Summary of the Evaluation of the Environmental Accounts and Statistics Program (2012/2013 to 2016/2017)

The mandate of the Environmental Accounts and Statistics Program (EASP) is to collect, develop, compile, analyze and publish environmental data to help users understand the relationship between human activity and the environment. The data support decision makers on environmental issues and sustain environmental research in Canada and international initiatives.

The Evaluation Division of Statistic Canada’s Audit and Evaluation Branch conducted an independent evaluation of the EASP. The main objective of the evaluation was to provide a neutral, evidence-based assessment of the relevance and performance of the program in support of decision making, accountability and improvement. The evaluation was conducted in accordance with the Treasury Board of Canada’s Policy on Results (2016).

According to the evaluation, the program produces high-quality statistical information that supports federal legislation, federal initiatives and priorities, as well as key users. The program collaborates with various bodies and levels of government and contributes information for interdepartmental initiatives and information required to meet Canada’s international commitments, specifically with the United Nations and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The evaluation findings also confirm that users are generally satisfied with information produced by the program; the program is aware of data gaps and is taking steps to address them; and finally, the program regularly communicates with users.

The evaluation proposed four recommendations to improve the EASP:

Recommendation 1:

It is recommended that EASP enhance its outreach strategy to ensure a systematic and structured approach to consultations and promotion activities. The strategy should be inclusive and cover all key stakeholders, and follow-up communications should take place. Internal discussions should take place with staff to foster engagement and the use of corporate tools to measure success and client satisfaction should be explored.

Recommendation 2:

It is recommended that EASP, along with the energy and transportation programs within EETSD, identify additional areas for collaboration and implement formal mechanisms to support them. In addition, to ensure future efforts continue, EETSD should create a forum where ideas for collaboration can be discussed.

Recommendation 3:

It is recommended that EASP revisit its current approach to tracking and managing client requests. The revised approach should be viewed divisionally to take into consideration the systems used by the Energy Statistics Program and the Transportation Statistics Program.

Recommendation 4:

It is recommended that EASP explore opportunities to increase the frequency of its surveys and to address the identified gaps. In addition, the program should take steps to improve the timeliness of its releases in order to meet the established timeliness target.

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