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1. Agency overview and departmental performance


1.1 Message from the Minister

Jean-Pierre Blackburn

I am pleased to present the Departmental Performance Report drawn up by the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec for the period ending March 31, 2007.

In its desire to reflect the Government's long-term Advantage Canada plan while taking into account the socio-economic development context of Quebec and its regions, the Agency rapidly put forward a series of measures to support the development of SMEs, particularly in devitalized regions.

So it was that in Fall 2006, in the wake of the different regional tours I had made after taking over this portfolio—tours which brought me fully up to speed on the different regional economic issues—I announced the establishment of the Partnering with Enterprises for Commercialization, CEDI-Vitality and Community Economic Facilities for the Regions measures, and set up 14 Advisory Committees, one in each region of Quebec. Two funds, one for business startups and the other for business succession, were also created and set up in conjunction with the Community Futures Development Corporations, Business Development Centres and venture capital corporations. Then in April 2007 three new programs came into effect: Community Diversification, Business and Regional Growth, and Regional Development Research.

This is therefore the last report covering the achievements realized through the Agency's old programs. The results it presents are proof positive of our desire as a regional development agency to make a real difference, particularly where economic growth is slow and employment inadequate.

I am pleased to emphasize that, as at March 31, 2007, the Agency had invested $1.3 billion to support the startup or continuation of the 2,261 projects that were in progress. Agency contributions have brought about a substantial leverage effect in the regions of Quebec, since these projects have generated investment totalling $4.2 billion. This investment has contributed to the pre-startup or startup of more than 2,700 enterprises and the creation, maintenance or transformation of 18,000 jobs.

I am convinced that the changes introduced over the past year help the Agency act even more effectively as a catalyst in supporting projects which contribute to the economic development of the regions of Quebec.

Jean-Pierre Blackburn

Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

1.2 Management representation statement

I submit for tabling in Parliament the 2006-2007 Departmental Performance Report for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec.

This document has been prepared based on the reporting principles contained in the Guide to the Preparation of Part III of the 2006-2007 Estimates: Reports on Plans and Priorities and Departmental Performance Reports:

  • It adheres to the specific reporting requirements outlined in the Treasury Board Secretariat guidance.
  • It is based on the department's Strategic Outcomes and Program Activity Architecture that were approved by the Treasury Board.
  • It presents consistent, comprehensive, balanced and reliable information.
  • It provides a basis of accountability for the results achieved with the resources and authorities entrusted to it.
  • It reports finances based on approved numbers from the Estimates and the Public Accounts of Canada.
Signature of Guy Mc Kenzie

Guy Mc Kenzie

Deputy Minister/President

Date: 2007-09-21

1.3 Summary


Raison d'tre

Under its enabling legislation, which came into effect on October 5, 2005, the object of the Agency is to promote the long-term economic development of the regions of Quebec by giving special attention to those where slow economic growth is prevalent or opportunities for productive employment are inadequate. In carrying out its object, the Agency shall take such measures as will promote cooperation and complementarity with Quebec and communities in Quebec.

Vision

To enhance the well-being and standard of living of Quebecers through investment in regional development which caters to the needs of regions, communities and enterprises and helps them adjust to the challenges of the global economy.

To contribute to Canada's performance through strong economic growth

building on its 14 business offices, the Agency targets two strategic outcomes in the long term

Vitality of communities

Dynamic, revitalized Quebec communities enjoying better socio-economic prospects:
the Agency enhances the quality of life of Canadians by revitalizing Quebec communities through intervention supporting local and regional mobilization, emergence of new entrepreneurs, creation of small enterprises, attraction of tourists and retention of skilled workers.

Enterprises' competitiveness

Competitive Quebec regions and SMEs through the presence of conditions conducive to sustainable growth: the Agency improves Canadians' standard of living through lasting strategic investment in increasing the capability of Quebec regions, networks, knowledge institutions and SMEs to compete on the national and global stage.

Four departmental priorities

The four chosen priorities are of two kinds: two are program priorities, and two are management priorities.

Program priorities

The Agency seeks to:

  • intensify its intervention in regions and communities in transition
  • reinforce the performance of innovative SMEs in key sectors.

Management priorities

The Agency seeks to:

  • reinforce its capacity to design effective policy and programs
  • equip itself with the processes and systems it needs to increase its capacity to practise results-based management.
Through an integrated approach to regional development
  • Global: take economic, social, cultural and environmental dimensions into account in the design of policy, programs and initiatives.
  • Territorial: establish strategies geared to the type of area defined in terms of similar socio-economic issues.
  • Horizontal: build on cooperation and collaboration with federal partners, the Government of Quebec and Quebec communities.
  • Participatory: elicit participation by the economic agents concerned.
In relation to several promoters, in particular
  • enterprises (most often SMEs)
  • non-profit organizations (NPOs).
By eliciting and supporting development
  • through provision of guidance and advice services
  • through drafting of analyses of issues, forward-looking studies, referrals and information
  • through application of financial assistance programs.
By using its human and financial resources
  • total actual expenditures in 2006-2007: $364,899,000
  • 417 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) authorized.
So as to
  • develop the capabilities, competencies, knowhow and business networks of local and regional entrepreneurs and economic agents
  • facilitate participation by economic agents in the design and implementation of a strategic vision, plan and projects for the development of their region.

The following diagram presents the Agency's planning framework, specifying its mission, the strategic outcomes it seeks to attain, and the program activities it implements in order to attain them.

The Agency's planning framework

1.4 Departmental performance

This Departmental Performance Report covers the period ending March 31, 2007. Created in 1994 and renewed in 2001, the Innovation, development of entrepreneurship and access program for SMEs (IDEA-SME) aimed to support SMEs' growth by helping them innovate and export. For its part, the Regional Strategic Initiatives (RSI) program, set up in 1997, adapted to the specific strategic needs of the different regions of Quebec and aimed to support their capacity to build on technological innovation and adjust to a constantly evolving global economy. These two programs terminated March 31, 2007. This is the last Departmental Performance Report to review the results of these two main grants and contributions programs.

New programs were approved effective April 1, 2007, in line with the Agency's new strategic directions, which constitute the long-term strategy for meeting the challenges of regional development. Thus, the Agency intends to contribute to the economic dynamism of the regions by focussing its intervention and investment on the vitality of communities, SMEs' competitiveness and the competitive positioning of the regions. The new programs—Community Diversification, Business and Regional Growth, and Regional Development Research—were approved for five years, and are in line with the new Program Activity Architecture described in the Report on Plans and Priorities 2007-2008.

1.4.1 Context

Quebec's economic situation

The Quebec economy grew by 1.7% in 2006, more slowly than in 2005 (2.2%). Its growth was also lower than the overall Canadian rate (2.7%) that was boosted by the fast growing Alberta economy.

Quebec's economic growth is primarily attributable to an increase in consumer spending (the latter accounting for some 60% of the province's gross domestic product). It is also led by the 7.4% increase in investment in machinery and equipment made by Quebec enterprises. On the other hand, Quebec's higher trade deficit, with its imports rising faster than its exports, slowed its economic growth in 2006.

The labour market performed well in 2006. Some 50,000 net jobs were created in Quebec, and the jobless rate fell to a 30-year low of 8%. Moreover, Quebec's sound employment performance was maintained during the first quarter of 2007.

That being said, the Quebec economy has to remain competitive. This necessarily involves higher productivity. Despite an improvement over the past decade, Quebec's productivity is still 5.9% below that of Canadian provinces as a whole, and 10.5% below Ontario's. It is also lower than in most OECD countries.

Closing the productivity gap in Quebec will require increased investment. But while investment by Quebec enterprises has risen, it remains lower than elsewhere in Canada and around the world. Moreover, Quebec does not attract sufficient foreign direct investment, witness the fact that its share of foreign capital investment is lower than its weight in the Canadian economy. An increase in this type of investment could have a positive impact on the productivity of local enterprises which integrate with value chains.

