Evaluation of the Polar Continental Shelf Program

Table of Contents

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Introduction

This report provides the findings of the evaluation of Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan) Polar Continental Shelf Program (PCSP) over the period of 2006-07 to 2010-11, covering direct program spending of approximately $88.9 million (including $10.7 million in capital expenditures). Approximately 55 percent of direct program spending was recoverable expenditures.

The PCSP is Canada’s service delivery program responsible for providing logistical support to researchers from Canadian government agencies, northern communities, and independent university groups conducting scientific activity on Canada’s landmass, with an emphasis in Canada’s Arctic.Footnote1 While the PCSP has existed since 1958 with the mandate of providing logistics support to researchers, it has transformed over the last fifty-four years, as follows:

  • for its first thirty years, the PCSP had up to 70 internal scientists investigating the geology, geography, climate, ecosystems, culture and history of the Arctic;
  • in 1986, scientific staff joined or returned to other government departments, or other parts of NRCan, and the PCSP became a logistics coordination agency;
  • in 1994, the PCSP established a Traditional Knowledge Program to provide logistics support to northern communities with a focus on preserving traditional aboriginal knowledge and skills;
  • in 1996, the PCSP partnered with the Canadian Arctic Research Program to establish the Canadian Arctic-Antarctic Research Program with the aim of encouraging scientific collaboration among research scientists at both poles; and
  • in 2008, the PCSP and the Geological Survey of Canada’s Technical Field Support Service (TFSS)Footnote2 merged into a single program, through which the PCSP is now responsible for providing field equipment to NRCan and other government departments conducting field work outside of Canada’s Arctic.

Throughout these transformations, the core mission of the PCSP has remained consistent, to provide “safe, efficient and cost-effective logistical support to researchers from governmental and foreign organizations conducting scientific field work across the Canadian Arctic.”Footnote3 To this end, the PCSP’s Arctic field logistics services include:

  • coordination of air transportation to and from remote field camps throughout the Canadian Arctic;
  • meals, accommodations and working space at the PCSP facility in Resolute, Nunavut;
  • field equipment and camps;
  • fuel for aircraft, equipment and camps; and
  • communications network linking the PCSP with scientific teams in field camps dispersed throughout Canada’s Arctic.Footnote4

Aircraft support, in terms of the coordination of air transportation to and from remote field camps throughout the Canadian Arctic, is the greatest (in dollar value) support provided by the PCSP. A sample of 50 project costing reports (10 per year from 2006 through 2010) suggests that the dollar value of aircraft support represents more than 90 percent of the value of total logistical support provided by the PCSP.

Support for logistics is planned and allocated based on annual project applications, with applications being considered on an individual basis subject to the PCSP’s materiel and human resource capabilities. The PCSP provides logistical support to research proponents using one of three arrangements:

  1. 100 percent in-kind support, whereby logistics costs are covered in full by the PCSP;
  2. partial in-kind support and partial recoverable expenditures, whereby logistics costs are shared between the PCSP and the research proponent; and
  3. 100 percent recoverable expenditures, whereby logistics are covered in full by the research proponent.

As illustrated in the following table, the PCSP provided logistical support to a total of 749 projects from 2006 through 2010.

Number of Projects Receiving Logistical Support from the PCSP, Field Seasons 2006 to 2010
Support Arrangement 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Total
In-kind (100% or partial) 114 91 109 126 106 546
100% recoverable 22 36 48 42 55 203
Total 136 127 157 168 161 749

Source: PCSP Database.

Evaluation Issues, Methodologies, and Limitations

The evaluation assessed the overall relevance and performance of the PCSP. In particular, the evaluation assessed the extent to which the Program:

  • aligns with government priorities and NRCan strategic outcomes, addresses a continuing need for the program, and aligns with federal roles and responsibilities (relevance);
  • has achieved its intended outcomes (i.e., effectiveness) and demonstrates efficiency and economy (which together comprise performance); and
  • the extent to which performance information is being collected and used in support of the determination of effectiveness, efficiency and economy.

The evaluation was conducted using a theory-based approach based on the PCSP’s logic model.Footnote5

This evaluation used multiple lines of evidence (see Section 2.2 for additional information), including:

  • document and literature reviews;
  • database/file review;
  • project case studies (seven);
  • international comparison case studies (four);
  • stakeholder interviews (22); and
  • applicant survey (142).

The following table identifies the key limitations associated with the conduct of this evaluation as well as the mitigation strategy employed to try to minimize the impact of these limitations (see Section 2.3 for additional information).

Limitations to the Evaluation and Associated Mitigation Strategies
Limitation Mitigation Strategy
Immediately prior to the data collection phase of this evaluation, there was a tragic plane crash near the Resolute Airport that took the life of the PCSP Director (Marty Bergmann) and eleven others. As a result, this evaluation was delayed for a month, which meant that data collection commenced after the Resolute Facility had closed for the 2011 season. This meant that the evaluation team was not able to make a planned site visit to Resolute to conduct interviews of locals employed at the Facility and community members, as well as a review of hard copy files, including information related to travel coordination, flight manifests, incident reports, etc. An additional group of stakeholders was added to strengthen the interview line of evidence to assess the impact of the Program in Nunavut, and in particular, within the community of Resolute. Interview questions were also added to interview guides with program management and staff to try to attain anecdotal evidence that may have been gathered through the review of files.
An outdated program logic model, gaps in supporting information/indicators, and limited availability of performance information.

Through the use of a theory-based approach, every effort was made by the evaluation team to identify and challenge the assumptions behind the available logic model. Analysis of the PCSP database and interviews were key lines of evidence for obtaining information related to performance.
Gaps and inconsistencies in the various databases and files. Information (i.e., related to requests received, logistical support agreed to, actual logistics support provided and for which projects were invoiced) was spread across separate systems or files. Although these could be cross-referenced using project numbers, they could not be linked electronically. Time and resources were not available for the evaluation team to conduct a manual reference across all 748 projects. Nevertheless, samples of ten projects per year were selected in order to conduct a detailed review.
Limited information was available related to the request, use and quality of equipment because there were inconsistencies and gaps in the accessibility and reporting of information across the various databases. Interviews and surveys were the methods used to gather information relevant to equipment (to the extent possible).

Information was not available for some projects in some of the databases, systems or files. For example, in some cases, projects were missing one or more pieces of documentation (e.g., the Logistics Request Form, Letter of Support, or Costing Report) No applicable mitigation strategy.

Overall Evaluation Conclusions

The PCSP was found to be highly relevant in that it is aligned with federal government priorities, NRCan strategic objectives, as well as federal roles and responsibilities. The Program was found to be addressing a need for coordination and provision of logistics support for research being conducted in Canada’s Arctic. This need is particularly relevant given the cost of conducting research in the Arctic as well as the vastness of the geographic area.

Overall, the PCSP was contributing to the achievement of its intended outcomes and objectives, specifically those related to: awareness of the PCSP logistics services; providing effective logistics support; creating synergies among research teams; building northern capacity; supporting the northern economy; facilitating the development of science-based knowledge; and increasing Canada’s presence in the Arctic while contributing to national priorities specifically related to the North. Nevertheless, the evaluation found that key performance information is not systematically tracked with respect to: safety of researchers in the field (in terms of safety-related incidents related to flights and equipment); economy of the Program; and performance of the Program in terms of progress towards achieving the intended outcomes identified in its logic model.

Although the Program is making good use of its resources and successfully providing researchers with logistics support, improvements to internal processes/project and inventory management tools could increase the effectiveness, efficiency, economy, and sustainability of the Program.

Detailed Findings

Relevance

Alignment with Government Priorities and NRCan’s Strategic Outcomes

The PCSP aligns with federal government priorities and NRCan’s strategic outcomes. In particular, the Program aims to provide safe and cost-effective logistics support for researchers involved with northern development/scientific research initiatives. This is consistent with broader Government of Canada priorities (as articulated in strategic documents such as Canada’s Northern Strategy), as well as the priorities of other government departments. Moreover, the Program has continued to align with NRCan’s strategic outcomes despite movement amongst and across NRCan’s three strategic outcomes and seven program activities of the Program Activity Architecture (PAA) since fiscal year 2006-07.

Continued Need for the Program

There is a need to provide logistical support for research in Canada’s Arctic because of the high cost of doing research there, as well as its widespread geography. That said, the current logic model of the PCSP reflects outcomes that the Program may be achieving but presents challenges with the logic flow given that it is based on 1958 thinking. In particular, outcome statements need to be updated to more accurately reflect some current objectives of the Program (i.e., safety and cost-effectiveness) and be more transparent in terms of intended users/clients or partners and anticipated impact.

Alignment with Federal Roles and Responsibilities

The mandate of the PCSP does not overlap with other organizations. This includes other government departments as well as organizations in the voluntary, academic, or private sectors. International organizations provide similar services as the PCSP to researchers from their own regions in Polar Regions (i.e., Arctic, Antarctic), but not specifically to Canadian researchers in Canada’s Arctic. Where services are provided by other organizations, they are complementary to those provided by the PCSP and the PCSP may work with them at times, as necessary. The PCSP is the only organization mandated to provide these activities/ services (under the Resources and Technical Surveys Act, 1994). No other organization seems able to provide similar services to those provided by the PCSP.

Performance

Achievement of Expected Outcomes (Effectiveness)

In spite of the challenges of conducting research in the North and providing logistics for this research (e.g., inhospitable weather, human resource and procurement policies that are potentially incompatible with program delivery), the PCSP has provided effective logistical support to all projects. This is, in part, attributable to the quality and expertise of the PCSP staff both in Ottawa and at the Resolute facility. In particular, the Program has made progress towards increasing the awareness of the PCSP logistics services, creating synergies among research teams, building northern capacity, supporting the northern economy, facilitating the development of science-based knowledge, and increasing Canada’s presence in the Arctic while contributing to national priorities specifically related to the North. Overall, evidence indicates that the level of research currently being conducted in Canada’s Arctic could not be maintained without the existence and support of the PCSP.

In spite of the addition of two large-scale, full recoverable expenditure projects – Geo-Mapping for Energy and Minerals (GEM), and United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) – in the 2009 and 2010 field seasons, the PCSP was still able to provide logistics support to a number of other projects. In fact, during this time, the Program saw an increase in the number of applications and projects supported. However, with its relatively stable core funding, increase in the cost of providing logistics, and increase in the number of projects, there is a trend towards supporting more projects but with less in-kind support across projects. That is, the PCSP appears to be increasingly moving towards a model of partial in-kind support and partial recoverable expenditures in order to continue to effectively provide support to researchers conducting research in the Arctic.

Although the addition of GEM and UNCLOS did not negatively impact the number of projects for which support was provided, large supported projects such as these may be difficult to sustain particularly given the internal time and human resources required to accommodate the increase in logistic requirements (both in terms of aircraft and equipment). This is in line with some of the internal challenges currently facing the PCSP, namely challenges associated with strict policies related to human resources and procurement. Other external factors that could negatively impact the effectiveness of the Program include weather, mechanical issues with aircraft, and fuel supply issues.

Unintended Outcomes

A few positive unintended outcomes were identified through multiple lines of evidence. The bulk of these focused on impacts on northern communities and economies, as well as building the capacity through the inclusion of students in the projects supported by the PCSP and presentations by researchers to schools in northern communities. Attempts were made during the evaluation to determine if findings are supported by gender disaggregated performance data. While there is a variance in the gender data (of principal researchers and students), the five-year period examined in this evaluation did not identify any significant findings related to this.

Efficiency and Economy

Overall, the PCSP makes good use of resources. However, there seems to be a trend towards providing logistics support to more projects, but with less in-kind support to each project. In particular, there is a trend towards more partial recovered expenditures and partial in-kind support arrangements with respect to flight hours requested by researchers. This can be attributed to the relatively stable core funding from 2006 through 2010, increased costs of delivering logistics (such as increased costs for fuel and transportation) and an increased number of applicants over the same time period.

Evidence further suggests that program efficiency and economy could be increased through improvements to its administrative procedures and modernization of inventory and project management tools (including financial management tools). While the PCSP currently has high quality (and well-qualified staff), it is encountering challenges with program delivery caused by inflexibilities in Government of Canada human resource and procurement processes.

In particular, the evaluation found that alternatives and/or flexibilities could be considered with respect to the following:

  • Inventorymanagement, which is based on outdated tailored software that can be serviced only by the consultant who designed it, and does not link with the inventory management system at the Resolute facility.
  • Financial management inventory, from which recovered expenditures are calculated based on outdated formulas and for which there is no long-term plan for purchases and inventory management.
  • Human resources processes related to isolated post arrangements versus travel status because the cost of travelling to Resolute is so high and the location is isolated with no option of bringing family along. The practice of putting Resolute staff on travel status has recently been determined to not be the proper approach; rather isolated post arrangements should be used. This may then be cost-prohibitive to qualified and interested individuals.
  • Procurement processes, in particular those associated with procuring and shipping goods to the North given that sea lifts occur only once per year. Additional challenges were identified with the requirement to abide by the limits of the PWGSC Standing Offer for the provision of contracts for charter airline, including price limitations and nine to five/ Monday to Friday working hours of PWGSC, which does not always correspond with the realities of conducting research in the North.
  • Invoicing processes that could be done in a more timely manner. Invoicing delays are partly due to a lack of Program human resource capacity as well as researchers changing plans from the initial applications. These delays often result in researchers clearing up invoices from the previous field season while also trying to determine resources required for the upcoming field season.
  • Lack of alignment with other organizations providing support, such as the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). This results in the PCSP making decisions related to in-kind logistics support without knowing the actual amount needed by researchers because proposals will not yet have been approved by NSERC when PCSP decisions are being made.

The PCSP is also playing an important coordination role, thereby increasing efficiency and creating economies of scale. Specifically, partnering or entering into agreements with other jurisdictions helps improve the efficiency, economy and effectiveness of the Program. For example, a key partnership that has been entered into by the PCSP recently is with the Department of National Defence (DND) at the Resolute facility, which resulted in the expansion of the existing PCSP facility and facilitated large-scale military training for DND personnel. Benefits to the PCSP resulting from this partnership with DND include:

  • the field season expands by one month for all users – particular benefits for science/research clients such as UNCLOS;
  • DND pays for opening costs of the PCSP Resolute facility and all operational costs during periods when it is running a training course; and
  • a portion of DND resources will be used to offset other science logistical costs.Footnote6

Coordinating flights, whereby multiple research teams share chartered flights, also creates efficiencies and economies of scale. However, there are barriers and challenges that should be addressed through the examination of alternatives or flexibilities, where feasible. Addressing these could benefit the PCSP and its ability to provide logistics support to assist researchers in conducting research in the Arctic.

Performance Information

Limited performance information is collected by the PCSP that would support the determination of effectiveness, efficiency and economy. That said, the PCSP does collect information on the satisfaction of PCSP clients through regularly conducted satisfaction surveys. However, there are inconsistencies and gaps in the accessibility, availability and reporting of information across the Program’s various data/information systems and files. Similarly, the PCSP does not systematically collect, monitor or report on progress towards achieving its outcomes related to providing safe, efficient and cost-effective logistical support – this includes systematically monitoring and reporting on the immediate, intermediate and long-term outcomes in the Program logic model. As a result, information gaps exist with respect to performance of the Program in achieving the intended outcomes and objectives, particularly with respect to economy of the Program and the safety of researchers in the field.

The safe conduct of research is a shared responsibility between the PCSP and the researcher’s employer because occupational safety is at least partly the responsibility of the researcher’s employer. That said, the evaluation found that information is not systematically collected to track and report on safety-related incidents related to flights and equipment – for example: supplemental flights to rescue researchers from the field; flights to follow-up missed scheduled contacts by researchers with the Resolute facility; number of times equipment has to be replaced/repaired in the field.

It is important to note that the Program is undertaking key actions in an effort to ensure the safety of researchers conducting their research in Canada’s Arctic. For instance:

  • The Program requires that all field researchers have basic training in first aid and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), at a minimum, and at least one principal investigator has (i) a minimum of three years of experience working in the Arctic; and (ii) at least two years of experience running, or helping to run, an Arctic field camp.
  • The application form requires (i) trip details (identification of team members, camp locations, dates of arrival and departure for camp locations); (ii) years of Arctic experience held by the project lead; (iii) first aid and CPR training of all project team members; and emergency communications arrangements and contact telephone numbers for project teams when they are at camp.
  • Providing a satellite phone to all research teams and requiring twice-a-day check-ins from the field camp to the Resolute facility and dispatching a rescue plane should calls be missed.

Recommendations, Management Responses and Action Plan

Recommendations Management Responses and Action Plan Responsible Official/Sector (Target Date)

1. PCSP should improve and modernize inventory and project management tools (including financial management tools). This should include:

  • integrated systems to enable monitoring and reporting of requested vs. approved (in-kind vs. recovered expenditures) vs. actual logistics support;
  • information pertaining to all support – equipment, aircraft, fuel, accommodation (Resolute vs. commercial); and
  • updated costing models for equipment, with all assumptions clearly articulated.

Accepted. In the fall of 2011, PCSP engaged NRCan IT for assistance in improving connectivity between Ottawa and Resolute, desktop support for Resolute and for improved and fully supported business systems.

  • NRCan, via Shared Services Canada, is installing a dedicated satellite connectivity system in Resolute which will allow for the development and integration of fully supported business tools. This should be functional in the summer of 2013.
  • An option analysis for PCSP business systems was conducted and completed in February 2012.
  • The business and functional requirements for the new integrated web client logistics services request tool is complete (August 2012) and design/implementation will be complete by July 2013.

Improved connectivity and business system changes underway will allow tracking of logistics requests from client submission to completion of work (including billing), including tracking of changes to logistics requests and recording of requested, approved and actual logistics support.

PCSP is already reviewing its integrated equipment delivery model, the implications of the broadening scope of clients (Arctic vs non-Arctic support, one-year vs. multi-year support agreement, direct, in-kind support vs. recoverable) and the impact that may have on the costing model being used. An equipment charging policy will be developed and related Standard Operating Procedures developed. The costing model will be updated, if required.

ADM, Earth Sciences Sector

- new web portal (July 2013)

- full completion (2014 – date to be determined based on NRCan IT timelines)

2. PCSP should update the Program logic model to ensure it reflects all aspects of the Program. This should include the articulation of the theory of change – a set of assumptions, risks and external factors that describe how and why the Program is intended to work.

Accepted. PCSP has been in operation in its current format for over 20 years. During this time, roles have been added to PCSP (e.g., TFSS) and NRCan itself has evolved in terms of how it describes itself and its priorities. As a result, PCSP has held a series of discussions and workshop on the PCSP logic model, engaging subject matter experts in the sector and at NRCan. The logic model was updated so that it reflected clearly all aspects of the Program (e.g., equipment service outside of the Arctic to federal government departments/agencies, support to the priorities of other federal government departments/agencies, and PCSP work related to ensuring safety of clients in the field across the Arctic). PCSP is now working on articulating the set of assumptions, risks and external factors in support to the revised logic model.

ADM, Earth Sciences Sector (March 2013)

3. PCSP should develop and implement a performance measurement strategy (and related systems as necessary) with indicators/metrics to enable the systematic collection, monitoring and reporting of all components of the updated Program logic model. This information should also assist with ongoing Program planning and decision-making.

Accepted. While updating its logic model, PCSP also initiated discussions on its performance measurement framework (PMF) including indicators, measures, targets, data collection requirements (source, frequency) and assigned responsibilities for collecting and reporting on the measures. PCSP is committed to having an updated PMF in place by end of March 2013, and start collecting data in support of performance indicators/measures in 2013-14. The performance data collected will align and support NRCan’s PAA/PMF, Departmental Performance Report (DPR) and Report on Plans and Priorities (RPP) requirements.

ADM, Earth Sciences Sector (March 2013)

4. PCSP should request gender information on application forms (for both the research team and students) to enable gender-based analysis (GBA) to monitor and report on this information/trends on a periodic basis.Footnote7

Accepted. The new PCSP on-line logistics request form will request gender information from clients applying for Arctic support. Gender information will be provided by applicants for all field party members, including field personnel and students. The data collected and recorded in the PCSP database will be available to support gender-based analysis.

ADM, Earth Sciences Sector (September 2012)

5. PCSP should explore options for aligning the application/approval processes with those of other sources of support – e.g., funding sources such as Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) – and implement as appropriate to increase the efficiency and economy of the Program.

Accepted. PCSP has had a series of discussions with NSERC to try and identify options to better align funding for science with PCSP’s approval cycle. As a result, PCSP has revised its timeline and screening process for requests and notifications to better align with the academic and federal decision-making process and to eliminate duplication. PCSP continues to work with NSERC, Aboriginal Affairs & Northern Development Canada (AANDC) and the Canadian Polar Commission to streamline the Arctic science approval and funding process. PCSP will also work with AANDC to ensure that the Canadian High Arctic Research Station, to be fully supported for field logistics by PCSP, is integrated into the existing processes and timeline.

ADM, Earth Sciences Sector (September 2012)

6. PCSP should improve the application and review process. This includes clearly identifying specific requirements; identifying review considerations and the review process; as well as developing and defining service standards. This will also assist the Program in determining and monitoring its efficiency.

Accepted. PCSP initiated a review of its application and review process in the fall of 2011. The PCSP updated its Arctic Operations Manual in March 2012 to include a section outlining the application and review process as well as the terms and conditions of PCSP support. The PCSP website will also be updated in early September 2012 to clearly communicate to potential clients PCSP’s service offer, its requirements, and the timelines for the submission and review of logistics requests. PCSP clients will now have a better sense of when they can expect PCSP to make a decision on their request and when they will be expected to respond/confirm their intent to proceed with their field work.

ADM, Earth Sciences Sector (December 2012)

7. PCSP should explore alternatives and/or flexibilities to current delivery approaches and processes so as to maximize the effectiveness, efficiency and economy of the Program while ensuring continued compliance with Government of Canada policies and regulations (as applicable given the status of the Program), particularly those related to human resource and procurement processes.

Accepted. PCSP, with the support of the Earth Sciences Sector (ESS) Strategic and Planning Division, has had discussions with NRCan’s Corporate Management and Services Sector (CMSS) and the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) regarding financial, human resources, procurement and facility management issues faced by the PCSP in delivering its logistics program in the Arctic/from an Arctic location. These issues are also faced by others operating in the Arctic. It is expected that the solutions found to the Arctic operational challenges will need to be formalized in a framework (internal to NRCan or external via TBS).
PCSP is fully engaged in this process and expects to meet deadlines for implementation once the framework has been established.

ADM, Earth Sciences
Sector

- framework (March 2013)

1.0 Introduction and Background

1.1 Introduction

This report presents the findings of the evaluation of Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan) Polar Continental Shelf Program (PCSP) over the period of 2006-07 to 2010-11, covering approximately $88.9 million in program expenditures, including $10.7 million in capital. Approximately 55 percent of direct program spending was recoverable expenditures. This evaluation was undertaken between October 2011 and May 2012 as part of NRCan’s ongoing evaluation cycle.Footnote8

The PCSP is Canada’s service delivery program responsible for providing logistical support to researchers from Canadian government agencies, northern communities, and independent university groups conducting scientific activity on Canada’s landmass, with an emphasis in Canada’s Arctic.

1.2 History and Evolution of the Polar Continental Shelf ProgramFootnote9

In the spring of 1958, in response to a recommendation drafted during a special meeting of interested government agencies, Cabinet established the Polar Continental Shelf Project. Significant motivators to its formation included recognition of the Arctic’s economic and strategic value, and the limited scientific understanding of this area.

