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1999 September and November Report of the Auditor General of Canada

September and November 1999 Report—Chapter 23

Exhibit 23.7—Environment Canada: Building on Experience

Environment Canada has a long tradition of recognizing the importance of collaborative arrangements as a means of engaging citizens and sharing ownership of problems and solutions, and encouraging results. Its Ecosystem Initiatives are an example. Through evaluations Environment Canada with its partners has identified and addressed challenges in its programs and documented lessons learned. This process and extensive consultations within the Department and among partners led to the development of the Planning and Management Framework for Ecosystem Initiatives - a key guide for future decision making.

Some lessons learned through evaluations of the Ecosystem Initiatives. There is a need for clear accountabilities and performance indicators; information must be shared among all partners; and procedures need to be jointly established. Lessons learned have been incorporated in the Framework and were applied recently in implementing the Northern Rivers Ecosystem Initiative.

Notwithstanding these positive developments, challenges remain. We observed that the Framework does not contain explicit guidelines for accountability - for example, the need to provide for clear roles and responsibilities among partners and agreed expectations. Environment Canada notes that memoranda of understanding and other means are used to document roles and responsibilities, and it is preparing a national evaluation framework to more clearly define accountabilities for the planning and monitoring of goals, objectives and results.

Source: Office of the Auditor General; Environment Canada