offices within Canadian Diplomatic missions. Four of them focus mainly on promoting investment and trade and, to a lesser degree, culture and education. These are relatively small offices in size, generally headed by a Quebec civil servant with the support of one or two local staff. Another office handles Quebec's participation in Canada's permanent delegation to UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).

Quebec is the only province to administer the selection of its immigrants abroad. As such, the province has immigration services at its independent offices in Paris, Mexico and Sao Paulo, as well as immigration offices at Canadian missions (co-locations) in Hong Kong, Vienna and Damascus.

The second review (2006) of Quebec's international policy recommended certain changes to the deployment of Quebec's foreign resources: enhanced status for some offices and new offices in Sao Paulo and Mumbai. These recommendations were implemented. Quebec does not plan any further changes to its foreign representation in the near future.

Although much of its representation efforts focus, as with other provinces, on promoting investment and trade, Quebec also invests significantly in promoting its culture abroad. Its delegations and offices also develop institutional ties with foreign countries in Quebec's areas of jurisdiction.

1.4.7 Other Provinces and Territories

The other remaining provinces or territories4 do not have a permanent network of foreign representatives and there are no plans to implement permanent representation in the near future. However, some of them hire consultants or lobbying firms to represent their interests more or less regularly. The relations that these consultants have with Canadian missions are relatively less frequent and systematic than the permanent provincial offices of other provinces.

1.5 International Comparison

In most federations, sub-national entities can represent themselves abroad by opening stand-alone offices. For some, co-location within missions of the central state is also an option. Few of the world's federations prohibit sub-national entities from establishing their own offices abroad. Opening an office essentially helps further economic or trade interests in a specific region and in most cases promotes investment. Often, these offices are also involved in areas such as tourism promotion, culture, education and immigration.

Sub-national entities abroad, when they are represented in stand-alone offices, do not enjoy special or diplomatic status by their national governments. However, when representatives of these entities co-locate with the federal mission, they generally obtain diplomatic status.

There are few countries where constituent entities cannot open offices abroad. India is probably the only country whose constitution does not permit their sub-national governments a presence abroad. While Brazil's constitution does not prohibit such a presence, it does stipulate in article 21 that relations with foreign states fall under Union jurisdiction. There is nothing that prevents Brazilian states from being represented abroad, as long as their activities are not political or official in nature. It is interesting to note that at present, none of Brazil's states have an international presence.

In Switzerland, there is no legal basis for the representation of cantons at the international level, and none are present abroad. However, a representative from the cantons has been able to co-locate within the Swiss mission to the European Union in Brussels.

All of Spain's sub-national entities have one or more offices abroad. They are permitted to establish a presence in sectors under their constitutional jurisdiction (tourism promotion, economic and cultural development, etc.). For example, Catalonia has an extensive representation network (over 55 offices). There are no cases of co-location with the central state in Spain, although a number of Spanish think tanks and academic experts are looking at Canada's practices, including co-location, as solutions for the future.

American states are permitted to have representation abroad within their areas of jurisdiction. Their activities are mainly in the areas of trade, investment and tourism promotion. It is interesting to note that there are several cases of states joining forces and sharing office space. For example, Indiana, New York, Ohio and Wisconsin work in partnership and occupy the same office in São Paulo, Brazil.

Germany's Länder all have representation at the European Union in Brussels, though only a small number have offices abroad. Bavaria, with its network of trade and investment promotion offices (around 18), is noteworthy in this regard. There is no form of co-location with the central state in Germany.

Four of Australia's states have an overseas presence, which translates into nearly 46 offices. They do not co-locate, though in rare instances, states do sublet space from the central state that is physically separate from and not part of the mission. Russia's constituent entities are permitted representation abroad, as in the case of Tatarstan (12 offices), Baskortostan (2 offices), Sakha (3 offices), Moscow (3 offices) and St. Petersburg (3 offices).

Belgium allows its constituent entities to open their own offices. In addition, under "cooperation agreements" between the federal state and the regions and communities, representatives of the regions and communities are entitled to an office at the Belgian mission in countries where they do not have stand-alone offices. Representatives known as "community and regional attachés" or "economic and commercial attachés" thus enjoy diplomatic status. Belgium's communities and regions have a large network of offices abroad. For example, Wallonia-Brussels International has 17 delegations and Flanders over 60 worldwide.

In the United Kingdom, the decentralized administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are authorized to open offices abroad (usually tourism or trade offices) and to co-locate with the national missions under a Memorandum of Understanding and concordats, all within their devolved responsibilities. In Washington, the Scottish Executive has a representative at the Embassy (counsellor, Scottish Affairs), as well as one in Beijing (first secretary, Scottish Affairs), also at the Embassy.

These representatives enjoy diplomatic status. Like all members of staff, they come under the general authority of the head of mission, though they still report directly to their decentralized administration. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office covers the cost of services provided, just as it does for the central government's sectoral ministries. Because of the high cost of establishing stand-alone offices, the decentralized administrations generally opt for co-location within the central missions.

When financially possible, sub-national entities choose to establish there own stand-alone offices. Even when co-location can reduce cost for some, it is not as widely used as stand-alone. This study found this was the case in Belgium, the United Kingdom (for decentralized administrations), Switzerland (specific case of Brussels) and Russia (where co-locations are frequent).

During this period of accelerated internationalization, sub-national entities are all too aware of the economic, trade and cultural challenges that lie ahead. They know how important it is to raise their concerns with their key partners worldwide. We can see that they have increased their presence since the 1970s (as in the cases of Spain, Canada, Belgium and the United States). At the same time, we cannot ignore a general trend towards greater decentralization within federations, which ultimately could also favour a longer-term presence of sub-national entities at the international level.

1.6 Current Federal Policies, Practices and Arrangements

Canada has, over time, consistently supported the presence of provinces abroad. There is no record of any province or territory that has been declined such support in Canada's recent history.

The Department's policies and practices with respect to federal-provincial-territorial relations, including their representation abroad, are facilitated within the current government's framework of open federalism.5 While the application of these practices vary among missions because of differences in size and mandate as well as the political, economic and legal environment in which they operate, the Head of Mission (HOM) is key in manifesting the mission's arrangements in consideration of any co-location agreements with the provinces.

In the case of co-located provinces, the mission's support is detailed in co-location agreements (memorandum of understanding) signed with the provinces. Canadian missions obtain diplomatic or consular status for provincial civil servants appointed as provincial representatives and provide them with the same services as federal employees:

  • supply of office space and housing (including purchase or lease, renovation and maintenance),
  • furniture and computer equipment, access to shared premises and services (mission vehicles),
  • security procedures and services,
  • children's school registration, and
  • financial services (including management of operational accounts), and other related support.

The missions also support provincial co-locators in the recruitment of locally engaged staff and all aspects of human resource management associated with these employees. In most cases, local engaged employees working for the provincial office are considered as employees of the Government of Canada.

Co-location services are based on the principle of cost recovery. The provinces reimburse the federal government for all costs related to their presence at the mission, including the market rental value for the space they occupy and a proportional share of the over-head cost.

In the case of independent (stand-alone) provincial offices Canadian missions facilitate the process by officially informing foreign governments of the province's intent to establish such offices. This is done to reach support and agreement with host governments (notably by granting certain privileges). In this case, Canadian missions do not provide the same level of services as with co-located provinces unless it is required and agreed upon.

A number of practices have been developed to foster cooperation with provincial offices and integrate them at missions. They include:

  • sharing of strategic information, advice and business plans;
  • inviting provinces to meetings and events;
  • organizing and co-sponsoring with provinces joint-activities and events;
  • coordinating emergency plans;
  • supporting the activities of stand-alone offices and organizing joint activities; and,
  • sharing of contact lists and the offer, on a case-by-case basis, of certain services (rooms, mission vehicles).

1.7 DFAIT's Expectations of Intergovernmental Relations

The Department's program activity architecture has situated its efforts on inter-governmental affairs within public outreach and advocacy. These efforts are expected to engage and influence international players and deliver international programs and diplomacy. PRD develops its strategies and business plans to support the Government of Canada's international priorities. PRD is involved on all relevant issues of importance to the Department. It operates horizontally within and across governments.

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2.0 Evaluation Methodology

2.1 Reference Period

The evaluation was conducted from June 2008 to May 2009. Major milestones were as follows:

  • Summer 2008: Scoping Exercise.
  • Fall 2008: Terms of Reference.
  • Fall-Winter 2008-09: Data Collection and Field Visits.
  • Spring 2009: Data Analyses and Report

2.2 Evaluation Advisory Committee

The evaluation was guided by an Evaluation Advisory Committee (EAC) comprised of members who were knowledgeable and experienced in federal and provincial international objectives and representation abroad. The members of this committee were jointly determined in consultation with the Evaluation Division and the Inter-governmental Affairs Division of DFAIT. The Committee is a key source of reference during the course of the evaluation. The role of Evaluation Advisory Committee (EAC) is to 1) provide advice on the evaluation approach and methodology; 2) provide advice on coverage, quality and completeness; and 3) provide advice and opinion on preliminary findings, recommendations.

2.3 Evaluation Design

At the onset of the evaluation, the design, based on the scope of the evaluation, was to collect views primarily on co-location arrangements with the provinces. This selection excluded two provincial offices which were recently studied. They were: the Alberta Office in the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC, USA and Quebec as a member of the permanent Canadian delegation to UNESCO in Paris, France.

At the start of the evaluation, provinces were co-located in Canadian Diplomatic Missions in twelve (12) countries/territories (USA, Mexico, France, England, Austria, Germany, Syria, India, China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan). Most of these co-located sites are trade and investment focussed, while others are more specialized and deal with immigration selection such as Quebec's co-location in Syria.

However, in order to obtain a broader view on Departmental polices and practices towards provincial representation abroad and in consideration of where provinces seemed most interested in pursuing their presence abroad, the evaluation expanded its initial selection of locations to include two additional missions in South America. These additional countries/territories were Chile and Brazil. South America has been expressed as a location of future interest among those provinces currently active abroad.

A total of fourteen (14) countries/territories were selected. Field visits were conducted at seven (7) countries/territories (13 missions) with the relatively highest concentration of provincial representation, while the other seven (7) were surveyed on their views or experience with provincial representation. These field visits included where possible interviews with provincial representatives in stand-alone offices or with locally-engaged consultants hired to act on behalf of a province. At the completion of the data collection exercise, 86%, or twelve (12) of the fourteen (14), of the countries/territories were covered.

2.4 International Comparative Study

The evaluation included a separate survey on the nature and extent of sub-national representation among federal countries. An email survey was sent to Canadian missions in 11 federal countries (Germany, Belgium, India, Mexico, Australia, Russia, Spain, England, USA, Switzerland, and Brazil). The survey asked about rules and practices guiding the opening of sub-national representative offices abroad, roles of sub-national offices, and future trends. Nine missions replied, representing an 81% response rate.

2.5 Data Collection

2.5.1 Evaluation Matrix

The key evaluation issues are identified in an evaluation matrix. This matrix forms the foundation for addressing the findings to the issues, key questions, indicators, and sources of data.

2.5.2 Lines of Evidence

2.5.2.1 Document Review

Policy documents, interdepartmental Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) on operations and support at Canadian Diplomatic Missions signed between DFAIT and the provinces, documents on costing principles and visit-protocol guidelines, operating procedures, issue-based relevant correspondence, consultation plans, relevant media announcements and, Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) policies were reviewed. Other documentation, such as other countries sub-national representation abroad, was also reviewed to further understand the nature of representation abroad.

2.5.2.2 Key Informant Interviews

Individual and group interviews were conducted in-person and by telephone. The interview sample was largely determined by referral; otherwise referred to as snowball sampling. This is a social research technique used to develop a research sample where existing study subjects recruit future subjects from among their acquaintances.

A total of 231 interviews were conducted; of which, 25% were in Canada,6 while 75% were abroad. Interviewees were HOMs, DHOMs, STCs (Senior Trade Commissioners) and Program Heads (PERPA - Political Economic Relations and Public Affairs - and MCOs - Management Consular Officers), LES and other officials who deal with provincial representatives, representatives of foreign host countries, business clients and provincial representatives. EDC (Export Development Canada) was interviewed in one location abroad.

Different sets of semi-structured open-ended interview questionnaires were developed for each major occupational group (e.g., federal officials at missions, provincial representatives, and others) to solicit information on relationship, areas of cooperation, administration, branding, best practices and issues presenting difficulties or challenge. The questionnaires were sent in advance of the interviews.

2.5.2.3 Field Visits

Field visits occurred at 13 missions in 7 countries/territories. The field visits gave an opportunity to meet with federal officials abroad, business clients and representatives of foreign host countries who deal with the various models of sub-national representation abroad to gain their perspectives. It also gave an opportunity to discuss the perspectives of provincial representatives. This helped understanding the conditions, logistics and levels of cooperation and collaboration between federal officials and provincial representatives.

The 13 missions included in the field visit were:

  • India: New Delhi and Mumbai
  • China: Beijing, Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Shanghai
  • Japan: Tokyo
  • Germany: Berlin and Munich
  • United Kingdom: London
  • Mexico: Mexico City
  • United States: New York and Los Angeles

The sample represented Canadian High Commissions (2), Consulate Generals (6), Special Consulate General with Direct Report to Ottawa (1), and Embassies (4).

Field visits also included the provinces' headquarters that currently have formal representation abroad. The purpose of these field visits was to learn more about their international offices' objectives, the challenges faced by the provinces, the role of DFAIT in facilitating their representation abroad, and future plans.

2.5.2.4 Survey

To complement field visits, the evaluation conducted an email-survey of seven missions. The purpose of the survey was to explore the nature of their relationship with provinces, their perceptions and any future directions on expanding or including provincial representation at missions. Five missions replied to the survey and the data were analyzed thematically.

2.6 Limitations

The availability and quantity of published information on co-location is limited because of the specific nature of this arrangement. Co-location is an innovative configuration with little public information and, as a result, does not lend itself easily to benchmark analyses. Co-location is not a specific program with a logic model or performance measurement strategy to guide its activities but a practice or an arrangement that exists abroad between two levels of government within Canada. The results of this evaluation therefore, were based on intensive and extensive primary data collection which has been time-consuming, labour-intensive and driven by applied knowledge acquired through experience.

All interviews were conducted in an open, semi-structured conversational approach. The interview protocol or guide was used in the interviews and the questions were tailored to the key informants depending on their positions and experience with provincial representation abroad. The responses therefore were diverse in range and scope. While this method is effective and successful given the high participation rate, this does add more complexity in analysing this type of interview data.

While three provinces (Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia) permitted their representatives abroad to be interviewed by the Department's evaluation team, an agreement between le Ministère des Relations Internationales (MRI) du Québec and DFAIT was not reached on the conditions of the interviews of Quebec representatives abroad. Instead, the MRI proceeded based on the DFAIT evaluation questions with its own assessment of its representation abroad and their findings were shared with the evaluation. While the findings seem to be consistent with the results of the evaluation, they were not examined by the evaluation team. This represents a limitation in that it is difficult to assess the methodology used and the types of questions asked.

Among those provinces represented abroad, Quebec has the most stand-alone offices. Since the evaluation could not interview Quebec representatives abroad, the evaluation could not capture the views of Quebec representatives in stand-alone offices. However, the similarities between the findings of MRI's own internal assessment and that of this evaluation, demonstrates the reliability of questions and measures used to examine provincial representation abroad.

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3.0 Relevance

3.1 Co-location is Relevant

The purpose of this section is to assess whether co-location arrangements and DFAIT's support to other forms of provincial representation are consistent with Canadian priorities and are the most appropriate response to needs identified.

It also examines the role of DFAIT in ensuring the success of co-location arrangements. The main question relevance asks is "are we doing the right thing": in other words, is co-location the right thing?

Finding 1:

The practice of co-location is relevant to and supports the Government of Canada's and DFAIT's approach on federal-provincial-territorial relations in the spirit of open federalism.

The Departmental annual reports on performance and on plans and priorities continue to underline two departmental priorities: advancing Canada's interests internationally in partnership with Canadians; and advancing Canada's commercial interests both in Canada and internationally in collaboration with Canadian businesses and stakeholders.7 These priorities include working with provinces and territories and facilitating provincial representation abroad.

Provinces establish representation abroad to expand political visibility, trade, investment, cultural and social links. Most Canadian provinces have some forms of representation abroad, whether it be as an independent or stand-alone operation, through third-party or contractual services or as a co-locator within Canada's Diplomatic Missions. As mentioned, three Canadian provinces (Quebec, Ontario and, Alberta) currently practice co-location within Canadian diplomatic missions.

Most provincial activities are related to trade and investment, with the exception of Quebec, who is also quite active in immigration, international relations, and public and cultural affairs. Also, provinces engage to some extent in policy advocacy in the USA.

Co-location, as an option of choice for some provinces in representation abroad, is a partnership between the two levels of government. Each level, with its own expertise, favours Canada in a competitive international environment. This partnership is also useful in that Canada's international relations involve areas of provincial or shared jurisdiction (education, natural resources, immigration, culture and economic development). In these cases, the provinces contribute expertise and benefit from an opportunity to stay informed of and state their positions on international issues affecting areas within their jurisdictions. Furthermore, co-location with the provinces shows international partners the strength and harmony of the Canadian federation by conveying an image of diversity, openness, pragmatism and cooperation.

Evaluation interviews support the view that provincial representatives are pragmatic professionals who complement the efforts of Canadian diplomats, respect federal jurisdictions and, promote Canadian positions /perspectives in various public forums and international venues.

While stand-alone operations allow for greater provincial autonomy and hold the province directly accountable for its own actions, some provinces prefer co-location. The evaluation interviews revealed that some provinces believed that co-location offered more opportunities to participate with federal officials on events, to leverage federal resources and the benefits from establishing a presence within an international platform of mission network.

Co-location is also favored in some countries of the world, such as China and India, where the opening of stand-alone offices may be more challenging and requires special approval from the host country. Nevertheless, BC has been able to promote its interests in China through hiring locally-engaged consultants. In China and India, co-locators indicated that they rely on the relationship with Canadian officials because it provides legitimacy and credibility.

Also, the evaluation found that federal trade and investment officers were cognizant of the need to ensure that trade and investment opportunities were appropriately shared with provinces and territories in a fair and equitable manner. While it is recognized that provinces representation abroad, regardless of whether they are stand-alone or co-located, may receive trade and investment information in a more timely manner than those provinces who are not represented abroad, still there were mechanisms in place to treat all provinces equally.

It would therefore be appropriate for DFAIT to continue to support provinces in their consideration of co-location as an option as it is consistent with the Department's role in working with all Canadian provinces in order to promote Canadian interests abroad.

Finding 2:

Co-location is a relevant practice in that it offers an international network or platform of expertise to the provinces or territories.

Provinces strongly believe that their interests abroad are under-represented and that it is difficult for the federal government to respond to their specific need. This is one reason why provinces pursue presence abroad. In doing so, some provinces prefer co-location because of the access it offers to missions' services and support.

It is the province or territory's decision on whether it should pursue representation abroad and on the manner in which it chooses to pursue its objectives. The evaluation interviews found that provinces would choose the option most suitable for them in an independent manner depending upon their needs.

When a province decides upon co-location, in collaboration with Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, it negotiates a MOU to reflect the general principles of the arrangement in terms of reporting relationship, accountability, financial issues, office space, human resources and other issues.

The evaluation noted that provinces who decide on co-location take into account such factors as DFAIT's infrastructure abroad which includes administration, security and access to federal resources. Co-location also provides the provincial representative diplomatic or consular status, as a Canadian representative, in the host country.

Alberta and Ontario, in their analyses of the differences between stand-alone and co-located offices, have reported no significant cost savings on either option; albeit co-location offers access to an already built-in infrastructure over stand-alones.8 Quebec, British Columbia and all other provinces regardless of the extent of their representation abroad, also practice stand-alone or contractual arrangements. British Columbia is of the opinion that contractual arrangements are a more suitable option for them to pursue at this time because it offers greater flexibility.

Recognizing its role as a common service provider internationally, DFAIT has started a process of renewing its common service delivery model to ensure a cost effective, responsive and high quality services to its partners including provincial co-locators. This includes human resources services, financial management services, asset and materiel services, comptrollership services, mail and diplomatic courier services, and acquisition of radio-frequency bandwidths.

Finding 3:

Provinces gain competitive advantages by being present in a market, but these advantages benefit Canada as a whole.

In their promotional activities abroad, provinces often complement the efforts of federal officers by offering expertise on different sectors and have different networks of contacts (e.g., oil and gas for Alberta; aerospace for Quebec; automotive sector for Ontario). There are however occasions when provinces compete directly either for investment or commercial interests. Most interlocutors interviewed (federal trade commissioners and provincial representatives) consider that this competition is normal, healthy and often will create more opportunities for Canada. Take a hypothetical example of where there would be twelve (12) proposals worldwide for a new plant, which would include two proposals from Canadian provinces and, as a result, Canada would therefore have a higher probability of success because of the compounded effect of having more than one proposal under consideration.

Finding 4:

Provincial co-location abroad is an important asset.

The evaluation found that the Department's practice of co-location is a value-added asset that must be managed carefully. Co-location supports Canadian and provincial interests and offers a recognized infrastructure abroad and a recognized brand. Survey and interview data indicated that provincial representation abroad adds much needed resources both in terms of human resources and funds to support Canadian and provincial initiatives.

