Evaluation of the Contributions to the Provinces and Territories and to Aboriginal and/or Other Communities and Organizations (not-for-profit) - Canadian Firearms Program
September 16, 2015
This report has been reviewed in consideration of the Access to Information and Privacy Acts. An asterisk [*] appears where information has been removed; published information is UNCLASSIFIED.
- Executive Summary
- 1.0 Introduction
- 2.0 Findings
- 3.0 Conclusion
- 4.0 Management Responses and Action Plan
- Appendix A: Bibliography
- Aboriginal and /or Other Communities and Organizations (not-for- profit)
- Chief Firearms Officer
- Canadian Firearms Program
- Canada Safety Council
- Departmental Performance Report
- Firearms Management and Strategic Services
- Red Sky Metis Independent Nation
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police
- Report on Plans and Priorities
- Service Delivery Model
- Standard Operating Guidelines
- Treasury Board
- Transfer Payment Program
What We Examined:
The Evaluation of the Transfer Payment Program (TPP) Contributions to the Provinces and Territories and to Aboriginal and/or Other Communities and Organizations (not-for-profit) (AOCO) Canadian Firearms Program was conducted by National Program Evaluation Services between June 2014 and January 2015.Footnote 1 The TPP is comprised of two elements:
- Element One: "Opt-in" provinces' funding allows for the provision of services in a timely and efficient manner to all firearms clients in their jurisdictions.Footnote 2 The services are to ensure the safe use, licensing, storage and ownership of firearms.
- Element Two: The organizations' funding contributes to increasing safety benefits provided by the Canadian Firearms Program (CFP) through partnerships and support to Aboriginal and non-profit community groups.Footnote 3
The TPP is managed and administered by the CFP which is an operational service line within the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's (RCMP) Specialized Policing Services and provides firearms-related expertise, regulatory control, assistance and advice to the general public and operational support to law enforcement.
The objectives of the evaluation were to assess the relevance and performance of the TPP against its stated objectives. The evaluation was national in scope and accounts for approximately $14.5 million in contribution payments per year.Footnote 4
Why It Is Important:
The Firearms Act provides provinces with the opportunity to administer the firearms program. Those provinces who have "opted in" administer the Firearms Act by ensuring responsible ownership, use and storage of firearms which furthers the government's objective of enhancing public safety and helping reduce the risk of crime, death, injury and threat from firearms.
What We Found:
- The administration of the TPP is generally timely and efficient. Some concerns were identified regarding delays in finalizing Contribution Agreements.
- Both elements of the TPP are achieving their expected results.
- The roles, responsibilities and obligations of both the RCMP and the recipients with respect to the TPP are clearly articulated and understood.
- There are a limited number of applicants that have requested funding under Element Two.
- Both elements of the TPP have processes, reporting and oversight mechanisms in place.
Recommendation #1: Together, the Chief Firearms Officers and the RCMP CFP should examine ways to improve both internal and external communications in support of increasing awareness about the funding available under Element Two. This would mitigate the risk that funds made available in 2017 won't be utilized, as well as diversify the pool of applicants and projects eligible.Recommendation #2: The RCMP CFP should examine opportunities to strengthen communications between the CFP and the "Opt-in" provinces where possible.
This report presents the results of the Evaluation of the Contributions to the Provinces and Territories and to Aboriginal and/or Other Communities and Organizations (not-for-profit) Canadian Firearms Program. The evaluation was conducted by National Program Evaluation Services between June 2014 and January 2015. The evaluation was conducted in compliance with Section 42.1 of the Financial Administration Act, which requires an evaluation of all programs receiving grants and contributions every five years.Footnote 5 The evaluation followed the Treasury Board (TB) Policy on Evaluation and the TB Secretariat's Directive on the Evaluation Function. The evaluation covers an annual $14.5 millionFootnote 6 in Contribution Payments to eligible recipients (2009-2014).Footnote 7
Program Profile and Funding
This TPP is a voted payment program introduced in 1995.Footnote 8 It was created as a result of provisions in Bill C-68 and subsequently the Firearms Act, which provided provinces the opportunity to appoint a CFO and to administer the Firearms Act. The TPP provided the necessary funding to the provinces that chose to "Opt-in".
As shown in Table 1, the majority of the funding is provided to "Opt-in" provinces and is based on negotiations with each province. The remaining funding is directed toward Element Two: AOCO. Table 1 outlines the TPP payment frequency and allocated amounts payable by element.
|Grant||Element||Frequency||Maximum Amount||Total AllocationFootnote * |
(FY 2013 – 14)
|Contributions to Provinces and Territories||1||Once a year||Dependent on each Opt-in||$14,230,446|
|Contributions to AOCO (not-for-profit)||2||Annually||Maximum of $200,000 per fiscal yearFootnote **||$255,000|
The majority of the total allocations from FY 2009/2010 to 2013/14 are provided for the Contributions to the Provinces and Territories (98.5%), Element One, while the remainder (1.5%) is allocated to the Contributions to AOCO (not-for-profit), Element Two.
The funding for this TPP represents approximately 8% of the $164 million of total planned Transfer Payment Program spending for 2013/14.Footnote 10 Actual spending has remained stable at an annual amount of $14.5 million from 2010/11 to 2012/13.Footnote 11
The TPP consists of two elements:
As stipulated in Section 95 the Firearms Act, provincial and territorial governments have the option to enter into Contribution Agreements with the Federal Government to assume responsibility for the administration of the Firearms Act within their jurisdiction.Footnote 13 The Contribution Agreement sets out the terms and conditions by which the provinces/territories are obligated to abide. Currently, five provinces have entered into Contribution Agreements; they are: Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec.Footnote 14 Although the Contribution Agreements are signed by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the administration of the TPP falls under the responsibility of the Firearms Regulatory Services Directorate, CFP, RCMP.
The objectives of this element are:
- to support participating provinces ("Opt-in" provinces) in administering the Firearms Act within their jurisdiction by encouraging responsible ownership, use and storage of firearms, thereby furthering the government's objective of enhancing public safety and helping reduce the risk of death, injury and threat from firearms; and
- to ensure that the Firearms Act and associated regulations are administered in an effective, efficient and consistent manner in each of the participating provincial jurisdictions.Footnote 15
The CFP has approximately 1.9 million valid licenses,Footnote 16 with 63% (1,198,000) of them coming from the collective "Opt-in" provinces.Footnote 17,Footnote 18 Administering the program involves numerous activities for the "Opt-in" provinces. As an example, each license must be vetted for public safety concerns. Not only does the issuance of each license require a significant vetting process, but the provincial CFOs must also maintain "continuous screening" of all of their licensees.
The RCMP's Report on Plans and Priorities (RPP) highlights the expected results for this element of the TPP, stating that the recipients of the funding will provide the listed services in a timely and efficient manner to all firearms clients in their jurisdiction.Footnote 19
In order to retain national consistency in the delivery of services, the "Opt-in" provinces are obligated as part of the Contribution Agreement to follow a prescribed Service Delivery Model (SDM). The SDM clearly articulates the roles and responsibilities of the both the CFO (as designated by the Provincial Minister) and the CFP. Specifically, the SDM provides a description of the service (i.e. individual licence processing, business licensing, inspections, etc.), actions to be taken by the CFO and actions to be taken by the CFP. In an effort to monitor the provincial programs, each "Opt-in" province provides quarterly reportingFootnote 20 and a year-end report on its activities to the CFP.Footnote 21 Specific to reporting, the Contribution Agreement requires the "Opt-in" province to report on CFO administrative costs, resource allocation and program activities.Footnote 22 As an example, the "Opt-in" provinces are asked to report on the number and type of business inspections they undertook as well as the total hours attributed to the inspections. The performance reporting that is provided through the quarterly and annual reports provides information to the CFP which subsequently informs senior management on how the program is being administered and contributes to corporate reporting mechanisms such as the RCMP's Departmental Performance Reports (DPR).
The objectives of this element are to:
- improve service accessibility and firearms safety certification and licensing levels, especially in northern and remote Aboriginal communitiesFootnote 23
- maximize the safety benefits of the CFP through partnerships with, and the provision of support to, Aboriginal and non-aboriginal groups and organizations;
- provide information and education on firearms legislation to AOCO, including government and community organizations with an interest in firearms controls and safety; and,
- facilitate the application of, and compliance with, the Firearms Act.Footnote 24
Eligible recipients include:
- Bands, Tribal Councils and other Aboriginal organizations that have organised to represent their membership;
- National, regional and/or local Aboriginal organizations;
- Not-for-profit national, provincial, territorial, professional agencies or other organizations, societies and associations; and,
- Community organizations (not-for-profit) and voluntary groups whose mandate is to represent their membership or community.Footnote 25
The expected result of this element of the transfer payment is to increase safety benefits provided by the CFP through partnerships and support to Aboriginal and non-profit community groups.Footnote 26 The AOCO Contribution Program is integral to the CFP's outreach-related Northern Strategy, an initiative which delivers safety training/testing and license application assistance to northern communities in need.Footnote 27
The funding follows an annual cycle, which is initiated when the CFP forwards an e-mail notification to all CFOs asking that they share the information on the funding program with communities and organizations within their area of jurisdiction. In order to be eligible for funding, potential recipients complete a detailed proposal that must meet certain criteria, which include providing information on the nature of the project they are seeking funding for as well as a comprehensive budget outlining how the funding will be utilized.Footnote 28 The focus of the proposals needs to be centred on firearms safety training, education and public awareness of the safe use and handling of firearms. Potential recipients are required to complete a proposal, which will be reviewed and assessed by the Firearms Management and Strategic Services (FMSS) Directorate. Final approval of the successful proposal is the responsibility of the Director General (DG), CFP, who takes into consideration the Directorate's assessment and recommendations.
