Evaluation of the Migration Policy Development Program (MPDP)

Evaluation Division
Research and Evaluation
March 2013

This report presents the findings of the Evaluation of the Migration Policy Development Program (MPDP). This evaluation is being conducted in fulfilment of requirements under Section 42.1 of the Financial Administration Act and the TBS Policy on Evaluation. The purpose of this evaluation was to assess the MPDP in relation to program relevance and performance, in accordance with the requirements of the Directive on the Evaluation Function (TBS, 2009).

Evaluation of the Migration Policy Development Program (MPDP) (PDF, 674 KB) (PDF, 680.25KB)


Table of Contents


List of acronyms

APF
Asia-Pacific Foundation
CA
Contribution Agreement
CBSA
Canada Border Services Agency
CIC
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
CIDA
Canadian International Development Agency
DFAIT
Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
EU
European Union
FCC
Five Country Conference
HRSDC
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
IGC
Intergovernmental Consultations on Asylum, Refugee and Migration Policies
IOM
International Organization for Migration
IRB
Immigration and Refugee Board
IRPP
Institute for Research on Public Policy
GFMD
Global Forum on Migration and Development
GOC
Government of Canada
MPDP
Migration Policy Development Program
MPI
Migration Policy Institute
NGOs
Non-governmental Organizations
OAS
Organization of American States
OECD
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
OGDs
Other Government Departments
RCGM
Regional Consultation Group on Migration
RCM
Regional Conference on Migration
RMAF
Results-based Management and Accountability Framework
SEGOB
Mexico’s Secretaría de Gobernación
TB
Treasury Board
UNHCR
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
WG
Working Group

Executive summary

Purpose of the evaluation

This report presents the findings of the Evaluation of the Migration Policy Development Program (MPDP). This evaluation is being conducted in fulfilment of requirements under Section 42.1 of the Financial Administration Act and the TBS Policy on Evaluation. The purpose of this evaluation was to assess the MPDP in relation to program relevance and performance, in accordance with the requirements of the Directive on the Evaluation Function (TBS, 2009).

MPDP

The Migration Policy Development Program (MPDP) was originally established in 2003 as a contribution program to support Canada’s participation in international migration forums as part of CIC's engagement in international discussions and initiatives on migration issues. The MPDP also “provides funding to organizations that are active in areas of international migration policy development and research and whose independent work as a third party offers a valuable contribution for consideration in Canadian international migration and citizenship policy development and implementation.”Footnote 1

Methodology

The design of the evaluation was calibrated in alignment with the low relative materiality and overall low risk level of the program. Three lines of evidence were used for this evaluation, including a document review (quantitative), key informant interviews (qualitative) and a review of administrative data (primarily financial data). Evaluation questions were assessed using multiple lines of evidence when possible; however, the majority of findings were derived from the interviews.

Limitations and considerations

There are two key limitations that should be considered in the context of this report.

  • Limited methods: This evaluation did not employ approaches such as case studies or surveys; however because the program has a low relative materiality and was recently evaluated in 2007/08, the methodology was deemed sufficient and was calibrated accordingly.
  • Resource Data Validity: While grant (Vote 5) expenditure information is available, salary and O&M (Vote 1) expenditures are not tracked at the program level. As a result, operational budgets were estimated by program staff. It is difficult to know the extent to which these figures are accurate, given that they rely upon personal recall of time and effort. Given the low level of complexity of the program, these estimates were deemed to be sufficient.

However, these limitations have not significantly influenced the findings, conclusions or recommendations in the evaluation.

Findings

Relevance

  • There is a continued need for the MPDP in order to facilitate Canada’s participation in international migration forums. The MPDP is the only available mechanism that gives CIC access to international forums on migration policy issues.
  • MPDP objectives are aligned with CIC and GoC priorities and with the role of the federal government. Interviewees also felt that MPDP’s objectives were clear and understood.

Performance

  • The MPDP has allowed the federal government to promote its migration interests and has had some ability to influence the direction of international migration policy through its participation in international forums. However, the magnitude and attribution of this influence is difficult to measure.
  • There are benefits for CIC associated with participation in international forums, including: sharing information and learning from like-minded countries and building working relationships/networks with other country representatives, and ensuring outcomes are consistent with Canada's interests.
  • While CIC and OGD staff are generally informed of forum results and less aware of research results, there needs to be a more systematic approach to the sharing of information.
  • The migration research funding component of the MPDP is viewed as a secondary priority. As well, it is less strategic and focused than the forum funding component.

Efficiency and economy

  • No true alternatives to the MPDP that would allow Canada to meet its forum-related objectives have been identified.
  • The MPDP is an efficient mechanism that funds Canada’s participation in selected international forums, providing high value for money given the low materiality of the program.

Conclusions and Recommendations

The MPDP is CIC’s mechanism to fund international forums and research on international migration policy issues. The Program is primarily designed for funding forums and the research component is considered to be secondary, which is why MPDP funding for migration research is done on an ad hoc basis.

Recommendation 1: CIC should further align migration-related research and priorities with Departmental planning, in particular the Department’s international engagement priorities and research plan.

The sharing of forum information with CIC staff and OGDs is not systematic and consistent. As a result, the full value of forum participation is not being realized.

Recommendation 2: CIC should develop a strategy designed to more systematically disseminate and manage relevant forum information (i.e. reports, briefings) to CIC and OGD staff.

Evaluation of the Migration Policy Development Program - Management Response Action Plan (MRAP)

Recommendation 1

CIC should further align MPDP-funded migration-related research and priorities with Departmental planning, in particular the Department’s international engagement priorities and research plan.

Response and Content

CIC agrees with this recommendation. 
To the extent that MPDP can provide limited funding besides established commitments stemming from engagement in international forums, MPDP projects do respond to international engagement priorities. All projects are reviewed for their strategic value and benefits, information which is articulated by the branches proposing the projects. Projects must also conform to the requirements of the MPDP Terms and Conditions (Ts & Cs). IIR acknowledges that these considerations could be made clearer to proponents in the future.

The annual firm MPDP commitments are made in foreign currencies and exchange fluctuations make remaining funds unpredictable. This makes strategic planning for research allocation a challenge; nonetheless, IIR will work with R&E and other branches to identify future research and other options that respond to departmental priorities and could be supported by available funds.

Action Item and Deliverables

Consult with R&E and other branches to identify options for funds that may be available, ensuring mutual understanding of Ts & Cs and other program and funding parameters.

Accountability

IIR, R&E

Completion date

Q2 of Fiscal Years

Recommendation 2

CIC should develop a strategy designed to more systematically disseminate and manage forum information (i.e. reports, briefings) to CIC and OGD staff

Response and Content

CIC agrees with this recommendation.

IIR now regularly includes reporting on forums in the agendas of the International Steering Committee (ISC) and the interdepartmental International Migration Group (IMG), distributes reports and makes available information to branches and other departments (OGDs) on forums and other activities under its lead.

IIR will continue to encourage other branches and departments/agencies which engage in research and other activities funded through MPDP to prepare and share reports and make available any information stemming from such activities (noting that extent of circulation will largely depend on the nature of the specific activity or project).

Action Item and Deliverables

The following actions will be or continue to be taken to systematically disseminate and manage forum information:

  1. distribute reports and other material via email (or C5 as relevant) internally and inter-departmentally, according to the forum/activity/project and subject at hand, once available and approved, as part of regular coordination and consultation within government.
  2. inclusion of forum reporting in ISC agenda, at most immediate ISC meeting following the event (subject to relevance and time availability on agenda).
  3. follow-up with branches and OGDs that engage in MPDP-funded activities and research projects for reporting and information sharing, encouraging them to use the same reporting and information-sharing processes used by IIR and providing them with a distribution list if needed.

Accountability

IIR

Completion date

  1. Ongoing
  2. Ongoing
  3. Q1 2013/14 and thereafter

1. Introduction

This report presents the findings of the Evaluation of the Migration Policy Development Program (MPDP). This evaluation is being conducted in fulfilment of requirements under Section 42.1 of the Financial Administration Act and the TBS Policy on Evaluation. The purpose of this evaluation was to assess the MPDP in relation to program relevance and performance, in accordance with the requirements of the Directive on the Evaluation Function (TBS, 2009).

1.1 Program background

The Migration Policy Development Program (MPDP) was originally established in 2003 as a contribution program to support Canada’s participation in international migration forums as part of CIC’s engagement in international discussions and initiatives on migration issues. Treasury Board (TB) approved the conversion of the MPDP to a grant program in 2009, partly in response to the Blue Ribbon Panel Report on Grants and ContributionsFootnote 2, which called for grant programs to result in more streamlined funding agreements, timely payment of assessed contributions, and flexibility to support specific projects.

Treasury Board approved Terms and Conditions (Ts&Cs) describe the MPDP as a class grant available to “provide funding to organizations that are active in areas of international migration policy development and research and whose independent work as a third party offers a valuable contribution for consideration in Canadian international migration and citizenship policy development and implementation.”Footnote 3

CIC uses the MPDP to fund participation in international forums and research projects related to migration policy. The MPDP logic model, showing the key program activities, outputs and expected outcomes, is in Figure 1-1 on page 7.

1.1.1 Participation in international forums

The MPDP provides grant funding to support Canada’s participation in several migration focussed organizations, most of which have received consistent funding from the program for several years. Some past and current grant recipients include: the Intergovernmental Consultations on Migration, Asylum and Refugees (IGC); the Regional Conference on Migration/Puebla Process (RCM); and, the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD).

As defined in the Program’s Terms and Conditions, the objectives of participation in these forums are:

  • To encourage the exchange of information among states;
  • To contribute to the public discussion in this field; and
  • To promote an increase in research activity conducted on migration issues.

Figure 1-1: Migration Policy Development Program - Logic Model

Logic Model - Long Description to follow.
Text version: Migration Policy Development Program - Logic Model

MPDP Logic Model Narrative

Figure 1-1 illustrates the MPDP logic model that serves as a visual description for the program.  This logic model contains three main components: activities, outputs and outcomes.

The MPDP has two main activities:

  • to participate in, and support, international and inter-governmental forums; and,
  • to fund research activities and projects. 

Both of these activities together contribute to a group of four related outputs, which are:

  • grant agreements;
  • meetings/workshops/seminars;
  • working groups; and,
  • publications/research reports/workshop documents/papers. 

These four outputs, together as a group, contribute to three immediate outcomes:

  • Canadian participation at policy discussions and development forums;
  • information exchange and networking is facilitated; and,
  • research direction and programs of activity are influenced. 

Following from the immediate outcomes are the intermediate outcomes:

  • Canadian migration interests and policies are promoted and defended;
  • findings and insight from fora and research contribute to the development of Canadian migration policy; and,
  • CIC staff have access to insights, research and information on international migration policy issues.

Together, the three intermediate outcomes contribute to the ultimate outcome: managed migration that promotes Canadian interests and protects the health, safety and security of Canadians.  This ultimate outcome is also the fourth strategic objective of the departmental Program Alignment Architecture. 

Intergovernmental Consultations on Migration, Asylum and Refugees (IGC)

The IGC is an informal, non-decision making forum of 17 like-minded states from the European Union (EU) and Five Country Conference (FCC) that discuss and share experiences related to admission, control and enforcement; asylum and refugees; migration and border related technology; country of origin information; immigration and integration.

The IGC is a closed forum and countries are admitted to the IGC by invitation only. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the European Commission attend as observers. Each participating country contributes an equal amount of 110,000 Swiss Francs per year to support the IGC.

CIC is the lead department for Canada, with the International and Intergovernmental Relations (IIR) Branch providing the primary contact for interactions with the forum. Other government departments that participate in the IGC activities are the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) are occasionally involved.

A number of CIC branches lead Canada’s participation in IGC working groups and workshops related to issue clusters (asylum and refugees, immigration, integration) and cross-cutting themes (technology, data, country of origin information), in consultation with CBSA and IRB, who also participate in working groups that are closely aligned to their mandates and interests. Roles and responsibilities related to leading participation in these working groups include attending and contributing to meetings and workshops, providing input to questionnaires and tour de table updates, and reporting back on meeting outcomes.

Regional Conference on Migration (RCM)

The Regional Conference on Migration (RCM) is a state-led regional migration forum that discusses issues of mutual interest related to international migration including both regular and irregular movements of people. Its primary objectives are the exchange of information, experiences and best practices, and overall consultation to promote regional cooperation on migration.Footnote 4 The RCM fundamental tenets are the protection and respect for the human rights of migrants; the promotion of orderly and secure migration; and the dialogue and technical cooperation among countries.

CIC is the lead department for Canada, and other key government departments that often participate in the RCM activities are CBSA and DFAIT.

In addition to CIC’s participation in the RCM, the MPDP has funded RCM Workshops on topics such as temporary foreign worker programs or human trafficking and smuggling. Table 1-1 presents the list of forum workshops that were funded through the MPDP during the period covered by the evaluation (2009-2012).

Table 1-1: List of MPDP funded forum workshops
Name of Workshop Date Organization Description
Migrant Labour Policies 2009/10 RCM Discussions related to the development of programs and policies for migrant workers.
Human Trafficking 2010/11 RCM Discussions related to developing programs and policies to combat human trafficking.
Temporary Foreign Worker Programs 2010/11
2011/12
RCM Discussions related to the development of foreign worker programs and policies.
Integration 2011/12 RCM Discussions related to the development of integration programs and policies.

Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD)

The GFMD is an initiative of the United Nations Member States to address migration and development interconnections in practical and action-oriented ways. It is a voluntary, inter-governmental, non-binding and informal consultative process open to all Member States and Observers of the United Nations. UN agencies and other international and regional bodies may be invited as observers. It was created upon the proposal of the UN Secretary-General at the September 2006 General Assembly High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development.

Its purpose is to address, in a transparent manner, the multidimensional aspects, opportunities and challenges related to international migration and its inter-linkages with development, to bring together government expertise from all regions, to enhance dialogue and cooperation and partnership and to foster practical and action-oriented outcomes at the national, regional and global levels.

1.1.2 Migration related research

The MPDP funds migration research on an ad hoc basis through organizations like the Asia-Pacific Foundation (APF) and the Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP) for migration focussed research activities (see Table 1-2).

Table 1-2:    List of MPDP funded research activities and other funded activities (outside of forum participation) (2009-2012)

Name of Research Project Date Organization Description
Indicators of Integration 2011/12 OECD To develop a set of indicators on the integration of immigrants and their children for OECD countries
Canadians Abroad Project 2009/10
2010/11
APF A research project to gain a better understanding of, and share knowledge about Canadians living abroad
Canada’s Immigration Policy: Reconciling Labour Market Needs and Longer-term Goals 2010/11 IRPP A two day research conference to analyze policy research regarding both immigration to, and immigrants in, Canada, in relation to the needs of the Canadian labour market.
CIC-SEGOB Working Group’s Canada-Mexico Complimentarities Study 2011/12 MPI To produce 5 background papers, a synthesis paper and a final report on recent migration trends between Canada and Mexico and on their broader bilateral economic relationship.

1.1.3 Program resources

The MPDP is allocated $350,000 in Vote 5 grant funding each year by Treasury Board. This amount is used first to pay the membership dues/voluntary contributions for forums to which Canada belongs. Remaining funds often contribute to ad hoc opportunities such as workshops or research projects.

2. Methodology

The Terms of Reference for this evaluation was approved by CIC’s Departmental Evaluation Committee in July 2012.

2.1 Evaluation approach, issues and questions

A review of the MPDP was completed by CIC in 2008Footnote 5. The current evaluation covers the period since the last evaluation (i.e., from April 1, 2009 to September 30, 2012). It focuses on the continued relevance and performance of the MPDP as a funding mechanism. The evaluation does not cover IOM membership, which was evaluated separately in 2011. Table 2-1 lists the evaluation questions and the complete evaluation matrix can be found in Appendix A.

Table 2-1: Evaluation questions

Relevance

  1. Is there a continued need for the MPDP (forum support & participation and research components)?
  2. Are the program objectives aligned with CIC strategic outcomes and GoC priorities?
  3. Are the activities funded through the MPDP aligned with the roles and responsibilities of the federal government?

Performance

  1. To what extent has Canada been able to promote and defend its migration interests and policies through MPDP activities?
  2. To what extent does Canadian migration policy benefit from migration-related research and activities (e.g. seminars/workshops)?
  3. Are CIC staff appropriately informed of the results of CIC participation in MPDP-funded fora?
  4. What are the costs associated with the program?
  5. What processes and controls are in place to ensure efficient use of funds?
  6. What is the value associated with the activities funded through the MPDP?

Data collection for this evaluation took place between July and October, 2012.

2.2 Approach

The design of the evaluation was calibrated in alignment with the low relative materiality and overall low risk level of the program. Given the nature of the activities funded through the MPDP, which relate primarily to knowledge transfer and participation in international forums, it was deemed sufficient that the evaluation relied heavily on qualitative methodologies, focusing on interviews with individuals involved in the various projects and activities funded, as well as a review of documentation and financial information.

2.3 Lines of evidence

Three lines of evidence were used for this evaluation, including a document review (quantitative), key informant interviews (qualitative) and a review of administrative data (primarily financial data). Evaluation questions were assessed using multiple lines of evidence when possible; however, the majority of findings were derived from the interviews.

2.3.1 Document review

A document review was conducted to provide descriptive information on the different types of activities funded through the program, as well as information to address evaluation questions relating to program relevance and performance. In total, 20 documents were reviewed. Documents reviewed included:

  • Policy and program documents (MPDP review 2009, IOM Evaluation 2011, etc.);
  • International forum records; and,
  • Grant agreements.

2.3.2 Key informant interviews

Interviews with key informants were held to address all evaluation questions. Three separate interview guides were developed, as respondents came from divergent perspectives. A total of 23 interviews were completed, as follows:

  • CIC managers and officers at NHQ (n=13)
  • CIC international staff (n=1)
  • Representatives from other federal departments (CBSA, IRB) (n=3)
  • Representatives of partners and stakeholders in international activities funded by the program, such as RCM, IGC and GFMD (n=6)

Interviews lasted between 45 and 90 minutes. Not all informants responded to all questions; this was taken into account when analysing the data (Interview Guides are provided in the Technical Appendices).

Where qualitative evidence is presented, the following scale was used to report:

Interview data analysis scale

All
Findings reflect the views and opinions of 100% of the key informants in the group
Majority/Most
Findings reflect the views and opinions of at least 75% but less than 100% of key informants in the group
Many
Findings reflect the views and opinions of at least 50% but less than 75% of key informants in the group
Some
Findings reflect the views and opinions of at least 25% but less than 50% of key informants in the group
A few
Findings reflect the views and opinions of at least two respondents but less than 25% of key informants in the group

2.3.3 Administrative data analysis

Relevant documents and financial data from 2009/10 – 2012/13 were reviewed to analyse how the program has been impacted by changes to both funding mechanisms and funding amounts. There have also been some new commitments and the introduction of research products. Additionally, the change to the funding mechanism (previously a Contribution, now a Grant) was assessed.

Comprehensive data on grant (Vote 5) funding were available for the entire scope of the evaluation and as such an accurate assessment of program costs related to this funding was possible. Data on the salary and O&M costs of the program (Vote 1) was not available as the Departmental Cost Management Model was not granular enough to get the necessary detail. As such, program staff provided estimates for these costs based on their experience and insights.

2.4 Limitations and considerations

There are two key limitations that should be considered in the context of this report.

  • Limited methods: This evaluation did not employ approaches such as case studies or surveys; however because the program has a low relative materiality and was recently evaluated in 2007/08, the methodology was deemed sufficient and was calibrated accordingly.
  • Resource Data Validity: While grant (Vote 5) expenditure information is available, salary and O&M (Vote 1) expenditures are not tracked at the program level. As a result, operational budgets were estimated by program staff. It is difficult to know the extent to which these figures are accurate, given that they rely upon personal recall of time and effort. Given the low level of complexity of the program, these estimates were deemed to be sufficient.

However, these limitations have not significantly influenced the findings, conclusions or recommendations in the evaluation.

3. Findings

3.1 Relevance

3.1.1 Continued need for the MPDP

The purpose of the MPDP is to provide funding to organizations that are active in the areas of international migration policy development and research, and whose independent work as a third party offers a valuable contribution for consideration in Canadian international migration policy development and implementation.

Finding: There is a continued need for the MPDP in order to facilitate Canada’s participation in international migration forums. The MPDP is the only available mechanism that gives CIC access to international forums on migration policy issues.

All CIC interviewees felt that there is a definite need for the MPDP as a mechanism to fund participation in international forums and international research. In particular, interviewees commented that CIC needs to participate in these specific forums on migration policy for the following reasons:

  • IGC: participation allows Canada to meet with like-minded countries dealing with similar migration-related issues (for example, irregular migration, integration). It is seen as a unique opportunity for Canada to discuss common issues and share information and learn from other states facing similar problems.
  • RCM: participation allows Canada to partake in discussions on regional migration-related matters with dissimilar parties in the Americas, a region which is a foreign policy priority for Canada. It gives Canada the opportunity to influence migration policy and discuss/share information with states in an informal and nonbinding way.
  • GFMD: participation allows Canada to foster an informal dialogue and cooperation on migration and development issues and to defend Canada’s interests globally.

Of the three forums, only a few interviewees questioned the utility of the GFMD. In particular, these interviewees felt that the GFMD currently does not focus enough on relevant content. This is consistent with Canada’s response to the GFMD questionnaire administered to all participating states in 2011Footnote 6. Canada indicated that it was “somewhat” satisfied with the GFMD process, compared to other fora. It was felt that more streamlined and focused GFMD meetings would have allowed for more productive exchanges.

Despite some issues with the GFMD process, the majority of interviewees felt that there is a need for Canada to be at this table in order to maintain an informal dialogue and defend Canada’s migration interests, especially considering the low investment (funds, time) involved with participation. In addition, maintaining a dialogue with international counterparts through the GFMD has helped Canada manage relationships with international bodies, including the UN.FCR challenges faced by ITIs

In terms of program need, international relations theory also suggests that there are consequences associated with isolation from international engagement in a global environment. Interviewees highlighted the following consequences of isolationist behaviour regarding these forums:

  • Canadian migration interests would not be adequately represented resulting in a loss of influence
  • Loss of international relationships at the working level
  • CIC would lose the benefits from exchanges of information

In particular, some interviewees noted that participation in these types of forums allows Canada to ‘punch above its weight’. This expression relates to political scientist Joseph Nye’s concept of soft power to describe the ability of a country to attract and co-opt rather than coerce, use force or give money as a means of persuasion. Specifically, "a country may obtain the outcomes it wants in world politics because other countries – admiring its values, emulating its example, aspiring to its level of prosperity and openness – want to follow it."Footnote 7.

The need for the MPDP is also consistent with CIC’s international engagement priorities, which include: to support Canada’s economic competitiveness, advance Canada’s reputation as a secure and trusted partner, exchange best practices and draw from the example and experience of other countries in order to improve the design and delivery of our programs, promote and protect Canada’s interests, help build other countries’ capacity, and to support Government of Canada objectives which are aligned with MPDP objectives.

3.1.2 Objectives, alignment with CIC/GoC priorities, and federal role

Finding: MPDP objectives are aligned with CIC and GoC priorities and with the role of the federal government. Interviewees also felt that MPDP’s objectives were clear and well-understood.

