Evaluation of the Multiculturalism Program

3. Evaluation findings

This section presents the findings of the evaluation, organized by the three broad evaluation themes of relevance, design and delivery, and performance.

3.1 Relevance

3.1.1 Continued need for Multiculturalism Programming

Finding: Given the increasing ethnocultural and religious diversity of the Canadian population and the continued existence of prejudice, racism and discrimination in Canadian society, there is a need for multiculturalism programming in Canada. The Multiculturalism Program’s approach, which facilitates interaction among different communities in order to increase mutual awareness and understanding, has been found by a variety of academic research to be an effective means to promote social cohesion.

To assess the need for multiculturalism programming by the GoC, it is useful to look at the concept of multiculturalism in a broader context. A three-part definition was first suggested in the 1970s,Footnote 13 and has since been widely accepted and used by academics conducting research in this field:

  • multiculturalism as a demographic fact (the presence of cultural diversity in the population);
  • multiculturalism as an ideology (the general desirability among the population for maintaining this fact; i.e., a belief that this ethnocultural diversity is a positive aspect of the society); and
  • multiculturalism as a public policy (governmental orientation and action in support of this diversity; multicultural policies generally support integration of minority groups, as opposed to assimilation).

Canada, as an immigration-based country, has always been demographically multicultural; and there is substantial evidence that Canadians have a positive view of immigration and cultural diversity, and believe that both are an asset to Canada.Footnote 14 This ideology was reflected in the announcement of the Canadian Multiculturalism Policy in 1971, which advocated support for the maintenance and development of heritage cultures, and the reduction of barriers to full and equitable participation of all Canadians in the life of the larger society. This dual focus—on valuing diversity and ensuring equity—distinguishes the Canadian approach, and moves it beyond a policy that merely tolerates minority groups, to one that actively seeks to build an inclusive Canadian society. This policy was enshrined in the 1988 Canadian Multiculturalism Act, which articulated a multicultural vision for Canadian society. More recent research has distinguished Canada as among the most officially multicultural of 21 Western nations.Footnote 15

The Multiculturalism Policy and the Act have been supported by a wide range of programming, including CIC’s Multiculturalism Program, that aim to address challenges related to diversity and to help all Canadians participate in society to their full potential. To assess whether multiculturalism programming in general continues to be relevant, the evaluation first examined evidence on the level and nature of cultural diversity in Canada and the challenges this ethnocultural diversity may present. The evaluation then looked at the alignment of the current Multiculturalism Program with the identified need.

Composition of Canadian Society

Canada has a long history of ethnocultural, linguistic and religious diversity. However, over the last few decades, the size, nature and complexity of this diversity has changed substantially. High rates of immigration in recent decades has led to a rise in the number of foreign-born and the portion of the population that they represent: the immigration population increased from 3.9 million in 1986, to 6.2 million in 2006, accounting for 15.6% and 19.8% of the Canadian population respectively. Statistics Canada projects that, if current immigration trends continue, the proportion could reach slightly over 22% by 2017.Footnote 16

In addition to sustained high levels of immigration, the source countries for this immigration have also changed substantially over recent years. While the 1901 Census recorded about 25 different ethnic groups in Canada, there are currently over 200.Footnote 17 As indicated in Table 3-1, European countries accounted for 75% of all Canadian immigrants in 1966, but only 16% by 2010. Correspondingly, the percentage from Asia and Pacific, and from Africa and the Middle East have grown dramatically (from 9% to 46% for Asia, and from 3% to 25% for Africa). The percentage of permanent residents from South and Central America also doubled over this fifty-year period, and represented 10% of the total immigrant population in 2010.

Table 3-1: Permanent residents in Canada, by source area (1966 and 2010)

Region 1966 2010
# % # %
Africa and the Middle East 5,842 3.0 66,693 25.1
Asia and Pacific 18,111 9.3 135,006 46.1
South and Central America 7,790 4.0 28,355 9.9
United States 17,527 9.0 9,243 3.3
Europe and United Kingdom 145,473 74.7 41,319 15.6
Unknown 0 0 65 0
Total 194,743 100 280,681 100

Source: 1961-1966: Canadian Demographics at a Glance, Statistics Canada, 2008.
2001 & 2010: Canada Facts and Figures, Citizenship & Immigration Canada, 2010.

Given this shift in source countries, the visible minority population of Canada is also increasing. Over a period of twenty years, between 1981 and 2001, the number of people belonging to a visible minority group almost quadrupled, from 1.1 million, to approximately 4.0 million. This growth boosted the proportion of visible minorities from 5% to 13% of the total Canadian population. This increase is expected to continue in the coming years, with the result that in 2017, the visible minority population will reach 7.1 million, representing approximately 20% of all Canadians.Footnote 18 Further, a recent Statistics Canada study projected that, by 2031, visible minorities will represent between 29% and 32% of the total Canadian population.Footnote 19

With these changes in the ethnocultural make-up of Canada, there have been corresponding changes in the religious composition. Between 1991 and 2001 Censuses, there were large increases among those who reported Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist denominations as their religion (increases over this ten-year period of 129%, 89%, 89% and 94% respectively).Footnote 20 This trend is expected to continue, with Statistics Canada estimating that non-Christian religious communities will represent about 14% of the total population in 2031, compared to 6.3% in 2001.Footnote 21

In addition to these general changes in the composition of the Canadian population, the geographic distribution of minority cultures is also changing, with more immigrants settling in provinces other than Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia, and more settling in non-urban parts of the country. Between 2002 and 2010, the percentage of permanent residents residing in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver decreased from 78% to 65%; while those living in non-urban areas doubled, from 1.6% to 3.6%.Footnote 22

Thus, not only is Canada an increasingly diverse country, this diversity is likely having an impact on more Canadians and communities than it did in the past, which supports the need for continued multiculturalism programming.

Challenges associated with diversity

While Canada has adopted and supported an ideology and policy of multiculturalism, there is evidence that intolerance, prejudice and discrimination constitute barriers to achieving an equitable society. A number of studies have demonstrated that Aboriginal people, visible minorities and immigrants are particularly vulnerable to unemployment, underemployment, lower incomes and social segregation.Footnote 23 A 2004 study found that the wage gap between visible minorities and the rest of the Canadian population had increased from 11% to 14.5% in the ten years between 1991 and 2000.Footnote 24 Among Canadian-born men, the three largest visible minority groups—Blacks, Chinese and South Asians—had significant wage gaps compared to their Caucasian counterparts.Footnote 25 The 2006 Census revealed that the unemployment rate of visible minority workers with university degrees in 2006 stood at 7.4% compared to 3.7% among non-visible minority workers with university degrees.Footnote 26 The incidence of poverty among immigrants, almost half of whom are visible minorities, has also been shown to be increasing in Canada.Footnote 27

Further, research on hate-motivated crimes has shown that the groups most at risk of being victimized by hate and bias activity were racial/ethnic and religious minorities. In 2009, police services in Canada reported 1,473 hate-motivated crimes, with 54% motivated by race/ethnicity and 29% motivated by religion.Footnote 28 In relation to specific groups, Blacks are the most commonly targeted racial group; and the Jewish faith is the most targeted faith in religiously-motivated hate crime. Police-reported hate crimes increased substantially between 2006 and 2009, although this may be due to increased reporting on the part of the police, rather than to an increase in actual incidents.Footnote 29

In addition to these differential outcomes, both Canadians and minority sub-groups perceive racism and discrimination to be prevalent in Canada. A 2003 Ipsos-Reid poll found that more than half of those surveyed (53%) believe that discrimination against visible minorities in Canada is a problem.Footnote 30 A more recent study by Environics Canada (2010) indicated that Muslims and Aboriginal Peoples are considered the most likely to face discrimination (76% and 74% of respondents respectively said that these groups are “often” or “sometimes” the subject of discrimination), followed closely by Pakistanis/East Indians (73%) and Blacks (70%).Footnote 31

In an overview of various surveys, PCH’s Public Opinion Research group reported on whether members of ethnic minority groups felt they had experienced discrimination in the preceding five years. This overview showed that Black respondents identified the highest levels of discrimination (52%), followed by Chinese (45%), Hispanics (38%), South Asians (37%), West Asian/Arab (36%) and Italian (22%).Footnote 32

In relation to religion, a 2009 Angus-Reid poll found that 72% of Canadians had a favourable opinion of Christianity, compared to 28% for Islam, 30% for Sikhism, and 41% for Hinduism. Judaism and Buddhism also had comparatively low support (53% and 57% respectively).Footnote 33

In summary, given that Canada’s population is increasingly diverse and that there continue to be risks associated with this diversity that may undermine social cohesion, there is a continued need for multiculturalism programming. This conclusion was supported by interviewees, all of whom (46) believed that multiculturalism programming in Canada is necessary. They cited a variety of reasons for this belief, including: the need to promote Canada’s cultural diversity (28 of 46); the fact that Canada continues to accept a large number of immigrants (24 of 46); to ensure equal participation in the economy and society (21 of 46); the need to assist newcomers with integration (13 of 46); and the need to address anti-racism and discrimination (13 of 46).

Alignment of Multiculturalism Program with identified need

A second consideration regarding the need for multiculturalism programming is related to whether the Multiculturalism Program, as currently structured, is the best way to meet that need. In order to assess this, the evaluation included a review of academic research associated with the program objectives and underlying ideology.

CIC’s Multiculturalism Program has three primary objectives:

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

The first goal of social cohesion is clearly aligned with the need identified in the preceding sections. In addition, the way in which the program seeks to fulfill this objective, through facilitating inter-action among communities, and thereby increasing mutual awareness and understanding, is considered by numerous academics as key to the successful integration of minority groups within the dominant society. For example, Berry presents three related hypotheses in his literature review.Footnote 34 The first, the multiculturalism hypothesis, is based on the assertion that only when people are secure in their own identity will they be in a position to accept those who differ from them, and conversely, when people feel threatened, they will develop prejudice and engage in discrimination. The second theory in support of a multicultural approach is the integration hypothesis, which contends that those who are ‘doubly engaged’ (in their own community and the larger society) experience higher levels of both psychological and sociocultural well-being. This is generally attributed to the social capital afforded by these multiple social and cultural engagements. The third hypothesis examined by Berry is the contact hypothesis, which asserts that greater intercultural contact is associated with more positive intercultural attitudes and lower levels of prejudice. Berry goes on to identify a wide range of empirical studies that support all three hypotheses.Footnote 35

Bloemraad (2011) also discusses the arguments advanced by multicultural theorists, which suggest that by recognizing and accommodating minority cultures, members of those communities will feel increased attachment to, and engagement in, the larger polity. She juxtaposes this position to that of its critics, who contend that an emphasis on diversity reifies differences and undermines social cohesion. Bloemraad reports that empirical research on these two positions has been limited and mixed. However, she does conclude that multiculturalism, as a government policy, can be shown to be linked quite strongly to immigrants’ civic and political integration, although there is less evidence to align multiculturalism policies with positive labour market outcomes.Footnote 36

Thus, there is substantial evidence that Canada’s multicultural ideology, reflected in the first objective, and the associated approach of CIC’s Multiculturalism Program (i.e., interaction between different groups), are effective in addressing the need for social cohesion in a diverse society.

Many interviewees (21 of 34) felt that the objective of social cohesion is aligned with current needs, although many also commented on the fact that it is a very broad objective that could be operationalized in many different ways. The remaining interviewees either felt that it was not aligned (6 of 34) or had mixed opinions (7 of 34). These interviewees felt that there was a lack of understanding about what this objective really means, and that the objective implied conformity rather than integration. It is worth noting that all senior government managers and representatives of federal institutions who were interviewed believed that this objective was aligned with the need.

The second objective of the Multiculturalism Program is to encourage and assist public institutions to be more responsive to the needs of a diverse society. The literature review undertaken for this evaluation did not include research to directly assess the relevance of this objective. However, it can be viewed as supportive of the broader multicultural ideology—valuing cultural diversity and ensuring equitable treatment—that were linked to better integration of minorities. In addition, the goal of assisting institutions to be responsive to ethnocultural diversity, both within their organizations and in relation to the clients they serve, is the only objective of the Multiculturalism Program that is actually mandated by the Canadian Multiculturalism Act.

Just over two-thirds of those who provided their views on this objective (26 of 35) felt that it was aligned with a need, and that more work is required to help these institutions become truly responsive to our very diverse society. Four of the remaining interviewees, all of whom were CIC program and regional staff, did not think this objective was aligned; and the remainder (5 of 35), were uncertain, or had mixed views. However, a few of the explanations offered for these negative assessments were not related to the importance of this objective, but rather, reflected their belief that CIC does not really do much in this area, or that the objective is too large and CIC has no real authority to enforce change.

The third objective of the Multiculturalism Program addresses the need to be involved in the international discussion on multiculturalism in order to identify and share “best practices”. This objective had the least support from interviewees. Just under half (16 of 29) indicated that this objective was aligned with the need, although in most cases, it was because the Canadian approach can serve as a model for other countries, rather than the possibility of identifying better approaches for Canada. The remaining interviewees felt that it was not aligned (9 of 29), or had mixed opinions (4 of 29). Multiculturalism Program Officers were the most likely to say that this objective was not aligned (5 of 6), which is not surprising as they have little involvement with these activities. In contrast, a few program staff strongly emphasized the importance of this dialogue for refining our own thinking, and for promoting Canada’s approach as a model that supports social cohesion. This latter point, Canada’s leadership role in the international debate, may be particularly important, given the higher levels of intercultural conflict experienced in countries, such as France, Germany and Denmark, that have not adopted many policies and/or practices that value diversity and promote inclusion.Footnote 37

3.1.2 Alignment with federal roles and responsibilities

Finding: Multiculturalism programming, with its basis in federal legislation, is well aligned with federal roles and responsibilities, although provinces, municipalities and other organizations also have a role to play. The federal role, according to interviewees, is to provide leadership, promotion and education in relation to multiculturalism, and to support the delivery of consistent and best practices across the country.

Legislative context

Multiculturalism programming is a Federal responsibility by virtue of the commitments articulated in the Canadian Multiculturalism Act. It also aligns with a number of other key federal legislative requirements that define some of the fundamental values, norms and beliefs upheld by Canadian society. These include the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (which must be interpreted “in a manner consistent with the preservation and enhancement of the multicultural heritage of Canadians” and ensures equality before the law regardless of race, national or ethnic origin, colour or religion); the Canadian Human Rights Act (which prohibits discrimination in areas of federal jurisdiction); and the Employment Equity Act (which calls for equality in the workplace and, in support of that goal, the correction of the conditions of disadvantage experienced by aboriginal peoples and members of visible minorities).

In addition to these legislative obligations, the fact that immigration is primarily a federal role entails some level of responsibility for social cohesion issues that result from the diversity of Canadian society—a rationale that was raised by many interviewees (24 of 46).

Alternative sources of funding

To better understand the extent to which multiculturalism should be viewed as a federal responsibility, the evaluation asked interviewees and survey respondents about the extent to which other governments or foundations are involved in multiculturalism programming and the potential impact if the CIC Multiculturalism Program did not exist. The typology of projects was also analyzed to determine the number and types of other organizations that fund multiculturalism projects.

With respect to the typology, there do appear to be a wide variety of other potential funders, although not necessarily organizations that could replace the federal government. Each of the projects in the typology had an average of five funding sources (including the applicant organization), in addition to CIC’s Multiculturalism Program. Most of these were other associations and NGOs, which were contributing relatively small amounts. The only other large contributors (i.e., providing more than $1M) were federal departments (primarily other CIC programs and Service Canada), provincial agencies and municipalities. It should also be noted that most of this funding from these other sources had not been confirmed at the time the project application was submitted to CIC.

Interviewees also indicated that it typically takes a variety of funding sources to generate the full budget required for these projects. They also indicated that, while there are numerous public and private programs and services that address multiculturalism issues, very few have the same focus or funding capability as CIC’s Multiculturalism Program. More specifically, other governments often address multiculturalism through providing their services and information in multiple languages, not through funding projects intended to improve social cohesion. Further, most provincial services are intended to serve new immigrants and relate primarily to settlement services (i.e., they do not have the broader mandate and clientele of the Multiculturalism Program). Some provinces, such as British Columbia, Ontario and Newfoundland, do have funding that could be used for multiculturalism programs, but it tends to be quite limited and, again, is primarily focussed on immigrants.

This lack of alternative funding programs was echoed by respondents to the telephone survey, as about half of both the funded and unfunded respondents reported that their project could not proceed without the Multiculturalism Program funding. The main reason cited was a lack of funding alternatives for these types of projects. In some cases it was noted that other funding is often contingent on receiving core funding from CIC.

Perceived role of the Federal Government

All interviewees who were asked (35) agreed that the federal government has an important role to play in the delivery of multiculturalism programming, but that there is also a role for provinces, municipalities and other organizations. Interviewees saw the government’s main role as establishing the policy, procedures, and legislation for multiculturalism (13 of 35); ensuring a national coordinated approach (10 of 25); and encouraging other jurisdictions to adopt multicultural policies and programming (7 of 35).