The first field party began scientific and cultural research in 1960. For its first thirty years, the PCSP had up to 70 scientists investigating the geology, geography, climate, ecosystems, culture and history of the Arctic. By the mid-1980s, the PCSP had:

  • launched the Lomonosov Ridge Experiment (LOREX), a multi-disciplinary project to study the nature and origins of the Lomonosov Ridge;
  • contributed to the three-volume Sea-Ice Atlas of the Arctic; and
  • completed the Canadian Expedition to the Study of the Alpha Ridge (CESAR), which produced core samples with three million years of history of the Arctic Ocean.

While the Program originally included internal scientific capacity, the PCSP was modified in 1986 to become a logistics coordination agency. At that point, scientific staff joined or returned to other government departments, or other parts of NRCan.

In the 1990s, the PCSP again expanded its role:

  • While continuing to operate as logistical support to scientific research, the PCSP established a Traditional Knowledge Program (1994) (now the Traditional Ecological Knowledge Program) to provide similar logistics support to northern community programs involving elders and youth with a focus on preserving traditional aboriginal knowledge and skills.
  • In 1996, the PCSP partnered with the Canadian Arctic Research Program to establish the Canadian Arctic-Antarctic Research Program with the aim of encouraging scientific collaboration among research scientists at both poles.

Lastly, in 2008 – the year of its 50th anniversary – the PCSP and the Geological Survey of Canada’s Technical Field Support Service (TFSS)Footnote10 merged into a single program. The TFSS is responsible for providing logistics support to NRCan’s field projects through the issuance of field equipment. Upon request, the TFSS, may also issue field equipment to researchers from other government departments on the basis of recoverable expenditures.

1.3 Overview of the Polar Continental Shelf Program

1.3.1 The Program Activity Architecture (PAA) for the Polar Continental Shelf Program

Excerpts from NRCan’s 2011-12 Performance Measurement Framework (PMF) are outlined in Table 1, which identifies the expected results of the Program in relation to the Department’s PAA.

Table 1: PMF Program Results in Relation to Departmental Results, 2011-12
PAA Level Order Name Expected Result
Strategic Outcome 3 Safety, Security and Stewardship Natural resources and landmass knowledge strengthens the safety and security of Canadians and contribute to the effective governance of Canada.
Program Activity 3.2 Natural Resource and Landmass Knowledge and Systems Government has the necessary natural resource and landmass knowledge and systems required to both govern the country and position Canada to play a leadership role in federal/provincial/territorial and international fora.
Program Sub-Activity 3.2.2 Essential Geographic Information and Support Geographic and geoscience information is used in public and private sectors’ decisions on issues of governance (land use, boundaries, etc.) and the economic development of natural resources and program data is used in value-added applications that support decision making (Google maps, geographic information systems, etc.).
Program Sub-Sub Activity 3.2.1.6 Polar Continental Shelf Program Provide cost-effective logistical support.

Source: NRCan. (November 2011). Earth Sciences Sector 2011-12 Performance Measurement Framework with descriptions English and French.

1.3.2 Polar Continental Shelf Program Objectives

The core mission of the PCSP is to provide “safe, efficient and cost-effective logistical support to researchers from governmental, non-governmental and foreign organizations conducting scientific field work across the Canadian Arctic”.Footnote11 To this end, the PCSP’s Arctic field logistics services include:

  • coordination of air transportation to and from remote field camps throughout the Canadian Arctic;
  • meals, accommodations and working space at the PCSP facility in Resolute, Nunavut;
  • field equipment and camps;
  • fuel for aircraft, equipment and camps; and
  • a communications network that links the PCSP with scientific teams in field camps dispersed throughout Canada’s Arctic.Footnote12

1.3.3 Resources for the Polar Continental Shelf Program

As shown in Table 2, the PCSP is an ongoing Program with great reliance on support from external sources.

Table 2: Polar Continental Shelf Program Expenditures, 2006-07 to 2010-11 ($ millions)
Expenditure Type 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 Total
PCSP – Salaries
A-Base* 0.62 0.71 0.79 0.82 0.95 3.89
Recoverable** - - 0.28 0.50 0.56 1.34
PCSP – Operating
A-Base* 5.72 5.87 5.84 6.16 5.49 29.08
Recoverable*** 1.60 2.02 6.99 10.85 17.38 38.84
Total PCSP
A-Base 6.34 6.58 6.63 6.98 6.44 32.97
Recoverable 1.60 2.02 7.27 11.35 17.94 40.18
TFSS – Salaries
A-Base* 0.24 0.27 0.36 0.39 0.38 1.64
Recoverable - - - - - -
TFSS – Operating
A-Base* 0.43 0.34 0.33 0.29 0.04 1.43
Recoverable**** 0.12 0.17 0.27 0.64 0.72 1.92
Total TFSS
A-Base 0.67 0.61 0.69 0.68 0.42 3.07
Recoverable 0.12 0.17 0.27 0.64 0.72 1.92
PCSP – Capital
Total Capital - - - 1.75 8.99 10.74
Overall Program Expenditures
A-Base 7.01 7.19 7.32 7.66 6.86 36.04
Recoverable 1.72 2.19 7.54 11.99 18.66 42.10
Total Expenditures 8.73 9.38 14.86 21.40 34.51 88.88
Notes:
* includes all expenditures charged to allotment 201, except for reporting object 0513 – Incremental cost recovery OGD;
** includes all C-base allotment from within NRCan;
*** includes reporting object 0513, all C-base allotment and OGD Suspense Account; and
**** includes C-base allotments until fiscal year 2010-10; in 2010-11, includes amount credited under Standard Object 05 Rental.

Source: PCSP/GUFI.

1.3.4 Detailed Description of the Polar Continental Shelf Program

Geographic Scope and Facilities

The first facility for the PCSP was established at Resolute, Nunavut on Cornwallis Island, bordering the Barrow Strait and Northwest Passage.Footnote13 Dedicated funding through the Arctic Research Infrastructure Fund (2009-10 and 2010-11) was received by the Program to expand and upgrade this facility. Table 3 provides a comparison of the facility pre and post expansion.

