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Evaluation of Diplomatic Corps Services Program

(March 2010)


Abbreviations, Acronyms and Symbols

CBSACanada Border Services Agency
CICCitizenship and Immigration Canada
DECDepartmental Evaluation Committee
DFAITDepartment of Foreign Affairs and International Affairs
DCSPDiplomatic Corps Services Program
GoCGovernment of Canada
GSTGoods and Services Tax
HFEExecutive Assignment Division
HOMHead of Mission
IDIdentity
ISIForeign Intelligence Division
MOUMemorandum of Understanding
OGDsOther Government Departments
PWGSCPublic Works and Government Services Canada
RCMPRoyal Canadian Mounted Police
TBSTreasury Board Secretariat
XDCDiplomatic Corps Services Division, Office of Protocol
XDDOffice of Protocol
XDMManagement Services, Office of Protocol
XDSOfficial Events, Office of Protocol
XDVOfficial Visits, Office of Protocol
ZIDOffice of the Inspector General
ZIEEvaluation Division, DFAIT

 


Acknowledgments

This evaluation has been prepared by the Evaluation Division (ZIE), in collaboration with Sheila Dohoo Faure from Goss Gilroy Inc., who provided the team with technical expertise. The evaluation team would like to express its gratitude to the staff and management of the Diplomatic Corps Services Division for their cooperation and to the Evaluation Advisory Committee for its indispensable guidance and advice. Special acknowledgement is extended to all stakeholders and representatives from the diplomatic community who agreed to be interviewed and those who took part in the online client satisfaction survey.


Executive Summary

This report presents the results of the summative evaluation of the Diplomatic Corps Services Program (DCSP) of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Affairs (DFAIT). The objective of this evaluation is to review and assess the relevance and performance (effectiveness, efficiency and economy) of DCSP. The target audience for this evaluation is the Diplomatic Corps Services Division (XDC) within the Office of Protocol (XDD).

XDC is responsible for the following activities:

  • Agrément process to provide formal acceptance for foreign Heads of Mission (HOMs) (including Ambassadors and High Commissioners) and military attachés prior to entry into Canada;
  • Accreditation, including the production and issuing of a variety of documents, for all diplomatic and consular officers and their families in Canada;
  • Management of the privileges and immunities that, at varying levels, shield diplomats from the normal application of the ordinary laws of Canada;
  • Security and incident management, in accordance with the Vienna Conventions;
  • Management of ceremonial programs for foreign HOMs, including arrival and departure ceremonies and the presentation of Letters of Credence or Letters of Introduction;
  • Outreach programs for the diplomatic community in Canada, including informational and networking activities;
  • Management of payments in lieu of taxes on diplomatic, consular and international organizations' property in Canada; and
  • Representation of DFAIT on the Policy Sub-Committee on Honorary Distinctions, which makes recommendations on the policy for the awards that foreign governments can bestow on Canadians.

The operations budget for XDC has declined from $750K in 2007/08 to $345K in 2009/10, in part as a result of the transfer of the costs of two outreach events from the XDC budget to the Government Hospitality Allotment Fund. The total operations costs of the Outreach Program in 2008/09 were about $424K. In addition, XDC manages the Grants and Contributions Program of about $12 million for the Payment in Lieu of Taxes. There are currently sixteen full-time equivalents in XDC and two seconded staff (from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Citizenship and Immigration Canada).

The evaluation involved multiple lines of evidence:

  • Review of documents and data, including background information on Canada's international obligations and DFAIT, particularly XDC, documents and data;
  • Interviews with 58 internal and external stakeholders, including XDC (17) and other DFAIT staff (10), other federal government departments, including the Parliamentary protocol office (6), other external stakeholders (provincial/municipal protocol offices, police forces) (7), international organizations (5), and foreign missions (13);
  • An online survey of representatives of foreign missions to assess satisfaction with a range of DCSP services. Responses were received from 112 accredited missions/ international organizations, for a response rate of 56.3%; and
  • A study of comparable services in Australia, France and Switzerland. This study was based on interviews with DFAIT geographic desk officers (3) representatives of foreign missions in National Capital Region (3)(1) and a review of documents, supplemented by information available on the internet for information about protocol services.

As with any evaluation, challenges with the data collection impose certain limitations on the findings that can be drawn. In this evaluation, most limitations stem from the fact that the evaluation is based primarily on stakeholder perceptions of the relevance and performance of the DCSP. However, the online survey contributed significantly to the evaluation by allowing the team to quantify perceptions of the diplomatic community.

Key Findings

Relevance

There is a continuing need for diplomatic corps services, as they continue to be relevant to DFAIT and Government of Canada priorities and it is appropriate for the federal government to continue to play a lead role in the delivery of these services.

Most diplomatic corps services are required by Canada's international obligations, as reflected in the Foreign Missions and International Organizations Act, which reflects Canada's commitment to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961) and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (1963). As such, the DCSP is relevant to the mandates of both DFAIT and the GoC. DCSP activities are also consistent with DFAIT's legal mandate, as set out in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Act and are included in the second activity (Diplomacy and Advocacy) under DFAIT's Strategic Outcome #1. The services that are not required under Canada's international obligations support the country's interests either by establishing reciprocal arrangements with other countries or by promoting Canada's interests. The reciprocal arrangements benefit directly Canadian diplomats serving abroad. Activities of the Outreach Program contribute to strengthening awareness and understanding of Canada by foreign diplomats and provide opportunities for networking and for briefing the diplomatic community on current Canadian public policy issues.

Since most DCSP activities are a direct result of Canada's obligations under international conventions, it is appropriate for federal government to play key role in delivery of services and the responsibility for these activities is conferred on DFAIT by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Act. Although some services provided (e.g. tax exemptions, entitlement to drivers'/car licenses) are under provincial or municipal jurisdictions, it remains the role of the federal government to coordinate and facilitate respect for the international obligations by other jurisdictional authorities.

Performance: Effectiveness

The diplomatic community expressed a very high level of satisfaction with diplomatic corps services in general and particularly with the relations with XDC. While generally satisfied with the information available about diplomatic corps services, there were some reservations.

Members of the diplomatic community were very satisfied, in general, with XDC's services. XDC staff are the first and most constant contact that members of the diplomatic community have with Canadian officials and they maintain very close relations with members of the diplomatic community. Diplomats were overwhelmingly positive about their relations with staff, noting particularly the good relations with the Chief of Protocol and the courtesy and competence of, and ability to contact, XDC staff.

The diplomatic community is generally satisfied with information about diplomatic corps services available through Circular Notes and on the Protocol Office website and a password-protected extranet site. However, there were some reservations about the availability of information. The service with the lowest ratings is the management of privileges. However, the frustration is often with things that are beyond the control of DFAIT. This includes concerns about some privileges that are under provincial jurisdiction - notably, exemptions from sales taxes, lack of access to public health services in Ontario, and challenges with access to educational institutions.

The diplomatic community is generally satisfied with outreach events.

Participants are very positive about the arrangements and content of the outreach events, particularly the Northern Tour. While overall satisfaction is still high, feedback on the content of Diplomatic Forum and the Economic Outreach Mission was somewhat more nuanced, since some respondents felt that these events (and to some extent also, the Northern Tour) tend to show only the "good side" of the issues and not to discuss the challenges facing Canada.

There is evidence of immediate positive impacts of the Northern Tour and, to a lesser extent, the Diplomatic Forum and Economic Outreach Mission. However, there is limited evidence of the long-term impacts of the Outreach Program, but these are also more difficult to identify and measure.

There are positive immediate impacts for all three regular outreach events:

  • Northern Tour: Increased their understanding of the importance of the North for Canada from both an economic, social and security perspective;
  • Diplomatic Forum: Provided opportunities to establish new contacts in the government and private sector, notably the opportunity to meet DFAIT and other Ministers and senior public servants; and
  • Economic Outreach Missions: Provided valuable information on trade that they were able to provide to their home country.

However, the evaluation was not able to identify longer-term impacts of the Outreach Program. About one-quarter of online survey respondents strongly agreed that the three regular outreach events programs supported and/or will likely support trade/other benefits. It should be noted that long-term impacts - both for Canada and the HOM's country - are difficult to identify and measure.

Performance: Efficiency and Economy

There are gaps in the internal documentation of procedures with respect to the delivery of services.

Circular Notes describe the diplomatic corps services. Members of the diplomatic community were generally very satisfied with the Circulars, indicating that, if additional information was required, they were able to get clarification from XDC staff. A few expressed a desire to receive the Circulars electronically. They also indicated that there is sometimes confusion when a new circular is issued, as it may supersede an earlier circular.

Some services are defined in formal policy guidelines and there are also agreements with some other government departments (OGDs) defining XDC's roles and responsibilities. Even for those services for which there are documented procedures, these are not integrated into one place in a Division manual.

At peak periods, XDC does not meet the service standards for some services.

The online survey indicated slightly lower levels of satisfaction in the diplomatic community with the timelines for some services (agreement, accreditation and the management of privileges) than with other services (dependent employment arrangements, security and incident management and ceremonial programs).

An analysis of the data from XDC's Passport Log indicated that XDC met the service standard for accreditation for all requests by HOMs, except in the months of July to October. However, it met this service standard for other diplomatic staff only in December. There may be very valid reasons for the delays in processing some requests - notably if there are any concerns with the request. XDC has put in place measures to reduce the volume of work during the peak period and is considering other options to speed up the processing of accreditation.

XDC has limited ability to report on performance or the extent to which it has met its service standards. It also has no performance measurement strategy or mechanisms in place to monitor and evaluate the performance of its services.

XDC does not systematically track timelines for services for which they are service standards. The Passport Log it maintains for tracking the receipt and processing of diplomatic passports is used to manage workload, not to report on performance with respect to the service standards. Also, XDC is not collecting any performance information with respect to the levels of satisfaction with its services, including the outreach events. As is the case for all DFAIT units, XDC has a Performance Measurement Plan (PMP) and a Performance Management Agreement (PMA) for defining the objectives for, and measuring the performance of, each manager.

While relations with internal DFAIT stakeholders and external government stakeholders, including OGDs and other stakeholders are very good, given the operational nature of these relationships, there is a lack of ongoing training to maintain the level of knowledge among external stakeholders.

In implementing its services, XDC works in collaboration with a range of internal and external stakeholders: other DFAIT services, OGDs and other external stakeholders (provincial protocol offices, City of Ottawa protocol office, Crown Attorney, police forces). Roles and responsibilities are clear and there is a very positive collaboration between these groups and XDC. The one exception relates to XDC's role with respect to criminal cases. These occur very infrequently, but there are reportedly gaps in information with respect to procedures, roles and responsibilities.

Members of the diplomatic community provided examples of discrepancies in the information provided by XDC and the front-line staff of other government services. In past, XDC has done training with these front-line staff, but resource constraints have resulted in the training not having been delivered for a few years. Maintaining the level of awareness and understanding of the implementation of immunities and privileges requires ongoing support.

DFAIT has to negotiate with the provinces, which have jurisdiction for a number of the immunities and privileges to which members of the diplomatic community are entitled. There are some outstanding and persistent issues in the relations with some provincial authorities.

DFAIT is responsible for ensuring that Canada respects its international obligations with respect to immunities and privileges. However, to the extent that the areas of these immunities and privileges fall under provincial and/or municipal jurisdictions (e.g. sale tax, tax exemptions for importation of alcohol, consistent application of diplomatic status, property taxes), XDC plays an ongoing role in monitoring and negotiating diplomatic immunities and privileges. There are ongoing issues with some provinces that are not consistently supporting Canada's international obligations.

XDC financial and human resources are reportedly adequate for the current demand for services. However, given the operational nature of much of XDC's work and the number of entry level positions, the unit has challenges with staff retention.

XDC management indicates that the human and financial resources available are adequate for the unit's current activities. Much of XDC's work is operational in nature and, as a result, the unit has a high number of entry level positions. As would be expected, incumbents in such positions are often seeking opportunities for advancement and, as a result, turnover in some positions has been very high. Although the work is relatively routine, it requires a high level of attention to detail and accuracy, as the results of an error could be very embarrassing for Canada. Although XDC management has attempted to address the retention issue by encouraging staff retention activities (such as professional development opportunities and a positive work environment), the retention problem remains.

Since it is difficult to identify long-term outcomes of the Outreach Program, it is not possible to assess the cost-effectiveness of this Program. However, XDC has implemented a number of measures to manage the costs of the Program and identified possible approaches to improve the effectiveness of outreach events.

It is not possible to assess the cost-effectiveness of the Outreach Program, but in the past few years, XDC has put in place a number of measures to minimize the costs of outreach events. This is reflected, to some extent, in an increase of the revenues and contributions, as a percentage of the outreach event costs. There is limited involvement of other DFAIT Branches in the development and follow-up to the outreach events, notably of the trade bureaus in planning the Economic Outreach Missions and XDC has identified that improved coordination with other DFAIT bureaus would contribute to improving the effectiveness of these events.

Recommendations

It is recommended that XDC:

Recommendation #1:Expand the information available on the Diplomatic Corps Services page of the existing Protocol Office website and extranet to include more information on diplomatic corps services and links to other relevant websites.

 

Recommendation #2:Develop an internal manual of procedures for all diplomatic corps services and make greater use of existing DFAIT systems to promote retention of corporate knowledge.

 

Recommendation #3:Continue to explore options for improving the processing time for accreditation.

 

Recommendation #4:Continue or resume information sessions/ training for both the diplomatic community and the front-line staff of other government services.

 

Recommendation #5:Engage other DFAIT bureaus in the planning of, and follow-up to, outreach events.

 

Recommendation #6:Assess the value of service standards for diplomatic corps services and, if they are maintained, implement monitoring and evaluation activities to allow for regular reporting on the achievement of these service standards.

 

Recommendation #7:Develop a performance measurement strategy that would allow it to monitor and measure the performance of its services.

 


1.0 Introduction

This report presents the results of the summative evaluation of the Diplomatic Corps Services Program (DCSP) of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Affairs (DFAIT).

The Evaluation Division (ZIE) of DFAIT, housed within the Office of the Inspector General (ZID), is mandated by Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) through its new Evaluation Policy (effective 1 April, 2009) to conduct evaluations of all Direct Program Spending of the Department. The Evaluation Division reports quarterly to the Departmental Evaluation Committee (DEC), which is chaired by the Deputy Ministers. This evaluation of the DCSP was conducted as part of DFAIT's requirement to evaluate direct program spending of the Department. The target audience for this evaluation is the Diplomatic Corps Services Division (XDC) within the Office of Protocol (XDD).

1.1 Background and Context

The DCSP is included in the second activity (Diplomacy and Advocacy) under DFAIT's Strategic Outcome #1 (Canada's International Agenda) in the Program Activity Architecture, which states that DFAIT "…engages and influences international players and delivers international programs and diplomacy."(2)

1.2 Program Objectives

There are no comprehensive, documented objectives of the DCSP or XDC. However, the Division is responsible for the following activities, which are described in greater detail in Section 1.3:

  • Agreement process to provide formal acceptance for foreign Heads of Mission (HOMs) (including Ambassadors and High Commissioners) and military attachés prior to entry into Canada;
  • Accreditation, including the production and issuing of a variety of documents, for all diplomatic and consular officers and their families in Canada;
  • Management of the privileges and immunities that, at varying levels, shield diplomats from the normal application of the ordinary laws of Canada;
  • Security and incident management, in accordance with the Vienna Conventions;
  • Management of ceremonial programs for foreign HOMs, including arrival and departure ceremonies and the presentation of Letters of Credence or Letters of Introduction;
  • Outreach programs for the diplomatic community in Canada, including informational and networking activities;
  • Management of payments in lieu of taxes on diplomatic, consular and international organizations' property in Canada; and
  • Representation of DFAIT on the Policy Sub-Committee on Honorary Distinctions, which makes recommendations on the policy for the awards that foreign governments can bestow on Canadians.

1.3 Program Activities

The following sections provide a brief description of the services covered by this evaluation.

Agreement

XDC is responsible for vetting the appointment of new foreign HOMs (including Ambassadors and High Commissioners) and military attachés. New HOMs and military attachés must obtain the express/formal consent the Government of Canada (GoC) for the appointment prior to making arrangements for entry into Canada. This process involves working collaboratively with DFAIT's geographic bureaus and Foreign Intelligence Division (ISI) and other government departments (OGDs) - the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to determine the acceptability of the proposed candidate. The appointments are then confirmed by the Governor General.

The normal processing time for this service is six to eight weeks; however, there is no formal service standard for this component because there is a need for flexibility in cases in which there are issues with an appointment.

Accreditation

The accreditation includes services aimed at producing and issuing a variety of documents to foreign representatives and their families to facilitate their presence in Canada, from their initial arrival to final departure. The documents include an acceptance (counterfoil) for the passport and a secure identity (ID) cards for all members of foreign missions (including HOMs, members of diplomatic staff, representatives to international organizations, consular staff and members of administrative and technical staff) and their families in Canada. These services support and enhance the fulfillment of Canada's domestic and international commitments to the diplomatic community and are designed to secure appropriate treatment/recognition of foreign representatives throughout their stay.

In 2007/08, XDC received 5,450 requests for accreditation, nearly a 3% increase from the previous year.(3) Accreditation is normally valid for the lesser of three years or the time left to expiry of the passport.

Upon arrival in Canada, members of the diplomatic community have to apply for acceptance and the ID card. Missions submit the requests, with the relevant passports to XDC. The requests are processed by XDC and documents prepared by Canadian Bank Note Company. Information is transmitted to the Bank Note Company twice a week by diskette. XDC has established a service standard of 15 business days for issuing both the acceptance and the ID card.

Ceremonial programs for HOMs

Foreign HOMs accredited to Canada are subject to number of ceremonial courtesies and activities during their assignment. These include:

  • Arrival and departure ceremonies at the airport for the first arrival in Canada and the final departure;
  • A courtesy meeting with Chief of Protocol;
  • A ceremony for the presentation of Letters of Credence to Governor General or Letters of Introduction to Prime Minister;(4)
  • A farewell lunch hosted by DFAIT immediately prior to departure; and
  • Some social receptions hosted by DFAIT Ministers.

Management of privileges and immunities

XDC is responsible for managing the immunities and privileges offered to the diplomatic community in Canada. Members of the diplomatic community have entered Canada under exceptional legal circumstances and are, at varying levels, shielded from the normal application of the ordinary laws of Canada, including the areas of taxation and importation. These services, some of which are coordinated horizontally with other federal/provincial agencies, enable Canada to manage compliance with its international commitments with respect to the various levels of immunity enjoyed by foreign representatives. The immunities/privileges available to members of the community vary by type of diplomat. Immunities are defined by the Vienna Conventions and the Foreign Missions and International Organizations Act.(5) Some privileges are defined by the Conventions and the Act; others are defined in reciprocal agreements between Canada and the diplomat's home state. XDC is also responsible for the negotiation of these reciprocal arrangements.

As a general rule, HOMs, members of diplomatic staff and representatives to international organizations are entitled to:

  • Immunity from criminal prosecution for the individual and family members;
  • Exemption from provincial sales tax, Goods and Services Tax (GST) and property taxes for missions;
  • Exemption from the requirement for a work permit, if there is a reciprocal agreement/arrangement with the diplomat's home country. The diplomat still needs a "Work Authorization" Note or Letter from XDC; and
  • Exemption for getting a Canadian driver's licence and entitlement to diplomatic license plates.

The immunities and privileges for consular staff and members of administrative and technical staff are somewhat more limited than those of other diplomats. Information on the privileges accorded to each country is stored in hard copy format, with a summary available electronically.

To manage these immunities and privileges, XDC is responsible for, among other things:

  • Preparation of entitlement forms for driver's licenses and license plates;
  • Preparation of Work Authorization Notes or Letters;
  • Management of Payment in Lieu of Taxes (for municipal property taxes) with Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC); and
  • Negotiation with other jurisdictions (provinces, municipalities, police forces) for the implementation of immunities/privileges that are within their jurisdiction.

There is a considerable volume of work in the preparation of the work authorization notes or letters (see Table 1).

Table 1: Preparation of Work Authorizations

YearForeign MissionsInternational OrganizationsTotal no. of requests
200536564429
200636695461
2007520101621
2008579112691
200940987496

Source: XDC, DFAIT, March 2010

Canada has agreements with 79 countries, of which eight have the status of a treaty. In addition, there are seven countries with which an agreement is deemed to exist.(6) The number of requests (both under these agreements and outside the agreements) has risen each year since 2005 (from 8% to 35% each year), until 2009, when there was a drop of 28%.

Security and incident management

The Vienna Convention gives immunity to diplomats from arrest, detention and criminal jurisdiction of a state. Where criminal charges are laid, it is Canadian policy to request waiver of immunity so the person can be prosecuted here. If a state refuses to waive immunity, Canada expects that state to take appropriate action against the diplomat. It is the responsibility of the XDC to manage these incidents in accordance with the Vienna Conventions and to be responsible for the protection of diplomats, diplomatic missions and residences.

The security staff liaise with local police forces and others in the judicial system with respect to ensuring the respect of immunities and dealing with specific security incidents. They also coordinate DFAIT responses to specific security incidents.

As can be seen from Table 2, the vast majority of the security files over the past three years have been related to routine security cases. The number of alleged criminal incidents or the number of incidents in which charges are laid are very small. Although waivers of immunity are requested for most criminal incidents, there is no clear pattern of whether or not they are granted. Reportedly the most common serious security cases relate to impaired driving and family violence.

Table 2: Profile of Security Files

YearTypes of files
HTA/ provincial offence files (1)Assistance/ admin files (2)Routine security cases (3)Loading zone issuesVictims of crime (4)
20071357352524
200820673221016
20091045299 (6)5 (6)17

YearIncidents
Criminal incidents (alleged)Criminal incidents (charges laid)
HoF (5)OtherHoFOther
20077351
20086081
20097251

YearWaivers
Waivers requestedWaivers obtained
200743
200830
200941

Source: Diplomatic Corps Services, Protocol Office, DFAIT, February 2010

  1. Covers traffic and vehicle-related offences, and other matters addressed by provincial legislation.
  2. Covers cases where assistance is provided to police agencies, OGDs, DFAIT bureaus, and administrative or policy concerns.
  3. Requests from missions for security at events or for travel of its members, and tasking to RCMP divisions of same.
  4. Refers to reports received from police agencies where a client of XDC is alleged to have been a victim of crime.
  5. HoF = Head of Family, Other = other member of the household
  6. As of 25 November 2009

Outreach Program

The Outreach Program for the diplomatic community consists of many informational and networking activities for foreign diplomats in Canada. There are three regularly scheduled outreach events: the Northern Tour, the Diplomatic Forum and the Economic Outreach Missions. In 2008, DFAIT pilot tested an Orientation Program for new diplomats and held an information session for HOMs' administrative assistants. In addition, DFAIT hosts a number of receptions and an annual ski day for diplomats. The key events are described in more detail below.

Northern Tour

The Northern Tour is a seven-day tour of Canada's three northern territories that occurs annually. DFAIT hosts this event in partnership with other departments, including Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Parks Canada, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the RCMP. The event is organized by XDC, but contributions to the content of the Tour are provided by DFAIT's Circumpolar and Aboriginal Affairs Division.

The objective of the Tour is to expose the HOMs to the North - an area of Canada that many would not normally visit during their time in Canada - and allow them to appreciate Canadian arctic and northern policies. For example, in 2008, the Tour focused on northern strategic priorities including arctic sovereignty, polar science, economic development, Aboriginal issues, governance and environmental protection.(7)

Invitations to participate in the Northern Tour are extended to HOMs who have been in Canada for more than one year, but less than three years. About 20 - 25 HOMs participate each year, although there were only 18 participants in 2008/09. They can only participate once in this event and they cannot be accompanied by spouses. Participants pay a $3,000 contribution to the costs.(8) The remaining costs - $226,380 in 2009 - are borne by DFAIT.

