Results: What we achieved

From Employment and Social Development Canada

Official title: Employment and Social Development Canada 2016–2017 Departmental Results Report

Programs and priorities

Program 1.1: Service network supporting government departments

This program supports Government of Canada programs by ensuring that Canadians have the information necessary to make informed choices about available programs and services, and the tools to access them, while supporting migration to preferred service channels. Canadians are able to access information about ESDC and other Government of Canada programs and services in the most accessible and convenient way, have their questions answered quickly and accurately, and receive or are directed to the information or service they need. Under this program, information and services are delivered to Canadians through the Internet, 1 800 O-Canada and its customized telephone services, as well as through a network of in-person points of service.

Results for service network supporting government departments

As the principal publisher for the Government of Canada website,, ESDC has supported Treasury Board Secretariat as the policy lead for provides an enhanced, citizen-centred site with a common Government of Canada search functionality that allows Canadians to locate general information on all Government of Canada programs and services and detailed information on the programs and services offered through ESDC.

The Government of Canada now has one website ( pointing to information and services across the whole of Government, and including content from an increasing number of institutions and one social media platform that manages over 3,000 social media accounts consistently across 65 departments. The single web platform provides greater security, 100 percent availability to date and faster speed for users. Since its launch on this platform in December 2015, has provided uninterrupted service to Canadians. also has a new newsroom used by 74 institutions to communicate government priorities and announcements, and a new web analytics platform used by over 30 institutions to help understand and optimize usage of the website. The search functionality now supports the internal search on and nearly all other governmental websites (over 80 institutions use it). As well, over 20 institutions have adopted the template for over 40 business applications (i.e., and are managing this template using an automated tool led by ESDC.

With respect to ESDC’s own online presence, the Department successfully completed its own move to in January 2017. Over 60 of ESDC’s programs and services— 9,500 institutional pages for ESDC, the Labour Program, Service Canada and seven commissions, tribunals, councils and panels—can now be accessed through one site on With 62 business applications taking on the template, users see just one “website” instead of seeing 26 different “websites” as they did two years ago or 42 different “websites” as they did in 2011.

As part of the Employment Insurance Service Quality Review, a survey of Employment Insurance (EI) clients was conducted focusing on the quality of service delivery from the client’s perspective. The survey also examined the degree to which clients can easily and efficiently move through the various stages of the EI process, from gathering information about the program to receiving a decision regarding the benefits. Findings from the survey have been used to inform plans for improvements to the delivery of EI.

A new service option linking Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and ESDC online portals was implemented. The CRA’s My Account and ESDC’s My Service Canada Account now offer Canadians access to self-service options to update and manage their tax and EI benefits online year-round and make important changes to their profiles such as for a new address, marital status or retirement. Using the new link, Canadians who are registered for either My Account or My Service Canada Account can now access both services using a single secure session. In the period between November 2016 and March 2017, more than 800,000 users had navigated between the two portals.

Performance results for service network supporting government departments
Expected Results Performance Indicators Targets Date to achieve Target Actual Results
Fiscal year 2014 to 2015 Fiscal year 2015 to 2016 Fiscal year 2016 to 2017
Canadians are able to access information about Government of Canada programs and services in the most accessible and convenient way

Percentage of Canadians with access to a Service Canada point of service within 50 km of where they live

Source: Administrative data

90% March 31 96.1% 96.2% 96.2%

Percentage of 1 800 O-Canada calls answered

Source: Administrative data

95% March 31 Not ApplicableFootnote 1 99.5% 99.6%
Budgetary financial resources (dollars) for service network supporting government departments
Fiscal year
2016 to 2017 Main Estimates
Fiscal year
2016 to 2017 Planned Spending
Fiscal year
2016 to 2017 Total Authorities Available for Use
Fiscal year
2016 to 2017 Actual Spending (authorities used)
Fiscal year
2016 to 2017 Difference

(actual minus planned)
59,958,885 59,958,885 65,086,542 57,983,719 (1,975,166)
Human resources (full-time equivalents [FTEs]) for service network supporting government departments
Fiscal year 2016 to 2017 Planned Fiscal year 2016 to 2017 Actual Fiscal year 2016 to 2017 Difference
410 330 (80)

This program includes planned FTEs for which actuals are presented under other programs. The difference between planned and actual FTEs results from a realignment of FTEs between programs to match variations in staffing and activity within the organization. This program excludes FTEs related to Employment Insurance, Old Age Security, Canada Pension Plan and Canada Pension Plan Disability Benefits, which are presented under their respective programs (2.1.1, 4.1.1, 4.1.2 and 4.1.3).

Supporting information on results and financial and human resources relating to ESDC’s lower-level programsFootnote 2 is available on the Department’s website and InfoBaseFootnote 3.

Benefits delivery modernization initiative

Benefits Delivery Modernization (BDM) is a key government priority and responds to the ESDC Service Strategy and recommendations of the EI Service Quality Review conducted in fiscal year 2016 to 2017. BDM is targeting a complete business process and technology renewal for EI, CPP and OAS, starting with EI, to transform the way in which benefits are delivered to citizens, including streamlining application processes and reducing wait times.

During fiscal year 2016 to 2017, BDM made significant progress on the pre-planning phase of the project and began the required preparations to move into the project definition phase of work including:

  • identification of common future-state characteristics as well as high-level and functional requirements;
  • extensive stakeholder engagement including workshops with representation from branches across the Department and representatives from the regions;
  • a baseline costing exercise to inform the completion of a benefits realization strategy and plan for the end-to-end BDM project;
  • development of a notional Program Roadmap which outlines a clear path for modernization in a phased and purposeful approach; and which identifies the sequencing, key dependencies and the connections between the BDM projects across all waves of implementation; and
  • direct engagement of employees and citizens in a co-design process to develop prototypes and ensure the needs and wants of citizens are directly integrated into the future-state design of benefit delivery.

Program 1.2: Delivery of Services for Other Government of Canada Programs

The Department provides service delivery, oversight and monitoring for other government department programs through service delivery agreements. It provides Canadians with access to a range of Government of Canada programs, benefits and services in person, by phone, by mail and over the Internet through the provision of basic and detailed program and service information; application intake and review for completeness; client authentication and validation of identity documents; quick and direct access to specialized agents within the other department; and provision of space in the service delivery network for other departments. It enables a move from department and program siloes to the achievement of a seamless service delivery network, resulting in timelier, accurate and cost-effective service delivery to Canadians.

Results for Delivery of Services for Other Government of Canada Programs

In fiscal year 2016 to 2017, the Department continued to provide in-person services to the public for Veterans Affairs Canada, the Canada Revenue Agency and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. It continued to support Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada in administering Common Experience Payments to residential school survivors. ESDC also provided video-conferencing services to the Administrative Tribunals Support Service of Canada.

In fiscal year 2016 to 2017, customized information services delivered via the phone for other government departments met the partnership agreement service level standards 98 percent of the time, while domestic travel documents and other Passport service requests were processed in a timely fashion, well above the service standard at 99.8 percent of the time.

Work continues with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to modernize Passport services with the aim of improving service delivery and accessibility by providing more convenient services to Canadians, strengthening integrity and security by improving identity management capabilities and improving program efficiencies.

The 10-year validity period for passports, introduced as part of the Passport Program Modernization Initiative, has caused a shift in internal processes. This shift will be addressed by replacing the program’s aging IT infrastructure, allowing for authentication of identity of individuals applying for passports, improving integrity in the passport application process, and supporting a digital strategy. This project also allows for authentication of identity of individuals applying for passports.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is looking into alternative solutions to support the Identity Linkages solution (to authenticate the identity of individuals) which will allow the exchange of information with provincial vital statistic offices.

In fiscal year 2016 to 2017, the Department launched a Service Delivery Pilot with the Government of the Northwest Territories to provide more in-person services to individuals and Indigenous communities in the Northwest Territories. The pilot will run until March 31, 2018, and will be assessed to determine the feasibility for expansion.

Performance results for delivery of Services for Other Government of Canada Programs
Expected Results Performance Indicators Targets Date to achieve Target Actual Results
Fiscal year 2014 to 2015 Fiscal year 2015 to 2016 Fiscal year 2016 to 2017
Other government department programs are delivered seamlessly with effective oversight in accordance with partnership agreements

Percentage of customized information services meeting service level agreement standards

Source: Administrative data

95% March 31, 2017 Not ApplicableFootnote 4 97.1% 98%
Budgetary Financial Resources (dollars) for delivery of Services for Other Government of Canada Programs
Fiscal year
2016 to 2017

Main Estimates
Fiscal year
2016 to 2017

Planned Spending
Fiscal year
2016 to 2017

Total Authorities Available for Use
Fiscal year
2016 to 2017

Actual Spending (authorities used)
Fiscal year
2016 to 2017 Difference

(actual minus planned)
164,172,167 164,172,167 161,490,000 127,104,037 (37,068,130)

With the transfer of responsibility for the delivery of passport services to ESDC, the service was provided within dedicated resources. The difference is mainly due to the Passport contingency reserve that was created for unexpected circumstances and increases in volumes and not used. The unused Passport funds remain in the non-lapsing Passport Revolving Fund.

Human Resources (full-time equivalents [FTEs]) for delivery of Services for Other Government of Canada Programs
Fiscal year 2016 to 2017 Planned Fiscal year 2016 to 2017 Actual Fiscal year 2016 to 2017 Difference
2,356 1,849 (507)

With the transfer of responsibility for the delivery of passport services to ESDC, the service was provided within dedicated FTEs. The difference is mainly due to the Passport contingency reserve that was created for unexpected circumstances and increases in volumes and not used.

Supporting information on results and financial and human resources relating to ESDC’s lower-level programsFootnote 5 is available on the Department’s website and InfoBaseFootnote 6.

Program 2.1: Skills and employment

The Skills and Employment program is intended to ensure that Canadian labour market participants are able to access the supports that they need to enter or reposition themselves in the labour market so that they can contribute to economic growth through full labour market participation. Initiatives in this program contribute to the common overall objectives of promoting skills development, enhancing labour market participation and ensuring labour market efficiency.

Results for Skills and employment

In fiscal year 2016 to 2017, the Department moved forward with the Government’s commitment to enhance the Employment Insurance program and to align it with today’s labour market realities.

The Department provided enhanced Employment Insurance (EI) supports by:

  • improving access for workers who were entering or re-entering the labour market by eliminating restrictive EI eligibility requirements;
  • improving job prospects for EI claimants to help them stay connected to the labour market by introducing a new flexible Working While on Claim pilot project;
  • simplifying job searches for claimants through the reversal of the 2012 EI changes that specified the type of jobs that unemployed workers were expected to search for and accept;
  • supporting workers affected by the commodity downturn by extending EI regular benefits by an additional 5 weeks, up to a maximum of 50 weeks, in 15 economic regionsFootnote 7 that were most impacted by the decline in commodity prices. Up to an additional 20 weeks of EI regular benefits was also extended to long-tenured workers in the same 15 economic regions, up to a maximum of 70 weeks. In addition, the maximum time duration of Work-Sharing agreements was extended from 38 weeks to 76 weeks across Canada;
  • ensuring quick access to EI benefits by reducing the waiting period from two weeks to one week; and
  • completing the EI Service Quality Review, which was a nationwide consultation process with key stakeholders and the public to seek their input on ways to improve services to EI claimants.

These measures have improved income security and labour force participation and are contributing to a skilled, adaptable and inclusive labour force and an efficient labour market.

The Department developed and implemented an Individual Quality Feedback program in fiscal year 2016 to 2017. This national quality assurance review has a core objective to assess the processing accuracy at the individual employee level for the EI program. These reviews will provide feedback to managers and employees and help to inform improvements and changes to training for processing agents. In fiscal year 2016 to 2017, over 24,000 applications were reviewed for EI.

The Department’s EI Automation Agenda continued to build on earlier initiatives to further increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the EI program. In fiscal year 2016 to 2017, the following enhancements were introduced:

  • New feedback functionalities were added to the Record of Employment on the Web application, giving employers the ability to share comments and suggestions on their online experience, including on usability, user-friendliness, accessibility, availability and efficiency.
  • Message Centre services and eNotification Check Status were introduced. With these services, EI applicants can access updated claim status information, view claim progress history and enjoy access via preferred (e.g. mobile) devices.
  • The development of the Alert Me feature, which allows claimants to sign up for a proactive service that uses generic email notifications to prompt clients to login to their secure My Service Canada Account when there are important new messages or their EI claim was finalized.

Collectively, the initiatives undertaken as part of the EI Automation Agenda have led to improved efficiency and better service for Canadians, to increased levels of client self-service and to significant advancements in electronic services to build the foundation for ongoing increased client self-service.

In fiscal year 2016 to 2017, ESDC advanced work on an information service to collect employer payroll and employment data in real time. The initiative is presently in the preliminary planning phase and upon implementation is expected to significantly improve the delivery of Employment Insurance benefits.

The EI Inventory Reduction Strategy was successfully completed, with the total inventory dropping below 130,000 Initial, Renewal and Revised claims before the end of September 2016. Speed of Payment for the year was 83.2 percent, exceeding the 80 percent target of providing a decision to the client within 28 days of applying for EI benefits. Total Initial, Renewal and Revised inventory at the end of the fiscal year was 160,500, which is 25.7 percent lower than the previous year. Total Initial, Renewal and Revised inventory aged 29 days and older was only 44,000, which is 52.2 percent lower than the previous year.

ESDC has contributed to helping Canadians find good-quality employment by:

  • posting over 1.2 million jobs through Job Bank. More than 34,000 new employer files were activated on Job Bank and 153,000 job seekers had an active Job Match profile. Through Job Bank’s closeout survey, employers have reported 62 percent of job postings were filled, among which 43 percent were attributed to Job Bank;
  • providing more responsive employment services, including over 1 million daily Job Alerts for job seekers;
  • supporting labour mobility for Canadians through partnerships with provinces and territories;
  • launching an Employer Liaison Service pilot on the Canada-Alberta Job Bank to help employers find domestic workers;
  • improving access to labour market information for Canadians by developing a prototype for an interactive portal, which includes geographic indicators and Job Bank postings, in consultation with internal and external stakeholders such as provinces and territories; and
  • publishing, with Statistics Canada, the new National Occupational Classification 2016 on respective websites.

ESDC thus continues to improve job seekers’ and employers’ capacity to connect while producing timely and reliable information on labour supply and demand in local areas.

ESDC improved opportunities for youth to acquire good-quality and permanent jobs by:

  • increasing the number of jobs created for youth under the Canada Summer Jobs program by investing an additional $339 million over three years beginning in fiscal year 2016 to 2017. In the summer of 2016, a total of 65,883 jobs were created for students across Canada—essentially doubling the number of opportunities for youth;
  • increasing the number of youth who access the Skills Link program, creating new green jobs for youth and increasing job opportunities for young Canadians in the heritage sector to help them overcome barriers to employment by investing an additional $165.4 million in the Youth Employment Strategy (YES);
  • supporting young Canadians in improving their essential skills by funding projects, through YES, that are testing the effectiveness of innovative approaches;
  • creating quality work-integrated learning placements and better aligning technical, foundational and work-ready skills development opportunities for young Canadians enrolled in post-secondary education courses through multi-stakeholder partnerships; and
  • continuing to work horizontally to integrate essential skills into federal, provincial and territorial labour market programming such as YES so that Canadians can benefit from an increased access to essential skills training.

These measures enhance opportunities for young Canadians so they can get a strong start in life and access opportunities for work and training.

The Department also supported the development of a skilled and well-prepared workforce by:

  • helping Canadians succeed in finding and keeping good jobs by investing an additional $125 million in Labour Market Development Agreements and $50 million in the Canada Job Fund;
  • collaborating with provinces and territories through the Forum of Labour Market Ministers to conduct broad-based consultations with stakeholders to identify ways to improve the intergovernmental transfers and guide future investments;
  • continuing to contribute to and participate in Labour Market Information Council (LMIC) priority activities such as: addressing the need for more granular local labour market information; prioritizing consistency of labour market information through alignment of definitions, standards and methodologies; and developing a collaborative platform for disseminating labour market Information for Canadians.
  • continuing to implement the New Red Seal Occupational StandardsFootnote 8 as a common basis for training, assessment and trade information across Canada;
  • harmonizing apprenticeship training in Red Seal tradesFootnote 9 by 2017 by working with provinces/territories to advance the initiative in order to improve the mobility of apprentices, increase their completion rates and enable employers to access a larger pool of apprentices;
  • working with interested provinces/territories to explore innovative approaches to increase employer engagement in apprenticeship; and
  • supporting the provision of employment and economic development services for official language minority communities through investments of $12 million and contributing to the labour market integration of young professionals, new immigrants and job-seekers living in these communities.

These measures facilitate mobility and increase opportunities for apprentices, reduce barriers to certification in targeted Red Seal trades and improve employer engagement.

ESDC supported Indigenous people by:

  • providing $16 million in social infrastructure funding to 210 First Nations and Inuit Child Care centres to undertake urgent repairs and renovations to existing facilities. By March 31, 2017, 132 projects were completed, totalling $13,379,031. The remaining projects are underway and expected to be completed in fiscal year 2017 to 2018. Additional projects will be funded through First Nations and Inuit Child Care in fiscal year 2017 to 2018 to support repairs and renovations, and other needs identified by child care centres as part of the $100 million in new funding announced in Budget 2016 towards Indigenous early learning and child care;
  • conducting extensive engagement with Indigenous leadership, Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy service delivery organizations, academic institutions and provincial and territorial governments to improve and strengthen Indigenous labour market programming;
  • addressing barriers to Indigenous economic development and identifying opportunities for improved outcomes by collaborating with federal, provincial/territorial and Indigenous partners;
  • helping 1,686 people find employment in fiscal year 2016 to 2017 by supporting the continuation of 16 successful Skills and Partnership Fund projects in high-priority sectors such as mining, energy and shipbuilding, as well as two targeted West Coast Energy projects with transition funding of $17.5 million;
  • providing enhanced training aligned with community needs in key areas such as housing construction, water treatment, child care, local administration and infrastructure by providing $5 million to the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy. Nine projects were funded in fiscal year 2016 to 2017 to pilot these efforts; and
  • helping 334 people find employment and 189 return to school out of 1,891 First Nation youth on Income Assistance who were referred from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada’s Enhanced Service Delivery to First Nations Job Fund in fiscal year 2016 to 2017 to receive training and employment supports.

With these measures, the Department demonstrates how it supports economic development and creates jobs for Indigenous people.

ESDC improved labour market outcomes for new Canadians by:

  • developing foreign credential recognition systems and processes with the objective to better integrate internationally trained individuals into the labour market by providing financial support to provincial and territorial partners and stakeholders and promoting national coordination; and
  • developing innovative approaches to foreign credential recognition and labour mobility, and addressing credential assessment and recognition barriers with ongoing funding of 20 active projects representing spending of up to $ 7.7 million.

The Department continues to work towards enhancing labour market outcomes of internationally trained workers in target occupations and sectors by developing fair, transparent, consistent and timely foreign qualification assessments and recognitions.
Work on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) included:

  • increasing access to job opportunities for Canadians, better protecting foreign workers and supporting business growth by outlining the TFWP’s Path Forward Plan and responding to the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities report on the TFWP;
  • announcing the new Global Talent Stream following extensive stakeholder consultations. The Global Talent Stream will feature Labour Benefit Plans expected to realize positive, lasting benefits for the Canadian labour market through encouraging activities such as job creation and investment in training and skills development; and
  • development of a new policy requiring low-wage TFWP employers to undertake targeted recruitment of under-represented groups including Indigenous people and newcomers.

ESDC continues to ensure that employers have timely access to temporary foreign workers only when Canadians genuinely are unable to fill the available jobs.

Performance results for skills and employment
Expected Results Performance Indicators Targets Date to Achieve Target Actual Results
Fiscal year 2014 to 2015 Fiscal year 2015 to 2016 Fiscal year 2016 to 2017
Workers have the flexibility and support to pursue employment opportunities or labour market transitions

Percentage of the unemployed population who had paid EI premiums in the last 12 months and had a recent job separation that qualified under the EI program

Source: Statistics Canada, EI Coverage Survey*

80–85% March 31, 2017 2014: 83.1% 2015: 82.8% 2016:
Not AvailableFootnote 10
Canadians, including under-represented groups and vulnerable workers, have the opportunity to acquire skills to find and maintain productive employment

The proportion of clients employed and/or returning to school following a completed employment program intervention under the following federally delivered programs: Youth Employment Strategy, Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities, Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy, Skills and Partnership Fund and First Nations Job Fund

Source: Administrative data

70% March 31, 2017 76% 71% 69%
Budgetary financial resources (dollars) for skills and employment
Fiscal year 2016 to 2017
Main Estimates
Fiscal year 2016 to 2017
Planned Spending
Fiscal year 2016 to 2017
Total Authorities Available for Use
Fiscal year
2016 to 2017

Actual Spending (authorities used)
Fiscal year 2016 to 2017
(actual minus planned)
2,436,178,048 22,187,663,325 23,623,267,335 23,467,649,089 1,279,985,764  

The variance is in part due to EI benefit payments that were higher than forecasted due to the unemployment rate being higher than forecasted. The variance can also be explained by the additional weeks of regular benefits paid as announced in Budget 2016 and by the additional funding also announced in Budget 2016 for Labour Market Development Agreements ($125 million) which was not fully utilized.

Human resources (full-time equivalents [FTEs]) for skills and employment
Fiscal year 2016 to 2017 Planned Fiscal year 2016 to 2017 Actual Fiscal year 2016 to 2017 Difference
8,872 9,722 850

The difference in FTEs is mainly due to the fact that requests for additional funding and FTEs to address increased EI workload and other EI related activities were made after planned FTE amounts were determined.

Supporting information on results and financial and human resources relating to ESDC’s lower-level programsFootnote 11 is available on the Department’s website and InfoBaseFootnote 12 .

Program 2.2: Learning

This program helps Canadians participate in post-secondary education and acquire the skills and credentials that enable them to improve their labour market outcomes and adapt to changing labour market conditions. It reduces barriers to education by providing financial assistance to students and apprentices as well as incentives for families to save for a child's post-secondary education. It also provides information and awareness about opportunities to acquire education and skills. The program contributes to the inclusiveness of the workforce by giving Canadians with the required academic abilities a more equal opportunity to participate in post-secondary education. The program is delivered in partnership with the provinces and territories, a third-party service provider, the voluntary sector, financial institutions and other key stakeholders to help Canadians pursue post-secondary education.

Results for Learning

The Canada Student Loans Program (CSLP) provides access to loans and grants to eligible students to help with the costs of their post-secondary education. The CSLP also provides repayment assistance measures to eligible borrowers who experience financial difficulty in repayment.

Budget 2016 announced student financial assistance reforms to the CSLP to make post-secondary education more affordable for students from low- and middle-income families and ensure that student debt loads are manageable. Together with provinces and territories, the CSLP introduced Budget 2016 measures in two phases.

The first phase included a 50 percent increase to Canada Student Grants to make post-secondary education more affordable for students from low- and middle-income families. For the 2016 to 2017 fiscal loan year, approximately 562,000 full-time post-secondary students benefitted from federal student financial assistance, which includes students who received Canada Student Loans, non-repayable Canada Student Grants and those who benefited from interest-free status on their loan while attending school.

This phase also included an increase to the Repayment Assistance Plan income eligibility thresholds effective November 1, 2016. To make student debt loads more manageable, the loan repayment thresholds for Repayment Assistance Plan were increased to ensure that no student will have to repay their Canada Student Loans until they are earning at least $25,000 per year. This income threshold is adjusted based on family size and family income. For example, a family size of four will have an income threshold of $59,512 and will not have to make payments until earning at least this amount. This is expected to help an additional 23,000 borrowers become eligible for a zero monthly payment and many more borrowers become eligible for a lower affordable payment.

In the second phase of implementation, the income eligibility thresholds for Canada Student Grants for students from low- and middle-income families were increased effective August 1, 2017. In addition, a fixed student contribution to determine eligibility for financial assistance through CSLP was implemented. Design of the new thresholds was undertaken in consultation with provinces and territories and modelled on other federal income-tested benefits, such as the Canada Child Benefit. Existing Canada Student Grants thresholds which vary by province and territory were replaced by a national, progressive threshold where grant amounts gradually decline as family income increases. These changes will ensure that approximately 247,000 students from low-income families, 100,000 from middle-income families and 16,000 part-time students receive increased benefits in the form of non-repayable Canada Student Grants.

The new contract for the administration of Canada Student Loans and Grants was awarded in April 2016. The planning phase and documentation of requirements have now been completed, and development of the solution is underway, including initial testing of the components built to date.

The Department worked with the third-party service provider that manages the disbursement and repayment of Canada Apprentice Loans to fully implement the third and final phase (repayment) of the Canada Apprentice Loans. Effective October 1, 2016, the first Canada Apprentice Loan borrowers entered into repayment with the full suite of repayment assistance measures available to assist with repaying their loans.

In support of the Minister's mandate letter, ESDC is collaborating with a range of partners and stakeholders, including provinces, territories and Indigenous peoples, to further promote the benefits of early saving in Registered Education Savings Plans, and improve access and increase take-up of the Canada Learning Bond.

Based on input from a range of stakeholders, ESDC developed an outreach strategy designed to advance these objectives, addressing the needs of difficult-to-reach populations (i.e. Indigenous people, those living in rural and remote communities, etc.) and supporting Education Savings Week, a collaborative initiative between community partners, financial institutions and other departments and levels of government. Current outreach activities underway include: communicating by mail to thousands of low-income families using innovative approaches that inform while enticing them to apply for a Registered Education Savings Plan and the Canada Learning Bond for their child; developing new tools and resources for use in conducting outreach and take-up activities; expanding the number of partners and stakeholders promoting the Canada Learning Bond on a provincial and regional basis; and engaging provincial and territorial partners and other federal departments to promote the education savings incentives through their programming.

In March 2017, an independent evaluation of Pathways to Education Canada was completed as required by the grant agreement. The evaluation showed the program has had a statistically significant effect on raising high school graduation rates in the communities in which the program operates. The evaluation also made a number of recommendations, including leveraging community partnerships, better collection of administrative data and focusing on program expansion to serve more Indigenous youth. These recommendations will help guide the renewal of the Government of Canada’s investment in Pathways to Education Canada from 2018 to 2022, as announced in Budget 2017.

For more information on programming details, please refer to Supporting Information on Lower-Level ProgramsFootnote 13.

Performance results for learning
Expected Results Performance Indicators Targets Date to Achieve Target Actual Results
Fiscal year 2014 to 2015 Fiscal year 2015 to 2016 Fiscal year 2016 to 2017
Canadians have the skills and credentials to succeed in the labour market

Canada's Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development ranking for the percentage of its population (aged 25 to 64) with post-secondary education credentials

Source: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Education At a Glance 2014

1st March 31, 2017 2014: 1st 2015: 1st 2016:

Percentage of the Canadian labour force (aged 25 to 64) who have attained a post-secondary education certificate, diploma or degree

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey

70.1% December 31, 2016 2014: 68.4% 2015: 69.8% 2016:
including those from under-represented groups, can participate equitably in post-secondary education

The percentage of Canadians
(aged 17 to 21) who were attending university or college

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey

44.4% December 31, 2016 2014: 43.0% 2015: 43.4% 2016: 44.2%
Budgetary financial resources (dollars) for learning
Fiscal year
2016 to 2017

Main Estimates
Fiscal year
2016 to 2017

Planned Spending
Fiscal year
2016 to 2017

Total Authorities Available for Use
Fiscal year
2016 to 2017

Actual Spending (authorities used)
Fiscal year
2016 to 2017

(actual minus planned)
2,479,065,886 2,479,065,886 2,860,670,636 2,850,167,429 371,101,543

The variation comes from two main factors. First, as part of Budget 2016, Canada Student Grants for low- and middle-income students as well as for part-time students were increased by 50%. The increase has been in place since August 1, 2016. The remaining variation can be explained by loans that were written off by ESDC under Vote 7c from the Appropriation Act No. 5, 2016–17.

Human resources (full-time equivalents [FTEs]) for learning
Fiscal year 2016 to 2017 Planned Fiscal year 2016 to 2017 Actual Fiscal year 2016 to 2017 Difference
348 324 (24)

As a result of delays in staffing and unexpected departures, actual FTEs were lower than planned.

Supporting information on results and financial and human resources relating to ESDC’s lower-level programsFootnote 14 is available on the Department’s website and InfoBaseFootnote 15.

Program 3.1: Labour

This program seeks to promote and sustain stable industrial relations and safe, fair, healthy, equitable and productive workplaces in the federal jurisdiction (interprovincial transportation, post office and courier companies, telecommunications, banking, grain handling, nuclear facilities, federal Crown corporations, companies that have contracts with the federal government and Indigenous governments and their employees). It develops labour legislation and regulations to achieve an effective balance between workers’ and employers’ rights and responsibilities. The program ensures that workplaces under the federal jurisdiction respect the rights and obligations established under labour and employment equity legislation. The program also manages Canada’s international and intergovernmental labour affairs, as well as Indigenous labour affairs responsibilities.

Results for labour

In fiscal year 2016 to 2017, the Department implemented numerous legislative and policy changes; facilitated good labour-management relations between employers and employees; supported the representation of employment equity designated groups; promoted occupational health and safety; and fostered sound and fair labour standards at home and around the world.

Safe and Healthy Work Conditions

In fiscal year 2016 to 2017, the Department continued to modernize its approach to ensuring compliance with Part II of the Canada Labour Code and its accompanying regulations using new and existing tools and methods to prevent accidents and injuries in federally regulated workplaces. ESDC made regulatory modifications regarding asbestos that were published for comments from the public (Canada Gazette-I) in December 2016 and fostered the alignment of Canadian workplaces with the Globally Harmonized System for hazardous products. Both initiatives will result in improved safety for Canadian workers. Other proposed regulatory modifications include lowering grain dust exposure limits and increasing flour exposure limits, as well as making improvements to requirements for personal protective equipment. Technical support added this past year includes the publication of the Occupational Sampling Guideline and information sheets on how to control and measure grain and flour dust. In addition, legislative amendments have been proposed to update the Canada Labour Code’s compliance and enforcement tools to ensure federally regulated workers suffer fewer accidents and injuries at work. These amendments include the introduction of monetary penalties for specific occupational health and safety violations and the authority to name repeating offenders. The Department worked to develop initiatives to ensure that federal institutions and workplaces are free from harassment and sexual violence. Consultations with employee and employer groups, experts, academics, non-governmental organizations and the public were held between June 2016 and April 2017 through various fora. Those consultations sought stakeholders’ views on the current regime protecting workers under federal jurisdiction from harassment and violence in the workplace, as well as on potential means of improving workplaces. The information gathered through these consultations will inform the development of initiatives specifically aimed at freeing federal institutions and workplaces of harassment and sexual violence.

Significant effort was also made to expand the understanding of non-physical hazards at workplaces with regard to mental health and workplace well-being. The Department worked directly with employee and employer stakeholders to advance awareness and understanding that non-physical hazards are equally important as physical ones.

In fiscal year 2016 to 2017, a new Occupational Health and Safety Strategic Operational Plan was developed which identified national and regional priority sectors that are subject to high risk of injury or illness. National priority sectors for fiscal year 2016 to 2017 included air transport, road transport as well as feed, flour and seed. Health and Safety Officers were instructed to spend 80 percent of their proactive time conducting general inspections, engagement and counselling in these sectors to promote a culture of occupational health and safety. This proactive work included several blitzes conducted in high-risk sectors and areas. The Department also implemented regional plans to increase its focus on northern and remote regions. These efforts have resulted in an increase in proactive activities by 8 percent compared to the previous year.

Employers’ reports on workplace injuries enable the Department to better align its efforts in targeted industries. Through increased communication and targeted engagement efforts, ESDC was able to improve reporting practices by employers across all sectors in the federal jurisdiction. The result was a 7 percent increase in reporting compliance. The Department uses the Disabling Injury Incidence Rate to track the number of disabling injuries and fatalities reported in federally regulated workplaces. In fiscal year 2016 to 2017, the Department recorded an increase of 3.2 percent in the rate of reported disabling injuries incidence across all sectors in the federal jurisdiction. Over the same period, the number of total reported injuries (minor, disabling and fatal) decreased by 3 percent. While ESDC was targeting a decrease in disabling injuries, the increase recorded in fiscal year 2016 to 2017 is largely attributed to enhanced reporting due to increased awareness and improved reporting practices in some industries. Together with the decrease in total reported injuries, the increased awareness and improved reporting practices are signs of progress in the area of occupational health and safety and are expected to lead to a reduction in injury incidence in the future.

Fair and inclusive work environments

In fiscal year 2016 to 2017, significant work was undertaken to ensure that Canada’s policies, programs and services are fair and inclusive and respond to the realities of today’s labour market. The Department developed proposals to allow for more generous and flexible leave for caregivers and more flexible parental leave for employees in the federally regulated private sector. As a result of these efforts, the Budget Implementation Act was tabled in March 2017 which proposes to amend the Canada Labour Code to:

  • extend to up to 13 weeks before birth the period during which the unpaid 17-week maternity leave can begin;
  • increase the maximum length of unpaid parental leave to 63 weeks;
  • create a new unpaid leave of 17 weeks for a family member to care for a critically ill adult; and
  • allow for the unpaid leave related to the critical illness of a child to be taken by a family member, not just parents.

These proposed changes would ensure that employees in the federally regulated private sector are able to avail themselves of the enhanced maternity, parental and caregiving benefits under the Employment Insurance Act also proposed in the Budget Implementation Act.

Commitments were also made in Budget 2017 to strengthen compliance and enforcement mechanisms under the Canada Labour Code to protect all workers under federal jurisdiction. Changes proposed include the use of monetary penalties, the authority to publicly name violators, strengthened powers for inspectors, a new recourse against reprisals and improvements to the wage recovery process.

In addition, the Department held consultations on flexible work arrangements in May and June 2016, which served to inform the decision-making process. Subsequently, Budget 2017 confirmed the Government’s intention to give federally regulated workers the right to request more flexible work arrangements from their employer in order to help them better balance work and family demands. In addition to these flexible work arrangements, proposed changes will provide them with new unpaid leaves for family responsibilities, allow their participation in traditional Indigenous practices and enable them to seek care if they are victims of family violence. More flexible bereavement leave was also announced. It is expected that activities on this front will continue in 2017–18.

Work to implement a modern fair wages policy advanced steadily throughout fiscal year 2016 to 2017. Discussions were held with officials from other government departments to examine the potential scope and purpose of a modern fair wages policy. Preliminary research and analysis were also undertaken and further activities are expected to continue in 2017–18. The Department continued to work on developing a proactive pay equity regime for federally regulated workplaces.

To publicly recognize employers with outstanding achievements in the area of employment equity for four designated groups (Indigenous peoples, members of visible minorities, persons with disabilities and women), the Department launched the process for the second edition of the Employment Equity Achievement Awards. These awards will be celebrated in late 2017, and selected employers will be recognized for their outstanding commitment to employment equity, their innovative implementation of employment equity and their position as inspirational role model in their sector.

Cooperative workplace relations

To support fair, balanced, stable and healthy labour relations—an essential component of an economy that supports the middle class—the Minister tabled Bill C-4, an act that amends the Canada Labour Code, the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act and the Public Service Labour Relations Act, to restore a card-check certification and decertification system for bargaining agents, instead of the mandatory secret ballot vote implemented by Bill C-525. It also amends the Income Tax Act to remove the requirements for public reporting of financial information for unions and trusts introduced by Bill C-377. By March 31, 2017, Bill C-4 had been reviewed, without amendments, by the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs and had proceeded to its Third Reading in the Senate.

