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ARCHIVED - Canadian Intergovernmental Conference Secretariat - Report

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Strategic Outcome

Multilateral intergovernmental meetings of First Ministers, Ministers and Deputy Ministers are planned and conducted flawlessly.

Program Activity 1: Conference Services

Program Activity Description

Provision of expert, impartial support services for the planning and conduct of First Ministers, Ministers and Deputy Ministers level federal-provincial-territorial and provincial-territorial conferences.

The CICS does not convene intergovernmental meetings. It is called upon to respond to decisions taken by governments to meet on key national or specific issues. Decisions concerning the location of such meetings, their number in a given fiscal year, their timing and duration, are all factors, beyond the control of the Secretariat. The level of CICS expenditures for each fiscal year is, however, directly affected by these factors.

Program Activity: Conference Services
2009-10 Financial Resources
($ millions)
2009-10 Human Resources
Planned Actual Difference
4.3 4.6 3.0 20 20 0

Targets Performance
Flawlessly planned and conducted events, including the effective addressing of unforeseen challenges. Satisfaction of parties with the various aspects of the planning and conduct of events. 90 % or higher positive rate. Exceeded. 96% of planners surveyed indicated that they were satisfied or very satisfied with CICS services overall. Individual features of the services evaluated received ratings of satisfaction between 83 - 100%. This year, 99% of conference delegates indicated that they were satisfied or very satisfied with CICS services overall. Individual features of the on-site service received by our clients showed satisfaction ratings between 91 - 100%.
Needs of all parties involved in intergovernmental conferences served by CICS are understood and addressed/met. Extent to which parties involved in intergovernmental conferences believe that their needs were understood and addressed by CICS. 90% or higher positive rate. Exceeded. A survey of conference planners asked respondents how satisfied they were with CICS in this regard. They indicated that their needs were understood and addressed by CICS 92% of the time.

In addition, 96% of planners surveyed used CICS for all of their conferences during the year. This would indicate that CICS remains the provider of choice for senior level intergovernmental conference services.

Program Activity 2: Internal Services

Program Activity Description

Internal Services provides support to the Agency in the performance of its mandate. It encompasses groups of related activities and resources in the following areas: managerial, financial, administrative, information management, information technology and human resources.

Program Activity: Internal Services
2009-10 Financial Resources
($ millions)
2009-10 Human Resources
Planned Actual Difference
2.2 2.3 2.1 16 12 4

Benefits for Canadians

The planning and conducting of multilateral meetings of First Ministers, Ministers and Deputy Ministers is a service which elevates a core principle of democratic society, communication, and is a critical component of the workings of the Canadian federation.

By skilfully and professionally executing planning and delivery of these meetings, CICS allows governments to address pertinent issues without getting distracted by process, with significant risk of error and omission taken out of the equation by tapping into our experience and impartiality, and with efficiency and effectiveness enhanced by technical expertise and an understanding of what should be done and when.

The interests of every Canadian are represented by several levels of government within their respective jurisdiction. The success of each level in meeting its respective mandate is dependent on the successes of the whole in determining national and/or provincial and territorial policies through cooperation and negotiation.

As an agency dedicated to supporting events that enable cooperation and negotiation among governments, CICS seeks to execute its part in these processes to maximum effect, producing an environment wherein the opportunity for rational discourse and optimal decision-making is at its highest, to the benefit of all Canadians.

Performance Analysis

Conference Services

In 2009-10, CICS provided its services to seventy-five senior level intergovernmental conferences, a slight increase from the previous year. The breakdown of the meetings is as follows:

  • Vice-Regal: 2
  • Premiers: 2
  • Ministers: 31
  • Deputy Ministers: 40

The meetings served span a wide variety of government sectors and were held in diverse locations all across the country. For the first time, CICS was honored to receive a request for its services at the annual meeting which takes place between the Governor General of Canada and the provincial Lieutenant Governors and territorial Commissioners. In fact, two such meetings took place in 2009-10. Also, CICS is pleased to have added to its client list this year the FPT table of Information and Privacy Commissioners and Ombudspersons.

Based on its PAA, the Secretariat's performance measurement framework (PMF) outlines its overall measurement strategy. Performance is assessed annually using internal data and documents as well as two surveys of clients; one of a sampling of conference planners and the second of conference delegates. These tools were piloted in the 2008-09 fiscal year, refined and then implemented in the 2009-10 fiscal year.

Satisfaction results remain very positive again this year. Some comparison between the two years is possible, though the differences should be interpreted with caution given the small numbers involved. In general, the results were highly consistent and above target with notable increases in client satisfaction in the area of "continuity of CICS staff" and the perception that "CICS adds value to intergovernmental meetings". On a couple of features centering around communication and the level of understanding of our services, satisfaction dropped slightly but still remained above 83%.

Expected Result: Flawlessly Planned and Conducted Events, Including Effectively Addressing Unforeseen Challenges

The survey of conference planners shows that those using CICS conference planning services are highly satisfied with most aspects of the Secretariat's services. On a scale of 1 (not at all satisfied) to 5 (very satisfied), average ratings are all over 4.5 out of 5 except for on-going communications and advice regarding protocols where the average rating is still high (4.4 out of 5). The PMF indicated that the performance target for CICS is that 90% respond positively every year. It was concluded that the performance target was achieved in most cases and surpassed in many.

Expected Result: Needs of All Parties Involved in Intergovernmental Conferences Served by CICS are Understood and Addressed/Met

The survey of planners has measured this result by asking respondents how satisfied they were with CICS in this regard. Overall, planners are very satisfied with CICS as demonstrated by an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 on this item.

A range of other survey results highlight the high level of satisfaction of conference planners and delegates alike. For example, when asked for three words to describe the quality of services offered by CICS, the most frequent responses were : professional, efficient and knowledgeable, followed closely by flexible, helpful and organized.

Letters of Appreciation

While there are no formal performance indicators yet in place to gather this information, appreciation letters are often received from our clients. Of those received, we have chosen the following extracts:

"Nova Scotia values the importance of strong intergovernmental relations between Canada's provinces and territories, and appreciates the role that CICS plays in facilitating the development of these relations…Nova Scotia will continue to support CICS and the valuable services it provides."

The Honourable Darrell Dexter
Premier of Nova Scotia

"I am writing to thank you for your contributions to the success of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) meeting in Kingston on October 29, 2009… I sincerely appreciate the support that was provided by CICS. Your professionalism and dedication helped to make our meeting productive and most enjoyable."

John Gerretsen
Ministry of the Environment, Ontario

"I would like to acknowledge the outstanding service and support provided to our conference by the CICS team… The comments made by all the Commissioners and Ombudspersons were very positive and complementary to your team...The event in St. John's was a major success and was largely due to the outstanding performance of the CICS team."

E.P Ring
Officer of the Information and Privacy Commissioner
Newfoundland & Labrador

"I want to thank all of you for your reliable and dependable support and service for the FPT Social Services DM meeting that was held in Winnipeg on November 23 and 24, 2009. ..The work you did leading up to and at the actual event contributed to its success. It is always a pleasure working with your team as you handle any situation with professionalism and good humour."

Lisa Holmes
Senior Policy Analyst
Intergovernmental Relations, HRSDC

Internal Services

Internal Services was strengthened throughout the 2009-10 fiscal year as certain key positions that had been vacant for a period of time were successfully filled and renewed attention was given to this important program activity. Most reports to Central Agencies were delivered on time and new financial and human resources reports now support management decision making. The Departmental staffing accountability report (DSAR) showed performance in all areas to be acceptable with no key areas identified as in need of attention.

Lessons Learned

The program evaluation of conference services, now conducted annually, confirmed that in 2009-10, client satisfaction remained at a very high level both from the conference planners as well as the on-site conference delegations. While no areas emerged as needing significant corrective action, management recognizes that it is the identification of any issue that is the critical first step in the resolution of the issue and therefore pays close attention to the details and trends unveiled in the program evaluation. For example, this past year based on the feedback from the 2008-09 evaluations, renewed priority was given to organizing the conference calendar to ensure the "continuity of CICS staff" from one event to another in the same sector. Management was pleased to see the satisfaction rating for this feature showing a marked increase in for 2009-10, jumping from 76% in 2008-09 to 100% in 2009-10.

Worthy of note is also the value of communicating the results of the program evaluation to all staff. Performance results were first presented to the management team followed by a presentation and discussion with managers and then presented as part of an all staff meeting. Such concrete feedback proved to be highly motivating for staff and gave a strong sense of accomplishment. It also provided an opportunity for joint analysis of a few areas in need of attention. Equally important, links were able to be made with the priorities generated during our strategic planning exercise earlier in the year.