Similarly, all survey respondents (18) felt that the federal government has a role to play in the delivery of multiculturalism programming. The most frequent suggestions for the federal role were: to provide leadership in maintaining a vision of (and educating about) multiculturalism across the country; to identify, fund and share best practices; and to support the delivery of consistent practices across the country. Four interviewees (of 18) also emphasized the importance of working in partnership with provinces, communities and ethnic organizations.

3.1.3 Consistency with CIC goals and government-wide priorities

Finding: CIC’s program activity architecture and strategic goals have been revised to include multiculturalism programming. However, the way in which this addition will influence or be influenced by other programs and services has not yet been fully determined. The majority of interviewees did not think that multiculturalism is a federal priority. Some key federal government documents, such as Speeches from the Throne, refer to diversity, but do not identify multiculturalism programming as a policy priority.

Alignment with CIC outcomes and priorities

The Multiculturalism Program was initially part of PCH, but was transferred to CIC in October 2008, as part of a new Citizenship and Multiculturalism Branch. This branch, together with CIC’s settlement programs, contributed to strategic outcome (SO) 3 in the departmental PAA at that time: Successful integration of newcomers and promotion of Canadian citizenship. Subsequently (effective April 1st, 2011), CIC’s PAA was revised to (among other things) better reflect the addition of the Multiculturalism Program, and SO 3 was expanded to: Newcomers and citizens participate to their full potential in fostering an integrated society.

Thus, it is reasonable to conclude that, at least structurally, the Multiculturalism Program is now aligned with CIC outcomes. However, views on whether this is a natural, or the best “fit,” were mixed (18 of 35). Just over one-third of interviewees (13 of 35) felt that the program fits well within CIC primarily because it is part of a continuum that extends from the selection of immigrants, to the provision of settlement services that ideally culminate in citizenship and integration/multiculturalism. Conversely some (15 of 35) interviewees cautioned that housing the Multiculturalism Program within CIC risks aligning it too closely with immigrants, rather than with all Canadians, particularly given its relatively small budget. A few interviewees (4 of 35) were firm in their belief that the Multiculturalism Program was better placed in PCH, as it was better aligned with that department’s mandate.

There is no question that responsibility for the Multiculturalism Program substantially broadens CIC’s mandate (to include longer-term integration) and its clientele (to include all Canadians). It is unclear, as yet, how the department intends to reflect this fact in the delivery of short and longer-term integration services.

The evidence with respect to whether multiculturalism is a CIC priority was mixed. There are frequent references in CIC planning documentsFootnote 38 regarding the need to increase our focus on longer-term integration and on the challenges stemming from our diversity. However, as indicated above, the manner in which CIC plans to address these challenges is vague. While interviewees did not provide any views on the priority of multiculturalism within the department, most (15 of 19) said that the Multiculturalism Program has not yet been fully integrated into CIC.

Alignment with Federal priorities

There is some evidence to indicate that the GoC considers ethnocultural diversity to be an important federal responsibility. For example, the November 2008 Speech from the Throne committed the GoC to reducing “barriers that prevent Canadians from reaching their full potential” and ensuring that “all Canadians share in the promise of this land, regardless of cultural background, gender, age, disability or official language.”Footnote 39 The March 2010 Speech from the Throne stated that Canada demonstrated that “people drawn from every nation can live in harmony.”Footnote 40 More recently, at the international level, the government announced a new Office of Religious Freedom to help protect religious minorities and to promote the pluralism that is essential to the development of free and democratic societies.Footnote 41 That being said, almost all interviewees (14 of 15) indicated that multiculturalism is not a priority for the current federal government.

3.2 Design and delivery

3.2.1 Program Changes with the Implementation of the New Program Objectives

Finding: While the program objectives were modified slightly in 2010, the program activities and target groups remained largely the same as under the previous objectives. Some notable changes were made with respect to the delivery of the grants and contributions component, including the implementation of a call for proposals process and the addition of an events stream.

Program Objectives

As noted in Section 1.2.1 (Context and Objectives), new program objectives came into effect on April 1, 2010. A cross-walk was completed to examine how the new objectives were similar and/or different to the old. This cross-walk and information provided by interviewees during the evaluation planning phase showed that there is a strong link between the two sets of objectives. More specifically, as shown in Table 3-2, objectives number one and two from 1997 are similar to new objective number one, although more emphasis is now being placed on civic memory and pride, and intercultural relations between multi-communities (i.e., the program used to fund single community projects, now at least two communities must be involved), as well as on citizenship. The information from the project typology confirmed that there has been a subtle shift in what is being supported under the new objectives. For example, the concept of civic participation has been replaced with the concept of fostering civic pride and respect for core democratic values, and the concept of inter-cultural understanding is being emphasized between ethnic communities.

In addition, old objectives number three and four are linked to new objective number two. While both objectives relate to institutional change and responsiveness, the new objective focuses more on service delivery rather than eliminating barriers to equitable access (i.e., more emphasis on how institutions can adjust their programs, services and policies to respond to a diverse society). The project typology did not identify any related changes in the projects being funded.

The last new objective (i.e., international focus) was not a formal objective under the old Multiculturalism Program, although the specific activities and responsibilities were part of the old program.

Table 3-2: Cross-walk between old and new Multiculturalism Program objectives

Objectives of the Multiculturalism Program
1997 2010

1. Ethnocultural/racial minorities participate in public decision-making (civic participation)

  • To assist in the development of strategies that facilitates full and active participation of ethnic, racial, cultural, and religious communities in Canadian society.

1. Build an Integrated, Socially Cohesive Society

  • Build bridges to promote intercultural understanding, foster citizenship, civic memory and pride and respect for core democratic values grounded in our history, and promote equal opportunity for individuals of all origins.

2. Communities and the broad public engage in informed dialogue and sustained action to combat racism (anti-racism/anti-hate/cross-cultural understanding)

  • To increase public awareness, understanding and informed public dialogue about multiculturalism, racism, and cultural diversity in Canada.
  • To facilitate collective community initiatives and responses to ethnic, racial, cultural, and religious conflict and hate-motivated activity.

3. Public institutions eliminate systemic barriers (institutional change)

  • To improve the ability of public institutions to respond to ethnic, racial, cultural, and religious diversity by assisting in the identification and removal of barriers to equitable access and by supporting the involvement of these ethno-racial/cultural communities in the public decision-making process.

2. Improve the Responsiveness of Institutions to the Needs of a Diverse Population

  • Assist federal and public institutions to become more responsive to diversity by integrating multiculturalism into their policy and program development and service delivery.

4. Federal polices, programs and services respond to diversity (federal institutional change)

  • To encourage and assist in the development of inclusive policies and practices within Federal Departments and Agencies so that they may meet their obligations under the Canadian Multiculturalism Act.

3. Actively Engage in Discussions on Multiculturalism and Diversity at the International Level

  • Promote Canadian approaches to diversity as a successful model while contributing to an international policy dialogue on issues related to multiculturalism.
Program delivery

There were no changes to the way in which the international engagement, institutional, or public education and promotion components were delivered under the old objectives. With respect to the Gs&Cs component, in addition to being re-branded as Inter-Action, there were three notable changes.

  1. The CFP process was added to generate a larger number of eligible proposals. The CFP process also established consistent eligibility criteria, assessment guidelines, and service standards for processing applications across all regions.
  2. A new events stream was created to address the needs of community groups that organize events to encourage different communities to come together. Note that a few event-type activities also appear to have been funded prior to 2010.
  3. Strategic initiatives were introduced to respond to needs outside of the CFP process.

The evaluation did not identify significant changes with respect to the types of activities undertaken in each of the program components. There have been some minor changes to the groups being targeted by the program (i.e., private sector organizations can now submit proposals as long as it includes at least one not-for-profit partner providing financial or in-kind support).Footnote 42 Information from the project typology also showed that youth are an increasingly important target group, as are new Canadians, and immigrants. This is consistent with the priorities outlined in the CFP, which indicated that priority would be given to youth, youth-at-risk, immigrants, and faith communities.Footnote 43

3.2.2 Program governance

Finding: Program responsibilities are shared among many sectors, branches, directorates and units, and there have been reorganizations of the program since its transfer from Canadian Heritage to CIC in October 2008. This has made effective program governance a challenge, particularly with respect to communication, coordination and shared decision-making. There is a lack of clarity with respect to the responsibilities of the various units involved in the Multiculturalism Program and some decisions have been undertaken without appropriate input from both the policy and program units.

