Report on Plans and Priorities 2013-14

Risk Analysis

Operating Environment

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is at a moment where the broader operating environment, taken together with the fiscal reality, has created unique challenges and opportunities. As an agile and evolving organization, the Department is transforming to respond to these challenges and opportunities, while continuing to manage the risks it faces.

The Department's mandate is broad. It develops and implements policies and programs in support of Canada's economic, scientific, and ecological interests in oceans and fresh waters. The Canadian Coast Guard plays a key role in the maritime economy, contributing to safe and efficient navigation for marine transportation and providing maritime services such as search and rescue, environmental response, and icebreaking.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada's overarching oceans agenda - scientific research, policy development, and departmental programs - must be strong and forward looking, taking into account domestic and global trends in diverse fisheries and marine industries. Maritime safety and security demands are also changing. Navigable waters are expanding with new sea routes emerging in Canada's North. Demands for efficiency, flexibility, and responsiveness necessitate ongoing modernization and improvement of the Canadian Coast Guard's fleet and services.

In addition, fisheries markets are globalizing. Competing effectively in these markets requires an understanding of changes to global demand and consumer preferences. It also means responding to demands for sustainable harvesting practices, and the ability to trace the origin of seafood products and label them as environmentally friendly. Proper protection and management is important to their sustainability, competitiveness, and profitability. Fisheries management must respond by establishing clear, predictable rules that allow fishing stakeholders to make rational business decisions.

In response to the current environment of fiscal restraint, the Department has been reassessing how it conducts its business, provides services, and delivers on its programs to meet client and stakeholder needs.

Integrated Risk Management at Fisheries and Oceans Canada

In this context, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has implemented an Integrated Risk Management Policy to create a more structured approach to identifying and weighing risks for the purposes of risk-informed planning and decision-making.

The objective of the policy is to build a risk-smart workforce at Fisheries and Oceans Canada and to create an organization that fosters innovation and responsible risk-taking in the achievement of its strategic outcomes and organizational priorities. The Policy seeks to build capacity in people, processes, and systems, by effectively embedding risk management within its management culture, practices, and everyday decision-making.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada has adopted the following foundational guiding principles in the implementation of integrated risk management:

  • Risk Management is systematic, structured, and timely.
  • Risk Management is transparent, inclusive, and relevant to all levels of the Department.
  • Risk Management is intended to be cost-effective, and to create and protect value.
  • Risk Management is practiced and made real; risk management is an integral part of decision-making and organizational practices at all levels.
  • Risk Management facilitates innovation and continual improvement of the organization.

Mission Critical Corporate Risks

The Department has identified five mission critical corporate risks. Any of these could impact one or more of the strategic outcomes, depending on changes to the risk drivers in the internal or external environments.

Risk Statement Response Strategy
Physical Infrastructure Risk

Physical infrastructure includes: Fleet assets, small craft harbours, real property, information technology assets and equipment, and other moveable assets

The Department's ageing infrastructure and the complexity of reducing the departmental footprint may affect the Department's ability to align or maintain its assets and service delivery.

Treat - Reduce impact and/or probability
Human Resources Risk - Employee Engagement
As a result of the Department's transformation agenda and the inherent complexity of communicating within a large, diverse, and geographically dispersed organization, the Department may be challenged to engage, motivate, and equip staff for change and this may impact our ability to advance our operational and policy agenda. Treat - Reduce impact and/or probability
Financial Capacity Risk
Increasing operational costs and increasing stakeholder expectations could mean that sufficient resources may not be available to maintain appropriate service levels for internal and external stakeholders and client groups. Treat - Reduce impact and/or probability
Human Resources Risk - Workforce
As a result of the transformation agenda and ongoing pressures in recruiting and retention, there is a risk that the Department may not be able to sustain a sufficient and representative workforce, or attract new highly-skilled employees with the appropriate competencies to adequately develop effective policies and support, deliver, and manage programs and services in the long-term. Treat - Reduce impact and/or probability
Hazard & Crisis Risk
Increased complexity and volume of marine traffic, growing diversity in ocean usage, and climate change continue to be challenges for the Department. Treat - Reduce impact and/or probability