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4. Performance measurement

Measuring performance is a good management practice, and both the private and public sectors do it to determine program and process effectiveness. Performance measurement provides fact-based information on which to measure progress that is an integral part of the collective management of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS). It is the means to track and monitor the achievement of outcomes as expected. It also serves as an early warning that planned results are not being attained and, therefore, may require further investigation and remedial action.    

As described by the TBS Results-based Management Lexicon, performance measurement is the process and system of selection, development and on-going use of performance measures to guide decision-making and assess whether or not the government is meeting its requirements. 

In the case of the FSDS, performance measurement is the underpinning of the "Check" part of the "Plan, Do, Check and Improve" system, and it is used to track progress towards making environmental decision-making more transparent and accountable. Where appropriate, results of performance measurement will be included in FSDS progress reports.

4.1 Logic model

The outcomes the FSDS is trying to achieve are articulated in the form of a logic model that was produced using the guidelines for developing logic models published by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS). The FSDS logic model is a tool for reporting FSDS performance by providing the logical linkages among FSDS activities, outputs, and outcomes.

Developing and using a logic model is an effective way to help organize and systematize program planning, management, and evaluation functions regarding implementing the FSDS. Building on the "Plan, do, check, and improve" system, the FSDS Logic Model is the basis for identifying results, progress and performance on meeting the requirements of the Act.

The FSDS Logic Model describes activities, processes, tools, events, and actions that form part of implementing the FSDS including such examples as:

  • conducting research on best practices and emerging trends in sustainable development;
  • consulting with FSDS departments and agencies to develop the FSDS, the FSDS reporting strategy, and indicators to track progress;
  • consulting with Canadians and stakeholders on the FSDS;
  • providing guidance and expertise on developing Departmental Sustainable Development Strategies (DSDSs) and applying the Cabinet Directive on Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA); and
  • integrating environmental sustainability into corporate policies and procedures and increasing socio-economic considerations in the FSDS.

Outputs from those activities, used to bring about intended changes or results, include:

  • the FSDS and the Progress Report documents;
  • a consultation and synthesis report and other communication products and materials;
  • indicators with data sources and methods;
  • guidance to produce DSDSs and implement the Cabinet Directive on SEA;
  • DSDSs that are integrated into the planning and reporting processes;
  • tools to identify socio-economic initiatives with positive environmental sustainability outcomes; and
  • corporate guidelines, guidance, and directives that integrate environmental sustainability.

Immediate outcomes are the specific changes in the target audiences’ behavior with respect to, and knowledge of, FSDS activities and outputs over a 1–3 year period, while intermediate outcomes and ultimate outcomes should be achievable over the medium and long term. 

Ultimately the FSDS Logic Model identifies linkages between the activities and outputs of the FSDS and its immediate, intermediate and ultimate outcomes. It develops a chain of results connecting activities to the final outcomesFootnote [1] while at the same time identifying the linkages demonstrating progress toward achieving them.   

The FSDS Logic Model has been designed to highlight three key result areas based on the requirements of the Act. These include:

  1. Developing the FSDS
  2. Measuring and reporting on performance
  3. Putting sustainable development into practice

Immediate outcomes are divided into the three key result areas in support of the intermediate outcomes of increased awareness of federal environmental sustainability initiatives and integration into priorities and decision-making (see Table 2 below). The ultimate outcome flowing from the activities and outputs of the FSDS Logic Model is "environmental decision-making that is more transparent and accountable to Parliament". In the long-term, the activities and outputs supporting the requirements of the Act are expected to have a positive impact on the transparency of environmental decision-making that will undoubtedly affect the performance of the goals and targets included in the FSDS. The outputs in the FSDS Management Framework Logic Model have four possible target audiences, including Parliamentarians, stakeholders, Canadians and departments and agencies. 

Table 2: Outcomes
Ultimate outcomeEnvironmental decision-making that is more transparent and accountable to Parliament
Intermediate outcomesIncreased awareness of the breadth of federal government environmental sustainability initiatives
Increased awareness of socio-economic aspects of federal government environmental sustainability initiatives
Immediate outcomesIncreased interest in the FSDS
Increased recognition of improvements to the FSDS
Increased integration of sustainable development into planning and reporting
Increased relevance and coverage of indicators
Increased implementation of guidance material
Increased integration of social and economic considerations in the FSDS
Increased transparency of reporting on Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEAs) and other corporate policies and procedures that support integrating environmental sustainability in federal initiatives


Footnote 1

Treasury Board Secretariat Results-based Management Lexicon provides the definition for activities, outputs, immediate (short-term), intermediate (medium-term) and ultimate (long-term) outcomes. 

Return to footnote 1 referrer

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