Diplomatic Forum

The Forum is an annual two-day event for HOMs that is hosted in different regions of the country. Representatives of international organizations are only invited to the Forum when the issues are of direct relevance to their organizations. Recent tours have been to New Brunswick (September 2007), Quebec City (December 2008) and Vancouver (October 2009), at which there were 127 participants.

The Forums are hosted by DFAIT, in partnership with provincial or municipal governments or local authorities (e.g. chambers of commerce) - DFAIT hosts one day and the local partner the other day.

XDC is responsible for the overall coordination of the event, with the support of other Divisions in the Protocol Office (Official Events Division and Official Visits Division). Until recently, DFAIT engaged a consultant to assist with the planning and coordination of the event and he consulted with some HOMs before identifying the issues to be covered by the Forum. Within DFAIT, given the focus on high level Canadian foreign policy, the Forums are coordinated primarily with the Communications Bureau and the offices of the two DFAIT Ministers. These offices may, in turn, consult with the geographic and multilateral Bureaus.

The objectives of the Diplomatic Forum are to:

  • Give HOMs briefings on current Canadian public policy issues that DFAIT, OGDs and provincial/regional governments feel would assist them in understanding and interpreting Canada and Canadians for their respective national capitals;
  • Encourage HOMs to travel and establish contacts outside the National Capital Region;
  • Give HOMs an opportunity to meet and discuss public policy and foreign policy with Ministers and other elected officials and senior public servants at all levels of government; and
  • Provide an opportunity for federal and provincial Ministers, other elected officials and other government departments and agencies, to connect with Canadians in a foreign affairs/international relations context.(9)

Travel and accommodation costs are the responsibility of each participant and they also pay a small registration fee to assist with other costs associated with the event. Some costs are borne by the host government. In 2009, this event cost DFAIT $135,630.

Economic Outreach Mission

XDC organizes approximately three or four Economic Outreach Missions each year. These are open to other members of the diplomatic community beyond the HOMs. Although, on average, about 20 - 25 members of the diplomatic community attend each event, in 2008/09 DFAIT hosted three missions in which 157 members of the diplomatic community participated.

The events are organized by XDC with limited input to planning from the international trade side of DFAIT - either at headquarters or at the regional level. The industry sectors and embassies to be targeted by an event are determined, to a large extent, by the location. The choice of location is somewhat ad hoc, although sites such as Montreal and Ottawa have been regularly selected for the Missions. The local partners may include the private sector.

The objectives of the Economic Missions are to:

  • Provide members of the diplomatic community with a unique opportunity to learn more about Canada's key economic strengths outside the National Capital Region;
  • Highlight Canada's competitive advantages and regional clusters of industrial excellence; and
  • Promote Canada as an investment destination of choice.

Orientation Program

This event was developed and pilot tested in 2008 in response to requests from the diplomatic community. The objective of this event was "to provide information that will facilitate the professional and social integration of diplomats and their families living in the Canadian capital, specifically targeting those recently arrived."(10)

The pilot session was organized by a consultant. Sixty-seven members of the diplomatic community participated and were reportedly appreciative of the program. XDC would like to continue it, but using a different, and less expensive, format - perhaps using shorter, focused event, such as the upcoming visit to the Supreme Court, being organized by XDC.

1.4 Governance

The Office of Protocol, which provides protocol services to the whole of government (including DFAIT, Prime Minister's Office and the Governor General), is divided into four Divisions:

  • Diplomatic Corps Service (XDC);
  • Official Visits (XDV);
  • Official Events (XDS); and
  • Management Services (XDM).

The DCSP is managed by XDC, which is headed by the Deputy Chief of Protocol and comprises two sections responsible for:

  • Privileges, immunities and accreditation; and
  • Agrément, protocol and outreach (including an immigration advisor seconded from CIC).

In addition, there are a Protective Security Officer seconded from the RCMP and a Security Liaison Assistant, who report to the Deputy Chief of Protocol.

1.5 Resources

The resources for XDC are shown in Table 3. XDC has had no significant budget overruns or lapses over the past three years. XDC reports also that there is not a lot of overtime in the Division.

Table 3: Budget and Actual Expenses, Diplomatic Corps Services, 2007/08 - 2009/10

Table 3 PDF

The operations budget has declined gradually over the three years - 2007/08 to 2009/10. The drop of about 40% between 2008/09 and 2009/10 (about $240K) is accounted for by two things:

  • Funds for two Outreach activities - the Northern Tour and the Diplomatic Forum were transferred from XDC to the Government Hospitality Allotment Fund that is managed by the Protocol Office;(11) and
  • XDC no longer required funds for the temporary help staff since the positions had been converted to full-time permanent positions.

Over the same period, the salary budget has increased by 28% in 2008/09 and 6% in 2009/10. This is reflected in similar increases in the number of full-time equivalents (see Table 4).

Table 4: Profile of XDC Staff, 2007/08 - 2009/10

 2007/082008/092009/10
Full-time Equivalents (FTEs)121516
Term positions1  
Secondments (RCMP and CIC)222

Source: XDC, DFAIT, March 2010

The costs of each outreach event, over the past three years, are shown in Table 5.

Table 5: Expenses for Outreach Events, 2007/08 - 2009/10

Northern Tour2007/082008/092009/10
Revenue$42,000$40,000$52,000
Contributions $14,000$21,000
Costs
Travel$161,503$146,127$141,982
Accommodation/meals$69,628$53,337$66,083
Facilitation$20,262$21,392$18,315
Total DFAIT contribution $251,393$220,856$226,380
Diplomatic Forum2007/082008/092009/10
Revenue$24,198$28,398$28,600
Contributions$5,000 $23,000
Costs
Travel$34,740$47,726$11,318
Accommodation/meals$36,515$9,993$63,288
Facilitation$49,409$13,581$62,206
Total DFAIT contribution $120,663$71,300$136,812
Economic Outreach Missions2007/082008/092009/10
Revenue   
Contributions   
Costs
Travel$9,227$8,246$4,006
Accommodation/meals$14,664$12,226$13,572
Facilitation $36,988$1,361
Total DFAIT contribution $23,891$57,800$18,900
Orientation Program2007/082008/092009/10
Revenue   
Contributions   
Costs
Travel   
Accommodation/meals $2,884 
Facilitation $1,226 
Total DFAIT contribution n/a$4,100n/a

1.6 Evaluation Objectives and Scope

The objective of this evaluation is to review and assess the relevance and performance of the diplomatic corps services implemented by XDC. Through a systematic evidence-based data collection process, the evaluation assessed the activities and made recommendations regarding their relevance and performance (effectiveness, efficiency and economy).

The evaluation covered the following activities of XDC:

  • Accreditation program;
  • Approvals (Heads of Mission, Military Attachés, Honorary Consuls);
  • Management of privileges and immunities;
  • Employment arrangements for dependents;
  • Security and incident management;
  • Ceremonial programs for Heads of Mission; and
  • Outreach program for the diplomatic community.

2.0 Evaluation Methodology

This evaluation was guided by an Evaluation Advisory Committee, including representatives of XDC, the Executive Assignment Division (HFE) and the diplomatic community.

2.1 Evaluation Design

The evaluation was primarily qualitative in design. The primary data sources included interviews and an online survey, through which the evaluation assessed stakeholders' perceptions of the relevance and performance of the DCSP. Secondary data sources included DFAIT documents and websites related to diplomatic corps services in other countries. The evaluation included also an analysis of XDC administrative data from the passport log.

2.2 Data Collection

2.2.1 Evaluation Matrix

The key evaluation issues are identified in an evaluation matrix, which also includes the evaluation indicators and sources of data.

2.2.2 Lines of Evidence

Document and Data Review

The evaluation team reviewed key DFAIT documents, including:

  • Background documents, such as the Vienna Conventions and the Foreign Missions and International Organizations Act;
  • Background documents, guidelines or work procedures for the following services: agrément, arrival and departure of HOMs, accreditation, customs privileges, management of privileges and immunities, employment of family members; management of the payment in lieu of taxes;
  • Selected circular notes; and
  • Office of Protocol website, as well as other websites providing information on diplomatic corps services in other jurisdictions (Ontario, Australia).

The documents were reviewed to address specific evaluation questions.

In addition, the team reviewed and analyzed data from XDC's Passport Log to identify processing times for services that require the retention of a diplomat's or family member's passport. XDC provided the team with the raw data from analysts' logs. Considerable cleaning was required to prepare the data for analysis and assumptions (noted in the report) had to be made in dealing with the missing data that was not being captured.

Interviews

Interviews were conducted with 58 internal and external stakeholders:

Internal stakeholders

  • Protocol Office staff (XDC) (17);
  • Other DFAIT staff (geographic bureaus, legal office, UN/Commonwealth Affairs Division) (10)

External stakeholders(12)

  • Other federal government departments, including the Parliamentary protocol office (6);
  • Other external stakeholders (provincial/municipal protocol offices, police forces) (7);
  • International organizations (5); and
  • Foreign missions, including regional deans (5) and selected HOMs or their representatives (8).

These were conducted either in-person or by telephone in the official language of choice of the respondent, using a structured interview guide.

Given the reliance on qualitative data for this evaluation, the evaluation team took a structured approach to the interpretation of the data from the interviews. When one-quarter or less of the respondents made an observation, it is reported as being a comment from a "few" respondents. When the comment was made by more than one-quarter, but less than half, the respondents, it is reported as "some" respondents. Similarly between half and three-quarters is reported as "many" and more than three-quarters is reported as "most."

Online Survey

An online survey of representatives of foreign missions was conducted.(13) The target population for the survey consisted of 199 missions/organizations:

  • 176 accredited missions, 127 of which are resident diplomatic missions and 49 that are non-resident; and
  • 23 international organizations that are officially hosted by Canada.

The sample was provided by DFAIT in the document "Diplomatic, Consular and Other Representatives in Canada, October 2009 edition."

The survey was administered as a mixed mode survey, with the opportunity for respondents to complete the survey online or by telephone. Only one completed survey was expected from each mission. The survey instrument was sent to HOMs and the HOM was asked to either complete the survey personally, or designate a knowledgeable senior representative within the mission or organization to complete the survey.

The survey assessed levels of satisfaction with a range of diplomatic corps services, using standard criteria:

  • The level of courtesy provided by Canadian Representatives;
  • The level of competence of Canadian Representatives;
  • The ability to contact a Canadian representative;
  • Accessibility of diplomatic circular notes;
  • Clarity of Information/ instructions regarding the process; and
  • Overall satisfaction with the service.

The services assessed were:

  • Agrément process;
  • Accreditation process;
  • Management of privileges and immunities;
  • Employment arrangements for dependents;
  • Security and incident management; and
  • Ceremonial programs for Heads of Mission.

In addition, the survey assessed satisfaction with, and benefits of, the Outreach Program using criteria appropriate for each activity. The outreach activities assessed were:

  • Northern Tour;
  • Diplomatic Forum; and
  • Economic Outreach Mission.

The survey was administered between December 2009 and January 2010. Responses were received from 112 missions/organizations. This represents a response rate of 56.3%. The fact that this was a relatively high response rate for this population, particularly for a survey completed in a short time frame over the holidays, substantially reduces the sampling error/margin of error, which is estimated at ±6.1% at a 95% confidence level.

Information about the profile of the respondents is important to assist with the interpretation of the survey results:

  • Most respondents were from resident missions (72%); the remaining were from non-resident missions (15%) and international organizations (13%);
  • Most respondents had served in Canada for between one and five years (67%). Smaller percentages had served in Canada for a year or less (17%) or more than five years (16%);
  • Most had served in a diplomatic role in at least one other country before serving in Canada (73%); whereas a small number indicated they had served in five or more countries prior to Canada (10%); and
  • Respondents' familiarity and experience with the diplomatic corps services varied - familiarity with the various services ranged from 70 to 91%; whereas experience with the services, in the past two years, ranged from 47% to 85%.

