Departmental Performance Report 2016-17

Table of Contents:

Minister’s Message

Carolyn BennettThe Government of Canada is committed to a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples, tackling the challenge of climate change, promoting economic development, and creating jobs. Polar Knowledge Canada (POLAR) is making great strides towards these broader priorities in Canada’s North.

POLAR provides support for science and technology research projects that involve Northerners and include Indigenous and local knowledge. POLAR has also invested in longer-term capacity building and training opportunities to build the next generation of northern-based researchers and highly qualified personnel. The opening of the Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS) campus in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut in 2017-18 will provide further opportunities for POLAR to work in partnership with Northerners and Indigenous groups and other partners within the Canadian and international research community to strengthen Canada’s polar science leadership.

Ultimately, POLAR’s success in advancing Canada’s knowledge of the polar regions will improve economic opportunities, environmental stewardship, and the quality of life of Northerners and all other Canadians. The CHARS campus will be a key enabler to help advance this knowledge. In its second year of operation, POLAR continued to strengthen baseline information for improved decision-making, provide a better understanding of the terrestrial cryosphere and changing ice conditions, and test how technologies in alternative and renewable energy and infrastructure can best be adapted to northern conditions.

With its pan-northern science and technology program, its world-class research facility, and its knowledge mobilization function, POLAR will strengthen Canada’s position as an international leader in polar science and technology.

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs

President’s Message

David ScottOver the past year, it has been very rewarding to witness the positive impact that Polar Knowledge Canada (POLAR) has had on northern communities, researchers, and science organizations. POLAR has made significant progress in creating new knowledge in all of our science and technology priority areas for 2014-19. This included expanding baseline understanding of northern ecosystems; overseeing research on alternative and renewable energy and the impacts of changing ice, permafrost, and snow; and building partnerships to support improved design and construction of northern infrastructure.

Consistent with the needs of a new agency, we have been working to expand public awareness of POLAR among Canadian and international partners and stakeholders. We are working collaboratively to disseminate knowledge and ensure that it informs evidence-based decision-making, and create greater awareness of the Arctic and Antarctic among the general public. We are also helping to develop the next generation of polar researchers and highly qualified personnel, especially northern youth, through support for science camps, student employment opportunities, and post-secondary training opportunities. This included support for nearly 400 students at more than 35 Canadian universities and northern colleges to gain hands-on experience conducting fieldwork in the Arctic.

As a result of our nation-wide public staffing initiative, we have welcomed new employees at our headquarters at the Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS) campus in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. Central to this staffing initiative was our commitment to meeting our Inuit employment obligations under Article 23 of the Nunavut Agreement. Going forward, our partnerships with Northerners, Indigenous groups and other members of the Canadian and international polar research community will continue to create new knowledge that is needed to understand and adapt to rapid change in Canada’s North, and strengthen Canada’s polar science leadership and capacity.

David J. Scott, Ph.D.
President and Chief Executive Officer

Results at a glance

In 2016-17, actual spending was $15,866,478, with 39 actual full-time equivalents.

Major achievements of POLAR in 2016-17 are highlighted below:

  • Launched a Competitive Funding Process in December 2016 to support projects under the Science and Technology for the North and Polar Knowledge Application programs. This Call generated a total funded request of approximately $37 million, which was more than four times POLAR’s funding envelope of approximately $9 million. It supported a total of 43 projects across Canada’s North and leveraged approximately $10 million from other sources of funding to advance research in Canada’s Arctic and ensure it informs evidence-based decision-making.
  • Collaborated with Canadian and international partners to leverage funding to strengthen support for research in Canada’s North. This included a joint Call for Proposals with the Marine Environmental Prediction and Response (MEOPAR) network to strengthen Canadian participation in the international Year of Polar Prediction, and a continued partnership with the National Aeronautics and Space Agency’s (NASA) Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment to facilitate terrestrial ecology research in north-western Canada.                                                                                                                                                                    
  • Supported the development of the next generation of Arctic researchers and highly qualified personnel, including through science camps to build interest among northern children and youth, providing funding for the Nunavut Arctic College Environmental Technology Program to prepare Nunavummiut for future science and technology positions, and providing grants to approximately 400 students at Canadian universities and northern colleges to conduct research under the Northern Scientific Training Program.

POLAR is finalizing revised program indicators with baselines and targets for Fall 2017 to more effectively communicate program performance as part of the Treasury Board Departmental Results Framework process.

For more information on the department’s plans, priorities and results achieved, see the “Results: what we achieved” section of this report.

Raison d’être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do

Raison d’être

Polar Knowledge Canadai (POLAR) is a federal agency (departmental corporation) that was established with the coming into force of the Canadian High Arctic Research Station Actii on June 1, 2015. The Act merged the mandate and functions of the Canadian Polar Commission and the pan-northern science and technology program associated with the Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS) project of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC).

The purpose of POLAR as stated in the Act is to:

  • Advance knowledge of the Canadian Arctic in order to improve economic opportunities, environmental stewardship and the quality of life of its residents and all other Canadians.
  • Promote the development and dissemination of knowledge of the other circumpolar regions, including the Antarctic.
  • Strengthen Canada’s leadership on Arctic issues.
  • Establish a hub for scientific research in the Canadian Arctic.

Mandate and role

POLAR undertakes and supports polar scientific research and technology development, while promoting the inclusion of Indigenous and local knowledge in Arctic research. POLAR also increases coordination, collaboration and knowledge exchange among the Canadian and international polar research community, strengthens awareness of the polar regions among the general public and supports the next generation of polar research personnel, with a focus on northern youth. This supports the priority of the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs to make real progress on the issues most important to Indigenous communities through a renewed relationship. POLAR’s programs also support a priority of the Minister of Science to strengthen scientific research for evidence-based decision-making.

POLAR has a nine member Board of Directors responsible for oversight, long-term strategic direction and decisions on the annual budget and work plans of the organization. The President and Chief Executive Officer, as the Deputy Head of the agency, is accountable for day-to-day management. POLAR will be headquartered at the CHARS campus in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, once the station is operational in 2017-18. CHARS campus construction is managed by INAC until commissioning is completed, after which time, it will be operated by POLAR.

For more general information about the department, see the “Supplementary information” section of this report. For more information on the department’s organizational mandate letter commitments, see the Minister’s mandate letteriii.

Operating context and key risks

Operating context

The polar regions are undergoing significant change driven by a number of complex environmental, socio-economic and political factors, some global in nature. This includes:

  • Rapid environmental change, which is affecting the entire Earth system, including its climate and weather extremes, through increased temperature and changes in ice, glaciers, snow and permafrost. The unpredictability of these changes challenges the ability to provide knowledge for decision-makers.
  • Exceptionally high and rising costs of conducting research in the polar regions.
  • New economic interests in the Arctic, which have established the region as a larger player in the global economy, but also with very significant local effects. In spite of rapid environmental and social change, the Arctic remains a region of geopolitical stability, which is a pre-condition for sustaining Arctic research.
  • Increasing political and economic empowerment of Northerners and the gradual shifting northward of the research agenda.
  • Heightened interest among the general public in the polar regions.

As a relatively new agency, POLAR is focused on building capacity in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut through new staffing processes and the relocation of some existing staff. As a government organization operating in Nunavut, preference is given to individuals self-identifying as Inuit under the Nunavut Agreement. Throughout 2016-17, POLAR supported efforts to develop whole-of-government measures to remove barriers to Inuit employment and started working towards the development of a departmental Inuit Employment Plan to increase representation of Nunavut Inuit in POLAR’s Cambridge Bay positions. POLAR is also further developing and implementing internal services functions, including in preparation for the future transition of the operations of the CHARS campus to POLAR from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.

As a new agency, communications and outreach initiatives are important in strengthening awareness of POLAR and its mandate and activities among the Canadian polar research community. This includes researchers based at dozens of Canadian institutions as well as local, regional, territorial and federal decision-makers and other key partners such as northern communities and colleges, and Indigenous organizations. There is also increasing interest among the international community from both Arctic and non-Arctic states in conducting research in Canada’s North. As a micro-agency with limited program resources, POLAR must continue to pursue opportunities for collaboration and leverage resources within the Canadian and international polar research community to effectively deliver on its mandate.                                                                                 

Key Risks

Environmental and socio-economic conditions and associated research priorities are not uniform across Canada’s North. Research findings in one geographic region may not, therefore, apply to other regions. Environmental conditions also differ between the Arctic and Antarctic. Given limited organizational capacity and resources, there is a risk that POLAR may be unable to fully deliver on the pan-northern and polar scope of its mandate. To mitigate this risk, POLAR will continue to strengthen coordination and collaboration and leverage resources within the Canadian and international polar research community to maximize the reach and impact of its resources. This will help to advance research and mobilize knowledge to make real progress on issues most important to northern and Indigenous communities.

Research is critical in order to better understand, prepare for and adapt to significant environmental and socio-economic change across Canada’s North. Without the meaningful engagement of Northerners, including Indigenous peoples, there is a risk that research may not be well aligned with the priorities of individuals and communities living in the North, and therefore not meet the needs of local, regional, territorial and federal decision-makers. Given capacity challenges that can limit the ability of Northerners and Indigenous groups to engage in research and related issues, POLAR will continue to support initiatives that strengthen the capacity of Northerners, and which seek to support their meaningful engagement in order to mitigate this risk. POLAR will also continue to support projects that include Indigenous and local knowledge and scientific research for a more comprehensive understanding of changing conditions.

Given that POLAR is a relatively new agency that will be headquartered in the remote community of Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, there is a risk that POLAR will be unable to successfully recruit and retain highly skilled staff, with negative implications on program delivery. POLAR also has obligations under Article 23 of the Nunavut Agreement to increase participation of Inuit in its Cambridge Bay positions to a representative level. Post-secondary opportunities in Nunavut are limited, and there is significant demand and competition within Nunavut for highly skilled workers. To mitigate this risk, POLAR will continue efforts to raise its profile as an employer of choice, especially among Nunavut Inuit, through communications and outreach, and job pools to support vacancy management. In addition to continued support for capacity building and pre-employment training initiatives, POLAR will develop and implement a departmental Inuit Employment Plan identifying concrete actions in the short and medium term to remove barriers and respond to opportunities to increase Inuit employment, while working with other government employers in Nunavut to support the development and implementation of broader Inuit employment measures.

