Evaluation of the Aboriginal Community Safety Planning Initiative
- Executive Summary
- 1. Introduction
- 2. Profile
- 3. About the Evaluation
- 4. Findings
- 5. Conclusions
- 6. Recommendations
- 7. Management Action Plan
- Annex A: Logic Model
This report presents the results of the Evaluation of the Aboriginal Community Safety Planning Initiative (ACSPI or the Initiative). There are two main components of the Initiative, the Community Safety Planning Process and Community-based Pilot Projects. During the Community Safety Planning Process, Public Safety (PS) provides outreach to prospective communities and funds an Indigenous facilitator to support the community in developing and implementing their plan. PS also funds pilot projects which explore community-based responses to violence against Indigenous women and children.
What we examined
The evaluation covers the time period from April 2014 to March 2018, and examined both the community safety planning process and the funded pilot projects. The objective of the evaluation is to provide an evidence-based neutral assessment of the relevance and performance of the ACSPI that can be used to inform decision making.
What we found
The Initiative aligns with federal government priorities and departmental roles and responsibilities; there is continued need for the Initiative as the societal conditions that led to its creation remain.
The ACSPI has been implemented as designed. However, the holistic and community-specific approach applied to activity areas is time and resource intensive which led to challenges in implementation.
Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) considerations (i.e. gender, diversity and other intersecting identity factors) are included throughout the design and implementation of the Initiative. For example, materials provided to facilitators and communities stress the importance of reducing barriers to participation in community safety planning activities, and for including broad representation of the community. This has typically included Elder sessions, as well as outreach to youth.
Community safety planning and implementation relies on the involvement of community members and the support of the community leadership. In communities with active safety plans, multiple services within the community are engaged. Health, social services and education are most often cited as partners in the development and implementation of the safety plans.
ACSPI has had success in supporting communities to develop safety plans and has provided tools and training to enable this process. Communities that participated in safety planning have reported positive changes.
Over the period under review, 37 communities have completed safety plans and 18 of these remain actively engaged with PS. This continued involvement includes participation in funded pilot projects, or ongoing discussions with ACSPI staff on implementation of the community safety plan. There are a total of 51 communities actively involved in the CSP as of February 1, 2019.
As PS does not provide funding for the full implementation of the safety plans they encourage communities to seek funding from other sources and works to align broader government funding with community priorities. ACSPI has had limited success in aligning government programming decisions with community safety plans. Throughout workshops with stakeholders it was clear that federal and provincial partners are interested in and supportive of communities that have undertaken planning. As well, both PS and Indigenous Services Canada fund broad community planning activities for Indigenous communities. Coordination to improve synergies between these initiatives was limited.
Overall, communities that have participated in the safety planning process felt they have benefited and that they were better prepared to address community safety issues. Strengthened community relationships and focus were cited as the biggest benefits to the communities that have not yet implemented their safety plans.
The Assistant Deputy Minister of the Community Safety and Countering Crime Branch should:
- Align existing tools and establish processes to assist communities in developing, implementing and monitoring actions from their Community Safety Plans. This could include examples of the measures of success as well as the provision of additional supports, such as the fostering of communities of practice and guidance on relevant funding opportunities from government and non-government sources.
- Further develop and apply opportunities for collaboration and potential harmonization with other federal comprehensive community-based initiatives at both the regional and national level, including engagement at the senior management level.
Management Action Plan
Management accepts all recommendations and will implement an action plan.
This report presents the results of the Evaluation of the Aboriginal Community Safety Planning Initiative (ACSPI or the Initiative). The evaluation was conducted in accordance with the Treasury Board of Canada Policy on Results and Policy on Transfer Payments and in compliance with section 42.1(1) of the Financial Administration Act. The ACSPI was last evaluated in 2013-14.
Violent crime against women and girls is an ongoing issue in Canada, and Indigenous women and girls are at an even higher risk of violence. According to the 2014 General Social SurveyNote 1, Indigenous women and girls were almost three time as likely to be a victim of violent crime as non-Indigenous women and girls. Many Indigenous women also reported experiencing repeated episodes of violence.
Along with experiencing violence, Indigenous women are also over-represented as victims of homicide. Between 1980 and 2012, Indigenous women represented 16% of all murdered women and 12% of all missing women on record, while only making up 4% of Canada's female population. In 2017, the homicide rate for Indigenous female victims was 4.22 homicides per 100, 000, and Indigenous women accounted for one in five female murder victims.Note 2
Given the complexity and interconnectedness of the underlying factors contributing to these issues, the federal government has put in place numerous programs and initiatives to address the root causes of violence against Indigenous women and girls. The ACSPI is one of these programs.
The Initiative was created in 2010 as a component of the Government of Canada's efforts to address the high number of missing and murdered women. It was renewed in 2014 as part of the Action Plan to Address Family Violence and Violent Crimes Against Aboriginal Women and Girls, led by Status of Women Canada.
The Initiative helps communities respond to the issue of violence in a holistic manner. Through the development of a community safety plan (CSP), Indigenous communities develop tailored approaches to community safety that are responsive to their concerns, priorities, and context. The embedded participatory approach prioritizes community ownership and mobilization, which allows communities to develop sustainable actions. Four broad activity areas are supported by the Initiative. These are:
- developing community capacity to identify community safety risks through training and information/knowledge dissemination (knowledge building, knowledge sharing, direct training);
- supporting communities' use of local and traditional knowledge in the development of CSPs;
- supporting community-based pilot projects that support and are identified in the CSP; and/or;
- supporting strategic linkages with federal organizations and other relevant stakeholders.
The program theory, particularly with respect to its community investment, is based upon the premise that “women and girls do not live in isolation and to increase their safety in the long-term means increasing the safety of families and entire communities.” The Initiative is founded on the idea that by providing “appropriate tools, training and supports through a community-driven approach, Indigenous communities facing significant safety challenges, will develop their capacity to improve their safety conditions.”
There are two main components of the Initiative, the Community Safety Planning Process and Community-based Pilot Projects. During the Community Safety Planning Process, Public Safety (PS) provides outreach to prospective communities and funds an Indigenous facilitator to support the community in developing their plan. PS has developed and revised tools to support communities in this process.
PS also funds Community-based Pilot Projects which explore innovative responses to violence against Indigenous women and children. The results of the pilot projects are intended to be shared with communities across Canada, so that other communities can improve their safety and to inform government policy-makers.
Funding for the ACSPI is received through the Action Plan to Address Family Violence and Violent Crimes Against Aboriginal Women and Girls. The allocated budget is outlined in Table 1. Contribution funding supports the pilot projects while the Community Safety Planning Process is funded through the operations and management (O&M) and salary budgets.
Source: PS Financial Records
*Employee Benefit Plan (EBP) (20%) and Accommodations included
The logic model (Annex A) includes all activities undertaken by the Initiative and provides an overview of the logical linkages between the activities, outputs and various levels of outcomes. This logic model will be the foundation upon which the evaluation will be conducted. The ACSPI is part of the Program Information Profile (PIP) for the Correction Program under the department's core responsibility of Community Safety.
About the Evaluation
Objective and Scope
The objective of the evaluation is to provide an evidence-based neutral assessment of the relevance and performance of the ACSPI that can be used to inform decision making. The evaluation covers the time period from 2014-15 to the present. Communities that were involved in community safety planning prior to April 1, 2014 and continue to be active were considered as within the scope of the evaluation. The evaluation covered both the community safety planning process and the funded pilot projects.
Evaluation Core Issues
The evaluation took an impact evaluation approach which looked at implementation of the ACSPI as well as the achievement of outcomes.
|Evaluation Topics||Core Issues|
Design and Delivery
Lines of Evidence
Evaluation lines of evidence included the following:
- Document and literature review: Documents and literature reviewed included relevant reports; draft findings of research reports prepared by the program area; corporate documents; accountability and policy documents; program presentations; and literature on the underlying program theory.
- Key informant interviews: 24 interviews were conducted with PS staff and management, community representatives, community safety planning facilitators and representatives from other government departments.
- Site visits: The program area conducted four site visits for purposes of an internal review (which was not yet finalized at the time of the evaluation); evaluators attended one of these visits. Notes and materials from all site visits were included as a line of evidence. As a lead up for these site visits, communities completed a survey. The survey results were considered part of the site visit line of evidence.
The design for the evaluation aimed at interviewing both the communities that chose to participate and those that chose not to engage in the community safety planning process. However, all communities who participated in the evaluation were those that have engaged in the community safety planning process to some extent. This may result in a positivity bias. To address this, findings were triangulated from other sources as appropriate and personal opinion is described as such.
The evaluation relied on the survey data and site visits notes the program collected for their internal review. The site visit notes are from the perspective of the program staff not the community. These notes were used in conjunction with the other information obtained from the communities.
Another limitation is the ability to measure and report on long-term outcomes. The evaluation focused on immediate and intermediate outcomes that are within the sphere of influence of the program areas, as well as on changes to the underlying factors that may enable achievement of long term outcomes.
The Aboriginal Community Safety Planning Initiative addresses a continuing need and aligns with the federal government's priorities and the department's roles and responsibilities.
There is a continuing need for the Initiative as the societal conditions that led to its creation remain. This is highlighted by the overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples in the Canadian justice system, both as victims and offenders: approximately one in four persons admitted to a federal, provincial or territorial correctional service is an Indigenous adult; nearly one in three Indigenous persons are victims of violent or household crime; and, an Indigenous woman is over three times more likely to experience sexual assault, and five times more likely to be murdered, than a non-Indigenous person. These data suggest that violence against Indigenous women and girls, and within Indigenous communities, remains a serious problem in Canada.
PS has the responsibility to support safe communities and to work with other federal departments to address gaps in services to Indigenous peoples throughout the criminal justice systemNote 3. PS is included with other federal departments and organizations in Status of Women Canada's 2014 Action Plan to Address Family Violence and Violent Crimes against Aboriginal Women and Girls. A main objective of the Plan is preventing violence by identifying community-level solutions. ACSPI activities include the provision of tools and facilitation to support communities in defining and responding to risks that lead to crime and victimization. These activities contribute to the objectives of the Action Plan and are aligned with departmental roles and responsibilities.
Improving Canada's relationship with Indigenous peoples and ending violence against Indigenous women and girls are key priorities of the federal government. This can be evidenced in the 2015 Speech from the Throne which pledged a renewed nation-to-nation relationship based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership, and the establishment of a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girlsNote 4. ACSPI activities are part of the federal government's ongoing engagement with Indigenous peoples to improve community safety, eliminate violence towards Indigenous women and girls, and protect future generationsNote 5.
Design and Delivery
The ACSPI has been implemented as designed although challenges were experienced during implementation. The design and implementation of the Initiative is informed by GBA+ considerations.
The ACSPI is based on the premise that to support the safety of women and girls, the safety of families and communities needs to be improved; the soundness of this premise was validated in the literature review and by interview respondents. The Initiative supports a community-driven and strengths-based approach through: the development of community capacity to identify community safety risks; community knowledge in the development of community safety plans; community-based pilot projects that support the safety of women and girls; and, the development of strategic linkages with federal organizations and other relevant stakeholders. While the most important aspect of the safety planning is that is community led, all activities of the Initiative are informed by the following six core principles:
- Be holistic - Encourage the whole community to identify the issues and to become active participants in developing solutions.
- Be culturally relevant - The process should reflect each community's unique culture.
- Encourage community involvement - The people that live and work in the community need to be the ones identifying the issues and solutions.
- Recognize the gifts and strengths of individuals and the community – The community will need to draw on existing gifts and strengths for the process to succeed.
- Be respectful of each community's current state of development – Recognize that each community will be starting at different levels of readiness and capacity.
- Be developed by and for Indigenous People – The participants need to own the process.
While these underlying principles were viewed as strengths of the Initiative, and community respondents appreciated the community-led design, the holistic and community-specific approach is time and resource intensive which contributed to challenges in implementation. Interviews and program documents indicate that program staff encountered difficulty in maintaining consistent engagement with participating communities and other relevant stakeholders.
For example, over the evaluation period, the ACSPI piloted the Collaborative Approach Project. It aimed to support communities in implementing their completed safety plans and to identify emerging practices, challenges and understanding of how federal/provincial/territorial (FPT) government stakeholders can more effectively support Indigenous communities in implementing their CSPs. This involved the facilitation of workshops with communities and FPT stakeholders and required the ACSPI to have collaborative processes and mechanisms in place with all participants. Five communities that completed CSPs were invited to participate in the Collaborative Approach Project. The Initiative reported that, in some cases, it was unable to provide sufficient lead time to participants citing the complexity of the preparation process and numerous parties involved. It also noted that communities experienced a lag between the completion of their CSP and initiation of the Collaborative Approach.
Also, the Initiative is aware of several communities with completed CSPs that would benefit from a refresher process to update their planning materials to better align with government funding requirements. However, it is unable to provide this support given current resource levels.
Despite these challenges, review of program documentation, including CSP-related tools and resources indicate that the Initiative's broad activity areas have been implemented according to the program design and are evidenced in the following:
- Development of capacity to support community safety planning was facilitated by soliciting leadership buy-in, identifying a representative core planning group and through localized asset and resource-mapping activities that identify existing capacities.
- Support for community knowledge in the development of community safety plans was fostered by encouraging participation by a cross-section of community members in the core planning group and through, for example, the historical scan and PATH (Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope) exercises undertaken during the facilitated planning sessions.
- Community-based pilot projects were supported by contribution agreements with nine participating communities.
- Strategic linkages with other federal organizations and relevant stakeholders were pursued through, for example, the Collaborative Approach Project.
Implementation of these activities was corroborated in interviews with program officials, communities, and other stakeholders.
Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+)
GBA+ considerations (i.e. gender, diversity and other intersecting identity factors) are included throughout the design and implementation of the Initiative. GBA+ factors were found to inform the following design elements:
- Rationale (i.e. the ACSPI is a response to the disproportionate levels of violence experienced by Indigenous women and girls).
- Premise (i.e. safer communities and families support safer conditions for women and girls).
- Core principles that emphasize a holistic and community-driven approach to safety planning and recognize cultural and socio-economic dynamics unique to every community.
- Activity areas such as community safety planning and community-based pilot projects that support the ACSPI's rationale, premise and core principles.
Implementation of the ACSPI was similarly responsive to GBA+ concerns. For example, materials provided to facilitators and communities stress the importance of reducing barriers to participation in CSP activities, and for including broad representation of the community. This has typically included Elder sessions, as well as outreach to youth. Further, community-based pilot projects undertaken over the evaluation period as well as efforts to establish strategic linkages with Federal organizations and relevant stakeholders were aligned with the GBA+ considerations attributed to the ACSPI's design elements.
Performance – Effectiveness
Community Safety Plans
ACSPI has had success in supporting communities to develop safety plans and has provided tools and training to enable this process. Communities that participated have reported positive changes in their communities.
The Community Safety Planning Process includes five stages and steps (see Figure 1). Each stage has milestones that are outlined in the materials provided to the community and the facilitator. PS staff makes the initial contact with the community, and engages with them virtually (through email and telephone calls) to lay the groundwork for the planning process. This virtual engagement and preparation for the planning process includes explanation of the goal of the initiative, the creation of a formal agreement with the community leadership, the identification of a key contact, and the creation of a core group of community members to champion the work. Once a community is prepared to participate, PS engages a facilitator to lead the three sessions in the community. Post-CSP activities include the implementation of the safety plan as lead by the community. PS staff can continue to engage with communities at this stage of the process, but there is no specific funding source for the implementation of CSPs.
Figure 1. Community Safety Planning Process
Figure 1 shows the steps of the community safety planning process incrementally ascending from one step to the next (as with a staircase). The following steps are represented in the figure: Virtual Engagement; Session 1 – Relationship Building; Session 2 – Action Planning; Session 3 – Safety Plan Development; Post CSP Activities (Implementation).
Over the time period under review, 37 communities have completed safety plans, 12 of these communities began their planning prior to April 2015. PS also reached out to an additional 74 communities to gauge their interest in participation in the CSP process. Of those, 36 communities are inactive, and have either withdrawn from the CSP process or have declined to participate.
Overall, as of February 1, 2019 there are 51 active communities and 25 communities that are pending engagement. These communities have either not confirmed their interest, or paused the work as a result of community changes or a lack of resources at the program level.
Of the 37 communities that have completed community safety plans since 2015, 18 are currently actively involved with PS in the post-CSP phase. This continued involvement includes participation in funded pilot projects, or ongoing discussions with ACSPI staff on implementation of the community safety plan. There may be other communities that are implementing elements of their safety plans, but this data was not available.
Actions in the community safety plan range from the creation of youth groups to cultural camps with Elders to community watch programs. Each community determines the appropriate activities that will address the root causes of their safety concerns.
The CSP process relies on communities to organize a core group that can work with the funded facilitator to develop the community safety plan. The core group should be comprised of community champions that will mobilize the community in the planning process and keep the momentum going. As part of the initial engagement with PS, communities are provided with a resource guide “Moving Toward a Stronger Future”. This guide includes practical steps and process for community development.
Facilitators are trained by PS and provided a detailed manual that outlines the objectives and tools for each of the three planning sessions. Facilitators felt that the training and materials provided was useful and allowed for a shared understanding of the purpose of each of the sessions. It was also felt that the “Moving Toward a Stronger Future” was a good resource for communities.
Some of the communities that participated in the safety planning process did not feel that they were aware of the level of commitment required and the work expectations for the core group. It was felt that some activities required further instructions and that there weren't enough copies of the resources provided to the community for the planning sessions. However, the “Moving Toward a Stronger Future” resource is available online on Public Safety Canada's website.
At the beginning of the safety planning process, asset mapping is conducted. This is an initial review of resources, community gifts and strengths. The purpose of an asset-based approach is to start from a position of what exists in the community, rather than a deficit-focused approach that starts with what a community is lacking. This approach was well received by participants, and is supported by community development literature. Beyond the asset mapping, the two tools that were most often referred to by community representatives were the Historical Scan and the PATH. The Historical Scan encourages the community to develop a pictorial representation of the past 150 to 200 years. This can show both positive and negative events in a community's history. One participant described the Historical Scan as important because it allowed the community to see how they overcame adversity in the past, and helped to put their current issues in perspective.
The PATH works from the overall vision for the community and breaks it into actions that can be completed in 40 days, 90 days and six months. PATHs can be developed for the different focus areas for a community, and are meant to guide the development of implementation plans and the full community safety plan. Some communities and government funders felt there is a disconnection between the PATH and other outputs from the safety planning process and the documentation required for federal funding applications.
There have been a few innovative training and networking opportunities such as, in the Yukon, community representatives received the facilitator training and will be working as a community of practice to support CSPs in communities across the Territory. As this work is recent, no communities have yet completed safety plans with the support of these facilitators.
Resources and Partnerships
Continued efforts are required to develop relationships and strategic linkages both at the community level and amongst federal partners, to support communities in their safety planning.
Community safety planning and implementation relies on the involvement of community members and the support of the community leadership. In communities with active safety plans, multiple departments within the community are engaged. Health, social services and education are most often cited as partners in the development and implementation of the safety plans.
The Community Safety Planning Process encourages the engagement of community members and local staff that represent a variety of resources available in the community. Some challenges were seen when the core group is not representative of the full community, or when core group members do not reside in the community. It was also noted by communities that engagement of the RCMP or local police was important so that the police recognized the community priorities and could coordinate appropriately. In one community, the RCMP and community safety committee have developed joint actions to address youth gang violence in a proactive manner.
Various means of engaging communities to participate in the community safety planning process were shared in facilitator reports and through interviews. Direct contact with key individuals was most helpful, as was connecting the community safety sessions to community gatherings. This helped optimize community resources. It was also noted that there was a need to coordinate what already existed in communities to limit the burden on the community members who were actively involved. In one example, an existing women's group developed a list of resources (services and individuals) that the members could call on when they were feeling threatened. This was instrumental in supporting women in the community threatened by spousal violence.
At the national and program level, program staff have attempted to make strategic linkages with other areas within PS, other Federal departments, and other levels of government. While some successes were identified, gaps still exist in the integration of various initiatives. PS funds on-reserve policing through the First Nations Policing Program (FNPP). It was noted that in communities supported by the FNPP, CSPs have helped to further positive relationships between the police and the community, as well as lay the foundation for community priorities and joint work. However, evidence of strategic linkages between ACSPI staff and PS regional offices was not found. Regional offices often work quite closely with provincial counterparts and could be an asset in supporting communities.
At the federal level, Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) provides funding to First Nations communities to develop comprehensive community plans (CCP). In some regions, they also provide funding for a Community Navigator position within communities to lead the development of the community plan. To date there has been limited coordination between comprehensive community planning and CSPs. However, PS staff do not feel that there are significant overlaps between communities that participated in the CCP and the CSPs. As well, in Saskatchewan attempts were made to integrate the CSP with CCP. Community Navigators were invited to attend facilitator training so that they could implement the CSP process within their communities. There were some challenges with the session, and some lack of clarity on the purpose of the session as well as the distinction between community safety planning and emergency response planning. Within Saskatchewan, one community with a CCP has developed a safety plan to respond to specific safety issues. In another example, a community had already developed and started implementing the CCP when they began working with a facilitator on community safety planning. They decided to apply a safety lens to the existing plan, rather than draft an additional plan.
Community-Based Pilot Projects
Community-based projects have been implemented in various communities. They have been successful at the community level; however, results have not been widely shared.
Contribution funding was provided to nine communities for pilot projects to address issues raised in their CSPs. Three of these communities completed their CSPs in the time period under review, and the others had previously-completed plans. This exceeded the initial target of three to five communities. The pilot projects were all distinct and ranged from a program for teens to develop anti-bullying public service announcements for their community to a “wrap-around” facilitator to lead holistic safety and wellness responses and coordinate inter-agency service delivery.
Each community responded positively to the pilots, and according to project reports, the projects achieved their specific outcomes and tied to the broader PS objectives for the ACSPI. One aspect of this activity area that was not realized was the wider sharing of information on the projects and their impacts. This was an original intent of the activity but was not included or required in funding agreements. While each Indigenous community is different, there are common elements that could be beneficial to other communities as they implement their CSP. In the words of one community member that participated in a project that brought an internationally recognized gang reduction program to the community “the workshop showed how [community] is similar, yet different to other communities around the world” and the perspective helped leverage their uniqueness as a strength to address gang issues.
ACSPI has had limited success in aligning government programming decisions with Community Safety Plans.
The ACSPI provides support for the development of CSPs; it does not provide funding for the full implementation of these safety plans. Limited funding ($700 000 annually, as seen in Table 1) is available for community-based pilot projects, and not all communities that have completed safety plans have accessed these funds. Rather the Initiative encourages communities to seek funding from other sources and works to align government funding with community priorities.
Within PS, the funding program most closely aligned with many of the safety plans is the National Crime Prevention Strategy (NCPS). NCPS has three funding streams that communities may be eligible for. In the latest call for proposals, projects were asked to demonstrate their connection to an existing CSP or community plan. ACSPI staff participated in the proposal review process as well. Four communities with CSPs and an additional four communities that engaged with the ACSPI in some aspect received funding.
As mentioned in 220.127.116.11, there has been limited success in developing strategic linkages. Starting in 2017, the ACSPI funded the Collaborative Approach project and research study. This project brought representatives from federal and provincial departments together with communities to explore opportunities for funding the implementation of CSPs. Five communities participated. At these ‘Stakeholder Workshops' communities presented their plans and priorities. Potential funders and partners were to provide feedback, suggest existing funding opportunities and brainstorm ideas. The research study followed up with the community and government participants six to twelve months after the workshops to summarize their experiences. Forty individuals provided information for the research study. Findings from the study were supported by interview findings from this evaluation.
Positives were reported regarding relationship building; however the stakeholder workshops also highlighted the challenges with funding actions in the CSPs. Some of the provincial interviewees were unaware of the Initiative or the fact that it was active in their area until they were contacted to participate in the Stakeholder Workshop. Another challenge was the lack of coordination of the stakeholder workshops and funding requests with the existing funding cycles for the other government departments. It was also noted that programs did not have the flexibility to support initiatives outside of their established criteria, and any changes to a more flexible or innovative approach would require the support or direction from senior levels. Both communities and government officials identified the need for communities to be provided assistance or training in the development of proposals that would meet government standards. Often the CSPs are not written in a manner that is easily transformed into a funding proposal.
There were also logistical challenges in terms of the coordination of the workshops. In one instance, the provincial representatives were not given sufficient notice of the need for travel, and sent an available resource rather than the best resource. PS staff also commented on the challenges with establishing an appropriate network of partners for each community. PS regional staff were contacted to act as a liaison and leverage their networks with other departments at the regional level. There were challenges with this at the working level, as there was no senior management direction provided for this collaboration. There is a difference of opinion between PS and other stakeholders on the Initiative's role in providing access to implementation funding. As described in interviews and program documents, for PS the value of the CSP is the process itself and funding should come from other sources. During interviews, other respondents including communities expressed that it can be demoralizing to do the planning work without being able to fund the activities and keep the momentum going. There is a need for continued coordination so that communities can access existing funding options. For instance, one provincial interviewee noted that they have a fund that allows for some flexibility and if they were aware of the community safety planning activities they may have been able to support the community in the application process.
Throughout the Stakeholder Workshops it was clear that federal and provincial partners are interested in and supportive of communities that have undertaken planning. A proposed approach was the development of a community of practice or network that could continue the work begun through the workshops, and bring communities and funders together on a consistent basis. The idea of a community of practice and ongoing support for those implementing CSPs was also supported by community representatives interviewed for the evaluation. There was agreement among federal government interviewees, including PS staff, that there is a need to simplify and streamline processes to reduce burdens on communities. It was also noted that there are no formal mechanisms bringing departments together to do this.
Long term Outcomes
Communities who have participated in community safety planning have processes in place to address community safety; implementation of these processes is at various stages.
From the survey of communities conducted as part of the program internal review, four of the five communities reported that they had benefited from the community safety planning process. The same communities also felt that the process helped them to develop and/or implement solutions to community safety issues. Overall, all of the communities that responded reported positive changes.
In general the safety plans that have been developed address underlying issues that lead to violence against Indigenous women and girls. A key theme from the facilitator reports and the feedback from participants in the safety planning process was the improvement in community relationships and an increased sense of pride in the community. Community connection and a change in societal norms that encourage collective activism have been shown to decrease violence.
Some communities volunteered examples of positive changes that have occurred as a result of safety planning, and show an increased sense of community connection. In one community, stray dogs were a danger to children and youth. The community safety committee looked at the issue, worked with a local association to see if dogs could be rehomed elsewhere, and spoke with dog owners. There have been no further instances of issues with dogs reported. In another community, a community watch initiative was formed as a result of the safety planning process. The community watch was able to reassure people during an evacuation that their homes would be secure. This resulted in all members of the community being safely moved during a wildfire, and no break-ins reported.
While the community safety planning process does not impose measures to gauge the improvements in safety, these are elements that can be considered as part of the implementation plan. It was felt by community representatives that this was not an area of focus during the planning process and more guidance may be required. The facilitator guide for the planning process does not include any materials or support for developing measures of success. Measures should be tied to the community's vision of success and should be useful in reporting back to the community on what has been achieved.
Performance – Program Administration/Efficiency and Economy
Efficiency and Economy
The ACSPI had an average annual allocation of $1.5M from 2014-15 to 2018-19. Over that time period additional funds (totaling $460 000) were provided to support pilot projects. There were variances between planned spending and actual expenditures during the period evaluated. As illustrated in Table 3 below, the program over spent in the past four years by between 4% and 17%.
|Fiscal Year||Planned Spending||Expenditures||% of Planned Budget Spent|
Source: PS Financial Records
*Salary figures include Employee Benefit Plan (20%) and Accommodations (13%).
Salary expenditures exceeded the planned spending in all of the years under review. In 2017-18, some of the additional salary expenditures were related to retroactive payments as a result of collective agreements. Due to the increased role of PS staff in the safety planning process, additional resources were obtained from within the department to try to address the workload. Lower expenditures in O&M than the planned spending, for three of the four years, highlight the challenges with planning for the Community Safety Planning Process. The planning process is dependent on community availability and interest, and this can be impacted by crisis in the communities or a change of community leadership. As well, planned travel can be interrupted by weather delays or other challenges. For instance, in 2018-19 planned trips to communities were delayed as a result of wildfires.
Facilitators are hired through a standing offer process, and selected for a community based on proximity and have the right of first refusal. There have been five finalized call-ups against the standing offer in each year under review. The number of incomplete call-ups has averaged four per year. This means that in any given year, 5 facilitators were under contract and engaging with communities, and an additional four planned processes were not conducted.
In general, there were no issues identified with the administration of the Standing Offers, or with adherence to the Policy on Transfer Payments for the pilot projects. PS staff felt that the requirements for some of the administration procedures were unduly burdensome and did not take into consideration the unique nature of the communities. This was particularly highlighted in the requirements for obtaining funding for the hospitality that was provided as part of the site visits. There were challenges in obtaining multiple vendor quotes in a remote community with only one supplier. Overall, this did not impact the site visits, but was considered an unnecessary hurdle.
PS and Indigenous Services Canada fund broad community planning activities for Indigenous communities. Coordination to improve synergies between these initiatives was limited.
As described in 4.3, both PS and ISC fund planning activities within Indigenous communities. Comprehensive community-based planning activities, led by ISC can include governance, land & resources, health, infrastructure development, culture, social, education and economy. While the planning activities provided through the ACSPI are specifically focused on safety, the holistic approach of the Initiative permits a broad interpretation of community safety that can overlap many or all of the activity areas covered by the CCP. Moreover, unlike PS, ISC is mandated to support both the development and implementation of its comprehensive planning. For example, in a review of the Comprehensive Community-based Planning Pilot Project in Saskatchewan, the planning process was funded at an average cost of $450,000 per community. While some efforts were made to integrate community safety planning and comprehensive community-based planning as described in 18.104.22.168, coordination to improve synergies between these initiatives was limited.
Community planning is a time-consuming process that places burdens on existing capacities and local resources. The gap between planning and implementation can be discouraging to communities who have developed PS-supported safety plans that are ready for implementation. One respondent who had participated in both PS and ISC planning activities described their community as being ‘planned out' and disappointed by the lack of a funding component at the end of PS' safety planning process. A respondent from a different community noted the responsiveness of CCP in addressing identified priorities and suggested that community safety planning could be rolled into the CCP.
There was agreement among federal government interviewees, including PS, that a there is a need to simplify and streamline processes to reduce burdens on communities. Efforts to address this at the working level have met with limited success and presently there are no formal mechanisms facilitating higher-level discussions between participating departments.
There is a continuing need for the Initiative as the societal conditions that led to its creation remain. This work ties with PS' responsibilities to support safe communities and address the gaps in services to Indigenous peoples. The federal government has stated its priority to end violence against Indigenous women and girls; the Initiative works to address the root causes of violence against women and girls by identifying community-level solutions.
Design and Delivery
The ACSPI has been implemented as designed and the Initiative's activities are based on core principles that are holistic and community specific. While these were viewed as strengths underlying the program's design, implementation challenges were encountered as these elements were time and resource intensive.
GBA+ considerations (i.e. gender, diversity and other intersecting identity factors) are included throughout the design and implementation of the Initiative, and were found to be appropriate and responsive. For example, materials provided to facilitators and communities stress the importance of reducing barriers to participation in community safety planning activities, and for including broad representation of the community. This has typically included Elder sessions, as well as outreach to youth.
ACSPI has had success in supporting communities to develop safety plans and has provided tools and training to enable this process. Communities that participated in safety planning have reported positive changes, such as the creation of youth groups and community watch programs, as well as increased interaction with policing services.
Over the time period under review 37 communities have completed safety plans and 74 additional communities were contacted to gauge their interest in participating in the planning process. Community safety planning and implementation relies on the involvement of community members and the support of the community leadership. In communities with active safety plans, multiple departments within the community are engaged. Health, social services and education are most often cited as partners in the development and implementation phases.
ACSPI has had some success in aligning government programming with priorities in CSPs. PS does not provide full funding for the implementation of the safety plans. Rather, the Initiative encourages communities to seek funding from other sources and works to align government funding with community priorities. Although efforts were made through the development of a collaborative approach for communities to engage with other federal partners, substantial gaps remain in connecting communities to funding sources for implementation.
Both PS and ISC fund planning activities within Indigenous communities. Comprehensive community-based planning activities can include governance, land & resources, health, infrastructure development, culture, social, education and economy. ISC provides funding for a coordination position within communities, as well as for the implementation of priority projects. The gap between planning and implementation can be discouraging to communities who have developed PS-supported safety plans that are ready for implementation. Given the Government of Canada's desire to improve nation-to-nation relationships, it will be important for the program area to consider the impact this lack of coordination or funding for the implementation of CSPs may have.
Overall, communities that have participated in the community safety planning process felt that their communities have benefited and that they were better prepared to address community safety issues. Strengthened community relationships and focus were cited as the biggest benefits to the communities that have not yet implemented their safety plans.
The Assistant Deputy Minister of the Community Safety and Countering Crime Branch should:
- Align existing tools and establish processes to assist communities in developing, implementing and monitoring actions from their Community Safety Plans. This could include examples of measures of success as well as the provision of additional supports, such as the fostering of communities of practice and guidance on relevant funding opportunities from government and non-government sources.
- Further develop and apply opportunities for collaboration and potential harmonization with other federal comprehensive community-based initiatives at both the regional and national level, including engagement at the senior management level.
Management Action Plan
Planned Completion Date
Align existing tools and establish processes to assist communities in developing, implementing and monitoring actions from their Community Safety Plans. This could include examples of the measures of success as well as the provision of additional supports, such as the fostering of communities of practice and guidance on relevant funding opportunities from government and non-government sources.
Program staff will develop, refine and document mechanisms to support communities throughout the CSP process.
March 31, 2023
Further develop and apply opportunities for collaboration and potential harmonization with other federal comprehensive community-based initiatives at both the regional and national level, including engagement at the senior management level.
Program staff will engage with counterparts in other federal departments to further explore avenues for collaboration and harmonization. To fully address this recommendation and create permanent networks, increased resources would be required.
September 30, 2019
Annex A: Logic Model
|Activities||Tool Development/Dissemination||Training and Networking||Development of Community Safety Plans||Innovative Projects||Strategic Linkages|
Contribution agreements are signed with selected communities and innovative responses to violence against women and girls are tested.
Promising models implemented.
Other government programs are leveraged to enhance ACSPI effectiveness.
Contribute to the alignment of government programming and policy decisions.
Safer, more secure Indigenous people and communities.
- Date modified: