Evaluation of the Multiculturalism Program

1. Introduction

1.1 Purpose of evaluation

This report presents the results of the evaluation of the Multiculturalism Program. The data collection was undertaken by the Research and Evaluation Branch (R&E), Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) between April and October 2011.

The Multiculturalism Program was last evaluated in 2005, and formative and summative evaluations were planned for 2007-08 and 2009-10, respectively. Following a policy review in 2007 and changes to the program objectives in 2010, these evaluations were not undertaken. As new program objectives were put in place, CIC was required to conduct an evaluation of the Multiculturalism Program, in alignment with the Directive on the Evaluation Function (Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, 2009).

This evaluation report is organized in four main sections:

  • Section 1 presents the profile of the program;
  • Section 2 presents the methodology for the evaluation and discusses methodological limitations;
  • Section 3 presents the findings, organized by evaluation issue; and
  • Section 4 presents the conclusions and recommendations.

1.2 Multiculturalism program profile

1.2.1 Context and objectives

Canada has a long history of policies and programming for multiculturalism. The current Multiculturalism Program derives its mandate from the Canadian Multiculturalism Act (1988) which reaffirmed the Multiculturalism Policy of 1971. Since 1988, the Multiculturalism Program has received continued funding for programming aimed at fostering social cohesion and building an inclusive society that is open to, and respectful of, all Canadians.

In the fall of 2007, the Government of Canada (GoC) conducted a policy review of the program, which identified a number of programming gaps and key challenges related to Canada’s increasing ethnocultural diversity. The review concluded that there was a need to adjust multiculturalism programming to focus more on integration and link the program to broader notions of citizenship and Canadian identity. The Multiculturalism Program was the responsibility of the Department of Canadian Heritage (PCH) until October 2008, when it was transferred to CIC. At that time, the four objectives of the program were:

  • ethnocultural/racial minorities participate in public decision-making (civic participation);
  • communities and the broad public engage in informed dialogue and sustained action to combat racism (anti-racism/anti-hate/cross-cultural understanding);
  • public institutions eliminate systemic barriers (institutional change); and
  • federal polices, programs and services respond to diversity (federal institutional change).

In July 2009, Cabinet approved three new objectives for the Multiculturalism Program, which came into effect on April 1, 2010:

  • to build an integrated, socially cohesive society;
  • to improve the responsiveness of institutions to meet the needs of a diverse population; and
  • to actively engage in discussions on multiculturalism and diversity at an international level.

The Multiculturalism Program is comprised of four key components: provide funding to organizations to undertake multiculturalism projects and events (called Inter-Action); undertake public education and promotion initiatives; provide support to federal and other targeted public institutions; and conduct international engagement activities (see Appendix A for the program logic model).

1.2.2 Delivery approach and multiculturalism activities

Responsibility for the Multiculturalism Program lies within a number of Branches within CIC, including the Citizenship and Multiculturalism Branch (CMB), the Integration Program Management Branch (IPMB), and the Communications Branch. Some activities, including those associated with the international engagement, public education and promotion, and institutional components are undertaken directly by the Department. The program also administers Inter-Action, a grants and contributions (Gs&Cs) component, which provides organizations with funding to undertake projects and events that support the three program objectives (each of these four components is described in more detail below). The program is also supported by CIC’s Research and Evaluation Branch (R&E), which works to ensure that the program’s research needs are met.

Projects and events

The Gs&Cs component of the Multiculturalism Program is administered both at CIC National Headquarters (NHQ) and in each of CIC’s five regions.Footnote 1 Thus, responsibilities for this component are shared between the Regional Program Delivery and NHQ Program Delivery units, both of which are housed in IPMB.Footnote 2

Under the old program objectives, projects were accepted through a continuous intake process. With the implementation of the new program objectives in April 2010, a call for proposals (CFP) process was launched for the projects stream, whereby organizations were invited to submit proposals for project funding. Projects can be multi-year and national or regional. The funding guidelines for Inter-Action do not specify a minimum or maximum dollar value for funding, although it notes that recently approved projects ranged from $25K to $1.4 million per project.Footnote 3 Proposals received through the CFP process were assessed by Multiculturalism Program Officers using standard assessment criteria that were used across the regions and then were recommended to the Minister for approval.

