HYDROGRAPHIC PRODUCTS AND SERVICES PROGRAM

EVALUATION REPORT

FINAL REPORT
MARCH 2013

Evaluation Directorate

Table of Contents


Acronyms


List of acronyms
BDB Bathy Database
CCG

Canadian Coast Guard

CHS

Canadian Hydrographic Service 

CRF Consolidated Revenue Fund
DFO

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

EOSS

Ecosystems and Oceans Science Sector

GOC Government of Canada
GDP Gross Domestic Product
IHO

International Hydrographic Organization

HPD Hydrographic Products Database
HPS Hydrographic Products and Services
IMO

International Maritime Organization

LOS

Level of Service

PAA

Program Alignment Architecture

SLA

Service Level Agreement

SCC Standards Council of Canada
VARs Value-Added Resellers

Executive Summary


Introduction

This evaluation presents the results of the evaluation of the Hydrographic Products and Services Program (the Program). In accordance with the Treasury Board Policy on Evaluation (2009), the evaluation focused on the extent to which the Program demonstrates value for money by assessing the core issues of relevance and performance, including effectiveness, efficiency and economy.

This evaluation covered the period of 2006-2007 to 2010-2011 and was undertaken between February 2012 and October 2012 by Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s (DFO) Evaluation Directorate. The evaluation is inclusive of the National Capital Region and the following DFO regions: Newfoundland and Labrador, Maritimes, Quebec, Central and Arctic, and Pacific.

Program Profile

The Program is a component of the Canadian Hydrographic Service. The Program is responsible for surveying and producing new, as well as updating, existing paper and electronic navigational charts for Canada`s oceans and navigable waterways. It also produces nautical publications such as the Canadian Tide Tables, Sailing Directions, bathymetric maps, atlases and water level bulletins.  The Program enables safe navigation in Canadian navigable waters and supports the management and protection of the marine environment and its resources.  The Program falls under the responsibility of the Assistant Deputy Minister of the Ecosystems and Oceans Science Sector.  It is headed by the Director General, Ocean Sciences -  Canadian Hydrographic Service who oversees its delivery through its National headquarters in Ottawa and five regional offices.

The Program’s target population consists of commercial and government mariners and recreational boaters as consumers of the Program’s navigationals charts and nautical publications; and information users or public and private sector organizations that engage into specific user arrangements for the Program’s other intellectual property.  Stakeholders include national and international dealers from the Program`s distribution network; Value Added Resellers or third-party non-official product developers e.g. navigational Global Position Systems; and the Canadian Coast Guard and National Defence for their vessels.

The table below presents the Program's annual budgets, actual expenditures and revenue from its charts, publications and royalties for the period of 2006-2007 to 2010-11.

($M) 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 TOTAL
Budget $43.6 $27.2 $27.4 $27.9 $26.5 $152.6
Expenditures $42.0 $25.9 $26.1 $27.8 $27.3 $149.5
Revenue $2.5 $3.0 $3.1 $3.6 $3.6 $15.8

Evaluation Methodology

The evaluation employed a program theory-driven evaluation science approach. A non-experimental design was used for this evaluation. A review of documents and program files was conducted; interviews of the Program’s personnel and its clients; and three online surveys of Program clients/stakeholders. There are only minor limitations none of which impact the interpretation of the findings and conclusions.

Evaluation Findings and Recommendations

Relevance

This evaluation concluded that there is a need for the Program. Navigators of all types need to know the depth of the water so that their vessels can operate efficiently.  The Program is a legislated government responsibility.  It is not a service however that is necessarily required to be carried out by the public sector. However, the federal government is the best entity to carry out this activity due to its sensitive nature with respect to the safety and security of Canadian citizens, attention to the needs of marine science and the economic prosperity of the nation. Finally, the Program aligns with Government of Canada and Fisheries and Oceans priorities. 

Effectiveness

Overall the Program is achieving its intended outcomes. With regard to its primary mandate, the Program is successfully reaching mariners and recreational boaters. They consider Program navigational charts and nautical publications to be current, reliable and accessible, and use them to a great extent.  With regard to its secondary mandate, information users also successfully access hydrographic information. They mainly use this information to gain a better understanding of the marine environment. Finally, the Program, as the sole provider of navigational charts and nautical publications, makes a unique contribution to safe and well managed Canadian waterways.   The evaluation found two program enhancements that could be made to improve the effectiveness of the Program.  

With regard to its secondary mandate, information users are accessing and utilizing the Program’s intellectual property.  However the customer service experience emerged as an issue.  The evaluation found that improvements could be made with respect to the website interface, the timeliness of Program responses pertaining to bathymetric data requests and providing recipients with data in industry recognized formats.  The federal government is presently fostering greater openness and promoting the Open Data Portal initiative to make government data more freely available to the Canadian public.  In light of the importance the federal government places on accessibility and of fostering positive client relationships, the Program should try to better adapt to align itself with this initiative and possibly with this existing infrastructure, taking into consideration the unique requirements associated with the Intellectual Property management and “official” nature of its products.  Accessing and effectively utilizing intellectual property contributes to a better understanding and use of the marine environment.  It also contributes to the Canadian economy through private sector Value Added Reseller’s product innovations and marine engineering projects with commercial intentions.

Recommendation 1: It is recommended that, Assistant Deputy Minister, Ecosystems and Oceans Science explore ways to improve the customer service to its information users and consider investing in innovative technologies to make its hydrographic information more easily accessible.

The migration of the Program’s paper based navigational charts within a database environment is having an impact to provide its clients with the most current charting information. The additional workload associated with this migration is impacting on the Program’s ability to meet its Levels of Service targets.  This is a national priority yet the functional relationship with the regional offices means the national office cannot exercise any authority over regional office decisions that direct resources towards other priorities.

Once fully operational, the Program should re-assess its Levels of Service targets with respect to their relevance, achievability and importance in light of this new, more efficient operating system. The review should extend to all of its targets to ensure they respect the new technology platforms. Furthermore, the risk model criteria should also be re-examined in light of evolving mariners’ needs and changing environments such as the impact of climate change on the Arctic Ocean.

When fully operational, the adoption of the Bathy Database and the Hydrographic Products Database will enable the Program to more efficiently produce a variety of navigational and other digital products (e.g. intellectual property) from these databases.  All vessels of any kind in Canada have an obligation to carry and use official charts and publications pursuant to the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, subject to an exception for vessels under 100 tons with specified local knowledge. The Program must ensure that the charts are meeting their expected and published Levels of Service, especially the high and medium risk area charts. These program enhancements will help the program in meeting its Level of Service targets and achieving the objectives of the Program.

Recommendation 2: It is recommended that, Assistant Deputy Minister, Ecosystems and Oceans Science:

  1. Make the adoption of the Bathy Database and the Hydrographic Products Database platform a high priority,  establish a completion date to implement the system across all regions and ensure regional commitments are in place;
  2. Determine whether there is a need to update the risk model for chart classification and subsequently review and update the entire Levels of Service based on the new database technology platform.

Efficiency & Economy

Overall the program is efficiently producing outputs and operating in a way that minimizes the use of resources.  The Program’s operational processes, governance structures and its compliance with a certified quality management system (ISO9001:2008) attest to its efficient operation, maximizing its available resources.  However, there are challenges with respect to managing national priorities. 

The Program is one that is national in scope and delivered through regional offices.  There are priorities that are regional in nature but also those that are national in nature.  Regional offices can effectively manage their regional priorities, but the national office is challenged to manage its national priorities due to the functional reporting relationship between it and the regional offices.  Unevenly distributed high and medium risk chart areas in the context of evenly distributed resources amongst regional offices have created inequities in terms of disproportionately higher workloads for some regional offices.  This has become most apparent in the context of the operationalization of the Hydrographic Products Database, where some regional offices lag farther behind than others in its full implementation.  Although the national headquarters office is accountable for achieving the Program’s intended outcomes, it is unable to exercise authority over the regional offices to achieve them.  Emerging priorities of national importance requires a governance structure designed to redistribute and reallocate resources and achieve those outcomes, outcomes that are national and not regional in scope.

Recommendation 3: It is recommended that the Assistant Deputy Minister, Ecosystems and Oceans Science put in place a governance structure and controls that gives the Program in the National Capital Region authority to direct and manage regional activities and resources to achieve national goals, priorities and outcomes.

The Program is also challenged with taking advantage of alternative surveying techniques that are more cost-effective.  The Program currently relies on Coast Guard vessels equipped with echo sounders for its surveying activities.  However alternative technologies such as the airborne hydrographic technology Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) can be more effective under other circumstances. Similarly, opportunities increasingly exist to collaborate with universities, the Department of National Defence and inter-governmental collaborators that have shared interests.  Countries with programs similar to our own use a combination of public and/or private sector data acquisition platforms. In spite of good relationships at the working level with the Coast Guard, there are issues with respect to escalating costs and asset performance. Commitments with the Coast Guard limit the Program’s ability to explore other opportunities to increase its coverage of high priority areas.  But opportunities with the Coast Guard, a primary beneficiary of charting information, do exist to increase efficiencies.  For example, equipping more Coast Guard vessels with echo sounders and training Fleet personnel on its proper use would yield a greater number of cost-effective data collection opportunities for the Program. The Program requires increased flexibility concerning the acquisition of data through alternative platforms.  It would allow the Program to more efficiently collect data in higher priority areas. Renegotiating commitments with the Coast Guard and engaging alternative platforms could yield increased productivity with respect to data collection activities.

Recommendation 4: It is recommended that the Assistant Deputy Minister Ecosystems and Oceans Science consider managing the sector’s vessel funds in such a way as to allow the Program to select the most cost-effective alternatives in data acquisition approaches and platforms. This should include discussions with the Canadian Coast Guard to re-assess the benefits each brings to its relationship with the other and propose solutions to increase coverage of priority areas.

1. Introduction


Context of the Evaluation
This evaluation report presents the results of the Hydrographic Products and Services Program (the “Program”) as identified under the DFO PAA. As stated in the Policy on Evaluation (2009), all direct program spending must be evaluated every five years. The Program was scheduled to be evaluated in 2012-2013 as per the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) multi-year departmental evaluation plan. Recommendations stemming from the main findings are formulated to allow for improvements to the Program where necessary and to inform future decision-making.