There were generally very high levels of satisfaction with services. Overall levels of satisfaction (ratings of "satisfied" or "very satisfied") for all services ranged from 86% to 100%. If the results for the combined rating of "satisfied" or "very satisfied" are used to address the evaluation questions, there would be very little to learn from the survey results, beyond this very high level of satisfaction with the services. As a result, in order to identify useful information from the survey, the evaluation team chose to look in more depth at the ratings of "very satisfied" (i.e., the "top box" scores). This allowed the team to distinguish different levels of satisfaction with the different services and the various components of these services.

Comparison Study

Australia, France and Switzerland were identified by XDC as the most useful countries for an international comparison with respect to protocol outreach services. The choice was based on the fact that Australia, like Canada, is a Commonwealth country, France, like Canada, is part of the Francophonie; and Switzerland hosts a large number of international organizations.

The data collection for the comparison study included:

  • Interviews with DFAIT geographic desk officers (3) and representatives of foreign missions in National Capital Region (3);(14) and
  • Review of documents identifying protocol office services in the three countries. These documents were to be identified by the Canadian missions in the three countries.

Of the Canadian missions in the three countries, only the mission in Berne was able to provide any feedback on protocol services for diplomats in that country. The team supplemented the limited information that was available with a search of the internet for information about protocol services in the three countries.

2.3 Limitations

As with any evaluation, challenges with the data collection impose certain limitations on the findings that can be drawn from the evaluation. The limitations on this evaluation and the team's attempts to mitigate these limitations are:

  • The evaluation is based primarily on stakeholder perceptions of the relevance and performance of the DCSP. The online survey contributed significantly to the evaluation by allowing the team to quantify these perceptions.
  • With the exception of the members of the diplomatic community, there were relatively few interview respondents who could speak to each specific service. For example, only the XDC and one respondent from an OGD could speak to the services provided in collaboration with that department. Even the members of the diplomatic community had experience with only a limited number of services and, as a result, were not able to provide feedback on all services. With respect to the views of the foreign missions, the survey was invaluable in ensuring coverage of all services, as only those respondents with direct experience with a service were asked to asses that service.
  • The survey was addressed to the HOM, with an invitation to complete the survey personally, or designate a knowledgeable senior representative within the mission to complete the survey. Unfortunately, the survey does not indicate who completed the survey. This has implications for the interpretation of the results, since the services offered to other senior representatives are, in some cases, not the same as those offered to HOMs. Information from the interviews was used to assist with the interpretation of the survey results.
  • As previously noted, overall the survey results were very positive. In interpreting these results, it should be cautioned that the survey respondents are in the business of building relationships with Canada, and, notwithstanding the confidentiality of the survey, may be inclined to provide positive feedback regarding services provided by their host country. In satisfaction surveys, and particularly in this context where all scores are generally positive, the least positive areas can signal areas with the potential for improvement. For this reason, the analysis focused on the extent to which the respondents were "very satisfied", rather than simply "satisfied." This is also particularly appropriate for service providers with high standards for quality of service.

It should be noted that, throughout this report, the terms "HOMs" refers only to foreign HOMs posted in Canada and the term "diplomats" refers only to diplomats in Canada.


3.0 Relevance

This section presents findings with respect to the need for diplomatic corps services, the alignment of these services with DFAIT and GoC priorities and the role of the federal government in delivering the services.

3.1 Continuing need for Diplomatic Corps Services

Finding #1:There is a continuing need for diplomatic corps services.

 

Most diplomatic corps services are required by Canada's international obligations, as reflected in the Foreign Missions and International Organizations Act. This Act reflects, among other things, Canada's commitment to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961) and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (1963). The Act specifies that:

Articles … of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, and Articles …of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, have the force of law in Canada in respect of all foreign states, regardless of whether those states are parties to those Conventions.(15)

The Conventions define the status of diplomatic and consular agents and specifies how they should be received and the immunities and privileges that should be accorded to them by host states. The following current activities of the DCSP are consistent with these requirements:

  • Agrément;
  • Accreditation;
  • Presentation of credentials (ceremonial programs);
  • Immunities and privileges (e.g. inviolability of mission and diplomats, tax exemptions, freedom of movement and communication) and civil, administrative and criminal immunities from prosecution; and
  • Security (protection for foreign missions and official residences).

The DCSP is consistent with Canada's international obligations to diplomatic and consular agents.

3.2 Relevance of Diplomatic Corps Services to DFAIT and Government of Canada Priorities

Finding #2:The diplomatic corps services continue to be relevant to DFAIT and Government of Canada priorities.

 

DCSP activities are consistent with DFAIT's legal mandate, as set out in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Act. It specifies that DFAIT will, among other things, "conduct all diplomatic and consular relations on behalf of Canada."(16)

The DCSP is included in the second activity (Diplomacy and Advocacy) under DFAIT's Strategic Outcome #1 (Canada's International Agenda) in the Program Activity Architecture, which states that DFAIT "…engages and influences international players and delivers international programs and diplomacy. It allows Canada to implement its international policies to foreign audiences inside and outside of Canada and thus fulfill the mandated roles and responsibilities that are associated with the diplomatic work of a foreign and international trade ministry."(17) The benefits to Canada of the Diplomacy and Advocacy activity include "managing Canada's bilateral and multilateral relations and … delivering programs that advance this country's international interests and values. It also raises international awareness of Canada, its policies, interests and values, while engaging Canadians inside and outside the country on key global issues."(18) DCSP activities are consistent with these benefits.

As previously noted, most diplomatic corps services contribute to meeting Canada's international commitments; as such they are relevant to the mandates of both DFAIT and the GoC. The services that are not required under these international obligations support Canada's interests either by establishing reciprocal arrangements with other countries or by promoting Canada's interests. The reciprocal arrangements benefit directly Canadian diplomats serving abroad. Activities of the Outreach Program contribute to strengthening awareness and understanding of Canada by foreign diplomats and provide opportunities for networking and for briefing the diplomatic community on current Canadian public policy issues. (See Section 4.2.2 for a discussion of the benefits of the Outreach Program.)

3.3 Relevance of the Federal Government's Role

Finding #3:It is relevant for the federal government to continue to play a lead role in the delivery of diplomatic corps services.

 

Since most DCSP activities are a direct result of Canada's obligations under international conventions, is appropriate for federal government to play key role in delivery of services and the responsibility for these activities is conferred on DFAIT by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Act. Although some services provided (e.g. tax exemptions, entitlement to drivers'/car licenses) are under provincial or municipal jurisdictions, it remains the role of the federal government to coordinate and facilitate respect for the international obligations by other jurisdictional authorities.


4.0 PERFORMANCE

4.1 Effectiveness

This section presents the evaluation findings with respect to the effectiveness of the diplomatic corps services. The findings are based primarily on the results of the online survey of the diplomatic community and the interviews with members of the diplomatic community.

4.1.1 Satisfaction with Services

Online survey respondents were asked to rate their satisfaction with all services on the same criteria (see the methodology in Section 2.2.2). The findings from the survey, illustrated with information from the interviews, are reflected in this section.

Finding #4:The diplomatic community expressed a very high level of satisfaction with diplomatic corps services in general.

 

Interviews with representatives of the diplomatic community suggest that diplomats were very satisfied, in general, with XDC's services. Over 90% of respondents were satisfied or very satisfied overall with the services (see Figure 1). Between 40 - 61% of respondents were very satisfied with these services. Given the margin of error for this study, it is not possible to say that one service was rated more highly than another, but interviews with members of the diplomatic community do provide insights into the services with which respondents were particularly pleased.

Figure 1: Overall Satisfaction with Diplomatic Corps Services

Overall Satisfaction

Source: Online survey of members of diplomatic corps

Finding #5:The diplomatic community expressed a very high level of satisfaction with the relations with the XDC.

 

XDC staff are the first and most constant contact that members of the diplomatic community have with Canadian officials. The results of the online survey of diplomatic community representatives indicated that members were overwhelmingly positive about their relations with Canadian representatives (for the most part, XDC staff). Between 84% and 100% were satisfied or very satisfied with these components of the services. With only one exception (management of privileges), more than 50% of all respondents were very satisfied with the relations with XDC, based on assessing their (see Figure 2):

  • Courtesy;
  • Competence; and
  • Availability (ability to contact).(19)

Figure 2: Satisfaction with Relationship with XDC

Satisfaction with Relationship with XDC

Source: Online survey of members of diplomatic corps

The criterion that received the lowest rating in all services was the ability to contact a representative, with the lowest rating being for the management of privileges. (See Finding #6 for possible explanations for this finding.)

Interviews with members of the diplomatic community echoed the survey findings. All respondents expressed their satisfaction with their relations with the XDC staff, often noting particularly the good relations with the Chief of Protocol. XDC staff are viewed as being responsive, client-focused and effective. A few respondents noted particularly that the unit is able to deal with urgent requests (often outside business hours) and respond to specific needs.

The level of satisfaction with the relations with XDC is not surprising given the level of interaction between the unit and members of the diplomatic community. Information from XDC reflects the frequency and variety of communications between XDC and members of the diplomatic community:

  • About 3,000 pieces of diplomatic correspondence and letters sent out by XDC each year;
  • Other telephone and written correspondence (by email or fax);
  • Meetings between the Chief of Protocol and the Deputy Chief and the Regional Deans of the diplomatic corps four to six times a year;
  • Other face-to-face meeting between XDC staff and representative of the foreign missions or international organizations;
  • Information sessions/briefings five to ten times a year; and
  • Participation in business lunches or receptions about two or three times a week for ome XDC staff.(20)
Finding #6:The diplomatic community also expressed a relatively high level of satisfaction with the information available about diplomatic corps services, albeit with some reservations.

 

Information about diplomatic corps services for use by external stakeholders is documented in a series of Circular Notes. These Circulars constitute the key mechanism for communicating with the diplomatic community about services.

The survey assessed the satisfaction of the diplomatic community with the information available about the diplomatic corps services. Generally, the level of satisfaction was high. Between 84% and 95% of respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with the information available about the services, but the level that were very satisfied is somewhat lower than it was for the relations with XDC (see Figure 3):

  • Between 35% and 58% were very satisfied with the accessibility of diplomatic circular notes; and
  • Between 19% and 61% were very satisfied with the clarity of Information or instructions regarding the process.

Figure 3: Satisfaction with Information about Diplomatic Corps Services

Satisfaction with Information

Source: Online survey of members of diplomatic corps

As with the assessment of the relations with XDC, the service with the lowest ratings is the management of privileges. The interviews with diplomats suggest some possible reasons for this. In a number of the areas of dissatisfaction the frustration is with things that are beyond the control of DFAIT. For example:

  • Under the Vienna Conventions, most diplomats are exempt from sales taxes on most purchases. In Canada, this has meant that, with their ID card, they are entitled to point-of-sale exemption from provincial sales tax (PST), but have to apply for a rebate of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). One diplomat estimated that it takes an hour or more to prepare the application for the GST rebate for the purchases over one month. This is seen as a significant barrier to receiving their entitlement of tax exempt purchases. This is likely to become a more significant challenge with the upcoming harmonization of the provincial sales tax and GST in Ontario and British Colombia. It will likely be more time consuming for diplomats to prepare the application for the tax rebate for both the PST and GST. On the other hand, the amount of money available through the rebate (when PST and GST are combined) will make it more worthwhile for diplomats to complete the rebate forms. If the rebate process is still seen as a barrier to their entitlement of tax exempt purchases, the implications (in terms of revenue loss for the diplomats) will be more significant.
  • A few diplomats and XDC staff expressed frustration with the lack of access to public health services in Ontario. While this is not an entitlement for diplomats, two provinces (Quebec and British Columbia) will allow members of the diplomatic community to pay the premiums and access provincial health services. The province in which most diplomats reside - Ontario - does not allow this and diplomats are required to purchase private health insurance. They face the additional challenge that it is often difficult to find physicians who are willing to take patients who are not covered by the public health care system.
  • Diplomats also face challenges with the educational system in Canada. Two examples were provided in the interviews - the privileges offered to a diplomat in one province are not the same as those offered by another province for the purpose of enrolling his child in university without paying international student fees; diplomats in Ottawa are limited in their choice of schools, making it difficult for them to ensure their children can follow a curriculum that is consistent with international practices.