Concurrently, to assist the development of good labour-management relations and to promote labour stability, the Department continued to expand its reach and scope and made 252 relationship development interventions this past fiscal year. This included workshops, relationship diagnostics, facilitation services and grievance mediation.

Conciliation officers and mediators also provided assistance to employers and unions to negotiate their collective agreements, with a total of 180 collective bargaining disputes handled and 119 cases settled during the year. As a gauge of success, 97 percent of all settled disputes were settled without a work stoppage, which is significantly above the target of 90 percent.

International labour standards

On the international scene, the Department successfully contributed to the official ratification by Canada of the International Labour Organization Convention 138 on Minimum Age, further signaling the Government’s support for the effective abolition of child labour. Extensive consultations were conducted with stakeholders at home and relations with key domestic and international partners were fostered. The outcomes highlighted the importance of ensuring continuous dialogue with partners throughout the ratification process in order to achieve a positive outcome. Based on this experience, consultations towards ratification of International Labour Organization Convention 98 on the Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining (launched in February 2016) continued with both social partners (employers’ and workers’ organizations) and provincial and territorial jurisdictions.

The Government of Canada took action following allegations that the Government of Colombia failed to comply with some of the sections of the Canada-Colombia Agreement on Labour Cooperation. The Canadian National Administrative Office within ESDC prepared and published Canada’s response and recommendations. A multi-year action plan is expected to be developed in 2017–18.

Funds were provided for new projects in Vietnam, Ukraine and Mexico to support fair labour standards and sound occupational health and safety policies.

Business modernization

As the realities of employers and employees in the federal jurisdiction evolve, the ways in which we interact with Canadians and how we do our business must also transform. As such, ESDC has been using business intelligence and leveraging technologies to improve client services and increase operational efficiencies.

In fiscal year 2016 to 2017, work continued on the development of an Integrated Labour System—a five-year project to develop and implement a single information technology system that can provide accurate, complete, timely and relevant data for our operations and enable interactions with clients using modern, accessible, adaptable and reliable technology. Approval for first release was secured in March 2017 and will start in fall 2017.

Three new Service Agreements with provincial workers’ compensation boards were signed in fiscal year 2016 to 2017. These agreements will enable the Department to further improve its service delivery in relation to administration of claims made under the Government Employees Compensation Act.

For more information on programming details, please refer to Supporting Information on Lower-Level Programs.

Performance results for labour
Expected Results Performance Indicators Targets Date to Achieve Target Actual Results
Fiscal year 2014 to 2015 Fiscal year 2015 to 2016 Fiscal year 2016 to 2017
Workplaces are safe and healthy

Percentage annual (year-over-year) decrease in the Disabling Injury Incidence Rate (DIIR) across all sectors in federal jurisdiction (combined)

Source: Federal Jurisdiction Injuries Database (FJID)

2% decrease March 31, 2017 N/A Increase of 6.6%Footnote 16 Increase of 3.2%Footnote 17
Budgetary financial resources (dollars) for labour
Fiscal Year
2016 to 2017

Main Estimates
Fiscal Year
2016 to 2017

Planned Spending
Fiscal Year
2016 to 2017

Total Authorities Available for Use
Fiscal Year
2016 to 2017

Actual Spending (authorities used)
Fiscal Year
2016 to 2017

(actual minus planned)
276,475,615 276,475,615 254,489,624 253,469,223 (23,006,392)

Annual program spending remains well below the statutory envelope allocated to the Wage Earner Protection Program due to relatively low demand on the program year over year.

Human resources (full-time equivalents [FTEs]) for labour
2016–17 Planned 2016–17 Actual 2016–17 Difference
641 647 6

Supporting information on results and financial and human resources relating to ESDC’s lower-level programsFootnote 18 is available on the Department’s website and InfoBaseFootnote 19.

Poverty Reduction Strategy

The development of the Poverty Reduction Strategy is in progress. The Minister has undertaken a comprehensive engagement process to hear directly from Canadians. The broad public engagement has included: Ministerial roundtables and public town halls; the Tackling Poverty Together project (a case-study approach that took place in Saint John; Trois-Rivières; Regent Park-Toronto; Winnipeg; Tisdale, Saskatchewan; and Yellowknife); community-level conversations across Canada; an online engagement website; and a youth contest (wherein youth submitted ideas on how to reduce poverty in Canada). In addition to the broad engagement, Indigenous-specific engagement was also undertaken. This included: Ministerial roundtables with Indigenous leadership; bilateral meetings with national Indigenous organizations; and engagement sessions led by departmental officials in collaboration with provinces and territories and/or Indigenous organizations across Canada. The Department also provided funding to national Indigenous organizations to undertake engagement with their members. All of these engagement activities will inform the development of the Poverty Reduction Strategy. A National Poverty Conference was held on September 27-28, 2017, to bring together academics, key stakeholders and individuals that were consulted as part of the engagement process. The Minister intends to release a What We Heard report in fall 2017. The release of the Poverty Reduction Strategy itself is anticipated in 2018.

Program 4.1: Income security

This program ensures that Canadians are provided with retirement pensions, survivor pensions, disability benefits and benefits for children through the Old Age Security program, the Canada Pension Plan, the Canada Disability Savings Program and the National Child Benefit program.

Results for Income security

In support of the Government’s commitments to the Old Age Security (OAS) program, the Department restored the age of eligibility for OAS benefits to 65 (from 67), and beginning in July 2016, the Guaranteed Income Security (GIS) top-up was increased for the lowest-income single seniors by up to $947 per year. The increase is lifting an estimated 13,000 seniors above the low income cut-off and reducing the depth of low income for many others.

An amendment to the Old Age Security Act that was announced in Budget 2016 also received Royal Assent, allowing low-income couples where one spouse receives the GIS and the other receives the Allowance, and who are living separately for reasons beyond their control, to receive higher benefits based on their individual income. ESDC is also leading the development on indexing of Old Age Security benefits to a new Seniors Price Index in close collaboration with Statistics Canada, which is responsible for the Consumer Price Index.

The Department advanced the OAS Service Improvement Strategy:

  • The OAS Service Improvement Strategy is ESDC’s concerted response to address today’s program needs (e.g. aging population, evolving service expectations, antiquated technology and service delivery model) and, at the core, constitutes a rethink of how the OAS program is administered.
  • In 2013, the Department launched an Automatic Enrolment initiative for OAS. Automatic enrolment reduces the burden on many seniors in Canada by enabling them to receive their OAS pension at age 65 without ever having to apply for it. Provided they meet certain eligibility criteria, there is no need to complete or mail forms, or to notify the Department that they wish to start collecting their OAS.
  • Automatic enrolment Category 1 uses Canada Pension Plan information to determine client eligibility while Category 2, implemented in October 2016, also includes Canada Revenue Agency tax-filing information to expand the reach of the initiative. To date, OAS automatic enrolment (Category 1 and Category 2) has enabled 60 percent of new OAS beneficiaries to receive the OAS basic pension without having to apply.
  • The Department mailed another 188,000 automatic enrolment letters to seniors, and since the implementation has now sent over 655,000 automatic enrolment letters by the end of fiscal year 2016 to 2017. To date, approximately 438,000 individuals have started receiving their OAS pension as a result of automatic enrolment.
  • Building on the successful implementation of automatic enrolment, the Department has completed detailed planning to further expand the scope of automatic enrolment, develop client-centric e-services and complete the migration of OAS technology platform to a common IT platform with the Canada Pension Plan.

The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) provided eligible contributors and their families with partial income replacement in the event of the retirement or death of a contributor. As concluded in the recent evaluation of retirement and survivor benefits, the CPP remains an important part of the household income of its beneficiaries. During fiscal year 2016 to 2017, there was also an enhancement to the CPP intended to increase the maximum benefit by approximately 50 percent when it is fully mature. Starting in 2019, the enhancement will be phased in over seven years to strengthen the retirement income system for today’s workers (tomorrow’s seniors) and their families by providing more income from the CPP in the event of retirement, disability or death.

The Department carried on implementation of a comprehensive CPP Service Improvement Strategy. Work continued to ensure that Canadians have more user-friendly electronic services and faster resolution of high-priority work. Project completion is anticipated for fall of 2019. Highlights include:

  • As of March 2017, approximately 135,000 Canadians had applied for their CPP retirement pension using the online application.
  • Piloted measures to accelerate decisions for CPP Disability applicants, in particular those with a terminal illness.
  • Tested measures to improve overall CPP Disability client service by providing more individual guidance to applicants through the application process.

In February 2016, the Auditor General tabled a report on the Canada Pension Plan Disability ProgramFootnote 20 and the Standing Committee on Public Accounts made complementary recommendationsFootnote 21 as tabled in the House of Commons on September 28, 2016. The Department agreed with and remains committed to addressing all of the recommendations on the initial application process, the timeliness of decisions, the consistency and quality of decisions and the timeliness of appeals decided by the Social Security Tribunal of Canada. Guided by the principles of service excellence, including quality, consistency, accuracy and efficiency, the Department made progress on:

  • ensuring eligible applicants to the program are granted benefits based on complete information at the earliest point possible in the application and adjudication process;
  • improving the process used to make decisions on applications, including streamlining and simplifying the paper application for clients (including the forms, guides and intake processes);
  • launching the phased implementation of a Quality Assurance Framework to contribute to improved quality assurance measures;
  • engaging with clients and stakeholders, including hosting roundtables in June and November 2016 and March 2017, to consult on ways to improve the CPP Disability Program; and
  • implementing, in October 2016, new CPP Disability service standards for terminally ill applicants and those suffering from grave conditions. Ninety-five percent of terminal illness decisions will be made within 5 business days and 80 percent of grave condition decisions made within 30 calendar days of receiving a complete application.

