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ARCHIVED - RPP 2006-2007
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

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In this section:

A Message from Canada's Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

It gives me great pleasure to present Fisheries and Oceans Canada's (DFO) Report on Plans and Priorities for 2006-2007.

Ours is a maritime nation. Bordering three oceans, Canada's coastline is the longest of any country and our continental shelf is among the world's largest. Our waters have played a significant role in shaping our history, culture and economy.

Canada's aquatic resources are among our most valued assets. Each year, our fisheries, oceans and marine sectors contribute billions of dollars to our national economy and employ hundreds of thousands of Canadians. These sectors continue to be the main economic and social driver of many Canadian communities.

Canada's waters are vital to our trade and transportation system. They also serve as a recreational playground for millions of Canadians and visitors each year.

DFO is committed to the sound stewardship of Canada's waters. We do this by delivering services that support three key outcomes:

  • Safe and Accessible Waterways;
  • Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture; and
  • Healthy and Productive Aquatic Ecosystems.

To help meet these outcomes, DFO has identified a number of priorities for this year and beyond.

Reducing the tax burden for people entering and exiting the fishery — Fishing enterprises that purchase fuel, buy insurance and equipment will benefit greatly from a reduction in the GST introduced in Budget 2006. Also in the budget was the implementation of a capital gains tax exemption that means that someone selling their enterprise to a family member will not need to pay taxes on the sale at all. The sale of a fishing enterprise outside of the family will see the first $500,000 of the purchase price exempt from capital gains tax.

Working collaboratively with Provinces and Territories — I welcome the involvement and input of provincial and territorial governments concerning DFO policies and decisions. I have heard very clearly from my counterparts that decision-making concerning the fishery is an area of which they have been suspect in the past. As Minister, I will work hard to engage other governments and respond to their concerns, which could mean updating key legislation, regulations and policies that govern DFO operations.

Leading the charge to stop overfishing — I am committed to lead action to stop overfishing on the high seas, in particular on Canada's continental shelf. Fish stocks around the world are under increasing pressure from illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, and Canada will ensure that it takes care of the stocks under its care. International regulation of high seas fisheries is proving less than effective, so we will make Canada one of the most active players on the international stage regarding overfishing, particularly off our east coast, where the effects of this detrimental activity are most profound. Our hope is that we will be able to work collaboratively with other countries to stop overfishing, but if necessary, we are prepared to take action on our own to ensure the survival of these stocks.

Increasing our investment in science — The need for sound scientific advice is critical to my department. DFO has completed a review of its science program with the goal of making it more innovative, adaptive and collaborative. In addition to continuing to implement science renewal initiatives, we will seek opportunities for greater investment in science so that our policies and actions are as well informed as possible.

Addressing the challenges facing Pacific salmon fisheries — On the west coast, DFO will work with the province of British Columbia and other stakeholders to improve the management of our Pacific fisheries and wild salmon habitats. There will be an inquiry into the state of the sockeye salmon fishery on the Fraser River, and we will create and implement plans with our partners to help the stocks recover.

Moving forward on the government-wide Oceans Action Plan — The Oceans Action Plan serves as an overarching umbrella for coordinating and implementing oceans activities and provides a framework for sustainably developing and managing our oceans. DFO will continue to work with other federal departments and agencies on delivering the priorities identified in the Plan.

Strengthening the Coast Guard — I want to ensure that the people who work so hard to keep us safe have what they need to do their jobs with excellence. Canada's new government has already increased funding to the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) by $45 million per year. This money will help the CCG pay for increased gas costs, conduct necessary maintenance and repairs, and strengthen daily operations.

Canada's fisheries and oceans are an important part of our way of life, and my department's goal is to strengthen and sustainably develop these essential resources. In doing so, we will work closely with government partners, industry participants and interested Canadians from coast to coast to achieve the maximum value of this publicly-owned resource.

I sincerely look forward to the year ahead.


The Honourable Loyola Hearn, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Management Representation Statement

I submit, for tabling in Parliament, the 2006-2007 Report on Plans and Priorities (RPP) for Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

This document has been prepared based on the reporting principles contained in the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat's 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 approved Program Activity Architecture as reflected in its Management, Resources and Results Structure;
  • 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; and
  • It reports finances based on approved planned spending numbers from the Treasury Board Secretariat in the RPP.