Scope

In accordance with the Treasury Board (TBS) Policy on Evaluation (2009), the evaluation focused on the extent to which the Program demonstrates relevance and performance, including effectiveness, efficiency and economy.  This evaluation covered the period of 2006-2007 to 2010-2011 and was undertaken between February 2012 and October 2012 by staff from DFO’s Evaluation Directorate. The evaluation is inclusive of the National Capital Region (the national headquarters - NHQ) and the following DFO regions: Newfoundland and Labrador, Maritimes, Quebec, Central and Arctic, and Pacific.

2. Program Profile


2.1 Background

The Program is a component of the Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS), which was established in 1883. The Program is responsible for surveying and producing new, as well as updating, existing navigational charts and nautical publications (e.g. Canadian Tide Tables, Sailing Directions) for Canada’s oceans and navigable waterways.  CHS navigational charts and publications are Canada’s “official” navigational products in the context of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 and the Nautical Charts and Publication Regulations, 1995 and are essential tools to support safe and secure navigation through information on water depth, currents, tides, aids to navigation and hazards (e.g. shoals, ship wrecks and submerged rocks).

2.2 Program Outcomes

The Program enables safe navigation in Canadian navigable waters and supports the management and protection of the marine environment and its resources.  To achieve this longer term outcome, activities are designed to ensure that hydrographic information about the Canadian marine transportation infrastructure is kept up to date, and mariners can access and utilize hydrographic products and services to navigate safely.  The Program also ensures that users of hydrographic information can access and utilize it to protect, and support innovative and responsible use of the marine environment. For the purposes of the evaluation, a program logic model was developed (Annex I).

2.3 Program Activities

The following diagram illustrates the HPS program activity process.

The following diagram illustrates the HPS  program activity process

Data Acquisition
The Program conducts hydrographic surveys of Canada’s navigable waterways of the Great Lakes, and the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic Oceans. Surveys capture water depth, and sea bottom characteristics. The most commonly used platform for surveying waterways is a vessel and/or a survey launch equipped with high resolution acoustic sonar systems, which measure depths by bouncing sound waves off the seabed. Tides and water levels are also monitored to adjust the charts to a standard vertical reference as well as to provide information on tide and water level changes.

Data Management
Hydrographic survey data is rigorously analyzed, quality controlled and uploaded into databases ready for use in product creation. For the survey data, there are two key data bases: the Bathy Database which is designed to contain all digital water depth information and the Hydrographic Product Database (HPD) which is designed to contain the chart water depth as well as all other information, such as aids to navigation, that are to be incorporated in the charts. The historical archives of hydrographic data contained in these two data bases and others archived as field sheets and other paper and digital format are a valuable source for other scientific applications as well as chart making.

Products and Services
The Program converts hydrographic information into products such as new or updated nautical paper and electronic charts, and publications such as Sailing Directions, bathymetric maps, atlases, tide and current tables, and water level bulletins.  Hydrographic products, as intellectual property, are licenced or sold for public distribution as “official” navigational products via a worldwide network of dealers. Hydrographic data or products are also licenced for use in research and development projects as well as for the development of new and innovative products.

Distribution
The Program manages the publishing, distribution and sales of its paper and electronic charts and nautical publications.  Publishing utilises to a great extent, print-on-demand technology that ensures the most current charts are available for purchase. Charts and publications are sold through a large network of Canadian (e.g. marinas) and international dealers.

To maximize navigational safety, the Program issues on-going product updates to all users of its products, providing updates to paper charts and nautical publications through the Canadian Coast Guard’s (CCG) Notices to Mariners service, and subsequently as new editions or new charts as appropriate. The Program also provides regular updates to electronic charts to registered users whenever an update is made to a paper chart.

Urgent updates denoting hazards requiring immediate attention by mariners are broadcast by radio via CCG’s Notices to Shipping service.

2.4 Clients and Stakeholders

There are a number of clients and stakeholders that rely on Program data, surveys, charts and products. Two client groups rely on navigational charts and publications for safe navigation. Mariners consists of a body of approximately 22,000 commercial vessels, ferry operators, pilot associations, seaway management organizations, commercial fishermen, the Department of National Defence’s naval fleet and Canadian Coast Guard’s civilian fleet. Recreational Boaters consist of more than two million owners of registered small boats and personal watercraft in Canada. 

Significant stakeholder groups for the Program are the chart dealer network and the vaious users of hydrographic intellectual property. Dealers are private sector entreprises that are part of the Program’s own network of agents that sell Program charts and publications to mariners and recreational boaters. Value Added Resellers are forward-thinking and innovative developers who licence Program products and data, and develop new and innovative non-official navigational products that are retailed directly by the Value Added Reseller and/or by their own dealers. Finally, the CCG Fleet Operational Readiness Program is key to the delivery of the Program through a Service Level Agreement (SLA) to provide several vessel platforms.   Information Users from academic, private and public sector organizations enter into specific user arrangements to access the Program`s intellectual property.  They work with the charts and hydrographic survey information for a variety of commercial (e.g. resource exploration) and non-commercial (e.g. academic research) purposes.

2.5 Governance

The Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS) is mandated to deliver the Program. CHS is a division of the Ecosystems and Oceans Science Sector in DFO. The Assistant Deputy Minister of Ecosystems and Oceans Science through the Director General of CHS is responsible for the development and delivery of the Program. The Program’s Directors in the National Capital Region report to the Director General CHS.

The program is delivered through DFO national headquarters in Ottawa in conjunction with Pacific Region (Sidney, British Columbia); Central and Arctic Region (Burlington, Ontario); Quebec Region (Mont-Joli, Quebec); Maritimes Region (Dartmouth, Nova Scotia with a sub-office in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador). A line reporting relationship exists where the regional Program Directors report to their Regional Directors of Science and to their Regional Directors General. All regions have a functional reporting relationship with the CHS Director General in the National Capital Region.

Financial authorities for the HPS program are consistent with the departmental financial system, whereby regional offices get their allocations via their Regional Directors of Science.

2.6 Program Resources/Budget

The following table presents Program budgets by fiscal year, for the period of 2006-2007 to 2010-2011.

Table 1: Total Budgets for the Program

Table 1: Total Budgets for the Program
Budget
($M)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 TOTAL
Total $43.6 $27.2 $27.4 $27.9 $26.5 $152.6

The following table presents Program expenditures by fiscal year, for the period of 2006-2007 to 2010-2011.

Table 2: Total Expenditures for the Program

Table 2: Total Expenditures for the Program
Expenditures
($M)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 TOTAL
Salary $18.9 $19.4 $19.9 $21.3 $20.3 $99.8
O&M $22.51 $5.0 $5.6 $5.0 $5.8 $43.9
Minor Capital $0.6 $1.4 $0.5 $0.6 $0.6 $3.7
Grants $0.2 $0.12 $0.12 $0.97 $0.67 $2
Total $42.0 $25.9 $26.1 $27.8 $27.3 $149.5

The variance between the budget and expenditures is the result of various budget cuts and freezes applied in the Department as well as resources allocations towards other specific departmental high priority activities. 

The Program has two broad categories of revenue: (1) Royalties are for sales and licencing of Program digital products and data under licence to end-users and Value added resellers. (2) Non-respendable revenues are for the sale of hard copy publications e.g. paper navigational charts/Canadian Tide Tables/Sailing Directions. In the case of royalties, they flow directly to DFO. Non-respendable revenue is deposited into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) and is subject to release of the frozen allotment only those amounts the Program has generated in sales and deposited into the CRF.  The annual target for the non-respendable revenue is $2.84M/year. Table 3 below describes the actual revenues generated by the Program.

Table 3: Total Revenues for the Program

Table 3: Total Revenues for the Program
Revenue
($M)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 TOTAL
Royalties $0.7 $1.2 $1.5 $2.1 $2.1 $7.6
Non-respendable $1.8 $1.8 $1.6 $1.5 $1.5 $8.2
Total $2.5 $3.0 $3.1 $3.6 $3.6 $15.8

1 Includes settlement of contractual claim, for which the name is withheld in accordance with the terms of settlement.

3. Methodology


The evaluation employed a program theory-driven evaluation science approach. A non-experimental design was used for this evaluation. A review of documents and program files was conducted to assess most evaluation issues. A comparative analysis and literature review was conducted to examine alternative hydrographic programs and identify differences and similarities in program processes. Interviews of HPS program personnel and clients were conducted to gather insight about specific issues from those who work directly within the Program (management and staff N=15; partners N=3) as well as those stakeholders who depend on Program products and services in order to undertake activities (clients N=20). Three online surveys of Program clients were conducted to explore their level of satisfaction and perceptions of Program products and services. The clients surveyed were mariners/recreational boaters (N=633 and a response rate of 31%), information users (N=81 and a response rate of 41%), and Program product dealers (N=74 and a response rate of 22%). There are only minor limitations none of which impact the interpretation of the findings and conclusions. See Annex I for more detailed information about the methodology employed to carry out this evaluation.

4. Major Findings


4.1 Relevance

This section of the report examined whether there is a continued need for the Program; whether the program is aligned with government of Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada priorities; and whether the Program is aligned with federal roles and responsibilities.


Key Finding: Navigational conditions are such that the depth between the sea or lake bed and its water line varies from one point to another and is always changing. Knowledge of these depths is required by all commercial and recreational boaters in order to navigate safely. In light of the vastness of the areas in and around Canada that requires charting and their dynamic nature, the Program is needed to appropriately fulfil that need.


Canada has one of the most extensive networks of waterways of any country in the world. It includes 243,792 kilometres of coastline; 6.55 million square kilometres of continental shelf and territorial waters; an extensive system of inland waterways, major ports, greatest tidal range in the world; and a 5.3 million square kilometres of navigational and coastal search and rescue area. Its lakes, rivers and oceans are used by millions of crafts every year for recreational, tourism, fishing, various ocean industries, international shipping and national defence purposes.

It was a tragedy in the Great Lakes in Georgian Bay in 1883 where one hundred and fifty people lost their lives when the steamship Asia went down that led to the creation of the Program. Six years later, the surveying organization that would eventually become the Canadian Hydrographic Services (CHS) was born and its mission soon expanded beyond the Great Lakes to include all Canadian waterways.  Ever since, CHS has surveyed, charted and studied those waters to ensure safe navigations and sustainable use through the Hydrographic Products and Services Program.

Demand for charts and publications is driven by safety reasons, regulatory requirements and in some instances insurance purposes. For example, the Charts and Nautical Publications Regulations, 1995 requires the master and owner of every ship to have on board the most recent editions of “official” navigational charts, documents and publications, that is to say the charts that are “issued by or on the authority of” the Program.  As a result, there is a continuous demand for charts and nautical publications. As the only regulatory authority to produce “official” navigational charts and publications in Canada, the Program distributed more than 1.6 million charts and publications from 2006/07 to 2010/11.

All mariners and information users agreed on the importance of the Program’s activities and products and stated that their needs are met. In the absence of the data produced by the Program, many information users indicated they wouldn’t be able to obtain such data elsewhere.

Marine transportation is an essential enabler of economic growth as demonstrated in the Report on the Economic Benefits of Hydrography. In Canada, the maritime sector`s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased by 41% between 2006 and 2008, compared to an increase of 11% in Canada’s overall GDP. Maritime sector employment also grew by 4% in the same period. Maritime transport remains the backbone of international trade with over 80% of world merchandise trade by volume being carried by sea. Global seaborne trade is expected to increase by 44% in 2020 and double by 20312. Commercial shipping relies on up-to-date nautical charts because they inform navigators of the safest, most direct routes between ports; reduce the number of pilots required; decrease the number of groundings (and therefore reduce insurance rates); and allow deeper draught vessels (i.e. more cargo) to be used.

This is an incentive for Canada to invest in hydrographic services and to have properly charted waters that can support an ever growing need for maritime commerce, especially in the Arctic. Mariners interviewed would like increased coverage of the Arctic and of some northern waters and identified (including program personnel) the Arctic as the most pressing need.  A case study3 completed as part of the Report on the Economic Benefits, concludes that hydrography enables cost effective transportation by sea, particularly sealift by deep draught ocean-going vessels with access to world markets. There is an economic benefit to having deep draught access to Arctic ports in that freight costs and transit times are significantly reduced. Additionally, improvements to nautical charting in the Canadian Arctic will enable vessels to find alternate routes to avoid ice thus reducing the cost to the Canadian public for icebreaker escort.  From the examples given for 2009, the estimated savings in ice escort costs alone would be $360,000 within the Kitikmeot Region. Simply stated, with modern hydrography (high definition surveys, sea level monitoring and charting), complementing modern marine aids to navigation and improvements to marine infrastructure, hydrographers are playing a significant role in attracting and enabling more cost-effective means of transportation to support freight, passenger traffic, the fishery, resource extraction, search and rescue, sovereignty assertion, and tourism in the Arctic.  

The other area of emerging need is for digital navigational products. The adoption of new technologies (such as near-real-time dynamic navigation systems) by mariners means that hydrographic information and services must be provided in a format that can interface with these technologies and meet the ever increasing precision required by the marine transportation community. This observation is confirmed by program personnel who stated that demand for digital products from mariners and recreational boaters is increasing.

In both cases, work is already underway to address these emerging needs. The Program is enhancing the coverage and provision of services for digital nautical products and began assessing Canadian Hydrographic Service's business delivery model to align services and products to a national priority-setting system. Also, the Program conducted a gap analysis of nautical charts and publications in the Arctic and began developing a tool for monitoring and prioritizing hydrographic surveys and charting in Arctic waters.


Key Finding: HPS is aligned with Government of Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada priorities.


The Program contributes mainly to the Department`s Strategic Outcome of Safe and Secure Waters by providing the maritime infrastructure, information, products, and services necessary to ensure safe navigation, to protect life and property and to support domestic and international marine transportation. This Strategic Outcome in turn supports the Government of Canada (GoC) wide priority of Maritime Safety and Security in Canada. This wide strategic outcome is about maintaining and improving maritime safety and security in Canada and to a broad extent make Canada more safe and secure.

The Program also contributes to another GoC wide priority of “An Innovative and Knowledge-Based Economy”. As the economy is growing and development is increasing, it is expected that marine traffic will continue increasing in all regions. Specifically in the North, increased marine traffic will require additional surveys and charting, modern navigational aids, and enhanced marine communication and traffic services to protect the Canadian archipelago, support economic development, and demonstrate sovereignty.

Various Ministers’ messages concurred that Canada will be enhancing its presence in the Arctic to better affirm Canadian sovereignty and to enhance security, safety and sustainable development in that frontier; and for that the department will need to increase its hydrographic charting activities.


Key Finding: The Program is a government responsibility. Legislation assigns authorities and responsibilities to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to carry out hydrographic activities in waters under Canadian jurisdiction. Other countries with comparable programs operate within the public sector.


The powers, duties and functions of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans (the “Minister”) with regard to hydrographic products and services are provided for in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Act and the Oceans Act, that have been enacted by Parliament pursuant to itsexclusive legislative jurisdiction over matters including fisheries, navigation and shipping, as provided by the Constitution Act, 1867.

Canada also has international obligations with regard to nautical charts and publications, through treaties to which it is a signatory, such as the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). Canada is a contracting party to the SOLAS convention that requires all ships to carry adequate and up-to-date charts, sailing directions, lists of lights, notices to mariners, tide tables and all other nautical publications necessary for the intended voyage; and requires contracting states to arrange for hydrographic services adequate for the needs of safe navigation. SOLAS provides that contracting governments undertake to carry out surveying and charting activities.

In addition, Canada being a Member State of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), the Program has committed itself to complying with international standards set by these organizations for its navigational products and services.

In addition, there is federal legislation and regulations regarding mandatory carriage by ships of navigational charts and nautical publications, such as the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 or the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act and their regulations; and case law regarding liability of the Crown for incidents where hydrographic products and services were at stake.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans Act provides that the powers, duties and functions of the Minister extend to hydrography, marine sciences and the coordination of the policies and programs of the Government of Canada respecting oceans.

The Oceans Act provides the Minister with the power to collect data for the purpose of understanding oceans; to conduct hydrographic and oceanographic surveys; to prepare and publish data, reports, statistics, charts, maps, plans, sections and other documents; to authorize distribution of such data, charts and documents; to coordinate national policies and programs with respect to fisheries science, hydrography, oceanography and other marine sciences; to conduct or cooperate with persons conducting applied and basic research programs and investigations; to provide marine scientific advice, services and support to the Government of Canada, the provinces, other states, international organizations and other persons; and to set standards and establish guidelines for use by hydrographers and others in collecting data and preparing charts on behalf of the Minister.

In spite of the aforementioned, neither Canada under its international obligations, nor the Minister under the powers, duties and functions that have been assigned upon him or her by Parliament, have the obligation to provide the services or the products themselves, i.e. by way of governmental or public services. From the legal standpoint, the provision of these services and products can be contracted out to private companies. However there are several factors in support of carrying this activity out by a public function.  First, for over 125 years, the Program has operated exclusively as a government program with a yearly allotted federal budget. Second, Canada’s hydrographic program compares to all other countries whose programs operate as a government entity within the public sector.  In light of its responsibilities to provide hydrographic services the Canadian government has elected to carry out its hydrographic activities rather than delegate these to the private sector which is in keeping with how other countries operate their own hydrographic services.


2 Several studies from the Report on the Economic Benefits of Hydrography, 2010 (http://www.fig.net/pub/figpub/pub57/figpub57.htm) have estimated that the return on investment from having a national hydrographic program is in the order of 1:10.
3 The case study is based on the author’s observations while at sea aboard CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier (Aug Sept. 2009). In all cases, interviews were conducted with vessel captains to discuss both their navigation preferences and limitations. Mariner feedback has been instrumental in developing a new charting scheme for the Region.

4.2 Effectiveness

This section of the report examined whether the Program is achieving its expected immediate, intermediate and longer term outcomes.


Key Finding: Overall, mariners and recreational boaters consider Program products and charts current and reliable. However, the Program reported performance indicates that most high and medium risk rated charts are not reviewed as per the Levels of Service. The main challenge to review medium and high risk rated charts is inadequate resourcing which resulted in considerably delaying the implementation of the Bathy Database and the Hydrographic Product Database.


Mariners and recreational boaters consider that navigational products are current enough for safe navigation and accurately reflect the conditions of Canadian waterways. Furthermore, 97% of mariners and recreational boaters surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that Program products are reliable. However, based on its own analysis on the achievement of service levels, the Program reported that the review4 of high and medium risk charts falls short of their expected Level of Service targets.

The Program sets as a target the review of all of its paper charts, Electronic Navigational Charts (ENC) and Raster Navigational Charts (RNC) a minimum of once every five years in high risk areas. At the end of its first five year cycle in 2009-10, the Program reviewed less than half of all of its charts in high risk areas and in 2010-11 only 5%, below its 20% annual target. Furthermore, all charts in medium risk areas are to be reviewed a minimum once every ten years. However the Program reviewed less than 20% of its medium risk area charts after five years and nudged up to 21% after its sixth year.

All program personnel confirmed that chart reviewing and updating are a major challenge. A number of factors such as the incremental reduction in resources over the years, emerging priorities such as northern Labrador, the Arctic and other surveying activities were cited as contributing factors.  However, evaluators found that the main contributing factor is the delay in the time-consuming and data-intense transformation of all paper charts into digital formats and migration to the Bathy Database (BDB) and Hydrographic Products Database (HPD).

Traditionally, charts and other navigational products are produced in paper format but there is now an even greater demand for digital/electronic charts. The long-term goal of the Program is to see its digital products and data readily available for navigational and other purposes. Thus, the Program has made decisions to move in that direction. The first was to manage all bathymetric data in a vector format database. The second was to adopt an integrated suite of tools that can manage data in a seamless database, providing for simultaneous data processing and workflow by multiple users. It supports the creation/transformation and management of several hydrographic based products for navigational and non-navigational (e.g. intellectual property) purposes.

The full adoption of the Hydrographic Products Database (HPD) will significantly enhance the efficiency of the Electronic and paper Navigation Charts production. Once all information is migrated to a nationally consolidated digital database it can be manipulated by the Computer Aided Resource Information System (CARIS) application, allowing the Program greater flexibility in utilizing data stored in this ORACLE based system. The HPD provides a number of advantages to the Program. For example, all charts in vector format are Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) compatible5; it’s easier to generate a variety of navigational products from within a single database; as both paper and electronic charts are produced from the same database, updates are applied to both at the same time; the database also facilitates conversion to other geo-referenced formats. The implementation of the HPD will streamline the production of navigational products and other digital products.

Further, the full adoption of the Bathy Database (BDB) will significantly enhance the transfer of the intellectual property licensing and management processes.  The BDB will facilitate faster access by information users to bathymetric data in industry recognized formats.


Key Finding: The Program is successfully reaching its target clientele. Mariners are accessing the charts and publications they require for safe navigation. Mariners and recreational boaters use charts and publications to a great extent. They use them for planning purposes as well as during navigation and are increasingly using electronic products to navigate.


Access

The Program offers nautical charts and publications, covering all three of Canada's coastlines plus major inland waterways. They are the “road maps” that guide mariners safely from port to port. Most vessels of any kind in Canada have an obligation by law to carry and use official charts and publications for navigating, and to keep their charts and publications up to date.

More than 1.6 million charts, publications and electronic charts were distributed from 2006/07 to 2010/11. Most of the targets set out in the Levels of Service with regards to access to hydrographic products and services are also met and in some cases are exceeded. For example, the service level target for a “client request for technical support be resolved within four working days” was set at 85%, yet the Program achieved almost 98% in 2011. In addition, critical information, Tides and Water Levels and distribution are services that have consistently met their respective Levels of Service (LOS) in the past three years.

From dealers to clients, there is an overall satisfaction with the distribution and the accessibility of charts and complementary products. All mariners interviewed confirmed that Program charts and publications are accessible (e.g. 94% of mariners and recreational boaters surveyed can locate and obtain the Program products they require). Mariners also locate products through the Program’s dealer network6 as well as the Program’s website. They also reported that there were no specific barriers or challenges to obtain Program products.

Evaluators noted a decrease in paper chart distribution. Program personnel cited the increasing trend of the adoption of digital products by recreational boaters as the main reason for the decrease in sales of paper navigational charts.  Indeed, the way Canadian and international mariners use technology continues to shape the navigational products and services provided by the Program, including the way in which those products and services are delivered. Since 2007-08, the overall number of paper hydrographic charts and publications sold has on average declined by just over 3% annually, while the number of digital hydrographic charts and products has on average increased by over 26% annually. On average, the Program expects that the sale of paper products will continue to decline by 5-10% annually but that the sale of digital products will continue to experience large double-digit growth rates.  

Although the decline in the sale of paper products is attributable largely to the increased use of digital products, the availability of non-official, private-sector products is another leading cause. Also, fewer new-editions of paper charts are being produced principally due to the decline in resources during the review period with a corresponding expansion of digital product lines. Paper charts are still needed and still mandatory in many cases as per national and international regulations and standards.  

Utilization

Overall, mariners and recreational boaters use the Program’s products to navigate with 91% of respondents surveyed agreeing. 86% of mariners and recreational boaters surveyed use the Program’s paper charts to navigate.  Mariners use navigational products to varying degrees. Almost all mariners interviewed plan their navigation with paper charts.  Almost all use supplementary charts and publications for navigation that are not produced by the Program. Many mariners interviewed use paper charts on board during navigation and rely on digital charts as well. It is only in those instances where mariners are familiar with the area in which they are navigating that they don’t use navigational products.  Many mariners also update their charts when they receive the Notices to Mariners (NOTMAR) from the Canadian Coast Guard. All of the mariners reported there were no barriers or challenges associated with receiving and using NOTMAR updates.

The use of digital navigational products is increasing in popularity. Licence income generated through value added resellers (VAR) of digital products is increasing annually.  VARs are developers who use the Program’s products and data to develop new and creative products.As such, 52% of mariners and recreational boaters surveyed use the VAR digital charts to navigate. It should be noted that the VAR products do not meet the legislative or regulatory requirements for mariners. The increasing innovations in electronic products in society in general and their attractiveness to consumers will have a significant influence on the provision of navigational information to navigators.


Key Finding: A significant number of information users from the public and private sectors successfully accessed hydrographic information. Information users utilized the Program’s information mostly to gain a better understanding of the marine environment.  Program enhancements could be made with respect to the customer service experience.


Access

Information users are individuals (students, engineering firms, etc.) who used Program data for various purposes. The Program shares this intellectual property with a wide range of dealers, value-added resellers and specific users through a variety of license agreements, at various royalty rates.

From 2008-09 to 2010-11, the Program signed 706 licensing agreements with users from public and private sectors from all over Canada. Many information users requested data (almost always bathymetric data and chart information) from the Program for business purposes. For example, some of the data requested was used for emergency response planning, regulatory purposes, environmental assessments or for energy planning e.g. off-shore wind potential.

A significant number of information users successfully accessed the Program’s data. Survey results indicate that 97% of information users agreed or strongly agreed that they were able to obtain the Program material they required; and 86% agreed or strongly agreed that the Program’s information was provided on a timely basis.

The customer service experience was identified as an area where improvements could be made. Almost all information users identified unclear processes, especially as it relates to how information is presented on the website; the approval process; delays in responding to requests or the provision of bathymetric data in a timely manner (e.g. based on the interviews, it took in average three weeks to get the requested data); and finally a few noted it was difficult to find the right person to speak to within the Program. Comments from Program personnel as well as a review of the Program’s website by evaluators confirmed some of these issues.

Information users are looking for an improved website interface where information can be more easily found and to download charts as a registered user instead of having to arrange for formal File Transfer Protocol (FTP) agreements. This for example is the case for similar types of programs under other provincial and international jurisdictions. For example, the province of British Columbia provides base mapping and other geospatial information services to government, industry, business, academia and the public at large through the GeoBC website and online store. To purchase data through the online store, users must first register for one of three types of BCeID accounts: Business, Personal or Basic. The BCeID is used to verify identity when accessing provincial records over the Internet. Many low resolution maps, data sets and imagery are distributed for free and available for immediate online download. Data sets and high resolution imagery that are purchased online are processed by GeoBC and then made available for secure download. A single point of contact and client support for all GeoBC users is provided through the Service Desk, where client support staff is available to respond to questions through phone or email.

A significant number of information users from the public and private sectors across Canada successfully accessed the Program’s data.  The data was principally used for business purposes. The customer service experience was noted as the most important area where improvements could be made.

Utilization

Overall, almost all information users interviewed and 99% of them surveyed confirmed that the data they received met their needs and stated that the Program’s information was useful. They utilized the information the Program provided them in spite of a few preferences some had with the data’s format. Indeed, almost all information users were able to use the information for its intended purpose with the exception of a few, either because data was not provided to them in a timely manner or in some cases the format wasn’t correct, which lead to delays in completing their work.

A few issues emerged with respect to the customer service experience. Almost all of them noted various extraction issues with respect to the format of the data. Many clients would like all hydrographic survey data to be available electronically and well indexed or catalogued on the Program’s website (N.B. charts and publications are well catalogued on line). For example, in some cases the data was not digitized. Some would have preferred the data in a more industry recognized Geographic Information System (GIS7) format. In spite of a high satisfaction rate with the usefulness of the data, perhaps more clearly defining expectations at the outset may lead to a better experience.

Overall the information did lead to mainly having a better understanding of the marine environments. Many of the information users stated that the use of the information contributed to protecting the marine environment (48% of information users surveyed agreed) and their work contributed towards using the marine environment in a responsible (36% agreed) and innovative way (30% agreed). For example, the data was used to understand how erosion was impacting on lakes; to mitigate any adverse effects on the physical environment of a port expansion; or to design an ecologically sustainable green shore. The Program’s data also contributed to a better understanding of the marine environment e.g. academic contexts (62% agreed); and many information users considered the Program’s data contributed towards accessing, using or harvesting resources e.g. aquaculture.


Key Finding: The Program makes a unique contribution to safe and well managed Canadian waterways.


According to the Statistical Summary Marine Occurrences Report8 (2010), shipping accidents on Canada’s waterways are declining. They reached a 36-year low of 299 in 2010, a 12% decrease from the 2009 total of 341 and a 24% decrease from the 2005-2009 average of 393. Most accidents involved fishing vessels (approximately three-quarters of all shipping accidents) and occurred mostly in the Atlantic.  Fishing vessels involved in shipping accidents also decreased in the Western, Laurentian, and Newfoundland regions as well. For example, in the Newfoundland region, 19 fishing vessels were involved in shipping accidents, down 65% from the 2005-2009 average of 54.

All key informants (program personnel, mariners and information users) concur that the Program’s charts, services and publications contributed to safer waterways and channels. For example, 97% of mariners and recreational boaters surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that the Program’s products are useful tools that allow them to navigate Canadian waterways safely; to effectively respond in an emergency; and to ensure appropriate development around the waterways. In addition, almost all information users interviewed estimate that by providing data to the public, the Program contributes to waterways that are well managed.

While some mariners underscore their accuracy and quality, a few noted that an increased level of detail would be desirable. For example, a mariner contends older charts better inform navigation than new ones and described how the new chart’s lower level of detail led to a number of vessels running aground.

