2. Background

2.1. Program profile

ECCC’s Umbrella Terms and Conditions are used to transfer monies from the federal government to individuals, organizations (e.g., academic institutions, community organizations, non-governmental organizations, international organizations) or other levels of government (e.g., provincial governments), with the purpose of advancing government policy and departmental objectives. While some Gs&Cs programs are developed to provide support in very specific program areas or initiatives, this “umbrella” approach supports a wide range of contribution funding programs/initiatives aligned to broad areas or themes within ECCC’s Program Alignment Architecture (PAA) using a single common set of terms and conditions for each of six UTCs. This is intended to simplify the management of contribution funding programs and provide the department with ongoing flexibility to respond in a timely manner to new opportunities by avoiding the need for separate terms and conditions to support each unique contribution funding program/initiative.

ECCC developed Umbrella Terms and Conditions to replace the old system that had four “Class” authorities.Footnote 2 Six UTCs, which are contributions only, were approved in June 2010Footnote 3 with the intent that all contribution programs would eventually use these umbrella authorities. They are as follows:

  • Contributions in support of Biodiversity – Wildlife and Habitat
  • Contributions in support of Water Resources
  • Contributions in support of Sustainable Ecosystems
  • Contributions in support of Weather and Environmental Services for Canadians
  • Contributions in support of Substances and Waste Management
  • Contributions in support of Climate Change and Clean Air

Over half of the department’s contribution agreements are established under one or another of the six umbrella authorities. The UTCs encompass both application-based programs (which have requirements and processes for soliciting and assessing applications for funding) and non-application-based programs (which have no requirement to undergo an application process). The umbrella authorities are ongoing and do not require formal approval to continue.

Umbrella authorities

The six overarching umbrella authorities matched to the departmental PAA are described in this section. The overall objectives for the umbrella authorities are briefly outlined in the descriptions below and the specific PAA sub-programs served by each umbrella are presented in Table B.1 in Annex B.

  1. Contributions in support of Biodiversity – Wildlife and Habitat are designed to encourage individuals and organizations to engage in activities to maintain or restore wildlife populations, in particular migratory birds and species at risk, to target levels. The terms and conditions (Ts&Cs) specify seven expected results (see Annex C). This umbrella is aligned to PAA program 1.1 (Biodiversity – Wildlife and Habitat) and the strategic outcome “Canada’s natural environment is conserved and restored for present and future generations.”
  2. Contributions in support of Water Resources support individuals and organizations engaged in activities to minimize threats to, and maintain the sustainability of, Canada’s water resources and aquatic ecosystems. The Ts&Cs specify three expected results. This umbrella is aligned to PAA program 1.2 (Water Resources) and the strategic outcome “Canada’s natural environment is conserved and restored for present and future generations.”
  3. Contributions in support of Sustainable Ecosystems were developed to promote engagement by individuals and organizations in activities to manage ecosystem resources in a manner consistent with ecosystem sustainability. The Ts&Cs indicate four expected results. This umbrella is aligned to PAA program 1.3 (Sustainable Ecosystems) and the strategic outcome “Canada’s natural environment is conserved and restored for present and future generations.”
  4. Contributions in support of Weather and Environmental Services for Canadians support individuals and organizations in activities to enable Canadians to access, understand and use information on changing weather, water, climate and air quality conditions. This umbrella is aligned to PAA programs 2.1 and 2.2 (Weather and Environmental Services for Canadians and Targeted Users). The Ts&Cs specify six expected results, and the strategic outcome addressed by this umbrella is “Canadians are equipped to make informed decisions on changing weather, water and climate conditions.”
  5. Contributions in support of Substances and Waste Management encourage individuals and organizations to engage in activities to reduce threats to Canadians and impacts on the environment posed by harmful substances and waste. The Ts&Cs indicate three expected results. Aligned with PAA program 3.1 (Substances and Waste Management), this umbrella supports the departmental strategic outcome “threats to Canadians and their environment from pollution are minimized.”
  6. Contributions in support of Climate Change and Clean Air encourage and support international organizations and foreign states to pursue activities that advance international action, improve Canadian air quality, reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and promote change toward sustainable environmental development and policies. This umbrella is aligned with PAA program 3.2 (Climate Change and Clean Air). The Ts&Cs specify eight expected results, and the strategic outcome supported by this umbrella is “threats to Canadians and their environment from pollution are minimized.

2.2. Governance and management

The Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) CommitteeFootnote 4 on Grants and Contributions was established in 2012 and currently comprises five ADMs. It is intended to address department-wide issues related to Gs&Cs, including the UTCs, and has a mandate to provide the Deputy Minister and Executive Management Committee (EMC) with advice, strategies, recommendations and decision support on horizontal issues to strengthen Gs&Cs management within ECCC. One of the committee’s key functions is to ensure appropriate program attention to priority setting and performance measurement for each umbrella authority. A Grants and Contributions Director General Committee supports the work of the ADM Committee.

In general, there is a formal annual process to prioritize, select and fund Gs&Cs projects. The coordination of the annual departmental Gs&Cs planning process is the responsibility of the Gs&Cs Centre of Expertise in Corporate Services and Finance Branch. Each branch submits, prioritizes and recommends projects for inclusion in the departmental Gs&Cs plan. Individual ADMs are responsible for recommending proposed projects for approval in the departmental Gs&Cs plan. In the timeframe for this evaluation (2010–2011 to 2014–2015), the Minister was consulted on the approval of all Gs&Cs projects.Footnote 5 Following the approval of projects, project managers within each branch are responsible for the management of individual Gs&Cs agreements. The Gs&Cs Centre of Expertise in Corporate Services and Finance Branch provides coordination, review and assistance throughout the process.

Details on approvals processes for Gs&Cs agreements are presented in the Approvals Process Flow-Chart, which illustrates each key step in the internal agreement approval process for both application-based and non-application-based Gs&Cs programs (see Annex A).

2.3. Resource allocation

Expenditures under each of the six UTCs for the five years from 2010–2011 to 2014–2015 are presented by PAA sub-program and ECCC branch in Annex B. The total expenditures for this period were $263.1 million.

2.4. UTC expected results

The expected results of each of the six Umbrella Terms and Conditions are listed in Annex C.

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