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Archived – Canada’s Submission to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (The “Continental Shelf Program”)


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Project Number 6B060
Final Report
September 22, 2009

Table of Contents

List of Acronyms

ADM – Assistant Deputy Minister
CHS – Canadian Hydrographic Service
CLCS – Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf
DFAIT – Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
DFO – Fisheries and Oceans Canada
DG – Director General
EEZ – exclusive economic zone
GSC – Geological Survey of Canada
MC – Memoranda to Cabinet
nm – nautical miles
NRCan – Natural Resources Canada
TB – Treasury Board
TBS – Treasury Board Secretariat
UN – United Nations
UNCLOS – United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
US – United States

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1.0 Executive Summary

1.1 Scope of the Evaluation

The purpose of this formative evaluation is to determine the extent to which the Continental Shelf Program for Canada’s submission to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) is on track. The evaluation traces the Program from its inception in April 2004 to the end of December 2008. The evaluation addresses the following issues: relevance, design and delivery, success and cost-effectiveness.

1.2 Relevance

Key findings: The Program is relevant to Government of Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) priorities.

  • The Program is a response to a provision of an international treaty to which Canada is party and falls within the jurisdiction of the federal government.
  • The Continental Shelf Program is aligned with Government of Canada priorities. The continental shelf submission was referenced in the Government’s commitment in the October 2007 Speech from the Throne to “complete comprehensive mapping of Canada’s Arctic seabed”. The Program also clearly contributes to the priorities of the three departments involved and received explicit reference in the Reports on Plans and Priorities for DFO and NRCan. Consequently, the 2004 Budget provided $69 million over ten years to collect data in the Atlantic and Arctic and to prepare the submission; the 2008 Budget provided an additional $40 million over four years.

1.3 Design and Delivery

Key findings: The Continental Shelf Program is well-designed and the delivery mechanism is appropriate. The Program has established a successful governance framework, risks have been identified and some mitigation measures have been implemented. On the other hand, it is important that the Program continue its recently introduced practice of producing a detailed annual performance report. As well, under current financial arrangements, DFAIT is to lead a request for resources to cover the period immediately prior to submission as well as subsequent years. To ensure sufficiency and continuity of resources for the Program, continued proactive management is required.

  • The Continental Shelf Program has established a successful governance framework (i.e., procedures, planning and decision making processes).
  • The commitment of the participants is appropriate (e.g., roles and responsibilities have been assigned, are clear and are well understood).
  • No formal performance measurement strategy has been implemented; however, progress is monitored on an ongoing basis by the management board.
  • Risks have been identified and some mitigation measures have been implemented.
  • Full financial resources for the three departments for the work to take place in the period after 2012 are still to be estimated and secured. This is particularly acute for DFAIT which has no funding past March 2012.

1.4 Success

Key findings: Progress has been made in delivering the planned activities. The Continental Shelf Program is on track to complete data collection as planned: at the end of December 2008, 45% of the time allocated for data acquisition had elapsed, approximately 43% of the work had been completed and 38% of the funds had been expended.

  • Planned activities are underway.
  • Data collection is on track and on budget. Consistent with the plan, more work remains.
  • Results as of end of December 2008:

Atlantic

  • 6,900 km of seismic survey has been done: 60%
  • 25,400 km of bathymetry survey has been done: 89%
  • Refraction will be done later in 2009: 0%

Arctic

  • 5,200 km of seismic survey has been done: 72%
  • 6,420 km of bathymetry survey has been done: 44%
  • 1,065 km of refraction survey has been done: 68%

1.5 Effectiveness

Key findings: The Continental Shelf Program is cost-effective and efficient. No additional efficiency improvements were identified to increase cost-effectiveness.

  • The evaluation indicates that, at present, the means being used to collect data are cost-effective and efficient. It is unlikely that alternative means could be used to achieve the same results within the same time constraints.

1.6 Recommendations

Recommendation 1: CONTINUE DETAILED PERFORMANCE-BASED REPORTING

In preparation for the next evaluation to be conducted in 2010-11 and for the final phases, the Program should continue to produce a detailed annual performance report, which would clearly report on the results achieved for milestones set for each of the phases of the Program. To the extent possible, an assessment of “% completed against planned” should be maintained for activities conducted to prepare the submission.

It is recommended that the Management Board prepare an annual performance report and present it to the Federal Advisory Committee for review and the Assistant Deputy Minister Steering Committee for approval.

Management response: The Assistant Deputy Minister Steering Committee agrees with the recommendation. The Management Board will prepare an annual performance report for each calendar year of the program. The report will be reviewed by the Federal Advisory Committee and approved by the Assistant Deputy Minister Steering Committee by no later than March 31 of the following year.