Larry Murray
Deputy Minister

Summary Information

Canada's fisheries and oceans have long played an important role in Canada's development and growth as a nation. They are central elements of the historical, economic and cultural fabric of Canada's coastal communities, providing a strong and reliable resource base around which Canada's national economy and sense of nationhood grew.


Excellence in service to Canadians to ensure the sustainable development and safe use of Canadian waters.

Canada's fisheries and oceans have seen considerable change over the past decade — the collapse of historically key stocks, international tensions, growing recognition of Aboriginal and treaty rights, and unprecedented expansion of the user base of our oceans. At the same time, there has been growing recognition of environmental challenges such as pollution, species at risk and climate change.

Ensuring safe, healthy and productive waters and aquatic ecosystems for the benefit of present and future generations is the essence of the Department's activities. The Department's work is built around three strategic outcomes — the long-term and enduring benefits that Canadians derive from the Department's vision and efforts. The strategic outcomes are:

  • Safe and Accessible Waterways — providing access to Canadian waterways, and ensuring the overall safety and integrity of Canada's marine infrastructure for the benefit of all Canadians;
  • Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture — delivering an integrated fisheries and aquaculture program that is credible, science based, affordable and effective, and contributes to sustainable wealth for Canadians; and
  • Healthy and Productive Aquatic Ecosystems — ensuring the sustainable development and integrated management of resources in or around Canada's aquatic environment through oceans and habitat management, as well as carrying out critical science and fisheries management activities.


On behalf of the Government of Canada, DFO is responsible for developing and implementing policies and programs in support of Canada's scientific, ecological, social and economic interests in oceans and fresh waters.

The Department's guiding legislation includes the Oceans Act, which charges the Minister with leading oceans management and providing coast guard and hydrographic services on behalf of the Government of Canada, and the Fisheries Act, which gives responsibility to the Minister for the management of fisheries, habitat and aquaculture. The Department also shares responsibility for the Species at Risk Act with Environment Canada and Parks Canada.

Financial and Human Resources, 2006-2009
  2006-2007 2007-2008 2008-2009
Financial Resources (millions of dollars) 1,675.8 1,570.3 1,571.7
Human Resources (number of Full-time Equivalents) 10,443 10,321 10,225

Program Activity Architecture

DFO's basis for reporting to Parliament is its Program Activity Architecture (PAA). The purpose of the PAA is to explain the relationship between the activities the Department undertakes and the three strategic outcomes it is working to achieve. The PAA seeks to describe how the Department manages the resources under its control to achieve intended results/outcomes.

DFO's PAA specifies three strategic outcomes:

  • Safe and Accessible Waterways — managed by Canadian Coast Guard, Small Craft Harbours and Science;
  • Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture — managed by Fisheries Management, Aquaculture and Science; and
  • Healthy and Productive Aquatic Ecosystems — managed by Oceans Management, Habitat Management and Science.

The PAA also captures the functions required to ensure a solid framework within which managers can effectively deliver services to Canadians. These functions are called Program Enablers. Additional information about the Program Enablers can be found in the section Other Items of Interest.

Each strategic outcome in the PAA is associated with one or more program activities. Each program activity is in turn associated with one or more program sub-activities. The PAA provides a framework that links expected results and performance measures to individual activities. Actual results are reported in terms of PAA activities and sub-activities.

The following diagram shows the logical relationship among DFO's strategic outcomes, program activities and program sub-activities.

DFO's Program Activity Architecture


Note: DFO modified its PAA slightly for 2006-2007. These modifications included consolidating and renaming several sub-activities relating to science to better reflect the Sector's programs. In addition, the Canadian Coast Guard added two new sub-activities to improve the management and reporting of the Government of Canada's public security priorities: Contributing to Other Government Objectives and Maritime Security.

Alignment to Government of Canada Outcomes

Canada's Performance, the annual report to Parliament on the federal government's contribution to Canada's performance as a nation, is structured around three areas:

  • Economic Affairs, which demonstrates the increased importance given to the links between the Canadian economy and the natural environment;
  • Social Affairs, which reflects the important role health care plays in Canadian society; and
  • International Affairs, which recognizes the international dimension of government activity needed to advance national aspirations.

Each of these areas is associated with a number of outcomes that the federal government is working to achieve. The following table shows the relationship between these Government of Canada outcomes and DFO's outcomes.