Provincial representatives abroad contribute resources to expand international trade and investment opportunities and effectively engage and leverage the "Canada Brand" positively internationally. In addition, they are key focal points to provide follow-up services to clients and potential investors. Provinces, such as Quebec, also promote its identity abroad which helps contribute to the unique character of Canada's federalism.

Another key contribution is that the provinces supplement the federal trade service by offering the detailed knowledge of provincial targets, trends on trade and investment, company profiles, and information and research on key industries. The additional expertise and knowledge on industry sectors and market intelligence complement the federal base at mission.

When co-located, provinces are in a position to directly benefit from on-site access to federal trade and investment services. Some provincial offices are located in close proximity to trade and investment sections of Missions, which could create situations where sensitive client information or discussion on investment opportunities could be overheard. This raised some questions in this evaluation on issues of client confidentiality as these provinces may gain access to confidential information concerning activities of other provinces.

Provinces in some co-located sites are located in trade annexes external to the main mission and, as a result, create silo environments which are less conducive to an integrated or harmonized structure. Opinions varied on this matter among co-located provinces and their federal colleagues. Some provincial and federal representatives preferred distance between provincial offices and federal trade and investment sections while others preferred closer integration. It was interesting to note that those provincial representatives who preferred more integration also enjoyed the autonomous nature and mandate of their own representative office.

Canadian and provincial representatives work together when abroad to take advantage of trade and investment opportunities. They collaborate to search for matching opportunities for Canadian companies, support new and emerging market opportunities, collaborate on joint corporate calls; to name a few. This collaboration may enhance commercial opportunities for Canada. It does this by establishing working relationships with business and officials in targeted regions and sustaining the relationship through regular visits. Trusted and sustained relations also offer the opportunity to obtain market intelligence thereby strengthening trade and investment promotion efforts. Provinces can multiply their investment with federal collaboration.

A small minority of federal officials were of the opinion that the federal trade and investment service offers excellent service and it was not necessary for the provinces to pursue representation abroad as a means to address a perceived shortfall or gap unless it was for specific in-depth market studies. However, the vast majority of federal officials considered that the provincial presence abroad provided important additional resources for Canada.

Finding 5:

While co-location is an asset, it poses a number of challenges.

While co-location practices are important assets, the information-sharing and integration of provinces at Mission need to be managed well. Provinces, among themselves and with the Federal government, do not always agree on issues. They do not always support federal positions.

The evaluation found that the integration of provincial representatives (co-locator, in stand-alone offices or consultants) poses challenges for the protection of classified information and the equitable treatment of all provinces. Many missions are comfortable with co-location and the presence of provincial officials and in some missions provincial representatives including those on contract are invited to the committee on mission management (CMM).

Although the inclusion of provinces at the CMM is under the discretion of the HOM and its practice varies, it is a practice that exposes co-located provincial representatives or their consultants to sensitive mission management issues and information concerning other provinces. In this regard, provinces who attend meetings of the CMMs are in an advantageous position to influence.

The evaluation did find that those missions who include provinces in management meetings were quite prudent in their discussions. In some cases often separating management from operational issues; of which, the latter could involve provinces. Regardless of this action, provinces involved at CMMs would heighten the risk that sensitive information would be inadvertently disclosed.

Provincial offices bring several benefits to Canadian interests abroad. They bring more resources to missions, in-depth knowledge of provinces and their capacity, and speedy access to detailed information about local conditions and possible opportunities in Canada. The evaluation found that the presence of provinces and their trade and investment focus can be of great assistance when the political environment in the host country is challenging. They can help in circumventing the political sensitivity of foreign relations, particularly in a country like China, by focusing on economic relations. This assistance has been recognized by DFAIT staff and the business community in the host country.

Finding 6:

Canada's federal-provincial co-location practice is open, inclusive and innovative as compared to other like-minded federal nations.

As indicated in the international comparison and interviews conducted with representative of a number of host countries (i.e., China and Japan), Canada's co-location model of federal-provincial relations is inclusive and innovative but, not necessarily unique. The UK and Belgium, too, acknowledge its sub-national representatives; in the case of the UK, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, and would support them at their diplomatic missions with diplomatic designation.

Although there is much literature discussing federal-provincial-territorial relations and representation abroad,9 Canada's approach to federalism is based on the spirit of respect and equity among governments. The evaluation found that relations were excellent in many missions but, information-sharing and communication was often one-sided. In part, this is attributed to the nature of trade and investment activities which is highly competitive and based on the need for client-confidentiality.

However, the evaluation found that DFAIT and its missions accord a high priority to constructing a seamless and consistent arrangement respecting federal and provincial jurisdiction to deliver a truly equitable environment. This is done in an effort to strengthen the ability to deliver a comprehensive and timely arrangement to provinces and territories to pool resources and talent to contribute to Canada's international competitiveness.

Finding 7:

There is no clear indication of the effect of an absence of co-location on either mission activity or provincial representation abroad.

Co-location is an option of choice for some provinces. It is not an exclusive option as these provinces also operate stand-alone offices and hire locally-engaged consultants.

The evaluation could not ascertain what the impact would be if co-location practices were discontinued. There are no policy papers or public literature available that has dealt with this possibility and how it would affect representation abroad.

However, an indication of the relevance of co-location is that despite the economic recession of the 1990's, the Government of Canada did not discontinue this policy in an effort to encourage trade, investment and national unity - an important sign for pursuing economic prosperity and federalism. In the early 1990's, many provinces and territories had either closed or limited their presence abroad in response to that recession, but when provinces started to establish their representation abroad again in the late 1990s, many opted for co-location.

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4.0 Performance

4.1 Effectiveness of Co-location

The purpose of evaluating effectiveness is to determine whether the most appropriate and efficient means are being used to achieve the intended outcomes of co-location arrangements and of DFAIT's support to other forms of provincial representation abroad. More specifically, it examines whether co-location and other policies and practices are cost-effective mechanisms.

4.1.1 Effectiveness of the MOU

Finding 8:

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is an effective but limited tool to manage federal-provincial relationships in the case of co-location.

Relationships between Missions and co-located provincial offices are guided by a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that is negotiated and signed by the two levels of government. The evaluation found that the MOU works reasonably well in all the missions visited. It is seen as an important instrument to identify agreed-to arrangements. Most interviewed indicated that while it is a well-functioning instrument, it is limited in its coverage and content.

A great part of the MOU is devoted to the use and access to common services and the cost of co-location. However, it remains very general when it discusses reporting, relationships, and coordination. Most of the interviewees indicated that there is no need for a more detailed MOU, and that the MOU should allow for a certain level of flexibility. However, they indicated that clarifying the working relationship between provincial representatives and DFAIT staff at missions in the MOUs would encourage cooperation and contribute to improving effectiveness of operations. This also could be done in part through improved communication, training and pre-posting briefings aimed at both provincial representatives and federal officers.

Survey and interview data highlighted that co-located provincial representatives occasionally do not have a clear understanding of how missions work and of the complexities of working relationships at missions. Therefore, it could be beneficial if the MOU includes an annex about the context of the country and the mission structure including provincial and Other Government Departments (OGDs) representations. It may also include a clear description of the role and authority of the HOMs.

As mentioned, the MOU provides information about the status of LES (Locally-Engaged Staff), expenses, missions' procedures, security requirements, medical requirements, budgetary measures and dispute resolution. However, some terms and conditions are not explicitly stated. For example, the Hong Kong Quebec MOU is not clear over the employment provision of LES who work for the Quebec Office. Moreover, it creates a number of other administrative issues when:

  • Provinces wish to pay higher salaries for their LES than the current DFAIT allowable salary range.
  • Provinces wish to reclassify their LES at a higher level than current Mission's LES (In some missions, Mission' Classification Boards have considered that these situations could potentially create staffing inequality and friction at Missions).
  • Provinces apply different financial rules, including per-diem rates.
  • Provinces experience some delays in staffing processes. E.g., a provincial co-located office representative has indicated that they had challenges when trying to hire an LES. The job advertisement was changed by the mission's Human Resources section to include language requirements without consulting the provincial office. More clarity in the staffing process and communications between the two parties would have resolved the issue.
  • Provinces provide a more attractive work environment for LES already employed by missions. For example provinces were seen as providing more training opportunities, more autonomy and less need for a second language requirement.
  • Provinces unable to access their provincial network and database because of SIGNET and the fire walls that prevent connection to other networks. This was resolved in some missions by having two computers: one is connected to the provincial network and the other is to SIGNET.

The MOU should be clear and easily understood. Perhaps the use of examples in an annex would help in clarifying certain situations. For example, some provinces have certain requirements for the use and storage of personal data. DFAIT also has its own policy for security of personal and confidential information. The evaluation found that it would be useful if the MOU contains annexes on communications and information technology to clarify network use and software and any other exclusion.

4.1.2 Lines of Authority and Reporting Relationships

Finding 9:

Lines of authority and reporting relationships are well understood and well respected at missions, and are applied with flexibility by HOMs.

The formal lines of authority between provincial representatives and heads of mission (HOMs) are defined in the memorandums of understanding (MOUs) between DFAIT and provincial governments. Most MOUs state that provincial representatives report to their provincial headquarters and discharge their responsibilities "under the authority" (or "under the general authority") of the HOM. In the case of Québec, the MOUs state that their representatives are "sous l'autorité hiérarchique" of their provincial departments and "s'acquittent de leurs responsabilités sous la direction globale du Chef de la mission." Most MOUs also state that the provincial representatives should act in close consultation with the Senior Trade Commissioner at the mission.10

While the MOU clearly defines roles and responsibilities, this is not always evident to all officials at mission. The evaluation found that HOMs and STCs were clear in that they do not give instructions to provincial representatives. They do not approve their work plans, supervise their daily activities, contribute formally to their appraisal reports or approve their leave.

The evaluation also found that many federal officers who work regularly with provincial representatives do not clearly understand that provincial representatives report directly to their province. Some DFAIT officers believed that the provincial representatives report to the Senior Trade Commissioner (STC) or to the HOM. This was also reflected in organizational charts which in some cases indicate that provincial representative's report to the HOM or to the STC.

The evaluation also revealed that provincial representatives work more closely with the STC. This was expected as they mostly focus on trade and investment promotion. They accept the STC as their main line of communication with the HOM in large missions. This is again expected as the larger the mission, the more likely the provincial representative will not have regular direct access to the HOMs. The working relations at missions differ somewhat from the stated direction but not contrary to the spirit of the MOU.

The evaluation also found that HOMs have a clear understanding of their role as the authority under which the provincial representatives discharge their responsibilities. All of them declared that they would evoke their authority in cases of misconduct or if they felt that the actions of a representative was detrimental to the interests of Canada.

In situation where there are tensions or disagreements at missions between federal and provincial representatives, they often are resolved at the mission-level, requiring no direct intervention at more senior levels or any need for invoking formal resolution mechanisms. For instance, the evaluation heard of a case where there were tensions between a HOM and a provincial representative. The HOM had believed that the provincial representative inadvertently and occasionally extended his prerogatives, which may have misled external clients to believe that the province, although located at the same location, was heading a mission separate from the Canadian diplomatic one. This situation has now been resolved and underlines the importance of interpersonal relationships at missions.

The HOMs have the authority to establish standard operational rules at missions. These include working hours, security rules and procedures and statutory holidays. In some missions, HOMs have decided to exclude provincial representatives from some of these rules (working hours for example). This exception never applies to security rules, where there is no exclusion. The evaluation found that mission's rules, whether strictly applied to provincial representatives or not, was well accepted and respected. The ability of HOMs to apply the rules differently to provincial representatives depending on local circumstances highlights the flexibility of co-location and reflects the autonomy of the provincial representative offices with regard to their own working policies.

In some cases, however, (such as different hospitality and travel guidelines), it was confusing because different standards and conditions were applied among provincial and federal officers at the mission. The harmonization of these rules and standards could reduce this confusion and the evaluation would suggest this be a point of discussion among provinces and the federal government.

Another aspect the evaluation noted was that in one mission, the senior federal officer had the same diplomatic level (consul) as the provincial representatives. While working relations were excellent, this situation raised questions on the protocol or preference at missions in terms of designated diplomatic positions and whether this issue should be examined more comprehensively in subsequent dialogue among the provinces and federal officials. In particular, what happens when the federal Consul is not available? Would the provincial Consul assume responsibility for the mission?

4.1.3 Cooperation with and Integration of Provincial Representatives at Missions

Finding 10:

There is sound co-operation and good integration at Mission between Federal and Provincial Representatives.

The evaluation found that in most missions there is excellent social and professional cooperation between federal and provincial representatives. Federal and provincial officers work well together and are results-oriented in their approach. For example, as part of an international seminar series organized by the Canadian Embassy in Beijing, Ontario took the lead on the green technology component and invited their Minister of Energy and partnered up with another Chinese province. Several projects and several other leads/contacts were developed between Canadian and Chinese companies interested in green technology.

The cooperative relationship can be best described as pragmatic - when both federal and provincial officers are in a position to support a contact or a delegation, decisions on "who does what" is done in a pragmatic and case to case basis. Decisions therefore tend to focus on results and on leveraging available resources.

The evaluation heard many examples of co-operation between federal and provincial representatives including information-sharing on trade and investment leads, cooperating on the organization of visits and events and co-funding promotional activities.

Most federal officers were positive about provincial presence in their missions. Many federal respondents indicated that provinces are intrinsic to Canadian trade interests, so their presence in missions presents a tremendous addition to these interests. Cooperation seems very effective; all officers work together where and when appropriate. Both provincial representatives and federal trade commissioners appear to take a cooperative and productive approach. The evaluation received many reports that "there is more than enough work for everybody."

Head of Missions are central in the management of effective relations and the evaluation found them committed to federal/provincial relations, supportive of provincial presence and provide leadership, energy and resources to that commitment. The autonomy of provinces is respected. Provincial representatives are encouraged to freely engage in the promotion of their provinces' interests and to develop their own networks of contacts. The mission co-location culture is not rigidly rules-based. This approach is considered as a means to facilitate the achievement of results and to protect the interests of Canada including all of the provinces.

Finding 11:

Integration of provincial representatives, encouraging the level of cooperation and interaction, and fostering inclusiveness while respecting the separate character of federal and provincial programs is a key challenge at missions.

Formal Engagement

The evaluation did not find a consistent level of provincial integration at Missions. The level of integration varied whether it was for social, programming or administrative matters. For instance, in all missions where provinces are co-located, there was a high degree of social integration but less integration on substantive trade and investment programs. The latter is not surprisingly given that the federal and provincial programs are distinct and respond to priorities and objectives set by different governments. Respect for client confidentiality in trade and investment is another contributing factor. Integration was also dependent upon such factors as the business culture of the host country, their perception towards provincial (sub-national) representation, and whether the province shared their business plans and objectives with the Mission.

Notwithstanding the excellent cooperation and the general satisfaction reported by provincial representatives towards co-location, some provincial representatives are of the opinion that they are of lower priority at missions. They feel isolated within the mission and complain that there is not enough willingness from their federal colleagues to share information, work as a team and support them.11

The evaluation found a disparity in engagement between federal and provincial representatives at missions. In some missions, provincial representatives attended Mission Management Committees (CMM) or they participated in the trade section management meeting. In others, they participated in a trade section meeting, separate from the trade management meeting. In a rather small number of missions, there was in practice no meeting including provincial representatives.

In other missions, the evaluation found that provincial representatives participated in annual trade planning meetings and either the HOM or Deputy HOM would extend regular invitations to meet or socialize with provincial representatives in an effort to develop closer relations. This opened channels of communications to provincial representatives and contributes greatly to their integration within the mission. One example of effective way to share information was found in Tokyo where the STC holds monthly meetings in which all provincial representatives whether co-located, stand alone or consultants are invited. In these monthly meetings, provincial and federal officials share information about activities, discuss future events of mutual interest and coordinate positions.

This disparity of practices in engagement between federal and provincial representatives among missions reflects the flexibility and discretion characteristic of the co-location model. In countries such as Germany, there is tolerance and acceptability of multiple sub-national representations. As a result, Canada's relation with its provinces and territories in all its complexities was well-understood and acceptable among those interviewed in the German or Lander governments.

Information Sharing

The evaluation also heard from a number of federal officers that the exchange flow with co-located provincial representatives was not necessarily balanced. They believed that provincial representatives were more restrictive in sharing information with their federal colleagues. Provincial representatives also indicated that they believed the federal trade and investment officers restricted information to them.

One possible reason for this imbalance is that it is the federal government's mandate to serve all provincial-territorial interests equitability and while this principal/value is inherent in the Federal Trade Commissioner's Service, provinces believe that information provided to the federal government may be transmitted to other provinces who in some cases might be competitors. When various trade and investment scenarios were examined, the evaluation found that the federal trade and investment officers acted prudently to respect client confidentiality and to limit unfair competitive advantage among provinces/territories.

Another reason for this imbalance is that there are legitimate reasons why STCs might decide to limit the flow of information and the intensity of cooperation with co-located provinces. Federal officers have to respect principles of confidentiality and equity towards all provinces. Provincial representatives report to different governments and in some cases compete with other provinces over the same market-share. In consideration of these matters, there is a need to establish certain distinctions between federal and provincial representatives in limiting the sharing of information and the management of files between federal and provincial representatives.

The evaluation also found that in missions where federal officers had devoted more effort (particularly in trade sections) to generate a team spirit with their co-located provincial counterparts,12 an increased sense of belonging of provincial representatives resulted. The evaluation noted in interviews with provincial representatives that when they attended functions at missions or when federal and provincial representatives collaborated together on events that related to organizations or individuals active in their provinces (such as municipalities, corporations or artists), unless not warranted for reasons of equity or confidentiality, these contributed to their sense of belonging.

Although mentioned earlier, it is once again important to note that the CMM might not always be the most appropriate venue for a federal/provincial dialogue at mission. The presence of some provinces at the CMM raised concern on the optics and over the impartiality of the mission towards reflecting the interests of all of Canada. Therefore, this would suggest that additional study and dialogue should occur over the suitability of provinces attending the CMM.

In consideration of the issues on integration, inclusiveness and co-operation, the evaluation found that missions and provinces at missions believed that the receipt of more in-depth and customized pre- and post-briefings would significantly increase mutual understanding of co-location practices at mission. Such efforts would most likely reduce possible misunderstandings and increase inter-governmental engagement.

Finding 12:

Provincial and Federal officers cooperate well but need at times to remain cognizant that they represent distinct governments, and hence respect the distinct nature of their programs.

The evaluation found that some provincial representatives consider that one of their responsibilities is to leverage the resources of the Canadian mission towards the interests of their province. They act as "inside lobbyists" for their province. It is an acceptable practice for provinces to seek additional attention from Canadian missions, but the evaluation found that while it is beneficial to leverage federal support, this approach was easily misinterpreted. Federal officers viewed these actions of provincial representatives as attempts to influence and direct the work of federal colleagues without the mandate and authority to do so, which in turn led to a decrease in cooperation and a reluctance in sharing information with federal colleagues.

The balance between too much and not enough integration of provincial representatives is probably the most important and most delicate issue in co-location. The right balance involves excellent interpersonal relations and team spirit, a seamless exchange of information on issues of interest to the province, provision of advice and expertise on the part of federal officers and cooperation on some events. But it also involves a clear distinction between the activities of provincial and federal representatives and respect for the confidentiality and discretion that protect the activities of each officer. When the right balance is achieved, co-location amounts to a rewarding and productive experience for all federal and provincial officers concerned because of the respect for provincial autonomy and cooperation.

Finding 13:

Federal officers are careful not to give undue trade and investment advantages to provinces that are on site and this requires close attention and vigilance.

The evaluation found that the federal trade commissioners were mindful in their efforts to ensure that all provinces are treated equally. This is particularly important in case of investment targets and leads. Trade commissioners are careful to ensure that all provinces with a potential interest are informed simultaneously. They admit however that information giving unfair competitive advantage to a co-located province can be inadvertently passed during "coffee break conversations" or other informal occasions.

It is not always easy to draw a clear line between activities that represent good cooperation and team work among federal and provincial representatives at missions and similar activities that may be inequitable to other provinces. A case in point is the practice of inviting a provincial representative to accompany a HOM or any other federal officer during a call to a potential investor to Canada. If the province is clearly identified by the investor as its preferred location, or if the call is the result of a provincial initiative, this practice appears to be fair. However, when there is potential competition between provinces and when the call is a federal initiative, the presence of one provincial representative might represent an unfair competitive advantage. Federal officers must be cognizant of this and apply caution and discretion when offering that kind of support to a provincial representative.

In addition, the double status of provincial representatives, who represent their provinces but are also Canadian diplomats, creates another challenge to the equity among provinces. Given that Canadian diplomatic or consular status, a provincial representative can give the impression that the Canadian government favours a particular province for a potential investment. Interview data showed that provincial representatives were clear about their status and that their interlocutors generally understand that they represent one province, not the whole of Canada. However, a potential for confusion does exist.

It must be noted however that not all competitive advantages are considered unfair competitive advantages. It is expected that provinces are prepared to devote time, energy and money to a certain market to gain advantages, including the support and expertise from their federal colleagues. This reflects the spirit of co-location. Unfair competitive advantages arise when provinces gain in a manner that is disadvantageous to other provinces, for example by getting a head start on an investment lead initiated by federal officials, when the foreign company interested in the Canadian market has not expressed a preference for any specific province.

