Evaluation of the Citizenship Awareness Program

Evaluation of the Citizenship Awareness Program - Management Response Action Plan (MRAP)

In response to a range of ongoing challenges in our environment, CIC is moving toward a more responsive system of doing business and stepping up the pace of modernizing the way it works, reducing overhead costs, and continuing to streamline programs and operations. CIC continues to be committed to offering better client service, more efficient and effective application processing, stronger program integrity, reduced fraud, optimal use of technology, and policy and program changes. A Two-Year Citizenship Modernization Roadmap from Spring 2012 to Summer 2014 is being implemented to guide and track our collective efforts to ensure that programs continue to deliver services to the right people, for the right reasons and in a consistent manner, while safeguarding against the risk of fraud, misrepresentation, irregular migration and other abuses. During this time of transformation, CIC will continue to ensure that the promotion and awareness of citizenship is maintained and reflective of the positive changes to citizenship program, including in the reallocation of resources to ensure the efficient implementation of the changes.

This Management Response Action Plan was developed in consideration of these ongoing and anticipated changes to the way we do business and timelines for implementation were planned to effectively support department-wide Modernization objectives.

Recommendation Response and context Action items and deliverables Accountability

1. That the Department ensures clear whole-of-CIC horizontal governance and management of the Citizenship Awareness program, including roles and responsibilities with respect to its design, implementation, performance monitoring and reporting.

CIC agrees with this recommendation.

Currently, program governance is functionally-based and implemented through three Branches – Citizenship and Multiculturalism (in the Strategic and Program Policy Sector); Operational Management and Coordination Branch (in the Operations Sector) and the Communications Branch. Each of the Branches understands their respective role and responsibilities.

Building on the work underway of the department's 2-year Citizenship Modernization Roadmap, which responds to a range of ongoing challenges in our environment, including competing priorities, increasing application volumes, technological limitations, and uncontrollable global events, a review of the Citizenship Awareness program will leverage operational improvements and best practices.

CIC will strengthen the governance and management of the Citizenship Awareness Program through:

  • Establishing an internal CIC working group with key branches to review the governance (roles and responsibilities), the management, the delivery and the reporting mechanisms of the program to ensure alignment with the Program's objectives and expected results (Q4 2013-2014)
  • Reviewing current mechanisms; and, where appropriate, recommend new mechanisms to improve information sharing and to better support coordination (Q2 2014-2015)
  • Reviewing the program performance measurement framework to ensure appropriate performance indicators and data strategies to measure progress against expected results. (Q2 2014-2015)
Cit-Multi Branch, with support from OMC, Comms, IPMB and OPMB

2. That CIC develop a strategic approach to maximize opportunities to better leverage existing departmental resources and partnerships. As part of this approach CIC could consider:

  1. Enhancing and formalizing Citizenship Awareness Program involvement in determining priorities and allocating funding to citizenship awareness initiatives through the Multiculturalism and Settlement G&C programs;
  2. Developing a plan for a second phase of the ICC that builds on its current contributions to the Citizenship Awareness Program and explores opportunities for additional collaborative work;
  3. Examining and solidifying the respective roles of CIC and PCH in promoting the value of citizenship to all Canadians and identify potential areas for collaboration; and
  4. Exploring options and developing an approach to engage new partners, including those in the private sector where appropriate, to leverage additional resources towards citizenship awareness.

CIC agrees with this recommendation.

CIC ‘s existing governance structure and reporting mechanisms already ensure sound decision-making by Senior Executives on the management of the Citizenship Awareness program but the department agrees that adjustments to continue to maximize opportunity to leverage existing resources and partnerships could be made.

The Citizenship Awareness Program is part of a larger Citizenship Program which balances two objectives: encouraging and facilitating the acquisition of Canadian citizenship; and, enhancing the meaning of citizenship which serves as a unifying bond for all Canadians.

In recognizing the complementarity of the objectives of citizenship awareness with the department’s other programs, namely Settlement and Multiculturalism, the department has worked to leverage those existing policies, programs and activities in order to further advance citizenship objectives. For example, the Settlement Program is currently funding 5 pilot projects over fiscal years 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 aimed at helping to prepare newcomers for full citizenship. These pilot projects will also contribute to the evidence base to inform further policy and program development. This work is in line with the Settlement Program’s national plan for 2013-2016 which serves as the basis for assessing all settlement program proposals, which prioritizes citizenship objectives.

The Settlement Program also launched Welcome to Canada in 2013 which supports the Citizenship Awareness objectives of the department.

Also of note is that consultations with key stakeholders, including federal government departments and the private sector are an intrinsic part of CIC’s work in achieving its goals and objectives.

  • For example, in 2012-2013, CIC undertook a pilot project to partner with the private sector on citizenship awareness activities. A strategic approach on private sector partnerships was developed and approved and work continues to engage partners in this work.

CIC will develop a department-wide Citizenship Awareness Program strategy, through (Q3 2014-2015):

  • Building on existing citizenship awareness activities, including those under Citizenship Action Plan (CAP), to capture achievements, learnings and best practices to better inform work related to increasing the meaning of citizenship among newcomers and established Canadians; and,
  • Developing an action plan for the Program outlining key deliverables, which could include:
    • Ensuring citizenship awareness outcomes continue to be taken into consideration in CIC's Grants and Contributions programs
    • Examining a continuing role for the ICC and other organisations in promoting citizenship awareness
    • Continuing engagement with other federal departments, including PCH, towards an improved whole-of-government approach to enhancing awareness and understanding the value of citizenship
    • Further assessing private sector partnerships to implement citizenship awareness activities
Cit-Multi, with support from OMC, Comms, IPMB and Integration

3. In order to improve the effectiveness of its current promotional activities aimed at newcomers, CIC should:

a. Ensure that information contained in the guide is more accessible to those with lower levels of education or language proficiency.

CIC agrees with this recommendation.

It is a priority for the Department to :

  • Ensure the effectiveness of its activities in reaching different targeted groups;
  • Ensure the accessibility to its material; and,
  • Enhance deeper understanding of Canadian citizenship rights and responsibilities.

To ensure access to Discover Canada, the citizenship study guide, CIC has already developed and made available to the public the following alternate formats of the guide: audio, Braille, large print, ebook, and mobile application.

Further, the department has developed a Citizenship Resource which contains lesson plans and classroom materials that are based on Discover Canada. The Resource has been disseminated to the Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) Programs delivered across the country to support teachers as they teach citizenship concepts to students at all levels of language abilities.

The Citizenship Resource is also available online so that any professional across the country, even those who do not teach within a LINC funded class, may access the resources.

The Department recognizes the need to continue to reach newcomers, of various educational and language proficiency, as well as all Canadians in expanding the accessibility of Discover Canada.

CIC will (Q4 2014-2015):

  • Further explore the role of supplementary interventions and/or educational products or activities, including other alternative formats of Discover Canada, in improving accessibility;
  • Leverage existing mechanisms to consult stakeholders, including the settlement sector, on identifying opportunities to improve the accessibility of Discover Canada and its contents; and,
  • Improve interventions, products and activities, where/if deemed necessary to ensure effectiveness and to facilitate access.
Cit-Multi, with support from OMC, Comms, Integration, IPMB and R&E

3b. Explore options and develop an approach to integrate special elements, such as discussion groups, into more citizenship ceremonies to enhance their effectiveness.

CIC agrees with this recommendation.

The Citizenship Action Plan in 2010 outlined the need to enhance citizenship ceremonies and various elements have been integrated since that time. Enhanced promotional material was developed and distributed at every ceremony, the use of Volunteer Presiders was expanded and used more frequently, and veteran or active serving members of the Canadian Forces were introduced as an important element at ceremonies.

The Department will review the citizenship ceremony delivery model and identify opportunities to further improve the quality and focus of the citizenship ceremony all while balancing operational requirements.

The Department will explore enhancing the role of various partners, such as the ICC, to contribute to the goal of raising citizenship awareness.

A review of the current enhanced ceremonies model will be conducted to determine the best approach to improve and increase use of partner and enhanced elements where possible. (Q3 2014-2015)

OMC, with support from Cit-Multi, Comms, IPMB, Citizenship Commission

4. That CIC develop a strategic approach for citizenship awareness activities aimed at all Canadians. This approach could consider:

  1. Clarifying roles and responsibilities within CIC, with OGDs (e.g., PCH) and with other potential partners for activities aimed at "all Canadians";
  2. Defining the target groups of "all Canadians" that CIC is best positioned to pursue;
  3. Identifying objectives of awareness activities targeting all Canadians and reviewing and enhancing current activities (i.e., reaffirmation ceremonies, outreach to schools, Citizenship Week activities, outreach by citizenship judges) in light of these objectives;
  4. Developing an implementation plan, including the provision of supports for existing and potential new activities (e.g., assisting judges in conducting outreach activities); and
  5. Putting in place the performance measurement systems necessary to monitor associated set of broader expected results.

CIC agrees with this recommendation.

Part of this work is already underway. Citizenship Communications and Operations Branches have initiated discussions to determine who leads which areas of citizenship awareness and outreach.

Since April 2012, regional communications staff have been integrated into the Communications Branch to better coordinate communications in general, including activities related to citizenship awareness.

All areas of the citizenship program in the department have agreed on a 2014 strategic communications plan for Canada Day and Citizenship Week.

However, the department agrees that more can be done to better coordinate and manage citizenship awareness activities.

Informed by the Citizenship Awareness Program strategy and action plan, referred to under Recommendation 2, CIC will develop a strategic approach for citizenship awareness activities aimed at all Canadians.

In so doing, a communications approach will be developed, which will define target audiences, recommend awareness activities, and outline an action plan for implementing the approach (Q4 2014-2015).

Cit-Multi, with support from OMC, Comms, IPMB, R&E and Integration


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