On November 26, 2015, the CES President, Benoît Gauthier, wrote the following letter to the President of the Treasury Board of Canada, Scott Brison, about how the CES can support him in the implementation of his mandate letter, specifically with regard to evaluation.
The Honourable Scott Brison, P.C., M.P.
President of the Treasury Board of Canada
East Tower, 9th Floor
140 O'Connor Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0G5
Congratulations on your nomination as President of the Treasury Board of Canada. Your responsibilities are profoundly important to the governance of Canada. The Canadian Evaluation Society (CES) would like to offer you and the Treasury Board its support in the implementation of your mandate letter.
The tasks and objectives that the Prime Minister has assigned to you and your colleagues are commendable and relate directly to the mission and vision of the CES:
- "To ensure that we have a strong focus on results, I will expect Cabinet committees and individual ministers to: track and report on the progress of our commitments; assess the effectiveness of our work; and align our resources with priorities, in order to get the results we want and Canadians deserve."
- "I expect that our work will be informed by performance measurement, evidence, and feedback from Canadians. We will direct our resources to those initiatives that are having the greatest, positive impact on the lives of Canadians, and that will allow us to meet our commitments to them. I expect you to report regularly on your progress toward fulfilling our commitments and to help develop effective measures that assess the impact of the organizations for which you are answerable."
- "Responsible governments rely on sound evidence to make decisions to ensure we obtain good value for our money. You should work with your colleagues to ensure that they are devoting a fixed percentage of program funds to experimenting with new approaches to existing problems and measuring the impact of their programs. I expect you to instill a strengthened culture of measurement, evaluation, and innovation in program and policy design and delivery. This should include publicly releasing all key information that informs the decisions we make."
- "In particular, I will expect you to work with your colleagues and through established legislative, regulatory, and Cabinet processes to deliver on your top priorities: [...] set up a mechanism to conduct rigorous assessments of the performance of key government services. [...] Take a leadership role to review policies to improve the use of evidence and data in program innovation and evaluation, more open data, and a more modern approach to comptrollership. [...] Work with the Minister of Finance and your colleagues to conduct a review of tax expenditures and other spending to reduce poorly targeted and inefficient measures, wasteful spending, and government initiatives that are ineffective or have outlived their purpose."
The field of program and policy evaluation has the structure, tooling, conceptual frameworks, approaches, and experience to provide the Government of Canada with rigorous, reliable, reproducible, and actionable evidence on which to base decisions. The CES is at the forefront of the evaluation movement in Canada and internationally. We are here to help.
We are a strong supporter of the professionalization of evaluation work and of evaluators. We support an inclusive definition of evaluation, the ethical performance of evaluation work, the disciplined implementation of recognized international standards of practice, and the recognition of competent evaluators through the only professional designation for evaluators available internationally. The CES is ready to guide evaluation policy development, train staff and trainers, customize offerings, and recognize professionals. We hope that the Treasury Board Secretariat will accompany us in this movement in favour of the organized and innovative practice of evaluation in Canada, in particular with regard to the use of the Credentialed Evaluator professional designation. The Government of Canada has been at the cutting edge of evaluation in Canada since the early 70s; it is important that it maintain this position now.
I am available to discuss possible cooperation between the Treasury Board, Treasury Board Secretariat, and the CES with you or with representatives from your organization.
Benoît Gauthier, President
Canadian Evaluation Society