Objectives

The majority of interviewees generally understood the objectives of the MPDP in their own context. Many interviewees’ perspectives were limited to their participation in one or two of the three international forums or research components, which limited their overall knowledge of the objectives of the program (MPDP). Because the program is a funding mechanism for participation in these forums and related research, it is appropriate to have an understanding of the purpose of Canada’s participation in the forum(s) in which they have been involved.

While not explicitly stated by all interviewees, the majority of interviewees suggested that the objectives of the MPDP, or objectives of participation in one of more of the forums, are clear. Interviewees’ responses regarding the objectives of the MPDP differed; however, several general themes were repeatedly noted. These were: support for policy development and research on migration issues at the international level and advancing international discussion and exchange of information and best practices.

Alignment with CIC and GoC priorities

The majority of interviewees felt that the MPDP’s international engagement objectives are well aligned with both GoC and CIC departmental priorities. In particular, MPDP objectives are consistent with CIC’s Program Alignment Architecture (PAA): Program Activity (PA) 4.3 Canadian Influence in International Migration and Integration Agenda and CIC Strategic Outcome (SO)4 Managed Migration that Promotes Canadian Interests and Protects the Health, Safety and Security of Canadians. According to CIC’s description of SO4, “Internationally, migration and humanitarian issues continue to gain the attention of governments, bilateral and multilateral forums, non-governmental organizations, and academic and other research institutes. CIC plays an important role in framing and advancing international dialogues on migration and integration policy, refugee protection and governance. These dialogues explore the links between migration policy and development assistance, health, the environment, trade and the movement of human capital. CIC works to develop and implement a strategic agenda on global migration and refugee protection, and to advance Canada’s policy and program priorities.”Footnote 8

The objectives of MPDP are also aligned with CIC’s international engagement priorities which, in part, seek to influence migration through international forums and advance global migration management. This is closely related to the objectives of the MPDP as it highlights the need to contribute to the international community’s capacity to manage migration pressures, which implies a continued engagement in international fora.

The Government of Canada views immigration as an important factor in Canada’s economic success and growth. This is consistent with the 2011 Speech from the ThroneFootnote 9, which outlines the GoC commitment to economic growth in Canada and improving the integrity of Canada’s immigration system. Through programs like MPDP, CIC is able to promote and protect its immigration policies and programs, with aims of supporting economic success and growth in Canada through immigration.

Furthermore, TBS Descriptors of GoC Outcome Areas paper describes the following desired outcome: A safe and secure world through international engagement. This outcome outlines how “program activities aim both to promote peace and security, freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law throughout the world, and to provide Canadian representation abroad.”Footnote 10.

Federal Role

The majority of interviewees who commented on this question felt that the activities funded by MPDP are well aligned with the role of the federal government. These interviews indicated that, because these forums are international in nature and relate to migration and the management of borders, they align well with federal roles and responsibilities. Some interviewees also noted that CIC is the appropriate lead department since MPDP objectives are directly aligned with CIC’s mandate. As per the 1992 Memorandum of Understanding with DFAIT, CIC has the foreign policy lead on migration issues and the Department engages in these international forums as part of this government-mandated responsibility.

3.2 Program performance

The key MPDP outcomes relate to the department’s participation in international forums and the funding of research regarding international migration policy issues.

Outcomes related to the Department’s participation in international forums

3.2.1 Promoting Canadian interests and influencing international migration policy

Finding: The MPDP has allowed the federal government to promote its migration interests and has had some ability to influence the direction of international migration policy through its participation in international forums. However, the magnitude and attribution of this influence is difficult to measure.

Promoting Canadian interests

The majority of interviewees felt that Canada has been able to promote its migration interests through its participation in the forums. Interviewees commented that Canada has promoted its interests by sharing its best practices with other countries through working group meetings, working relationships and being able to set agendas for topics of discussion. In particular:

  • GFMD: Canada is a member of the steering committee that sets agendas for the meetings. Canada contributes frequently to the development of the agendas, influences the contents of the agenda, actively participates in roundtables and brings forward Canada’s point of view.
  • IGC: Canada actively shares best practices and challenges with members of the IGC as well as chairing the working group on Integration. Canada gains profile and is able to frame the agendas as the Chair of the working group.
  • RCM: Canada actively shares best practices and challenges with regard to human smuggling and trafficking, irregular migration and border procedures affecting migrants. Participation in the RCM has facilitated the sharing of information with other regional states to assist them in establishing legislation (e.g., mutually beneficial labour migration programs, international protection).

Influencing international migration policy

The majority of interviewees felt that Canada does to some degree influence the direction of international migration policy through its participation in these forums. However, they suggested that the magnitude and attribution of this influence is difficult to measure. Some of these interviewees suggested that this influence is created through setting agendas, sharing information, and having ‘backroom’ bilateral conversations about important migration issues between governments. For example, Canada has influenced and assisted particular countries in modernizing their legislation and policies related to migration.

Another means of influence relates to Canada’s efforts to protect and defend its migration interests in these forums. For example, some interviewees stated that one of the reasons CIC is involved in the GFMD is to ensure that migration policy remains the responsibility of the individual sovereign state. The GFMD is structured so that both points of view (those who want international standards relating to migration and those who do not) are well-represented. Canada’s involvement in the GFMD ensures that its desire to retain its sovereign ability to manage migration is recognized.

3.2.2 Benefits to CIC’s migration policy

Finding: There are benefits for CIC associated with participation in international forums, including: sharing information and learning from like-minded countries and building working relationships/networks with other country representatives, and ensuring outcomes are consistent with Canada’s interests.

The majority of interviewees suggested that one of the main benefits of CIC’s participation in these forums is the sharing of best practices and lessons learned between countries. All three forums provide CIC with an informal venue to share best practices and lessons learned which contribute to a common understanding of migration issues and information to inform countries’ policies.