Risks

Mitigating strategy and effectiveness

Link to the POLAR’s Programs

Link to mandate letter commitments or to government-wide and departmental priorities

Inability to fully deliver on the pan-northern and polar scope of POLAR’s mandate
This is an existing risk resulting from limited capacity and financial resources to conduct science and technology research and support knowledge mobilization, training and capacity building initiatives across Canada’s North.

Continue strengthening coordination and collaboration and leveraging resources within the Canadian and international polar research community.
Continue to take into account geographic distribution of programming.

Science and Technology for the North
Polar Knowledge Application

Former Minister of INAC mandate letter: “make real progress on the issues most important to First Nations, the Métis Nation, and Inuit communities.”
Minister of Science: “Support scientific research and the integration of scientific considerations in our investment and policy choices.”

Research in Canada’s North may not be well-aligned with local and regional northern priorities
This is an existing risk, given limited capacity of northern and Indigenous groups to meaningfully engage in research and related issues.

Support initiatives that strengthen capacity of Northerners.
Support projects that include Indigenous and local knowledge and scientific research for a more comprehensive understanding of changing conditions.
Provide travel support for participation of Northerners in workshops and meetings.

Science and Technology for the North
Polar Knowledge Application

Former Minister of INAC mandate letter: “Renew the relationship between Canada and Indigenous Peoples…based on recognition, rights, respect, co-operation and partnership…to make real progress on the issues most important.”

Inability to successfully recruit and retain highly skilled staff in Cambridge Bay
This is an existing risk, given the remote location of Cambridge Bay. POLAR has obligations to increase Nunavut Inuit representation, which is challenging due to limited post-secondary opportunities in Nunavut.

Raise POLAR’s profile as an employer of choice through communications and outreach, and develop job pools to manage vacancies.
Develop and implement a departmental Inuit Employment Plan and support the development and implementation of broader government Inuit employment measures.

Science and Technology for the North
Polar Knowledge Application
Internal services

Article 23 of the Nunavut Agreement and Government of Canada commitments in the related Settlement Agreement with Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.

Results: what we achieved

Programs

Science and Technology for the North

Description

This program aims to create the conditions for POLAR to anchor a strong research presence in Canada’s Arctic. Through both partnering and internal science and technology initiatives, POLAR will acquire the wide range of information needed for effective solutions to Arctic issues, policy and research program development in the North, and to advance Canada’s position as a leading Arctic nation. The depth of knowledge gained through scientific and technological research and training will support greater sustainable use of the North’s land and natural resources.

Results

This program performed well in relation to expected results and targets and advanced priorities of the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs and the Minister of Science. This includes making real progress on the issues most important to Indigenous communities and supporting scientific research for evidence-based decision-making. Through a competitive funding process launched in 2016, POLAR awarded funding to advance research under POLAR’s science and technology priorities. POLAR partnered with the Marine Environmental Prediction and Response (MEOPAR) Network and the Arctic Research Foundation on a joint Call for Proposals (2017-20) which awarded $1,889,100 to five projects to strengthen Canadian participation in the International Year of Polar Prediction (YOPP). POLAR also provided $2.5 million to the University of Manitoba-led Churchill Marine Observatory to advance knowledge of oil spill effects in ice-covered waters.

POLAR worked with partners to produce a range of scientific outputs such as valued ecosystem component inventories, and land-cover data for ecological land classification. POLAR also developed a plan to ensure ecosystem changes near the CHARS campus and wider Kitikmeot region are monitored and used to inform the prediction of ecosystem changes globally. At the annual ArcticNet Scientific Meeting in December 2016, POLAR chaired a session to disseminate results from scientific studies near the CHARS campus, and organized a meeting to support the planning of marine research in the region. POLAR is also collaborating with the National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) on the development of an 8-10 year Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE) to support terrestrial research in northwestern Canada.

The CHARS campus provided a platform to develop and test alternative energy technologies and infrastructure designs for the North, including heat recovery and energy recovery ventilator monitoring, a waste-to-energy micro auto-gasification system, smart meter intelligent load management, wind and solar technology testing and monitoring, and a waste water processing project. In addition, POLAR worked with communities to support renewable resource assessments and solar photovoltaic, biomass heat, and wind monitoring projects, with training to develop local capacity. This will support economic development, improve energy security, benefit the environment, and enhance local autonomy.

Results achieved

Expected results

Performance indicators

Target

Date to achieve target

2016–17          Actual results

2015–16 Actual             results

2014–15 Actual             results

1.1 Science and Technology for the North
Sustainable use of Arctic land and resources is supported by science and technology research and training activities facilitated by the Canadian High Arctic Research Station

Percentage of Northerners using science and technology training camps and training opportunities at POLAR

To be determined

March 31, 2019

21%
Key results:
Supported research projects that included a training component such as: SmartICE, Arctic char knowledge sharing camp, Guide Level One Training in partnership with the Kitikmeot Inuit Association, and the 20/20 Catalysts Program.
Delivered science camps for children and youth in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut.
Hired summer students to support science.

Key results
Delivered science camps for children and youth in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut.
Hired summer students to support science.

Not Available

1.1.1 Science and Monitoring
Projects funded by POLAR and carried out by external recipients strengthen northern capacity and leadership in science and monitoring

Percentage of projects/sites and activities targeted to science and monitoring completed by external recipients

100%

March 31, 2019

49%
Key results:
Supported projects focusing on science and monitoring across the Canadian North.
Supported external partners in analyzing results of data collected near the CHARS campus.

Key results
Supported projects focusing on science and monitoring across the Canadian North.
Supported external partners in analyzing data collected near the CHARS campus.

Not Available

1.1.2 Technology Development and Transfer
Solutions to Arctic challenges are developed by a combination of traditional knowledge and science and technology

Percentage of G&C's directly targeted for northern technology development

45%

March 31, 2018

15%
Key results
Funded projects focused on early stages of technology development and transfer; specifically, alternative and renewable energy at the community-level (e.g. biomass, wind energy, solar panels).

Not Available

Not Available

Note: Given that POLAR was created on June 1, 2015, data is not available for 2014-15.

Budgetary financial resources (dollars)


2016–17
Main Estimates

2016–17
Planned spending

2016–17
Total authorities available for use

2016–17
Actual spending
(authorities used)

2016–17
Difference
(actual minus planned)

13,679,282

13,679,282

11,562,471

8,581,370

(5,097,912)

Human resources (full-time equivalents)


2016–17                                  Planned

2016–17                                    Actual

2016–17
Difference                                    (actual minus planned)

22

15

(7)

Supporting information on Polar Knowledge Canada’s lower-level programs is available on the TBS InfoBaseiv.

Polar Knowledge Application

Description

This program supports the mobilization of polar science and technology into action. POLAR promotes, analyzes and disseminates polar knowledge to inform polar related programs and policies; and conducts outreach activities and builds capacity, especially among Northerners, through training and learning opportunities. This will ensure polar knowledge is relevant to partners and builds a science culture in Canada.

Results

Results support the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs priority to make progress on issues most important to Indigenous communities through a renewed relationship. Results also support the research and international diplomacy priorities of other Ministers. Some initiatives originally planned for 2016-17 are in progress, including a northern engagement plan and products to support evidence-based decision-making.

POLAR convened or actively participated in Canadian and international working groups and meetings to exchange knowledge, improve coordination and collaboration, and ensure polar research is used to inform evidence-based decision-making. This included workshops and planning meetings to advance northern housing, marine science, polar data, and Antarctic research. POLAR led Canada’s delegation to the Arctic Council’s Scientific Cooperation Task Force, culminating in a legally binding Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation to facilitate international researcher access in the Arctic. POLAR also established agreements to strengthen research collaboration with institutions in the US, Iceland and Japan. POLAR also developed a data policy to ensure data from POLAR-supported projects are accessible and discoverable to support decision-making and further research. This contributed to the creation of 56 metadata records and digital object identifiers for 18 datasets as of March 2017.

POLAR is strengthening awareness of its mandate and activities in Canada and internationally, with an active social media presence, quarterly update newsletters, promotion of the video ‘What is Polar Knowledge Canada’ and Polar Blog articles in online and print copies of Canadian Geographic. POLAR continued to have an active presence in Cambridge Bay, participating in local committees and events to ensure integration of programming with the community. POLAR also supported numerous initiatives to increase interest and capacity in science and technology, especially among northern youth. This included support for the delivery of the Nunavut Arctic College Environmental Technology Program (ETP) in Cambridge Bay, which prepared nine students for future science and technology positions, and support for Actua science camps that reached more than 10,000 youth aged six to 16 across the three territories. POLAR also supported nearly 400 students at over 35 universities and northern colleges in conducting research in the Arctic.

Results achieved

Expected results

Performance indicators

Target

Date to achieve target

2016–17          Actual results

2015–16 Actual             results

2014–15 Actual             results

1.2 Polar Knowledge Application
Canada's science and technology programming and policies are impacted by knowledge on polar science and technology

Percentage of projects directly linked to domestic and international investment of Arctic programming and policies

100%

March 31, 2019

40%
This included workshops in Canada and collaborative agreements with international institutions to support investments in Arctic research programming and policies.

Convened workshop to discuss practical improvements in northern housing.

Produced the “State of Environmental Monitoring in Northern Canada” report with meta-dataset of monitoring activities.

1.2.1 Knowledge Management
Knowledge gathered and produced by Polar Knowledge Canada informs polar science and technology stakeholders

Percentage of media dissemination to key stakeholders including indigenous communities

100%

March 31, 2019

Percentage not available.
Other results:
Distributed over 1,000 circumpolar maps to increase knowledge of the Arctic and Antarctic.
Produced nine Polar Blog articles for Canadian Geographic magazine, with print readership of over 3 million, and online readership of over 1 million

Printed and distributed circumpolar maps to increase knowledge of the Arctic and Antarctic.
Increased POLAR’s social media presence.
Provided support to Kitikmeot Heritage Society to develop a research guide to support activities near Cambridge Bay.

Data not available.

 

 

 

 

Released or shared over 900 social media posts regarding polar research, news or events to over 3,300 followers, which were ‘liked’ or further shared over 6,200 times.
Disseminated POLAR UPdate newsletters to over 1,000 partners and stakeholders.
Website traffic data not available due to migration of content to Canada.ca.
Provided 10 media interviews, including with 4 northern-based outlets.

Participated in numerous Canadian and international conferences and workshops to promote the mandate of the Agency and build partnerships.

Data not available.

1.2.2 Outreach and Capacity Building
Northern youth and the domestic and international policy community are made aware of Canadian world-class knowledge on Arctic science and technology and current and future job opportunities at the Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS) campus.

Percentage of activities for outreach and capacity building

20%

March 31, 2018

46% of activities included an outreach or capacity building component.
Other results:
Organized four science camps reaching 23 participants in Cambridge Bay to increase interest in science.
Supported the Arctic Inspiration Prize to recognize contributions of northern peoples to knowledge.
Supported 3 northern-based Students on Ice Alumni (SOI) in implementing community-based projects via POLAR-SOI Inspiration Grants.

Supported the Arctic Inspiration Prize to recognize extraordinary contributions of northern peoples to knowledge.
Launched the POLAR-Students on Ice (SOI) Inspiration Grants Program that supports northern-based alumni projects that benefit the Canadian Arctic.
Supported nine students in completing the first year of the 2-year Nunavut Arctic College ETP in Cambridge Bay.

Data not available.

1.2.2 Outreach and Capacity Building
Northern youth and the domestic and international policy community are made aware of Canadian world-class knowledge on Arctic science and technology and current and future job opportunities at the Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS) campus.

Percentage of job opportunities in the North

60%

March 31, 2018

51%
Other results:
Provided 18 new term, indeterminate or Interchange opportunities, and hired 2 summer students in Cambridge Bay to support office, outreach and science, and provided one Inuit Learning and Development Project placement.

Hired four summer students in Cambridge Bay to support office, outreach and engagement and scientific activities.

Data not available.

Budgetary financial resources (dollars)

2016–17
Main Estimates

2016–17
Planned spending

2016–17
Total authorities available for use

2016–17
Actual spending
(authorities used)

2016–17
Difference
(actual minus planned)

2,993,760

2,993,760

3,029,312

2,988,507

(5,253)

Human resources (full-time equivalents)

2016–17  Planned

2016–17 Actual

2016–17
Difference (actual minus planned)

19

10

(9)

Internal Services

Description

Internal Services are those groups of related activities and resources that the federal government considers to be services in support of programs and/or required to meet corporate obligations of an organization. Internal Services refers to the activities and resources of the 10 distinct service categories that support Program delivery in the organization, regardless of the Internal Services delivery model in a department. The 10 service categories are: Management and Oversight Services; Communications Services; Legal Services; Human Resources Management Services; Financial Management Services; Information Management Services; Information Technology Services; Real Property Services; Material Services; and Acquisition Services.

Results

A key result for POLAR’s Internal Services in 2016-17 was implementation of staffing processes to hire new full-time equivalents and build capacity in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. POLAR also guided and supported Pilimmaksaivik, the new Federal Centre of Excellence for Inuit Employment in Nunavut, in the development of whole-of-government measures to support Inuit employment and work towards obligations under Article 23 of the Nunavut Agreement.

POLAR continued to establish and standardize corporate services processes across the organization, and establish and validate service standards for the delivery of internal services. Key human resources programs were implemented such as performance management, and learning and development, and succession-planning strategies were further developed to transfer knowledge to new staff, focusing on critical functions.

Financial management governance within POLAR was clarified to ensure accountability of managers at all levels with respect to budgeting and forecasting, and the delivery of projects within budget constraints, and tools were established to support financial forecasting. POLAR also continued to work with officials from INAC to support the future smooth transition of operations of the CHARS campus from INAC to POLAR in 2018/19.
Due to capacity challenges, and a focus on building capacity in Cambridge Bay, other planned results for 2016-17, such as those related to information management and technology services, were deferred to future years.

Budgetary financial resources (dollars)


2016–17
Main Estimates

2016–17
Planned spending

2016–17
Total authorities available for use

2016–17
Actual spending
(authorities used)

2016–17
Difference
(actual minus planned)

2,802,232

2,802,232

5,127,459

4,296,601

1,494,369

Human resources (full-time equivalents)

2016–17 Planned

2016–17 Actual

2016–17 Difference (actual minus planned)

10

14

4

Analysis of trends in spending and human resources

Actual expenditures

Departmental spending trend graph
Given that POLAR was established on June 1, 2015, departmental spending for 2014-15 is not available.

Departmental spending trend graph

Budgetary performance summary for Programs and Internal Services (dollars)

Programs and Internal Services

2016–17
Main Estimates

2016–17
Planned spending

2017–18
Planned spending

2018–19
Planned spending

2016–17           Total authorities available for use

2016–17
Actual   spending (authorities used)

2015–16          Actual   spending (authorities used)

2014–15
Actual   spending (authorities used)

1.1   Science & Technology for the North

13,679,282

13,679,282

13,599,331

16,336,826

11,562,471

8,581,370

5,391,920

Not applicable

1.2 Polar Knowledge Application

2,993,760

2,993,760

3,106,557

4,328,366

3,029,312

2,988,507

1,088,049

Not applicable

Subtotal

16,673,042

16,673,042

16,705,888

20,665,192

14,591,783

11,569,877

6,479,969

Not applicable

Internal Services

2,802,232

2,802,232

4,888,343

8,189,945

5,127,459

4,296,601

1,806,742

Not applicable

Total

19,475,274

19,475,274

21,594,231

28,855,137

19,719,242

15,866,478

8,286,711

Not applicable

The difference from 2016-17 in actual versus planned spending was primarily due to the carry forward of $2.5 million in transfer payment funds from 2016-17 to 2017-18 in order to fulfill POLAR commitments.

The increase in voted spending in 2018-19 is related to the transfer of the Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS) campus to POLAR from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, impacting the Science & Technology for the North and Polar Knowledge Application programs, as well as Internal Services. POLAR will be responsible for the operation and maintenance of all CHARS campus facilities in 2018-19.

Actual human resources

Human resources summary for Programs and Internal Services (full-time equivalents)

Programs and                 Internal Services

2014–15
Actual

2015–16 Actual

2016–17
Planned  

2016–17       Actual

2017–18       Planned

2018–19 Planned

1.1 Science & Technology for the North

Not applicable

14

22

15

22

25

1.2 Polar Knowledge Application

Not applicable

6

19

10

14

14

Subtotal

Not applicable

20

41

25

36

39

Internal Services

Not applicable

8

10

14

16

18

Total

Not applicable

28

51

39

52

57

There was a significant decrease in total actual versus planned FTEs in 2016-17. In December 2015, POLAR launched its first comprehensive nationally-advertised staffing process for positions targeted largely for Cambridge Bay. The high volume of applications received and the limited capacity of the organization resulted in delays in assessment and selection processes. The logistics of relocating to Cambridge Bay with no road access or direct flights and personal situations such as family commitments also resulted in delays.  Due to the combination of these practical factors, POLAR was not able to relocate many of its first employees to the CHARS campus until the start of fiscal year 2017-18, resulting in a significant decrease in actual versus planned FTEs for both the Science and Technology for the North and Polar Knowledge Application programs. There was, however, an increase in actual versus planned FTEs in 2016-17 for Internal Services due to the shorter time required to fill positions based in Ottawa, and given that additional capacity was required to support the development of the agency. The number of planned FTEs for both 2017-18 and 2018-19 is lower than what was reported in the 2016-17 Report on Plans and Priorities for both the Science and Technology for the North and the Polar Knowledge Application programs due to greater precision on salary budgets and the increased costs for staff living in Cambridge Bay (e.g., isolated post allowances, relocation and Crown housing). The number of planned FTEs for Internal Services for these same fiscal years is, however, higher due to planned growth.

Expenditures by vote

For information on Polar Knowledge Canada’s organizational voted and statutory expenditures, consult the Public Accounts of Canada 2017.v

Alignment of spending with the whole-of-government framework

Alignment of 2016-17 actual spending with the whole-of-government frameworkvi (dollars)

Program

Spending area

Government of Canada activity

2016–17                         Actual spending

Science & Technology for the North

Economic affairs

A clean and healthy
environment

8,581,370

Polar Knowledge Application

Economic affairs

An innovative and
knowledge-based
economy

2,988,507

Total spending by spending area (dollars)

Spending area

Total planned spending

Total actual spending

Economic affairs

16,673,042

11,569,877

Social affairs

0

0

International affairs

0

0

Government affairs

0

0

Financial statements and financial statements highlights

Polar Knowledge Canada’s financial statements [unaudited] for the year ended March 31, 2017, are available on the departmental website.

Financial statements highlights

Condensed Statement of Operations (unaudited) for the year ended March 31, 2017 (dollars)
Future-oriented financial statements were not available for 2016-17, given that POLAR began operations on June 1, 2015. The first POLAR future-oriented financial statements will be presented in the agency's 2017-18 Report on Plans and Priorities.

Financial information

2016–17
Planned
results

2016–17
Actual

2015–16
Actual

Difference (2016–17 actual minus 2016–17 planned)

Difference (2016–17 actual minus 2015–16 actual)

Total expenses

0

15,826,382

8,687,741

15,826,382

7,138,641

Total revenues

0

0

0

0

0

Net cost of operations before government funding and transfers

0

15,826,382

8,687,741

15,826,382

7,138,641

Condensed Statement of Financial Position (unaudited) as at March 31, 2017 (dollars)

Financial Information

2016–17

2015–16

Difference
(2016–17 minus
2015–16)

Total net liabilities

2,358,839

1,315,375

1,043,464

Total net financial assets

2,059,577

1,100,802

958,775

Departmental net debt

299,262

214,573

84,689

Total non-financial assets

1,879,527

136,154

1,743,373

Departmental net financial position

1,580,265

(78,419)

1,658,684

Total expenses for 2016-17 increased by $7.1 million compared to 2015-16. The majority of this increase is attributed to transfer payments that were funded in 2016-17 for a total of $7.1 million compared to $1.9 million in 2015-16 for a difference of $5.2 million.  The remaining increase, $1.9 million, is mostly due to the fact that POLAR’s 2015-16 fiscal year was only 10 months, beginning on June 1, 2015, instead of 12 months.

Total net liabilities were $2.4 million at the end of 2016–17, which is an increase of $1.0 million from the previous year's total net liabilities of $1.3 million. The accounts payable and accrued liabilities represent the largest portion of liabilities, at $2.1 million (87%) of total liabilities. Other liabilities include vacation pay and compensatory leave and future employee benefits for a total of $0.3 million (13%).  The change in total liabilities can be attributed mainly to a timing difference in the recording of the expenses. 

Total net financial assets were $2.1 million at the end of 2016–17, which is an increase of $1.0 million from the previous year's total net financial assets of $1.1 million. The assets due from the Consolidated Revenue Fund accounted for $1.9 million (91%) of total financial assets and accounts receivable accounted for the remaining $0.2 million (9%).  The change in total net financial assets can be largely attributed to an increase in the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

Total non-financial assets were $1.9 million, which is an increase of $1.7 million from the previous year's total non-financial assets of $0.1 million. A transfer from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada of tangible capital assets represents $1.3 million (70%) of total non-financial assets while leasehold improvements represent the remaining $0.5 million (30%).

Spending Distribution by Program

Based on POLAR’s financial statements, total expenses were $15.8 million in 2016-17. The majority of the funds, $8.8 million or 56%, were spent on the Science and Technology for the North program, while the Polar Knowledge Application program represented $3.1 million or 19% of total expenses. Internal Services represented $4.0 million or 25% of total expenses.

Spending Distribution by Type

Total expenses for POLAR were $15.8 million in 2016-17, of which $7.1 million or 45% was spent on transfer payments, with $4.6 million or 29% spent on salaries and employee benefits,  $1.6 million or 10% on professional services fees and $1.2 million or 8% on transportation and telecommunications fees.  The balance of $1.2 million or 8% of POLAR costs was spent on other operating costs such as machinery and equipment costs, utilities, materials and supplies as well as rentals.

Supplementary information

Corporate information

Organizational profile

Appropriate minister: The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, P.C., M.P.
Chairperson: Mr. Richard Boudreault
Institutional head: Dr. David J. Scott, President and Chief Executive Officer
Ministerial portfolio: Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs
Enabling instrument: Canadian High Arctic Research Station Act
Year of incorporation / commencement: 2015
Other: A nine-member Board of Directors, including a Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson, provide strategic oversight of Polar Knowledge Canada. The Board approves the organization’s science and technology plan and annual work plans and budget. The Board is accountable to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs. All Board members are appointed by Order-in-Council to hold office for terms not exceeding five years, and are eligible for re-appointment for a second term of office. Members of the Board of Directors hold office on a part-time basis.

Reporting framework

Polar Knowledge Canada’s Strategic Outcome and Program Alignment Architecture of record for 2016-17 are shown below.

  • 1. Strategic Outcome: Canada has world-class Arctic science and technology to support the development and stewardship of Canada’s North and is recognized as a leader on circumpolar research issues.
    • 1.1 Program: Science and Technology for the North
      • 1.1.1 Sub-Program: Science and Monitoring
      • 1.1.2 Sub-Program: Technology Development and Transfer
    • 1.2 Program: Polar Knowledge Application
      • 1.2.1 Sub-Program: Knowledge Management
      • 1.2.2 Sub-Program: Outreach and Capacity Building
    • Internal Services

Supplementary information tables

No supplementary information tables are available.

Federal tax expenditures

The tax system can be used to achieve public policy objectives through the application of special measures such as low tax rates, exemptions, deductions, deferrals and credits. The Department of Finance Canada publishes cost estimates and projections for these measures each year in the Report on Federal Tax Expenditures.vii This report also provides detailed background information on tax expenditures, including descriptions, objectives, historical information and references to related federal spending programs. The tax measures presented in this report are the responsibility of the Minister of Finance.

Organizational contact information

General Inquiries
info@polar-polaire.gc.ca
Cambridge Bay Office:
Polar Knowledge Canada
1 Uvajuq Road
PO Box 2150
Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, X0B 0C0 
Telephone: (867) 983-3694
Ottawa Office:
170 Laurier Avenue West
2nd Floor, Suite 200
Ottawa, ON, K1P 5V5
Telephone: (613) 943-8605

Media requests and communications
E-mail: communications@polar.gc.ca 
Phone: (613) 292-1759

Appendix: definitions

appropriation (crédit)
Any authority of Parliament to pay money out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
budgetary expenditures (dépenses budgétaires)
Operating and capital expenditures; transfer payments to other levels of government, organizations or individuals; and payments to Crown corporations.
Core Responsibility (responsabilité essentielle)
An enduring function or role performed by a department. The intentions of the department with respect to a Core Responsibility are reflected in one or more related Departmental Results that the department seeks to contribute to or influence.
Departmental Plan (Plan ministériel)
Provides information on the plans and expected performance of appropriated departments over a three-year period. Departmental Plans are tabled in Parliament each spring.
Departmental Result (résultat ministériel)
A Departmental Result represents the change or changes that the department seeks to influence. A Departmental Result is often outside departments’ immediate control, but it should be influenced by program-level outcomes.
Departmental Result Indicator (indicateur de résultat ministériel)
A factor or variable that provides a valid and reliable means to measure or describe progress on a Departmental Result.
Departmental Results Framework (cadre ministériel des résultats)
Consists of the department’s Core Responsibilities, Departmental Results and Departmental Result Indicators.
Departmental Results Report (Rapport sur les résultats ministériels)
Provides information on the actual accomplishments against the plans, priorities and expected results set out in the corresponding Departmental Plan.
Evaluation (évaluation)
In the Government of Canada, the systematic and neutral collection and analysis of evidence to judge merit, worth or value. Evaluation informs decision making, improvements, innovation and accountability. Evaluations typically focus on programs, policies and priorities and examine questions related to relevance, effectiveness and efficiency. Depending on user needs, however, evaluations can also examine other units, themes and issues, including alternatives to existing interventions. Evaluations generally employ social science research methods.
full-time equivalent (équivalent temps plein)
A measure of the extent to which an employee represents a full person-year charge against a departmental budget. Full-time equivalents are calculated as a ratio of assigned hours of work to scheduled hours of work. Scheduled hours of work are set out in collective agreements.
government-wide priorities (priorités pangouvernementales)
For the purpose of the 2016–17 Departmental Results Report, government-wide priorities refers to those high-level themes outlining the government’s agenda in the 2015 Speech from the Throne, namely: Growth for the Middle Class; Open and Transparent Government;  A Clean Environment and a Strong Economy; Diversity is Canada's Strength; and Security and Opportunity.
horizontal initiatives (initiative horizontale)
An initiative where two or more federal organizations, through an approved funding agreement, work toward achieving clearly defined shared outcomes, and which has been designated (for example, by Cabinet or a central agency) as a horizontal initiative for managing and reporting purposes.
Management, Resources and Results Structure (Structure de la gestion, des ressources et des résultats)
A comprehensive framework that consists of an organization’s inventory of programs, resources, results, performance indicators and governance information. Programs and results are depicted in their hierarchical relationship to each other and to the Strategic Outcome(s) to which they contribute. The Management, Resources and Results Structure is developed from the Program Alignment Architecture.
non-budgetary expenditures (dépenses non budgétaires)
Net outlays and receipts related to loans, investments and advances, which change the composition of the financial assets of the Government of Canada.
performance (rendement)
What an organization did with its resources to achieve its results, how well those results compare to what the organization intended to achieve, and how well lessons learned have been identified.
performance indicator (indicateur de rendement)
A qualitative or quantitative means of measuring an output or outcome, with the intention of gauging the performance of an organization, program, policy or initiative respecting expected results.
performance reporting (production de rapports sur le rendement)
The process of communicating evidence-based performance information. Performance reporting supports decision making, accountability and transparency.
planned spending (dépenses prévues)
For Departmental Plans and Departmental Results Reports, planned spending refers to those amounts that receive Treasury Board approval by February 1. Therefore, planned spending may include amounts incremental to planned expenditures presented in the Main Estimates.
A department is expected to be aware of the authorities that it has sought and received. The determination of planned spending is a departmental responsibility, and departments must be able to defend the expenditure and accrual numbers presented in their Departmental Plans and Departmental Results Reports.
plans (plans)
The articulation of strategic choices, which provides information on how an organization intends to achieve its priorities and associated results. Generally a plan will explain the logic behind the strategies chosen and tend to focus on actions that lead up to the expected result.
priorities (priorité)
Plans or projects that an organization has chosen to focus and report on during the planning period. Priorities represent the things that are most important or what must be done first to support the achievement of the desired Strategic Outcome(s).
program (programme)
A group of related resource inputs and activities that are managed to meet specific needs and to achieve intended results and that are treated as a budgetary unit.
Program Alignment Architecture (architecture d’alignement des programmes)
A structured inventory of an organization’s programs depicting the hierarchical relationship between programs and the Strategic Outcome(s) to which they contribute.
results (résultat)
An external consequence attributed, in part, to an organization, policy, program or initiative. Results are not within the control of a single organization, policy, program or initiative; instead they are within the area of the organization’s influence.
statutory expenditures (dépenses législatives)
Expenditures that Parliament has approved through legislation other than appropriation acts. The legislation sets out the purpose of the expenditures and the terms and conditions under which they may be made.
Strategic Outcome (résultat stratégique)
A long-term and enduring benefit to Canadians that is linked to the organization’s mandate, vision and core functions.
sunset program (programme temporisé)
A time-limited program that does not have an ongoing funding and policy authority. When the program is set to expire, a decision must be made whether to continue the program. In the case of a renewal, the decision specifies the scope, funding level and duration.
target (cible)
A measurable performance or success level that an organization, program or initiative plans to achieve within a specified time period. Targets can be either quantitative or qualitative.
voted expenditures (dépenses votées)
Expenditures that Parliament approves annually through an Appropriation Act. The Vote wording becomes the governing conditions under which these expenditures may be made.

Endnotes


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