Finally, Program personnel provided various plausible attributing factors that can impact the achievement of the outcome of safe waterways such as other federal programs that worked toward the same outcome. The Program is not the only DFO and federal government program that ensures safe and well managed Canadian waterways. The CCG’s Waterways Management Program, Icebreaking Program and the radio broadcasts by the Marine Communications and Traffic Services Program are examples of DFO’s internal programs that help make marine navigation safe and well managed in Canada. Outside of the department, Transport Canada, the Canadian Transportation Agency, the Transportation Safety Board, pilotage authorities, port and harbour companies or authorities, National Defence and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police10, contribute to managing and regulating the marine transportation network, to ensure marine transportation safety in Canada.  Despite all these programs contributing to safe and well managed Canadian waterways, none of them share identical mandates and activities. The Program, as the sole provider of nautical charts and publications, is therefore making a unique contribution to achieving this outcome.


4 Chart reviews are different from chart updates. The latter occurs each time an update is made on a chart. When an update occurs, a Notice to mariners (NOTMAR) is sent to registered clients by the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) via the Notices to Mariners (NOTMAR) Web site. It provides mariners with the necessary information to update their charts and nautical publications.
5 Electronic charts must be used in an Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) to meet the chart carriage requirements.
6 There are over 546 national and international dealers that distribute official CHS navigational products.
7 GIS is a system of hardware and software used for storage, retrieval, mapping, and analysis of geographic data.
8 It should be noted that the report doesn’t cover pleasure craft occurrences unless they involved a commercial vessel. Some accidents related to pleasure crafts are not necessarly reported to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada and considering the fact that up to 80% of navigators are pleasure craft operators, the following statistics and analyses are not necessarily representative of all marine users in Canada.
9 Statistical analysis using linear regression indicates that there has been a significant downward trend in the number of shipping accidents since 2001 (p<0.001).
10 Report of the Auditor General of Canada (December 2002), chapter 2 “Fisheries and Oceans — Contributing to Safe and Efficient Marine Navigation”, page 5.

Figure 1 - Accidents aboard Ship and Shipping Accidents, 2001-2010

Graphed results of accidents aboard Ship and Shipping Accidents, 2001-2010 Source: Statistical Summary Marine Occurrences Report 20109

4.3 Efficiency & Economy

This section of the report examined whether the Program`s activities are efficiently producing outputs and whether it is operating in a way that minimizes the use of resources to achieve its intended outcomes.


Key Finding: Overall, the Program has operational processes and governance structures that efficiently produce outputs. However, there are challenges with respect to obtaining regional commitments to national priorities and respecting resource allocations to the Program`s national priority activities due to the functional reporting relationships between the NCR and the regions.


Operations

Operationally, there are several areas worth noting which speak to the efficient delivery of services. The distribution network for the Program`s products and services is functioning well.  Dealers are satisfied or very satisfied with the overall quality of service delivery provided by the Program.  For example, 94% of dealers surveyed stated that the Program processes their orders in a timely manner; 100% stated that their orders are accurately processed and; 98% stated products are delivered to their store undamaged.

The program also has in place a certified quality management system (ISO9001:2008) to underpin the provision of hydrographic information and products necessary to ensure safe and efficient navigation in Canadian waters. ISO 9001:2008 (or ISO 9000 series) is an international standard to which an organization may seek certification of their quality management system. The oversight body in Canada for this certification is the Standards Council of Canada (SCC).  The Program is audited annually by an external Registrar, on authority of the SCC on several requirements such as performance measurement, customer satisfaction, data management, etc.

All Program management system certification audit reports reviewed (from 2007 to 2011) conclude that the organisation has established and maintained its management system in line with the requirements of the standard (ISO9001:2008).  The Program has demonstrated its ability to systematically achieve agreed requirements for products or services within the scope of the organization’s policies and objectives. Program personnel reiterated the importance of ISO standards in meeting the quality of charts produced and services provided by the Program.

Training

The Program offers a Multi-Disciplinary Hydrographer (MDH) training program as part of the structured National Career Plan that allows new MDHs to reach the working level of EG-05. The Program also identifies the continuing professional development of existing personnel to respond to the changing profile of knowledge and expertise required to embrace new methodologies and technologies.

Governance

Overall, the Program has appropriate governance structures e.g. management and operations committees, in place to manage the activities of the organization. However the Program faces important challenges with respect to managing its activities from a national perspective. According to program personnel, there are challenges with the current governance structure in obtaining regional commitments to national priorities due to the functional reporting relationships between the NCR and the regions. As a result, some national priorities and objectives are not consistently met. For example, the delayed implementation of the Hydrographic Products Database system is a case in point.


Key Finding: Flexibility concerning the acquisition of data through alternative platforms would allow the Program to more efficiently collect data in higher priority areas. Selecting the most appropriate data acquisition platform for tasks at hand would optimize the efficient collection of survey data.


The Canadian Coast Guard (CCG), a Special Operating Agency within DFO, assists the Program to meet its responsibilities to ensure safe and secure waters for Canadians through the provision of vessels. A Service Level Agreement (SLA) exists between CCG and Ecosystems and Oceans Science Sector (EOSS) within DFO. This SLA applies to all programs within the EOSS, and embeds a provision for the Program.

Overall program personnel interviewed in the Regions are satisfied with services offered by CCG and qualify the communication with them as good. For example, the Program will share its surveying priorities with Fleet and the latter will try to accommodate the Program as their schedules of planned missions unfold.

According to program personnel, traditional over-reliance on CCG vessels is no longer the optimal solution where costs for the use of CCG ships are exceeding available budgets. There are a range of issues regarding CCG vessels. For example, many are exceeding their expected lifecycle; mechanical breakdowns resulting in unrecoverable expenditures and data acquisition time; their inability to accommodate hydrographic launches (e.g. CCGS Vector); their limited reach (e.g. smaller vessels not equipped with required sleeping accommodations); decommissioning of Program-owned platforms valued by the Program in the Pacific Region e.g. the Pender, a former barge costing $3K/day vs. the current CCGS Kelso at $10K/day.

From the program personnel’s perspective, using appropriate surveying technologies would lead to increased efficiencies. For example, Light Detection and Ranging or LIDAR is an airborne hydrographic technology that uses pulses from a laser to measure distances. LIDAR can be affixed to an aircraft and more efficiently survey large areas of the shallower depths between 0 - 20 metres than the more commonly used launch-based multi-beam echo sounders. Also, innovative arrangements with the private and academic sectors in concert with CCG vessel-based operations may lead to a more effective hydrographic Program.

In addition, as part of the international literature review, evaluators found that countries used different approaches to gather hydrographic data. Usually, a program will use a combination of approaches to gather hydrographic data. The two extremes of data acquisition are using vessels and sources that are tied with the hydrographic program itself or outsourcing/contracting the responsibility of data acquisition to private companies. Most countries reviewed employ a combination of these approaches to obtain the maximum amount of data. All countries have a system in place to obtain secondary data gathered by third parties.

Of the international programs reviewed, there is a spectrum of indirect and direct control over vessels with respect to data acquisition.  Some programs access vessels that either belong to other programs, are co-located within their larger program area or under the direct control of the program. Most programs have an indirect control over access to vessels for conducting surveys.  With the exception of Norway and Australia, all programs including the Program rely on vessels that reside within another government program. For example the Program relies on CCG vessels much like the United Kingdom and New Zealand rely on their respective Coast Guard vessels.  Similarly, the United Kingdom and the United States rely also on Navy vessels, and the use of Navy vessels is seen as an increasingly viable approach in Canada.  Norway and Australia on the other hand access vessels co-located from within their larger program area as they are both located within their Navy.  Finally, the United States is the only country to have direct control over a select number of vessels (as was the case for CHS prior to the DFO CCG merger).

Alternatively, the United Kingdom, Australia, Norway and the United States outsourced a portion of their survey work to private companies.  For example, the United States contracts out a small number of surveying contracts to private companies while Norway contracts out the bulk of its data collection to several Norwegian national surveying companies. It must be noted that whether data collection is sourced internally or externally, it needs to be validated and approved by professional hydrographers of the national hydrographic office.

In Canada, there has been limited development of private sector alternatives such as charter vessels available to the Program due in part to the inability to provide assurance of multi-year commitment to this type of arrangement. Nonetheless the Program is increasingly exploring alternative, collaborative, cost-effective opportunities with universities, the Department of National Defence (DND) and potentially with close inter-government collaboration with shared interests. The DND recognizes the value of collaborating with the Program as it responds to important needs e.g. sovereignty assertion, defence intelligence, and navigation in the Arctic11. In addition, DND recognizes the close fit between the Program and the planned procurement of Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships.  There is an excellent opportunity to incorporate a hydrographic survey capability in the design of the procurement of six to eight vessels. Canada is also an active member of the United States-Canada Hydrographic Commission and the Arctic Regional Hydrographic Commission, which have framework agreements in place to facilitate platform sharing. Finally, some Canadian universities have near-shore vessels, some with hydrographic data collection capability, and options to collaborate may exist.


11 During the preliminary discussions with DND a strong interest was expressed in closer collaboration with the Canadian Hydrographic Service, recognizing the synergy between the two organizations.

5. Conclusions & Recommendations


5.1 Relevance

This evaluation concluded that the Program is relevant.  The Program is needed largely due to the vastness of Canada’s waterways, and navigators of all types need to know the depth of the water and obstructions to navigation so that their vessels can operate efficiently.  The costs to assist a large vessel that runs aground can be exorbitant, including cleanup, rescue, salvage and litigation, not to mention the potential economic and environmental impacts.  The Program aligns with Government of Canada and Fisheries and Oceans priorities.  It is also a legislated government responsibility that authorizes the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada to carry out hydrographic activities. It is not a service however that is required necessarily to be carried out exclusively by the public sector but could be assisted through greater private sector, academia, etc. involvement acknowledging the authority for data and product quality and liability remains with the Crown. In spite of this, the federal government is the best entity to carry out this activity due to its sensitive nature with respect to the safety and security of Canadian citizens, attention to the needs of marine science and the economic prosperity of the nation.

5.2 Effectiveness

The evaluation concluded that overall the Program is achieving its intended outcomes with the exception of two program enhancements that could be made to improve the effectiveness of the Program.  

Mariners and recreational boaters are accessing and using navigational charts and products.  Furthermore these products are enabling them to navigate safely. Overall, the Program, in conjunction with a number of other complementary programs, is making a unique contribution to safe navigation.

