Evaluation Review of the Clean Air Agenda Adaptation Theme: Review of Program Evaluation and Performance Measurement Findings

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2.0 Program Profile

2.1 Overview of the Adaptation Theme Within the Clean Air Agenda (CAA)

The Adaptation Theme focuses on two long-term outcomes: 1) improving Canada’s capacity to reduce health risks arising from air pollution and a changing climate; and 2) improving Canada’s capacity to adapt and respond to a changing climate and air pollution. The outcomes of the Adaptation Theme address, therefore, risks not only to the health of Canadians but also to the environment, communities and infrastructure.

The Adaptation Theme consists of seven programs. These programs are intended to help all Canadians build their capacity to adapt by developing knowledge, information, tools and/or collaborative arrangements required to successfully reduce risks. These initiatives differ from many of the programs within the Clean Air Agenda, as they do not directly contribute to reductions of greenhouse gases but rather support the critical complementary activity of adaptation to climate change impacts.

Approximately half of the total funding of the Adaptation Theme was intended to build capacity to respond to diverse risks across the country and to remain relevant to many economic sectors and regions. The other half was targeted to address three urgent risk areas: (i) the North, where impacts of a changing climate are already being felt, vulnerability of communities and infrastructure is high, and the federal government has unique constitutional and land claims responsibilities toward Aboriginal people and northerners; (ii) human health, which faces particular risks through changing climate conditions and extremes, and the spread of infectious diseases; and (iii) infrastructure, in which governments and industry will invest hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade and that must be designed to endure climate conditions that will differ from those of the past.

The following section briefly describes each of the programs grouped under the CAA Adaptation Theme.3

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2.1.1 Assistance to Northerners in Assessing Key Vulnerabilities and Opportunities (INAC)

This program builds on previous work to advance risk assessment and planning by supporting community-based adaptation projects that assess and identify risks and opportunities related to the impacts of climate change, and increase the capacity of Aboriginal and northern communities to address the impacts of a changing climate. Contribution funding was allocated to support community-based projects aimed at working with Aboriginal and Northern organizations, institutions and communities to assess and develop management strategies, adapt to the impacts of a changing climate, and develop future courses of action on adaptation.

2.1.2 Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) (EC, HC)

The Air Quality Health Index translates the science of the health risk of air pollution into a format and set of health messages intended to be used by all Canadians. The current program was put in place to apply the Air Quality Health Index to the forecast system, develop a health-based program to help Canadians protect their health, and promote action to reduce air emissions and build support for the government’s Clean Air Agenda. Contribution funding was allocated to EC to support community organizations in developing or linking existing programs directed at air pollution reduction to the AQHI. Contributions were also designated for funding non-governmental organizations to support provincial transition between existing local air quality information programs and the AQHI.

2.1.3 Climate Change and Health Adaptation in Northern/Inuit Communities (HC)

Aboriginal and northern communities and organizations have unique vulnerabilities to climate change in the North including the impacts on health and well-being of rising sea levels, melting ice and permafrost, violent storms, community location, sanitation, food safety, water quality, vector-borne diseases, and impacts on wildlife and plants used in the traditional diet. This program has established a community-based research initiative to enable northern First Nations and Inuit communities to identify and assess key vulnerabilities and health impacts related to climate change, and develop innovative and culturally sensitive human health risk management plans and tools for adapting to climate change. Partnerships with INAC and Aboriginal and northern organizations and communities are being established to deal with vulnerabilities associated with climate change in the North. Contribution funding was allocated to support research to engage local communities and organizations in addressing the linkages between climate change and health, including methodologies that combine traditional knowledge with formal science.

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2.1.4 Improved Climate Change Scenarios (EC)

Improved Climate Change Scenarios activities focus on three key components: the enhancement and operation of global and regional climate models; the development of climate scenarios for climate, weather extremes and hazards; and the development of specialized information on hazards and climate extremes for infrastructure design. Climate models are computer generated projections that allow scientists to estimate climate conditions globally and regionally as well as simulate climate change. Using these climate models, climate change scenarios define a range of possible future climate conditions to assess future hazards and extreme climate conditions that could develop as a result of climate change. This information feeds into the development of tools and information related to climate extremes that assist in disaster management planning and updating Canada’s infrastructure codes and standards to include impacts of climate change.

2.1.5 Innovative Risk Management Tools for Adaptation (NRCan)

Decision-makers can more strategically use new knowledge about climate change when guided by tools (e.g., guidelines, methodologies) for risk assessment and management, economic analysis and adaptation planning. The goal of NRCan’s program is to produce a basic suite of such tools in collaboration with industry, practitioners and government partners that will work towards ensuring the safety and competitiveness of communities and economic sectors. For the Innovative Risk Management Tools Program, contribution funds were allocated to draw on expertise outside the federal government, such as in the private sector, to support work related to tool development, testing, training and dissemination.

2.1.6 Regional Adaptation Action Partnerships (NRCan)

Collaboration is required among governments, provinces, communities, businesses and other stakeholders to take effective adaptation action on some issues. To catalyze this type of work, NRCan will establish collaborative mechanisms customized to reflect regional needs and expertise and will focus on applying information and tools to assess adaptation options and on sharing information. Contribution funds were allocated to support the development and implementation of project activities (such as research, stakeholder consultations, outreach and knowledge transfer, risk assessment, tailoring of tools, capacity development) to address adaptation priorities as specified in detailed agreements on programs of work.

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2.1.7 Climate and Infectious Disease Alert and Response Systems to Protect the Health of Canadians (HC, PHAC)

This initiative consists of two independent programs, one piloting a heat alert response system (HC) and another piloting an alert response system on infectious diseases (PHAC). The two programs currently being implemented at Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada4 respectively were put in place to work with partners on alert systems for weather extremes and infectious diseases, guidelines for health professionals, research, surveillance and modelling of infectious diseases, and prevention and control strategies. Health Canada will pilot heat alert and response systems (HARS) in four communities, develop a HARS best practices guidebook and guidelines for healthcare during extreme heat events. PHAC’s Pilot Infectious Disease Impact and Response Systems (PIDARS) portion of the Climate Change and Infectious Disease Alert and Response Systems to Protect the Health of Canadians was allocated contribution funding designated to acquire existing national expertise related to mapping, risk assessments and modelling. It was anticipated that this funding would result in the development of new knowledge and research to be applied by PHAC employees in the development of identification and decision-making matrices and tools.

2.2 Stakeholders and Beneficiaries

The reach of the programs within the Adaptation Theme extends to a broad range of stakeholders and beneficiaries that include:

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2.3 Governance

The CAA Horizontal Management Accountability and Reporting Framework (HMARF) is a management framework that is intended to provide strategic direction, coordination and managerial oversight of the CAA. According to the HMARF, each theme under the CAA is required to establish a Directors General Management Committee (DGMC) to assume collective responsibilities for the theme. Comprised of the DGs responsible for the seven programs within its theme, the Adaptation Theme DGMC is responsible for reporting information at the program level, providing coordination and operational support for management issues, and ensuring that overall program management is consistent with the HMARF. The chair and secretariat of the DGMC for the Adaptation Theme rotate through the membership on an annual basis, and meetings are held quarterly. At the thematic level, the DGMC provides information on planned and actual expenditures, results and performance, and identifies risks and mitigation strategies, ensuring that issues are resolved prior to going to the Director General Theme Lead Coordinating Committee (DGTLCC).

Comprised of the lead DG from each theme, the DGTLCC is intended to be the primary operational-level committee responsible for ensuring the consistency and complementarity of work across CAA themes. The Adaptation Theme DGMC is expected to ensure that the DGTLCC has sufficient information on issues related to the Adaptation Theme to oversee the implementation of the horizontal initiative and to report appropriately to the Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) Steering Committee, which provides collective management direction for theme areas and the CAA overall and reports to the Deputy Minister (DM) Committee. The DM Committee provides strategic direction on the management of the CAA overall and serves as the interlocutor with ministers and Cabinet.

2.4 Adaptation Resource Allocations

Table 1 details the allocation of funds for each program within the Adaptation Theme. Amounts were originally allocated for each of the various components for a total investment by the Government of Canada of $115.9 million over four years in Adaptation programming across the five participating departments and agency6. Funds were not released until August 2008 (with the exception of AQHI, which had been approved separately). Table 1 reflects this change in anticipated funding and program implementation. A detailed analysis of planned versus actual spending is presented in Section 4.0 (under evaluation question 7). It should be noted, however, that, as Table 1 indicates, all programs except the AQHI began implementation of planned activities one year later than anticipated.

Table 1. Adaptation Theme Spending: Planned vs. Actual (2007–2009) and Planned Only (2009–2011) (in thousands)a

2.5 Logic Model8

A logic model is a visual representation of a program/initiative which identifies the linkages between an initiative’s activities and the achievement of its outcomes. The Adaptation Theme Logic Model (Figure 1) shows how the seven Adaptation program initiatives are expected to lead to the higher-level outcomes expected of the Adaptation Theme as a whole. The Adaptation Theme Logic Model was developed collectively, with the active participation of program management and evaluation representatives from all programs, the Clean Air Agenda Results Management Secretariat (CAA-RMS) staff, and Government Consulting Services (GCS).



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3 For Financial Administration Act evaluation requirements (http://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/F-11/index.html), please refer to the individual program evaluations.

4 This program consists of two separate initiatives under the Adaptation Theme that are being implemented separately by HC and PHAC and are not jointly undertaking any projects listed in the logic model above. The alert response systems for heat and for infectious diseases are independent initiatives. The activities and outputs of both are completely separate from each other.

5 Some programs define these northern communities based on their location within specific geographic regions.

6 The five participating departments and agency are: Health Canada, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Environment Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

8 The logic model used in this report is a revised version of the model that was submitted in the inception documents. The revised model, developed by an interdepartmental committee in February 2009, includes minor revisions to the Theme’s outputs and outcomes.

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