Organizational structure

When the Multiculturalism Program was with PCH, it was housed within one Branch (i.e., the Multiculturalism and Human Rights Branch). As shown in the first organizational chart in Figure 3-1, within the first few months of transfer to CIC, responsibility for the program was dispersed across three CIC sectors—with three different Assistant Deputy Ministers (ADMs)—and three different Branches. The public education and outreach component became the responsibility of PEM Unit (Communications Branch, Internal Services) in January 2009. The remaining components were transferred to two different Branches in the Strategic Policy and Planning (SPP) Sector: research activities were transferred to R&E; the international engagement and institutional components were transferred to the Multiculturalism Partnerships and Engagement Unit (CMB); the policy function transferred to the Multiculturalism Policy Unit (CMB); and the responsibility for national and regional projects was split between two units within CMB. The Multiculturalism Program in the regions is the responsibility of the Operations Sector.

The Multiculturalism Program has undergone subsequent reorganizations. In January 2011, the operational responsibility for all Gs&Cs programming, including Multiculturalism, was transferred to the newly created IPMB, still in Operations Sector (second organizational chart in Figure 3-1). In addition, the Multiculturalism Partnerships and Engagement unit was transferred to International Region—although responsibility for institutional activities, such as the FPTORMI and MCN, remained with the Citizenship Policy and Knowledge Development unit (CMB); and the international component was transferred to the Multiculturalism Policy unit (CMB).

Figure 3-1: Organizational structure for the Multiculturalism Program

Organizational structure for the Multiculturalism Program

The organizational structure is in alignment with the CIC organizational structure (i.e., policy and operations in different sectors). However, when asked about the effectiveness of the governance structure, many interviewees (16 of 29) said that governance was not effective, citing the decentralized nature of the program (10 of 16) and the many reorganizations as issues (4 of 16). The evaluation found evidence to indicate there are governance challenges related to communication, coordination, and decision-making.

Communication, coordination, and decision making

The decentralization of the program and the subsequent reorganizations it has undergone have likely contributed to the somewhat mixed response from interviewees regarding the clarity of roles and responsibilities within the program. Many CIC interviewees (15 of 24) felt that the roles and responsibilities of program staff were clear (note that this included all eight senior managers interviewed). The remaining interviewees were either mixed in their opinion, or did not think that roles and responsibilities were clear, noting that there is poor communication between the various groups involved in the program. Although a few CIC respondents reported that roles and responsibilities have been documented, these documents were not provided for the evaluation, which suggests that roles and responsibilities of program staff have not been formally articulated.

Discussions related to the Multiculturalism Program take place at the CIC ADM-chaired Business / Operations Committee (BOC) and its Director-level sub-committee, Settlement, Resettlement and Multiculturalism Management Committee (SRMMC). There is also a committee in place (i.e., Policy Research Working Group on Citizenship, Integration and Multiculturalism) to discuss research needs and develop a plan to address them.

The evaluation found, however, that there are a lack of mechanisms in place to assist with on-going communication and coordination at the working level.Footnote 44 Several interviewees reported being unaware of the activities of the various units involved in the program, even when they felt those activities could have an impact on their own work. Regional staff, in particular, noted that they were not aware of what the various units at NHQ are responsible for, or from which units they were receiving various requests. During the course of the evaluation examples of this disconnect between policy and operations were observed (e.g., both policy and program decisions were, on occasion, made without sufficient consultation).

Recently, a manager-level committee has been established, which includes representation from all branches involved in the Multiculturalism Program. It intends to meet on a monthly basis to improve coordination and decision-making between groups, both of which were identified as issues by interviewees.Footnote 45

3.2.3 Design and delivery issues

Finding: The new CFP process added consistency and transparency to the way in which project priorities were defined and proposals were assessed, which also brought the Multiculturalism Program in alignment with other CIC Gs&Cs programming. However, due to the intentional broadness of the language in the CFP, the dollar value of applications received far outweighed the funds available for projects. In addition, the approval process was found to be lengthy and not sufficiently transparent.

Call for proposal process for grants and contributions

In 2010, CIC replaced the continuous intake process for projects with a new CFP process. Under the previous process, Multiculturalism Program Officers actively sought out potential projects and worked with organizations to develop project proposals. These recommended proposals were then sent to the Minister for approval.

The CFP process, which is used for most CIC Gs&Cs programming, is designed to solicit proposals at one time, with little or no involvement from Program Officers in the development of the proposals. The CFP opened on June 27, 2010 and articulated the new program objectives, priority beneficiary groups, and particular multicultural themes that would be supported during the funding period.Footnote 46 Project funding guidelines were also developed that provided further detail related to eligible and ineligible expenditures, and eligible activities. An eligibility and assessment grid was used by staff to review the proposed projects, first to determine if the project was eligible for funding, and second to assess and score the proposal against set criteria (e.g., link to program objectives, ability to achieve results). A few Multiculturalism Program Officers interviewed also indicated that an additional peer review process took place to ensure a consistent approach. With the introduction of the CFP process, CIC also introduced service standards for the processing of proposals. These standards included:

  • proposals will be acknowledged no later than seven business days after the CFP closes;
  • applicants will be advised as to whether their project is eligible no later than 30 business days of the date of CIC’s acknowledgement letter; and
  • eligible applicants will be provided with a funding decision within 90 business days of CIC advising applicants of their eligibility, or will be notified if any additional processing time is required.Footnote 47

Information obtained from a CFP proposal tracking sheet maintained by the Operations Performance Management Branch (OPMB)Footnote 48 shows a high rate of compliance with the 30-day standard (almost 100%) and with the 7-day standard (over 90% for all Regions, except Quebec and Atlantic) (Table 3-3). Atlantic Region cited resource issues as the reason the standard was not met in all cases, and the Quebec Region did not meet the standard because their letters were issued one day late due to postal hours. The 90-day service standard for recommended proposals (i.e., notification of a funding decision or notification that more time was required) was also met in 100% of cases in all Regions, although for most of these (31 of 39), the notification was that more time was required to reach a decision on the proposal. See Section 3.3.4 (Efficiency and Economy) for further discussion on this.

The consistency and transparency of the regional assessment process were improved by having these new processes in place. The CFP process also helped to harmonize the Multiculturalism Program with CIC’s other Gs&Cs programs, namely CIC’s Settlement Program. It is worth noting, however, that the Minister has chosen not to delegate decision-making with respect to Inter-Action projects, making this program distinct from CIC settlement and resettlement assistance programs.

Table 3-3: Compliance with service standards for CFP proposals

Region # of Proposals Received 7-day Service Standard 30-day Service Standard # of Proposals Recomm 90-day Service Standard
Met Not Met % Met Met Not Met % Met Met Not Met % Met
BCY 83 82 1 98.8 83 0 100.0 3 3 0 100.0
PNR 137 134 3 97.8 137 0 100.0 3 3 0 100.0
Ontario 285 267 18 93.7 280 5 98.2 5 5 0 100.0
Quebec 127 0 127 0.0 127 0 100.0 10 10 0 100.0
Atlantic 39 25 14 64.1 39 0 100.0 12 12 0 100.0
NHQ 80 72 8 90.0 80 0 100.0 6 6 0 100.0

Source: OPMB CFP Tracking Spreadsheet.

Information from the CFP tracking sheet showed that the number of proposals received far outweighed the program budget and the number of proposals that could ultimately be funded. Assuming the budget for contributions remains constant for the next three fiscal years (i.e., fiscal year 2011-12 to 2013-14), financial data show that the budget will be approximately $26.8 million.Footnote 49

A total of 751 project proposals were received and the total dollar value of funds requested for that same 3-year period was $235 million (Table 3-4). This translates to almost nine times the estimated budget allocation. Ontario Region, in particular, received a very high dollar value of funding requests, at 16.5 times the estimated 3-year allocation for that region.

Table 3-4: Total dollar value of proposals received

Region # of Proposals Received Total Dollar Value of Proposals Received Estimated Contribution Budget Allocation for Gs&Cs
(FY 2011-12 to 2013-14)
BCY 83 $23,874,277 $3,537,516
PNR 137 $33,451,525 $4,188,774
Ontario 285 $100,477,323 $6,699,729
Quebec 127 $24,777,836 $6,090,162
Atlantic 39 $8,007,372 $1,609,542
NHQ 80 $44,518,241 $8,312,442
Total 751 $235,106,574 $26,783,517

Source: OPMB CFP Tracking Spreadsheet.

Of the 751 proposals received, 75.5% (or 567 projects) were deemed to be eligible. Following completion of the screening of eligible projects, Multiculturalism Program Officers established a Group A list containing the top recommended projects that could be funded under the existing budget. A Group B list of projects was also established for funding should additional resources become available. A total of 39 proposals from Group A (or 6.9% of the total eligible) were recommended to the Minister for approval (Table 3-5). The most recent information from the CFP tracking sheets indicates that 25 (or 61.5%) of the recommended proposals (from Group A) were approved. Therefore, ultimately only 25 of the 567 eligible proposals were funded. While questions on the CFP process were not specifically posed, when asked about issues impacting the program, some interviewees (9 of 32) suggested that the CFP process did not work well for a variety of reasons, primarily because of the volume of applications received.