For example:

  • IGC: Sharing of information on enforcement and removals has helped CIC to collectively, with other members, determine effective approaches to returning individuals to certain countries. Sharing of best practices and challenges helps inform CIC policy and develop appropriate program responses.
  • RCM: Collaboration and sharing of best practices and challenges with CIC’s key Americas partners on issues of mutual interest (e.g., managed migration approach as an effective means of deterring irregular migration to North America).

Some interviewees also noted that another benefit for the MPDP and Canada’s participation in these forums is related to building relationships between countries while attending the meeting and working groups. In particular, bilateral discussions during the forums strengthen Canada’s relationships (especially at the working level) between governments.

3.2.3 Information sharing

Finding: While CIC and OGD staff are generally informed of forum results and less aware of research results, there needs to be a more systematic approach to the sharing of information.

The majority of interviewees who were involved in forum activities felt that the briefings, information and materials relayed by CIC forum participants to CIC staff are useful to inform CIC policy and programming. The majority of interviewees also felt that staff were generally informed of the results and relevant information that stems from CIC’s participation in MPDP-funded forums. However, there was a mix of opinions regarding whether information was being distributed to staff in a systematic/consistent way. Some interviewees (approximately 50%) felt that there was room for improvement or a need for a more systematic approach to share information.

The same concerns were voiced in the previous MPDP review (2008), which observed that information from forums (particularly the IGC) was not being adequately disseminated across the department. The review suggested that additional efforts to increase awareness and dissemination of information related to IGC within CIC would allow the department to more fully exploit the benefits of membership.

A few interviewees suggested the following ways to improve disseminating the knowledge gathered from forums participation. These include:

  • Briefing the International Steering Committee (ISC) after forum events (item on the agenda).
  • Use of IT tools (e.g. intranet) to better communicate activities and reports; ability to click on a list of forums and see past reports all in one place. Interviewees felt a need for a more systematic collection, like a central repository (e.g., GCDocs).
  • Developing an automatic reporting procedure among those who attend the forums to disseminate information after every meeting.

While a number of research projects funded under MPDP exist, the majority of interviewees were not familiar with or aware of how they have been used. However, this is not to suggest that the results of these projects are not being used. Staff more involved in research functions in CIC are aware of these projects and their findings.

Outcomes related to funding research on international migration policy issues

3.2.4 Migration research

Finding: The migration research funding component of the MPDP is viewed as a secondary priority. As well, it is less strategic and focused than the forum funding component.

Aside from the funding of memberships in international forums, an objective of the MPDP is to fund research on migration to benefit Canada’s international policy development. This can be accomplished by funding research through Canada’s forum participation or through a solicitation of proposals within CIC.

Most interviewees felt that MPDP is a vehicle primarily designed for funding forums and consider the research component to be secondary. The critical levers are membership, seats at workshops, etc. and the funded research component is based on the availability of remaining funds. After the non-discretionary commitments to the forums are fulfilled, it is up to program officers to identify other relevant opportunities for MPDP support. While past contributions have been related to small contributions to workshops and projects relevant to federal priorities on migration, the method by which projects are selected and the criteria against which they are assessed to determine their appropriateness is unclear. The program Terms and Conditions (T&Cs) are provided and proposals are required to meet them, yet it was indicated in the interviews that there are a number of requests for funds that were rejected, but the rationale used to make these decisions was not clearly articulated.

During the data collection period for this evaluation, the MPDP solicited proposals from branches within CIC for opportunities to support additional initiatives. This informal solicitation method occurred late in the fiscal year, under time constraints. While proposals were aligned with the T&Cs, it was not apparent what other assessment criteria were to be used to evaluate whether the funding activities put forward through this process would be good investments for the program or the Department or how one proposal would be deemed better than another.

Some interviewees commented that the change from contribution funding to a grant mechanism has made funding research slightly more challenging. Canada can no longer fund other governments, who compose the majority of our partnerships in international migration research, and must instead fund outside organizationsFootnote 11.

Interviewees were asked whether the federal government has been able to influence the migration research agenda from its participation in these forums and funding of research activities. The majority of interviewees noted that Canada has not influenced a migration research agenda because these activities are not a main focus of the forums. While there have been a number of ad hoc data projects and a few commissioned studies, a research agenda does not formally exist within the forums.

During the time period covered by this evaluation the contribution of MPDP toward international migration research has been focussed on three different projects:

  1. In 2009/10 and 2010/11 the Program funded the Asia-Pacific Foundation (APF) for a three year joint research project (the project began in 2008/09) to gain a better understanding of, and share knowledge about Canadians living abroad. The Canadian contribution to this study was a total of $150,000 over three years, and the report was submitted in March 2011. This report has been used to a great extent within the Research Branch of CIC; the scenarios prepared within the report continue to influence the policy discussion around future immigration patterns.
  2. In 2010/11 the Program funded the Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP) to organize a conference through which to analyze policy research regarding both immigration to, and immigrants in, Canada in relation to the needs of the Canadian labour market. The contribution was $50,000. This conference was held in May 2010, and the conference proceedings are available on the funding recipient’s website.
  3. A final project funded the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), for a study on integrationFootnote 12. This study was co-funded by several other like-minded countries, and was released formally in December 2012. The Canadian contribution to this project was $28,186, and CIC anticipates that the report will be used to a great extent to plan future integration outcomes for the Department.

3.3 Efficiency and economy (resource utilization)

3.3.1 Alternatives

Finding: No true alternatives to the MPDP that would allow Canada to meet its forum-related objectives have been identified.

Currently, there are a limited number of international forums where Canada can engage on issues affecting migrants, each of which brings together different groups. In particular:

  • The IGC is comprised predominantly of European Union member states, but also includes the European Commission, the UNHCR and IOM, New Zealand, the US and Canada.
  • The RCM comprises participation from Mexico, Central America, Caribbean, US and Canada, and participation from the UNHCR and the IOM and other international organizations engaged in the region.
  • The GFMD is much broader as far as participation goes (e.g. includes all UN member states and also components of civil society) and seeks to address both government and civil society interests.

The majority of respondents felt that there are no true alternative means that Canada could use to engage in regional or multilateral migration issues that would accomplish the same objectives in an efficient way. While respondents noted that there are other mechanisms or forums that may achieve similar objectives, they viewed these forums as complementary, and not a replacement. Some of these other mechanisms include the Five Country Conference, UNHCR, Organization of American States, and engagement through bilateral relationships.

While the establishment of bilateral relationships was noted as a possible alternative, several interviewees commented that contacting these state representatives separately would be much more difficult and time consuming, considering all the working groups CIC attends (e.g., asylum, refugees, country of origins, technology, admission, control and enforcement). CIC would need to get this information through another medium and it was not obvious to these interviewees how this would be accomplished in an efficient manner.

3.3.2 Resource utilization

Finding: The MPDP is an efficient mechanism that funds Canada’s participation in selected international forums, providing high value for money given the low relative materiality of the program.

Costs associated with the Program

The MPDP is a funding vehicle for a number of CIC’s international migration forum and research activities. Of the $350,000 in Vote 5 funding available each year, approximately 78% (average over 3 years) is committed to forum participation and associated activities and 22% on migration research funding. While this amount has been consistent for the last 3 fiscal years, there was significant fluctuation in the fund’s value between 2008/09 and 2009/10. The original Vote 5 funding, established under a contribution program in 2003, had a value of $300,000. In 2008/09 a request to Treasury Board for an increase was made and later that year the final amount dispensed by the program was $536,563. However, following Strategic Review, the Department cut the increase, citing the decreased need to engage with the Migration Policy Institute, and the fund’s value dropped down to its current level.

There are two fixed expenses for the MPDP, identified as “non-discretionary commitments”. These are the yearly membership dues that Canada pays to the IGC and RCM. These dues are established amounts, but fluctuate each year due to exchange ratesFootnote 13. After these yearly requirements, which comprise slightly less than two-thirds of the value of the fund, the amount of funding available for emerging opportunities has ranged between $100,000 and $120,000. These additional funding opportunities are identified by program staff. During the years since the last program review in 2008, several regular opportunities outside the two main commitments have been identified. The total number of grant agreements has been consistently between five and seven over the last three fiscal years (including both forum participation and research).

Since 2010/11, the MPDP has directed 25,000 USD in funding to the GFMD and has consistently supported RCM workshops for amounts between 5,000 and 15,000 USD. The workshop topics have been related to Departmental, and overall federal government, priorities such as: human trafficking and smuggling; temporary foreign worker programs; and, immigrant and refugee integration. This trend continues in the current funding environment, as the workshop proposed for 2012/13 is on unscrupulous immigration consultants, and another proposal is to develop a working group on civil society issues.

Table 3-1: MPDP Budget – Vote 5 Expenditures

Item 2009/10 2010/11 2011/12 2012/13
RCM Dues 88,320 86,669 81,473 84,469
Trafficking Workshop   4,859    
TFW Workshop   14,706 5,109  
Integration Workshop     15,471  
Migrant Worker Workshop 10,800      
IGC Dues 116,004 116,419 137,478 112,629
GFMD (voluntary contribution)   25,703 25,853 24,750
MPI round table 125,550      
APF research project 50,000 50,000    
IRPP conference / project   50,000    
OECD integration study     28,186  
SEGOB working group     55,951  
Exchange rate adjustment     -814  
TOTAL 390,674 348,356 348,707 221,848*

*Funding amounts for fiscal year 2012/13 had not been fully allocated at the time of this evaluation; data was obtained at Period 6.  

Operating out of the International and Intergovernmental Relations Branch, MPDP is housed within the International Policy Coordination Division. MPDP has relatively low program salary expenditures. Five full-time equivalents (FTEs) spend anywhere from 1% to 16% of their time annually on the daily operations and management of the grant mechanism. Taking into account the relevant salary levels, this translates into approximately $21,820 in salary dollars directed towards the program (see Table 3-2). Actual participation in forums, working groups, workshops and research activities involve a wider number of employees in multiple branches and divisions, including partners from other government Departments (CBSA, IRB, DFAIT, HRSDC, etc). Given that participation in meetings is not directly funded through the MPDP, these costs have not been included in this analysis.

Table 3-2:    Vote 1 Expenditures (Salary expenditures only)Footnote 14

FTE % of FTE on MPDP Average Salary $/Year on MPDP
Director General 1% (½ week) $120,000 $1,200
Director 2% (1 week) $110,000 $2,200
Manager 4% (2 weeks) $95,000 $3,800
Senior Analyst 16% (8 weeks) $85,000 $13,600
Administrative Assistant 2% (1 week) $51,000 $1,020
Total:     $21,820

Efficient use of funds

Review of financial information shows that total expenditures for the MPDP have had a very low variance from the total budget (under $1,500 for both 2010/11 and 2011/12), which is an indicator of efficient fund management. Additionally, the fund has maintained zero nominal growth over the time period within scope for the evaluation.

Since 2009/10, which was the first year that MPDP operated as a grant mechanism as opposed to a contribution mechanism, there has been a decrease in the number and value of research activities funded through this vehicle. A few interviewees indicated that research has become difficult to support through grants because projects tend to take place over a longer time period than MPDP funds can be distributed; the grant creates challenges when it comes to multi-year agreements.

There was a clear rationale for the transition to a grant; grants allow for membership payments to be processed more quickly. Contribution agreements, which normally do not allow for up-front payments, often resulted in forum membership contributions being transferred later in the fiscal year, leaving the impression that Canada was not meeting its membership commitments. The rationale for the conversion was based on the low value and low risk nature of the fund and the perceived advantages of the grant mechanism such as the lack of a formal reporting process and a more streamlined management of the funding agreements. However, some interviewees identified certain constraints imposed by the grant mechanism including lack of flexibility, difficulties with stacking limits, and the need to find organizations to flow money through. Grant funding prevents Canada from providing funds directly to other governments; since these are the majority of Canada’s partners on these issues this is a particular constraint. Eligible recipients for grant funding include: international organizations; not-for-profit NGOs, institutions, organizations or agencies operating at the international level from within or outside Canada; and, individuals and private sector organizations operating at the international level from within or outside Canada.Footnote 15

Value of MPDP activities

It was stated by many interviewees that the benefits and value of participation in these forums (building relationships, information sharing, defending Canada’s interests, etc.) far outweigh the costs associated with its administration. These benefits, however, are difficult to measure in a tangible way.