Information users are accessing and utilizing the Program’s intellectual property and it is making a contribution towards a better understanding and more responsible use of the marine environment and its resources.  Navigational charts, products, and access to hydrographic intellectual property contribute to the Canadian economy.  However, some program enhancements could be made to improve the customer service experience.  Accessing data was cited as being problematic e.g. cumbersome administrative processes and poor website interfaces.  Some of the data were not in industry recognized formats, making it challenging to optimally utilize the available information.

The federal government is currently implementing Open Government, an open information sharing initiative.  The Open Data Portal was created to make government data freely available from a central location. It is intended to unleash the potential of the data the Government of Canada produces in support of service delivery in areas such as health, environment, agriculture and natural resources. In addition to fostering greater openness, it is intended to encourage innovation and allow for quicker and better development of products and infrastructure.  

The relationship with clients is important as it can be a deciding factor for generating repeat business not only from existing customers but also from potential clients whose decision to access information can be influenced by the experiences of others.  British Columbia’s innovative and leading edge GeoBC website and online store illustrates a similar government initiative to that of the Open Data Portal. GeoBC potentially targets the same information users and may be comparing their service experience to that provided by the Program.   The Government of Canada has made it a priority to share its data, expressly creating a website where users can download government data. The Program`s aims are closely aligned with those of the Open Government initiative aims and objectives. Finally, an infrastructure currently exists that the Program can potentially utilize. 

Recommendation 1: It is recommended that, Assistant Deputy Minister, Ecosystems and Oceans Science explore ways to improve the customer service to its information users and consider investing in innovative technologies to make its hydrographic information more easily accessible.

One of the main challenges that the Program faces is the migration of all of its paper based information into digital formats completely within a database environment. In other words, the implementation of the Bathy Database and the Hydrographic Products Database without additional resource investment is having an impact on the Program’s ability to provide the most current charting information to mariners and recreational boaters, and information users.  The Program is not meeting its Levels of Service with respect to reviewing and updating charts in medium and high risk areas. 

The evaluation found that the transition to the new digital databases is not moving forward as expected given the decades of data and the extensive charting portfolio in Canadian waters. It is having an impact on the achievement of the LOS related to charts and publications reviews. As a result, there is a backlog of charts awaiting transformation to the database environment. Until the data is migrated and transformed to this new generation of digital data and product management, the workload associated with the transformation will continue to impact on achieving Levels of Service targets. Almost all program personnel indicated that the targets cannot be met if the backlog remains as it is.

The reported achievement of the Levels of Service is a national figure based on combined total of regional performance. Some regions are in fact meeting a few of their targeted Levels of Service while other regions may not be. This is largely due to disparities between regions regarding the implementation of the database and is in part due to regional decisions to direct resources towards other priorities. The Program in the National Capital Region cannot exercise any of its authority over those decisions as there is only a functional reporting relationship between national headquarters and the regions.

There is a need to review the Levels of Service and update them in order to reflect the Program’s new direction of national priority-setting as prescribed by Strategic Review objectives. Once the new database regime is closer to being fully operational, the Program should also re-assess the Levels of Service targets.  The current LOS targets may no longer be priority, achievable or relevant and may not reflect the new system that will be implemented. The current Levels of Service are based on techniques and processes relative to the production of paper charts which can take up to six months, and longer, to produce.  Migrating to digital/electronic chart and product production can reduce chart production to as little as six weeks. In other words, the Levels of Service targets do not necessarily reflect the coming changes to the operating environment.

The Levels of Service review should not be limited to charts and publications reviews. The review should extend to the entire Levels of Service to ensure they respect the new technology platforms. Finally, because it is based on a risk model and that the Levels of Service will eventually be impacted with the implementation of the new platform, the Program should also determine if there is a need to review and update the risk criteria as well. This is in recognition for example of evolving mariner needs and criteria that have taken on increased importance such as providing search and rescue services in the context of the increased accessibility of the often remote waters of the Arctic Ocean.

Adoption of the Bathy Database and the Hydrographic Products Database will provide a number of advantages for the Program. Essentially, both paper and electronic charts will be produced and updated at the same time; and most importantly but not least, the database will increasingly enable the Program to efficiently produce a variety of navigational and other digital products from these databases. However, the transition to the new system is not moving as expected and the Program`s regions are at different stages of the implementation process. Ensuring commitment from all of the regions is key to its successful implementation. Updating and reviewing the Levels of Service and risk model for charts classification will also reflect any unforeseen changes brought about by the implementation of the Hydrographic Products Database.

By not reviewing the medium and high risk charts as per the Levels of Service, Canadian and international mariners might be exposed to safety and security risks. Considering that all vessels of any kind in Canada have an obligation to carry and use official charts and publications pursuant to the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 and to keep them up to date, the Program must ensure that the charts are meeting their expected and published Levels of Service, especially the high and medium risk area charts.

Therefore, there is a need to improve access to hydrographic data in critical areas; improvement to workflow from data to products and potentially improvement to the ultimate accessibility of hydrographic data for information users; and finally to review the LOS and the risk model to ensure that they reflect current and future requirements of the broad user community. These program enhancements will help the program in meeting its Level of Service targets and achieving the objectives of the Program.

Recommendation 2: It is recommended that, Assistant Deputy Minister, Ecosystems and Oceans Science:

  1. Make the adoption of the Bathy Database and the Hydrographic Products Database platform a high priority,  establish a completion date to implement the system across all regions and ensure regional commitments are in place;
  2. Determine whether there is a need to update the risk model for chart classification and subsequently review and update the entire Levels of Service based on the new database technology platform.

5.3 Efficiency & Economy

The evaluation found that the Program’s operational processes and governance structures efficiently produce outputs and economically achieve results. It is noteworthy that the Program`s performance is certified against ISO 9001:2008 standards.  There are two areas where program enhancements could improve the efficiency and economy of the Program. First, the Program`s governance structure vis-à-vis the regions is posing some challenges with respect to the management of national priorities. Finally, there should be increased flexibility concerning the selection of the most appropriate data acquisition platform that could be used to most economically collect survey data.

To manage effectively, the Program’s headquarters in the National Capital Region should be able to exercise a certain measure of control regarding national priorities. It is accountable for the achievement of the Program`s intended outcomes however it is unable to exercise its authority over the regions to achieve these outcomes. For instance, regions that have made progress on the implementation of Hydrographic Products Database have gained significant expertise, while regions that have not implemented the database conversion to the same extent have acquired less expertise in doing so. If this aspect of the Program was managed nationally, it could redistribute tasks, and reallocate resources and expertise to support other regions in their implementation of the database.  This type of scenario is not possible with the current governance structure. Furthermore, funding and resources are relatively evenly distributed across regions however the number of charts that need to be maintained is not the same. This leads to some regions meeting some of their Levels of Service targets while other regions do not. A governance structure that allows the redistribution of resources would enable the Program to better address emerging priorities that are of national importance. The present governance structure really only allows the Program to focus on and address priorities that have a strong regional bias.   

The functional reporting relationships between the National Capital Region and the regions are impacting the efficiency of the Program, its ability to focus on managing national priorities as well as the achievement of the Levels of Service for reviewing high and medium risk area charts as previously discussed. Not achieving the Levels of Service can be a risk to mariners’ safety.

Recommendation 3: It is recommended that the Assistant Deputy Minister, Ecosystems and Oceans Science put in place a governance structure and controls that gives the Program in the National Capital Region authority to direct and manage regional activities and resources to achieve national goals, priorities and outcomes.

The Program has limited ability to take advantage of alternative surveying platforms that are potentially more cost-effective due to survey platform resources committed to using CCG vessels.  Overall, the relationship with CCG functions well, however there are issues related to escalating costs and asset performance.  Light Detection in Ranging (LIDAR) technologies, university and the Department of National Defence collaboration are avenues where the Program could direct part of its funding to yield greater coverage of priority areas more efficiently. 

Most of the countries reviewed use a combination of data acquisition platforms that employ either public or private sector models, with a mix of vessels internally controlled by the program or belonging to another program. There is no one right model to collect data; however a diversified approach is seen to have certain advantages.  Alternative platforms or multi-tasking with another program’s mission is potentially more cost-effective.  For example, the Program could access a vessel equipped with a multi-beam echo-sounder that is transiting an area the Program deems a priority.  The Program could equally commission an aircraft to fly LIDAR missions over large areas more efficiently than if the same work were carried out using a vessel, when such an area is suitable to the airborne technology. 

The Program and its partners could work more closely to develop opportunities to increase its coverage of priority areas. For example, CCG is one of the primary beneficiaries of current chart information. Yet no large CCG vessels are presently equipped with multi-beam echo-sounders. Additional CCG vessels equipped with multi-beam echo-sounders would create opportunities for the Program to gather additional survey data over areas transited by CCG. This would especially be the case in the Arctic if CCG equipped its icebreaking vessels with this technology. A case in point that illustrates this is imperative is the MV Clipper Adventurer grounding which occurred in the Arctic Ocean in August 2010.  The MV Clipper Adventurer grounded in an area where the depths of the waters were virtually unknown. The CCGS Amundsen that rescued the passengers was equipped with a multi-beam echo-sounder and had on board a qualified hydrographer.  The Amundsen followed by the second rescue vessel CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier, also happened to have hydrographers on board who were able to survey the immediate area surrounding the grounded vessel to ensure safe navigation for what was to be a successful rescue mission involving five tugboats, and to multibeam survey two corridors for towing the damaged ship to a safe port for temporary repairs.  On this occasion, CCG, as well as the passengers of the MV Clipper Adventurer, benefited from the sounding equipment on board Amundsen and on board two specialized CHS hydrographic survey launches and Program staff on Sir Wilfrid Laurier. Icebreakers equipped with multi-beam echo-sounders would yield more high definition survey data of the Arctic Ocean and could reduce the occurrence of this type of incident. In short, knowledge of the undersea environment is of great benefit to CCG. Equipping additional CCG vessels with this technology is relatively inexpensive when a vessel can be outfitted in dry-dock during its planned maintenance. The benefits both for CCG and the Program are clear.