In addition, while consultations were conducted to seek input on the development of the CFP (i.e., to establish priorities, develop processes and forms), interviewees at NHQ were more confident that they were consulted for this process than those in the regions, and there was some concern that ultimately the CFP process did not sufficiently incorporate regional priorities. This was similar to information from the telephone survey, as some funded and non-funded respondents indicated that multiculturalism issues are best identified by communities themselves, or at the regional level.

Table 3-5: Summary of eligible, recommended, and approved CFP proposalsFootnote 50

Region # of Proposals Received # of Eligible Proposals % of Proposals Eligible # of Proposals Recommended # of Proposals Approved % of Proposals Approved
BCY 83 68 81.9 3 3 100.0
PNR 137 106 77.4 3 2 66.7
Ontario 285 206 72.3 5 5 100.0
Quebec 127 99 78.0 10 5 50.0
Atlantic 39 37 94.9 12 6 50.0
NHQ 80 51 63.8 6 4 66.7
Total 751 567 75.5 39 25 61.5

Source: OPMB CFP Tracking Spreadsheet.

Approval process for grants and contributions

Under the continuous intake process, Multiculturalism Program Officers actively sought out projects and worked with organizations to submit proposals for projects that they subsequently recommended to the Minister for approval. Under the new CFP process, Multiculturalism Program Officers completed assessments of the proposals that included scores and rankings, and then a group of recommended projects were given to the Minister for approval. When the CFP process was put in place, a Green Light process was initiated for the Multiculturalism Program. This process included a review stage by the Minister prior to formal project approval. The Regions developed a list of recommended projects and the applicant organizations on this list were provided to the Minister. Following feedback on this list, the recommended projects were then submitted for a final decision. For events, although approval is delegated to RDGs, a Green Light review by the Minister takes place before RDGs provide final approval for events.

Strategic initiatives, which are funded outside of the CFP, follow a different process. These projects may be regional or national in scope, and can be initiated by an NGO or by CIC. In either case, a CIC manager completes a short project concept form which is reviewed by IPMB and CMB and, if the project meets the requirements for a strategic initiative (i.e., time-sensitive or responds to a GoC or CIC priority in a unique way), the form is reviewed by the Minister. If the project receives a “green light,” the applicant is asked to submit a complete proposal, which is assessed on an expedited basis and, if recommended, provided to the Minister for approval.

The project approval processFootnote 51 was identified as an issue with the Multiculturalism Program by most CIC interviewees (24 of 27).Footnote 52 More specifically, interviewees noted the fact that projects require Ministerial approval (16 of 27), the length of time it takes to receive a decision (12 of 27) and the lack of transparency with the approval process (12 of 27) as problems. CIC interviewees indicated that program officers did not receive sufficient information or explanations with respect to how decisions were made, and that their requests for clarification had gone unanswered. Consequently, they found it difficult to advise organizations as to why their projects were refused, or how they could improve future submissions. Similarly, a few telephone survey respondents that applied for funding, under both the continuous intake and CFP processes, identified issues with the timeliness and transparency of the approval process.

It is worth noting that the problems related to transparency were somewhat different under the two approval processes for projects. Under the continuous intake process, transparency related to a lack of information with respect to how decisions were made. While this was also an issue under the CFP process, the transparency issue was more related to confusion regarding the role of the Green Light process in approvals, and the fact that the process is not documented. According to the Enhanced Follow-up of the Multiculturalism Management Review, the Green Light process was intended to accelerate the assessment and approval processes.Footnote 53 However, as discussed in Section 3.3.4 (Efficiency and Economy), there continues to be delays in approvals for project proposals.

With respect to events, the timeliness of approvals was raised as an issue by a few interviewees, who indicated that approval was often given at the last minute. However, it was also noted that requests for event funding are sometimes received at the last minute as well. The dates when Green Light reviews were requested and the response on the request were not included in the events list, so it was not possible to assess the extent of any problem.

3.2.4 Performance measurement strategy

Finding: An appropriate performance measurement strategy has not been put in place to collect data on an on-going basis and available performance data are largely at the output level. Some of these output-level data are incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.

The Enhanced Follow-up of the Multiculturalism Management Review, prepared by the CIC Internal Audit and Accountability Branch (IAAB) in October, 2011, indicated that progress has been made towards collecting performance data for the Multiculturalism Program and stated that substantial progress has been made towards developing a performance measurement framework (PMF) and training for staff.Footnote 54 However, the PMF was only recently completed and, as such, very little performance information was available for the evaluation.

Output-level performance information

Currently, the majority of information collected for the Multiculturalism Program is at the output level. Output information is collected for international, institutional, and public education and promotion components (e.g., number of meetings held, number of submissions received, number of events attended, number of website downloads), although it has not been tracked consistently over time. Data were not available for all activities for all years within the scope of the evaluation, although more complete data did exist for 2010-11. It appears that more focus has been placed on collecting this information recently, which is consistent with what was reported in the Management Review Follow-Up.

With regard to projects and events, however, the evaluation identified challenges with the collection of output-level information. GCIMS stores information on all projects and events but it could not be used to generate project performance data for the evaluation for a number of reasons:

  • the data were often incomplete or not up-to-date;
  • the data could not be retrieved/verified; and
  • it was missing a variety of necessary data (e.g., actual start date; project outcomes; actual numbers of participants, etc.).

The evaluators relied heavily on the project RAFs to obtain information and also contacted the regional offices to provide data and information, which calls into question the utility of a data system meant to organize this information and present it in a useable way to assist with program management and reporting.

The issue of performance measurement was also raised in the interviews. When asked if sufficient performance information is available to assist with management of the program, only 3 of 16 CIC interviewees agreed that the available information was in fact sufficient. Most interviewees (12 of 16) said that improvements were required in this area and that there were big gaps in information (11 of 16), particularly with respect to the projects and events (i.e., there is no information on what the projects or events are achieving).

Outcome-level performance information

Little or no outcome data are collected to support the measurement of program outcomes. All data collected for the public education and outreach, international, and institutional components are output-based. With respect to the Gs&Cs component, projects and events have been funded based on the extent to which they would support program objectives. Therefore, any available information that may have been collected on an on-going basis is linked to objectives, rather than to outcomes. For example, although project recipients are required to complete an evaluation of the project, they did not yield useful information for the evaluation because: they were not completed using a standard approach; they were based on the achievement of specific project objectives rather than on program outcomes; and there was often little evidence provided to demonstrate an impact on project participants. Therefore, the project evaluations were of limited utility for the evaluation. CIC program staff also reported that they are not using these evaluations in any way to monitor or assess progress. This is consistent with a finding of a 2010 Management Review of the Multiculturalism Program (2010) which found that the project evaluations have not “informed decisions on program management.”Footnote 55

3.3 Program performance

The evaluation was designed to assess the achievement of both the immediate and intermediate outcomes for the Multiculturalism Program identified in the program logic model. The ultimate outcomes were not addressed due to the inherent challenges associated with measuring the impacts of social programs; and the difficulties with understanding what other factors may have influenced results . For the purposes of reporting the achievement of expected outcomes, immediate and intermediate outcomes are discussed together.

3.3.1 Increased awareness of civic memory and pride, respect for core democratic values and increased intercultural / interfaith understanding

The public education and promotion and the Gs&Cs components of the program are intended to support a range of outcomes:

  • program participants have increased awareness of core democratic values, Canadian history, institutions, ethnocultural, and/or religious diversity (immediate outcome);
  • program participants have increased civic memory and pride and respect for core democratic values (intermediate outcome); and
  • program participants and federal and targeted institutions have increased intercultural / interfaith understanding (intermediate outcome).
Public education and promotion component

Finding: Public education initiatives have been widely promoted using a variety of methods and there has been interest in these initiatives. It was not possible to determine to what degree these initiatives contributed to the achievement of expected outcomes.

As noted in Section 1.2.2 (Delivery Approach and Multiculturalism Activities), the public education initiatives include 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). The administrative data review showed that a number of promotional materials (e.g., posters, brochures, email blasts and public service announcements) were developed in support of these activities. As well, promotional kits (e.g., posters, brochures, pins, stickers) for the NVC and MDC were distributed widely to schools, libraries and youth organizations (Table 3-6 show the statistics for the distribution of kits, brochures, posters; and e-mail blasts—note that many of the statistics are approximations). A variety of social media (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube) were also used as a promotional tool for some of the initiatives. This information indicates that that these initiatives were widely promoted using a variety of methods.