Recommendation 2: ENSURE PROACTIVE FINANCIAL and HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT TO PREPARE FOR THE NEXT PHASES OF THE PROGRAM

In 2008, resources were provided to DFAIT to establish a dedicated unit for this Program. Full financial resources for the three departments for the work to take place in the period after 2012 are still to be estimated and secured. Under current financial arrangements, DFAIT is to lead a request for resources to cover the period immediately prior to submission as well as the subsequent years. To ensure that funding levels remain sufficient (especially acute for DFAIT which has no funding past March 2012), the Management Board should review the current resource arrangements for the Program and make timely preparations for securing a source of funds for the period starting April 1, 2012.

It is recommended that the Assistant Deputy Minister Steering Committee, with input from the Management Board, continue a proactive approach to financial and human resources management to ensure sufficiency and continuity of resources.

Management response: The Assistant Deputy Minister Steering Committee agrees with the recommendation. The Management Board will firm up estimates for resources required post-2012 and develop any necessary documentation (e.g., Memoranda to Cabinet, Treasury Board Submission).

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2.0 Introduction

2.1 Program Background

2.1.1 Context

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) was adopted in 1982 and came into force in 1994. UNCLOS provides that, where a State intends to make a submission to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) to delineate the outer edge of its continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles, it must do so within 10 years of becoming a Party to the Convention. The Convention has broad membership, with 158 States parties as of May 4, 2009. As of June 1, 2009, 51 submissions and 43 communications of preliminary information had been submitted. As of the same date, the Commission had made recommendations on eight submissions.

Canada signed the Convention in 1982 and ratified on November 7, 2003. The Convention entered into force for Canada one month after ratification. Canada’s deadline for submission is thus December 6, 2013. Completion of this Program is required to achieve international recognition of the limits of Canada’s continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles.

Legal framework:

The Convention sets out the legal framework for all oceans activities. At its core is the establishment of maritime zones and the rights and duties of States within them. The zones recognized by UNCLOS are: the territorial sea, the contiguous zone, the exclusive economic zone (EEZ), the continental shelf, the high seas and the “Area” (seabed, ocean floor and subsoil outside national jurisdiction). Pursuant to UNCLOS, a coastal State exercises sovereign rights over its continental shelf for the purpose of exploring it and exploiting its natural resources. Subject to the limits of the continental shelf of States with opposite or adjacent coasts, States are entitled to exercise these rights over a continental shelf measuring 200 nm from coastal baselines. Where the natural prolongation of a coastal State’s land territory extends beyond 200 nm, it may exercise sovereign rights over this “extended” continental shelf. There are estimated to be 55 States with extended continental shelves.

Procedure:

Article 76 of the Convention sets out a procedure by which a coastal State makes a submission to the CLCS to delineate the outer edge of its extended continental shelf. Based on the information provided by the coastal State, the Commission is to make recommendations on the outer limits of its shelf. Limits established by a coastal State on the basis of these recommendations are final and binding. The CLCS does not, however, resolve disputes between opposite or adjacent States; these must be dealt with by the States concerned in accordance with international law.

2.1.2 Description

The Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS) of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s (DFO) Science Sector and the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) of Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan) Earth Sciences Sector are responsible for collecting the data required to assess and substantiate the extent of Canada’s continental shelf. Maps, scientific reports, charts and diagrams must be constructed for inclusion in the submission to the CLCS and a database maintained to support the submission. A variety of descriptive texts must also be written.

In 1994, the GSC and the CHS performed a desk-top study of Canada’s offshore areas in the context of article 76. For this study, all available bathymetric and geological data were compiled and analyzed to establish the provisional outer limits of the continental shelf. The study found that the size of the area beyond 200 nm could be as large as 1.75 million square kilometres, an area estimated by the CHS and GSC as equivalent to the size of the three Prairie Provinces, as shown in Figure 1 below.

Figure 1

Figure 1

Canada’s potential continental shelf:

  • Exclusive Economic Zone (red line)
  • Potential limit of shelf beyond 200 nautical miles (white line)

However, the amount and quality of the existing data used in this preliminary analysis was deemed insufficient to substantiate a submission to the CLCS because the majority of the data collected by the GSC and CHS pertains to inside 200 nm. The application of article 76 requires data outside 200 nm and this is where Canada was lacking the information required for a submission. Consequently, the 2004 Budget provided $69 million over ten years to collect data in the Atlantic and Arctic and to prepare the submission; the 2008 Budget provided an additional $40 million over four years.

2.1.3 Program's Particularities

  • The Program is novel. This is the first submission Canada has prepared for the CLCS and may very well be the only one;
  • There are few comparators. Within Canada, the Program is unique. There are also only eight (8) submissions from other countries on which the CLCS has made recommendations;
  • Canada faces unique challenges in mapping the Arctic seabed beneath ice-covered waters – challenges shared only by five Arctic nations. Research is concentrated in two six-to-eight week periods a year (mid-March to end of April and mid-August to end of September); climatic conditions are a major determinant of research strategies. Arctic research requires a lot of forethought, extensive preparations, and considerable flexibility in adjusting to changing weather conditions and new circumstances;
  • The direction and objective of preparing Canada’s submissions remains firm but the Program has had to be flexible in readjusting the plan on an on-going basis to the specific logistical requirements in order to adapt to the realities encountered in the field; and
  • The process is innovative. While scientists continue to rely on traditionally proven survey methods, they are also exploring new technologies; for example an autonomous underwater vehicle will be used for the first time in the Arctic.

2.2 Scope of the Evaluation

The purpose of this formative evaluation is to determine the extent to which the Continental Shelf Program for Canada’s submission to the CLCS is on track to achieve its objectives. The evaluation traces the Program from its inception in April 2004 to the end of December 2008. This time period is comprised of the preparatory stage of the Program and data collection, both of which implicate DFO and NRCan to a far greater extent than DFAIT. Table 1 outlines the phases for the Program. It should be noted that these phases overlap.

Table 1: Continental Shelf Program Phases
Phases  Actions
Preparation
(2004 – 2007)
Design a survey plan.
Prepare MC and TB Submission.
Establish a governance framework.
Data Collection
(2005 to 2012)
Data collection in the Atlantic.
Data collection in the Arctic.
Review Pacific situation.
Additional data collection if required based on interpretation.
Analysis / Interpretation / Submission Preparation
(2009 to 2013)
Analyze and interpret data.
Prepare submission.
Deliver submission to CLCS.
Submission presentation and follow up
(post 2013)
Present submission to CLCS.
Engagement with CLCS.

The evaluation addresses the following issues: relevance, design and delivery, success and cost-effectiveness. As well, the evaluation examines how the Program has evolved.

2.3 Methodology

In accordance with best practices, the evaluation approach involved the use of three lines of evidence:

  • A review of documentation: Governmental and departmental documentation (DFO and NRCan Reports on Plans and Priorities 2004 to 2008; Government of Canada Budgets 2004 to 2008; and Speeches from the Throne of April 4, 2006, October 16, 2007, November 19, 2008 and January 26, 2009), Program reports, websites, published articles and media reports;

  • Interviews: Individual interviews and one group interview were conducted as well as discussions with other key informants on specific issues. In total, 19 persons were interviewed or consulted for the purpose of the evaluation – 12 key informants from DFO, NRCan and DFAIT were interviewed in person or by telephone in the National Capital Region (NCR) and in the Atlantic region. Four scientists from DFO and NRCan participated in a group discussion in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Three interviews were conducted with officials outside the three departments; and

  • Site visits: Two facilities were visited – the Bedford Institute located in Dartmouth and the Polar Continental Shelf Technical Support Services facility located in Ottawa. These site visits provided insights into the Program and gave an opportunity to meet Program officials from different departments together and allowed an understanding of the conditions, logistics, weather and ice conditions encountered as well as collaboration with the United States (US) and other countries. 

2.3.1 Limitations of the Methodology

All interviews were conducted by a consultant. The conversational approach was the method adopted to conduct most interviews. This means that the interview guide was not necessarily followed for conducting interviews but instead that the interview questions were tailored to the specific interviewee depending on that person’s role and experience with the Program. Questions were selected and adapted as appropriate to the person and to the amount of time available for the interview. While this method was successful in obtaining the information required for the evaluation, it makes analysis of the interview data more complex.

The availability and quantity of information was limited due to the specific nature of this Program as well as the limited number of completed submissions by other countries – only summaries of these submissions are available.

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3.0 Findings

3.1 Relevance

Key findings: The Program is relevant to Government of Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) priorities.

Canada signed the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1982 and ratified it on November 7, 2003. Canada’s deadline to make a submission to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf is December 6, 2013. Completion of this Program is required to achieve international recognition of the limits of Canada’s continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles. International recognition of these limits is important for, among other things, offshore resource exploration and development. The amount and quality of data available prior to the Program was insufficient to substantiate a submission; therefore there was, and still is, a need to collect quality data that meets the standards of the Commission and that can be used to assess and substantiate the extent of Canada’s continental shelf. Accordingly, the 2004 Budget provided $69 million over ten years to collect data in the Atlantic and Arctic and to prepare the submission; the 2008 Budget provided an additional $40 million over four years.

The Continental Shelf Program is aligned with Government of Canada priorities. The continental shelf submission was referenced in the Government’s commitment in the October 2007 Speech from the Throne to “complete comprehensive mapping of Canada’s Arctic seabed”.

The Program also clearly contributes to the priorities of the three departments involved. It received explicit reference in the Reports on Plans and Priorities for the departments engaged in data collection. DFO, through its Science Sector, “will directly support the departmental priority on International Governance through the provision of information, data and evidence in support of Canada’s Sovereign claim under the UNCLOS”.[1]

The seabed mapping activity “also contributes to the NRCan priority of Knowledge, Innovation and Productivity as the knowledge gained will ensure greater certainty of Canadian sovereignty over the Arctic and Atlantic continental shelves, and any mineral and hydrocarbon resources in those areas, beyond the customary 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone”.[2]

Within DFAIT, the Continental Shelf Program falls under International Policy Advice and Integration[3] which supports activities such as developing Arctic foreign policy; developing international policy/advice/integration, with a focus on peace and security, trade and investment, international law, human rights and geographic expertise. This in turn supports the Department’s management priority and strategic outcome of shaping the international agenda to Canada’s benefit and advantage in accordance with Canadian interests and values. Within this architecture, it is captured by the specific Program activity of providing “advice to the Government of Canada on its legal rights and obligations and on the rights and obligations of other States on issues in the field of …ocean and environmental law (such as... Law of the Sea, …offshore resources, maritime boundaries).”

The Program implements a provision of an international convention to which Canada is a party and falls within the jurisdiction of the federal government. None of the activities should or could be transferred to the provinces or the private or voluntary sectors, in whole or in part. Only the federal government and the departments now involved can undertake this work and complete the Program in a manner most beneficial to the Canadian public interest.

3.2 Design and Delivery

Overall Key findings: The Continental Shelf Program is well-designed and the delivery mechanism is appropriate. The Program has established a successful governance framework, risks have been identified and some mitigation measures have been implemented. On the other hand, it is important that the Program continue its recently introduced practice of producing a detailed annual performance report. As well, under current financial arrangements, DFAIT is to lead a request for resources to cover the period immediately prior to submission as well as subsequent years. To ensure sufficiency and continuity of resources for the Program, continued proactive management is required.

3.2.1 Governance

The Continental Shelf Program has established a successful governance framework, i.e., procedures, planning and decision making processes for delivering a Program that consists of data collection, data storage, archiving, interpretation, map production and submission to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. Table 2 describes the bodies within the governance structure of the Continental Shelf Program.

Table 2: Governance of the Continental Shelf Program
ADM Steering Committee The Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) Steering Committee is responsible for the strategic direction and oversight of the Continental Shelf Program. This committee meets when necessary, so far averaging two meetings per year.
Management Board[4] The detailed operation of the Program is carried out by a Management Board that reports to the ADM Steering Committee. The Board has responsibility for the day to day delivery of the Program, including legal issues, CLCS issues, diplomatic advice, collection of information, and preparation of the necessary databases, maps and reports needed to support the submission. The Board has set annual work plans and has developed accountability accords. The members of the Board are in frequent, often daily, contact. This engagement and collaboration between Management Board members is important. The Board updates the ADM Steering Committee and the Federal Advisory Committee on its activities each week. The Board reviews progress and reports cumulatively at least twice a year to the ADM Steering Committee and keeps the Federal Advisory Committee informed on a similar basis.
Federal Advisory Committee[5] The Federal Advisory Committee provides a broader view of the policy issues related to the Continental Shelf Program to both the Management Board and the ADM Steering Committee. It usually meets twice a year.
Operations Office[6] An Operations Office was established during the 2004-2005 fiscal year at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography to support the day-to-day management of the Program. It is coordinating the data collection.

3.2.2 Delivery

Key findings: The mechanisms for delivering the Continental Shelf Program are in place and are functional, and the commitment of the participants is appropriate e.g., roles and responsibilities have been assigned, are clear and are well understood. DFAIT, DFO and NRCan are working closely together.

DFAIT has overall responsibility for preparing and presenting Canada’s submission to the CLCS as well as subsequent engagement with that body. It will be supported throughout by officials from DFO’s Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS) and NRCan’s Geological Survey of Canada (GSC). DFAIT is also responsible for providing legal advice and carrying out diplomatic activities related to Canada’s submission both before and after it is presented to the CLCS. In 2008 resources were provided to DFAIT to establish a dedicated unit for this Program.

DFO and NRCan are responsible for the scientific work required for the submission. DFO’s CHS is conducting bathymetric surveys to establish the surface shape and morphology of the sea floor. Bathymetry measures ocean depths and defines the contours of the seabed. NRCan’s GSC is conducting seismic surveys to establish the structure under the sea floor and the thickness of the sediment layer. Seismic surveys penetrate the layers of the ocean bed to measure sediment thickness and the sound velocity of the rock structures to determine if the rocks are of the same composition as the continental shelf adjacent to Canada's coastline. Officials from these two departments are involved in building alliances with other countries doing similar work, and, at times, undertaking joint, shared, or coordinated research with scientists outside of Canada.

Full financial resources for the three departments for the work to take place in the period after 2012 are still to be estimated and secured. This is particularly acute for DFAIT, which has no funding past March 2012.

3.2.3 Performance Measurement Strategy

At the beginning of the evaluation, no formal performance measurement strategy had been implemented. However, a logic model had been developed and validated by senior management, and there were detailed planning and task lists against which regular assessments of progress were made. Progress is monitored on an ongoing basis by the Management Board. Weekly updates are provided by the Board to the Advisory Committee and the Steering Committee and cumulative reporting is made twice per year to meetings of these bodies. This process has been efficient and has ensured the day to day delivery of the Program. For the first time in December 2008 a detailed annual performance report was produced which clearly stated the results achieved for milestones set for Program activities – a set of indicators and the assessment of “% completed against planned”.

3.2.4 Risks and Mitigation Measures

A formal risk assessment was completed on March 25, 2008. Risks have been identified and some mitigation measures have been implemented. Although the Program is managing risk in an effective manner, those risks could still compromise the ultimate goal of the Program. Following are the five most significant risks as seen at that time:

Risk 1:

Lack of data

A risk to the Program is a lack of data that meets the standards of the Commission and that can be used to maximize the area included for Canada’s extended shelf. However, the data collection is proceeding and being completed according to the plan. Because data collection is on track, the risks associated with a possible lack of data are being reduced over time as additional data is collected.

Risk 2:

Lack of necessary funding

Key risks for financing the Program immediately before Canada’s submission to the CLCS, at the time of the submission and at the post submission stages are known and have been identified. More specifically, financial risks are managed on a day-to-day basis in order to have the necessary resourcing to complete each mission for data collection.

Increases in the cost of fuel and increases in costs due to difficult weather and ice conditions (which could imply extra missions for data collection) in the Arctic remain as significant risks that are being carefully managed by the Program. Additional funding for 2012-13 and beyond and a contingency fund are not in place at the current time; therefore, it is possible that the Program may face additional financial pressures in the event of significant fluctuations in the price of fuel for the ships or dealing with adverse weather conditions. As no contingency fund is in place, in the event that these risks were to materialize, the implicit risk management strategy is that the Program would work closely with departmental financial officials and Central Agencies in order to resolve the issues.

Risk 3:

Unpredictable data collection conditions

The Program has identified risks for the data collection phase based on the experience gained over the past years. These risks are known and risk management practices are in place. The Program’s team has gained invaluable experience operating in the North in extreme weather and ice conditions. Additional time has been budgeted to compensate in case one of the data collection missions does not meet its goals due to Arctic ice and weather conditions and/or icebreaker capacity and capability. Remoteness and a short operational season in the Arctic are also factors. As well, reliance is being placed on the use of autonomous underwater vehicles for the next key data collections in the Arctic north and west of Ellesmere Island. Similar autonomous underwater vehicles have been used in the past – although this is the first time they will be used in Arctic weather and ice conditions to collect bathymetry. If the autonomous underwater vehicles do not work as planned in these conditions, the risk mitigation plan will be to correct problems as they arise and try again in following season.

Risk 4:

Availability of qualified human resources

One of the challenges for the Program is to find a sufficient number of scientists with expertise in Arctic research. For some 15 years, little Arctic research was done, so most of those who actively engaged in Arctic research prior to the early 1990s are now retired or nearing retirement. The Program’s human resource planning has addressed the risk of not having the required expert human resource capacity. Resources provided to DFAIT in 2008 permitted the department to start recruiting the experts required for the next phases of the Program. Retaining the Program’s team for the duration of submission preparation and CLCS consideration may also be a challenge.

Risk 5:

Lack of familiarity with submission expectations

At the start of the Program, high uncertainty existed regarding the specific requirements of the submission and the scientific data to be analysed. This uncertainty, and the risks attached, have been reduced somewhat since the Commission has made recommendations on submissions made by several States. Although only summaries of the submissions and recommendations are publicly available they can be of value in informing aspects of the structure and content required for Canada’s submission. More detail may be obtained through diplomatic contacts with States which have received recommendations from the CLCS. As well, a body of expertise (e.g., contractors) and legal and scientific literature is developing. These are additional factors that have the potential to reduce the Program risk profile and can assist Canada in the next phases of this Program.

3.3 Success

Key findings: Progress has been made in delivering the planned activities. The Continental Shelf Program is on track to complete the data collection on time: at the end of December 2008, 45% of the time allocated for data acquisition had elapsed, approximately 43% of the work had been completed and 38% of the funds had been expended.

Planned activities are underway, the Continental Shelf Program is forecast to be completed on time and on budget and outputs are on track. In accordance with the plan, considerable work remains to be completed.

In the first years of data collection the Program has collected high quality data (refraction, reflection seismic and bathymetry). So far, the data collected supports initial assumptions (e.g., submarine ridges, substantial amounts of sediments, etc.) and in some cases may allow a larger extended shelf than anticipated in the desktop study to be defined.[7] A possible lack of quality data in the Arctic is a risk to Canada’s submission, but risks have been identified and some mitigation measures have been implemented. Despite the financial and human resources risks faced over the next few years, the submission is on track for filing with the CLCS in December 2013.

3.3.1 Atlantic Ocean

Activities

The Atlantic is subdivided into three geographic areas: the Scotia margin, the Grand Banks and the Labrador margin. Existing data sets pertinent to the project have been acquired and/or are being acquired wherever possible. New seismic data have to be collected on the Scotian and Labrador margins while new bathymetric work is required on the Grand Banks.

Results to date (as of December 2008)

Progress has been made in the data collection phase of the Program for the Atlantic. The vast majority of the planned new bathymetric work has been concluded as well as much of the planned seismic surveying.

6,900 km of seismic survey has been done = 60%
25,400 km of bathymetry survey has been done = 89%
Refraction will be done later in 2009 = 0%

More precisely, planned data collection on the Scotian Margin has been finished. “Existing bathymetry data has been analyzed and preliminary foot of slope picks have been done. Seismic data is being processed under contract and preliminary analysis shows that sediments are well defined on the profiles. Preliminary 1% points (outer limit locations) have been plotted: all fall inside the maximum of 350 nm, but are further offshore than anticipated.” No further data collection is required in the Grand Banks geographic area. “New multibeam data has been processed and delivered. New and existing bathymetric data in the area was analyzed and preliminary foot of slope picks were obtained.” There is a plan to finish the collection phase on the Labrador Margin by September 2009. The work is being done under contract. “The sediment thickness in the Labrador Sea may be sufficient for defining a significant extended shelf. Therefore, it was decided to ensure that we have the best velocity data available and have scheduled a joint survey with the Danes in June 2009 to collect a total of about 1,600 km of refraction data (35 day survey).”

Data collection in the Atlantic is scheduled to be completed in 2009. Data analysis is also underway in accordance with the plan.

3.3.2 Arctic Ocean

Activities

The Arctic is subdivided into two areas: the Eastern and Western Arctic. The Eastern Arctic required seismic surveys to show the natural prolongation of the Lomonosov and Alpha-Mendeleev Ridges, then bathymetric surveys to map the foot of slope and 2,500 metre depth contour. The Western Arctic required bathymetric surveys to map the foot of slope and seismic surveys to determine sediment thickness. There are few existing data sets in these Arctic areas relevant to the continental shelf submission so the Program must conduct all the work itself.

Results to date (as of December 2008)

The Program has worked to overcome difficult environmental conditions and the limitations these impose on equipment, particularly in the Eastern Arctic. This has been accomplished through a redesign of the data collection plan and enhanced cooperation with other Arctic coastal States engaged in continental shelf research (United States, Denmark and Russia). Progress in both areas of the Arctic is significant with the majority of new seismic collection and almost half of the bathymetry work concluded. In the Western Arctic, a joint vessel-based survey conducted with the United States in fall 2008 was highly successful. The quality of the seismic data collected so far has been excellent, indeed better than anticipated based on previous experience. In the Eastern Arctic refraction surveys of the Lomonosov and Alpha-Mendeleev Ridges have been completed and bathymetry collection over both Ridges is in progress. Analysis of data relating to the Lomonosov Ridge test of appurtenance was carried out jointly with Danish scientists and the results were presented to the 2008 International Geological Congress in Oslo, Norway.[8]

5,200 km of seismic survey has been done = 72%
6,420 km of bathymetry survey has been done = 44%
1,065 km of refraction survey has been done = 68%

Data collection in the Arctic is scheduled to be completed in 2011 and is on track. Moreover, given the difficult conditions and limited research season (March/April in the Eastern Arctic using ice camps and August/September in the Western Arctic using vessels), extra time has been budgeted in case a research season is lost.

3.3.3 Adjustments

Appropriate adjustments have been made to accommodate changing requirements, technological advances, operational constraints and changes in timelines or scheduling. The Program’s team has learned to collect the necessary data in very difficult conditions, especially in the Arctic’s extreme cold and thick ice conditions. They have successfully used a number of geophysical collection methods in these extreme conditions. Other strategies, which have worked well, have been setting up ice camps in the spring and conducting data collection from a ship in the fall. Each mission has provided lessons learned for working so far north, beyond Canada’s 200 nm limit and training is needed in order to gather this data safely in these difficult physical environments.

The Program has shifted and reallocated resources as required. Operating the ice camps in spring conditions (March and April) has required careful accounting and financial operations because it is difficult to budget precisely for what is spent in each fiscal year. However, the Program has learned to deal with both the operational and the financial management and procurement challenges as necessary. Importantly, dedicated professionals with extensive experience and a well-established international scientific network run the Program. This has permitted successful international collaboration, resulting in significant savings to the cost of the data collection, improved quality of data and greater quantity of data being available. As a result, the Canadian Program’s credibility has increased internationally. As well, both experimentation and technological advances have taken place as the Program gains experience using the scientific equipment. For example, experimenting with different types, sizes and lengths of seismic gear has led to finding the most efficient collection methods.

3.3.4 Unintended Impacts

Positive impacts have been noted with regard to improved relations with other countries and scientists from these countries. Collaboration in this manner is positive because it reduces the cost and improves the credibility of the data.

3.4 Cost-Effectiveness

Key findings: The Continental Shelf Program is cost-effective and efficient. No additional efficiency improvements were identified to increase cost-effectiveness.

The means being used to collect data are cost-effective and efficient. It is unlikely that alternative means could be used to achieve the same results within the same time constraints.

There is a very limited window for Arctic work to take place: six-to-eight week periods twice a year. The work has been done in the spring using ice camps and in the fall using icebreakers. During the next couple of years, the Program plans to use autonomous underwater vehicles. This is a new feature of the Arctic work, and it is hoped it will provide a very cost-effective and workable solution to the last parts of the data collection. If successful, this innovation can be of very significant value to the Program, although the use of this technology for this purpose has not yet been proven in the Arctic. As for the Atlantic data collection, the Program is using contracted resources. Finally, collaborative arrangements with other States for joint data collection, shared data collection and exchange of data are cost-effective and will assist with future stages of the Program.

The Program and its activities are being carried out with due regard for economy, efficiency and effectiveness and with careful stewardship of the Program’s financial and human resources, and information. Contracting for some activities, using a phased approach to data collection, analysis and submission preparation, and collaborating with other countries for joint data collection and sharing information are providing excellent value-for-money.

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4.0 Conclusions

The first phase of the Program, “preparation” is completed and provided the foundation for the implementation of the Program. The second phase, “data collection” is proceeding according to the plan and is within budget although significant data collection remains to take place. As well, financial and human resources for the next phases are now being concretely put in place, but more efforts are necessary to deliver on the Program’s plan, specifically to ensure sufficiency and continuity of resources beyond 2012.

The Program is operating in a cost-effective manner. Every activity is vital to the success of the Program – no planned activities can be abandoned. The Program is managing significant technical, financial and human resources risks. It is possible that the Program could come under additional financial pressures for data collection in the following conditions: (1) if there are significant changes from the current costs of collecting data in difficult Arctic weather or ice conditions; (2) if there are cost increases of some inputs (e.g., fuel, where prices have been volatile in the past); (3) if innovative technology does not work as planned for data collection in the Arctic or (4) vessel, equipment, ice or weather problems preclude adequate data collection during a season. 

Overall, the Program is on track to achieve its objectives.

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5.0 Recommendations

Based on its findings, this formative evaluation makes the following recommendations:

Recommendation 1: CONTINUE DETAILED PERFORMANCE-BASED REPORTING

In preparation for the next evaluation to be conducted in 2010-11 and for the final phases, the Program should continue to produce a detailed annual performance report, which would clearly report on the results achieved for milestones set for each of the phases of the Program. To the extent possible, an assessment of “% completed against planned” should be maintained for activities conducted to prepare the submission.

It is recommended that the Management Board prepare an annual performance report and present it to the Federal Advisory Committee for review and the Assistant Deputy Minister Steering Committee for approval.

Management response: The Assistant Deputy Minister Steering Committee agrees with the recommendation. The Management Board will prepare an annual performance report for each calendar year of the program. The report will be reviewed by the Federal Advisory Committee and approved by the Assistant Deputy Minister Steering Committee by no later than March 31 of the following year.

Recommendation 2: ENSURE PROACTIVE FINANCIAL and HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT TO PREPARE FOR THE NEXT PHASES OF THE PROGRAM

In 2008, resources were provided to DFAIT to establish a dedicated unit for this Program. Full financial resources for the three departments for the work to take place in the period after 2012 are still to be estimated and secured. Under current financial arrangements, DFAIT is to lead a request for resources to cover the period immediately prior to submission as well as the subsequent years. To ensure that funding levels remain sufficient (especially acute for DFAIT which has no funding past March 2012), the Management Board should review the current resources arrangements for the Program and make timely preparations for securing a source of funds for the period starting April 1, 2012.

It is recommended that the Assistant Deputy Minister Steering Committee, with input from the Management Board, continue a proactive approach to financial and human resources management to ensure sufficiency and continuity of resources.

Management response: The Assistant Deputy Minister Steering Committee agrees with the recommendation. The Management Board will firm up estimates for resources required post-2012 and develop any necessary documentation (e.g., Memoranda to Cabinet, Treasury Board Submission).

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6.0 Management Action Plan

Recommendations Management Action Plan Status Report Update
Actions Completed Actions Outstanding Target Date
1. It is recommended that the Management Board prepare an annual performance report and present it to the Federal Advisory Committee for review and the Assistant Deputy Minister Steering Committee for approval. The Management Board will prepare an annual performance report for each calendar year of the program. The report will be reviewed by the Federal Advisory Committee and approved by the Assistant Deputy Minister Steering Committee by no later than March 31 of the following year.      Initial: March 31, 2010
Revised: 
2. It is recommended that the Assistant Deputy Minister Steering Committee, with input from the Management Board, continue a proactive approach to financial and human resources to ensure sufficiency and continuity of resources. The Management Board will firm up estimates for resources required post-2012 and develop any necessary documentation (e.g., Memoranda to Cabinet, Treasury Board Submission).       Initial: November 30, 2010 (estimates) and May 31, 2011 (documentation)
Revised:

1. DFO, Report on Plans and Priorities 2006-2007, p. 24.

2. NRCan, Report on Plans and Priorities, 2005-2006, p. 10.

3. DFAIT, 2008-2009 Parts I and II - Main Estimates. “This program activity provides strategic direction, intelligence and advice, including integration and coordination of Canada’s foreign and international economic policies. It allows the department to plan and strategically coordinate its international activities with a view to integrating Canada’s foreign and international economic policies. This is carried out by working to improve coordination within DFAIT, with other government departments and relevant stakeholders, and by utilizing advice provided from missions to develop all-of-government approaches that integrate different organizational mandates and perspectives to advance Canadian interests and values. The main target groups are other government organizations, policy and program groups within DFAIT, Heads of Mission and key mission personnel.”

4. The ADM Steering Committee consists of the ADM (Science - DFO), the ADM (Earth Sciences Sector - NRCan), and the Legal Advisor (DFAIT). The chair revolves among members.

5. The Management Board consists of the Director – UNCLOS Program of GSC (NRCan) and the Director – Law of the Sea Project of CHS (DFO). Prior to September 2008 the DFAIT member was the Director of the Oceans and Environmental Law Division but since September 2008 the DFAIT member has been the new position of Deputy Director – Continental Shelf of the same division.

6. The Federal Advisory Committee is chaired by the Director General of the CHS (DFO), with membership of six other DGs representing DFO Policy, DFO Canadian Coast Guard, NRCan Policy and Coordination Branch, NRCan’s GSC, Bureau of Legal Affairs (DFAIT) and National Defence (DND Headquarters and Defence Research Development Canada). At the invitation of the ADM Steering Committee, the Director General of the Northern Strategic Policy Branch of Indian & Northern Affairs Canada joined the Committee in October 2008.

7. Information on this and the following sections (3.3.1 and 3.3.2) is drawn from the UNCLOS Status Report, December 2008.

8. Canadian representatives presented findings to the global scientific community on joint Canadian-Danish surveys about the natural extent of the North American continent under Arctic waters. The scientific data demonstrates that the undersea Lomonosov Ridge is attached to the North American and Greenland plates (Ref.: Government of Canada Welcomes New Mapping Data on Canada’s North. NRCan, News Release, August 8, 2008.)