Finding 14:

Provincial representatives are included in mission emergency contingency plans; however, provinces are not mandated to be involved in operational crisis cells at missions.

Provincial representatives are included, as all missions' members, in the missions' emergency contingency plans. However, in general, they do not participate in the small crisis cells that coordinate missions' responses to emergencies such as natural disasters and terrorist attacks. During the evaluation, one province requested that its representatives abroad be members of these crisis cells. In a recent emergency situation, the communication between its representatives and the crisis cell was considered unsatisfactory by that province. The province's argument was if they became members of crisis cells, their representatives could better inform their government when residents of their provinces are in emergency situations.

Crisis cells fall under the Consular mandate of the federal government and are highly operational units. Their mandate is to ensure the security and well being of all Canadians and all mission staff in cases of emergency, and to provide consular services to all Canadians. Consular services being the sole responsibility of the federal government, such an inclusion would not appear adequate. Provinces or territories are not mandated to participate in these units. They have no consular or emergency management expertise and, more importantly, no consular or emergency management responsibility.

However, provincial representatives should be kept informed of developments and be included, as all diplomats and consular officials, in missions' emergency plans. Increased federal-provincial collaboration at times of international crisis would reduce the information gap. This would contribute to an effort to share consistent and single-source information with provincial representatives in order for them to inform their government of the situation.

4.1.4 Coordination of Priorities and Objectives, Strategic Planning

Finding 15:

Increased coordination of priorities and planning between federal and provincial officials leads to better identification of opportunities for cooperation and synergy.

In terms of planning of activities, missions vary considerably in the way provincial and federal trade promotional activities are planned. In some cases, it occurs formally and regularly. In other cases, it is mainly done informally or not at all. Provincial business plans are usually not incorporated into the mission's business plan, but information on activities is shared when there is an opportunity for cooperation. For example, missions and provinces cooperate in the planning of 'flagship' events and share the cost of events of mutual interest.

The evaluation found that provincial representations and federal missions generally operate independently rather than in a coordinated fashion. Federal-provincial coordination of priorities, objectives and strategic planning is practically non-existent. In general, coordination is focussed on the short term (weekly meetings, joint work on certain projects and visits). A review of missions' business plans showed that they usually contain only a few lines on provincial interests, regardless of co-location with provincial representatives. At some missions, federal officers believed that provincial representatives do not have clear priorities or action plans and that they mainly wish to follow the Canadian mission's actions.

Supported in the evaluation, missions should be encouraged to consult provincial representatives at all phases of strategic planning. One example of effective strategic coordination is that of the trade sector in Germany, which organizes a large planning meeting every year for all the provincial representatives in Germany (whether with co-located or independent bureaus). This type of activity fosters synergy and builds team spirit.

Another good example was found in Mexico where co-located provinces attend Mission Program Management Committee meetings and Trade meetings, and are also invited to mission retreats. In these meetings, provinces share business plans and activities. Provinces attend also a bi-monthly meeting (called the group of five) which includes Export Development Canada (EDC), Alberta, Quebec, Ontario and DFAIT to share plans and activities. One interviewee said that the idea is "to act as one team based on trust and respect." In addition, the Ambassador has a bi-monthly lunch with the Délégué général du Québec and there are weekly meetings with the representatives of Alberta and Ontario who are co-located, and their events are posted in mission calendars.

Based on the above evaluation results, it would appear beneficial if federal and provincial objectives at mission are agreed to be shared by both levels of government. This would most likely enhance the reciprocal nature of the arrangement and federal-provincial relations and offer additional opportunities for co-operation and synergy to be identified.

Findings 16:

There is no systematic mechanism for reporting on results achieved from the co-location program.

The Department, while engaged in managing co-location arrangements with provinces, does not have a performance measurement plan to review progress made and monitor results achieved on its federal-provincial-territorial practices. The development of such a plan would provide management with agreed-upon indicators to monitor internal use of resources and activities towards achieving the desired objective of co-location arrangements. Without such a plan, it is more difficult to assess data the success of departmental activities on federal-provincial-territorial relations. The evaluation does recognize that developing objective indicators in a field dominated by relations that are highly political and qualitative would be challenging.

Although subject to further discussion in the Department, with respect to monitoring responsibilities, PRP and APD could jointly be responsible, each in its respective mandate, for the performance of signed MOU which could include:

  • systematically collecting data on issues raised related to co-location arrangements;
  • identifying any issues or concerns related to the implementation of the MOU and taking timely and corrective actions; and
  • providing input to the negotiation and consultation process of the development of the MOU.

Missions, at regular intervals, could inform PRP and APD of any cooperation issues and joint activities with the provinces in any program areas and their implication. This information would facilitate resolving any issues as well as demonstrating the leveraging of resources and synergies that are built at the missions to promote Canadian interests.

4.2 Efficiency

4.2.1 Building Canadian Capacity Abroad: Efficiencies, Synergies and Complementarities

Finding 17:

Federal and provincial officials abroad complement each level of government bringing specific and supplementary expertise, thus increasing Canada's competitive strengths abroad.

Federal officials in missions consider that the provincial presence in their host countries is a success story. The evaluation heard consistently that provincial representatives were welcome and that federal and provincial representatives at mission complement each other. Apart from three Quebec co-located offices devoted entirely to immigration, the priorities of most provincial representatives are investment and trade promotion and to a lesser degree the recruitment of skilled labour and the marketing of post-secondary education in their provinces.

On trade and investment promotion, federal trade commissioners develop an expertise on local markets in host countries. They offer value to export-ready enterprises on market access. To supplement these efforts, provincial representatives have a solid expertise of the business environment in their provinces. They can provide detailed information to potential investors and buyers about locations, provincial legislations and taxation and, incentives. For Canadian companies, provinces provide customized follow-up services. This type of service complements the core services of the federal trade commissioners.

Working co-operatively

The evaluation noted throughout its field visits that the federal and provincial trade officers cooperate efficiently, using the strengths and added value of each level of government. When a Canadian company requests from federal trade commissioners particular support, at times the provincial representative, with the agreement of the company, can offer specialised support. Provincial representatives often seek the local expertise of their federal colleagues in their endeavour to offer the best support to companies from their provinces. Federal officers will share investment leads with their provincial colleagues (and simultaneously with the provinces not represented at the mission) for further exchange of information with the potential investor.

Federal officials also appreciate the access to the provincial networks that the provincial representatives bring to the mission. They consider that the presence of provincial representatives makes it easier to communicate with provincial governments and to raise their knowledge of the local environment.

It is usually the client (in most cases a Canadian company or a foreign company interested in the Canadian market) who determines whether he/she will work with a federal or a provincial representative or with both. Federal trade officers will inform Canadian companies that there is a provincial representative who can also provide assistance.

In some markets, the number of companies with a strong interest in Canada is relatively limited which can increase competition for market-share. This may create a situation when both federal and provincial officers call on the same companies or potential investors. As a consequence, these companies could occasionally receive an excessive number of calls from 'Canadian officials' requesting meetings and extending invitations for business events. This is delicate and requires careful management. Representatives of foreign companies expressed concern about such occurrences. The effect of this can be minimal when federal and provincial representatives inform each other of their promotion activities, but the evaluation found that some often prefer, for legitimate reasons, to maintain a certain level of confidentiality around their activities.

Another example of excellent working relations and complementary efforts on program integration was found with Quebec immigration offices and federal immigration representatives. Immigration is recognized as a shared jurisdiction and responsibility between Quebec and Canada. Quebec has established three (3) co-located immigration offices; in Hong Kong, Vienna and Damascus. These offices assume responsibility for immigrant selection for Quebec. Once eligibility has been determined for immigration to Quebec, Citizenship and Immigration Canada's officers' review eligible candidatures for admissibility to Canada. This is one example of excellent complementarities between the Quebec immigration offices and their federal counterparts. It also showed effective, integrated operations and sound working relations.

Finding 18:

Cooperation between federal and provincial representatives in the organization of high level provincial visits is efficient, and these visits enhance Canadian visibility abroad.

While Canada has the lead responsibility for visits, both federal and provincial representatives work closely on the organization of visits of senior provincial officials such as premiers and ministers. In many missions, however, the provincial representative will lead in the organization of provincial visits and will engage federal support when needed for political visits.

The evaluation heard accounts that on some provincial visits, there were issues of protocol and timing that caused concern but these are areas that continue to be improved on as the federal-provincial relationships at mission mature (or as each become more familiar with the other). The evaluation found that in general federal-provincial coordination in the organization of visits was efficient.

In many missions, it has been noted that the provincial activity has contributed to developing high level contacts between Canada and the host country. Visits of provincial premiers and ministers have enhanced Canadian visibility in these countries. In one mission, however, it was felt that visits from one province were of such a high volume that it was over-whelming and had over-extended the services of the mission given the demands for senior political- level contacts. In order to streamline and offer best possible service to visiting politicians and dignitaries, the mission had developed mission-specific visit guidelines to reduce the reoccurrence of this situation.

4.3 Provincial Satisfaction

Finding 19:

Provinces co-located at Canadian Diplomatic Missions are generally satisfied with the arrangement.

The evaluation explored the preference of provincial representatives who are currently co-located in Canadian missions and, in general, found the preference is to remain co-located compared to a stand-alone option.

It is possible that provinces may at times hold opposing views to the federal government which can be manifested at mission. In many ways, stand-alone operations may offer the province a preferred option for representation abroad because it reduces the potential for policy, program and administrative challenges. At the same time, the evaluation found that many missions and foreign host governments were knowledgeable of and did not appear overly concerned with stand-alone, co-location or contractual arrangements.

Finding 20:

Foreign interlocutors were unanimously positive of the impact of the presence of provincial representatives in their relations with Canada and the image of Canada.

The evaluation included a number of interviews with a variety of interlocutors in foreign countries, including members of the business communities and officials of foreign ministries. These foreign interlocutors had a very good understanding of the respective roles of federal and provincial representatives. They were unanimously positive about the impact of the provincial presence on the reputation of Canada, as it projects an image of openness and diversity.

Evaluation interviews held with foreign government officials showed that they were receptive to Canada's model of co-location with the provinces. It was seen as representing diversity and acknowledgement of sub-national presence but it was not a model that would replicate in their own countries.

The evaluation also heard from foreign governments' officials that the nature and extent of provincial representation is positive for the image and interests of Canada. However, one host government official shared a word of caution that if this presence increases significantly in his country, it could diffuse the "Canada Brand" or artificially create unnecessary confusion among the business community. India, for example, is now officially restricting stand-alone sub-national representation only to cities where the central government of the sub-national entity has no diplomatic presence, although there are exceptions to that rule.

4.4 Issues and Challenges

4.4.1 Equity of Treatment among Provinces/Territories

Finding 21:

The precise impact of the presence of provinces within Canadian missions on the use of federal resources is difficult to quantify but appears to be neutral.

It is difficult to assess the precise impact of the presence of provincial representatives on federal resources at the mission. On the one hand, provincial representatives handled many of the activities related to the interests of their provinces in the host country, thus allowing federal officials to devote more time and energy to the interests of other provinces. On the other hand, the presence of provincial representatives tend to increase the number of missions, visits and other activities related to that province, thus increasing the amount of time and energy that the mission devotes to that province. On balance, most interlocutors believed that the impact is neutral.

As noted above, in one mission, the HOM and other federal colleagues believed that one province had over-extended the resources of the mission in undertaking an excessive number of ministerial visits. The HOM in direct contact with the provincial authorities addressed this issue and now established mission-specific guidelines to assist in the planning and preparation of such visits.

Provincial representatives abroad accept to take responsibility for the activities related to their provinces, for example the visits of provincial premiers or ministers. But provinces believe that they should receive the same level of support from the Canadian mission regardless of whether a representative is abroad.

The evaluation heard from a number of provinces that in some missions, requests related to their provinces were deferred systematically by federal officials at the mission to the provincial representative for their follow-up. For example, when a provincial government would submit a visit proposal to the mission, the federal official at the mission would give that proposal to the provincial representative.

Another example was requests for support and advice by companies from the province. The federal trade section would consider them to be a responsibility of the provincial representative. This did not appear to respect the federal commitment to provide the same level of service to all provinces. The co-location MOU, between the federal and provincial governments, indicates that it is the federal government's responsibility to promote the interests of the co-located provinces in their requests for support and assistance on all relevant matters.

4.4.2 Respecting Federal and Provincial Jurisdictions

Finding 22:

The vast majority of the activities of provincial representatives center on trade, investment, education, immigration and culture. Federal and provincial representatives are knowledgeable of and respect their distinct jurisdictions.

There are few provincial offices abroad which have a mandate to discuss policy issues with foreign governments. An example of one is the Alberta Office in the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC which is involved in advocacy activities in the USA. Most provincial advocacy positions are consistent with the positions of the federal government. However, when they are not, it is important that their positions be understood as representing the views of a province and may not be necessarily the view of the Government of Canada.

Provinces are aware that there are limitations to their capacity to develop relations with host countries at the ministerial level. Missions respect the right of provincial representatives to develop contacts at the working level with central government departments in the area of competence of the provinces (such as the departments of education). Only in one mission did the evaluation find that the HOM objected to a provincial representative (co-located) having direct contacts with the office of Protocol of the local (sub-national) government. There is no evidence that would limit such contact.

4.4.3 Protecting Confidentiality in Trade and Investment

Finding 23:

Although federal and provincial officials share information of mutual interest, co-location increases the possibility of sensitive information being inadvertently shared with provincial co-locators.

The evaluation found that federal officials are aware of the importance of protecting confidential information. When a provincial representative informs a federal trade commissioner that he/she is working on an investment target or an investment lead, the federal official does not share the information with other provinces, unless contacted directly by the company who might want to investigate other markets in Canada.

One contributing factor to possible disclosure of confidential client investment information is due to the proximity of offices between federal and provincial representatives. The evaluation heard that if federal offices are close to provincial representatives, they could hear discussions concerning investment leads in other provinces. The provincial representative could also drop in the neighbouring office of a federal colleague to introduce himself/herself to a potential investor expressing interest in another province. While the principle of co-location implies that offices of the provincial representatives are housed inside the Canadian mission, the evaluation found that the best arrangement is when the provincial offices are located in identifiable sections, not far, but clearly distinct from the federal trade sections.

Most co-located provincial representatives have access to SIGNET similar to other government colleagues. This is an important vehicle of integration and an indispensable tool of communication at missions. However, in some missions, provincial representatives receive all the messages addressed to MISSION-TD or to *MISSION-TD. Many colleagues at headquarters or in other missions, send messages to these organizational mail boxes without knowing that they are automatically shared with some (but not all) provincial governments. Therefore, caution should be exercised to avoid any distribution of information to unintended recipients. The automatic access to messages aimed at the mission in general, or at particular sections (organizational boxes such as MISSION, MISSION-GR, *MISSION-GR, MISSION-TD or *MISSION-TD) strongly increases the risk of inappropriate information being shared.

Provincial co-locators have expressed an interest to access federal data bases such as TRIO. TRIO contains client contact lists and commercial investment information. Access to this information may offer unfair advantage to co-locators over others.

4.4.4 Branding Canada, Branding the Provinces and Conveying a Consistent Message

Finding 24:

Most provinces brand themselves as "Canada" and they all have an interest in promoting a positive image of Canada.

The evaluation found that, in general, provincial international activities do not have any known impact on Canada's brand. In fact, provinces act with prudence and sophistication when it comes to presenting themselves to foreign communities. In countries where provinces are not recognized, they benefit from the Canadian brand because it is known and contributes to their ability to promote their trade and investment interests.

Among provinces represented abroad, most focussed building business relationship and commercial activities on trade and investment than on diplomatic relations and branding. Québec is an exception in that the promotion of Quebec's identity and culture is one of its priorities. Federal colleagues understand this approach and as stated by a senior Canadian ambassador "Québec is recognized as distinct and different."

It was not surprisingly therefore, that the evaluation found that provincial representatives consistently promoted a positive image of Canada. This approach was seen by host countries as an asset reflecting Canada's diversity and richness.

4.4.5 Responding to Provincial Representational Needs

Finding 25:

The practice of refusing to accept LES as provincial representatives limits the options available to provinces.

Since 2000, when many provinces recommenced their presence abroad, they have explored and implemented new forms of representation abroad, focussing on cost-effective and flexible formulas. British Columbia, for example, chose to hire locally-engaged consultants as its representatives. Other provinces also have hired local consultants as part-time representatives.

DFAIT, with two exceptions, has been firm that provincial representatives should only be provincial civil servants. However, in two locations (Taipei and Mumbai), due to local circumstances, DFAIT has accepted that LES, selected jointly by the province and the mission, act as provincial representatives. They report to the province but work under the supervision of a CBS (Canada Based Staff) at the mission. They do not have diplomatic or consular status.

Should DFAIT continue to support this type of provincial LES arrangement, this could encourage provinces to increase their presence abroad. The Department may wish to consider studying the implications of this approach more comprehensively. It may be an additional and cost-effective option for promoting more co-location.

4.5 Financial Planning, Budgeting and Control Systems

Finding 26:

While a lot of progress has been made to simplify and improve the accounting procedures, there is still need to increase the level of understanding among federal officials and provincial co-locators.

The evaluation found that the administrative/financial system which regulates the expenses of provincial representatives at mission can sometimes be labour-intensive. While the provincial representatives cost-share the maintenance of the administration sections in the missions, they still need to devote, according to interview data, close to 50% of their own section workforce to the administration and management of work associated to their finances. The (federal) administration sections of the missions testified that the management of the financial issues related to the provincial representatives was burdensome for them as well. There are clearly efficiencies to be gained in that respect.

In order to increase the efficiency of the procedures, a new co-location funding framework has been put in place. The framework is implemented through the creation of a Special Purpose Account (SPA) (also called Permanent Advance Account). There is only one SPA for all co-locations and two fund reservations (RS) per co-locator per mission. One of them includes costs known at the beginning of the fiscal year. The other includes costs that cannot be pre-determined such as possible program costs that may arise during the year.

Funding requested from co-locators can be divided into three categories: initial costs; annual invoices; and permanent advances. Initial costs include all one-time fit-up costs associated with the set-up of the provincial office and could include capital purchases and the acquisition of staff residences. When the purpose of the initial cost account is completed, reconciliation is performed, and any un-spent funds return to the co-locator. Annual invoices include co-locators' share of missions' operating costs, administrative salaries and benefits, LES salaries and benefits as well as specific annual costs, such as chancery rent, Staff-Quarter rent, and the use of SIGNET and MITNET services. Permanent Advances include travel, hospitality, cell phone charges, and special order for the sole use of co-locators. Permanent advances must be provided prior to the arrival of co-locator at mission and reviewed regularly to ensure sufficient funds are available.

Ideally all costs that can be pre-determined will be requested from co-locators in advance, so that they can ensure their accounts contain the funds required for the up-coming fiscal year. For other costs, monthly statements are provided to provinces based on program activities. Based on these statements, provinces replenish the funds. The funds are then deposited in an HQ controlled suspense account and transferred via journal voucher. Also, DFAIT requires that all program expenses must include the Control Number (i.e., the number on the invoices that is provided to each provincial HQ for approval).

The evaluation heard that missions receive provincial funds twice a year. While the first instalment is often sent early in the fiscal year, the second is sent later in the year. This delay in sending the second instalment causes two problems: Missions have to cash manage throughout the year to fund provincial programs, and when they receive provincial monies, it is too late in the fiscal year that they risk lapsing money. Since missions receive about 75% of their funds in May, they essentially have all the funding required until the end of December.

Missions are required to communicate with APD on a regular basis if and when anomalies occur (i.e., unavailability of funds for payment of invoices), or if a new activity is expected. Missions are also instructed not to pay from their own budget if they do not have sufficient funds. The TB's Common Services Policy is clear in that Common Service Organizations are not permitted to use their appropriated funds to pay for co-locators.

In fact, the purpose of the Permanent Advances was to ensure funds are available before expenditures are incurred. APD coordinates with both missions and co-locators when determining the level of funding that would be needed. So it appears that missions, in the spirit of cooperation and provision of timely services to co-locators, do sometimes fund co-locators' activities. When missions process transactions from their own budget, it becomes a challenge for APD to reconcile payments and provide a clear picture to the co-locators' HQs when requesting an increase for Permanent Advances.

Canadian staff and provincial representatives at missions have both mentioned the presence of few administrative irritants. On the accounting side, there seems to be two different sets of financial rules that are in place: one for DFAIT staff and the other for provincial staff. For example, while LES are considered federal staff, provincial LES were found in some cases to use provincial per-diem rates while on travel status rather than federal ones - provincial rates are sometimes higher, sometimes lower, than federal rates. When LES use federal rates, they sometimes get higher allowances than the provincial representative him/herself. Also it was found that sometimes there are different contracting procedures that are used. These situations were identified by missions and efforts are being made to standardize both financial and contracting procedures consistent with DFAIT and TB policies. If provinces could be convinced to use federal rates at mission, the process would be simplified to the benefit of everyone.

There is a need for clearer guidelines, particularly with signing authority under Section 33 and 34 of the Financial Administrative Act. Because each province has different financial systems and processes, which may not correspond to DFAIT's systems, verification of deliverables is done by the province and Section 34 is signed by the missions' Financial Officers. This situation is based on the trust and confidence of what the provinces attest to by approving invoices for payment. A number of federal officers at mission expressed their uneasiness as they have to sign Section 34 while they have no control over spending given the autonomy of provincial representatives, who report directly to their headquarters.

