Summary of the Evaluation of Economic Analysis and Statistics

About the Evaluation

The evaluation was conducted from January to December 2019 to meet requirements of the Policy on Results. Evidence was gathered through administrative data, document and website review, a mapping exercise, interviews, a comparative analysis, documented examples and a survey.

For the purpose of this evaluation, the Economic Analysis and Statistics (EAS) Function includes all EAS programs and services as well as their governance structure(s). This includes all economic analysis, statistical information and advice provided at National Headquarters (NHQ) and in regions.

About the Programs

Starting in 2018-19, three new programs in the Departmental Results Framework (DRF) were initiated by the EAS Directorate at NHQ to facilitate delivery of economic analysis and statistical services at the national and regional levels, to inform departmental decision-making. The three programs are:

  • Fisheries Economics and Statistics Program
  • Aquatic Ecosystems Economics Program
  • Marine Operations Economics Program

The Economic Analysis and Statistics Function

Economic analysis, statistical information and advice are provided to DFO and CCG by the EAS Directorate at National Headquarters (NHQ) and independently by economic analysis units within the Policy and Economics or Strategic Services groups in DFO regions (i.e. Newfoundland and Labrador, Maritimes, Gulf, Quebec, Central and Arctic and Pacific).

Much like the rest of DFO and CCG, there is no line reporting between NHQ EAS Directorate and the regional Policy and Economics or Strategic Services units. This means that the EAS Function staff report to the Director General EAS at NHQ or to the Regional Directors General in DFO’s six regions.

Description

Actual EAS Function FTEs for 2018-19

Pacific Region had 4 FTEs involved in the EAS Function, none involved with fisheries data entry. Central Region had 3 EAS Function FTEs plus 1 other involved in fisheries data entry. Quebec Region had 5 EAS Function FTEs, none involved with fisheries data entry. Gulf  Region had 4 EAS Function FTEs plus 11 others involved with fisheries data entry. Maritimes Region had 5 EAS Function FTEs plus 9 others involved with fisheries data entry. Newfoundland and Labrador had 9 EAS Function FTEs plus 7 others involved with fisheries data entry. National Capital Region had 21 EAS Function FTEs, none involved with fisheries data entry.

EAS Function full-time employees (FTEs) increased by 20% from 2014-15 to 2018-19, from about 69 to 83.

In the figure to the right, the numbers on the left indicate the total number of staff involved in the EAS Function. The numbers on the right represent the number of staff involved in fisheries data entry, a function that is unique to DFO among the peer departments.

Expenditures related to economic analysis, statistical information and advice are presented below. The graph on the left shows EAS Function expenditures including the NHQ and regions. The graph on the right shows EAS program expenditures, i.e., for the EAS in NHQ only (EAS programs are only resourced at the NHQ as reflected in the DRF).

EAS expenditures increased by 11%, from $6.5M in 2014-15 to $7.2M in 2018-19 during the same timeframe DFO expenditures* as a whole increased by 98%.

Figure 2 is graph that displays that EAS expenditures increased by 11 per cent, from $6.5 million in 2014-15 to $7.2 million in 2018-19. During the same timeframe DFO expenditures as a whole increased by 98 per cent. Expenditures for the three EAS programs in the DRF represent a modest portion of total EAS Function expenditures, around $2 million in total. This is split between the two programs, Fisheries Economics and Statistics Program and Aquatic Ecosystems Economics Program unevenly. Approximately 2/3 of the expenditures are attributed to the Fisheries Economics and Statistics Program, where the actual expenditures exceeds the planned by a small amount. The second program’s actual expenditures match its planned expenditures. Finally, the third program has a low level of planned expenditures, but no actual expenditures.

Description

EAS expenditures increased by 11 per cent, from $6.5 million in 2014-15 to $7.2 million in 2018-19. During the same timeframe DFO expenditures as a whole increased by 98 per cent.

Expenditures for the three EAS programs in the DRF represent a modest portion of total EAS Function expenditures, around $2 million in total. This is split between the two programs, Fisheries Economics and Statistics Program and Aquatic Ecosystems Economics Program unevenly. Approximately 2/3 of the expenditures are attributed to the Fisheries Economics and Statistics Program, where the actual expenditures exceeds the planned by a small amount. The second program’s actual expenditures match its planned expenditures. Finally, the third program has a low level of planned expenditures, but no actual expenditures.

Key Findings

Overall, the evidence demonstrates that the Fisheries Economics and Statistics and the Aquatic Ecosystems Economics Programs have met their targets and are effective in providing EAS services. The third program i.e. Marine Operations Economics Programs is intended to address Canadian Coast Guard needs regarding economic analysis, statistical information and advice. These needs have yet to be defined.

The EAS Function contributes to senior management decision making by addressing routine requests, such as cost-benefit analyses for regulatory proposals and SARA Action Plans, and ad hoc requests for fisheries information and analyses.

Information attributes i.e. timely, current, accurate, comprehensive, accessible, understandable, reliable and relevant specified in Treasury Board’s Policy on Information Management and Treasury Board Secretariat’s related guidelines are a critical aspect in assessing EAS performance. The EAS Function is impacted at times by such factors as a lack of accurate, comprehensive and timely data, which affects the reliability and relevance of the information.

The EAS Function’s ability to provide reliable and relevant analyses is dependent in part on the quality of fisheries data available.

Gaps exist in terms of planning, capacity and services, and there is a lack of awareness of the EAS Function on the part of clients and potential clients. This limits the EAS Function’s capacity to inform DFO/CCG decision-making.

GBA+ is addressed by the EAS Function to a limited extent, due in part to a lack of available data. Economic analysis, statistical information and advice focus mostly on Indigenous peoples and remote communities. DFO and CCG need to clarify what is required for GBA+ for the department. Women’s full contribution to fisheries, aquaculture and marine conservation, beyond employment, is overlooked and underestimated by many countries including Canada.

The inclusion of the three programs in the Departmental Results Framework has given the EAS Function access to funds for its economics and statistical work, which had not been previously available through enabler funding. In addition, DFO’s EAS Function resources, when compared to other economic analysis and statistics units in other departments, are proportionately lower.

The EAS Directorate and the regional Economic Directors together provide oversight of DFO’s EAS Function facilitated, in part, by a National Economic Directors Committee. However, greater clarity is required with respect to the EAS Directorate’s role and the NEDC’s in terms of providing guidance, direction and governance of the EAS Function including the programs.

Recommendations

Recommendation #1: EAS Function Planning

It is recommended that the Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic Policy, establish a department-wide annual planning process for multi-year workplans for the EAS Function to proactively serve all departmental programs, and Internal Services as applicable, based on the Departmental Results Framework. Workplans and processes for managing emerging priorities should support the EAS Function in ensuring high-quality, consistent and timely economic and socioeconomic information and advice is available across the department to inform senior management decisions, departmental mandates, commitments, challenges and other long-term priorities.

Recommendation #2: Performance Indicators

It is recommended that the Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic Policy, ensure the Performance Information Profiles for EAS Function programs incorporate meaningful performance indicators that provide information significant to the achievement of results and management of the programs. Performance indicators should address Core Responsibility #3 Marine Navigation, as the current Performance Information Profile does not consider this Core Responsibility. To do this, a fourth EAS program can be created or the existing programs can be amalgamated as one program in the Program Inventory. Specifically an all-encompassing program for the EAS Function covering all four departmental Core Responsibilities.

For the full evaluation, visit the DFO Evaluation website.

Date modified: