Terms of reference


The stated mission of the Privy Council Office Impact and Innovation Unit (IIU) is driving a shift in the way the Government of Canada uses new policy and program tools to help address complex public policy challenges. With a focus on “the how,” the IIU supports departments to build results-driven and outcomes-based approaches that work for Canadians.

The IIU houses the Centre of Expertise for the Impact Canada Initiative (ICI) to work with departments in applying innovative financing approaches, new partnership models, impact measurement methodologies and behavioural insights in priority areas for the Government of Canada.

The IIU provides expertise and advice to departments in adopting new approaches and seeks to accelerate system-wide innovation by spreading best practices and effective solutions, incorporating lessons learned from within Canada and internationally, documenting results and iteratively learning from those results. The IIU has a practical focus, concentrating its efforts on projects with strong potential to improve policy outcomes and go to scale. Staff are dedicated to testing, documenting, accelerating, replicating and scaling successful techniques across the Government of Canada.

The IIU has committed to establishing an Advisory Committee (the Committee) to help guide ICI efforts. This document is intended to provide the Terms of Reference for the Committee.

1. Mandate

The mandate of the Committee of Advisors will be to provide independent strategic advice on emerging trends and best practices to inform how public programs could enhance their impact through the use of innovative funding approaches (e.g., challenges, pay-for-results structures, impact investing), behavioural science, and rigorous measurement and evaluation techniques. 

The Committee of Advisors would provide advice to the Impact and Innovation Unit to support its role in leading the ICI for the Government of Canada, and its objectives to build partnerships among departments and stakeholders to apply new funding models to address policy challenges and improve the lives of Canadians. 

The Committee of Advisors would neither be involved in the IIU’s day-to-day operations, nor have decision-making authority on ICI initiatives. The Committee is not intended to approve or otherwise authorize the IIU’s activities, nor to provide direction on management or administrative decisions, which will remain within the authorities of the appropriate department.

2.1 Roles and Responsibilities

The members will be called upon on an as-needed basis to assist the IIU on key activities related to the Impact Canada Initiative.

Members have a responsibility to the IIU to provide their best advice. To do so, they must consider all input received that is related to the mandate of the Committee.

Main responsibilities will include:

  • Identifying emerging thematic issues and trends, important new evidence, and/or innovative funding or measurement approaches that the IIU could help advance within the Government of Canada through the ICI;
  • Commenting on the IIU’s annual report and provide advice to help develop the IIU’s strategic plan to support its role in leading the ICI;
  • Identifying alternative funding sources that could be leveraged or accessed to build shared-value partnerships among public, philanthropic, private and not-for-profit sectors; and
  • Identifying promising early-to-mid phase innovations that the IIU could refer to departments for scaling opportunities through the ICI.

Members will meet two or three times a year - once a year in person, supplemented by one or two virtual meetings.

3. Membership

3.1 Membership considerations

The membership will consist of domestic and international leading edge experts identified by the IIU, and will be explicitly multi-disciplinary, sectoral and jurisdictional.

The Committee will have between 10-15 members.  Members will hold the title of “Advisors”.

The IIU may adjust the number of members from time to time to ensure the appropriate range of knowledge, technical expertise, experience, and perspectives.

3.2 Affiliations and Interests

In their capacity as Advisors for the Privy Council Office’s IIU, members will also respect the requirements of the Treasury Board’s Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-employment and will, in the course of their work with the Committee, disclose any circumstance that may give rise to a real, potential or apparent conflict of interest and may, if required, recuse themselves from any discussion of any matter related to that conflict.

3.3 Confidentiality

To support their ability to provide well-informed advice, Committee members may receive confidential information. The IIU will mark information according to the level to which it is protected under the Treasury Board Policy on Government Security. The IIU will also ensure that everyone participating in the meeting, telephone discussion, email exchange, or in another form of communication has received clear instructions on the confidentiality of the proceedings. It is hereby understood that a Committee member who agrees to partake in discussions shall not reveal, divulge and/or disclose any information that he/she may be provided in the context of these discussions.

3.4 Security clearance

The nature of discussions and documentation that could be shared is defined as Protected “B” under the Guidelines for the Identification and Marking of Sensitive Information. Committee members may be required to attain and maintain an appropriate security clearance. The IIU will provide the required forms on an as needed basis and the members agree to complete and submit them in a timely manner.

3.5 Liability clause

There is no liability or responsibility on the part of the Crown or any Crown officer or employee, in law or in equity, for any loss or damages whatsoever, however caused and by whom, in any way related to the efforts and duties of the Committee members.

3.6 Intellectual property rights

All intellectual property created by members while acting in their capacity as Committee members will rest with the Government of Canada pursuant to the Gratuitous Services Agreement.

Members agree to make no claim for compensation, financial benefit, or reimbursement for any intellectual property created while acting in their capacity as Committee members.

3.7 Travel and expenses

Each member shall be reimbursed, consistent with guidelines set forth by the Treasury Board Directive on Travel, Hospitality, Conference and Event Expenditures for reasonable travel and living expenses incurred while performing Committee duties.

4. Management and Administration

4.1 Review

A review will be conducted by the IIU every two years to determine whether administrative, management, and/or other improvements are required to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the Committee. A review may also be carried out to determine the ongoing relevance of the Committee’s mandate and to inform disbanding or renewal decisions.

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