Provinces differ in the level of financial delegation accorded to their representatives. For example, Ontario co-locators are required to send all invoices for authorised activities to Queen's Park for approval, which may delay the process of payment. For AB, the government delegates approval authority to their representatives. The evaluation did not examine the situation with Quebec co-locators. At all missions, provincial representatives sign their own travel authorizations based on pre-approved work plans and approve those of their LES.

Provincial HQs are aware of these issues and work with DFAIT to resolve them. There seems to be good communication between DFAIT's APD and Provinces' HQs and that provinces have a good understanding of DFAIT financial procedures. However, more effort should be made to clarify DFAIT's financial processes and regulations to provincial representatives.

Provinces' HQs have indicated that they are satisfied with the new funding framework and that it is a major improvement. For example, the new billing process is based on user fees and ensures full-cost recovery of DFAIT's expenses. Provinces are currently charged based on what they use (e.g., telephone, space, etc). Nevertheless, at missions, provincial representatives have indicated that they are overcharged and had to pay for more than they received. When this was discussed with APD, the evaluation found that this variance in opinions is because representatives at missions are not always aware of provincial and federal costing issues due to communication delays or training lags of the initial and overhead costs.

Raising the awareness of missions' Financial Officers of the issues related to co-locators and providing training on the new funding framework and business processes may resolve the funding and payment issues. Also efforts should be made to encourage better communication between missions and APD. Currently, APD lists all instructions on the website and communicate information by email to provincial HQs. This evaluation supports such efforts and calls for more use of technology to increase knowledge of missions' Finance staff such as developing an on-line training course or an interactive website to deal with financial and accounting issues.

It may take a few years, to successful implement training and open communications to test whether the new system does significantly improve efficiencies. If after two or three years the system remains overly burdensome and labour-intensive, DFAIT could consider giving provinces two options: to either manage their finances themselves (the mission would only be involved in opening an account and processing payments, all controls would be devolved to the provincial representative and his headquarters); or to consider full integration in the mission financial system, with full application of federal guidelines, rules, procedures and controls, including approvals of expenses by a senior officer (e.g., STC) at the mission.

4.6 Clarity of Rules and Expectations

Finding 27:

Although federal and provincial representatives have effective relations; not all federal officials were aware of the policies and expectations of DFAIT with regard to these relations.

The evaluation found that provincial representatives and federal officials work co-operatively and collaborate effectively with mutual respect (co-located or in stand-alone offices). Some federal officials though expressed discomfort which they attributed to their unfamiliarity with the policies and expectations of DFAIT regarding federal/provincial relations. These officers while they were instinctively conducting themselves in an appropriate manner remained uncertain whether they were supporting Departmental expectations in this regard.

However, the evaluation found that in one mission, the HOM cautioned the actions of a provincial representative in that the wider community may have an impression that the representative was the head of a separate mission within the Canadian representation. This approach was not deemed successful as it heightened tensions with the provincial representative.

One possible reason for this heightened tension was in the interpretation or expectation of the Departmental policies on the management of federal/provincial relations. They are broad in scope, flexible and non prescriptive to allow for the use of discretion in conduct. The evaluation found that while this flexibility is an asset, Departmental policies and expectations could be raised in pre- or post briefings with the federal and provincial representatives at post to increase their awareness.

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5.0 Conclusions

The evaluation found that the Department's policies, practices and co-location arrangements towards provincial representation abroad are relevant to the need for the federal government to continue to support and engage provinces and territories on the international scene. Co-location is also relevant to the provinces in that it offers an international platform of expertise.

The Department's interactions with the provinces including its consultation processes, facilitation efforts with provincial representation abroad and co-location practices support the Department's priorities. These priorities include advancing Canada's interests internationally in partnership with Canadians as well as advancing Canada's commercial interests both in Canada and internationally in collaboration with Canadian businesses and stakeholders.

It was also interesting to note from the evaluation interviews that Canada's co-location practices compared to other like-minded federal nations are open, inclusive and innovative. In addition, they are not rigidly rules-based.

The evaluation found federal-provincial relations abroad, while generally effective, are subject to challenges in terms how best to integrate provincial interests with mission management and objectives. This continues to be in a process of evolution, improvement and the basis of many evaluation findings and recommendations.

Areas for improvement included missions holding regular meetings with provinces to understand each other's mandates and objectives. Another consistent area for improvement was to increase both communication and system efficiencies on dealing with administrative matters between missions and provinces. It was apparent that in some missions, provincial representatives spent considerable time and resources on administrative issues while mission administrative staff was also found attending to the same issues.

One other aspect to federal and provincial representatives to consider is whether LES could be a provincial representative. This may in itself raises many other questions but the evaluation has indicated this as an option for gaining efficiencies in streamlining the processes followed to staff provincial directors at mission.

Evaluation findings and analyses were also limited because although co-location at mission is based on cost-recovery, an effective performance measurement and monitoring system with regard to the department's efforts on facilitating provincial representation abroad, is not available. This would be of assistance as it would provide core or essential performance information to management for decision-making on areas of vulnerability.

The evaluation found strong evidence to support that co-location and the Department's polices and practices towards the facilitation of provincial representation abroad should continue. Such practices contribute significantly to the successful promotion of Canada interests and image internationally. These policies and practices also contribute significantly to the effectiveness of federal-provincial relations in international affairs.

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6.0 Recommendations

Recommendation 1:

That Missions aim to strike the right balance between the objectives of sound integration of provincial representatives and the respect for the distinct mandates and programs of federal and provincial representatives.

In doing so, DFAIT and missions should continue to favour a pragmatic rather than prescriptive approach to the relationship between federal and provincial representatives, giving HOMs the flexibility to adapt general guidelines to local circumstances.

The following measures should be implemented to ensure a strong professional and social integration of provincial representatives:

  • Co-located provincial representatives should be included in regular meetings based on mutually-shared interests within mission.
  • Federal officers at missions, and particularly STCs should devote more efforts to create a team spirit with their provincial colleagues through joint meetings, informal consultations, working luncheons and occasional face to face meetings with HOMs.
  • Provincial representatives should be invited to functions and be encouraged to collaborate on events which relate to organizations or individuals active in their provinces, except where the invitation could breach the principles of equity and confidentiality and where the number of guests at the function is very limited.
  • DFAIT and the provinces represented abroad should consider engaging in mission business planning sessions and should share their business plans and mandate letters in a reciprocal nature.

The following measures should be implemented to protect the distinct mandates of federal and provincial representatives:

  • Federal officers should continue to provide the same level of services to all sectors of a province (such as government and business) as they would if there were no provincial representatives on site; although requests for services can be passed to provincial representatives, this should not be automatic and systematic.
  • Federal officers should be vigilant when they work with provincial representatives on trade and investment leads, in order to treat fairly other provinces potentially interested in the same business
  • Unless warranted by special circumstances, provincial representatives should not be included in the meetings of the committees on mission management.
  • Whenever possible, the provincial offices should occupy an appropriate location within the mission, close to but clearly separate from the trade section.
  • Federal and provincial representatives at missions should be sensitive to the source of information received and treat it with discretion.

Recommendation 2:

That DFAIT adopt measures to increase the knowledge and understanding of the respective roles and mandates of federal and provincial representatives and of the policies and practices guiding missions' relationships with provincial representatives.

  • Missions' organisational charts should be consistent with the MOUs, which indicate that there is only a line of authority (but no reporting relationship) between provincial representatives and HOMs.
  • Where possible, the designation of the senior federal official at a mission should be at least one level above the designation of the provincial representatives.
  • DFAIT should ensure that federal officers being posted to missions are made aware of the policies and guidelines which manage the relationship with provincial representatives.
  • DFAIT and missions should consider putting a context paper as an annex to the MOU to explain local circumstances and rules relevant to the relationship between provincial and federal representatives.
  • A session on relationship with provincial representatives should be included in the pre-posting briefings of federal officers going to missions where there is a provincial presence; a specific session should be prepared for HOMs.
  • DFAIT should organize an annual meeting with provinces to discuss relationships between their representatives and federal missions abroad, particularly in the context of co-location.
  • Federal officers at mission should inform Canadian companies of the presence of provincial representatives in order to expand the services available to these companies.

Recommendation 3:

That DFAIT, provinces and missions continue to improve the efficiency of the administrative and financial procedures related to co-location.

  • If recent changes to the financial procedures presiding over co-location do not improve efficiencies significantly, DFAIT should consider giving provinces the option of 1) managing their finances themselves (missions would only open bank accounts and process payments) or 2) being fully integrated in the mission financial system, thus adopting federal financial rules, guidelines and approval process.
  • Missions and DFAIT headquarters should encourage provinces to adopt federal travel and, most definitely, hospitality guidelines in situations of co-location in order to promote clarity and equity among staff at missions.
  • DFAIT should regularize the situation of LES in missions where they remain employees of provinces or where there is ambiguity in that regard; in the future, all LES should be employees of Canada.
  • In the course of their pre-posting briefing, whenever possible, MCOs and/or finance officers posted to missions where there is co-location should consider visiting provincial capitals in order to gain in-depth understanding of the financial arrangements between the province and the mission.
  • DFAIT should consider the option of renting offices outside the main chancery for provincial representatives when space constraints risk delaying the implementation of a co-location agreement.

Recommendation 4:

That DFAIT develop objective performance indicators to measure its activities towards the effective management of its policies, practice and programs with regard to provincial representation abroad subject to further dialogue in the Department and with provinces and territories.

The following measures should be implemented to identify essential, or core, strategic direction of the Department's effort to support and engage provinces and territories on the international scene. Within the Department, PRP and APD could jointly work together to develop performance information and monitor its progress over time. For example, this effort could be comprised of:

  • The collection of data on those activities or issues that address the Department's assistance to provinces and territories on representation abroad (such as co-location arrangements, negotiation and consultations);
  • The identification of any factors or concerns that may impede the successful implementation of the MOU.

Missions, at regular intervals, could also inform PRP and APD of any joint activities with the provinces in any program areas and their implication on mission management or substantive policy matters.

The collection of this performance information is not meant to be onerous or a burden. However, it would be beneficial for the Department to measure the nature, the extent of and time spent on its co-location activities. This also would assist in the decision-making process by identifying any issues that have either contributed to or impeded the successful performance of its co-location practices.

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7.0 List of Findings

Finding 1:

The practice of co-location is relevant to and supports the Government of Canada's approach on federal-provincial-territorial relations in the spirit of open federalism.

Finding 2:

Co-location is a relevant practice in that it offers an international network or platform of expertise to the provinces or territories.

Finding 3:

Provinces gain competitive advantages by being present in a market, but these advantages benefits Canada as a whole.