The Department worked on its implementation of a comprehensive Pensions Integrated National Workload Plan that focuses on a number of immediate and longer-term initiatives to address the growing workload pressures associated with the aging population in advance of the full implementation of the two service improvement strategies. Specifically, the Department began the replacement of its current workload management system, implemented new Canada Pension Plan Disability service standards in October 2016 and continued implementation of workload strategies to attain workload management objectives.

The Department actively pursued international social security agreements with other countries to protect the income security and pension eligibility of individuals that have lived or worked in Canada and another country and to promote the competitiveness of Canadian companies operating abroad. To date, Canada has concluded 59 social security agreements and continues to negotiate with a number of other countries. Through these agreements, approximately $544 million in foreign pensions are paid to individuals living in Canada annually, while approximately $171.5 million in CPP and OAS benefits are paid to persons living outside of Canada.

The Department continued to negotiate information sharing agreements with provincial and territorial governments and other federal departments to coordinate and enhance access to benefits, support CPP and OAS service improvement strategies, and ensure the protection of personal information under the CPP and OAS programs.

As of December 2016, the Canada Disability Savings Program reported that almost 148,000 Registered Disability Savings Plans were opened for Canadians with severe and prolonged disabilities. The Department exceeded its expectations to increase the number of new Registered Disability Savings Plans through the implementation of a series of successful mail-outs (in August 2016). Following these mail-outs, there was an increase in the number of new accounts opened in the subsequent months. This also contributed to the higher take-up rate than the 15 percent target.

The Department developed and implemented an Individual Quality Feedback program in fiscal year 2016 to 2017. This has a core objective to assess the processing accuracy at the individual employee level for the OAS and CPP programs. These reviews will provide feedback to managers and employees and help to inform improvements and changes to training for processing agents. In fiscal year 2016 to 2017, over 5,700 OAS applications and over 6,700 CPP applications were reviewed.

The Department continues to look for opportunities to support the development and implementation of controls and other measures that identify, address and prevent known integrity risks related to the OAS and CPP programs.

For more information on programming details, please refer to Supporting Information on Lower-Level Programs.

Performance results for income security
Expected Results Performance Indicators Targets Date to Achieve Target Actual Results
Fiscal year 2014 to 2015 Fiscal year 2015 to 2016 Fiscal year 2016 to 2017
Canada's seniors have an adequate level of income to maintain their standard of living

Percentage of seniors with an annual income above the low income cut-off   

Source: Statistics Canada; Canadian Income Survey

Contextual indicator Not applicable
(contextual indicator)
2012Footnote 22:
2013Footnote 22:
2014Footnote 22:
Eligible individuals with severe disabilities (and their families /guardians) open Registered Disability Saving Plans to save for the future

Total number of registered plans since the inception of the program

Source: Canada Disability Savings Program Administrative Database

140,002 March 31, 2017 100,732 128,294 147,853Footnote 23
Canada's families with children have an adequate level of income to maintain their standard of living

Percentage of families with children with an annual income above the low income cut-off (% of Canadians in families with children who had low income; % of Canadians in families with children who would have had low income without the support of the National Child Benefit Supplement and the Universal Child Care Benefit)  

Source: Statistics Canada; Canadian Income Survey

Not ApplicableFootnote 24 Not ApplicableFootnote 24 Not Available
Footnote 24
Not Available
Footnote 24
Not Available
Footnote 24
Budgetary financial resources (dollars) for income security
Fiscal year 2016 to 2017
Main Estimates
Fiscal year 2016 to 2017
Planned Spending
Fiscal year
2016 to 2017

Total Authorities Available for Use
Fiscal year
2016 to 2017

Actual Spending (authorities used)
Fiscal year 2016 to 2017
(actual minus planned)
49,194,616,913 92,909,168,672 91,636,331,831 91,631,984,510 (1,277,184,162)

Main Estimates do not include the planned statutory benefits of $43,714,551,758 related to the CPP, whereas the other columns do. As for the difference between planned and actual spending, it is mainly attributable to an overestimation of the number of beneficiaries that receive OAS pension benefits as well as an overestimation of the amount to be paid in CPP benefits in planned spending for fiscal year 2016 to 2017.

Human resources (full-time equivalents [FTEs]) for income security
Fiscal Year 2016 to 2017 Planned Fiscal Year 2016 to 2017 Actual Fiscal Year 2016 to 2017 Difference
3,753 4,801 1,048

The difference in FTEs is mainly due to the fact that requests for additional funding and FTEs to address CPP and OAS workload were done after planned FTE amounts were determined.

Supporting information on results and financial and human resources relating to ESDC’s lower-level programsFootnote 25 is available on the Department’s website and InfoBaseFootnote 26.

Early Learning and Child Care Initiative

Federal, provincial and territorial Ministers announced their agreement on a Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework on June 12, 2017. The Framework sets the foundation for governments to work towards a shared long-term vision where all children across Canada can experience the enriching environment of quality early learning and child care. Over the coming months, the federal government will work with provinces and territories to enter into three-year bilateral agreements.

For more information on the Early Learning and Child Care Initiative, please see the Operating Context.

Program 4.2: Social Development

This program supports programs for the homeless and individuals at risk of homelessness, as well as programs for children, families, seniors, communities and persons with disabilities. It provides these groups with the knowledge, information and opportunities to move forward with their own solutions to social and economic challenges.

Results for Social Development

Budget 2016 proposed an incremental $111.8 million over two fiscal years (fiscal years 2016 to 2017 and 2017 to 2018) for the Homelessness Partnering Strategy, including an incremental $12.5 million over two years for the Innovative Solutions to Homelessness stream. The majority of this funding was allocated to regionally delivered streams to enable communities across Canada to bolster their efforts in tackling homelessness by enhancing existing projects, funding additional projects received through previous calls for proposals and running new calls for proposals. This investment, along with base funding, enabled the launch of two calls for proposals in fiscal year 2016 to 2017; one for microgrants for small-scale experimental projects and one for larger contribution projects to test innovative approaches to preventing and reducing homelessness.

With the incremental funding, the Homelessness Partnering Strategy has maintained focus on the Housing First approach as well as the Innovative Solutions to Homelessness funding stream to prevent and reduce homelessness. The Homelessness Partnering Strategy provides support to communities to help them implement the Housing First approach by developing tool kits (e.g. Elements of a Well-Functioning Community Advisory Board, See Yourself as a Partner) and offering webinars to share best practices and innovative approaches. The Department also supports communities in reporting results on their Housing First investments by providing data collection tools and offering training. Based on the data received to date (from fiscal year 2014 to 2015 to fiscal year 2016 to 2017), 28,225 people have been placed in more stable housing through Homelessness Partnering Strategy interventions, including through Housing First.

In fiscal year 2016 to 2017, the Government consulted Canadians on a long-term vision for housing in Canada to support the development of a National Housing Strategy. As these consultations covered the full housing continuum, from homelessness to home ownership, the Department actively supported the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation throughout the process.

The New Horizons for Seniors Program community-based grants address social challenges on the ground and recognize communities as the focal point for program and service delivery. In fiscal year 2016 to 2017, the New Horizons for Seniors Program funded 1,910 community-based and pan-Canadian projects, exceeding the established target of 1,800. The most recent pan-Canadian stream call for proposals (May 2015), with an available budget of $24.3 million over three years, addressed the theme of reducing seniors’ social isolation, while also integrating social innovation approaches with a focus on evaluation and results. A collective impact approach was adopted to encourage community partners to work together to develop Collective Impact Plans that provide the range of services (mutually reinforcing activities) needed to measurably reduce the social isolation of a targeted group of seniors. Since the program started in 2004, close to 19,700 projects have been funded in over 1,000 communities across Canada.

The Department led a national engagement process between June 22, 2016, and February 28, 2017, on the Canadians with Disabilities Act (now called federal accessibility legislation). In total, over 6,000 Canadians participated in the engagement process. Through this engagement process, Canadians had their say on what the new federal accessibility legislation should look like, and the findings from the engagement process were preserved for the development of future Government of Canada policies and programs in relation to disability issues. The engagement included an online questionnaire, 18 public meetings and 9 thematic roundtables where Canadians from across the country shared their personal stories on what an accessible Canada meant to them. In addition, $2 million was allocated over two years to help stakeholder organizations engage their members on the planned legislation. Funding is being provided to five partnerships of disability organizations and to three Indigenous organizations, which are undertaking various activities to engage their members and communities.

Lessons learned on organizing inclusive and accessible engagement processes and events are being incorporated into a manual for public servants. Presentations on results and lessons learned have been delivered at senior management tables as well as other public servant events, including the Innovation Fair. ESDC is working with federal colleagues, including the Canada School of Public Service, to develop additional awareness-raising and training tools.

