How the Impact Canada Initiative Works

The Impact and Innovation Unit supports Canadian Federal Departments interested in leveraging the Impact Canada Initiative to pursue outcomes-based approaches.

Departments can submit an Expression of Interest to the Impact and Innovation Unit to begin a departmental project that has a focus on achieving better outcomes for Canadians. The general process steps are outlined in the graphic below.

Impact Canada Initiative (ICI) Process
Text version 


  1. Impact & Innovation Unit (IIU), Privy Council Office (PCO)
  2. Minister of Democratic Institutions (DI)
  3. Partner Department(s)
  4. Accountable Minister(s)

Exploration Phase

1 - Intake

Continuous intake and assessment of departmental Expressions of Interest (EOI):

  1. IIU assesses EOI and departmental Ts&Cs, and makes recommendation at IIU management meeting. IIU Assistant Secretary approves project concept to proceed to next phase.
  2. Minister of DI receives ongoing updates of project concepts via ICI project tracker.
  3. Partner department engages with,and provides additional information to, IIU (as needed). Following approval by IIU Assistant Secretary, departmental Deputy Minister and/or Minister (or delegated authority) are notified.

Key Products

  • EOI
  • Assessment Report (EOI Assessment(s) + Ts&Cs Analysis)
  • Record of Decision from IIU management meeting

Development Phase

2 - Co-Development

Co-design of project among IIU, departments, and key stakeholders:

  1. IIU co-designs project with partner department and external partners, including developing project plan and verifying department’s due diligence checklist.
  2. Minister of DI receives ongoing updates of project concepts via ICI project tracker.
  3. Partner department co-designs project with IIU/external partners, including development of project plan and completion of due diligence checklist.

Key Products

  • Project Plan (e.g., design, evaluation, partners)
  • Due Diligence Checklist (e.g., consultations with legal, finance, etc.)
  • Project Brief

3 - Joint Two-Key Sign-Off

Project approval and sign-off to enable use of ICI Ts&Cs:

  1. Deputy Secretary, Results & Delivery approves project brief and transmits to Minister of DI for final approval (cc: Deputy Secretary, Governance); shares project briefs with Deputy Minister Task Force on Public Sector Innovation. IIU Assistant Secretary transmits approved project brief to the Assistant Secretary of the Government Operations Sector, Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS).
  2. Minister of DI approves project brief to activate first “key”, enabling the use of the ICI Ts and Cs. Notification is sent to the President of the Treasury Board that project has been approved / ICI Ts&Cs have been updated (quarterly basis).
  3. Partner department provides advice to responsible Minister (or delegated authority).
  4. Minister (or delegated authority) approves project (as per departmental protocols for approving funding), activating the second “key”.

Key Products

  • Letter from IIU Assistant Secretary to Assistant Secretary of Government Operations Sector,TBS
  • Quarterly report (as needed) from Minister of DI to President of the Treasury Board

Implementation Phase

4 - Initiation

Project launch and implementation, including communications activities:

  1. IIU provides advisory support (as requested), and oversees hosting of project on
  2. Minister of DI plays ongoing role of champion for ICI (e.g., joint announcement with Minister of partner department, other communications opportunities, as appropriate).
  3. Partner department implements and manages project, including ongoing communications activities, according to existing policy and program requirements. Note: funding for projects remain within departments with accountability residing with relevant Ministers.
  4. Minister (or delegated authority) maintains accountability for project throughout its duration.

Key Products

  • Communications products (e.g., web content for Impact Canada Platform, IIU and departmental announcements and press releases, social media messaging)

5 - Evaluation

Ongoing monitoring and evaluation of ICI approach and specific projects:

  1. IIU advises and assists in project-level evaluations and impact measurement strategies, and helps broker partnerships to undertake rigorous evaluations. In addition to looking at impact at an intervention level, IIU assesses the impact of ICI overall. IIU rolls-up results for projects carried out under ICI to support public reporting (e.g., IIU annual report, summary publications on “what works” in improving outcomes in ICI policy areas) and required reporting to TBS.
  2. Partner department collects relevant data to report back on effectiveness of using ICI-supported funding approach and on a project’s impact. Partner department remains accountable for reporting on results as per its existing evaluation and performance measurement approaches.

Key Products

  • Summary publications on “what works“ in policy portfolios covered by ICI
  • Impact reports from projects
  • IIU Annual Report
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