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3.0 Evaluation Findings - Relevance

The evaluation examined the ongoing relevance and consistency of the PCP with both departmental/governmental and public needs and priorities.

3.1 Is there a demonstrated need for the partnership funds and do they realistically address the needs?

Key Findings: There is a clearly demonstrated need for continued support from the Government of Canada to contribute to non-profit organizations in support of commemorative activities and for the restorations of cenotaphs/monuments.

There is evidence from national public opinion research that indicates that the great majority of Canadians continue to place importance on remembrance activities.

The 2010 Ipsos-Reid SurveyFootnote8 results indicated that:

  • A great majority (91 percent) of Canadians agreed that Canada’s Veterans should be recognized for the sacrifices they have made on behalf of Canada.
  • Nearly nine in ten (88 percent) Canadians indicated that it was important for VAC to recognize and honour deceased Canadian Veterans and war dead by maintaining memorials, cemeteries and grave markers.
  • Many Canadians (87 percent) indicated that ceremonies and events that honour Canadian Veterans and war dead for their service are important.

Another national poll conducted in 2010, the Veterans Affairs Canada – Canadians’ Awareness, Engagement and Satisfaction with Remembrance ProgrammingFootnote9, found that:

  • Virtually all the general public (97 percent) attributed at least moderate importance to recognizing and remembering Canada’s Veterans for their accomplishments/sacrifices.
  • In an open-ended question of what they do to acknowledge Veterans, the general public most often said through attending Remembrance ceremonies (36 percent).
  • The vast majority (92 percent) agreed that Canada’s Veterans should be recognized for their sacrifices, with 76 percent completely agreeing.
  • The vast majority of youth surveyed (94 percent) attribute importance to remembering Canadians who have served our country.

Finally, the 2010 VAC National Client SurveyFootnote10 yielded the following information:

  • 86 percent indicated that supporting and promoting ceremonies and events in Canada was important or, very important.
  • 83 percent indicated that providing funding to help communities throughout Canada with remembrance initiatives and monument restoration was important or, very important.
  • Only half of respondents were aware of VAC Remembrance programming and activities.

The continued need for PCP funding was also evident in interviews with key informants VAC regional and Head Office staff and program recipients). There was 100 percent consensus from all staff interviewed that the fund is relevant. All key informants agreed that VAC provides applicants with expertise of information, guidance and fosters partnerships among parties to help promote and enhance remembrance. (Regional staff did not comment on the CMRP as the program is administered by Head Office.

As can be seen in Table 1, Partnerships by Fiscal Year, the number of partnership applications during the last three fiscal years has seen a general increase. The CEPF has seen a 44 percent increase in the last three fiscal years while the CMRP has realized a 27 percent decrease. This variance in the CMRP approved partnerships can be explained by data reporting methods; when calculating the number of approved projects for a given fiscal year, the date that the Minister approved the project is used. The approvals process varies in length; therefore, timing of all Ministerial approvals has a direct impact on program statistics. Another variable is that historically the CMRP did not have quarterly review committee meetings (as is now the case). For example, 2008-2009 had more frequent meetings which resulted in more partnerships being approved.

Table 1: Partnerships by Fiscal Year
Percent increase
to next FY
Percent increase
to next FY
Percent increase
from 08-09 to 10-11
Total for
3 FY's
Number of CEPF partnerships  98  13  111  27  141  44  350
Number of CMRP partnerships  67  -30  4  27  49  -27  163
Total  165    158    190    513

Note: Amendments to a contribution arrangement are counted as a new partnership. This occurs more frequently within the CMRP.

There are no statistical data as to the total number of war memorials in Canada. The Department of National Defence maintains the National Inventory of Canadian Military Memorials, which allows individuals/organizations to request the registry of a Canadian military memorial. As of December 2011, there were over 6,600 known memorials and over the past three years, 163Footnote11 of these memorials have been renovated with assistance through the CMRP. The vast majority of monuments were erected as a result of efforts by community groups, provinces, private sponsors, regimental associations or Veterans organizations. VAC support is important as the passage of time has resulted in many of these monuments falling into disrepair and the groups who built them, either no longer exist or, no longer able to maintain them.

The PCP recipients interviewed were asked if funded commemorative events would have occurred had VAC funding not been available. The great majority of interviewees noted they would have proceeded with or without PCP funds. Half of those interviewees, however, indicated that the event/activity would have been impacted negatively in some manner (e.g. scaled back activities, financial impacts, heavier reliance on volunteers, registration fees, etc.).

There are three large not-for-profit organizations which have received funding every year for at least the last three fiscal years: the Juno Beach Centre Association, the Historica-Dominion Institute and the Canadian Football League. These files are multi-year large dollar contributions that receive approximately one half of the annual CEPF budget. These high dollar contribution arrangements illustrate the commitment of the federal government to support commemorative activities.

3.2 Is the program congruent with federal government priorities?

  1. Is there a need for government involvement?
  2. What role should VAC play?
  3. Does the program serve the public interest?

Key Findings: There is a clear demonstration of alignment between the PCP and federal government/VAC priorities.

a. Is there a need for government involvement?

The Government of Canada’s annual Speech from the Throne identifies the federal government’s priorities for the upcoming year. The “2011 Speech from the Throne: Here to stand on guard for Canada” had a specific reference relating to need for Canadians and the Government to recognize and remember the services of all Veterans:

“The Canadian Armed Forces play a crucial role in defending our sovereignty and national security. As the Canadian mission in Afghanistan transitions to training, diplomacy and development, our Government joins Canadians in honouring those who gave their lives and in recognizing the sacrifice and achievements of all the men and women, both military and civilian, who have served and continue to serve in Afghanistan. Our Government will continue to recognize and support all veterans."

The government’s ongoing commitment to multi-year large dollar contributions through organizations such as the Juno Beach Centre Association and the Historica-Dominion Institute demonstrate its ongoing support of commemorative activities.

b. What role should VAC play?

VAC is responsible for promoting awareness and appreciation among the Canadian public for the achievements and sacrifices made by those who served Canada and their historical significance to Canada as a nation. A Privy Council Order provides the authority for Veterans Affairs Canada to deliver commemorative services designed to keep alive the memory of those who sacrificed for the nation.

VAC’s Five-Year Strategic Plan 2009-2014 identifies four strategic priorities:

  • transform service delivery and support functions to meet the needs of clients;
  • refocus remembrance activities;
  • support and renew VAC’s workforce to meet current challenges; and
  • strengthen management, transparency and accountability.

The PCP is a sub-component of the VAC Program Activity Architecture (PAA) under the second departmental strategic outcome "Canadians remember and demonstrate their recognition of all those who served in Canada’s efforts during war, military conflict and peace".

The great majority of staff interviewed agreed that the PCP was in line with VAC Commemoration Division initiatives. One staff member stated: "We provide programs, including the PCP, which address a need for remembrance programming for Canadians; PCP gives us another way of getting the remembrance message out."

c. Does the program serve the public interest?

The key objective of the PCP is to support the Department in meeting its mission and mandate responsibilities by facilitating partnerships with external stakeholders sharing common clients and/or objectives. Specifically the Department uses the PCP to support commemorative partnerships and cenotaph/monument restoration.

As per Section 3.1.1, there is a strong public interest in VAC providing support for hosting remembrance activities to honour and recognize Veterans, as demonstrated by the national poll results and interviews with key informants.

3.3 Is there a change in program clients, target groups and/or stakeholders and does such change impact the relevance of the eligibility criteria of the funds?

Key Finding: Commemoration Division recognizes the change in departmental demographics towards CF Veterans and has modified the PCP assessment criteria in response. There has also been an increased concentration on youth engagement.

The Department is operating in a rapidly changing environment as its client base evolves from that of primarily traditional Veterans to one of CF Veterans. The greater involvement of CF Veterans in remembrance activities will become even more important given these changing demographics. The Department is sensitive of the need to ensure that future approaches to remembrance respect the traditions of the past, but also reflect the realities of the Veterans of today. Commemoration Division also recognizes the need to involve and educate Canadian youth, to ensure the continuation of remembrance for future generations.

These changes in demographics have resulted in Divisional goals being established as outlined below:

  • Continue to consult with CF and traditional Veterans, CF members, stakeholders and Canadians to ensure remembrance activities reflect how they and Canadians wish to see Canadian Veterans honoured and recognized.
  • Address the recognition needs of the CF Veteran (how to specifically honour their service and involve them in remembrance activities) as a priority.
  • Increase the focus on in-Canada Remembrance activities while maintaining international commitments with an international presence.
  • Take remembrance activities to Canadians rather than taking Canadians to remembrance activities through effective use of partnerships and technology.
  • Build on activities aimed at youth and develop and strengthen youth involvement strategy.

Demographic changes have not impacted the program eligibility criteria. The PCP contributes significantly to meeting the Divisional goals by:

  • Engaging communities in remembrance.
  • Establishing application/approval criteria in an attempt to ensure that youth and CF Veterans are involved in events.
  • Supporting organizations such as the Historica-Dominion Institute who largely focus on youth/CF/teacher engagement.
  • Enhancing technological resources such as social networking tools.
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