Finding 4:

Provincial co-location abroad is an important asset.

Finding 5:

While co-location is an asset, it poses number of challenges.

Finding 6:

Canada's federal-provincial co-location practice is open, inclusive and innovative among like-minded federal countries; it recognizes and sustains the dual but not necessarily reciprocal nature of this relations.

Finding 7:

There is no clear indication of the effect of an absence of co-location on either mission activity or provincial representation abroad.

Finding 8:

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is an effective but limited tool to manage federal-provincial relationships in the case of co-location.

Finding 9:

Lines of authority and reporting relationships are well understood and well respected at missions, and are applied with flexibility by HOMs.

Finding 10:

There is sound co-operation and good integration at Mission between Federal and Provincial Representatives.

Finding 11:

Integration of provincial representatives, encouraging the level of cooperation and interaction, and fostering inclusiveness while respecting the separate character of federal and provincial programs is a key challenge at missions.

Finding 12:

Provincial and Federal officers cooperate well but need at times to remain cognizant that they represent distinct governments, and hence respect the distinct nature of their programs.

Finding 13:

Federal officers are careful not to give undue trade and investment advantages to provinces that are on site and this requires close attention and vigilance.

Finding 14:

Provincial representatives are included in mission emergency contingency plans; however, provinces are not mandated to be involved in operational crisis cells at missions.

Finding 15:

Increased coordination of priorities and planning between federal and provincial officials leads to better identification of opportunities for cooperation and synergy.

Finding 16:

There is no systematic mechanism for reporting on results achieved from the co-location program.

Finding 17:

Federal and provincial officials abroad complement each level of government bringing specific and supplementary expertise, thus increasing Canada's competitive strengths abroad.

Finding 18:

Cooperation between federal and provincial representatives in the organization of high level provincial visits is efficient, and these visits enhance Canadian visibility abroad.

Finding 19:

Provinces co-located at Canadian Diplomatic Missions are generally satisfied with the arrangement.

Finding 20:

Foreign interlocutors were unanimously positive of the impact of the presence of provincial representatives in their relations with Canada and the image of Canada.

Finding 21:

The precise impact of the presence of provinces within Canadian missions on the use of federal resources is difficult to quantify but appears to be neutral.

Finding 22:

The vast majority of the activities of provincial representatives center on trade, investment, education, immigration and culture. Federal and provincial representatives are knowledgeable of and respect their distinct jurisdictions.

Finding 23:

Although federal and provincial officials share information of mutual interest, co-location increases the possibility of sensitive information being inadvertently shared with provincial co-locators.

Finding 24:

Most provinces brand themselves as "Canada" and they all have an interest in promoting a positive image of Canada.

Finding 25:

The policy of refusing to accept LES as provincial representatives limits the options available to provinces.

Finding 26:

While a lot of progress has been made to simplify and improve the accounting procedures, there is still need to increase the level of understanding among federal officials and provincial co-locators.

Finding 27:

Although federal and provincial representatives have effective relations; not all federal officials were aware of the policies and expectations of DFAIT with regard to these relations.

8.0 List Of Recommendations

Recommendation 1:

That Missions aim to strike the right balance between the objectives of sound integration of provincial representatives and the respect for the distinct mandates and programs of federal and provincial representatives.

Recommendation 2:

That DFAIT adopt measures to increase the knowledge and understanding of the respective roles and mandates of federal and provincial representatives and of the policies and practices guiding missions' relationships with provincial representatives.

Recommendation 3:

That DFAIT, provinces and missions continue to improve the efficiency of the administrative and financial procedures related to co-location.

Recommendation 4:

That DFAIT develop objective performance indicators to measure its activities towards the effective management of its policies, practice and programs with regard to provincial representation abroad subject to further dialogue in the Department and with provinces and territories.

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9.0 Management Response and Action Plan

Table 1: Management Response and Action Plan
RecommendationManagement Response and Action PlanResponsibility CentreTime Frame
Recommendation 1:

That Missions aim to strike the right balance between the objectives of sound integration of provincial representatives and the respect for the distinct mandates and programs of federal and provincial representatives.

PFM agrees with this recommendation and with the nine sub-recommendations. They will have to be implemented by missions.

PRP will send a message to missions with co-located provincial representatives reporting on the results of the evaluation and consulting them on a set of proposed new guidelines and best practices for relations with provincial co-locators based on the evaluation's findings.

The proposed new guidelines and best practices will then be reviewed by DFAIT's Mission Management Board before being shared with all missions.

APD agrees to sub-recommendation concerning the location of provincial office space within missions, subject to available space and willingness of provinces to pay for additional expenses and any required moves.

PRP/APD/missionsNovember 2009: message to missions

January 2010: reports by mission

Spring 2010:

new guidelines

Recommendation 2:

That DFAIT adopt measures to increase the knowledge and understanding of the respective roles and mandates of federal and provincial representatives and of the policies and practices guiding missions' relationships with provincial representatives.

PFM agrees with recommendation no. 2 and seven sub-recommendations. Action plan similar to recommendation no. 1. PRP will inform missions of recommendations, including need to adjust org charts where required. PRP will renew its efforts to offer, in collaboration with CFSI and CFSD, briefing sessions for all officers going to missions with provincial presence and for HOMs, taking into account resource constraints and the limited number of missions directly concerned.

New guidelines will be issued in the Spring 2010. PRP will address those issues with provinces on the occasion of the annual meeting already planned (more in next paragraph). We will seek from missions a background paper on local circumstances and rules for future MOUs, information which could be added as annex.

APD has in the past and will continue to organize with PRP an annual meeting with provinces, as well as undertake bilateral visits. Our next annual meeting (this summer/fall) with all provinces will promote financial business process standardisation. APD will ensure that future MOU's include a clear outline of client responsibility (financial and other) in cases where they opt out of the DFAIT housing pool. APD, in consultation with AID/AIS, is to provide guidelines (by end of FY), outlining the possibilities and restrictions of various IT requests both at headquarters and abroad as they relate to the co-location requests.

PRP/APD/CFSI/CFSD/missionsNovember 2009: message to missions

Spring 2010:

new guidelines

October 2009:

first annual consultation with provinces on co-location

Winter 2010:

planning of pre-posting briefings with CFSD and CFSI

April-June 2010:

In agreement with CFSI and CFSD, first pre-posting briefings

Recommendation 3:

That DFAIT, provinces and missions continue to improve the efficiency of the administrative and financial procedures related to co-location.

APD - We will continue to monitor the effect of the new funding framework, however we must continue to balance the practicality of administration with legal requirements (e.g. DFAIT Act, Federal Accountability Act, Financial Administration Act, Vienna conventions etc.) Legal requirements might prevent the complete delegation of all co-location financial accountability to the provinces and political concerns may prevent provinces from adopting federal norms.  Thus we expect the hybrid system to continue.

As for the complexity of financial arrangements, most of those comments arise from provincial procedures for their own co-locations.  There are clear limits to our ability to change provincial financial regulations.  Nevertheless, we will continue to promote a standardised and simplified financial business process and point out the benefits to our partners of doing so.  We have made progress on this front but it is unlikely that all provinces will agree to completely adopt federal norms.

DFAIT has worked to remove ambiguity over the status of Locally Engaged Staff (LES) by regularizing employees working for provinces where their status was unclear.  Legally and under international law, they are federal employees. All new LES are being created as federal employees and attempts are ongoing to convert the remaining Quebec Immigration LES to federal LES.

Renting diplomatic offices outside of the main chancery due to space constraints is now in place.  (e.g. Quebec in Damascus)

APD/missionsOngoing
Recommendation 4:

That DFAIT develop objective performance indicators to measure its activities towards the effective management of its policies, practice and programs with regard to provincial representation abroad subject to further dialogue in the Department and with provinces and territories.

As the evaluation report rightly points out, federal/provincial relations are qualitative and political by nature, and therefore indicators should be qualitative. As a first step, missions will be asked to report to PRP any relevant issue or event on an ongoing basis. An officer in PRP will be assigned with the duty of keeping track of all issues. PRP will propose an annual process by which missions will report on federal/provincial relationship, and input of provinces will be sought as well. A questionnaire will be developed for missions and provinces. This process will be closely linked with the annual consultation with provinces on co-location.PRP/missionsNovember 2009:

message to missions; missions requested to report on ongoing basis

February 2010: development of questionnaire for missions and provinces

Feb-Mar 2010:

consultation of missions and provinces

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Footnotes:

1 PRP Mandate, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, 2009.

2 APD is responsible for 1) providing the strategic direction and planning of common services delivery to partner departments and co-locators at Canadian Diplomatic Missions abroad; 2) coordinating and supporting the implementation of the framework for managing growth at missions; 3) developing and negotiating MOUs with partner departments on the services delivered including statement of roles, responsibilities and obligations, service standards for services provided and financial arrangements; and,4) initiating cost recovery from partner departments and co-locators for the costs of co-location and redistributing these funds to the appropriate fund centres within the Department.

3 Formal representation is defined as that they have established offices that receive their budgets from the provincial governments, promote their interests and work on their behalf in the host country on a full-time basis.

4 Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

5 Open federalism is defined as "taking advantage of the experience and expertise that the provinces and territories can contribute to the national dialogue; respecting areas of provincial jurisdiction; keeping the federal government's spending power within bounds; full cooperation by the Government of Canada with all other levels of government, while clarifying the roles and responsibilities of each." Office of the Prime Minister, April 21, 2006. (Speech by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Montreal Quebec). Prime Minister promotes open federalism, accessed on May 15, 2009

6 Included were headquarter interviews conducted with officials who are engaged in managing co-location or directly related to collocation activities and who have experience dealing with provincial representation abroad. These included officials representing trade, investment, geographic and corporate. Interviews were also held with CIC (Citizenship and Immigration Canada). Provinces active in representation abroad were also interviewed.

7 Department Performance Report, 2007-2008, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, Ottawa, Canada

8 Alberta Foreign Offices Review, 2008.

9 Internal Annotated Bibliographical Literature Search, 2008.

10 In some MOUs, the reporting relationship is stated differently. For example, the Alberta (AB) Seoul MOU (1993) states that AB representative is accountable to AB management but functions under the direction of the HOM through the relevant Program Manager. In the 2003 AB London MOU, the AB representative is accountable to AB government, but will act in close consultation with the STC at the mission. In the 2005 Ontario (ON) London MOU, the representative is expected to report to ON government and acts in cooperation and close consultation with the STC, but does not have a position within the organization of the Mission.

11 This sense of isolation is further reinforced in some missions where provincial representatives have their offices away from sections of relevance in the mission - such as trade and investment.

12 This included; invitations to meetings, working lunches, consultations with provincial colleagues, occasional face to face meetings with HOMs (in large missions)

Office of the Inspector General


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Date Modified:
2012-11-22