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This policy was replaced (in whole or in part) by the following Treasury Board policy : Policy on Reporting of Federal Institutions and Corporate Interests to Treasury Board Secretariat
This policy is effective April 1st, 2002. It supersedes the 1995 Framework on Alternative Program Delivery.
The Government of Canada constantly reviews its programs and services to identify opportunities to improve services to Canadians. In this context the Government supports innovative organizational arrangements, which are driven and guided by its commitment to:
Alternative Service Delivery entails the pursuit of new and appropriate organizational forms and arrangements, including partnerships with other levels of government and other sectors, in order to improve the delivery of programs and services. Innovative organizational arrangements for delivering government programs and services can result in:
A federal public sector that is committed to championing innovation through a wide range of promising avenues is key to the continuing success of the Canadian experience with alternative service delivery. These avenues include
While departments continue to play an important role in service delivery, a growing need for flexibility, interdependence and innovation has produced an increasing diversity of organizational forms and service delivery arrangements to provide more responsive service to Canadians.
Modern citizen-centred service for Canadians reflects the increased interdependence among sectors in a diverse and complex environment. In leading innovation, the government must ensure that appropriate links and relationships, including those concerned with accountability and governance, are established among the entities involved, whether they be within the Government of Canada, with other levels of government or with other organizations.
Alternative service delivery is the organizational and structural dimension of improving the government's performance in delivering programs and services to Canadians.
Alternative service delivery has two parts:
The purpose of the policy is to ensure that:
The Government of Canada encourages continuous improvement and innovation in the delivery of its programs and services. Innovative organizational forms and arrangements can play an important role in improving performance. Alternative service delivery arrangements must deliver sustainable results for Canadians and reflect the public interest.
This policy applies to all organizations named in Schedules I, I.1 and II of the Financial Administration Act (FAA) that are engaged in the delivery of programs and services that fulfil federal government objectives, unless specifically exempted by an Act of Parliament.
With regard to Annex C (Official Languages - Guiding Principles), other organizations subject to the Official Languages Act must respect the spirit of these principles.
More specifically, this policy applies to the following types of initiatives in the provision of new programs and services as well as the transformation of existing programs and services2:
The policy also applies to existing alternative service delivery arrangements when they come up for renewal.
6.0.1 All departments (identified under Section 5, "Application") should continually assess their programs and services to identify opportunities for improving service to Canadians, including opportunities for alternative or innovative organizational arrangements to improve organizational performance, cost-effectiveness and the delivery of services to Canadians.
6.0.2 Departments should explore the potential for innovative organizational arrangements for service delivery within departments prior to exploring other forms outside this model.
6.0.3 A Case Analysis as described in Section 6.1 must be developed for all ASD initiatives as defined in Section 5.
6.0.4 The Case Analysis must demonstrate that appropriate arrangements are made for respecting Canada's official languages, as set out in Annex C.
6.0.5 Departments must prepare and submit to the Treasury Board Secretariat by the end of the fiscal year an annual ASD Plan in accordance with Section 6.2.
6.0.6 The Treasury Board Secretariat must receive the information on ASD initiatives as required under this policy well in advance of the drafting of implementation instruments.
6.0.7 The Secretariat of the Treasury Board may ask for a draft Case Analysis for specific initiatives on the ASD Plan. On the basis of the information received, the Secretary of the Treasury Board will determine which proposed ASD initiatives must be submitted to Treasury Board ministers for approval as set out in Section 6.3.
6.0.8 Departments will inform the Treasury Board Secretariat of any ASD initiatives emerging throughout the year that meet the ASD planning criteria and that were not originally included in the current ASD Plan. This information should be prepared as described in 6.2.
6.0.9 For ASD initiatives covered by this policy that propose changes to the machinery of government, the responsible minister must seek approval in writing to proceed from the Prime Minister.
6.0.10 For ASD initiatives that do not require Treasury Board approval under this policy but otherwise must be submitted to Treasury Board ministers (e.g., for approval under another Treasury Board policy), the submission should indicate that the department has prepared a Case Analysis for the initiative.
6.0.11 Arrangements must be made to ensure appropriate ministerial accountability and authority, including the appropriate reporting to ministers, Parliament and citizens.
6.0.12 An ASD initiative that contributes significantly to the achievement of a departmental mandate should be reported in the Departmental Reports on Plans and Priorities, and its contribution to the department's mandate and service-delivery results should be reflected in the Departmental Performance Reports.
6.0.13 Federal proponents of ASD initiatives will support organizational learning by documenting initiatives approved by Treasury Board ministers under this policy (including lessons learned and best practices) in a Case Study that will reside in the ASD database at TBS. The case study must be submitted within two years of implementing the initiative.
6.0.14 Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat will ensure that organizational learning is appropriately captured and shared throughout government and across governments.
The Case Analysis supports decision-making, implementation, ongoing review, and adjustment of the initiative. It must address the questions from the Public Interest Test (see Annex B) that apply to the initiative, and it must include
The extent and depth of this analysis should be in line with the scope, scale and sensitivity of the initiative.
ASD Plans should cover the three subsequent fiscal years and include ASD initiatives as defined in Section 5 that have annual program spending in excess of $20 million or meet any of the following additional criteria:
The ASD Plan must explain the rationale for including initiatives that meet any of these criteria.
ASD Plans should also cover existing ASD arrangements when they come up for renewal. The renewal of ASD arrangements must be brought to the attention of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat in a timely manner at least six months in advance.
Depending on the stage of the initiative, the ASD Plan will either describe options being explored or a specific option being proposed.
For initiatives for which a specific option is being proposed, departments may consider appending the Case Analysis when such information has been developed. It is understood that in the early stages the impacts of the initiative may not be fully known.
The Secretariat of the Treasury Board will review ASD Plans and may request a draft Case Analysis for specific initiatives. This information will allow the Secretariat to co-ordinate an appropriate central agency response, including a possible Treasury Board submission.
The Secretary of the Treasury Board will determine whether or not an ASD initiative will be brought forward to Treasury Board ministers using the following as a basis for analysis:
Should there be a requirement for TB consideration, the minister(s) responsible for the initiative will submit the proposed ASD initiative, together with the Case Analysis, to Treasury Board ministers for preliminary approval.
Treasury Board ministers may approve the submission in principle with conditions and request that the ASD proposal be re-submitted at a later date for final approval.
At the discretion of the Secretary of the Treasury Board, departments may seek approval for a series of similar ASD initiatives.
Departments are accountable for assessing the need for improved organisational performance in the delivery of new and existing programs and services. They are also responsible for ensuring that ASD initiatives are in the public interest, giving full consideration to the Public Interest Test questions presented in Annex B. In this regard, departments are responsible for ensuring that decisions to implement ASD initiatives identified in section 5 are supported by a Case Analysis.
To ensure that a whole-of-government approach is taken in deciding on and shaping significant ASD initiatives, Treasury Board and its Secretariat must be involved in their development. This is necessary because these initiatives often have far-reaching impacts on other departments, other governments and other sectors, and because, taken as a whole, they can have a significant cumulative impact on the institution of the Public Service.
The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat will monitor this policy to ensure that it meets its intended objectives. The Secretariat will review Case Analysis and Case Study files as well as publicly available reports of results commitments and outcomes.
The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat will conduct an evaluation of this policy within five years of its coming into force.
This policy is issued pursuant to the Financial Administration Act, section 7(1)(a) and (b) as well as Part VIII of the Official Languages Act.
Financial Administration Act
Official Languages Act
Policy on Transfer Payments, June 1, 2000
"Access to Information" (Chapter 1-1, Treasury Board Manual)
"Management of Government Interests in Private Sector Initiatives" (Chapter 4-1, Treasury Board Manual)
"Management of Major Crown Projects" (Chapter 2-3, Treasury Board Manual)
Common Services Policy
Contracting Policy, 1999
Government Communications Policy
"Communications with the Public" (Chapter 1, Treasury Board Manual, as it pertains to the Official Languages Act)
Employee Takeover Policy, 1996
Review Policy, 1995
Internal Audit Policy, 2001
Evaluation Policy, 2001
Results for Canadians, 2000
Becoming a Special Operating Agency, March 1998
A Framework for Alternative Program Delivery, 1995
"Federal Identity Program" (Chapter 2, Treasury Board Manual - Communications)
Guiding Principles for the Management of Crown Corporations (1996-05-31)
"Directives for Implementing the Official Languages (Communications with and Services to the Public) Regulations", 1991 (Chapter 5-2, Treasury Board Manual)
Quality Services Guides, 1996
Stretching the Tax Dollar Series, 1993, 1995, 1997
Managing for Results Series, Results-based Management, Accountability and Review
Integrated Risk Management Framework, 2001
From the Office of the Auditor General, the annual Report of the Auditor General of Canada
Enquiries about undertaking ASD initiatives should be directed to the corporate policy offices of the departments or agencies concerned.
Enquiries about the Policy on Alternative Service Delivery and related matters should be directed to
Alternative Service Delivery Division
Service & Innovation Sector
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
400 Cooper St., 8th Floor
Service agencies provide services within an agreed-upon policy and legislative framework. These agencies are usually managed on the basis of accountability for results and require only general ministerial monitoring.
While the relationships of power and accountability between heads of agencies, Parliament and the minister for each agency vary, usually the minister is responsible and must answer for agencies in Parliament.
These are bodies corporate that provide administrative, research, advisory or regulatory functions and are named in section II of the Financial Administration Act (FAA). They are established by enabling legislation through an Act of Parliament.
Special operating agency (SOA)
The SOA is an operational unit of a department that functions within a framework agreement approved by the deputy minister, the minister and the Treasury Board. No separate legislation is required. SOAs have a clear mandate and the services they provide are readily identifiable. They follow the departmental legislative framework and authorities, although they may be granted flexibility by the department, Treasury Board and/or the Public Service Commission for financial, human resources or other specified objectives.
Departmental service agencies
These operational units or clusters of units within a department are specifically organized and responsible for delivering services to the department's clients. Like SOAs, these agencies operate within a management framework approved by the deputy minister and the Treasury Board, but may represent a larger share of the department's overall activity than a typical SOA. No separate legislation is required.
Divisions or branches of the Public Service of Canada
These are administrative entities created either by statute or by Order in Council and named in column I of Schedule I.1 of the FAA. They are departments for the purpose of complying with the FAA and their degree of independence depends on the mandate given to them in their constituting instrument.
Crown corporations are legally distinct entities wholly owned, either directly or indirectly, by the Crown and managed by their respective boards of directors. The enabling legislation for each parent Crown corporation sets out the corporation's mandate, powers and objectives. The majority of parent Crown corporations must have their corporate plans and budgets approved annually by the government. Each parent Crown corporation reports to Parliament through the minister responsible for the corporation. These reports include the corporation's annual report.
Administrative tribunals make decisions or hear appeals to give effect to government policies at arm's length from the government and on an independent basis. Their independence is key to their effectiveness.
Shared governance corporations are corporate entities without share capital for which Canada, either directly or through a Crown corporation, has a right pursuant to statute, articles of incorporation, letters patent, by-law or any contractual agreement (including funding or conditional grants and contribution agreements) to appoint or nominate one or more members to the governing body.
In the context of alternative service delivery, partnership/collaborative arrangements are arrangements between a government organization and one or more parties in which they agree to co-operate on the delivery of a program or service that fulfils objectives of the Government of Canada, where there is:
Partnerships and collaborative arrangements for the delivery of programs and services can include those with other levels of government, both within Canada and internationally, as well as with the private and the not-for-profit sector (commercial or voluntary organizations).
This policy does not cover partnerships between entities within the federal government (such as departments) and the use of partnership here does not entail the legal meaning of the term.
This policy applies to contracts involving the transfer of a federal program or service-delivery function to a contractor for a specified period, in which the accountability for the function remains within the government.
This includes employee take-overs.
Note: Under section 25 of the Official Languages Act, federal institutions must ensure that third parties providing services to the public on their behalf provide them in either official language in any case where the institutions themselves would be required to provide them, by specifying this requirement in a contract agreement.
All ASD initiatives covered by this policy must address key policy considerations that reflect the public interest. The Public Interest Test (PIT) has been developed for the following purposes:
1. The PIT identifies the key policy issues that must be addressed at the various stages of the ASD process. In addressing the PIT questions, departments should refer to the Policy Guide3. The Policy Guide provides background policy information and guidelines that are helpful in understanding the PIT questions and other issues that should be considered when undertaking alternative service delivery initiatives.
2. It identifies key horizontal program and policy issues that must be considered when determining whether an ASD initiative is in the public interest.
3. The PIT identifies the areas for which ASD proponents must develop results commitments that will form the basis on which ASD initiatives will be monitored and evaluated.
The Public Interest Test must be applied to all ASD initiatives as specified in the ASD Policy, including those that do not come for Treasury Board approval.
The Public Interest Test is supported by integrated central agency policy guidance contained in the Policy Guide.
The Public Interest Test is not a series of Yes-or-No questions. The overarching issue for decision-makers, implementers and assessors of ASD initiatives is whether a proposed initiative in alternative service delivery is and remains in the public interest. It is the proponents, or Treasury Board ministers when their approval is required, who judge on balance whether an ASD initiative is in the public interest. Only those ASD arrangements deemed to be in the public interest should proceed to implementation. With the Public Interest Test questions the proponents will be able to determine whether their initiative will be in the public interest.
The Public Interest Test questions and the underlying Policy Guide are used as a basis for making the Case Analysis for the ASD initiative. The Case Analysis sets out results commitments across a broad range of public policy requirements. The initiative will be assessed against these commitments, which will also be publicly reported.
The Public Interest Test Questions
The following are key issues in determining whether ASD initiatives are in the public interest.
Official Language Requirements
Results for Canadians
As the government diversifies the means it uses to carry out its mandate in the public interest, in all cases, its objective is to strengthen respect of the spirit and intent of the Official Languages Act (the Act) and the Official Languages (Communications with and Services to the Public) Regulations.
These principles apply to all federal institutions subject to Schedules I, I.1 and II of the Financial Administration Act (FAA). Other institutions subject to the Official Languages Act must respect the spirit of these principles.
Prior to any decision to adopt an alternative service delivery mechanism that could impact on the development of official language minority communities, the communities will be fully consulted.
The Government has adopted five guiding principles to support specific objectives that institutions must address in the Case Analysis when alternative service delivery is contemplated. The following guiding principles apply in all cases:
The Case Analysis will indicate the means chosen to respect official languages requirements. It will also identify results commitments and how those results will be measured and reported.
The Case Analysis will demonstrate how proponents will meet the official languages requirements of this policy when entrusting the delivery of programs and services to organizations not directly subject to the Act.
Note: The Act applies, pursuant to Section 3, when the entity created is a federal institution.
Looking back at the Canadian experience with alternative service delivery (ASD), we see some common themes:
These themes have stood the test of time and continue to characterize the federal approach.
As government enters the 21st century, alternative service delivery remains an important way of ensuring that Canadians are provided with efficient and effective services. Service delivery arrangements are increasingly multi-sectoral in nature and broad in scope. In addition to government-to-government and government-to-business arrangements, governments are also working with not-for-profit and community groups in alternative service delivery arrangements.
The government is constantly reviewing its programs and services in order to identify opportunities for innovative ways of improving services to Canadians. Fundamental to this process is a commitment to a citizen-centred approach, public service values, managing for results and ensuring value for money.7 These four commitments act both as drivers for innovative organizational arrangements for service delivery and as constraints and tests to ensure that such arrangements are in the public interest and contribute to good governance.
A citizen-centred approach to service delivery requires the government to seek continuously to improve organizational performance in the delivery of programs and services, and thereby to increase Canadians' satisfaction with the quality of those services. One of the key elements in the pursuit of continuous improvement is identifying the appropriate organizational arrangement to promote optimal performance - finding the right form for the right function. The right form is the one that, among other things, will support the right kind of leadership, systems and organizational culture for high quality service delivery. For this reason, the regular review and improvement of organizational arrangements for service delivery is an essential part of a citizen focus.
Citizens also expect the government to improve access to government services and to provide easy, convenient, connected access to a variety of government services and information in one place, or through one interaction. Canadians expect the government to organize service delivery from their perspective as citizens. Citizen-centred service delivery also entails the principle of service in one's official language. For this reason, a citizen focus means that alternative service delivery must also emphasize links and relationships, and must include the development of "single windows" and clustering of services and programs according to citizen needs. This approach may involve collaboration with other levels of government and other sectors by forming partnerships that build on the strengths of others.
One of the drivers of alternative service delivery is the strengthening of the professional values of innovation and high quality service delivery to citizens. Appropriate organizational arrangements can help to strengthen professionalism and a service culture.
At the same time, alternative arrangements for service delivery must also ensure that the government's purposes in public policy are fulfilled in a manner that is consistent with democratic values and accountability, and that supports a vibrant Public Service oriented to the public interest. A strong, coherent, non-partisan and professional Public Service, governed by fairness and integrity, is an important national institution that contributes to Canadian democracy.
A commitment to achieve results that citizens truly value is one of the key drivers behind the pursuit of appropriate organizational arrangements to promote higher organizational performance. Effectiveness is one of the key drivers of novel organizational arrangements for service delivery.
Demonstrating effectiveness and reporting on it are key requirements for alternative arrangements. In establishing innovative organizational forms, the government must ensure adequate transparency to the public and to Parliament, and ensure that the public interest is protected. There must be appropriate arrangements for ministerial accountability and reporting to Parliament, ministers and citizens.
Alternative service delivery arrangements must include clearly defined roles and responsibilities; formal processes for ongoing dialogue, change and dispute-resolution; clearly identified results expected, both shared and individual, and including performance indicators and reporting mechanisms; appropriate citizen and client involvement; effective central direction and standard-setting; and appropriate oversight.
Efficiency is also one of the reasons for innovative organizational arrangements in service and program delivery. Alternative arrangements sometimes can make it possible to deliver services more economically or cost-effectively, helping government to spend money more responsibly and free up resources for other public purposes.
At the same time, the costs, risks and benefits of ASD initiatives must be clearly explored and explained to ensure taxpayers that they are getting good value for their money. Proposals must be systematically reviewed to ensure proper stewardship of public funds in the creation of new service delivery structures and to ensure sustainability and cost-effectiveness over the long term.
(3) The Policy Guide is a companion document to this policy that integrates policy advice and guidance from TBS and other central agencies. It can be found on the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat's Alternative Service Delivery Web site.[Return]
(4) Where an exception to this principle is required (e.g. no official language minority community will be affected), an explanation must be included in the Case Analysis for approval by ministers.[Return]
(5) "Every federal institution has the duty to ensure that, where services are provided or made available by another person or organization on its behalf, any member of the public in Canada or elsewhere can communicate with and obtain those services from that person or organization in either official language in any case where those services, if provided by the institution, would be required under this Part to be provided in either official language."[Return]