National Summative Evaluation of the Gas Tax Fund and Public Transit Fund - Appendix 4: Management Response

Appendix 4: Management Response

Facilitate sharing of best practices to address the capacity issues of smaller recipients

Over 2,900 GTF recipients have a population of less than 5,000 inhabitants. To address the capacity issues raised, some of the existing program design features could be put to greater use, such as banking, leveraging, and pooling of funds. Some jurisdictions have built in provisions in their agreements, either dedicated funds for regional initiatives or required use of funds for regional initiatives, and these could be included in other agreements with Canada. Another impact of these provisions is to promote increased collaboration between local governments, and local governments and First Nations, wherever deemed applicable. Some jurisdictions have set a base or floor amount for GTF funding for smaller recipients to ensure that significant projects could be put in place and this could be a venue to consider in the extension of the agreements with Canada.

Specific support toward capacity building initiatives through a dedicated portion of the funds could be included in the extension agreements or through amendments, such as those approved for Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.

The reporting and auditing review has also identified different models put in place to address the specific circumstances, in particular that of smaller-scale recipients: a risk-based approach to auditing could be further explored at the provincial and territorial levels as well as the issues linked to the scarce auditing resources in some areas. Canada should pursue its support for these initiatives as it has in the past.

Canada should facilitate information sharing amongst the provinces and territories so that they may adapt their delivery mechanisms and reporting schemes to address the capacity issues of smaller recipients.

Management Response

Partnerships and Operations recognizes that specific design features of the GTF, notably for allocations within provinces, use of funds and municipal reporting requirements, could better address capacity issues of smaller municipal recipients. The province-specific design of many of these features is the responsibility of the province or territory. Ongoing monitoring of the issue will continue over 2009-2010 and the following responses will be put into effect.

  • Partnerships and Operations, in collaboration with Agreement Signatories will pursue the review project undertaken this year on reporting and audit provisions and processes employed in jurisdictions in order to clarify their impact on smaller recipients and share best practices amongst signatories.
  • Partnerships and Operations will clarify with provinces and territories its expectations regarding risk-based approaches to reporting and audits that can best address accountability for GTF.
Lead Responsibility: Director General, Partnerships and Operations

Continue to support outcomes reporting

The GTF program is not just about funding municipal infrastructure. It is about funding sustainable municipal infrastructure that will contribute to cleaner air, cleaner water, and reduced GHG emissions. Outcomes' reporting is essential to demonstrate that completed projects are producing the expected results.

Though there have been many activities and initiatives to develop the Performance Measurement Framework and its associated indicators, collecting relevant data remains a challenge that will require continued efforts.

Under the present agreements, the signatories have committed to one Outcomes Report in 2009 and to report "periodically thereafter." This condition should be reviewed and clarified in light of the expected program extension to 2014.

Management Response

Outcomes Reports to be published starting in September 2009 will demonstrate the extent to which program outcomes are being achieved. As a first time exercise, they should also point to appropriate improvements that could be made to the GTF Performance Measurement Framework for further reporting during the extension. Over 2009-2010, Partnerships and Operations intends to:

  • Continue to facilitate the implementation of outcomes performance measurement and reporting at federal-provincial/territorial semi-annual workshops.
  • Monitor deliverables in terms of outcomes reporting and continue to provide support to Signatories in the preparation of their Outcomes Report.
  • Review, update and adapt Performance Management Framework with Signatories based on results and lessons learned from the first Outcomes Reporting cycle.
  • Work with signatories to clarify expectations for a timetable of periodic outcomes reporting over the program's extension period.
Lead Responsibility: Director General, Partnerships and Operations

Continue to support long-term sustainable municipal planning

Many features of the existing GTF program focus on long-term sustainable municipal planning. Specifically, most agreements require that an Integrated Community Sustainability Plan be completed within the lifetime of an agreement. This condition will have to be reviewed in the context of the extension, while taking into consideration provincial and territorial legislation and initiatives.

Management Response

Partnerships and Operations agrees that the GTF focus on long-term sustainable municipal planning needs to be reviewed in the context of the extension of the program to 2014. For the period 2009-2010, Partnerships and Operations intends to:

  • Monitor progress and review results achieved to date for the integrated community sustainability plan deliverable.
  • Facilitate the exchange of information and best practises for long-term municipal planning amongst jurisdictions and discuss approaches to promote this commitment at upcoming workshops.
Lead Responsibility: Director General Partnerships and Operations

Review and simplify the requirements for capital spending commitments

Reporting on capital spending commitments under the Agreements should be reviewed in order to clarify and simplify this requirement. The extension of the Agreements offers an opportunity to review the mechanisms for accounting and reporting on capital spending commitments.

Management Response

Although data to date indicate that this outcome is likely to be met, more efforts are needed to simplify this deliverable in preparation for the extension of GTF to 2014. Over 2009-2010, Partnerships and Operations will focus on:

  • Working with Signatories to clarify expectations for Gas Tax Fund capital spending commitments.
  • Continue to monitor progress towards this program outcome and report on results.
Lead Responsibility: Director General Partnerships and Operations

Improve communications of the program's results

Infrastructure Canada has already begun to address this issue and should pursue the implementation of its GTF awareness strategy in conjunction with the signatories to the agreements.

Publication of an Annual GTF Report should be pursued as a means of communicating the program's results. The communications protocol should continue to be reviewed in light of the evaluation findings. Specifically, Infrastructure Canada should address the objectives and expectations for communications in order to ensure that appropriate resources are available to satisfy these.

The role of the communications delivery partners' network should be examined and reinforced as a means of fostering increased communications of the GTF program results.

Management Response

Partnerships and Operations acknowledges that communication objectives need to be clarified in order to improve messaging of GTF program activities and results. In preparation for the extension of the program starting in 2010, Communications and Partnerships and Operations propose to:

  • Analyze the communications strategies in the context of the design of the program and available resources.
  • Review and implement the Gas Tax Fund Communications Strategy that will include identification of required resources and a better alignment to the Building Canada and the Economic Action Plans.
  • Collaborate with Signatories to conduct an assessment of the effectiveness of the communications protocols and communications plans in order to strengthen these tools and ensure their adequate implementation.
  • Partnerships and Operations will continue to produce its annual GTF Activities and Results report and seek alignment of its reporting with similar departmental reporting strategies.

Lead Responsibility: Communications and Partnerships and Operations

Date modified: