6. Recommendations and management responses

The following recommendations are addressed to the Assistant Deputy Minister of Strategic Policy Branch (SPB), as the senior departmental official responsible for the management of the Great Lakes Program.

Recommendation 1: Improve performance measurement and reporting of program outcomes, including enhanced monitoring and development of a single performance measurement strategy for the overall Great Lakes program

High-level performance reporting on lakewide water quality and ecosystem health is available, with indicators to address the Department’s Performance Measurement Framework, the State of the Great Lakes ecosystem reporting, and the Progress Report of the Parties. Improvements can, however, be made to the performance monitoring given the lack of performance data for several program outcomes assessed in the current evaluation. There is also a need for better linkages between data on water quality and on land-based activities affecting water quality.

A single performance measurement strategy for the overall Great Lakes program, including a logic model, indicators, targets, data sources, and data collection strategies for each major output and outcome, would reduce duplication, improve coordination of effort for performance measurement, and clarify the linkage of indicators to program objectives and outcomes among the three Great Lakes program components.

The ADM of SPB agrees with the recommendation.

Management action

The program will develop a single performance measurement strategy for the Great Lakes program, including a logic model. Of note, the International Joint Commission, an independent binational body mandated to advise the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States, has advised against managing the Great Lakes as a single system – this advice will need to be considered in the design of the performance management strategy.

Timeline Deliverable(s) Responsible Party
November 2017 Completed performance measurement strategy for the Great Lakes program, including development of logic model and performance measures. Regional Director General, Ontario

Recommendation 2: Contribute to improving communications on roles and responsibilities and coordination of GLWQA Annex Subcommittees

Many GLWQA Annex Subcommittee members are unaware of the activities and roles of the other subcommittees, even though Annex Co-Leads report on their work at GLEC meetings and many of the issues and problems covered by the Annex Subcommittees are interrelated. Better communications on roles and responsibilities, as well as coordination of activities across the Annex Subcommittees, would promote synergies among subcommittees. It is recommended that ECCC play a leadership role to improve communications.

The ADM of SPB agrees with the recommendation.

Management action

The Regional Director General–Ontario will write to Annex Co-Leads and subcommittee members to remind them about their roles and responsibilities, including the need to ensure cross-Annex information sharing and coordination is occurring. The Regional Director General–Ontario will also take the opportunity at each GLEC meeting to reinforce this messaging.

Timeline Deliverable(s) Responsible Party
December 2016 Annex Co-Leads and Subcommittee members are reminded in writing about their roles and responsibilities, including the need to ensure that cross-Annex information sharing and coordination is occurring. Regional Director General–Ontario
Ongoing

During each GLEC meeting, subcommittee members are reminded about their roles and responsibilities, including the need to share information and coordinate across Annexes.

Regional Director General–Ontario

Recommendation 3: Review the approach, strategy and timeliness for AOC delisting decisions

Over the five-year evaluation timeframe, no AOCs were delisted, though one area was designated as being in the recovery stage in 2011. While there are established criteria for assessing AOCs for delisting, delays have been encountered in reaching consensus in delisting decisions. This in turn may delay the redeployment of program resources to other needs (e.g., addressing lakewide issues not specific to AOCs, scientific research). In particular, concern was expressed over community resistance to delist AOCs if new problems emerge, even once the original BUI problems have been adequately addressed. As it was beyond the scope of this evaluation to examine this issue in-depth, it is recommended that the program review the AOC delisting approach and process to clarify the emphasis placed on historical versus new BUI problems, determine whether unnecessary delays are being experienced and, if so, consider strategies for expediting the process where feasible.

The ADM of SPB agrees with the recommendation.

Management action

To operationalize the GLWQA delisting procedures and requirements, the Canada – Ontario Agreement Areas of Concern Annex Co-Leads established “The Canada–Ontario Guide to Changing the Designation of Beneficial Use Impairments and Delisting Areas of Concern.” The Guide was developed in 1995 and revised and updated in 2010 and 2014.

This process will include the following steps:

  • Completing a review of existing delisting criteria and revising criteria where necessary to make these criteria realistic, measurable, and achievable.
  • Reviewing current and proposed science to align it to support the assessment of whether delisting criteria have been met.
  • Reviewing consultation and engagement approaches, including engagement of Indigenous peoples, to ensure appropriate opportunities for input to delisting decisions.
Timeline Deliverable(s) Responsible Party

March 31, 2017

Review current and proposed science to align it where necessary to support the assessment of conditions in AOCs against the delisting criteria. To be coordinated in advance of FY 2017–2018 and annually thereafter.

Regional Director General–Ontario

September 30, 2017

Complete review of existing delisting criteria and revise delisting criteria as necessary so that criteria are realistic, measurable and achievable. Review of delisting criteria will occur on an AOC-by-AOC basis and will engage Indigenous peoples and stakeholders.

Regional Director General–Ontario

September 30, 2017

Review AOC consultation and engagement approaches, including engagement of Indigenous peoples, to ensure appropriate opportunities for input to delisting decisions.

Regional Director General–Ontario

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