Information from the administrative review showed that over 100 events were held across Canada between 2008-09 and 2010-11 in support of AHM (36 events) and BHM (70 events). These events included things such as movie screenings, plays, poster displays, and artistic performances and were targeted to a wide variety of audiences (e.g., students, public servants, and the general public). There was no information available to determine the reach (i.e., number of participants) of these events. The MDC, NVC and PYA also each had an award ceremony for the winners of the competitions each year.

Table 3-6: Distribution of promotional material for PEM activities

Event / Competition Fiscal Year
2008-09 2009-10 2010-11
# of kits, brochures, posters distributed E-mail blastsFootnote 56 # of kits, brochures, posters distributed E-mail blasts # of kits, brochures, posters distributed E-mail blasts
PYA N/A N/A 8,125 2,000 7,675 N/A
NVC 22,100 8,100 21,000 15,000 N/A N/A
MDC 28,800 8,100 22,850 15,000 21,500 14,000
BHM N/A   2,600   3,919  
AHM N/A   N/A   1,870  

Source: Event and competition final reports

Information from the administrative review indicated that the promotional materials were effective in attracting interest in the various events and competitions. Usage statistics for the Multiculturalism Program website were available for all five public education and marketing campaigns for the years 2009-10 and 2010-11. The data showed that overall web traffic on the program website for these events and competitions increased from 65,850 visits in 2009-10 to 70,923 visits in 2010-11—an increase of 7.7% (Table 3-7). Overall downloads of informational materials (e.g., brochures and posters) increased by 51% between 2009-10 and 2010-11.

Table 3-7: Summary of web statistics for PEM activities

Event / Competition Fiscal Year
2009-10 2010-11
Visits to Website # of downloads of materials (e.g., brochure, entry form) Visits to Website # of downloads of materials (e.g., brochure, entry form)
PYA 8,752 1,635 9,244 4,389
NVC 16,020 8,413 20,971 16,684
MDC 15,224 10,881 13,603 16,287
BHM 16,175 2,621 19,177 6,189
AHM 9,679 108 7,928 4,591
Total 65,850 23,658 70,923 48,140

Source: Event and competition final reports.

As well, the conversion rates (i.e., the percentage of visitors to downloads of either a poster, brochure or entry form) for the information web pages were substantial (i.e., AHM, 57%; BHM, 32%; MDC, 119%; Paul Yuzyk, 47%; and NVC, 79%). This indicates that a number of site users are more than just casual visitors, and are actually seeking out additional information on the competitions. Statistics also showed that over half of the downloads of the online information poster for BHM occurred in either January or February. This may indicate heightened awareness around the time of the campaign, which occurs in February, and shows the potential reach of this particular campaign.

Despite the volume of promotional materials developed and distributed and the volume of web traffic and downloads, the number of submissions for PYA, NVC, and MDC has decreased over time (Table 3-8). In the absence of any outcome information or follow-up on the campaigns associated with these activities, the evaluation was not able to identify reasons for this decline. Although, the 2010-11 final report for MDC noted declining participation rates and speculated that the competition levels had reached a plateau and concluded that a new competition needed to be considered for 2011-12.Footnote 57

Table 3-8: Number of submissions received for competitions

Activity Fiscal Year
2008-09 2009-10 2010-11
PYAFootnote 58 N/A 88 61
NVC 340 317 293
MDC 560 981 698

Source: Event and competition final reports.

When asked about outcomes related to public education and promotion, most (6 of 8) interviewees believed that these activities supported the outcomes, although no specific examples or supporting data were provided. A few interviewees (2 of 8) were mixed in their opinion, noting that better outcome data are needed, that the activities are outdated and that the impact may not be worth the funds. As shown in the above sections, there is a wide range of output data collected for the public education and promotion component. However, no outcome data are collected, which may be a result of the fact that there is not a strong link between this component and the unit responsible for policy direction.

Grants and contributions component

Finding: Based on client feedback from two projects, the program appears to be contributing to increased civic memory and pride, respect for core democratic values, and intercultural / interfaith understanding.

For the purposes of the evaluation, all active projects (94 projects, $16.7 million) were included in the scope (i.e., in the typology and to examine outcomes). Sixty-nine of these projects, totalling $20.5 million, were funded under the continuous intake process, while the remainder (25 projects, totalling $6.2 million) were funded through the CFP process (Table 3-9). As noted, Inter-Action included a new events stream and since April 1, 2010, the program received a total of 445 proposals for event funding. A total of 186 events (44.9%) were approved with a total value of $1.8 million (Table 3-9).Footnote 59

Table 3-9: Summary of active projects and events

Region Projects Events
Continuous Intake Process CFP Process
# of Proposals Funded Dollar Value of Proposals Funded # of Proposals Funded Dollar Value of Proposals Funded # of Events Funded Dollar Value of Events Funded
BCY 6 $2,740,749 3 $590,057 21 $198,490
PNR 16 $3,472,611 2 $609,061 46 $367,714
Ontario 21 $4,709,404 5 $1,674,071 66 $707,812
Quebec 9 $1,559,311 5 $1,388,499 22 $209,762
Atlantic 2 $69,360 6 $771,485 31 $280,152
NHQ 15 $7,958,434 4 $1,144,275 N/A N/A
Total 69 $20,509,869 25 $6,177,448 186 $1,763,929

Source: OPMB CFP tracking sheet.

The evaluation aimed to assess the outcomes associated with these projects and events by examining the results of the feedback forms for two projects. This information showed that the Multiculturalism and Me (M&M) project (41 responses)Footnote 60 had positive results with respect to intended outcomes related to increasing awareness of ethnocultural and/or religious diversity and increasing intercultural / interfaith understanding:

  • 97% (n=38) agreed or strongly agreed they had a chance to interact with someone from a different culture or religion;
  • 98% (n=38) agreed or strongly agreed that they learned something about another group different from theirs; and
  • 98% (n=38) agreed or strongly agreed that they had a better understanding of realities and challenges that different ethnocultural or religious groups face.

Open-ended responses supported these results, with participants expressing very positive experiences as a result of the project (e.g., they learned a lot about the issues and challenges of other cultures and how the media can impact public perceptions of ethnocultural communities). A number of respondents further added that the project gave them an opportunity to interact and get to know the realities of ethnocultural communities that are different from their own.

Responses related to the Citizenship ChallengeFootnote 61 project (19 responses) also showed that participants had positive results with respect to the intended outcomes:

  • 89% (n=17) agreed or strongly agreed that they learned something new about Canadian history, Canadian institutions, and Canadian symbols;Footnote 62
  • 83% (n=14) agreed or strongly agreed that they learned about their rights and responsibilities; and
  • 89% (n=17) agreed or strongly agreed that they had a stronger sense of belonging or attachment to Canada.

Respondents also indicted positive results regarding increased respect for core democratic values:

  • 95% (n=16) agreed or strongly agreed that they learned something about the rights and freedoms in Canada;
  • 94% (n=15) agreed or strongly agreed that they learned something about Canada’s legal system and democratic processes;Footnote 63 and
  • 94% (n=15) agreed or strongly agreed that they have an increased respect for Canada’s democratic values.

A few open-ended responses were received and respondents reported that they felt privileged to be a Canadian, that they had a better sense of why newcomers choose Canada as their new home, and the project reminded them that the rights and responsibilities they have as Canadians should not be taken for granted.

While these results are positive, it is not known how representative they are of the entire population of project participants. Little additional outcome information was available for projects. Telephone survey respondents and the evaluation reports indicated that the objectives of the projects were achieved, although it was not possible to know to what extent these achievements contributed to the outcomes of the Multiculturalism Program. Three of the five project evaluations reviewed contained an element of increased awareness; however, only one was related to the actual program objectives (increased awareness of civic rights and responsibilities). The other two were intended to increase awareness of the incidence of racism.

Therefore, overall, it is difficult to determine the extent to which projects and events have achieved the program outcomes. Although, there is some support from the literature (discussed in the relevance section) that ultimately projects, activities, or events that encourage interaction between different groups is one effective way to improve intercultural / interfaith understanding.

3.3.2 Responsiveness of federal and public targeted institutions

The second intermediate outcome of the Multiculturalism Program—institutional programs, policies and services are responsive to the needs of a diverse society—is addressed through the Gs&Cs, institutional and international engagement components, via two immediate outcomes:

  • federal and targeted institutions are aware of how to meet the needs of a diverse society (supported through the Gs&Cs and institutional components of the program); and
  • best practices on approaches to diversity are shared (addressed in the Gs&Cs, institutional and international components).
Grants and contributions component

The Gs&Cs component of the program is intended to contribute to these outcomes by funding public institutions (e.g., educational facilities, municipalities) for projects that would result in changes within their institutions.

Finding: Projects have been funded that are intended to contribute to institutional responsiveness. A closer examination of these projects showed that some were more on partnering with an institution for the delivery of the project, rather than aiming to change its policies or programs. Performance information was not available to determine to what degree projects are contributing to this outcome.

Information from the project typology showed that 39 active projects were intended to support this outcome (27 from continuous intake, 12 from the CFP), although in some cases the link to this outcome was somewhat indirect (i.e., recipient is partnering with a public institution). This was confirmed by the telephone survey, as many respondents (11 of 18) stated that their projects were to contribute to this outcome. However, the descriptions of the projects indicated that the organizations were partnering with particular institutions in delivering their project, rather than focusing on producing change within those institutions. Only one of the nine funded recipients and two of the nine non-recipients appeared to have a project that intended to directly support this outcome.

There was no information available to assess the extent to which these projects had an impact on outcomes related to institutional responsiveness. Project evaluations did not provide sufficient information on project outcomes and telephone survey respondents did not speak to these outcomes. One of the two projects for which responses were received on the feedback forms (the Citizenship Challenge) was intended to support institutional responsiveness as an outcome. However, this project is an example of one project that had more of an indirect link to this outcome, as the schools were being used as a delivery partner for the project and there was no intent to influence policy or programming to make them more responsive to diversity. Therefore, responses related to this outcome were not examined.

With respect to the second project (M&M), while it did not have institutional responsiveness as a desired outcome, it appeared to support this outcome and respondents were positive with respect to the questions related to this outcome:

  • 92% (n=37) of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they learned new ways in which institutions can be more responsive; and
  • 76% (n=29) of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they were planning on making changes to their programs, policies and services.

The information from the open-ended responses provided some examples of how respondents were planning on making changes within their organization as a result of participating in the project (e.g., will work in the media to ensure more accurate representation, will apply what is learned to an upcoming conference, plan on changing media policy). Note that it possible that this project actually was intended to support the outcome related to institutional responsiveness and it just was not included on the RAF; or despite the fact that it was not a desired outcome, participants experienced some impact in this respect.

The Gs&Cs component of the program is also intended to support projects that contribute to sharing best practices internationally. However, only three projects in the typology included an international element, and there was no information from the telephone survey, project evaluations, or participant feedback forms to assess the extent to which these projects had an impact in this respect.

Institutional Component

The institutional component is intended to contribute to increasing institutional responsiveness through facilitating dialogue between federal institutions, and with the provinces and territories to identify and share best practices on responding to diversity.

Finding: The majority of work undertaken within the institutional component is limited to organizing meetings and developing the Annual Report. Given the limited scope of activities undertaken, there has been little impact on increasing federal organizations’ responsiveness to a diverse society.

Annual Report on the Operation of the Multiculturalism Act

As part of its commitments under the Multiculturalism Act, CIC is responsible for submitting an Annual Report on the Operation of the Multiculturalism Act. The Annual Report is intended to highlight achievements made by institutions in furthering multiculturalism policy and programs within their organizations. CIC provides support to institutions in this respect by providing reporting templates for institutions and offering workshops on how to complete the submission. Between 2008-09 and 2010-11, 15 workshops were held (with 138 participants), related to the preparation of submissions for the Annual Report. CIC also responded to 500 inquires from 120 different institutions between 2008-09 and 2010-11, mostly in regards to the completion of their submissions to the Annual Report.

CIC has provided assistance to organizations in meeting their reporting requirements. The administrative data review showed that approximately 167 organizations are required to provide a submission each year and a large majority of institutions are meeting this requirement. In 2008-09, 122 organizations (73%) provided a submission and in 2009-10 the number rose to 134 organizations (80%).Footnote 64

Multiculturalism Champions Network

The MCN is the main mechanism for sharing information between federal institutions and the administrative review showed that there were five meetings of the MCN (between 2008-09 and 2011-12). The evaluation found that the MCN has not been effective due to participation levels, delegation of responsibility for participation in meetings, and the usefulness of the information provided. The administrative review showed that just over half of the 167 institutions that are required to provide an annual submission had Multiculturalism Champions in any given year (93 in 2008-09, 94 in 2009-10, and 99 in 2010-11). In addition, there were 32 participants at the MCN meeting in 2008-09, 36 at the first MCN meeting of 2009-10, and 35 at the second MCN meeting in 2010-11.Footnote 65 Considering there are approximately 90 institutions with Multiculturalism Champions in any given year, only about one-third of the institutions were represented at each meeting.

Additionally, representatives from these institutions are often delegates of the Multiculturalism Champions, who are supposed to be DG-level or higher. The data from the administrative review showed that two-thirds of meeting participants have been delegates. This is consistent with the data from the MCN questionnaire, which showed that almost half (16 of 34) of the representatives at that meeting were delegates, and the same number of attendees had never attended an MCN meeting before. The low representation of institutions at MCN meetings, the poor attendance by DG-level representatives, and the high turnover rate of participants suggests that there is a low priority placed on these meetings and ultimately calls their effectiveness into question.

The issue of effectiveness was also explored through the MCN questionnaire. When asked about sharing best practices and lessons learned, just over half of respondents (10 of 18) felt that that the MCN was fairly or very effective, and when asked about the effectiveness of the MCN for identifying greater areas of collaboration only 6 of 16 indicated that it was fairly or very effective. Interestingly, respondents thought the MCN was most useful for increasing knowledge and tools to help implement the Act, and not for sharing best practices or identifying opportunities for greater collaboration. The meeting agendas showed that members have had presentations of best practices, but often they are limited to hiring practices, which would fall within the domain of employment equity, not multiculturalism. Since September 2010, however, meeting agendas indicate that more work has been done to identify some short and medium-term priorities for the Network. CIC has also developed an MCN E-Handbook that contains a variety of information concerning the Multiculturalism Act, MCN, reporting requirements and statistics on multiculturalism that can serve as a useful reference for Multiculturalism Champions.

The evaluation found that there are more submissions provided for the Annual Report than there are Multiculturalism Champions. For example, in 2009-10 there were 134 submissions provided, but only 94 Multiculturalism Champions. As well, it appears having a Multiculturalism Champion in an organization does not necessarily make it more likely that the organization will make a submission. While there were 23 organizations without Multiculturalism Champs that failed to make a submission in either 2008-09 or 2009-10, a total of 20 organizations that did not have Champions made submissions in both of those years. This raises the question of whether the MCN is necessary to assist institutions in fulfilling their reporting requirements.

Federal-Provincial-Territorial Officials Responsible for Multicultural Issues Network

FPTORMI meetings are intended to provide a forum for the provincial, territorial, and federal representatives to update other jurisdictions on events and other initiatives related to multiculturalism that take place in their respective regions. The administrative data review showed that 17 FPTORMI teleconferences and three face-to-face meetings had taken place between 2008-09 and 2010-11.

The evaluation found that the effectiveness of this network is limited. For example, the minutes from these meetings showed that discussions were largely administrative (e.g., logistics, approving records of decision from previous meetings, planning topics for future meetings, and deciding on Terms of Reference). The meetings also provide participants an opportunity to network and look for possible areas of collaboration. However, where participant lists are available—which is not for all meetings, it appears that CIC representatives are all from NHQ. CIC regional representatives are not included in these meetings, yet interviews with Multiculturalism Program Officers showed that collaboration with PTs is part of their role, as they work to eliminate duplication or project overlap in their regions, or to identify PT-specific issues that can potentially be addressed through the Multiculturalism Program.

Overall, the evidence from the evaluation indicates that this component of the program has had limited impact on the level of responsiveness of institutions. Many interviewees (20 of 28) felt that the support to federal institutions has not been effective (e.g., lack of enforcement mechanisms, the need to involve more partners, the need for more face-to-face dialogue with institutions). It was also noted that activities undertaken to support federal institutions are increasingly being limited by the reduced capacity of the responsible unit at CIC. Program staff indicated that when the program moved to CIC from PCH, the team consisted of eight full-time equivalents (FTEs), who were responsible for the institutional component and PEM policy guidance. Since that time, the staff responsible for this work were transferred International and Intergovernmental Affairs Branch, although responsibility for the associated activities remained with CMB. According to program staff, there are currently only two FTEs working on the institutional component. This means that the program resources are largely used to meet commitments under the Act (i.e., develop the Annual Report), with little time available to make FPTORMI and the MCN useful (i.e., providing tools to assist institutions become more responsive).

Despite the fact that the MCN was viewed as ineffective, respondents to the MCN questionnaire generally believed that their institutions are responsive to the needs of a diverse society (26 of 30 indicated fairly or very responsive). This is consistent with information from a review of the past three Annual Reports,Footnote 66 which showed that federal institutions are implementing program and policy changes that respond to diversity. However, it was interesting that respondents to the MCN survey attributed their level of responsiveness more to the Act than to the MCN, as 8 of 15 MCN survey respondents suggested the Act was fairly or somewhat important in influencing the responsiveness of their organizations. Only 4 of 14 felt the MCN was important in this respect. This provides some indication that the MCN meetings are currently not sufficiently effective for improving the responsiveness of these institutions to meet the needs of a diverse society. In addition, given that there were some respondents who did not think the Act or the MCN was important, this raises the question of whether institutions are generally moving in this direction in response to a natural societal change.

3.3.3 Sharing of international best practices

Activities undertaken through the international engagement component are intended to ensure that best practices on approaches to diversity are shared internationally with a view to incorporating what is learned into multiculturalism programming, thus contributing to institutions becoming more responsive to the needs of a diverse society.

Finding: Canada has shared best practices related to multiculturalism internationally. However, there was limited evidence on whether any information gained internationally is used by CIC or shared with other federal institutions.

A variety of international engagement activities have been undertaken in support of this outcome. Information from the administrative review showed that, between 2008-09 and 2010-11, Canada participated in a total of 28 international events, including the ITF; the United Nations Universal Periodic Review; the Intergovernmental Consultations on Migration, Asylum and Refugees; and the Interdepartmental Roundtable with OSCE Personal Representatives. These events were attended with the objective of promoting Canada’s approach to multiculturalism and diversity, its anti-discrimination programs and policies, as well as sharing its practices on preventing and countering violent extremism. In addition to participation at these events, a number of materials were prepared in support of Canada’s international activities and shared with other countries and organizations. This included presentation decks, briefing materials; as well as annual reports on Canada’s approach to multiculturalism, diversity, human rights, and education.

This shows that Canada has done much work to share best practices internationally; however, the evaluation was not able to determine the extent to which information gained by Canada at these international fora was used by CIC or shared with other federal institutions.

3.3.4 Efficiency and economy

Finding: The overall efficiency of the Multiculturalism Program has been affected by the length of time it has taken to make decisions on project proposals. While the program lapsed funds in each of the years covered under the scope of the evaluation, the amount of these lapses has diminished significantly each year, from 75% of the budget allocation in 2008/09, to 37% in 2010/11. This is expected to be further reduced, to approximately 23%, in 2011/12.

Cost of multiculturalism program activities

In examining the efficiency and economy of the program, the evaluation first aimed to establish the cost of delivering the program, by component and region, in relation to outputs and outcomes. Establishing the cost of each of these components was not possible because of issues with respect to the tracking of financial information (e.g., FTEs have been moved to other units, and it was not possible to separate the costs for the institutional and international components from the rest of CMB).

Available financial data showed that the Gs&Cs component constituted the largest percentage of the program budget in both fiscal years (62.4% and 68.7%, respectively), while the communication component constituted the smallest (9.2% and 6.6%, respectively) (Table 3-10).

Table 3-10: Summary of actual program expenditures, by program component

Program component Fiscal Year
2009-10 2010-11
Salary and O&M Gs&Cs Total Salary and O&M Gs&Cs Total
Grants and Contributions (NHQ) $1,385,808 $1,154,162 $2,539,970 $961,525 $2,784,003 $3,745,528
Grants and Contributions (Regions) $2,618,317Footnote 67 $3,051,403 $5,669,720 $2,754,820 $4,045,465 $6,800,285
Institutional, International $3,725,944Footnote 68   $3,725,944 $3,790,487   $3,790,487
Communications (including NHQ salaries and O&M for NHQ and Regions) $1,215,988   $1,215,988 $1,008,552   $1,008,552
Total $7,730,069 $4,205,565 $13,151,622 $7,506,832 $6,829,468 $15,344,852

Source: CIC Financial Information.

With respect to the allocation of Gs&Cs funding to regions, financial data showed that, while each region received a different proportion of funding, each has been allocated generally the same amount of Gs&Cs funding each year (2009-10 to 2010-11). In addition, the distribution of Gs&Cs funds seemed to be in relative proportion to the distribution of associated FTEs (Table 3-11).

Table 3-11: Percentage of Gs&Cs regional allocation to percentage of FTE allocationFootnote 69

Region 2009-2010 2010-2011
% of Gs&Cs allocation % of FTE allocation % of Gs&Cs allocation % of FTE allocation
BCY 18.5% 9.4% 18.5% 8.9%
PNR 16.4% 21.3% 16.4% 23.4%
Ontario 36.9% 30.8% 36.9% 28.4%
Quebec 18.5% 24.0% 18.5% 24.5%
Atlantic 9.8% 14.6% 9.8% 14.8%
Total 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%

The ability to examine the allocation of the program funding in relation to outputs and outcomes was further complicated by the fact that:

  • the nature of outputs varies within each of the components, thus making it difficult to quantify the outputs in any consistent or meaningful way;
  • the number of projects that were on-going in each of the regions, by fiscal year was unknown;
  • the nature of outputs in each of the regions vary (i.e., the extent to which regions undertake activities outside of the Gs&Cs component, such as public education and outreach; or working with provinces and territories; or settlement work); and
  • the nature of the subject matter makes it difficult to quantify outcomes.

The evaluation was able to identify two issues with respect to efficiency, which are explained in detail below.

Timeliness of approvals

The evaluation showed that the approval time for projects has been lengthy. More than half of those interviewees (13 of 24) who identified the approval process as an issue specifically mentioned the length of time it takes for project approval. Information from the project typology showed that under the continuous intake process, only 4.1% (3) projects received approval before their proposed start date. The remaining projects were approved after they were supposed to begin, with 37% of projects taking 20-30 weeks to obtain approval and 39% taking 10-20 weeks. This changed with the implementation of the CFP, with 44% of those projects (11) being approved before their initial proposed start dates, and the remainder approved within 10-20 weeks of their initial proposed start date. While the time it takes to make decisions appears to have decreased, there are still projects being approved after their intended start date and some that take many months to approve.

This is consistent with information provided in Section 3.2.3 (Design and Delivery Issues), which showed that, although the 7, 30 and 90-day service standards were met, the actual approval of specific projects generally took longer than 90 days following recommendation; i.e., the 90-day standard is met if the client is notified that more time is necessary to reach a decision and this was the case for 31 of the 39 projects recommended to the Minister for approval. Of these 31 proposals, 17 were approved in July 2011 or later, more than nine months following the closure of the CFP. A total of 25 projects under the CFP had been approved at the time the evaluation data collection was completed.Footnote 70

Lapsing of grants and contributions funding

The delays in approval with respect to the projects resulted in significant lapsing of Gs&Cs funding. As shown in Figure 3-2, 62% of funding in 2008-09 ($6.9 million of $11.0 million) and 64% of funding in 2009-10 ($7.5 million of $11.7 million) was lapsed. This further improved in 2010-11, as the proportion of lapsed funds was lower (37%, or $4.1 million of $10.9 million). In addition, information received with respect to Gs&Cs spending in fiscal year 2011-12 showed that even fewer funds are expected to be lapsed, as 77% ($8.4 million of $10.9 million) has either been expended or committed to date.

Figure 3-2: Proportion of Gs&Cs funding lapsed (2009-10 to 2011-12)Footnote 71

Proportion of Gs&Cs funding lapsed (2009-10 to 2011-12)

This lapsing of funds is directly related to the length of the project approval process. While 13 projects were approved in 2009-2010, 10 of those were not approved until the end of the fiscal year, thus very little funding for new projects was committed in that fiscal year (Table 3-12). Between March 2009 and August 2010, a total of 42 continuous intake projects were approved, which resulted in more of the funds being spent in fiscal 2010-11.

Table 3-12: Summary of the number of projects approved, by month

Fiscal Year Month Total
Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar
2009-10 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 10 13
2010-11* 1 3 8 13 7 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 35
2010-11** 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 8 8
2011-12 0 0 0 14 2 1 0           17

Note: * -  projects approved under the continuous intake; ** - projects approved under the CFP.

Therefore, overall, the delays in approval resulted in large amounts of Gs&Cs funding being lapsed in 2009-10 and 2010-11. This had an effect on the efficiency of the program, as Gs&Cs program resources were not being fully used to produce the outputs (i.e., funded projects) of the program. This ultimately lessens the potential impact of the program in achieving its desired outcomes.

Page details

Date modified: