Summary of the Evaluation of the Exchanges Canada Program 2014-15 to 2018-19

Evaluation Services Directorate
March 28, 2022

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Summary of the Evaluation of the Exchanges Canada Program 2014-15 to 2018-19 [PDF version - 2.08 MB]

List of acronyms and abbreviations

Exchange Canada Program
Summer Work / Student Exchange
Youth Exchanges Canada
Youth Forums Canada


The goal of the Exchanges Canada Program (ECP) is to strengthen the sense of national belonging and identity among Canadian youth. ECP funds eligible not-for-profit organizations to provide young Canadians with a range of exchange and forum opportunities throughout the country.

ECP has two components:

This evaluation assessed the relevance, effectiveness, and efficiency of ECP from 2014-15 to 2018-19.



ECP provided exchange and forum experiences to 64,663 Canadian youth through 106 projects. ECP participants improved their knowledge and understanding of Canada, created new connections with other Canadian youth, and developed an enhanced appreciation of the shared aspects and diversity of the Canadian experience.

To ensure equitable participation, ECP provides funds to reduce barriers to participation, and sets targets for organizations to recruit a diversity of participants.

Overall, ECP participants reflected the diversity of youth from across Canada. There were some challenges:

ECP Percentage of subgroups participants, 2014-15 to 2018-19
Subgroup’s participants 2014-15 (%) 2015-16 (%) 2016-17 (%) 2017-18 (%) 2018-19 (%) Average (%) Target (%)
Indigenous 9.8 9.8 9.4 10.3 11.8 10.2 6.7
Rural 36.1 37.3 34.9 35.9 32.6 35.4 20.4
Youth with disability 11.1 14.8 16.8 16.2 5.4 12.9 3.9
Visible minorities 14.5 15.3 16.1 17.8 17.8 16.3 22.6
Low income 22.2 20.4 19.8 21.6 22.3 21.3 15.1


ECP management has improved administrative efficiency by implementing multi-year funding arrangements, new timelines for contribution agreements and digitized data collection. The administrative cost ratio efficiency was improved from 8.9% to 8.2%.

Just over $98 million were spent over the five years by the program, including $90.7 million in grants and contributions and $7.4 million in operating costs.

Travel represents the largest contributions of the program followed by the participant wages included in the SWSE sub-component.

Looking forward

The finalization of the evaluation was delayed due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. To ensure the evaluation recommendations included the context of the pandemic, the evaluation team conducted rapid review of its implications on the programming. For example, in 2020-21 and 2021-22, ECP allowed organizations to deliver virtual exchanges since travel was restricted. There are other opportunities for the program to consider emerging youth needs and preferences for engagement moving forward.


The evaluation recommends that the Assistant Deputy Minister, Community Identity Sector:

  1. Takes any supplemental measures required to better understand the changing needs and preferences among youth, including the influence of virtual innovation, to further improve the program and to ensure its ongoing relevance to youth across Canada.
  2. Examine and implement any needed measures to further reduce barriers and improve program participation among diverse groups.
  3. Review expected program outcomes to ensure that performance data continues to support decision-making, evaluation and reporting, without placing undue administrative burden on the beneficiaries or the program.

©Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 2022
Catalogue Number: CH7-33/2-2022E-PDF
ISBN: 978-0-660-43145-1

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