The number and percentage of applications that have met the application requirements for Element Two of the TPP has not changed since 2009/2010. Footnote 29 In the past five years, there have been two recipients of the funding: the Red Sky Metis Independent Nation (RSMIN) and the Canada Safety Council (CSC). In fiscal year 2013/14, the RSMIN received $130,000.Footnote 30 This funding supported the delivery of firearms safety training and related firearms services and helped improve levels of safety certification and licensing among Aboriginal people in Northern Ontario. The CSC was also a recipient in 2013/14 receiving $125,000 in funding to cover the costs of a firearms safety public awareness campaign.Footnote 31
AOCO Contribution Agreements are signed by the DG, CFP and the DG, Financial Management, RCMP Corporate Management and Comptrollership, while the administration of this element of the TPP is the responsibility of the FMSS Directorate, CFP.
Previous Audits and Evaluations
A review of publically available RCMP program documentation revealed that the TPP was examined as part of the 2010 Evaluation of the Canadian Firearms Program.Footnote 32 This Evaluation included 17 findings and 33 recommendations and was limited to direct costs incurred by the CFP and RCMP partners in the administration of the Program. Additionally, an audit was completed on the AOCO Funds program in 2005. Overall, the results of the audit were generally positive, as suggested in the key audit findings,Footnote 33 which included:
- Terms and Conditions of the Contribution Agreements did adhere to TB Guidelines;
- Payments were made for eligible expenditures;
- All agreements appeared to be appropriate for the funding program; and,
- Recipients adhered to the reporting requirement of the terms and conditions.
These audit findings are consistent with what was found during the course of this evaluation. The audit identified six recommendations which spoke to improving governance, developing a communications strategy, strengthening policies for the transfer payment and cash management, ongoing performance measurement and improving procedures for working files.Footnote 34
1.2 Purpose and Scope of the Evaluation
The evaluation was national in scope and covered the period beginning April 1, 2009 and ending March 31, 2014.
The objectives of the evaluation were to assess:
- Relevance of the TPP, specifically:
- A continued need for the TPP;
- Alignment of the TPP with RCMP strategic objectives and Government of Canada's priorities; and,
- Alignment and clarity of roles and responsibilities as they pertain to the TPP.
- Performance of the TPP in terms of:
- Effectiveness – the extent to which the TPP is achieving its expected outcome of administering the Firearms Act;
- Efficiency and Economy – the extent to which the RCMP achieved efficiencies in the management and administration of the TPP for the department.
1.3 Methodology and Approach
The evaluation followed the TB Policy on Evaluation and the TB Secretariat's Directive on the Evaluation Function. Multiple lines of evidence were used to assess the relevance and performance of the TPP and to develop findings and recommendations.
Internal and external documentation as well as secondary research were reviewed to gather contextual information about the TPP and to inform evaluation questions. Document review included, but was not be limited to, DPRs, RPPs, operational documentation, policies, evaluations, audits and other applicable information.
Analysis of Administrative and Performance Data
Available financial, administrative, and performance measurement data was analyzed to inform the evaluation about the efficiency, effectiveness, and economy of the TPP.
In total 17 interviews were conducted to validate and supplement information gathered through the other lines of evidence. They comprised:
- Specialized Policing Services - Canadian Firearms Program (n=10)
- Transfer Payment Program Recipients - Element One - "Opt-in" province CFO (n=5)
- Transfer Payment Program Recipients - Element Two - AOCO (n=2)
1.4 Considerations and Limitations
Financial costs directly associated with the administration and management of the TPP were difficult to determine. The resources that are responsible for the administration and management of the TPP have many other responsibilities and therefore were only able to provide estimated levels of effort attributed to the TPP. Additionally, expenditures reported by the "Opt-in" provinces were not reviewed for accuracy.
All interviewees indicated that there is a continued need for both elements of the TPP.
Element One - Contribution Agreement funding for provincial partners ("Opt-in" provinces)
All lines of evidence support a continued need for this element of the TPP. Section 95 of the Firearms Act clearly articulates that provincial governments have the option to administer the act:
"The federal Minister may […] enter into agreements with the governments of the provinces providing for payment of compensation by Canada to the provinces in respect of administrative costs actually incurred by the provinces in relation to processing licenses, registration certificates and authorizations and applications for licenses, registration certificates and authorizations and the operation of the Canadian Firearms Registration System."Footnote 35
It is a legislative obligation for the RCMP to make payments to those provinces that choose to administer the Firearms Act. Since 1995/1996,Footnote 36 five provinces have opted-in and are using the funding received from the TPP to administer the Firearms Act. As depicted in Table 2 and Graph 1 (below), all "Opt-in" provinces have reported expenditures nearly equal to their contributions. Furthermore, we were advised that there is increased demand every year and that one province, PEI, has run a small deficit for the past two fiscal years.
|Nova Scotia||$4,631,051||$4,232,363Footnote 38||$398,688|
|Prince Edward Island||$1,138,458||$1,158,209||$-19,751|
|QuebecFootnote 39||$28,077,299||$25,460,929Footnote 40||$2,616,370|
Graph 1: Total Contributions and Expenditures Reported for the "Opt-in" Provinces for 2009 – 2014
This is a summary of the contributions received by the five opt-in provinces of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec and the amounts each of them expended over the five year period of 2009 until 2014. Nova Scotia had a contribution amount of $4,631,051 and expended a lesser amount, specifically, $4,232,363. Prince Edward Island had a contribution amount of $1,138,458 and had a slightly greater expenditure amount for a total of $1,158,209. New Brunswick had a contribution amount of $4,586,912 with a similar expenditure amount of $4,579,432. Ontario reported equal costs of $30,450,000 for both the contribution and expenditure amounts. Quebec reported a contribution amount of $28,077,299 and a lesser expenditure amount of $25,460,929. In the case of Quebec, however, the numbers for the first and second quarters of fiscal year 2009 to 2010 were not factored in. This may account for the variance between the amount received and the amount reported by Quebec as expended.
Element Two - AOCO Contribution Funding Program
Information provided by the recipient demonstrates that this TPP funding provided Red Sky with 95% of its total funding in 2013/2014.Footnote 41 In addition, information provided by the recipient demonstrates that TPP funding represents 90% of the funding that the CSC receives from outside sponsors.Footnote 42 Both of these organizations are not-for-profit and seek to raise awareness surrounding safe storage, transport and handling of firearms and are providing a service to their communities. Interviewees explained that, in the case of Aboriginal communities, the funding allows for access to firearms training that might not otherwise be possible. It was further explained that there are many challenges faced by the remote Aboriginal communities which have impeded the availability of firearms training including: geographical remoteness, cultural considerations and language/literacy barriers. Interviewees suggested that existing firearms safety course service providers have not offered courses in the remote Aboriginal communities as it is not financially viable for the reasons cited above. The contributions program has provided funding to allow the communities to set up programs which provide firearms safety training that is flexible and tailored to meet the unique needs of the Aboriginal communities. Additionally, as a result of the funding, support and guidance is provided to the community members in completing their firearms license applications and addressing other firearms-related issues or concerns they might have.
In relation to other communities and organizations, the contribution program has afforded an opportunity for the RCMP to partner with the CSC to deliver firearms safety awareness information nationally.
Alignment with RCMP and Government of Canada Priorities
The objectives of both elements of the TPP directly align with the RCMP's Program Activity Alignment Strategic Outcome of, "Criminal activity affecting Canadians is reduced."Footnote 43 Additionally, the objectives are linked to the Government of Canada priority of a "Safer and Secure Canada."Footnote 44
Element One provides funding for the "Opt-in" provinces to administer the Firearms Act within their respective provinces and the SDM outlined in the Contribution Agreements are explicit in listing the services that the provinces are required to provide.Footnote 45 All of these services enforce safety in firearms handling, transport, storage and use, which contributes both to RCMP and Government of Canada outcomes and priorities.
Element Two provides its recipients with funding to enable education and awareness of firearms safety and is therefore also supporting the previously mentioned outcomes and priorities. The CSC advertised broadly with respect to firearms safety and has established strong contacts nationally to help leverage their messaging around firearms safety. The RSMIN further supports the objectives as they target communities that otherwise might not have access to firearms safety training, education and awareness around firearms safety due to the uniqueness and remoteness of these communities.
Additionally, Element Two of the TPP is directly linked to the RCMP's Strategic Priority of "Aboriginal Communities,"Footnote 46 which is committed to contributing to safer and healthier Aboriginal communities. The TPP funding contributes directly to establishing a higher level of education and awareness surrounding the handling of firearms and seeks to increase firearms safety within Aboriginal communities.
The roles and responsibilities of the RCMP and recipients of TPP funding are clear and well understood. For both elements, interviewees had a similar understanding of what the RCMP's roles and responsibilities were, as well as their own.
