Species at Risk Program: management and accountability framework and audit framework

1. Introduction

This document presents a Results-based management and accountability famework (RMAF) and Risk-based Audit Framework (RBAF) for the Species at Risk Act program activities. This framework addresses a range of federal species at risk efforts and includes several grants and contribution programs for capacity building and stewardship activities. For the purpose of this framework, this amalgam of activities is referred to as the federal Species at Risk (SAR) Program. 

1.1 Background

The Species at Risk Act (SARA) is a tool for conserving and protecting Canada’s biological diversity. The Act establishes a process for conducting scientific assessments of the conservation status of wildlife species1 and a mechanism for listing extirpated, endangered, threatened and special concern species. The Act provides legal protection to listed wildlife species and their residences, and requires recovery of the listed threatened, endangered and extirpated species and protection of their critical habitat. Since responsibility for the conservation of wildlife is shared by federal, provincial and territorial governments, the Act is designed to work with provincial/territorial (P/T) legislation.

Environment Canada (EC), Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and Parks Canada (PC) (collectively referred to as the core departments throughout this framework) are responsible for the implementation of SARA and jointly manage the federal SAR Program. However, Environment Canada leads the Program’s administration. The annual budget is $100 million for each of the next five years and then $75 million per year ongoing.

The balance of this document comprises of seven sections:

  • Section 2 provides an overall profile of the Program and situates the species at risk activity within each of the core departments, describes the delivery approach, key activities, partners, Aboriginal people and stakeholders. The section also outlines the roles and responsibilities of the core departments and describes the governance structure.
  • Section 3 presents the Program results logic, including a description of activities, outputs and results. Key risk areas are also identified. 
  • Section 4 identifies key program risk areas, mitigating strategies and presents an overall risk management process.
  • Section 5 proposes a set of performance and risk indicators and outlines requirements for ongoing monitoring and reporting.
  • Section 6 describes the evaluation strategy and proposes evaluation issues and methodologies.
  • Section 7 presents the reporting strategy, including a description of the reporting activities, products, timing and responsibilities.
  • Section 8 presents the RMAF-RBAF implementation review strategy, including a description of the review activities, products, timing and responsibilities.

1.2 Level of Integration

The RMAF-RBAF are fully integrated (i.e., the results logic and risk assessment of the SAR Program have been coordinated and are presented here under one cover). The results measurement and risk management strategies have been synchronized to draw on, where possible, common measures and review processes.

1.3 RMAF-RBAF Project Overview

This framework was developed through a review of program documentation and extensive consultations with the three core delivery departments. Key background documents included the following: 

  • Species at Risk Act (SARA)
  • Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk
  • Formative Evaluation of the Federal Species at Risk Programs (July 2006)
  • Reports on plans and priorities (RPPs)
  • Departmental performance reports (DPRs)
  • Minister’s Round Table Report
  • Cooperative Management Framework for the Strategy for the Protection of Species at Risk
  • Interdepartmental Species at Risk Action Plan (developed in response to the recommendations in the Formative Evaluation)
  • National Framework for Species at Risk Conservation (NFSARC)
  • Bilateral agreement between the federal government and the province of British Columbia
  • Habitat Stewardship Program (HSP) for Species at Risk-RMAF and RBAF
  • SAR Public Registry

Consultations included

  • Interviews with 29 representatives of Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Parks Canada, including regional, headquarter and senior management staff.
  • A one-day workshop, attended by 17 representatives of the core delivery departments, to discuss the program logic, performance measures and risk.

A steering committee and a working group were convened to guide the project and provide input through regular meetings and review of all key deliverables. 

The heads of evaluation from each of the core departments (Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Parks Canada) provided their approval in the spring of 2008 indicating that they had reviewed and found the Results-based Management Accountability Framework and Risk-Based Audit Framework for the Species at Risk Program to be satisfactory.

1 “Wildlife species” means a species, subspecies, variety or geographically or genetically distinct population of animal, plant or other organism, other than a bacterium or virus, that is wild by nature and (a) is native to Canada; or (b) has extended its range into Canada without human intervention and has been present in Canada for at least 50 years. (source: COSEWIC)

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