Many interview participants shared the view that the access to the international discussion around migration policy is greater than Canada would be able to achieve working with partners in a bilateral fashion. At RCM particularly, a few interviewees indicated that our position around that table allows us to “punch above our weight”.

3.4 Conclusions and recommendations

CIC funds participation in international forums and research projects related to migration policy through the MPDP. The Program has changed over time from a contribution agreement to a class grant funding mechanism, which has allowed for membership payments to be processed more quickly.

Relevance

Overall, it is clear that there is a need for the MPDP and for Canada to continue to participate in international forums and that the MPDP is currently the only available mechanism that gives CIC access to international forums on migration policy issues. CIC’s participation in these forums allows Canada to ‘punch above its weight’ with respect to influencing and engaging in international migration policy discussions.

The MPDP objectives were clear, understood and aligned with CIC and Government of Canada priorities. MPDP objectives are consistent with CIC PAA Program Activity (PA) 4.3 and CIC Strategic Outcome (SO) 4 as well as CIC’s international engagement priorities. Furthermore, MPDP activities are well aligned with the role of the federal government in advancing global migration management and promoting Canadian values and interests abroad.

Performance

The federal government has been able to promote its migration interests and influence the direction of international migration policy to some degree through its participation in these forums. However, the magnitude and attribution of this influence is difficult to measure. Additionally, there are a number of benefits associated with participation in international forums that include sharing information and learning from like-minded countries and building working relationships and networks with other country representatives, and ensuring outcomes are consistent with Canadian interests.

The MPDP is CIC’s mechanism to fund international forums and research on international migration policy issues. The Program is primarily designed for funding forums and the research component is considered to be secondary, which is why MPDP funding for migration research is done on an ad hoc basis.

Recommendation #1: CIC should further align migration-related research and priorities with Departmental planning, in particular the Department’s international engagement priorities and research plan.

The previous MPDP review suggested that information from forums (particularly the IGC) was not being adequately disseminated across the department. Some of the same concerns were raised in this evaluation. The sharing of forum information and products with CIC staff and OGDs is not systematic and consistent. As a result, the full value of forum participation is not always being realized.

Recommendation #2: CIC should develop a strategy designed to more systematically disseminate and manage relevant forum information (i.e. reports, briefings) to CIC and OGD staff.

Currently, there are a limited number of international forums where Canada can engage on issues affecting migrants, each of which brings together different groups. There are no true alternative means that Canada can use to engage in regional or multilateral migration issues that would accomplish the same objectives in a more efficient way; other forums, such as the FCC, UNHCR, and OAS are viewed as complementary, and not an alternative.

The MPDP is an efficient program that allows Canada access to relevant forums on migration. Furthermore, the fund has been efficiently managed and offers high value for money considering the low materiality of the Program.

Appendix A: Evaluation Matrix

Relevance

Question Indicator Data Source
1. Is there a continued need for the MPDP (forum support & participation and research components)?
  • Perceptions of key stakeholders with respect to the need for the MPDP
  • Reported value/tangible benefits of participation in forums
  • Reported value of research produced
  • Document review
  • Key informant interviews
2. Are the program objectives aligned with CIC strategic outcomes and GoC priorities?
  • Alignment of forum/research objectives with departmental outcomes
  • Alignment of forum/research objectives with federal priorities
  • Document review
  • Key informant interviews
3. Are the activities funded through the MPDP aligned with the roles and responsibilities of the federal government?
  • Degree of alignment with federal and legislative objectives
  • Perceptions of key stakeholders with respect to the federal role in the MPDP
  • Document review
  • Key informant interviews

Performance

Question Indicator Data Source
4. To what extent has Canada been able to promote and defend its migration interests and policies through MPDP activities?
  • Perception of key stakeholders on the level of Canada’s influence/promotion of migration interests
  • Number of follow-up requests from meeting participants resulting from forum exchanges
  • Number of fora and events with a Canadian presence
  • Establishment, renewal and strengthening of working relationships with foreign governments and international organizations
  • Document review
  • Key informant interviews
5.  To what extent does Canadian migration policy benefit from migration-related research and activities (e.g. seminars/workshops)?
  • Perception of key stakeholders on the level of Canada’s influence on the migration research agenda
  • Use of MPDP sponsored migration research by domestic policymakers
  • Adoption and advances in domestic policy development that link to participation in forums or events supported by the program
  • Evidence of meetings/working groups supporting dialogue, information exchange and networking (e.g. position papers)
  • Reported benefits of research
  • Evidence of Canada’s influence on research on migration issues
  • Document review
  • Key informant interviews
6. Are CIC staff appropriately informed of the results of CIC participation in MPDP-funded fora?
  • Number of debriefing sessions held and meeting summary documents prepared
  • Number of people attending debriefing sessions, number of invitations sent
  • Perception of usefulness/quality of briefings made by fora participants
  • Document review
  • Key informant interviews
7. What are the costs associated with the program?
  • Number and value of grant agreements
  • Number of FTEs and salary dollars associated with the program
  • Data analysis (financial)
  • Key informant interviews
8. What processes and controls are in place to ensure efficient use of funds?
  • Funding criteria
  • Mechanisms in place to provide funding
  • Fund recipient perspectives
  • Document review
  • Key informant interviews
9. What is the value associated with the activities funded through the MPDP?
  • Perceived value of contribution in MPDP funded fora
  • Perceived value of research/program activities (e.g. seminars, workshops)
  • Perceived quality of program activities (e.g. seminars, workshops)/research
  • Evidence of use of forum/research learnings in policy development
  • Document review
  • Key informant interviews
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