In relation to Element One, the roles and responsibilities are clearly articulated in the Contribution Agreements and supporting documents such as the accompanying terms and conditions, which are agreed to by the responsible minister of each "Opt-in" province. For example, Section 7(1) of the Contribution Agreement states that Canada agrees to provide the province with a "functional and operational Canadian Firearms Information System" and to cover all related administrative costs. The SDM outlined in the Contribution Agreement provides further information about the specific roles and responsibilities of both the "Opt-in" provinces' CFOs and the RCMP CFP. Specifically, a summary of responsibilities is provided for the CFOs which speaks to their legal authorities and administrative responsibilities.Footnote 47 For the RCMP CFP, responsibilities for both the central processing site and Registrar of Firearms functions that the RCMP administers are clearly outlined.Footnote 48 Additionally, this document contains more detailed descriptions of the actions to be taken by the "Opt-in" provinces' CFOs and the RCMP CFP with regard to specific responsibilities, including: individual license processing, business licensing, reference hearings and stakeholder liaison.Footnote 49
Evidence indicates that the roles and responsibilities of the RCMP program in administering Element Two of the TPP are also clear. Additionally, as with the Contribution Agreements between the RCMP and the "Opt-in" provinces, the recipients of the program also enter into project funding agreements that outline each party's obligations from reporting requirements to the timeliness of funding. As an example, page 6 of the Contribution Agreement outlines expectations for the RCMP CFP as well as the recipient. Specifically, explanations are provided on both the RCMP CFP's and recipients' responsibilities related to activity reporting, funding and official languages.Footnote 50 Recipients accept these responsibilities as part of the funding agreement.
2.2 Performance – Efficiency and Economy
The application requirements for Element Two are clearly laid out in the Terms and Conditions related to the AOCO funding program. These outline specific application requirements for eligible recipients, initiatives and projects, and eligible expenditures. As an example, the following articulates the criteria for an eligible project or initiative:
"Eligible initiatives will have a focus on promoting or enhancing safe use and handling of firearms, secure storage of firearms, or any other communication or educational campaign with a goal of this type, including delivery of the Canadian Firearms Safety Course or Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Courses to groups or communities who are not well served by existing firearms safety training vehicles. Eligible initiatives may also focus on needs assessments, safety training validations, outreach and education of firearms clients and their families with respect to the Firearms Act and its safe storage/secure handling features."Footnote 51
As of 2012, a section outlining the maximum allowances relating to a contribution was included to limit the amount of funding a recipient can receive for a similar project, as well as the length of time that this funding is available to them. The number of successive years the same organization can benefit from this funding is now restricted to five, and funding will never exceed $200,000 per fiscal year.Footnote 52
Each year, the RCMP CFP forwards correspondence via e-mail to the CFOs ("Opt-in" and "Opt-out") advising them of the AOCO funding program and encouraging them to share information about the program with communities or organizations within their jurisdictions that might benefit.Footnote 53 If a community or organization is aware of the program and plans to participate, they can approach the RCMP CFP with a proposal. The proposal must include specific information, such as: a statement of purpose for how the funding will be used, background and organizational information, a work plan and an itemized budget outlining the amount requested and a detailed list of expenditures.Footnote 54 These criteria are also outlined in the Project Funding Agreement.
The RCMP CFP assesses funding applications and reviews the reports to ensure that, in the case of the financial information, funds budgeted are aligned with expenditures. Reported information is used to inform RCMP senior management of project progress and successful completion, and to contribute to the CFP's annual input to the RCMP Report on Plans and Priorities, and DPRs.
While the previously mentioned application requirements must be met in order to be eligible for funding in the first instance, another set of criteria is in place that allows for continued eligibility and receipt of funding during the life of the project, within the maximum amounts. Continued funding is provided when the organization has submitted the required interim/progress and final reports and they have been accepted by the RCMP CFP. Examples of the type of information reported to the RCMP CFP include: the number of safety courses delivered, number of attendees for the safety courses, number of individuals who received assistance with license applications, and number of firearms safety awareness products produced and distributed.
The two recipients interviewed in relation to Element Two of the TPP confirmed that there was no confusion with the processes and application requirements for both the proposal submission and continued eligibility for funding.
Although there is evidence of standard processes and application requirements being in place regarding Element Two,Footnote 55 there appears to be a gap in awareness and knowledge among the CFOs about the AOCO funding program. Of the CFOs who were interviewed, most (4/5) indicated that they had little to no knowledge about this element of the funding program. As demonstrated in Table 3, over the last 5 years, the only applicants and subsequent recipients for the AOCO funding program have been the same two organizations.
|Canada Safety Council||$55,000||$135,000||$125,000||$85,000||$125,000|
|Red Sky Metis Independent Nation||N/A||$121,554||$110,005||$165,161||$130,000|
RCMP CFP representatives recognized that there are some challenges to increasing awareness about the AOCO funding program. They indicated that because there is limited funding available yearly this limits the ability to fund more than a few recipients. It has been noted that should the limited funds be shared amongst too many recipients it is less likely that the grant would be successful in achieving the stated outcomes.
The small pool of applicants suggests a limited awareness regarding Element Two and presents a challenge with respect to transparency of the process with the same two organizations receiving funding each year. This challenge may further have an impact as no project after 2012 may be approved for longer than five successive yearsFootnote 56, potentially causing a lapse in successful applicants in 2017 if the pool of applicants is not increased and/or new projects are not introduced.
Recommendation #1: Together, the CFOs and the RCMP CFP should examine ways to improve both internal and external communications in support of increasing awareness about the funding available under Element Two. This would mitigate the risk that funds made available in 2017 won't be utilized, as well as diversify the pool of applicants and projects eligible.
Evidence demonstrates that both elements of the TPP are achieving their expected results.
Specific to Element One, it is expected that the "Opt-in" provinces will provide services in a timely and efficient manner to all firearms clients in their jurisdictions.Footnote 57 The services are to ensure the safe use, storage and ownership of firearms. Performance data collected through the required activity reporting from the "Opt-in" provinces account for outputs such as: number of firearms range inspections, number of Canadian Firearms Safety Courses delivered, number of authorizations to carryprocessed (this would include background investigations, approvals and refusals) and firearm transfers processed.Footnote 58 A CFP interviewee indicated that the "Opt-in" provinces' levels of activity are comparable to the national average, this is further supported by the RCMP DPR;
"Quarterly activity-based reporting to Canadian Firearms Program (CFP) for 2012 – 2013, by provincial CFOs, included the ongoing provision of business inspections, range inspections, firearms safety training, firearms verifier training, activities related to gun show and auctions, and the issuance of authorizations, which fulfilled the responsibilities of CFOs for the administration, management and delivery of key components of the Firearms Act."Footnote 59
The following graph highlights the population receiving services provided by the "Opt-in" province CFOs.
When asked, all interviewees responded that they agree that the "Opt-in" provinces were achieving their expected result to provide services in a timely and efficient manner to all firearms clients in their jurisdictions. This is further supported by performance data for fiscal years 2012/13 and 2013/14 indicating that the "Opt-in" provinces ranged from 91% - 99% for properly completed individual license applications processed with the 45 day service standard. As a result, all "Opt-in" provinces exceeded the service standard target of 90%Footnote 60 and were comparable to the 2013/14 national average of 92.3%.Footnote 61
Some interviewees did comment that there may be some inconsistencies or differences with respect to service delivery between "Opt-in" provinces when compared to other "Opt-in" provinces or compared to "Opt-out" provinces. Reasons cited for these differences included the fact that there may be additional layers of provincial legislation which impact service delivery. For example, Quebec's "Anastasia's law" increases the responsibilities and potential activities of the CFO. Specifically, Section 11 of the Act states:
"The clerk of the Court of Quebec must inform the chief firearms officer immediately of an application referred to in article 778 of the Code of Civil Procedure (R.S.Q., chapter C-25) relating to a person whose mental state presents a danger to that person or to other persons and provide chief firearms officer with the name, address and date of birth of the person and with the court file number. The Chief firearms officer must verify whether the person is in possession of a firearm, has access to a firearm or holds a license to acquire a firearm..."Footnote 62
As well, interviewees indicated that the differing reporting structures between the CFP and the "Opt-in" vs "Opt-out" provinces contribute to some differences in service delivery. There are Standard Operating Guidelines (SOGs) in place which guide the "Opt-out" provinces.Footnote 63 The "Opt-out" province CFOs are RCMP employees who are obligated to comply with the SOGs. An example would be the SOGs in place to inform employees on the processing of individual registration applications. The SOGs are available and are shared with the "Opt-in" provincial CFOs, however, they are not obligated to comply with the guidelines as they are not directly accountable (aside from what obligations are identified in the Contribution Agreements) to the CFP but rather to their respective provinces. There are no indications that these inconsistencies or differences are impeding any of the "Opt-in" provinces from providing services to the firearms clients within their respective jurisdictions.
The CFP holds an annual conference which is attended by the CFOs of both "Opt-in" and "Opt-out" provinces. This conference provides a venue where the CFP can discuss any concerns or emerging issues that might impede the "Opt-in" provinces' CFOs in achieving their expected results. Evidence indicates that there are also semi-regular teleconferences between all CFOs and the CFP. Through interviews with "Opt-in" province CFOs, some concerns were raised about the need for more enhanced communication. Although these CFOs explained that they have participated in both "face-to-face" conferences and teleconferences, they identified some gaps regarding the information being shared from the CFP. [*]
One challenge identified in relation to the timeliness and efficiency of the administration of the TPP was the delays in finalizing and signing Contribution Agreements. As an example, one recipient indicated that it was necessary to make adjustments to their planned activities as the funds were not available when originally anticipated. This situation has been acknowledged by the CFP, which has indicated that it is making the efforts that are within its control to ensure that agreements are processed in as timely a manner as possible.
Evidence supports that Element Two of the TPP, AOCO, is achieving its expected results by increasing safety benefits provided by the CFP through partnerships as well as support to Aboriginal and non-profit community groups.Footnote 64 All interviewees indicated that this element of the TPP is achieving its expected results. One interviewee provided the example of the media attention that has been received about the work being done by the RSMIN recipient. Articles profiling the successes of the RSMIN have been published in both the RCMP Gazette and The Outdoor Guide.Footnote 65,Footnote 66
As previously mentioned, within the last 5 years there have been two recipients of funding under this element of the TPP. The CSC is a not-for-profit organization which strives to, among other messages, deliver information on the Firearms Act to the public. The second recipient, the RSMIN, provides firearms safety training as well as other forms of support to the Aboriginal communities it services. Table 4 demonstrates the safety training that was provided by the RSMIN over the three year period, 2011 - 2014. Evidence indicates that both groups are delivering these services.
|Year||Canadian Firearms Safety Courses Delivered||# of Individuals who Successfully Completed the Canadian Firearms Safety Course|
|2011 – 12Footnote 67||38||280|
|2012 – 13Footnote 68||50||435|
|2013 – 14Footnote 69||49||308|
The CSC has run a total of three television public service announcements largely focusing on safe storage, and their reach is extensive; it is estimated that their television ads have been viewed by at least 5.1 million people.Footnote 70 Additionally, CSC news releases have had approximately 1.2 million in readership.Footnote 71 This includes items such as magazine articles, posters or pamphlets (distributed both by hard copy and via new media). Evidence demonstrates that the CSC has also placed a focus on sharing information with Aboriginal groups who have reproduced and further distributed the CSC's firearms safety material to hard-to-reach communities.
The RSMIN provides a hands-on approach to firearms safety education by visiting Aboriginal communities and providing them with safety training, application assistance, translation, and other forms of support. The RSMIN is required to submit interim reports on its activities throughout the year as well as a final report at the end of each contribution funding agreement. All reports have been submitted as required. RSMIN reports outline exactly which community they were serving at a given time, how many candidates registered for the Safety Course, how many people took and passed the course, and other information. For example, in the month of October 2010, they assisted 350 people over the phone and assisted 120 people with their firearms applications.Footnote 72 These are all people who otherwise would have had little or no training or assistance, which has historically contributed to a low Firearms Act compliance level. Whereas resistance was high at the beginning of the program, now the RSMIN has stopped actively advertising as the demand for their services has increased to the point where advertising is not necessary.
Recommendation #2: The RCMP CFP should examine opportunities to strengthen communications between the CFP and the "Opt-in" provinces where possible.
It was difficult to attribute exact costs against the management and administration of the elements of the TPP due to a lack of data. Interviewees stated that the current levels of effort and cost necessary to administer their respective elements of the TPP are reasonable. As an example, the human resources required for the administration and management of Element One of the TPP are estimated to account for one full-time employee position; and less than one full-time employee position for Element Two. Additionally, there are periods where specialized resources such as financial and legal services are required and utilized. It is also acknowledged by interviewees that the level of effort required for management and administration of the TPP spikes at periods generally linked to activities including the renewal of Contribution Agreements, review of quarterly reports and funding periods.
The evaluation found that the mandate of the TPP is relevant and is aligned with RCMP and government priorities. The evaluation found that both elements of the TPP are achieving their expected outcomes of:
Element One: "Opt-in" provinces provide services in a timely and efficient manner to all firearms clients in their jurisdictions.Footnote 73 The services are to ensure the safe use, storage and ownership of firearms.
Element Two: The organizations are increasing safety benefits provided by the CFP through partnerships and support to Aboriginal and non-profit community groups.Footnote 74
Generally the administration and management is being done in a timely and efficient manner, however, some concerns were identified regarding delays in finalizing Contribution Agreements. There are opportunities to strengthen communications between the CFP and the "Opt-in" provinces to ensure that they are fully aware of all elements of the TPP as well as to address any emerging issues or concerns.
4.0 Management Responses and Action Plan
4.1 Management Responses
This evaluation report has been reviewed and accepted by senior officials of the responsible program areas.
4.2 Management Action
Together, the CFOs and the RCMP CFP should examine ways to improve both internal and external communications in support of increasing awareness about the funding available under Element Two. This would mitigate the risk that funds made available in 2017 won't be utilized, as well as diversify the pool of applicants and projects eligible.
Director of Firearms Regulatory Services
The CFP's Firearms Regulatory Services (FRS) Directorate will foster dialogue between the Firearms Management and Strategic Services (FMSS) Directorate and Chief Firearms Officers (CFOs) to improve internal and external communications and awareness about the funding initiatives. Time will be allocated at FRS face-to-face meetings with CFOs, as well as occasions to provide periodic updates at scheduled teleconferences throughout the year, so that FMSS can clearly describe the funding opportunities and application process to CFOs, and provide supporting documentation. Improved internal communications will subsequently enhance FMSS outreach activities, done in cooperation with CFOs, to better identify initiatives requiring funding from a larger group of organizations.
Fiscal Year 2015-2016
The RCMP CFP should examine opportunities to strengthen communications between the CFP and the "Opt-in" provinces where possible.
Director of Firearms Regulatory Services and Director of the Firearms Management and Strategic Services.
The FRS Directorate will increase face-to-face meetings with all CFOs (including the "Opt-in" CFOs) to strengthen communications between the CFP and the "Opt-in" provinces, and foster discussions on the funding opportunities. The FRS will also increase the number of teleconferences with all CFOs (including "Opt-in" CFOs), to bring forward information in a more timely manner. The FMSS Directorate will evaluate the merit of project proposals against an established set of objective criteria.
Fiscal Year 2015-2016
Appendix A: Bibliography
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- Government of Canada, Canadian Firearms Program. Commissioner of Firearms Report." 2013. p.7.
- Government of Canada, Canadian Firearms Program. "Service Standard." May 30, 2014. N.p.
- Government of Canada, Canadian Firearms Program. "Standard Operating Guidelines." N.p.
- Government of Canada. "Financial Administration Act." (R.S.C., 1985, c.F-11). Print.
- Government of Canada. "Firearms Act" [S.C., 1995, c.39].
- Government of Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police. "2009 - 2010 Departmental Performance Report." Ottawa, NCR: 2009. N.p.
- Government of Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police. "2010 - 2011 Departmental Performance Report." Ottawa, NCR: 2010. N.p.
- Government of Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police. "2011 - 2012 Departmental Performance Report." Ottawa, NCR: 2011. N.p.
- Government of Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police. "2012 - 2013 Departmental Performance Report." Ottawa, NCR: 2012. N.p.
- Government of Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police. "2013 - 2014 Departmental Performance Report." Ottawa, NCR: 2013. N.p.
- Government of Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police. " 2009 - 2010 Departmental Performance Report - Details of Transfer Payment Program." Ottawa, NCR: 2009. N.p.
- Government of Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police. " 2010 - 2011 Departmental Performance Report - Details of Transfer Payment Program." Ottawa, NCR: 2010. N.p.
- Government of Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police. "2011 - 2012 Departmental Performance Report - Details of Transfer Payment Program." Ottawa, NCR: 2011. N.p.
- Government of Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police. "2012 - 2013 Departmental Performance Report - Details of Transfer Payment Program." Ottawa, NCR: 2012. N.p.
- Government of Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police. "2013 - 2014 Departmental Performance Report - Details of Transfer Payment Program." Ottawa, NCR: 2013. N.p.
- Government of Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police. "2013 – 2014 Report on Plans and Priorities." Ottawa, NCR: 2013. N.p.
- Government of Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police. "2014 – 2015 Report on Plans and Priorities." Ottawa, NCR: 2014. N.p.
- Government of Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police. "2012 – 2013 Report on Plans and Priorities - Details of Transfer Payment Programs." Ottawa, NCR: 2012. N.p.
- Government of Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police. "2013 – 2014 Report on Plans and Priorities - Details of Transfer Payment Programs." Ottawa, NCR: 2013. N.p.
- Government of Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police. "2014 – 2015 Report on Plans and Priorities -Details of Transfer Payment Programs", Ottawa, NCR: 2014. N.p.
- Government of Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police: Canadian Firearms Program. "Business Case: Designing and Implementing a Strategy for Firearms Safety in Northern Communities." Ottawa, NCR: 2013. Print.
- Government of Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police. "Canadian Firearms Program." March 31, 2015.
- Government of Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police. "Canadian Firearms Program Evaluation Report." (PDF) Ottawa, NCR: 2010.
- Government of Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police. "Contribution Agreement respecting the Federal-Provincial Financial Agreement addressing the Administration of the Firearms Act and Regulations, Reporting Requirements, Objectives and Instructions (Appendix E)."2012. [46-48] Print.
- Government of Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police. "Family Violence Initiative Fund Summary 2012 – 13." Ottawa, NCR: 2013. N.p. Web.
- Government of Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police."Program Alignment Architecture." Ottawa, NCR: 2013. N.p. Print.
- Government of Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police. "Strategic Priority: Aboriginal Communities." N.p.
- Government of Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police. "Terms and Conditions related to the Aboriginal and/or Other Communities and Organizations (Not for Profit) Funding Program." Ottawa: 2012. Print.
- Government of Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police. "Terms and Conditions related to the Firearms Funding Program for "Opt-In" provinces." Ottawa, NCR: 2011. Print.
- Government of Canada, Treasury Board Secretariat, "Overview of Government Spending and Performance, Descriptors for Government of Canada Outcome Areas."2015. N.p.
- Government of Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police.Disclosure of Grant and Contribution Awards Report." 2013-2014 (2nd Quarter).
- Progestic International Inc. "Audit of the Aboriginal and Other Communities and Organizations Funds Program." (PDF) Ottawa, NCR: 2005.
- Quebec National Assembly, Bill 9, "An Act to protect persons with regard to activities involving firearms and amending the Act respecting safety in sports." (PDF) Chapter 30. 2007.
- RCMP Gazette. "Firearms Safety Training in isolated Regions." July 2013. N.p.
- Red Sky Metis Independent Nation. "2010 – 2011 Activity Reports." Print.
- Red Sky Metis Independent Nation. "Safety Training Funding Outreach Proposal." August 23, 2010. N.p. Print.
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