Details on transfer payment programs of $5 million or more: 2019–2020 Departmental Results Report - Impact Assessment Agency of Canada

General information

Name of transfer payment program

Contributions to support the participation of the public and Indigenous groups in impact assessment and policy dialogue, and to support the development of Indigenous knowledge and capacity related to impact assessments and related activities—Participant Funding Program, Policy Dialogue Program and Indigenous Capacity Program

Start date

2018

End date

Ongoing

Type of transfer payment

Contribution

Type of appropriation

Appropriated annually through the Estimates

Fiscal year for terms and conditions

2018‑19

Link to the department’s Program Inventory

Impact Assessment Policy Development Program, and Assessment Delivery Program

Description

Participant Funding Program: provides limited financial contributions to individuals, incorporated not-for-profit organizations and Indigenous groups to help prepare for and participate in key stages of impact assessments undertaken by the Agency or by review panels.

Policy Dialogue Program: supports the provision of external advice and participation in the development of policies, methodologies, tools and practices related to impact assessment, regional assessments and strategic assessments.

Indigenous Capacity Support Program: supports the development of local and regional Indigenous knowledge and capacity to effectively participate in, or undertake, project impact assessments, regional assessments, policy engagement, impact assessment monitoring and follow-up activities, and IAA-related activities.

Results achieved

The Participant Funding Program disbursed a total of $25,000 in contributions to support the participation of the public, Indigenous peoples and stakeholders in impact assessment processes. This facilitated public participation in the impact assessments of three projects for three recipients (through five contribution agreements).

The Policy Dialogue Program disbursed a total of $2,024,980 in contribution funds to support public and Indigenous participation in the Review of Legislative, Regulatory and Policy Development Processes with a total of 69 recipients. This included workshops and feedback on Agency policy and guidance.

In April 2019, the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) on Science and Knowledge and the Indigenous Advisory Committee (IAC) were established. In 2019‑20, the TAC held four meetings. The IAC held three meetings. The Agency received advice from the committees on a number of critical topics including Indigenous knowledge, Indigenous collaboration and participation, sustainability, regional assessment, strategic assessment, as well as assessing health, social and economic effects. Information on the committees, including summaries of their meetings, can be found at: https://www.canada.ca/en/impact-assessment-agency/advisory/advisory-groups.html

The Indigenous Capacity Support Program disbursed a total of $1,666,109 to 15 recipients, in contribution funds, to support increased awareness and increased ability to meaningfully participate and collaborate in consultation activities related to impact assessments. This included developing governance structures, in-house training and general awareness of the impact assessment process for community members.

Findings of audits completed in

2019‑20

No audit was completed in 2019‑20.

Findings of evaluations completed in 2019‑20

No evaluation was conducted in 2019‑20.

An evaluation will be conducted for the contributions to support the participation of the public and Indigenous groups in impact assessment and policy dialogue, and to support the development of Indigenous knowledge and capacity related to impact assessments and related activities—Participant Funding Program, Policy Dialogue Program and Indigenous Capacity Program.

Engagement of applicants and recipients in 2019‑20

PUBLIC

Participant Funding Program: public notices have been posted in various news outlets and on the Agency’s website. News releases were also provided to media outlets in regions relevant to the proposed designated projects.

These public notices and news releases provide the following information:

  • Brief description of the proposed project;
  • Purpose of the participant funding;
  • Phase or phases of the impact assessment for which funding will be made available;
  • Deadline to submit applications;
  • Process to obtain application forms; and
  • How to obtain information on the Participant Funding Program.

Policy Dialogue Program: Stakeholders have been solicited about the availability of funding through targeted means based on the expertise of the stakeholder and the policy issue at hand.

INDIGENOUS

Participant Funding Program: The Agency maintains regular contact with Indigenous communities, both formally (letters, meetings) and informally (telephone calls, emails), throughout the life of a project. Indigenous communities potentially affected by a project are contacted and notified of opportunities to participate in consultation activities. Communities who believe they may be potentially affected by a project may also contact the Agency.

Consultation work plans are prepared jointly with potentially affected communities, and feedback is solicited at key points in the process. For example, during the planning phase, the Agency solicits feedback on the Impact Statement Guidelines, the draft Impact Assessment Report, and potential impact assessment conditions.

Feedback is also solicited in the case of review panels for the panel agreement and terms of reference, the assessment during public hearings, the panel report, and potential conditions.

Indigenous communities who are not identified by the Agency as being potentially affected by a project may find information on the availability of participant funding on the Agency’s website and may choose to apply for funds made available for public participation.

Policy Dialogue Program and Indigenous Capacity Support Program: The Agency maintains regular contact with Indigenous communities and organizations, both formally (letters, meetings) and informally (telephone calls, emails) for policy collaboration and partnership. Indigenous communities and organizations are notified of opportunities to participate in policy collaboration and partnerships through targeted and general call outs.

Feedback is solicited on key policy issues, such as Indigenous knowledge, collaboration and partnership, and capacity support.

Financial information (dollars)

Type of transfer payment

2017‑18
Actual spending

2018‑19
Actual spending

2019‑20
Planned spending

2019‑20
Total authorities available for use

2019‑20
Actual spending (authorities used)

Variance
(2019‑20 actual minus 2019‑20 planned)

Total grants

0

0

0

0

0

0

Total contributions

0

4,743,997

8,310,184

8,310,184

3,716,088

-4,594,096

Total other types of transfer payments

0

0

0

0

0

0

Total program

0

4,743,997

8,310,184

8,310,184

3,716,088

-4,594,096

Explanation of variances

The variance between the 2019‑20 Planned Spending and the 2019‑20 Actual Spending is mainly due to implementation delays of the Impact Assessment Act and subsequent release of policy and guidance pieces for recipients to comment on. In addition, the level of demand to fund participation in impact and environmental assessments depends on the number of major projects under assessment and on the timing of requests for reimbursement of expenditures by participants. Participants may be approved for funding in a given fiscal year, but may not ultimately be reimbursed until a subsequent fiscal year depending on the pace at which an impact or environmental assessment proceeds.

To address this, the Agency will: evaluate its risk management strategies; implement a structured and integrated strategic and business annual planning exercise; streamline internal reallocation and approval processes; leverage in-year funding flexibility; and explore the use of technology and innovative practices to deliver funding programs.

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