Current financial commitments with CCG limit the Program`s ability to use its funding in more discretionary ways. In spite of the benefits of equipping additional CCG vessels with multi-beam echo-sounders to increase its coverage of high priority areas, more of the same platform with its key partner is not necessarily what the Program needs. Commitments with CCG should be renegotiated to allow the Program greater latitude in selecting the right platform for the right task.

Recommendation 4: It is recommended that the Assistant Deputy Minister Ecosystems and Oceans Science considers managing the sector’s vessel funds in such a way as to allow the Program to select the most cost-effective alternatives in data acquisition approaches and platforms. This should include discussions with the Canadian Coast Guard to re-assess the benefits each brings of its relationship with the other and propose solutions to increase coverage of priority areas.

5.4 Conclusion

The Program is relevant and performing as planned however several program enhancements can be made to function more efficiently and economically. The Program  is experiencing never before seen changes to its internal and external environments. The Information Age is ushering in a new era of information processing technologies. The Program’s target population are also changing, increasingly embracing new and innovative technologies of all kinds. More and more mariners and recreational boaters are embracing electronic technologies for navigational purposes. The implementation of the Bathy Database and the Hydrographic Products Database will enable the program to more efficiently process survey data, and produce charts and publications. But the Program is also poised to produce quality data, which will feed into third party navigational products destined for consumer markets. With decreasing trends in paper chart sales, and increasing trends in digital navigational product sales, never has the need to provide high quality digital data, products and services been so important.

Annex I: Methodology

3.1 Project Management

The evaluation was conducted by an evaluation team led by a senior evaluation manager within the Evaluation Directorate at DFO. In order to ensure the fairness and usefulness of the Evaluation Report, the team collaborated with Program personnel on preparing a list of documents to review, identifying key informants and stakeholders and reviewing and providing feedback on interview guides and various reports.

3.2 Evaluation Approach & Design

The evaluation employed a program theory-driven evaluation science approach. A non-experimental design was used for this evaluation, in which measurements are taken after the program has been implemented with no comparison group.  This model was chosen because the services offered by the Program are delivered across all Regions and establishing a control group is impossible given that the majority of DFO programs and multiple stakeholders depend on products and services to undertake their activities, and therefore services could not be withheld in any region or individual. To increase the rigor of this evaluation, evidence was drawn from a variety of sources and was triangulated to establish the key findings and recommendations.

3.3 Logic Model

The evaluation developed the following logic model for the purpose of defining the interrelationships between activities, outputs and outcomes and to define relevant evaluation questions.

image of logic model

3.4 Key Issues & Evaluation Questions

The evaluation matrix in Annex II presents the key issues and evaluation questions addressed, as well as the lines of evidence used for each question. The questions were established in keeping with Treasury Board’s Policy on Evaluation, a review of key program documents and an evaluation planning session with key program personnel.

3.5 Data Sources

3.5.1 Document & File Review

A review of documents and program files was conducted to assess most evaluation issues. Documents also included administrative data from the National Capital Region and the Program’s regional offices. They included but not limited to government-wide documents (federal legislations, regulations and policies pertaining to hydrographic products and services, federal Speeches from the Throne, etc.) and; departmental-level and program documents (Departmental Performance Reports, Reports on Plans and Priorities, audit reports, etc.).

In addition, the evaluation reviewed program data management systems such as Nucleus12 and TRAVERSE13. These databases were used to collect information and data on the program’s performance on levels of service.

3.5.2 Comparative Analysis/Literature Review

A comparative analysis was conducted to examine alternative hydrographic programs and identify differences and similarities in program processes. The programs reviewed were those of the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Norway and the United States. An online review of each program website and other publically available online information served as the main line of information and evidence in the analysis.

Each program was reviewed according to several different criteria which could be compared to the Program. These included whether the program was publicly or privately operated; chart production processes; acquisition of hydrographic data; revenue generation; price determination; service delivery; and digital and paper product services. Certain programs were also contacted directly in order to gain a fuller understanding of specific areas of interest.

3.5.3 Key Informant Interviews

Interviews of Program personnel and clients were conducted to gather insight about specific issues from those who work directly within the Program (management and staff; partners) as well as those clients who have accessed services from the Program products and services. 

Program staff and key delivery partners were selected to be interviewed based on their role within the Program. Interviews were conducted with Program staff from the Pacific, Central & Arctic, Quebec, Maritimes and National Capital regions. In all N=15 Program staff and N=3 CCG Fleet personnel were interviewed.

Clients were randomly selected from across Canada. In all, N=20 clients were interviewed (11 information users and nine mariners/recreational boaters). 

Separate interview guides were developed and tailored for each group. Interviews were conducted either by telephone or in person in French or in English. Interviews consisted primarily of open-ended questions.  Respondents were contacted in advance of the interview to schedule an appropriate time and received an interview guide in advance of the interview. While interview lengths varied by respondent, the majority of interviews were approximately 20 – 30 minutes.

3.5.4 Survey

Three online surveys of Program clients and stakeholders were conducted to explore their level of satisfaction and perception of Program products and services. The clients surveyed were mariners/recreational boaters, information users, and the stakeholders were Program product dealers. The survey aided in gathering information on client perceptions of Program effectiveness and to examine its relevance with regards to needs. The survey tool was pre-tested by the evaluation team and Program personnel. A notification email was sent to all potential respondents by the Program’s Director General prior to the survey launch; and during the implementation, a minimum of two reminders were sent.

Overall the mariner/recreational boater survey was representative of navigators in Canadian waters with an N=633. Respondents for this survey were drawn from the Canadian Coast Guard’s Notice to Mariners list of registered users.  Approximately 20% of the respondents identified themselves as mariners, 70% as recreational boaters and 10% as public servants from either a federal, provincial or municipal government.  Geographically, respondents were also evenly distributed with respondents identifying themselves as either navigating in the Atlantic Coast (24%), the Saint-Lawrence River (24%), the Great Lakes (32%), the Saint-Lawrence Seaway (14%), the Pacific Coast (34%), and/or in the Arctic (4%). In all 2056 invitations were sent where 633 individuals responded for a response rate of almost 31%.

As for the information user survey, the Program handled approximately 700 or so requests for information over the last five years throughout Canada.  Geographically, respondents were evenly distributed with respondents requiring this information for the Atlantic Coast (32%), the Gulf of Saint-Lawrence (20%), the Saint-Lawrence River (24%), the Saint-Lawrence Seaway (11%), the Great Lakes (14%), the Pacific Coast (36%), and/or the Arctic (12%). The evaluation team obtained 200 email addresses from information users who obtained data from the Program within the last five years.  In all 81 of those individuals responded for a response rate of almost 41%.
 
Finally, dealers were surveyed mainly to assess the efficient use of resources in the distribution of products and services. Geographically, respondents were evenly distributed with respondents identifying themselves as selling CHS products either in British Columbia (45%), the Prairie Provinces (8%), Ontario (39%), Quebec (30%), Atlantic Canada (25%), and/or the United States of America’s Pacific Coast (11%) and Atlantic Coast (13%). The Program provided the evaluation team with 340 email addresses from their database of 546 national and international dealers that distribute official CHS navigational products. In all 74 of those dealers responded for a response rate of almost 22%.

3.6 Analytical Methods

The analytical methods used for this evaluation were tailored to the nature and availability of the data to be gathered, which were in turn linked to the evaluation questions. The data from each evaluation method detailed above was summarized to address each of the evaluation issues/questions contained in the evaluation matrix. The data analysis strategy included the triangulation of multiple lines of evidence. This involved the extraction of the results from each line of inquiry that relate to each evaluation issue. The Evaluation Team then analyzed the data from each line of inquiry for each evaluation question to develop a summary reponse to each question, taking into account the strengths and limitations of each line of evidence. The table below describes the proportional and frequency terms used in the report to quantify the extent of agreement amongst respondents to specific questions and issues.

proportional and frequency terms used in the report to quantify the extent of agreement amongst respondents to specific questions and issues
Proportion Terms Frequency Terms Percentage range
All Always 100%
Almost all Almost always 80-99%
Many Often, usually 50-79%
Some Sometimes 20-49%
Few Seldom 10-19%
Almost None Almost never 1-9%
None Never 0%

3.7 Methodological Limitations, Challenges & Mitigation Strategies

There were minor methodological limitations and constraints related to the conduct of this evaluation. Below is a summary of limitations and what was done to mitigate their effect:

  1. Threat to internal validity - the most notable threat to internal validity in this evaluation is the extent to which causality or the attribution of immediate, intermediate and long-term outcomes can be directed to the program; particularly given the inability to establish a comparison group. To mitigate this situation, the multiple lines of evidence approach for this evaluation were used to help triangulate the impact of the program on immediate and intermediate outcomes.
  2. Information User Survey – Staff turnover is quite common in the private sector especially over the five year period covered by the evaluation. Evaluators anticipated that the total number of information users that could potentially respond to the survey could be low. The general increase in spam related emails is another important consideration that could affect response rates. In order to ensure as high a response rate as possible, a notification email was sent to all potential respondents by the Program’s Director General prior to the survey launch; and during the implementation, a minimum of two reminders were sent.
  3. Interviews – A relatively small number of interviews was conducted with clients (mariners/recreational boaters and information users).  Their purpose was to provide rich qualitative details on access and use of Program products and services.  This poses limitations regarding making generalizations from their comments with respect to the extent of achievement of Program outcomes. Where possible, findings from interviews were supported by responses from the mariner / recreational boater survey. 

12 Data management system used to manage hydrographic and scientific data on land features and boundaries.
13 Data management system used to collect client service and sales inventory.

Annex II: Evaluation Matrix

Annex II: Evaluation Matrix
Issue/Question Indicator Data sources
Is there a continued need for the Program?
  1. Evidence/demonstration that there is continuing need for the Program:
    1. # of marine incidents/traffic and Others relevant statistics
    2. Changes in conditions (external influences or environment) that established the original need for the program;
  2. Demand for the products and services:
    1. # of charts sold
    2. # of licenses issued
  3. Unmet needs (type and importance)
  • Interviews
  • Survey
  • Document Review
  • Media Monitoring Search
  • Databases review
Is the Program aligned with Government of Canada and DFO priorities?
  1. Consistency between program objectives and:
    1. Government of Canada objectives and priorities.
    2. DFO strategic outcomes and priorities.
  • Document Review
Is the Program aligned with federal roles and responsibilities?
  1. Evidence/demonstration that the federal government has a constitutional jurisdiction and/or link with federal legislation or policies.
  2. International conventions and treaties that require a federal involvement
  3. Level and type of involvement by Department, other government departments, other levels of government, industry stakeholders, private sector, voluntary sector, and other stakeholders
  4. Comparison to international governments / countries
  • Interviews
  • Survey
  • Document Review
Is the Canadian Marine Transportation Infrastructure current?
  1. Perception of population served.
  2. Publicized Levels of Service that are met or near met.
  • Interviews
  • Survey
  • Document Review
To what extent do mariners and recreational boaters access hydrographic products and services?
  1. Total # of navigational charts and nautical publications distributed.
  2. Perception of accessibility by population served.
  3. Publicized Levels of Service that are met or near met.
  • Interviews
  • Survey
  • Document Review
To what extent do mariners and recreational boaters utilize hydrographic products and services?
  1. Perception of usefulness for intended purpose of hydrographic products and services by populations served.
  2. Extent to which population served utilizes hydrographic products and services.
  3. Perceptions of the overall quality of hydrographic products and services.
  • Interviews
  • Survey
To what extent do information users access hydrographic information?
  1. Total # and types of licensing agreements.
  2. Perceptions of accessibility by populations served.
  • Interviews
  • Survey
  • Document Review
To what extent do information users access hydrographic information to protect and support innovative and responsible use of the marine environment?
  1. Perception of usefulness for intended purpose of hydrographic information by populations served.
  2. Extent to which population served utilizes hydrographic information.
  • Interviews
  • Survey
To what extent are waterways safe and well managed?
  1. # of marine incidents attributable to the Program.
  2. % of digital intellectual property requests that yielded well managed waterways.
  3. Perception of mariners, recreational boaters, and information users as to how waterways are safe and well managed.
  • Interviews
  • Survey
What external/internal factors and/or challenges influenced the achievement of outcomes?
  1. Types of factors/challenges and their influence.
  • Interviews
To what extent are governance structures and operational processes effective to support the production of outputs?
  1. Appropriateness of governance and committee structures.
  2. Articulated roles and responsibilities are clear and understood.
  3. Appropriateness of operational processes.
  4. Existence and appropriateness of performance monitoring systems.
  • Interviews
  • Document Review
Is the Program operating in a way that minimizes the use of resources to achieve its intended outcomes?
  1. Existence of proven cost-effective alternative service delivery models.
  2. Leveraging of revenues and in-kind contributions to offset costs.
  • Interviews
  • Document Review
  • Literature review

Annex III: Management Action Plan

Annex III: Management Action Plan
Recommendation

Rationale: Information users are accessing and utilizing the Program’s intellectual property. However the customer service experience emerged as an issue.  The evaluation found that improvements could be made with respect to the website interface, the timeliness of Program responses to requests and providing recipients with data in industry recognized formats.  The federal government is presently fostering greater openness and promoting the Open Data Portal initiative to make government data more freely available to the Canadian public.  In light of the importance the federal government places on accessibility and of a positive client relationship, the Program should align itself with this initiative and possibly with this existing infrastructure.  Accessing and effectively utilizing intellectual property contributes to a better understanding and use of the marine environment.  It also contributes to the Canadian economy through private sector Value Added Reseller’s product innovations or marine enignnering projects with commercial intentions.

Recommendation 1: It is recommended that, Assistant Deputy Minister, Ecosystems and Oceans Science explore ways to improve the customer service to its information users and consider investing in innovative technologies to make its hydrographic information more easily accessible.

Strategy

Evaluate options to arrive at a realistic solution that is implementable in a timely manner, conforming with existing DFO technology standards and policies, benefitting from GoC initiatives for geo-referenced data, to enhance the digital data and service delivery.

Management Actions Due Date (by end of month) Status Update:  Completed / On Target  / Reason for Change in Due Date Output

Evaluate technology options given the existing structure of the CHS data holdings, CHS IP licensing policies and the departmental and TB policies on IT infrastructure

December 2013

Select realistic and feasible option and develop an implementation plan based on input from internal and external information- users

June 2014

Seek departmental approval through sign off from IMTS and ADMs.

October 2014

Recommendation

Rationale:
The migration of the Program’s paper based navigational charts within a database environment is having an impact to provide its clients with the most current charting information. The additional workload associated with this migration is impacting on the Program’s ability to meet its Levels of Service targets.  This is a national priority yet the functional relationship with the regional offices means the national office cannot exercise any authority over regional office decisions that direct resources towards other priorities.

Once the adoption of the Bathy Database and the Hydrographic Product Database is fully operational, the Program should re-asses its Levels of Service targets with respect to their relevance, achievability and importance in light of this new, more efficient operating system. The review should extend to all of its targets to ensure they respect the new technology platforms. Furthermore, the risk model criteria should also be re-examined in light of evolving mariner’s needs and changing environments such as the impact of climate change on the Arctic Ocean.

Recommendation 2: It is recommended that, Assistant Deputy Minister, Ecosystems and Oceans Science:

  1. Make the adoption of the Bathy Database and the Hydrographic Products Database platform a high priority,  establish a completion date to implement the system across all regions and ensure regional commitments are in place;
  2. Determine whether there is a need to update the risk model for chart classification and subsequently review and update the entire Levels of Service based on the new database technology platform.
Strategy

As quality assessment of historical hydrographic data and migrating them to the data bases requires considerable effort, the strategy is to limit the effort on data collection through national prioritization and focus on data management. 

Management Actions Due Date (by end of month) Status Update:  Completed / On Target  / Reason for Change in Due Date Output

Based on CHS national prioritization framework, develop a feasible workplan for updating and uploading to the BDB and HPD data bases

December 2013

Establish appropriate SLAs with SSC and IMTS to ensure effective and efficient operability across all CHS offices.

September 2013

NSDC to approve and commit delivery on the data management workplan

February 2014

Evaluate the existing LOS including the risk model and recommend whether there is a need to revisit the LOS

March 2015

Recommendation

Rationale:
The Program is one that is national in scope and delivered through regional offices.  There are priorities that are regional in nature but also those that are national in nature.  Regional offices can effectively manage their regional priorities, but the national office is challenged to manage its national priorities due to the functional reporting relationship between it and the regional offices.  Unevenly distributed high and medium risk chart areas in the context of evenly distributed resources amongst regional offices have created inequities in terms of disproportionately higher workloads for some regional offices.  This has become most apparent in the context of the operationalization of the Bathy Database and the Hydrographics Products Database, where some regional offices lag farther behind others in their full implementation.  Though the national office is accountable for achieving the Program’s intended outcomes, it is unable to exercise authority over the regional offices to achieve them.  Emerging priorities of national importance requires a governance structure designed to redistribute and reallocate resources to achieve national goals, priorities and outcomes.

Recommendation 3: It is recommended that the Assistant Deputy Minister, Ecosystems and Oceans Science put in place a governance structure and controls that gives the Program in the National Capital Region authority to direct and manage regional activities and resources to achieve national goals, priorities and outcomes.

Strategy

Develop and implement tools to establish a multi-year prioritized workplan, to be supported by a national CHS organizational model and a commitment from the senior management to enable delivery of the program according to the workplan

Management Actions Due Date (by end of month) Status Update:  Completed / On Target  / Reason for Change in Due Date Output

Finalize and seek departmental approval of the CHS national prioritization framework

September 2013

Develop and recommend the appropriate governance framework that will ensure stability, departmental commitment and accountability for CHS to operate as an effective national program

December 2013

Obtain approval for recommended governance  framework

February 2014

Recommendation

Rationale:
The Program is challenged with taking advantage of alternative surveying platforms that are more cost-effective.  The Program currently relies on Coast Guard vessels equipped with echo sounders for its surveying activities.  However alternative technologies such as the airborne hydrographic technology Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) can be more effective under other circumstances. Similarly, opportunities increasingly exist to collaborate with universities, the Department of National Defence as well as inter-governmental collaborations that have shared interests.  Countries with programs similar to our own use a combination of public and/or private sector data acquisition platforms. In spite of good relationships at the working level with the Coast Guard, there are issues with respect to escalating costs and asset performance. Commitments with the Coast Guard limit the Program’s ability to explore other opportunities to increase its coverage of high priority areas.  But opportunities with the Coast Guard, a primary beneficiary of charting information, do exist to increase efficiencies.  For example, equipping more Coast Guard vessels with echo sounders and training Fleet personnel on its proper use would yield a greater number of cost-effective data collection opportunities for the Program. The Program requires increased flexibility concerning the acquisition of data through alternative platforms.  It would allow the Program to more efficiently collect data in higher priority areas. Renegotiating commitments with the Coast Guard and engaging alternative platforms could yield increased productivity with respect to data collection activities.

Recommendation 4: It is recommended that the Assistant Deputy Minister Ecosystems and Oceans Science considers managing the sector’s vessel funds in such a way as to allow the Program to select the most cost-effective alternatives in data acquisition approaches and platforms. This should include discussions with the Canadian Coast Guard to re-assess the benefits each brings of its relationship with the other and propose solutions to increase coverage of priority areas.

Strategy

Strategy is to develop multi-year survey plan for data acquisition along with options for platforms and use such information to seek time on CCG vessels and to establish collaborations.

Management Actions Due Date (by end of month) Status Update:  Completed / On Target  / Reason for Change in Due Date Output

Determine the optimal equipment or source of information required to adequately chart Canadian waters.

November 2013

Develop with CCG a plan to address the CHS needs for ship based surveys. Analysis to be based on findings of above action.

June 2014

Identify possible collaboration opportunities with other service providers including International, Academia and other Federal Departments including DND for data acquisition activities.

November 2013

Develop and implement procurement tools to readily access innovative tools (ie. LIDAR)

June 2013