The Enabling Accessibility Fund call for proposals held in 2016 combined, for the first time, the Community Accessibility Stream and the Workplace Accessibility Stream under a single call for proposal process. In conjunction with specific promotional activities and broadened funding parameters, these targeted actions were undertaken to increase uptake under the program’s Workplace Accessibility Stream. As a result, 59 workplace accessibility projects were funded. This represents more funded projects than the previous two Workplace Accessibility calls for proposals combined. The program plans to maintain these targeted actions for 2017–18 to continue increasing workplace accessibility. In total, the Enabling Accessibility Fund funded 575 projects and surpassed its target by 175 projects (44 percent) for two main reasons: an additional $2 million from the Government’s Social Infrastructure Fund allowed 84 additional projects to be funded under the Community Accessibility Stream; and the overall average value of projects was lower than anticipated ($27,000 vs $34,000), which allowed the program to fund a greater number of projects overall.

In fiscal year 2016 to 2017, the public call-for-nominations process for membership on the Social Innovation and Social Finance Co-Creation Steering Committee was completed. As well, throughout the year, the Department has engaged with stakeholders and other federal departments on intersecting mandates to lay the groundwork for an integrated, whole-of-government Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy.

ESDC was responsible for policy development on the federal-provincial/territorial National Child Benefit Initiative, and for coordinating annual reports to Canadians on progress made under the Initiative. In July 2016, the Canada Child Tax Benefit and National Child Benefit Supplement (and Universal Child Care Benefit, which was not part of the National Child Benefit) were replaced by the new Canada Child Benefit, signalling the end of the formal National Child Benefit Initiative. ESDC worked with the Department of Finance to design and implement the Canada Child Benefit. The Canada Revenue Agency administers and delivers the Canada Child Benefit (as it is a tax-based benefit) and reports on its performance.

ESDC continues to play a role in transitioning from the National Child Benefit to the Canada Child Benefit. In fiscal year 2016 to 2017, ESDC:

  • worked closely with provinces and territories to ensure that implementation of the Canada Child Benefit would not cause any negative interactions with provincial/territorial systems of social supports;
  • worked with provinces and territories toward release of the outstanding National Child Benefit public progress reports (i.e. there will be two additional reports released to cover the time period up to July 2016); and
  • performed outreach activities in First Nations reserves and in northern communities to increase take up of the Canada Child Benefit by families with children.
Planned results for social development
Expected Results Performance Indicators Targets Date to Achieve Target Actual Results
Fiscal year 2014 to 2015 Fiscal year 2015 to 2016 Fiscal year 2016 to 2017
Homelessness is prevented and reduced

Number of people placed in more stable housing through HPS interventions, including Housing First

Source: Homelessness Electronic Reporting Information Network

5,000 March 31, 2018 13,569 12,484
(Not all results are in for 2015–16)
(As of September 6, 2017. Not all results are in for fiscal year 2016 to 2017)
Seniors participate in and contribute to communities

Total number of New Horizons for Seniors Program projects that received funding

Source: Common System for Grants and Contributions and administrative data – project reports

1,800 March 31, 2017 1,851
Community-based projects and  56 pan-Canadian projects
1,854 community-based projects and  44 pan-Canadian projects 1,834 community-based projects and 76 pan-Canadian projects
Accessible communities and workplaces which allow people with disabilities to have access to programs, services and employment opportunities

Total number of Enabling Accessibility Fund projects that received funding

Source: Common System for Grants and Contributions (CSGC) and administrative data-project reports

400 March 31, 2017 438 459 575
Budgetary financial resources (dollars) for social development
Fiscal year
2016 to 2017
Main Estimates
Fiscal year
2016 to 2017
Planned Spending
Fiscal year
2016 to 2017
Total Authorities Available for Use
Fiscal year
2016 to 2017
Actual Spending (authorities used)
Fiscal year
2016 to 2017
(actual minus planned)
7,933,212,853 7,933,212,853 2,266,438,200 2,239,757,375 (5,693,455,478)

The variance between fiscal year 2016 to 2017 planned and actual amounts is mainly the result of the Budget 2016 introduction of the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) that came into effect and replaced the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) on July 1, 2016. The UCCB statutory payments were made to eligible recipients only for the months of April, May and June 2016; and the variance represents the forecasted payment costs for the last nine months of fiscal year 2016 to 2017. Although the UCCB was replaced with the CCB in July 2016, ESDC continues to be responsible for retroactive claims, write-offs and adjustments of the UCCB account receivable.

Human resources (full-time equivalents [FTEs]) for social development
Fiscal year 2016 to 2017 Planned Fiscal year 2016 to 2017 Actual Fiscal year 2016 to 2017 Difference
337 309 (28)

The variance in FTE utilization is mainly the result of delays in staffing.

Supporting information on results and financial and human resources relating to ESDC’s lower-level programsFootnote 27 is available on the Department’s website and InfoBaseFootnote 28.

Call centre improvement initiative

In fiscal year 2016 to 2017 the Department, in conjunction with Shared Services Canada, procured a common call centre platform for the Government of Canada. Service Canada has developed a Call Centre Improvement Strategy, which frames the transformation work in call centres resulting from the Budget 2016 investment and the procurement of new call centre technology. There are three streams of activities underway to improve the client experience and client outcomes:

  • Enhancing the client experience by implementing ongoing improvements to increase accessibility, reduce call demand and support the network’s future sustainable funding requirements.
  • Leveraging advanced call centre tools and technologies to create new opportunities for client self-service and a better client experience.
  • Identifying opportunities to adopt new, client-centric best practices through consultations with call centre industry experts, private and public call centres, employees and citizens.

5.1 Internal services

Internal Services are groups of related activities and resources that are administered to support the needs of programs and other corporate obligations of an organization. Internal Services include only those activities and resources that apply across an organization, and not those provided to a specific program. The groups of activities are Management and Oversight Services; Communications Services; Legal Services; Human Resources Management Services; Financial Management Services; Information Management Services; Information Technology Services; Real Property Services; Materiel Services; and Acquisition Services.

Results for internal services

Strategic Direction

Strengthen internal infrastructure to support efficient, cost-effective and secure operations in the organization through the following key activities:

Priority 8

Embed integrated planning and performance in concert with Business Architecture and business process mapping across the enterprise:

Implement an enterprise approach to planning and performance, while enhancing investment planning and project management processes, systems and capacity

There were major advancements in this area, including standardization of reporting on major projects, tools, training, working groups and advisors, which have allowed for stronger emphasis on planning, sound stewardship of funding and value for money for Canadians.

Develop strategies, through the Innovation Lab, for engaging internal and external partners in delivering integrated policy and service innovations across the Department

In fiscal year 2016 to 2017, Service Canada leveraged the expertise and best practices of Service Advisory Committee members on a range of topics including: service transformation, data management and providing access to Canada’s at-risk populations. The Federal-Provincial-Territorial Deputy Ministers’ Table engaged international experts from the Netherlands, the UK and Australia on best practices and lessons learned related to digital and client-centric services. The Chief Operating Officer visited the UK to engage with both governmental and non-governmental organizations on their service transformation experience including lessons learned and priorities moving forward

Priority 9

Build a higher-performing organization by putting in place initiatives and actions aimed at having the right people in the right place at the right time, developing people and fostering a productive workplace:

Implement the ESDC 2015–20 Workforce Strategy and 2016–17 Action Plan, with particular emphasis on leadership development, recruitment and staffing, the Integrated Mental Health in the Workplace Framework and the Corporate Learning Strategy Key results of the ESDC 2016-17 Workforce Action Plan include the following:
  • developed new initiatives in support of leadership development and talent management, including a new approach to Executive hiring;
  • updated ESDC’s Staffing and Recruitment Strategy to align with emerging needs and recruitment priorities (e.g. post-secondary recruitment, Job Advertisement Renewal Pilot Project and the Indigenous Youth Summer Employment Opportunity);
  • development of a workplace-based mental health Peer Support Program, launch of ESDC’s Workplace Mental Health Survey, establishment of a network of branch/regional mental health leads to share best practices, delivery of learning/awareness sessions for all employees and enhanced promotion of workplace mental health resources support services; and
  • as part of the Corporate Learning Strategy, ESDC implemented common learning solutions, developed a three-year Diversity and Employment Equity Action Plan, and developed new training products to support the implementation of new EI measures.
Priority 10

Develop and implement modern IT infrastructure and platforms that enable the effective and timely availability of information across ESDC:

Work in partnership with Shared Services Canada in modernizing existing operating systems, moving from the current mainframe to a new standardized computing platform and email migration initiatives

While there is not yet an anticipated date for migration to the Government of Canada consolidated email system, ESDC continues to work with Shared Services Canada on integrated project planning, and departmental readiness activities.

ESDC is also working with Shared Services Canada on updating and re-use of data centre infrastructure and on the migration of content from legacy data centres to new end-state data centres. The new data centres will reduce the carbon footprint across the country, and create a more flexible infrastructure to host Government of Canada business applications.

The Unisys Mainframe Upgrade was a short-term activity that was started and completed in Fall 2016. The result was a successful migration of all mainframe applications from a legacy mainframe platform to a new, modern mainframe platform. The work was completed on time and without service disruption to Canadians.

Renew and modernize departmental platforms/tools/systems

In fiscal year 2016 to 2017, the Desktop 2020 project was established to update all ESDC devices with a single secure operating system across all platforms (i.e. Win10, Edge browser and 2016 MS Office Suite). Preliminary analysis was completed on the infrastructure to support the deployment and security of the software. Activities related to application compatibility were completed, including planning, tools and testing processes.

The Corporate Payment Management System is being prepared to provide a single system for the issuing and managing of payments for all ESDC programs, which will simplify the process for Canadians to receive their benefits. In fiscal year 2016 to 2017, ESDC worked towards onboarding the Old Age Security program.

Modernize departmental IT solutions through the Application Portfolio Management Initiative

In order to update older operating systems, ESDC helped with the migration to the new Shared Services Canada enterprise data centres by upgrading the impacted IT solutions to the desired end-state hosting platforms. At fiscal year 2016 to 2017 year end, 155 solutions had been upgraded, with 19 solutions remaining.

Standardize testing processes and services in order to improve testing response times

In fiscal year 2016 to 2017, a standard test case management tool and a test automation framework were implemented to increase the efficiency of testing before applications go live. New requirements were defined to enhance the infrastructure and facilitate software development and testing activities. Key departmental programs tested according to these requirements include: Job Bank 2.0, EI Measures for Vulnerable Workers Project and Corporate Payment Management System 3.0.

A mature Business Architecture practice that provides strategic value to determining investments in ESDC – A future-state enterprise architecture that provides the basis for a common vision and technology strategy for enabling more modern business opportunities and efficiency in existing operations

Business Architecture was a key driver for creating enterprise-wide approaches to strategic planning that enable a horizontal view of the changes, plans, projects and priorities.

In fiscal year 2016 to 2017, ESDC evolved the Departmental Business Capability Model to support the service transformation plan (through the view of the Department’s future state and future services).

Priority 11

Manage information and data to ensure they are usable and accessible to all areas of ESDC as appropriate and establish a systematic process for converting raw data into usable information and, ultimately, valuable knowledge:

Integrate Open Government considerations, including open data, open information and open dialogue, into policy, program and service delivery design

During fiscal year 2016 to 2017, ESDC focused on open information activities that could potentially address the Department’s increasing access to information requests (in fiscal year 2016 to 2017, ESDC experienced a 44 percent increase in the number of access to information requests from the previous fiscal year).

ESDC developed evidence-based analysis to help identify open information opportunities. This analysis identified the frequent requests that are the major contributors to ESDC’s access to information volumes/workload.

As part of the Open Government Initiative for the Department, ESDC publicly released its 2015 Open Government Implementation Plan in March 2017.

Develop policies to strengthen the Privacy Management Framework and integrate privacy considerations into policy, program and service delivery design.

In fiscal year 2016 to 2017, ESDC continued to make important progress on the implementation of its privacy management priorities by:

  • providing advice and guidance to program areas on over 126 Information Sharing Arrangements and assisting in the completion of over 26;
  • providing department-wide privacy training and awareness activities to over 2,000 employees (in person and online); and
  • integrating Privacy by Design into the Portfolio Management Process by providing training sessions on Privacy Impact Assessments.
Establish a Chief Data Officer function to maximize the use of the Department’s data assets in analysis of programs, policies and services and enhance interoperability across the organization

ESDC has recently appointed its first Chief Data Officer to maximize the value of the Department’s business assets and advance the oversight of data management and information sharing practices across ESDC. Work has progressed on ESDC’s first enterprise-wide data strategy that will align the Department’s data initiatives and stakeholders to achieve a vision where everyone has access to data when they need it, providing that personal and sensitive information can be kept secure.

Complete the move of all ESDC content to and work with departmental partners to improve content and methods of access

Treasury Board Secretariat and ESDC were able to advance the work on the functionality of the site. ESDC successfully launched the Managed Web Service, and 13 institutions have been migrated into the site.

With respect to ESDC’s own online presence (i.e. ESDC/Service Canada/Labour Program), the Department successfully completed its own move to in January 2017. It then shared lessons learned and best practices with Treasury Board Secretariat and other Government of Canada partners in support of the Web Renewal Initiative.

Implement the departmental Electronic Documents and Records Management System

The Action Information Management project is a major departmental transformation project which includes three distinct, yet related, components: changes in thinking and culture (as it relates to ESDC information); changes in information handling; and changes in technology (GCDOCS).

In fiscal year 2016 to 2017, approval was received to implement GCDOCS as ESDC’s enterprise electronic document and records management solution. The GCDOCS Training Environment was delivered, Public Services and Procurement Canada installed GCDOCS and accessibility testing began in December/January of fiscal year 2016 to 2017.

The Enterprise Information Management (EIM) Program refresh was initiated in fiscal year 2016 to 2017 to provide a strategic vision and a strategy for the implementation of a robust enterprise-wide information management program. To date, extensive workshops and consultations have been held with the information management leads throughout the organization.

Constantly reassess the security and effectiveness of protection mechanisms guarding the Department’s information holdings through an integrated security program

ESDC continued with the multi-year, integrated departmental security program, strengthening the protection of information. In managing its Integrated Security Program, in fiscal year 2016 to 2017 ESDC increased IT security awareness efforts in the face of persistent cyber threats. The security program focused on increasing communications, awareness and training, including phishing tests. Moreover, pilot results on gamification (i.e. adding gamelike elements to the communications, awareness and training activities to encourage engagement) for an innovative approach to adult learning have proven the concept’s benefits and, as a result, further gamification will be pursued moving forward. ESDC also updated its application risk management approach to the new Security Assessment and Authorization process and integrated “Security by Design” approaches into the System Development Lifecycle.

Budgetary financial resources (dollars) for internal services
Fiscal year 2016 to 2017
Main Estimates
Fiscal year 2016 to 2017
Planned Spending
Fiscal year 2016 to 2017
Total Authorities Available for Use
Fiscal year 2016 to 2017
Actual Spending (authorities used)
Fiscal year 2016 to 2017
(actual minus planned)
860,183,573 860,183,573 904,263,116 876,667,337 16,483,764
Human resources (full-time equivalents [FTEs]) for internal services
Fiscal year 2016 to 2017 Planned Fiscal year 2016 to 2017 Actual Fiscal year 2016 to 2017 Difference
4,164 3,843 (321)

Innovation at ESDC

Innovation was a key component of the ESDC agenda in fiscal year 2016 to 2017. ESDC was actively engaged in harnessing innovative new ideas and embracing new ways to work and improve service delivery by experimenting with new approaches, establishing new partnerships, using cutting-edge technologies and tools and leveraging data analytics to better inform programs, policies and service delivery.


The Department conducted a number of experiments to improve program outcomes. For example, a test using behavioural insight principles was conducted to improve communication with Canada Student Loans borrowers and improve loan repayment. The first phase of the testing is complete and results will be assessed in the coming year. The effectiveness of approaches to workplace literacy and essential skills training was also tested. Some 1,454 workers were contacted through the project, and literacy training was provided to 727 low-skilled Canadians in 88 companies across eight provinces. The result was improved literacy scores, superior job performance and job retention, and increased health and safety for workers as well as positive benefits for participating employers in terms of customer satisfaction, productivity gains and increased revenues.

Use of data / analytics

Data and analytics tools were used to inform or fine-tune programs, policies and services provided to Canadians. For example, the Social Impact Measurement project developed new methods to measure the impact of Labour Market Development Agreement programs delivered by the provinces, using data already collected by the Department on program clients to replace lengthy and costly surveys. The Service Canada Service Research Division also developed an e-vulnerability index that will allow each Service Canada Centre to readily identify whether clients in the surrounding area are likely to experience problems accessing online services.

Partnerships and collaboration

Partnering and collaboration were essential in nurturing innovation and finding new ways to build relationships and interact with partners and stakeholders. Partnering to Hack Homelessness (P2H²), a workshop focused on finding innovative solutions to homelessness, took place in November 2016. P2H² expanded beyond the traditional technology-based “hackathon” by including service design, data visualization and social issues to be tackled by programmers, designers, communications experts, health care practitioners, homelessness service providers and people who have experienced homelessness. Following the hackathon, work began on the Post-Hack approach to assess each solution and provide recommendations. Additionally, the Innovative Solutions to Homelessness funding stream issued a call for proposals for small-scale micro-grant projects (up to $25,000) and larger-scale contribution projects ($25,000 to $500,000) in developing and testing innovative practices, tools or initiatives to prevent and reduce homelessness in Canada. Nearly 500 project submissions were received and will be assessed in the coming year.

Use of new technologies and tools

Innovations were also sought by developing and implementing new systems, tools and technologies that assisted the Department in meeting operational and business needs. For example, the e-Payroll initiative allowed the Department to collect regular “real time” electronic payroll and employment data. This “tell us once” approach resulted in reduced administrative burden for employers, and provides a single data set that can be used by multiple programs across government.

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