In addition to the CFP process, projects can also be funded through Strategic Initiatives, which are intended to allow the program to be responsive to community and regional needs by addressing current and emerging priority issues and applications can be submitted at any time.

An events stream was established in fiscal year 2010-11 as a new element of Inter-Action. In comparison to projects, events are smaller scale, one-time initiatives and are funded up to a maximum of $15K. Events are funded through grants and are delivered only by the regions.

Public education and promotion

The public education and promotion component is the responsibility of the Public Education and Marketing (PEM) unit, Communications Branch. There are five core initiatives that have been undertaken by PEM, including: Asian Heritage Month (AHM); Black History Month (BHM); the Paul Yuzyk Award for Multiculturalism (PYA); the Mathieu Da Costa (MDC) Challenge and the National Video Challenge (NVC).Footnote 4 PEM is responsible for all aspects of delivery including the development and distribution of marketing and promotional tools via the web, in the media, and to targeted institutions such as schools and libraries. It also receives and evaluates submissions, holds awards ceremonies to recognize winners, and holds other events in support of the initiatives. The Policy and nowledge Development unit, CMB provided policy support to PEM with respect to these activities.Footnote 5

Federal and other public institutions

Support to federal and other public institutions is the responsibility of the Policy and Knowledge Development unit, CMB. One of the key activities undertaken by this group includes the coordination and development of the Annual Report on the Operation of the Canadian Multiculturalism Act—a requirement under the Multiculturalism Act—which includes providing support to federal institutions for the development of their submissions (e.g., holding workshops, responding to telephone inquiries, developing a reporting template). This group is also responsible for the coordination of the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Officials Responsible for Multicultural Issues Network (FPTORMI) and the coordination of the Multiculturalism Champions Network (MCN). FPTORMI is intended as a forum for information exchange between the federal and provincial governments.Footnote 6 The MCN is intended to be forum for sharing best practices on approaches to diversity among federal institutions.Footnote 7

International engagement

The Multiculturalism Policy unit, CMB is responsible for the international engagement component. Under this component, CIC ensures that Canada is represented at international fora, conferences, and workshops and that it fulfills international reporting commitments. These include the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research (ITF), the Global Centre for Pluralism (GCP), and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). The Multiculturalism Policy unit also prepares materials that are required for conferences, workshops, and Ministerial briefings and speeches.

1.2.3 Multiculturalism Program expenditures

Establishing the budget for the Multiculturalism Program for the time period of the evaluation was challenging, in part, due to the transfer of the program to CIC in October, 2008. A review of PCH’s 2008-09 and 2009-10Footnote 8 Reports on Plans and Priorities (RPP) and its 2008-09 Departmental Performance Report (DPR) showed that multiculturalism was included in two different program activities (i.e., promotion of intercultural understanding and participation in community and civic life) in the departmental PAA. The budget and actual spending for the program was not provided separately from those two program activities, although the DPR provided Gs&Cs expenditures.

Therefore, the evaluation had to rely on information provided by CIC’s Finance Branch to determine the budget for the program. CIC financial information for Vote 1 [(i.e., salaries and operations & maintenance (O&M)] is maintained in such a way that original program budgets are continuously modified as budget changes are made to programs. This means that the financial information for the program is presented as expenditures rather than planned budget (Table 1-1). In fiscal years 2009-10 and 2010-11, total program expenditures were $28.5 million in total, with expenditures slightly higher in 2010-11 (i.e., $13.2 million and $15.3 million, respectively).

Table 1-1: Expenditures for the Multiculturalism Program

Item Fiscal Year
2008-09 2009-10 2010-11
Grants and Contributions $4,147,619Footnote 9 $4,205,565 $6,829,468
Salary N/A $5,841,336 $6,270,737
O&M N/A $3,104,721 $2,244,647
Total $13,151,622 $15,344,852

Source: CIC Financial Data.

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