Government of Canada Outcomes
Government of Canada Outcomes Safe and Accessible Waterways Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture Healthy and Productive Aquatic Ecosystems
Economic Affairs
Strong economic growth   +  
An innovative and knowledge-based economy + + +
A fair and secure marketplace + +  
A clean and healthy environment + + +
Social Affairs
Safe and secure communities +
International Affairs
A strong and mutually beneficial North American partnership +

Departmental Priorities for 2006-2009

To meet its mandate, DFO has identified twelve priority areas: seven program priorities and five management priorities. The table Departmental Priorities for 2006-2009 provides the planned spending for each priority.

Departmental Priorities for 2006-2009
Departmental Priorities Supported by Program Activity Type1 Planned Spending (millions of dollars)
2006-2007 2007-2008 2008-2009
Program Priorities
Fisheries Renewal Fisheries Management Previous * * *
International Governance Fisheries Management/Strategic Policy Previous 23.4 23.4 17.7
Aquaculture Governance Aquaculture Previous 3.9 3.9 3.9
Oceans Action Plan Oceans Management Previous 7.5
Science Renewal Science Previous * * *
Canadian Coast Guard Rejuvenation Canadian Coast Guard Previous 23.0 54.0 69.0
Environmental Process Modernization Habitat Management Previous * * *
Management Priorities
Human Resources Modernization Program Enablers Ongoing 0.6 0.6 0.6
Management Accountability Framework2 Program Enablers Ongoing 0.1 0.1 0.1
Integrated Planning and Reporting2 Program Enablers Ongoing 0.2 0.2 0.2
Integrated Risk Management Program Enablers Ongoing 3.6 2.9 3.0
Departmental Renewal3 Program Enablers New * * *

1 Priority is new, ongoing or previous. New means the priority was introduced during this planning period. Ongoing means the priority has no end date. Previous means the priority was reported in a prior Report on Plans and Priorities or Departmental Performance Report.

2 Co-ordination is provided by a team within the Human Resources and Corporate Services Sector.

3 The Departmental Renewal Priority also includes the renewal of the Small Craft Harbours Program.

*These priorities are managed within ongoing management responsibilities and commitments. Resources directed specifically to the priority cannot be identified.

Program Priorities

DFO has seven program priorities that reflect the Department's responsibility to balance its commitments with available resources to provide quality services to Canadians.

Fisheries Renewal

Wild fisheries are under increasing environmental pressure, and there is ongoing conflict over fisheries allocations. There is a requirement to better manage environmental impacts of fishing, respond to the need to protect species at risk and participate in broader oceans management initiatives. With the increase in the range of ocean uses, interested groups beyond the traditional fisheries sector seek input into fisheries management decisions.

Aboriginal treaty negotiations and settlements continue to shape the fisheries economy. Challenges exist in addressing commercial access for west coast First Nations and developing new models and approaches to co-management with Aboriginal groups across the country. There also remains strong provincial and territorial interest in fisheries issues, requiring continued and strengthened intergovernmental co-operation.

In the coming years, developing a new governance model for fisheries management, including proposals to modernize the Fisheries Act, will be a priority. Although DFO faces financial constraints and a lack of public consensus on how to manage the fishery, the Department will move forward to revitalize its fisheries management program. The objective of Fisheries Renewal is to ensure a sustainable resource that provides an economically viable and diverse industry, supported by a modern fisheries governance system.

The Fisheries Renewal agenda includes three streams of work to enable program and legislative renewal while putting in place the necessary operational supports:

  • Conservation, Stewardship and Compliance Renewal will focus on improving conservation outcomes through a new relationship with all resource users based on shared responsibility and accountability for resource management and its outcomes.
  • Legislative Renewal will be explored to develop options and innovative regulatory and governance approaches to support Fisheries Renewal.
  • Business Modernization will ensure business structures and practices complement and enable policy, program and legislative renewal.

International Governance

There is a rapidly developing international fisheries and oceans agenda and momentum to address threats to marine ecosystems and biodiversity on the high seas.

High seas overfishing, including illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, is threatening fish stocks and degrading oceans ecosystems worldwide. In the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization's (NAFO) Regulatory Area adjacent to Canada's east coast, overfishing of some stocks that straddle the 200-mile limit continues to be a problem. Since May 2004, Canada has maintained an enhanced enforcement presence in the regulatory area, coupled with sustained diplomatic interventions at all levels. Despite significant success in reducing pressure on moratoria species, and while relations with key NAFO partners are improving, non-compliance remains a problem.

Within existing regional fisheries management organizations, including NAFO, there is a need to establish accountability for effective fisheries management and compliance. Further, there is a need to modernize resource management to take into account ecosystem approaches and broader biodiversity concerns, decision-making processes, compliance and enforcement, and science.

Efforts to achieve permanent solutions to overfishing are part of a broader global effort needed to effect permanent changes in international oceans and fisheries governance. This must be a shared co-operative effort. With three oceans and a history of providing leadership on global oceans issues, Canada is well placed for a role in addressing international fisheries and oceans governance issues.

In 2005, DFO collaborated with other government departments to develop the International Fisheries and Oceans Governance Strategy, a plan to advance Canada's interests in more effective governance mechanisms. This is a long-term strategy, for which three years of funding have been provided to start the process of change. This strategy, rooted in a sustainable development framework, will be delivered through three themes: Understanding Fisheries and Oceans, Managing for Sustainable Fisheries, and Managing for Marine Environmental and Ecosystem Sustainability.

Canada will continue to lead action internationally that results in responsible management of high seas fisheries and the sustainability of high seas ecosystems.

Aquaculture Governance

Canada has enormous potential to be a world aquaculture leader. Strengths include extensive coastlines and productive marine and freshwater resources, a reputation for quality products, proximity to established and growing markets, an effective and efficient transportation infrastructure, an internationally reputable food inspection system, a skilled workforce and strong management expertise. However, obstacles, such as a cumbersome regulatory framework and the existence of critical gaps in responsibility with respect to the governance of the sector, keep Canada from realizing its potential in this area.

To address these challenges, DFO will seek opportunities to create the conditions for the development of an environmentally responsible, internationally competitive aquaculture industry in Canada. DFO will also ensure that the regulations for aquaculture are effective and cost-efficient, while providing for accountability and transparency. Science-based and risk-based decision making will also be part of this approach.

DFO will continue to work toward developing a more integrated government response to emerging aquaculture opportunities and challenges through stronger collaboration with federal, provincial and territorial partners. Together with these partners, DFO will establish a renewed aquaculture management framework. The objectives of the framework will be to clarify roles and responsibilities; establish common goals and standards for environmental monitoring, compliance and reporting; share databases; negotiate cost-sharing arrangements for joint programs; and establish a mechanism for bilateral agreements.

Concerns about contaminants, diseases and the overall healthiness of food have consumers seeking assurances regarding the safety of their food supply. DFO continues to work with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Health Canada and the aquaculture industry to ensure the quality and safety of farmed seafood products. Furthermore, DFO will continue to promote increased public and consumer confidence by undertaking and publicizing measures to support the safety of aquaculture products and the environmental sustainability of aquaculture operations.

Oceans Action Plan

Oceans issues are complex and cut across jurisdictions, sectors, international boundaries and communities of interest. This calls for the involvement of citizens, communities, stakeholders, Aboriginal organizations and all levels of government.


The Oceans Act came into force in 1997 and established the legislative framework for a co-ordinated federal approach to oceans. The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans has the lead responsibility to develop and implement a national strategy for the management of Canada's estuarine, coastal and marine ecosystems. In July 2002, the Government of Canada released Canada's Oceans Strategy, which outlines how the Oceans Act will be implemented.

Canada's Oceans Action Plan (OAP) is a renewed commitment by the Government of Canada to build on this solid legislative and policy framework. The OAP will serve as the overarching umbrella for co-ordinating and implementing oceans activities across 20 federal departments and agencies. The OAP will take a phased approach, with early action on immediate priorities. The initial focus for this year and next will be on five priority oceans areas, including the Scotian Shelf, Placentia Bay/Grand Banks, Gulf of St. Lawrence, Beaufort Sea and the Pacific North Coast.

OAP priorities will be delivered as described below:

  • International Leadership, Sovereignty and Security involves protecting Canada's economic interests and rights on the continental shelf and in the Arctic, addressing overfishing and protecting high-seas biodiversity.
  • Integrated Oceans Management for Sustainable Development involves striking an effective balance between economic opportunities and marine conservation objectives through open and collaborative Integrated Management planning in the five priority oceans areas. Establishing ecosystem-based approaches to science and developing new oceans technologies will provide essential support for decision making.
  • Health of the Oceans involves leading the development of a federal Marine Protected Areas strategy that includes marine protection initiatives of other federal departments. It also involves protecting fragile marine environments and supporting actions (e.g., increased surveillance) to counter sea-based sources of pollution. This includes innovative regulations to prevent marine pollution from ships and to reduce the risk of aquatic invasive species.
  • Science and Technology involves building an environment to allow Canada's world-leading oceans technology sector to grow. There will be an early emphasis on seabed mapping and ecosystem science to support Integrated Management, and on implementing pilot projects in Placentia Bay to demonstrate the potential of new oceans technologies.

Science Renewal

High-quality, timely and relevant scientific advice is required for sound policy development and informed decision making. Through science-policy integration, and in collaboration with other science organizations, the Science program supports the achievement of DFO's outcomes and government-wide priorities.

The demand for scientific information and advice on complex issues of importance to Canadians will continue to increase. To better respond, the Science program needs to be flexible, relevant and sustainable. This requires a more innovative and adaptive approach to the way science is performed and collaborative partnerships are established. It also has implications for the delivery of scientific advice, services and products to clients and stakeholders. Science Renewal initiatives will contribute to the increased scope and depth of scientific activities, build a national capacity for aquatic science, ensure transparency and credibility of scientific advice, and contribute to scientific innovation and commercialization of technology.

In the coming years, DFO will renew its Science program to enhance the delivery of scientific information, advice and services in support of better policy development, decision making and service to Canadians. Work on Science Renewal will include the following:

  • Carrying out long-term strategic and multi-year operational planning in collaboration with clients and partners. This planning will be based on ongoing risk assessments of priorities needing science support. Such planning will be supported through national enabling strategies, including strategies for human resources, funding, partnering, Science vessels, and equipment acquisition and maintenance.
  • Focusing on providing stability for long-term public-good monitoring and data management, while maximizing flexibility in the areas of scientific research, advice, services and products to respond to evolving departmental and federal government priorities. Implementation of a renewed program will be supported by the realignment of the Science budget, including strategic investments to better address the highest priorities.

Canadian Coast Guard Rejuvenation

A visible symbol of Canadian identity and sovereignty, the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) is recognized both nationally and internationally as representing excellence in maritime services.

CCG is a Special Operating Agency within DFO that delivers its programs and services through the government's civilian fleet of vessels and a broadly distributed shore infrastructure that includes marine communications and traffic services centres, major bases, multi-tasked lifeboat stations, rescue centres with Canadian Forces, aids to navigation, and hundreds of other assets, such as radio towers, throughout the country. CCG also manages and operates the Canadian Coast Guard College in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

With its widely distributed fleet and shore infrastructure and personnel, CCG is instrumental in saving lives, facilitating maritime commerce, responding effectively to pollution incidents, protecting the aquatic environment and supporting maritime security. CCG stands ready to respond to national and international emergencies and disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina. CCG also continues to support critical DFO and Government of Canada priorities in scientific research and fisheries enforcement activities, including supporting Canada's interest in NAFO, the assessment of the status of the fisheries resource and the monitoring of ocean variability and change.

On April 1, 2005, the Canadian Coast Guard became a Special Operating Agency (SOA) within Fisheries and Oceans. As an SOA, the Coast Guard is striving to be a client-focused organization that is accountable and results oriented in its service.

As it continues to implement SOA status, the Coast Guard has committed to taking a more structured approach to client and stakeholder relations both within and outside the federal government. Over the next year, the Coast Guard is putting in place or reinvigorating:

  • A new governance structure within the federal government for relations with the various departments and agencies that receive support or services from the Coast Guard; and
  • Advisory bodies with external clients and stakeholders, such as the commercial shipping industry and ports, recreational boaters and the fishing industry, at both the national and regional levels.

The commitment to establish these advisory bodies is a critical part of implementing the Special Operating Agency. Their purpose is to improve communications, to better understand the needs and requirements of the recipients of Coast Guard services, and to work together on matters of common interest. As an SOA, the CCG is committed to addressing levels of service, service standards, costs of service and fees in an open and transparent fashion with all internal and external clients and stakeholders. Establishing these bodies is only the first step. Over time, it will be important to continue to improve agreements on levels of service, performance expectations and accountability frameworks. All are critical to the Agency and its clients, as Coast Guard and stakeholders work to provide the right asset or service at the right cost at the right time.

SOA status has strengthened the Coast Guard identity within DFO. Additional strengthening measures will be undertaken in the coming years. The focus for 2006-2007 will be the establishment of a permanent memorial at the Coast Guard College to honour all those who lost their lives carrying out Coast Guard duties since the Coast Guard was formed in 1962. In addition, a review of the Coast Guard uniform policy will be undertaken in response to various requests for changes and improvements.

The Coast Guard will continue to be an active participant in the broader federal maritime security agenda to improve Canada's maritime domain awareness capacities, on-water enforcement and responsiveness capacities and international (United States Coast Guard), interagency and interdepartmental collaboration. Working with its partners, the Agency will implement the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway system Marine Security Enforcement Team initiative with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to improve security through armed on-water patrols. The Agency will also continue to participate in the multi-departmental Marine Security Operations Centres, led by the RCMP and Department of National Defence. In addition, CCG will participate fully in the strategic and operational planning and policy development under way across government.

Coast Guard is proceeding with Fleet Renewal; Budget 2006 reaffirmed support for this key aspect of Coast Guard rejuvenation. Procurement processes are under way to acquire two new offshore fisheries science vessels and eight new mid-shore patrol vessels. Four of the latter will be dedicated to enhancing maritime security on the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway under a joint program with the RCMP. These four vessels will be additions to the Fleet; the others will replace aging vessels that will be taken out of service.

Fleet Renewal also involves effective management of the existing Fleet. New authorities will be sought to facilitate the multi-year management of capital funds for the Fleet and to better align refits with operational requirements. It will also see more effective life-cycle management of the Fleet through implementation of the Integrated Technical Services Strategy.

Under modernization efforts, CCG reaffirms its commitment to innovation and to a focus on continuous improvement. CCG strives to improve its service delivery by taking full advantage of new technologies and by developing strategic partnerships to leverage efforts with the private sector, academia and other levels of government. The Canadian Coast Guard will transform its marine service delivery through technology-based productivity improvements, client service innovations and alternative service delivery. One key initiative is Marine Aids Modernization, which will reduce the cost of providing aids to navigation without reducing the level of service. This involves implementing new technologies and contracting out the commissioning, decommissioning and maintenance of equipment where it is viable and makes sense to do so. A longer term and broader modernization plan will be developed through risk-based analysis, in accordance with ministerial direction and in consultation with clients and stakeholders.

CCG is committed to developing and maintaining high competencies in operational and technical personnel through effective training that meets international standards. The Canadian Coast Guard College, an internationally recognized, bilingual maritime institution, will take on a greater role in becoming a focal point for broad human resource planning. Coast Guard will implement collective staffing by increasing the use of a pre-qualified pool, developing a Ships Crew Recruitment Strategy and working with unions to establish permanent relief pools.

Environmental Process Modernization

The Department's Habitat Management Program is the key federal regulatory program with a mandate to conserve and protect fish habitat. Its responsibilities under the Fisheries Act, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and now the Species at Risk Act (SARA) affect a wide range of individuals, communities and businesses.

In the past, there was growing concern among various levels of government, industry sectors and conservation groups about the way in which the Department was implementing its habitat management responsibilities.

In response to these concerns, DFO launched its Environmental Process Modernization Plan (EPMP) in 2004 to make the Habitat Management Program more effective in protecting and conserving fish habitat. EPMP will improve the efficiency of program delivery and ensure that it is integrated with other responsibilities and interests and is more closely aligned with the principles of smart regulation and sustainable development.

There are six elements in the Environmental Process Modernization Plan:

  • A program-wide, science-based Risk Management Framework for identifying projects posing the greatest risk to the environment;
  • Referral streamlining of low-risk projects so that resources can be reallocated to higher risk reviews and other priorities;
  • An improved management of major projects, including new policy guidance and new organizational structures, to increase the predictability, timeliness and harmonization of decision making;
  • Formalized partnerships with industry sectors, provinces, territories, municipalities, conservation groups and others to enhance understanding, adopt common agendas and integrate DFO's responsibilities with the interests of key stakeholders where possible;
  • Internal measures, including mandatory training for all staff, the adoption of new governance structures and national operating procedures, to improve predictability and the coherence of decision making; and
  • Modernization of habitat compliance to clarify compliance rules and improve compliance and compliance effectiveness.

Management Priorities

In addition to the above program priorities, DFO is committed to five priorities that will affect the internal workings of the Department. These priorities are driven by the government-wide agenda to improve the management of the public service and its programs. The priorities described below are aimed at improving the management of DFO's human resources, implementing a management accountability framework, improving planning processes, integrating risk management and ensuring that the Department can live within its fiscal limits.

Human Resources Modernization

All components of the new Public Service Modernization Act have now come into force, with the last piece of legislation, the new Public Service Employment Act, coming into effect on December 31, 2005. The new legislation brings about significant changes in the way people are managed in the public service. To ensure the continued success and full implementation of Human Resources Modernization in DFO, the Department will focus on the following:

  • Developing and implementing effective human resource planning, within DFO's Integrated Planning Framework;
  • Modernizing staffing policies and processes, to take full advantage of the flexibilities offered through the new Public Service Employment Act;
  • Advancing the Department's priority to establish national structures and national model work descriptions with a view to update and review employees' positions, as required by the collective agreements and based on the Management Accountability Framework;
  • Continuing to enhance labour relations through improved union-management consultations and increased use of informal conflict resolution;
  • Ensuring alignment of DFO's learning strategy and programs with the government's broad framework for learning in the public service;
  • Developing and implementing a comprehensive and integrated human resource monitoring and reporting framework; and
  • Developing and implementing policies, procedures and a monitoring framework for assuming the responsibility for directly hiring executives.

Management Accountability Framework


The Treasury Board Secretariat has developed a Management Accountability Framework (MAF). The framework provides a vision for modern public service management in 10 main management expectations. The MAF has evolved into a means of measuring performance with a standard set of indicators. The Department has received its 2005 MAF assessment. In 2006-2007, DFO will discuss this assessment with Treasury Board Secretariat and respond to the observations by implementing necessary improvements.

Integrated Planning and Reporting

In 2004-2005, the Department began implementing an integrated planning framework to align strategic, business, financial and human resource plans and processes. The focus to date has been on the integration of human resource and business plans, including the development of performance measures.

Over the next three years, DFO will expand the integrated planning framework to include other planning activities, such as capital planning, and will develop a performance measurement framework for DFO. Challenges facing DFO in this further integration include dealing with incompatible timelines for various planning activities, integrating planning activities with performance reporting, setting up a planning structure using the Program Activity Architecture (PAA) and developing solid plans in the face of fiscal uncertainties.

Structuring plans according to the PAA has been complicated by the need to integrate and challenge plans prepared at sector, regional and Agency (CCG) levels. DFO will continue to make improvements in the process and to connect with the responsible leads of other planning activities to bring planning schedules into line.

Integrated Risk Management

DFO will implement Integrated Risk Management in April of 2006 across all regions and sectors and in the Agency. This will involve holding approximately 60 workshops across the Department. The results of these workshops will be integrated into the Department's Integrated Planning Framework and aggregated according to the strategic outcomes set out in the Program Activity Architecture.

Integrated Risk Management will be used for annual planning, for the support of key decisions and for the management of major projects.

Departmental Renewal

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is committed to living within the Department's means while addressing chronic budgetary shortfalls and financial pressures, identifying a permanent source of funds for contributing to government-wide reallocation and generating financial flexibility to address new priorities. The Department will ensure the decisions made in the coming years consistently reflect these aims.

The Department will continue to manage its finances, renew policies and programs, and modernize management to assess and implement policy and program changes. Within this context, DFO will undertake a number of initiatives to ensure that ongoing operations are sustainable. For example, the Department will continue to develop a strategic management plan for information management and technology, focusing on renewed governance, within DFO and with stakeholders, to ensure program sustainability. DFO will also move forward with an information technology infrastructure rationalization initiative that will capitalize on the potential to streamline and achieve future and ongoing savings in the management of DFO's information technology infrastructure.

DFO has also been working on possible new directions for the Small Craft Harbours Program. A new direction is intended to place the Program on a more sustainable basis, while addressing evolving Program requirements and client needs. These development efforts will continue to be a priority.