A few respondents indicated that there is some lack of clarity in written communications. However, most noted that they are able to get clarification from XDC staff when required. XDC provides timely responses to ad hoc requests for information, but stakeholders suggest that it would be more effective and efficient to provide systematic information. Interviews with other external stakeholders identified areas in which more information, notably about the diplomatic immunities/ privileges, is required:

  • Understanding immunities and privileges;
  • Understanding of Canada's immigration policies;
  • DFAIT's role in security matters; and
  • Property taxes on private property.

In addition to the Circular Notes, information about diplomatic corps services is available on the DFAIT Protocol Office website and a password-protected extranet site available to the diplomatic community. However, both sites have only limited information about the services and few links to other relevant sites. The country comparison identified the extensive online manual for diplomats, which is provided by the Australian government, as a good example of easily accessible information - see:

http://www.dfat.gov.au/protocol/Protocol_Guidelines/index.html

4.1.2 Satisfaction with, and Benefits, of the Outreach Program

Interviews with the diplomatic community and the online survey both identified a high level of satisfaction with DFAIT's Outreach Program. In the online survey, the Outreach Program was assessed using different criteria from the other services. The criteria selected focused on two components of these events: the organization of the events and the benefits of the events. Information from the survey, supplemented with information from the interviews, is reflected in this section.

Many respondents, both within DFAIT and in the diplomatic community, consider this level of outreach programming to be fairly unique to Canada. Although, in the online survey, just under half the respondents (45%) indicated that other countries in which they had served had some form of Outreach Program, diplomats interviewed were more likely to indicate that Canada provides more outreach activities than do most other countries. For example, the comparison with other countries identified that Switzerland provides a one-week session during which HOMs can meet counterparts in Swiss government and some social events.

Finding #7:The diplomatic community is generally satisfied with the arrangements and content for the various outreach events.

 

Both interviews and survey indicated that participants are very positive about the arrangements and content of the outreach events.(21)

The survey of the diplomatic community reflected the extent to which respondents strongly agreed with positive statements about the arrangements for the outreach events (see Figure 4).

Figure 4: Satisfaction with Arrangements for Outreach Events

Satisfaction with Arrangements for Outreach

Source: Online survey of members of diplomatic corps

Responses were particularly positive with respect to the Northern Tour:

  • 86% of respondent strongly agreed that the logistical coordination for the Northern Tour was well managed; and
  • 65% strongly agreed that it was easy to understand how to participate in the Tour.

While overall agreement is still fairly high, the levels of strong agreement with statements about the Diplomatic Forum and the Economic Outreach Mission were somewhat lower:

  • 31% strongly agreed that briefings on current Canadian public policy issues in the Diplomatic Forum were valuable;
  • 28% strongly agreed that there was an opportunity [in the Diplomatic Forum] to meet and discuss foreign policy with all levels of Canadian government; and
  • Nearly half (49%) of respondents strongly agreed that the subject of the information included in the Economic Outreach Missions was interesting.

Interview respondents were only able to provide comments on the Northern Tour and the Diplomatic Forum. Comments on the Tour were, for the most part, very favourable. Respondents were very pleased with the opportunity to visit a part of Canada to which they would not visit in the normal course of their functions in Canada. A few did note that the contribution to the cost of the Northern Tour (currently $3,000) is a barrier to participation from some countries. Respondents were very impressed with the level of organization and the competence of those facilitating and guiding the Tour.

Many respondents also provided positive feedback on the Diplomatic Forum. However, these comments were nuanced somewhat by issues raised by a few respondents:

  • A few representatives of international organizations indicated that it would be valuable to include representatives of the international organizations more systemically in the Forum. Currently they reported that they are only invited when the Forum addressed issues of direct relevance to their organizations; and
  • A few respondents also noted that the Forum (and to some extent also, the Northern Tour) tends to show only the "good side" of the issues and not to discuss the challenges facing Canada. It is not as transparent about the issues facing Canada as it could be.
Finding #8:There is evidence of immediate positive impacts of the Northern Tour and, to a lesser extent, the Diplomatic Forum and Economic Outreach Mission. However, there is limited evidence of the long-term impacts of the Outreach Program, but these are also more difficult to identify and measure.

 

Both the online survey and the interviews with the diplomatic community explored the extent to which there are immediate and longer-term benefits of the Outreach Program. The survey indicated (see Figure 5) positive immediate impacts for all three regular outreach events:

Figure 5: Immediate Impacts of Outreach Program

Immediate Impact of Outreach Program

Source: Online survey of members of diplomatic corps

  • Seventy-six percent (76%) of respondents who participated in the Northern Tour strongly agreed that it increased their understanding of Northern Canadian opportunities (the remaining 24% agreed with this statement);
  • Thirty-seven percent (37%) strongly agreed that the Diplomatic Forum provided opportunities to establish new contacts in the government and private sector; and
  • Thirty-four percent (34%) strongly agreed that the Economic Outreach Missions provided them with valuable information on trade that they were able to provide to their home country.

The fact that the immediate outcomes are stronger for the Northern Tour than the other two outreach events was also reflected in the interviews with the diplomatic community. Most respondents who had been on the Northern Tour were very positive about the learning opportunities with respect to, for example:

  • The importance of the North for Canada from both an economic and security perspective and, hence, the importance of Canada's Northern Strategy;
  • The governance issues for the federal and territorial governments; and
  • The parallels between the North and their own countries with respect to the social development challenges for aboriginal populations.

In the interviews, by far the most commonly identified immediate outcome of the Diplomatic Forum was the opportunity that it provides the diplomatic community to meet DFAIT and other Ministers and senior public servants. Access to Ministers, particularly the DFAIT Ministers, and senior public servants was identified by many interview respondents as a challenge. Currently DFAIT is reportedly partially addressing this issue through an initiative announced at the 2008 Diplomatic Forum. The DFAIT Minister is committed to hosting a meeting with each regional groups of HOMs.

The Diplomatic Forum was also valued by some interview respondents for the opportunity that it provides HOMs to visit other parts of Canada. A few respondents indicated that the Forum is of limited value to them, noting, as indicated above, that the Forum does not adequately reflect the reality or challenges of the Canadian context.

This evaluation attempted also to identify longer-term impacts of the Outreach Program. It was not able to find much evidence of these impacts. However, it should be noted that long-term impacts - both for Canada and the HOM's country - are difficult to identify and measure. The evaluation relied on the recollection of the members of the diplomatic community (through interviews and the online survey) to identify outcomes. Identifying long-term outcomes is challenging, given the relatively short timeframes for most diplomatic postings to Canada.

In the online survey, 21 - 27% of respondents strongly agreed that the outreach events programs supported and/or will likely support trade/other benefits (see Figure 6). Between 50% and 82% agreed these events supported trade or other benefits. There was very little difference in the expected impact of the three events.

Figure 6: Long-term Impacts of Outreach Program

Long-Term Impacts of Outreach Program

Source: Online survey of members of diplomatic corps

Respondents were also asked to identify other outcomes of the Outreach Program but, as can be seen in Figure 7, these additional outcomes tended to be immediate outcomes related to promotion of Canada, networking, further information/exchanges etc.

Figure 7: Other Benefits of Outreach Program

Other Benefits of Outreach

Source: Online survey of members of diplomatic corps

Most respondents who provided written comments on the benefits of the outreach events indentified outcomes in the areas of trade, investment and, to a lesser extent, tourism. Some specific outcomes included:

  • Northern Tour: Potential benefits in shipping and tourism, investment in natural resources, help with trade in agricultural items, an MOU on Polar Research and introduction of Canadian bison into a new country;
  • Diplomatic Forum: useful contacts with the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, support for the HOM's country from government and civil society in British Columbia and collaboration on energy programs; and
  • Economic Outreach Program: useful contacts in Regina and several follow-up meetings with Canadian companies, knowledge of specific sectors of the Canadian economy, expanded knowledge of research and development and innovation activities in various fields and knowledge of the activities of Canadian companies and institutions, which makes it easier to find potential partners.

The survey findings are consistent with comments from the interviews with the diplomatic community - few respondents were able to identify long-term benefits that had, as yet, been realized.

4.2 Demonstration of Efficiency and Economy

This section presents findings with respect to the efficiency and economy of the delivery of the DCSP. The key findings focus on the work organization, the relations with other stakeholders in the delivery of services and XDC resources and the economy of their use in the Outreach Program.

4.2.1 Efficiency of Work Organization

In order to assess the efficiency of the work organization, the evaluation assessed the extent to which procedures were documented, whether XDC was meeting its service standards and the extent to which it had processes in place to track and monitor its performance.

Finding #9:While most diplomatic corps services are clearly documented in Circular Notes, there are gaps in the internal documentation of procedures with respect to the delivery of services.

 

XDC's Circular Notes cover a wide range of topics from privileges and responsibilities for ID cards, to procedures for delivering packages and vehicle access to Parliament Hill. They are distributed by fax to all foreign missions, with the expectation that the mission staff will provide copies to their consular offices. Circulars are also provided to provincial protocol office staff when they are relevant to their functions. Some Circulars are also posted on an extranet that is available to all foreign missions/organizations.

Interview respondents from the diplomatic community were generally very satisfied with the Circulars, indicating that, if additional information was required, they were able to get clarification from XDC staff. (See Section 4.2.1 for a discussion of the availability of information on specific services.) However, a few expressed a desire to receive the Circulars electronically to facilitate distribution within their offices and/or with consular offices. Sometimes when a new circular is issued, it supersedes an earlier circular and a few respondents noted that it was, at times, confusing as to which circular is currently in effect. In addition, provincial protocol offices receive only the circulars that pertain to their functions - but this does not allow them to have a general understanding of the services and/or assist consular offices that may call them for interpretation.

Some services are defined in formal policy guidelines - for example, for the employment of dependents,(22) appointment of honorary consuls(23) and a policy on dealing with cases of impaired driving.(24) There are also agreements with some OGDs including, for example, an agreement with CBSA covering customs privileges for diplomats(25) and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between DFAIT and PWGSC covering the payment in lieu of property taxes.(26) While one external stakeholder would have liked formal policies for how to deal with other security issues, such as incidents of family violence, XDC needs flexibility to address issues that require discretion. Other issues for which additional information with respect to criminal cases is requested include:

  • Police roles and responsibilities with respect to the investigation and detention of diplomats, particularly their responsibility for preventing the continuation of an offence;
  • Process for serving summons, given they cannot access diplomatic property; and
  • Covering the costs for witnesses to testify in court if a diplomat is expelled but prosecuted in their own country.

There are also gaps in the documentation of internal procedures for implementing XDC services. The coverage of the documentation is varied. There are some documented procedures for internal use, including procedures for:

  • Agrément - The agrément process is documented in "Agrément Process - Foreign Heads of Mission;"
  • Ceremonial program - Some elements of the ceremonial program are documented - for example, "Procedure for the Arrival and Departure of Heads of Diplomatic Missions" and presentations to the Governor General;
  • Immunities/privileges - There are hard copy documents that summarize reciprocal privileges by country, but these are not available electronically; and
  • Security - Procedures for handing security files are documented in protected internal documents.

However, not all procedures are documented. For example, there are no documented procedures for the accreditation process, which is a very operational task and an area in which there has been, in the past, frequent staff turnover. Even for those services for which there are documented procedures, these are not integrated into one place in a Division manual.

Finding #10:At peak periods, XDC does not meet the service standards for some services.

 

Interviews with XDC staff and external stakeholders indicate there are delays in the delivery of some services during the peak period of August to October, when a lot of diplomats arrive in Canada. Since the accreditation is normally valid for three years, the renewal of the accreditation then occurs during the same peak period of the year. It should be noted that the perceptions of what constitutes a reasonable delay for the delivery of diplomatic corps services varied considerably, with some diplomatic community representatives indicating that two weeks for a given process was too long, while others indicated that a delay of two months for the same process was reasonable.

The online survey of the diplomatic community indicated slightly lower levels of satisfaction with the timelines for some services - agrément, accreditation and the management of privileges - than with other services (see Figure 8).

Figure 8: Respondent Satisfaction with Timelines for Diplomatic Corps Services

Respondent Satisfaction with Timelines

Source: Online survey of members of diplomatic corps

XDC has service standards for some services:

  • Accreditation - 15 business days;
  • Entitlement form for driver's license/license plates - 5 business days; and
  • Work authorizations for dependent employment - 5 business days.

However, it does not have service standards for other services (e.g. agrément) where the XDC needs flexibility in the time it takes to deliver the service. Service standards are not helpful in situations where reasons for delays in service cannot be divulged.

There is no systematic tracking of timelines for those services for which there are service standards. XDC maintains a Passport Log for tracking the receipt and processing of diplomatic passports that have to be provided for some processes (i.e., accreditation and entitlements for driver's licence and diplomatic license plates). However, analysis of this log is done weekly to manage workload, not to report on performance with respect to the service standards. The evaluation team was able to analyze the raw data and identify timelines for the delivery of these services.

In 2009, XDC processed 2,157 requests for services that were entered into XDC's Passport Log. These include requests for accreditation or authorization for driver's licenses or license plates and involved 4,019 passports.(27) The distribution of these requests is shown in Tables 5 and 6.

Table 6: Number of Requests for Accreditation, 2009

RequestNumber*Percent
Arrivals/new accreditation150053%
Extension of accreditation114541%
Other accreditation (births, lost ID cards etc.)1766%
 2821100%

Source: XDC, March 2009. Analysis by evaluation team

* Number exceeds the total number of requests because some requests are for more than one service. There is missing data from some records.

Table 7: Other Requests for Services, 2009

RequestNumber*Percent
Driver License authorization1596%
Authorization for diplomat license plates311%
Other (unidentified)1345%
 32411%

Source: XDC, March 2009. Analysis by evaluation team

* Number exceeds the total number of requests because some requests are for more than one service. There is missing data from some records.

As shown in Figure 9, the distribution of these requests over the months of the year in 2009 reflects the peak periods of July and September.

Figure 10 shows the average processing time, by month, for all requests for accreditation.(28) The time is measured from the date of receipt of the diplomats' passports until the date that the final deliverables (passport and ID card) are returned to the mission, which is measured in business days. In some cases, in order to accommodate the needs of diplomats, passports are returned before the accreditation process is complete. The date of this early return of the passport is not reflected in these figures.

Figure 9: Distribution of Requests for Accreditation, by Month, 2009*

Distribution of Requests for Accreditation

Source: XDC, March 2009. Analysis by evaluation team

* Excludes requests only for authorization for driver's license of license plates

The processing time for accreditation is between 4.3 and 9.3 business days for HOMs and 8.6 and 18.8 business days for other diplomatic staff. XDC staff indicated that, by design, requests from HOMs are given priority over those of other diplomatic staff.

Figure 10: Average Processing Time for Accreditation, by Month, 2009*

Average Processing Time for Accreditation

Source: XDC, March 2009. Analysis by evaluation team

* Excludes requests only for authorization for driver's license of license plates

** "Other diplomats" includes diplomats for whom the title was not available

This data indicates that, on average, XDC is able to meet its service standard of 15 business days for accreditation for HOMs in all months of the year. However, in August and September, the average processing time for other diplomatic staff exceeds the service standard. Yet, in 2009, August was not a peak period for requests. This suggests that the reasons for the delays are probably more related to the availability of staff (during the summer holiday period) than the volume of requests.

Since the range of processing times is quite wide - from one day to 47 days(29) the average can be a misleading figure, since the actual processing times experienced by diplomats are quite varied. An analysis of the number of requests for accreditation delivered within the timeframe outlined in the service standards shows a slightly different picture than that reflected in the average processing times. As shown in Figure 11, XDC met the service standard for all requests by HOMs, except in the months of July to October. However, it met the service standard 100% of the time for other diplomatic staff only in December. (It nearly met the standard for other diplomatic staff in November, when it achieved the service standard in 99% of the cases.) It should be noted that there may be very valid reasons for the delays in processing some requests - notably if there are any concerns with the request.

Figure 11: Percent of Requests for Accreditation Delivered within Service Standard*

Percent of Requests for Accreditation

Source: XDC, March 2009. Analysis by evaluation team

* Excludes requests only for authorization for driver's license of license plates

** "Other diplomats" includes diplomats for whom the title was not available

Overall, 65% of all requests for accreditation are addressed within the service standard timeframe. Requests for accreditation after the first request upon arrival (i.e., extensions, new passports, births, other) are more likely to be addressed within the timeframe of the service standards (68% of the requests addressed within the timeframe) than the requests for accreditation on arrival (53% of requests addressed within the timeframe).

For the few cases (25) in which a request was made only for an authorization for a driver's license or license plates (not accompanied by a request for accreditation), the average time for processing the request was 4.6 days. Seventy-two percent (72%) of these requests were processed within the five business day service standard.

There are two main challenges with delays in the accreditation process:

  • As a result of the delays, XDC has to hold periodically diplomats passports for up to three weeks. There are risks with this and it also limits the diplomats' ability to travel outside Canada on short notice. However, the unit is reportedly flexible in its approach and will accommodate diplomats who need their passports urgently; and
  • The ID card that diplomats receive at the end of the accreditation process is a key document required to assist their settlement in Canada. For example, it is required for opening bank accounts, registering vehicles and getting the exemptions on taxes on utilities and significant new purchases (e.g. purchasing a car). The entitlement to get a Canadian driver's licence is required for securing car insurance.

The perceptions (as well as the reality) of delays have the potential to be an impediment to good bilateral relations. The challenge of the perception of the delays is compounded by the lack of evidence to reflect the extent to which service standards are being met - information which could be used to manage better expectations of delivery times. According to respondents, at least one country (Australia) can process the accreditation faster. XDC has put in place measures to reduce the volume of work during the peak period - for example, last year XDC extended the validity of the accreditation and ID cards to move the renewal date outside the peak period. XDC is also considering other options, such as changing the procedures for downloading information to the Canadian Bank Note company in order to speed up the preparation of documents.

Finding #11:XDC has systems for tracking and monitoring its work. However, it has limited ability to report on performance or the extent to which it has met its service standards. It also has no performance measurement strategy or mechanisms in place to monitor and evaluate the performance of its services.

 

As noted above, XDC has a system in place for tracking the accreditation services, in order to manage workloads. However, there is no systematic analysis of the data to measure the timelines for the services for which there are service standards.

As is the case for all DFAIT units, XDC has a Performance Measurement Plan (PMP) and a Performance Management Agreement (PMA) for defining the objectives for, and measuring the performance of, each manager. However, XDC has currently no performance measurement strategy or mechanisms in place to evaluate the performance of DCSP, including the outreach events. For example, there is no systematic collection of information about perceptions of outreach events, including collecting feedback on the relevance of the events and the level of satisfaction with the content and the outcomes. However, XDC staff report that, given their regular contact with members of the diplomatic community, they are very aware of the interests and concerns of diplomats.

4.2.2 Relations with Other Stakeholders

Finding #12:While relations with internal DFAIT stakeholders and external government stakeholders, including OGDs and other stakeholders (provincial protocol offices and the judicial system) are very good, given the operational nature of these relationships, there is a lack of ongoing training to maintain the level of knowledge among external stakeholders.

 

In implementing its services, XDC works in collaboration with a range of internal and external stakeholders:

  • Other DFAIT services (geographic bureaus, ISI, legal services, HFE);
  • OGDs (RCMP, CIC, CBSA, CSIS, CRA, PCO, Office of the Governor General, Parliamentary protocol office); and
  • Other external stakeholders (provincial protocol offices, City of Ottawa protocol office, Crown Attorney, police forces).

Interviews with key informants from among these groups reflected that the roles and responsibilities are clear and there is a very positive collaboration between these groups and XDC. XDC is described as being responsive, effective, professional, transparent and consultative. Other DFAIT staff noted particularly that XDC staff handle sensitive issues well, without prejudicing bilateral relations, and deal with unique issues to find solutions.

One exception relates to XDC's role with respect to criminal cases. These occur very infrequently, but there are reportedly gaps in the information available on a number of issues:

  • What is the appropriate role the police can play in investigations and detention or in preventing the continuation of an offence? How can authorities access diplomatic property to deliver summons?
  • What is the appropriate role for XDC during an investigation? Should it be an intermediary between the police/crown attorneys and the diplomat?
  • If a diplomatic is expelled (or leaves voluntarily) but faced trial in his/her own country, who is responsible for paying the costs for witnesses from Canada to appear at the trial?
  • In cases of family violence, what mechanisms are there to allow the crown attorney to interview a victim who is a diplomat, for reasons of public interest?

While relations are good and there are documented procedures for dealing with some operational issues with external stakeholders (e.g. an agreement with CBSA), interviews with members of the diplomatic community provided examples of discrepancies in the information provided by XDC and the front-line staff of other government services. The most commonly cited discrepancies were with respect to issues such as tax exemptions and border services.(30) Maintaining the level of awareness and understanding of the implementation of immunities and privileges requires ongoing support to ensure that front line staff (police and customs officers) are aware of the appropriate treatment of diplomats. In past, XDC has done training with these front line staff, but resource constraints have resulted in the training not having been delivered for a few years.

Finding #13:DFAIT has responsibility for diplomatic and consular relations and, as such, the Department has to negotiate with the provinces, which have jurisdiction for a number of the immunities and privileges to which members of the diplomatic community are entitled. There are some outstanding and persistent issues in the relations with some provincial authorities.

 

DFAIT is responsible for ensuring that Canada respects its international obligations with respect to immunities and privileges. However, to the extent that the areas of these immunities and privileges fall under provincial and/or municipal jurisdictions (e.g. sale tax, tax exemptions for importation of alcohol, consistent application of diplomatic status, property taxes), XDC is required to negotiate with these jurisdictions to ensure respect of the immunities and privileges. There are ongoing issues with some provinces that are not consistently supporting Canada's international obligations. For example:

  • There appear to be discrepancies in the treatment of the staff of various international organizations located in Canada. This may be due to the specific agreement that has been negotiated with the organization's headquarters; and
  • There were recently issues with the tax exemptions for the importation of alcohol into British Colombia during the Olympic Games.

XDC plays an ongoing role in monitoring and negotiating diplomatic immunities and privileges because the legislation governing these immunities and privileges does not take precedence over the jurisdictional boundaries defined in Canada's constitution.

4.2.3 Resources and the Economy of the Outreach Program

Finding #14:XDC financial and human resources are reportedly adequate for the current demand for services.

 

XDC management indicates that the human and financial resources available are adequate for the unit's current activities. However, as will be noted in subsequent sections, there are additional activities that could be implemented in response to the evaluation's recommendations that might require additional resources.

In addition, over the past two years, there has been a regularization of a number of the XDC positions, including positions that were filled on a contract basis which are now permanent positions. This, however, reportedly limits the flexibility that the unit requires to deal with peak period staffing.

Finding #15:Given the operational nature of much of XDC's work and the number of entry level positions, the unit has challenges with staff retention.

 

Much of XDC's work is operational in nature - processing a high volume of, for the most part, routine requests for documents and authorizations. As a result, the unit has a high number of entry level positions - AS-01 and AS-02 positions - and low classifications for some other positions. As would be expected, incumbents in such positions are often seeking opportunities for advancement and, as a result, turnover in some positions has been very high. For example, since September 2008, there have been four people in the position of HOMs Program Coordinator, Agrément, Protocol and Ceremonial. In the accreditation unit, over the calendar year 2009, there were three different people in one Processing Officer position. Although the work is relatively routine, it requires a high level of attention to detail and accuracy, as the results of an error (for example, in the name of a HOM or country on accreditation documents) could be very embarrassing for Canada. An audit of XDC conducted in 2002 recommended that the Division identify the resources to implement a reclassification of some positions.(31) This was done and a number of positions were reclassified.

Although XDC management has attempted to address the retention issue by encouraging staff retention activities (such as professional development opportunities and a positive work environment), the retention problem remains. The unit has to rely on management positions to provide the continuity in some sectors - yet some senior management staff are rotational.

Finding #16:Since it is difficult to identify long-term outcomes of the Outreach Program, it is not possible to assess the cost-effectiveness of this Program. However, XDC has implemented a number of measures to manage the costs of the Program and identified possible approaches to improve the effectiveness of outreach events.

 

As noted in Section 4.1.2 (Finding #8), there is limited evidence of long-term outcomes of the Outreach Program. However, as also noted, it is difficult to measure these outcomes, particularly by asking the perceptions of current members of the diplomatic community. Without considerable long-term follow-up of the outputs and immediate outcomes of the events, it will never be possible to identify long-term outcomes.

DFAIT's total contribution to outreach events in 2008/09 was $423,910 (see Table 8). In 2008/09, 369 members of the diplomatic community participated in events. These are probably not unique individuals, since some diplomats likely participated in more than one event. This represents a cost of about $960 for a participant-event. By far the most expensive event, as would be expected, is the Northern Tour, with an average cost for a participant of $12,270. Costs for the other events range from $61/participant for the orientation program to $561/participant for the Diplomatic Forum.(32)

Table 8: Number of Participants and Costs for the Outreach Program, 2008/09

 Northern TourDiplomatic ForumEconomic Outreach Missions (3)Orientation ProgramTotal
Participants1812715767369
DFAIT costs$220,856$71,300$57,800$4,100$354,056
Average cost/participant$12,270$561$368$61$960

Source: XDC, DFAIT, April 2010

* Likely not unique individuals

Although it is not possible to assess the cost-effectiveness, XDC is aware of the need to manage costs of the Outreach Program and has implemented a number of measures to minimize costs through:

  • Limiting the number of government staff who accompany the HOMs on the Northern Tour and ensures that the GoC staff who do participate play a number of roles on the team;
  • Being mindful of managing the accommodation and meal costs for the Northern Tour and also limits GoC participation in theses events;
  • Creating a position in part for the management of the Diplomatic Forums - an Outreach Officer - in order to provide more systematic and effective coordination of the Forums;
  • Having XDC's leadership for each Forum provided by the same XDC staff person who will be attending the event;
  • Increasing fees for HOMs to participate in the Northern Tour; and
  • Seeking financial contributions from other participating government departments, Chambers of Commerce and other provincial jurisdictions.

The focus on increasing the fees and contributions of partners for the Northern Tour and Diplomatic Forum is reflected in the financial analysis of the outreach event costs. The offsetting revenues and contributions, as a percentage of the total event costs for these events have, in fact, increased since 2007/08 (see Table 9).

Table 9: Revenue and Contributions, as a Percentage of Total Event Costs, 2007/08 - 2009/10

Outreach Event2007/082008/092009/10
Northern Tour14.3%19.6%24.4%
Diplomatic Forum19.5%28.5%27.4%

 

Interviews with XDC staff indicated that there is limited involvement of other DFAIT Branches in the development and follow-up to the outreach events. Senior management is aware of the events as they are planned. The Diplomatic Forum is coordinated with the Communications Branch and the offices of the two DFAIT Ministers, in order to secure the active involvement of the Ministers, which is key for this event. These offices may, in turn, consult with relevant geographic or multilateral bureaus. However, this is not systematic. Similarly, there is limited involvement of the trade bureaus in planning the Economic Outreach Missions. XDC has identified that improved coordination with other DFAIT bureaus would contribute to improving the effectiveness of these events.


5.0 Conclusions

The diplomatic corps services are essential to enable Canada to meet its international obligations under the Vienna Conventions. They are consistent with DFAIT's mandate, as defined in the Foreign Missions and International Organizations Act and support Canada's interests either by establishing reciprocal arrangements, which subsequently benefit Canadians serving in missions abroad, or by promoting Canada's interests. Even though many diplomatic corps services are under the jurisdiction of provincial or municipal governments, the federal government plays a key role in facilitating the delivery of these services and ensuring the respect of Canada's international obligations.

DFAIT's Protocol Office is responsible, through its Diplomatic Corps Services Division for delivering these services. XDC staff, responsible for delivering the diplomatic corps services, are the first and most consistent DFAIT contact for diplomats and are highly regarded and respected for their responsiveness, professionalism and transparency. The unit has adequate financial resources for the services it is currently providing. However, there are challenges with human resources because of the number of entry level positions, the perception of the low classification of some positions and high staff turnover.

XDC has established and maintained good relations with the range of internal and external government stakeholders including: other DFAIT Divisions, OGDs and other external stakeholders (provincial protocol offices, Crown Attorneys and police forces). However, there is limited engagement of other DFAIT bureaus in the planning and follow-up to the outreach events. In addition, there are gaps in the outreach activities to external stakeholders which are required to maintain the level of knowledge required to ensure the respect of Canada's international obligations. Given the operational nature of these services, there is a need to maintain the level of knowledge, particularly among front-line staff of other government departments.

XDC plays an ongoing role in negotiating with the provinces to ensure respect for the immunities and privileges to which members of the diplomatic community are entitled. They address outstanding and persistent issues with some provincial authorities.

Most diplomatic corps services are documented in Circular Notes provided to all foreign missions by fax. For the most part, representatives of the diplomatic community are satisfied with the information available through these circulars, some of which are also available through the XDC extranet. However, respondents indicated that there are gaps in the availability of information about some services, notably with respect to immunities and privileges.

There are also gaps in the internal documentation of procedures with respect to the delivery of some services, notably the accreditation service. Some services are defined in formal policies; some are defined in MOUs or agreements with OGD; others are defined in internal procedural guidelines. However, not all procedures are documented and those documents that exist are not centralized.

The timeliness of diplomatic corps services is a key issue for members of the diplomatic community. The online survey indicates that diplomats are least satisfied with the timeliness for the management of privileges, agrément and accreditation. While XDC has established service standards for some of these services, during peak periods, it is not able to meet its standards for the delivery of accreditation services. XDC is currently considering options for addressing the delays in the accreditation process.

In spite of the challenges with the timeliness of the delivery of services, the diplomatic community is, in general, very satisfied with the diplomatic corps services. Members of the diplomatic community expressed their satisfaction with the XDC staff, noting their courtesy, competence and availability. They are satisfied, although at a somewhat lower level, with the information available about diplomatic corps services. The area in which there is the greatest level of dissatisfaction is the management of immunities and privileges. This is likely a reflection of the fact that many issues faced by the diplomatic community are beyond the control of DFAIT, including such things as the management of tax exemptions, the lack of access to the public health system and challenges with the education system.

There is also a very high level of satisfaction with DFAIT's Outreach Program: the Northern Tour, the Diplomatic Forum and the Economic Outreach Missions. Members of the diplomatic community were very satisfied with these events, particularly the Northern Tour. They identified a number of immediate outcomes of these events, including improved networking for and with the diplomatic community and increased information and knowledge about Canada, its public policy challenges and its economy. However, there was limited evidence of long-term outcomes of the Outreach Program.


6.0 Recommendations

Recommendation #1:It is recommended that XDC expand the information available on the Diplomatic Corps Services page of the existing Protocol Office website and extranet to include more information on diplomatic corps services and links to other relevant websites.

 

Both external stakeholders and members of the diplomatic community expressed the desire for more systematic information about services. The Protocol Office has a page on the DFAIT website. On this page there are currently a few links to diplomatic corps services. The extranet is a password-protected website for members of the diplomatic community that includes a few circulars and other relevant information. However, there is not systematic coverage of the services. Depending on the extent to which the information can be made publically available, one or both or the sites could include:

  • All circulars that are in effect. XDC would then be able to archive any circulars that have been superseded by other circulars. Given that members of the diplomatic community should not be required to check the site for any changes, an electronic notification to all foreign missions would still be required when a circular changes;
  • Agreements with external government stakeholders;
  • Information about all diplomatic corps services, including information on service standards. This would contribute to managing expectations about services, notably the timeframes for the delivery of services;
  • Links to other stakeholder sites that partner with XDC (e.g. CBSA, CIC, provincial protocol offices); and
  • Announcements about upcoming events - particularly those open to all HOMs and/or other foreign mission staff.

It is suggested the XDC review the information available in an online manual for diplomats that is provided by the Australian government - see:

http://www.dfat.gov.au/protocol/Protocol_Guidelines/index.html

Recommendation #2:It is recommended that XDC develop an internal manual of procedures for all diplomatic corps services and make greater use of existing DFAIT systems to promote retention of corporate knowledge.

 

Given the turnover in XDC entry level staff, the rotational nature of most senior positions and the requirement for attention to detail and absolute accuracy in the delivery of services, it would be beneficial for the unit to centralize existing policies and procedures and document the procedures for services for which documentation does not exist.

Similarly, in order to limit the impacts of staff turnover, it would be useful for XDC to make greater use of existing DFAIT systems (e.g. InfoBank, Divisional folders in Outlook and the I drive) to store information that would then be accessible to other staff.

Recommendation #3:It is recommended that XDC continue to explore options for improving the processing time for accreditation.

 

During the peak period of August and September, XDC was not able to respect its service standard for processing accreditations in 15 business day. In the past year, XDC has attempted to reduce the volume during the peak period by extending the validity of the accreditation and ID card a few months to shift the renewal days out of the peak period. However, this change will not have an impact on the volume of requests for another two years.

XDC staff have also considered other options for speeding up the processing times - for example, streamlining the transfer of data to the Canadian Bank Note Company. It should also consider what flexibility in staffing is required to manage peak period volumes and review the processes in other countries to see if there are any feasible alterative approaches for Canada.

Recommendation #4:It is recommended that XDC continue or resume information sessions/ training for both the diplomatic community and the front-line staff of other government services.

 

In 2008, XDC pilot tested an Orientation Program for new diplomatic staff and held an information session for HOMs' administrative assistants. These should be continued to strengthen information sharing with the diplomatic community.

In the past, XDC has held training sessions for front-line staff of other government services (e.g. police forces, CBSA). Resource constraints have limited XDC's ability to pursue these sessions. However, given the operational nature of the work and the number of external actors responsible for the implementation of the services, these sessions should be reinstated, possibly using cost-effective technologies such as online training.

Recommendation #5:It is recommended that XDC engage other DFAIT bureaus in the planning of, and follow-up to, outreach events.

 

There is a need to expand the consultation on the content of outreach events (particularly the Diplomatic Forums and the Economic Outreach Missions) to include other DFAIT bureaus. In the case to the Economic Outreach Missions, it would be particularly useful also to engage the trade bureaus and regional offices in follow-up activities, as this might both strengthen the long-term outcomes and improve reporting on outcomes.

Recommendation #6:It is recommended that XDC assess the value of service standards for diplomatic corps services and, if they are maintained, implement monitoring and evaluation activities to allow for regular reporting on the achievement of these service standards.

 

There are expectations from the Treasury Board Secretariat that government departments will establish service standards for the delivery of services to the public. The impact of this requirement on diplomatic corps services and the relevance of service standards for this community need to be assessed. If the decision is made to maintain or establish service standards for some, or all, diplomatic corps services, XDC needs to establish mechanisms to monitor and report regularly on its performance with respect to these standards.

Recommendation #7:It is recommended that XDC develop a performance measurement strategy that would allow it to monitor and measure the performance of its services.

 

In addition to the specific need to monitor service standards, there is a need to strength the overall accountability reporting for the DCSP.

Other than the PMP and PMA, which measure management performance, there is currently no performance measurement strategy for measuring the performance of the DCSP, including the outreach events. For example, there is no systematic collection of information about the costs or perceptions of the impacts of the outreach events. Putting in place mechanisms for more systematic tracking of the costs and conducting at least evaluations of the outputs and immediate outcomes would provide XDC with feedback on these events and provide evidence of at least the short-term benefits of these events.


7.0 Management Response and action plan

RecommendationManagement Response & Action PlanResponsibility CentreTime Frame
Recommendation 1:

Expand the existing Protocol Office website to include all circulars and links to other stakeholder sites.

It is recommended that XDC expand the information available on the Diplomatic Corps Services page of the existing Protocol Office website and extranet to include more information on diplomatic corps services and links to other relevant websites.

Although the diplomatic community expressed satisfaction with the information available about the diplomatic corps services, they pointed out that there are gaps in the availability of information about some services notably with respect to immunities and privileges.

XDC will provide access to relevant policies, whether developed or renewed, on the Office of Protocol Internet site. Policies and guidelines, which will include related forms, will be posted on the website incrementally, based on assessed priorities and needs, and will focus on key areas of services and programs for the diplomatic community. External links to other sites will be added as required.

Where there have been multiple policies and procedures on a subject matter, these will be reduced to, or grouped together as, a single policy or guideline, whenever possible, thus making information more accessible, targeted and streamlined.

Web content managers within XDC will be identified and trained on the Interwoven software to create or maintain web content for the division.

The Deputy Director, Privileges, Immunities and Accreditation (XDC) will lead this initiative, in close consultation and partnership with the E-Communications, Communication Products and Services Division (BCI).Policies and related information will be posted incrementally starting April 2010

100% of policies posted by December 31, 2010

Training for web content managers completed by mid-May 2010

Recommendation 2:

There is a need for an internal manual of procedures for all diplomatic corps services.

Even for those services for which there are documented procedures, these are not integrated into one place in a Division Manual.

It is recommended that XDC develop an internal manual of procedures for all diplomatic corps services and make greater use of existing DFAIT systems to promote the retention of corporate knowledge.

DC will author operational, corporate and user guide manuals for internal use, where none exist or where existing ones are incomplete and out of date. These will be incrementally developed based on assessed priorities and needs and will focus on key areas of services and programs to the diplomatic community. To ensure consistent documentation and to avoid reinventing the wheel, templates will be used and/or developed. These manuals, where possible, will be posted on existing DFAIT filing and repository systems.The Deputy Chief of Protocol and Director, Diplomatic Corps Services will lead this initiative and delegate writing responsibilities to the various sector heads.50% of manuals that require updating on a priority basis written by December 31, 2010

Outstanding manuals to be drafted by mid-2011 FY

Recommendation 3:

There are delays in the delivery of some services at peak periods in the year.

An analysis of the data from XDC Passport Log indicated that XDC met the service standard for accreditation for all requests by foreign HOMs, except in the months of July and August. However, it met this service standard for other diplomatic staff only in December.

It is recommended that XDC continue to explore options for improving the processing time for accreditation.

XDC will continue to streamline the accreditation process using a risk-based approach (taking into account non-compliance trends), while enhancing the quality assurance program, agent training and agent tools. XDC will also enhance existing systems to track and monitor workflow, and facilitate statistical reporting, and develop tailored strategies to address specific segments of the diplomatic community.

XDC will increase, where possible, electronic transmission of information for the diplomatic community. It will also enhance client education to improve voluntary compliance and enable individual missions and international organizations to pro-actively minimize administrative errors which ultimately affect processing times.

Finally, XDC will review the performance framework for its accreditation processes, namely by conducting comparative studies with the accreditation processes in place in like-minded countries such as the USA and Australia.

The Deputy Director, Privileges, Immunities and Accreditation (XDC) will lead this initiative, although aspects of this initiative will be under the direct responsibility of the Manager, Accreditation and Registrar.A suite of strategies to optimize the accreditation process developed and implemented by December 31, 2010

Preliminary review of the above by March 31, 2011

Subsequent reviews and XDC-led evaluations achieved on a quarterly basis

Recommendation 4:

There is a lack of ongoing training to maintain the level of knowledge among external stakeholders.

Although the roles and responsibilities are clear and there is a very positive collaboration, members of the diplomatic community provided examples of discrepancies in the information provided by XDC and the front-line staff of other government services.

It is recommended that XDC continue or resume information sessions/training of both the diplomatic community and the front-line staff of other government services.

XDC will, based on allocation of funds, increase horizontal initiatives with federal and provincial departments/agencies (CBSA, CRA, Police Forces and provincial governments) with which it must work collaboratively for the achievement of shared outcomes, and which impact client satisfaction. Frequency of training and information sessions intended for other departments/agencies elevated beyond 2009-2010 levels.The Deputy Chief of Protocol and Director, Diplomatic Corps Services will lead this initiative and delegate writing responsibilities to various sector head.By March 31, 2011
Recommendation 5:

There is limited involvement of other DFAIT Branches in the development and follow-up to the outreach events.

It would be useful to engage the trade bureau and regional offices in follow-up activities, as this might strengthen the long-term outcomes and improve reporting on outcomes.

It is recommended that XDC engage other DFAIT bureaux in the planning of, and follow-up to, outreach events.

Particularly within the context of DFAIT's New Business Model, XDC will seek a "diplomatic corps outreach" contact to be identified by DGs within each relevant Trade bureau, including the new Canada bureau, to ensure greater engagement of the Canadian commercial and policy expertise in the planning and follow-up of outreach events.

Through this network of contacts, XDC will hold a brainstorming forum with DFAIT partners to discuss outreach activities from a strategic perspective.

The Deputy Director responsible for Outreach will lead the identification and engagement of contact points with support from the Deputy Chief of Protocol and Director Diplomatic Corps Services and Chief of Protocol as need be.

The Deputy Director will organize brainstorming forum.

Contacts to be identified and initial discussion held with each by May 14, 2010

First brainstorming forum discussion to be held by September 2010.

Recommendation 6:

There is a need to explore options to improve the processing time for accreditation.

XDC has to periodically hold diplomats passport for up to three weeks. This limits the diplomat's ability to travel outside Canada on short notice. Also the ID card that diplomats receive at the end of the accreditation process is a key document required to assist their settlement in Canada.

It is recommended that XDC assess the value of service standards for diplomatic corps services, if they are maintained; implement monitoring and evaluation activities to allow for regular reporting on achievement of these service standards.

XDC will undertake an in-depth review regarding the applicability, the development and the updating of service standards for all of its services to the diplomatic community. This will include a reflection on the principles that should guide the development of attainable and measurable service standards, taking into account (a) the expectations of clients, (b) the nature of bilateral relations themselves (which by essence are not subject to the normal tools of governance) and (c) the need to manage performance in a meaningful and sustained way.

The reflection will also focus on identifying which service standards should be published and known to the clients.

The Deputy Chief of Protocol and Director, Diplomatic Corps Services will lead this initiative in consultation with deputy directors and sectors heads.In-depth review completed by March 31, 2011
Recommendation 7:

XDC has limited ability to report on performance or the extent to which it has met its service standards.

There is no systematic analysis of the data to measure the timelines for the services for which there are service standards.

It is recommended that XDC develop a performance measurement strategy that would allow it to monitor and measure the performance of its services.

XDC will undertake a review of performance measurements for all its services in conjunction with review of service standards (see Recommendation no. 6).

Where service standards have been found to be applicable (see service standards review above) and are developed, performance measurement will be based on their attainment.

Where it is determined that service standards are not applicable, XDC will explore and develop systematic ways of recording results, feedback and outcomes. For example, the survey that was part of the current evaluation was very helpful in measuring performance. Also, greater use of the web site to provide feedback can be considered.

Deputy Chief of Protocol and Director Diplomatic Corps Services will lead the review along with both Deputy Directors.In-depth review completed by March 31, 2011

 


1. Included in the list of interviews described in "Interviews"

2. Report on Plans and Priorities, 2009/2010, DFAIT Program Activity Architecture, Activity 2, Diplomacy and Advocacy, under Strategic Outcome 1, Canada's International Agenda http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/rpp/2009-2010/inst/ext/ext-eng.pdf Accessed February 2010

3. Information from XDC

4. With the exception of HOMs from states that recognize the Queen as Head of State, all HOMs must present their Letters of Credence to the Governor General and they cannot begin their formal functions as HOM until they have presented their Letters of Credence. High Commissioners from states that recognize the Queen as Head of State present Letters of Introduction to the Prime Minister and can take up their full functions from the date of their arrival in Canada.

5. Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961), Vienne Convention on Consular Relations (1963) and the Foreign Missions and International Organizations Act (1991, c. 41)

6. Information from XDC, March 2010

7. Memo to Minister of Foreign Affairs on the 2008 Northern Tour, [undated], p. 1

8. On an exceptional basis, the fee is waived for some HOMs.

9. "The Diplomatic Forum," DFAIT [undated], p. 1

10. "Welcome to Ottawa Orientation for new Embassy and High Commission Staff, Ottawa, October 3, 4, 5, 2008," DFAIT [undated]

11. Funding for the Economic Outreach Missions and the Orientation Program come from the XDC budget.

12. This includes six interviews conducted for the comparison study.

13. The description of this methodology is taken from "2009 Client Satisfaction Survey - Diplomatic Services Program," prepared for Evaluation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade by R.A. Malatest & Associates Ltd., February 4, 2010

14. Included in the list of interviews described in "Interviews"

15. Foreign Missions and International Organizations Act, S.C. 1991, c. 41, 3. (1)

16. Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Act, RSC 1985, c. E-22

17. Report on Plans and Priorities, 2009/2010, DFAIT Program Activity Architecture, Activity 2, Diplomacy and Advocacy, under Strategic Outcome 1, Canada's International Agenda http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/rpp/2009-2010/inst/ext/ext-eng.pdf Accessed February 2010

18. Report on Plans and Priorities, 2009/2010, DFAIT Program Activity Architecture, Activity 2, Diplomacy and Advocacy, under Strategic Outcome 1, Canada's International Agenda http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/rpp/2009-2010/inst/ext/ext-eng.pdf Accessed February 2010

19. Between 84% and 100% were satisfied or very satisfied with these components of the services.

20. Information provided in email from XDC, 12 May 2009

21. Note: None of the diplomatic community representatives interviewed had participated in the Economic Outreach program and so were not able to provide comments.

22. "Employment of Family Members of Foreign Representatives: eligibility requirements | general guidelines"

23. "Establishment of Consular Posts & Appointments of Honourary Consular Officers"

24. "Revised Policy on Impaired Driving" http://www.international.gc.ca/protocol-protocole/vienna-vienne/idp/index.aspx?menu_id=8&menu=R

25. "Customs Privileges for Diplomatic Missions, Consular Posts, and International Organizations" (April 2000)

26. Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and Public Works and Government Services Canada, National Capital Region, under the Diplomatic, Consular and International Organizations' Property Grants Order (P.C. 1979-59. January 18, 1979), the Municipal Grants Acts, and successor Orders and Acts

27. Data provided by XDC, March 2010. For some records, the number of passports processed was not entered. The assumption was made that there would be at least one passport processed for each of these requests. On average, each request involves nearly two passports (1.9 passports/request).

28. The analysis excludes any requests solely for authorization for driver's license or license plates. However, it includes these requests when they accompany a request for accreditation.

29. Processing times of zero or less days were excluded from the analysis, as were four outliers of more than 50 days.

30. As an example, recently there was confusion about whether a diplomat is required to show his/her ID card at the border.

31. "Audit of Diplomatic Corps Services Division (XDC)," Audit Division, DFAIT, July 2002, p.6

32. Note that the year 2008/09 was one in which the expenses for the Diplomatic Forum were considerably lower than in the previous or preceding year.

Office of the Inspector General

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Date Modified:
2011-11-28