An increase in enterprises' productivity will also require innovation. While active in research and development (R&D), Quebec enterprises, especially SMEs, often suffer from their difficulty commercializing new products and services.

Furthermore, the rise in the Canadian dollar, competition from emerging nations and the slowdown in the U.S. economy in the second quarter of 2006 and early 2007 have slowed growth in several sectors of the Quebec economy.

On the goods production front, no fewer than 25,000 positions were eliminated in Quebec. Sound performance from the construction sector was not sufficient to offset the loss of some 34,000 jobs in 15 manufacturing industry sectors. For manufacturing, 2006 was the worst of the past four years. The textiles, paper manufacturing, printing, and rubber and plastics products sectors were especially hard hit.

Nevertheless, the service industry, which generated some 75,000 new jobs in 2006, continues to do more than offset the weakness of the labour market on the manufacturing front. This increase in employment was seen in several sectors of the tertiary economy, especially finance, insurance, real estate, professional, scientific and technical services, and educational services.


The areas defined in the Agency's strategic directions:

  • Metropolitan Montral includes the municipalities on the le-de-Montral, Laval and Longueuil, and the cities and towns of the Northern and Southern Rings of Quebec's largest city
  • major urban centres include the Qubec City census metropolitan area (CMA) and the Quebec part of the Ottawa-Gatineau CMA
  • central areas are those located between an hour and an hour and a half by road from one of Quebec's three major CMAs
  • outlying areas are those located outside central areas.

However, the different areas of Quebec (see box) do not all post the same economic performance. Nor do they face the same challenges.

Metropolitan Montral has lower productivity than many of the world's large cities. This area, where most of Quebec's R&D spending is concentrated, is facing some especially tall challenges with respect to innovation. Indeed, as a result of competition from emerging nations it lost 17,000 manufacturing jobs in 2006. Further bad news: the Montral metropolitan area posts slower demographic growth than the main Canadian cities, but has trouble attracting and retaining immigrants.

Quebec's major urban centres, Qubec and Gatineau, posted a sound socio-economic performance overall. In 2006, they recorded high employment rates, and jobless rates below the Quebec average (5.2% in Qubec and 5.6% in Gatineau). But these two areas, which still count heavily on the presence of the public sector, will have to continue diversifying their economies.

Many very small enterprises and manufacturing firms are located in the central areas, so these areas are especially hard hit by the adjustment difficulties encountered by the secondary sector. Their competitiveness will involve an improvement in the productivity of manufacturing SMEs and their adoption of new technology.

The outlying areas, where primary industries predominate, will have to adapt their natural resource management policies and diversify their economic base. The aging of the population particularly affects these areas, some of which are already seeing a substantial demographic decline.

Organizational context

In May 2006, the Agency reviewed its operations in order to improve the quality of its management, be more transparent and responsible and attain more effectively the results it has set itself. This approach led it to make changes in its organizational structure that will help it achieve its objectives and obtain the planned results. This restructuring made it possible to establish clearly the roles and responsibilities of the Agency's different branches.

Programs, measures and initiatives

The Agency has access to a varied range of tools to support regional development in Quebec: it offers financial assistance, provides guidance and advice, and produces analyses, referrals, forward-looking studies and information.

The Agency's intervention to support socio-economic agents in the regions of Quebec in meeting the challenges and resolving the problems they are faced with is carried out through different programs or initiatives.

During Fiscal Year (FY) 2006-2007, seven programs1 were administered by the Agency:

  • Innovation, development of entrepreneurship and access program for SMEs
  • Regional Strategic Initiatives program
  • Community Futures Program (CFP)
  • Infrastructure Canada Program (ICP)
  • Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund (MRIF)
  • Canadian Textiles Program (CANtex)
  • Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund (CSIF).

As set out in the Report on Plans and Priorities 2006-2007, six new initiatives and measures were announced in the Fall:

  • Community Economic Diversification Initiative – Vitality (CEDI-Vitality)
  • Community Economic Facilities for the Regions support measure
  • Venture Capital Fund for Business Startups in the Regions
  • Capital Fund for Business Succession2
  • Partnering with Enterprises for Commercialization
  • Advisory Committees.

These measures were drawn up following a tour of the regions of Quebec by the Minister, who asked the Agency to focus more on devitalized regions and to target SMEs more directly.


For further information on the six initiatives, see
www.dec-ced.gc.ca/asp/ProgrammesServices/
ProgrammesServices_intro.asp?LANG=EN

New Initiatives and Measures

During FY 2006-2007, the Agency approved 341 contribution agreements, for total assistance amounting to $61 million. Primarily reached under the CEDI-Vitality initiative, these 341 agreements contribute to the injection of more than $219 million in investment in regions and communities facing major socio-economic development challenges.

Most of this intervention (65%) was carried out in relation to SMEs. For each dollar injected by the Agency in 2006-2007 in a project presented by an enterprise, a further $4 or so will be invested in the different regions of Quebec by the parties involved in the projects.


 

Number

(in thousands of dollars)

Agency assistance

Total value of projects

Type of promoters

Enterprises

221

28,393

111,854

Organizations

120

32,642

107,497

Total

341

61,036

219,352

Type of initiatives

CEDI-Vitality1

336

45,546

161,117

Venture Capital Fund for Business Startups in the Regions and Capital Fund for Business Succession

2

13,000

54,600

Other initiatives

3

2,490

3,635

Total

341

61,036

219,352


Note:

1 The data in this row reflect projects approved under the Fishing Community Economic Diversification Initiative and the Community Economic Diversification Initiative – Coulombe Report. Of the 336 projects, 150 (45%) have been approved since the announcement of the new, expanded initiative, CEDI-Vitality, which targets Quebec's seven regions with slow economic growth and 21 devitalized regional county municipalities (RCMs). These regions and RCMs are listed in Appendix 1.

The Agency's Six New Initiatives


 

CEDI-Vitality

Community Economic Facilities for the Regions

Venture Capital Fund for Business Startups in the Regions

Objective

CEDI-Vitality targets the diversification of regional economies and creation of sustainable employment. This measure enables small enterprises and organizations to start up diversification and development projects that contribute to improving economic conditions in the regions.

This measure aims to help regions and communities experiencing slow economic growth to acquire sustainable community economic facilities.1 It contributes to reinforcing their industrial base, revitalizing their economy and fostering trade.

This fund aims to elicit the creation of enterprises that otherwise would have been unable to get off the ground.

Description of Measure

Through this measure, the Agency supports the development of entrepreneurship, conversion or startup of new enterprises, and implementation of flagship projects generating sustainable employment.

These projects must foster direct strengthening of the region's industrial base, generate direct, measurable short- and medium-term spinoffs, lead to the creation of a significant number of sustainable jobs, reinforce enterprises' access to key markets outside the region and enable a region or community to acquire sustainable competitive advantages.

It will help support the creation of enterprises which would not have got off the ground without this new source of capital. Only 4% of venture capital invested in Quebec is currently invested outside Montral, Qubec and Gatineau.

CEDI-Vitality has a notional envelope of $85 million over four years.

This measure has a notional envelope of $30 million over two years.

The Agency's financial contribution to this initiative stands at $5 million for 12 months. CFDCs, BDCs and venture capital corporations are co-operating with the Agency.


The Agency's Six New Initiatives (cont'd)


Capital Fund for Business Succession

Partnering with Enterprises for Commercialization

Advisory committees

This fund aims at maintaining enterprises and their decision-making centres in the regions where they are established.

This measure aims to facilitate development of enterprises' international business activities.

The mandate of the advisory committees is to advise the Minister on developments in each region's economic situation and needs, directions and priorities that could be favoured by the Agency there, and the selection of promising niches.

This initiative should help increase the number of successful SME transfers, (particularly intergenerational transfers owner-employee or parent-child), and help maintain existing businesses, jobs and decision-making centres in the regions. It should thus contribute to reinforcement of the regional economic fabric.

The Agency supports the hiring of a new resource specializing in market development.

The Agency supports the establishment of an advisory committee in each of Quebec's 14 regions. The advisory committee generally consists of a chairperson and from four to six members appointed by the Minister.

The Agency's financial contribution to this initiative stands at $8 million for 12 months. CFDCs, BDCs and venture capital corporations are co-operating with the Agency.

This measure has a notional envelope of $5 million per year for four years.

 


Note:

1 Community economic facilities are tangible physical assets whose use and short- and medium-term economic spinoffs benefit the community as a whole. Examples include ferry wharves or communication structures, such as broadband networks.

Human and Financial Resources


 

2006-2007

Planned spending

Total Authorities

Actual expenditures

Financial resources
(in thousands of dollars)

381,329

411,276

364,899

Contributions and grants

331,165

360,423

316,125

Operations

50,164

50,853

48,774

 

2006-2007

Planned

Actual

Difference

Human resources (FTEs)

408

417

9


 


Impact of the Government's spending review on the Agency's level of activity and performance in 2006-2007

In the 2006 Budget Speech, Canada's new government undertook to save $1 billion by eliminating or streamlining inefficient programs and activities. In September 2006, as part of its Effective Spending exercise, the Government cut the funding in support of Canada's apparel and textile industries by $24.9 million. This reduction, reflecting decreased participation in this program by enterprises, affected the implementation of the Canadian Textiles Program CANtex.


For further information on Effective Spending, see
www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/media/nr-cp/2006/0925_e.asp.


1.4.2 Overview of Agency performance

Overview of overall performance

As of March 31, 2007, 2,261 projects were in progress in the regions of Quebec as a result of the Agency's financial support. In all, these projects represent a $4.2-billion regional economic development and diversification effort. This total was invested by all development agents and fund providers taken together. In other words, each dollar injected by the Agency directly generated more than $3.17 in investment in the economy of Quebec communities and regions.3


Methodology

The Agency's performance measurement strategy uses two data collection methods:

  • yearly telephone survey conducted on promoter enterprises
  • mechanism for project tracking vis--vis organizations by Agency advisors (see Appendix 2).

Of these 2,261 projects, just over a third had terminated on March 31, 2007. So it is hard to assess the impact of these projects on the development of communities and regions, since this impact has not yet fully occurred (see box). But based on the data available to it, the Agency considers that a minimum of 18,000 jobs4 were created, maintained or transformed in all Quebec regions as a result of the 2,261 projects carried out with its financial support.

According to the survey conducted within the framework of this Departmental Performance Report, the Agency's presence and involvement were indispensable to carry out projects. More than 97% of promoters could not have carried out their projects without the financial assistance from the Agency or could not have carried them out on the same scale or within the same timeframe.

Similarly, a large proportion of enterprises stated that the assistance they received helped them increase their sales and improve their competitive position.

The Agency also continued its efforts to improve enterprises' performance. Thus, in many cases intervention led to the development of new products, commercialization of innovations and development of higher-performance processes or integration of new business practices.


Results-based management: scope and limitations

The Agency uses a results-based management approach. In this regard, it aims at different levels of results: immediate, intermediate and final. Clearly, by their very nature, the results of Agency intervention may become apparent over a period of more than one year. The methodology behind the Performance Report (yearly survey and information collection) does not allow for measurement of final results, so this report documents only part of the results which Agency intervention contributes to attaining. For instance, municipalities' capital projects or SMEs' innovation projects may be spread over more than one year, so anticipated results do not necessarily arise during the year in which the projects were approved and the contributions paid. Moreover, the results of projects that ended shortly before (notably in terms of job maintenance or creation) are often slower to appear, and therefore cannot be documented here. This report therefore presents primarily the immediate results attained, along with cer tain intermediate results.


The following table is a partial list of some 20 indicators of tangible results associated with the Agency's action. These results stem from direct intervention by the Agency vis--vis enterprises, and from intervention by intermediate organizations which received Agency support, whose mission in some cases is to provide services to enterprises. Further details on each of the strategic outcomes achieved by the Agency are presented in Section 2.

Agency's Overall Performance

Main results observed as at March 31, 20071


2,261 projects carried out by organizations and enterprises with Agency support are in progress

 


Commercialization and export indicators(1)

  • 307 new enterprises are exporting their products or services
  • 715 enterprises made sales on new markets

Innovation and productivity indicators(2)

  • 1,095 enterprises developed an innovation action plan
  • 901 enterprises designed a new product or improved an existing product
  • 149 enterprises developed higher-performance processes
  • 401 enterprises developed new products or services ready to be commercialized
  • 14 enterprises obtained a patent

Business growth indicators(3)

  • 2,777 enterprises are in pre-startup, startup or expansion
  • 94 enterprises modernized or expanded their facilities or equipment
  • 169 enterprises increased their sales
  • 219 enterprises increased their profitability
  • 248 enterprises improved their competitive position

Employment indicator(4)

  • More than 18,000 jobs were created, maintained or transformed

Indicator of regions' and communities' dynamism(5)

  • 775 local or regional development strategies or projects were designed or implemented in Quebec regions and communities

Incentive nature of Agency financial assistance(6)

  • More than 97% of promoters could not have carried out their project without Agency financial assistance or could not have carried it out on the same scale or within the same timeframe.

Leverage effect in the regions of Quebec(7)

  • $1 from the Agency → $3.17 in investment

 


Resources invested2 to generate the results indicated above
Total expenditures of $744,582,000 were incurred in order to support projects in progress (including prior year spending). This figure includes actual expenditures of $316,125,000 for FY 2006-2007. The Report on Plans and Priorities 2006-2007 projected expenditures of $331,165,000.

Notes:

1 See technical notes for the table in Appendix 3.
2 Excludes operating expenditures.

1.4.3 Results obtained with respect to the Agency's main priorities

Agency priorities

In the Report on Plans and Priorities 2006-2007, the Agency had undertaken to pursue four priorities. These priorities were of two kinds: two were program priorities, while two were management priorities.


Program Priorities

Managment Priorities

  • Help regions and communities in transition
  • Reinforce the performance of innovative SMEs in key sectors
  • Reinforce departmental capacity to develop policy and design programs
  • Equip the Agency with processes and systems required to ensure increased results-based management capability

The priorities represent areas of intervention where the Agency has chosen to intensify its action so as to respond more effectively to government priorities, to socio-economic challenges of the regions, or to ensure more effective management of the organization. The intervention selected under the priorities constitutes only part of the Agency's overall action. Thus, in its Report on Plans and Priorities 2006-2007, the Agency intended to devote about half of its grants and contributions budget to its priorities. Other intervention not defined in terms of priorities constitutes its current activities.

Program priorities

Priority #1: Help regions and communities in transition

Intervention carried out under the Help regions and communities in transition priority5 targets reinforcement of economic activity in seven devitalized regions (Abitibi-Tmiscamingue, Bas-Saint-Laurent, Cte-Nord, Gaspsie—les-de-la-Madeleine, Mauricie, Nord-du-Qubec and Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean) and 21 regional county municipalities (see Appendix 1). These regions and RCMs, numbering a total of 795 municipalities and some 1.6 million residents (a fifth of Quebec's total population), are experiencing economic difficulties, one of the effects of which is a substantial demographic decline.

In geographical terms, these regions and RCMs are far removed from the major North American consumer markets. They exhibit little economic diversification, so are vulnerable when demand for their main products flags. They also have increasingly to adjust to the tightening of rules governing the harvesting of their natural resources (e.g. reduced stumpage dues). Their development mainly depends on primary industries, which create a relatively limited number of jobs. Finally, access to diversified funding sources and the resources required to reinforce local entrepreneurship are often lacking.

The Agency helps communities and regions in transition by carrying out intervention aimed at reducing their socio-economic adjustment difficulties, renewing their entrepreneurial base and facilitating their economic diversification. The table below, Summary of performance by program priority, shows a number of the results attained by the Agency.

In 2006-2007, expenditures made in this regard ($70.9 million) were higher than the planned objectives ($63.5 million) as presented in the Report on Plans and Priorities 2006-2007. This discrepancy is attributable in particular to the introduction by the Agency, as early as September 2006, of new initiatives and intervention measures, including the Community Economic Diversification Initiative – Vitality (CEDI-Vitality).

Priority #2: Reinforce the performance of innovative SMEs in key sectors

The Agency also contributes to increasing SMEs' competitiveness by intervening to reinforce their innovation capability, foster their integration with value chains and facilitate their networking with participants in sectoral clusters. Under this second priority, the Agency also seeks to support an increase in the international outreach of Quebec's regions by attracting international organizations to them.

In order to achieve implementation of the Reinforce the performance of innovative SMEs priority, the Agency planned to pay special attention to improving the competitiveness of SMEs in key sectors in the different areas of Quebec. Thus, in 2006-2007, the Agency's expenditures in this priority field totalled $39.6 million, exceeding the planned spending figure of $33 million.

Actual expenditures made by the Agency in pursuit of its two program priorities were higher than the planned objectives. Expenditures associated with these two priorities correspond to close to 50% of the Agency's grants and contributions budget.

Summary of Performance by Program Priority


 

(in thousands of dollars)

Planned Spending

Actual expenditures

Strategic outcomeVitality of communities

Program activity – Improvement of the economic environment of regions
Priority #1
Help regions and communities in transition

63,450

70,944

Intervention carried out by the Agency, whether directly vis--vis SMEs or indirectly vis--vis economic development support organizations, contributed, as of March 31, 2007, to the attainment of the following results:

  • development or implementation of 542 development strategies or projects in communities in transition
  • pre-startup or startup of 300 new enterprises in different sectors, particularly manufacturing and aluminum processing
  • adoption of new business practices by 363 enterprises
  • reinforcement, for 38 enterprises in communities in transition, of cooperative links with universities, research centres or enterprises
  • emergence of 94 new exporting enterprises and development of products or services ready to be commercialized in communities in transition by 102 enterprises
  • creation and maintenance of 4,315 jobs.

Strategic outcomeEnterprises' competitiveness

Program activity – Enterprise development
Priority #2
Reinforce the performance of innovative SMEs in key sectors

33,000

39,578

Intervention carried out by the Agency, whether directly vis--vis SMEs or indirectly vis--vis economic development support organizations, contributed, as of March 31, 2007, to the attainment of the following results:

  • reinforcement of the capability of 89 enterprises to make innovations and commercialize them
  • increase in the number and value of subcontracts for 67 enterprises
  • establishment in Quebec and expansion of activities of four international organizations, contributing to the creation of 80 jobs for skilled workers
  • more than $620 million in foreign investment in the Montral area, leading to the creation or maintenance of more than 3,500 direct and indirect jobs
  • creation and maintenance of 3,749 jobs.

Management priorities

In 2006-2007, the two management priorities chosen by the Agency were to reinforce its capability to develop policy and design effective programs and equip itself with the processes and systems it needs to practise results-based management more effectively.

The Agency was also to renew its programs and meet the expectations expressed in the Management Accountability Framework (MAF).

Priority #3: Reinforce departmental capacity to develop policy and design programs

This priority involved reinforcing the Agency's capacity to develop policy and design programs at a time when its main programs (Regional Strategic Initiatives and Innovation, development of entrepreneurship and access programs for SMEs) were expiring in March 2007. It is linked to the MAF Policy and Programs element. In a results-based management context, this capacity is important for the organization, as it helps provide a framework for Agency intervention with a view to attaining the results it has set itself. Thus, the Agency continues to develop its policy and analytical capability so as to be able to generate the knowledge required concerning implementation of the strategic directions for 2006-2011 and lead to development of high-quality options with respect to policy, program design and advice for the Minister and senior management.

To realize this priority, the Agency implemented the following elements:

  • In a concern to reinforce this capability, the Agency conducted a corporate restructuring which led to the creation of a directorate responsible for policy development and program design.
  • During program design, considerable effort was devoted to analysing issues and trends, evaluating existing programs and policy, consulting with experts and training Agency staff, and preparing tools supporting them in program implementation. The Agency also undertook work to provide a framework for its intervention with respect to tourism and innovation.
  • The Agency developed three new programs in line with its strategic directions approved in May 2006:
    • Community Diversification program (targets vitality)
    • Business and Regional Growth program (targets competitiveness of SMEs and regions)
    • Regional Development Research6 program (targets strategic research)

For further information on the new programs, visit:
www.dec-ced.gc.ca/asp/ProgrammesServices/
ProgrammesServices_intro.asp


  • The Agency developed and implemented the six new initiatives described above. These initiatives were announced by the Minister in Fall 2006 with a view to providing more effective support to SMEs and "devitalized" regions.
  • The Agency drew up its fourth Sustainable Development Strategy 2007-2010.

For further information on the Agency's Sustainable Development Strategy, visit:
www.dec-ced.gc.ca/asp/Publications/doc_strat_dev.asp?LANG=EN


  • The Agency developed and implemented targeted criteria and terms and conditions with respect to development of ports of call for international cruises in order to increase the number of cruise ships, and the number of cruise passengers from outside Quebec, as well as tourist spending, along with the creation and maintenance of jobs.

Priority #4: Equip the Agency with processes and systems required to ensure increased results-based management capability

Three years ago, the Government of Canada introduced a tool to support federal departments and agencies in improving their management practices: the Management Accountability Framework.


The Management Accountability Framework sets out the Treasury Board's expectations of senior public service managers for good management of departments and agencies. The MAF is structured around 10 key elements that collectively define "management" and establish the expectations for good management of a department or agency.
See: www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/maf-crg/index_e.asp

Being required to implement all the components of the MAF, the Agency seeks the continuous improvement of its efficiency and effectiveness. To manage its activities better, make better use of its resources and continue to learn, the Agency has set itself a fourth priority: to develop the processes and systems it needs to practise better results-based management.

To realize this priority, the Agency implemented a plan containing the following elements:

  • Continued implementation of integrated planning.
  • Implementation of its Management, Resources and Results Structure; in Spring 2006, the Agency introduced a new Program Activity Architecture and reviewed its governance structure.
  • Establishment of information management processes. Since performance measurement depends from the outset on the Agency's capacity to access reliable, accurate data on the results and costs of its programs and activities, it began work that will lead to implementation of a performance information management system that is more effective on both the technical and the organizational fronts. Agency management is conscious that to evaluate the effectiveness of its new programs, the results targeted by those programs must first be clearly defined. So the Agency began translating the results it has set itself into precise indicators. In the medium term, it wishes to be in a position to specify the levels of results to be attained.7
  • Review of its operating methods, which translated into:
    • development and deployment of an activity-based costing system, enabling senior management to improve their understanding and management of costs associated with activities related to administration of the Agency's programs
    • development and deployment of a budget allocation model equipping the Agency with higher-performance methods of allocating its resources on the basis of its mandate and targeted strategic outcomes
    • implementation of an initiative to optimize management of contribution agreements through, among other things, re-engineering of the payment process and agreement tracking.
  • Self-assessment of its capacity to apply the MAF.