Table 3: Resolute Facility in 2009 and 2011
Capacity 2009 2011
Client capacity 41 76
Office & living space 25,250 sq. ft 37,300 sq. ft (65% increase)
Laboratory facilities general workrooms modern laboratory facilities
Operational season 7 months 9-10 months

Source: Polar Continental Shelf Program: Providing Logistical Support for Science in Canada’s Arctic Presentation, August 21, 2009, slide 13.

In addition to the facility at Resolute, the PCSP has built a logistics support network totalling over 2100 kilometres across Canada’s Arctic.Footnote14 Today, the Program can support field camps across the Canadian Arctic and Subarctic, from Belcher Islands (southern Hudson Bay), to the Yukon-Alaska border to Auyuittuq National Park on the eastern edge of Baffin Island.Footnote15

Supported Projects

A number of scientific research projects are supported each field season across multiple scientific disciplines. In October of each year, science project applications and their related logistics requests are submitted to the PCSP.Footnote16 The PCSP notifies research proponents of its decision, through Letters of Support to the principal investigator, in March of the following calendar year.

Support for logistics is planned and allocated based on annual project applications, with applications being considered on an individual basis subject to the PCSP’s materiel and human resource capabilities. The PCSP provides logistical support to research proponents using one of three arrangements:

  1. 100 percent in-kind support, whereby logistics costs are covered in full by the PCSP;
  2. partial in-kind support and partial recoverable expenditures, whereby logistics costs are shared between the PCSP and the research proponent; and
  3. 100 percent recoverable expenditures, whereby logistics costs are covered in full by the research proponent.

As illustrated in Table 4, the PCSP provided logistical support to a total of 749 projects from 2006 through 2010.

Table 4: Number of Projects Receiving Logistical Support from the PCSP, Field Seasons 2006 to 2010
Support Arrangement 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Total
In-kind (100% or partial) 114 91 109 126 106 546
100% recoverable 22 36 48 42 55 203
Total 136 127 157 168 161 749

Source: PCSP Database.

Figure 1 provides an illustration of the typical annual general distribution of supported projects across categories of research proponents (i.e., universities, territorial departments/governments, federal government departments, land claim organizations/organizations conducting traditional knowledge projects).

Figure 1: Annual General Distribution of PCSP Clients

Figure 1 provides an illustration of the annual general distribution of PCSP clients.
Federal government departments* 43% of clients are from federal government departments 42% of clients are from universities Universities*
Land claim organizations 5% of clients are from land claim organizations 10% of clients are from territorial departments Territorial departments*
* Including academics from foreign universities and Arctic research organizations (primarily joint projects).
Text version - figure 1

Figure 1:

Figure 1 provides an illustration of the annual general distribution of PCSP clients. 43% of clients are from federal government departments, 42% of clients are from universities (including academics from foreign universities and Arctic research organizations, primarily through joint projects), 10% of clients are from territorial departments, and 5% of clients are from land claim organizations.

All Canadian scientific organizations, with the exception of private, are eligible for direct, in-kind support. Direct in-kind support for logistics is not provided to independent parties, the private sector, or international researchers/non-Canadian projects. PCSP does not have sufficient funding to fully support the logistics needs of all projects. As a result, it is common for PCSP to cover the cost of only some of the logistics required, the remainder being purchased by PCSP but charged back to the project as a recoverable expense.

In addition to supporting science projects with direct, in-kind support, PCSP also provides indirect in-kind support (it organizes and coordinates the logistics required) for projects which may indirectly support science (e.g., media), or support cost-effective science (sharing costs) or which have long-term funding for their science including logistics. For these projects, PCSP recovers 100 percent of the cost of the direct costs of logistics (aircraft hours, fuel, etc.). Organizations currently falling into this category include: Canadian Space Agency, Department of National Defence, and Parks Canada.

Governance

The Polar Continental Shelf Program is located within NRCan’s Earth Sciences Sector (ESS). The Director of the Logistics and Technical Services Division reports through the Director General (DG) of the Strategic Policy and Operations Branch to the Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) of the ESS.

The PCSP and NRCan senior management receive guidance from the PCSP’s Advisory Board. Members of this Advisory Board are invited by NRCan’s DG of the Strategic Policy and Operations Branch, to sit on the Board for a term of up to three years. Membership on the Advisory Board is limited to 14, based on the following representation:

  • four members should be selected from federal government departments and agencies;
  • four members should be selected from the academic community;
  • four members should be selected from Aboriginal People’s organizations, territorial governments and agencies; and
  • two ex-officio members – Director of the PCSP and Chair of the Science Screening Committee.Footnote17

According to its Terms of Reference, this Advisory Board is charged with providing advice on:

  • logistical services and directions for the PCSP to meet the needs of Arctic science;
  • screening processes of project proposals;
  • consideration of traditional knowledge and Arctic communities’ interests; and
  • membership of the PCSP Science Screening Committee, which reviews university-based, non-Canadian or independent applications, to ensure fairness, equity and transparency.Footnote18

In the Terms of Reference, the Board is similarly tasked with providing a forum to:

  • allow federal, provincial and territorial agencies, as well as universities involved in Arctic research, to inform PCSP of their medium- and long- term priorities in the Arctic;
  • allow PCSP to communicate its strategies in support of Arctic research;
  • discuss logistics priorities; and
  • coordinate activities between logistics providers, and for PCSP and participating agencies, to discuss and comment on logistical requirements needed to support Arctic research of the future.Footnote19
Program Stakeholders

A number of key program stakeholders have been identified by the PCSP. The majority of these relationships originate with Canadian federal government departments and agencies and Canadian universities. The remainder are at the national and international levels.

Most recently, the PCSP has formally partnered with other federal departments and agencies to increase overall program activities. Examples of program clients that approach the PCSP with their own funding to cover the logistics services provided by the PCSP include:

  • Geo-mapping for Energy and Minerals (GEM): The PCSP was provided with $10.0 million over five years (salary and operations &maintenance combined) in Budget 2008 to provide logistics support for the GEM initiative, a federal geological mapping initiative focused on the North (funds run through 2013).
  • Canada’s submission to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) under the United Nation Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS): The PCSP was provided specifically with $4.0 million over four years in Budget 2008 to provide logistics support for the UNCLOS project to establish the outer limits of the Continental Shelf.

In addition, several other federal government stakeholders have been identified, including:

  • Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC): AANDC is the lead department on the implementation of the Government of Canada’s Northern Strategy, which provides a vision for the North founded on sustainable social and economic development, environmental protection, good governance and securing Canada’s sovereignty in the far North.
  • Canadian Ice Service (CIS) of Environment Canada (EC): Provides information, services and products to the PCSP to ensure the safety of activities in ice-covered waters. Additionally, EC provides weather information to enable appropriate decision-making and protection of property.
  • Canadian Coast Guard (CCG): The CCG assists the PCSP by providing site visit support and transporting dry cargo in icebreaking vessels that are used to address the probability of heavy ice in the high Arctic and other challenges to conventional commercial ships.
  • Department of National Defence (DND): DND is increasing its presence in the Arctic. DND partnered with the PCSP at the Resolute facility, which resulted in the expansion of the existing PCSP facility and facilitated large-scale military training for DND personnel. In 2010, DND and NRCan signed a 25-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), “Cooperation in the Canadian Arctic”, in which DND supported the expansion of the Resolute facility in exchange for “provisions for the use/occupancy of the PCSP facility in Resolute” for the Canadian Forces Arctic Training Centre in the off-season.Footnote20 Benefits to the PCSP resulting from its partnership with DND include:
    • the field season expands by one month for all users – particular benefits for science/research clients such as UNCLOS;
    • DND pays for opening costs of the PCSP Resolute facility and all operational costs during periods when it is running a training course ($250,000 and $700,000, respectively); and
    • a portion of DND resources will be used to offset other science logistical costs.Footnote21

As mentioned previously, there are also non-federal government stakeholders. These include:

  • Arctic Colleges: The PCSP has implemented a number of MOUs with Canadian Arctic colleges in Iqaluit (Nunavut), Inuvik (Northwest Territories), and Whitehorse (Yukon) to facilitate logistics coordination and some exchange of services; and
  • Government of Nunavut (GN): The PCSP has leased land from the GN, up to 2.6 hectares at the Resolute Bay Airport, to accommodate the ongoing and expanded needs of the Program.

2.0 Evaluation Scope, Approach and Methodology

2.1 Evaluation Scope and Approach

This evaluation covered NRCan’s direct program spending for the Polar Continental Shelf Program over the period of 2006-07 to 2010-11. In accordance with the Treasury Board Secretariat’s (TBS) new Policy on Evaluation (2009), this evaluation assessed issues related to:

  • relevance, including alignment with federal government and departmental priorities, continued need for the Program and role of the federal government; and
  • performance, including effectiveness (e.g., progress towards achieving outcomes), efficiency and economy.

This evaluation also assessed the extent to which performance information is being collected and used in support of the determination of effectiveness, efficiency and economy.

To the extent possible, this evaluation was conducted using a theory-based approach. The Program provides logistics support for researchers in Canada’s North; as a service provider, the Program lent itself well to a theory-based evaluation’s premise of making explicit the theory of change associated with each intervention, to reach conclusions about the contribution the Program is making to achieved results. The PCSP’s logic model was used to support this.Footnote22

In a theory-based evaluation, the anticipated process by which the intervention will arrive at its expected results is examined in greater detail than what is generally presented in a logic model. All elements of a results chain including inputs, activities, outputs, immediate and intermediate outcomes, in conjunction with risks and assumptions, are described as part of the Program’s theory of change at each stage of movement between the logic model components.

2.2 Methodologies

In assessing the relevance and performance of the PCSP, this evaluation used multiple lines of evidence including:

  • document and literature reviews: the evaluation reviewed program documentation, Government of Canada priority and policy statements, as well as academic and third-party research related to providing logistics in remote/northern/polar regions;
  • database/file review: the evaluation reviewed program databases, systems and files in an assessment of performance information collected and used as well as the analysis of any available performance information;
  • project case studies: seven case studies of selected supported projects covering the breadth of programming between 2006-07 and 2010-11;
  • international comparison case studies: four international case studies (United Kingdom, United States, Sweden and Norway) were conducted to identify good practices and potential opportunities for improvement;
  • stakeholder interviews: using a mix of purposive and convenience sampling, 22 interviews were conducted with PCSP representatives (eight) and external stakeholders (14); and
  • applicant survey:Footnote23 a web/email survey was completed by 142 applicants who received logistics support from the PCSP (50 percent response rate) to examine trends and consensus across stakeholder groups and determine the impact of PCSP support on the capacity to conduct scientific activities in Canada’s Arctic.

2.3 Limitations to the Evaluation and Associated Mitigation Strategies

Immediately prior to the data collection phase of this evaluation, there was a tragic plane crash near the Resolute Airport that took the life of the PCSP Director (Marty Bergmann) and eleven others. As a result, this evaluation was delayed for a month, which meant that data collection commenced after the Resolute Facility had closed for the 2011 season. This meant that the evaluation team was not able to make a planned site visit to Resolute to conduct interviews of locals employed at the Facility and community members, as well as a review of hard copy files, including information related to travel coordination, flight manifests, incident reports, etc.

To mitigate this limitation, an additional group of stakeholders was added to strengthen the interview line of evidence to assess the impact of the Program in Nunavut, and in particular within the community of Resolute. Interview questions were also added to interview guides with program management and staff to try to attain anecdotal evidence that may have been gathered through the review of files.

More applied challenges also existed, in particular with respect to the logic model, supporting indicators and performance information, as well as databases, systems and files.

First, the logic model available at the time of this evaluation was outdated and lacking definitions of key terms (i.e., efficiency, stakeholders), was missing key parts of the Program mission in its outcomes (i.e., safety, cost-effectiveness), and performance indicators for all logic model components. Consequently, limited information had been collected systematically and reported on related to progress towards achieving intended outcomes. Through the use of a theory-based approach, every effort was made by the evaluation team to identify and challenge the assumptions behind the available logic model. Analysis of the PCSP database and interviews were key lines of evidence for obtaining information related to performance.

Second, obtaining an overall picture of the PCSP through the available databases and files was difficult. Information on the various aspects of the PCSP’s operations (e.g., requests received; logistical support agreed to; actual logistics support provided and for which projects were invoiced) was not retained within one system. Rather, information is spread across several separate systems or groups of files, which, although they can be cross-referenced through the project number, cannot be linked electronically. In particular, the PCSP database (maintained in Microsoft Access) contains information related to project objectives as well as partial information about logistics support (i.e., equipment, accommodation and aircraft) requested and approved. However, the Letters of Support, which are separate Microsoft Word files, also contain information on logistics support approved and provided in-kind (if applicable). In order to find information on the actual logistics support provided and amounts invoiced to research proponents, it is necessary to reference another separate system of Costing Reports (individual Microsoft Excel files created for each supported project). Time and resources were not available for the evaluation team to conduct a manual reference across all 748 projects. Nevertheless, 50 projects (i.e., ten per year) were randomly selected as a sample for such a review.

Moreover, limited information was available related to the request, use and quality of equipment because there are inconsistencies and gaps in the accessibility and reporting of information across these various databases, systems and files. For example, the Logistics Request Form (i.e., program application form) requests requirements for equipment; however, the PCSP database retains minimal information on whether equipment requested was approved. Similarly, detailed information on equipment and camp fuel provided is available in the Costing Reports; however, individual spreadsheets are provided for each supported project with no electronic connection to the information contained in the application form or the PCSP database. Interviews and surveys were the methods used to gather information relevant to equipment (to the extent possible).

Lastly, information was not available for some projects in some of the databases, systems or files. For example, in some cases, projects were missing one or more pieces of documentation (i.e., the Logistics Request Form, Letter of Support, or Costing Report).

3.0 Evaluation Findings

3.1 Relevance

3.1.1 Alignment with Government Priorities and NRCan’s Strategic Outcomes

Evaluation Question Methodologies Assessment
1. To what extent do the priorities of the PCSP align with federal government priorities and NRCan’s strategic outcomes? Document review, database/file review, applicant survey. Aligns with government priorities and NRCan’s strategic outcomes.

Summary:
The PCSP aligns with federal government priorities and NRCan’s strategic outcomes. In particular, the Program aims to provide safe and cost-effective logistics support for researchers involved with northern development/scientific research initiatives. This is consistent with broader Government of Canada priorities (as articulated in strategic documents such as Canada’s Northern Strategy), as well as the priorities of other government departments. Moreover, the Program has continued to align with NRCan’s strategic outcomes despite movement amongst and across NRCan’s three strategic outcomes and seven program activities of the PAA since fiscal year 2006-07.

Analysis:

Alignment with Government Priorities
The PCSP operates under the authority of the Resources and Technical Surveys Act (1994) that calls for the Minister of NRCan to:

  • “coordinate logistics support and provide related assistance for the purposes of advancing scientific knowledge of the Arctic region and contribute to the exercise of Canada’s sovereignty in that region and its adjacent waters” [subsection 8(1)].”

In addition, the PCSP is subject to other federal Acts. Of note are:

  • Department of Natural Resources Act, S.C. 1994;
  • Nunavut Act, 1999;
  • Oceans Act, R.S.C. 1996, c. 31;
  • Canada Shipping Act, S.C. 2001, c. 26;
  • Fisheries Act, R.S. 1985, c. F-14;
  • Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Act, R.S., 1985, c. E-22;
  • Budget Implementation Act, 2008;
  • Budget Implementation Act, 2009; and
  • Budget Implementation Act, 2010.

The PCSP also responds to initiatives and requirements of federal policies, including:

  • Federal Real Property Regulations; and
  • Treasury Board Policy on the Management of Real Property.

The intended outcomes of the PCSP also align with Canada’s Northern Strategy (2009). For example, the Strategy indicates, among other things, that:

  • exercising Canada’s sovereignty includes maintaining a presence in the North, enhancing Canada’s stewardship in the North, defining the Canadian domain and advancing Canada’s knowledge of the North; and
  • by asserting its presence in the North, the Government of Canada ensures that Canada has the capacity to “[protect] and patrol the land, sea and sky in the sovereign Arctic territory”, in particular because Canada is putting more boots on the ground in the North.Footnote24

Given its legislated mandate, the PCSP not only supports projects that align with the priorities and strategic outcomes of NRCan, but also those of other government departments. As such, projects are sometimes supported that do not have a clear linkage to the mandate of NRCan, but do have a clear linkage to the priorities of the broader government. For instance, research projects undertaken by the Canadian Space Agency have received logistics support from the PCSP. Another example would be logistics support provided to Environment Canada to study the caribou population in the North.

With this in mind, very few proposals reviewed by the PCSP (2.9 percent) between 2006 and 2008, the years in which a strategic assessment was conducted on research project applications for logistics support, were found to have no link to strategic government priorities – as illustrated in Table 5.

Table 5: Proposal Links to Strategic Government Priorities (2006 to 2008)
Results of Assessment 2006 2007 2008 Total
Strong link 79 (46.5%) 76 (47.2%) 111 (60.7%) 266 (51.7%)
Weak link 52 (30.6%) 49 (30.4%) 6 (3.3%) 107 (20.8%)
No link 4 (2.3%) 8 (5.0%) 3 (1.6%) 15 (2.9%)
No assessment 35 (20.6%) 28 (17.4%) 63 (34.4%) 126 (24.5%)
Total # of Projects 170 161 183 514

Source: PCSP Database.

Similarly, the majority of respondents (91 percent) to the survey conducted as part of this evaluation believed that their research project was aligned with federal government priorities.

Alignment with NRCan’s Strategic Outcomes
The core mission of the PCSP is to provide safe, efficient and cost-effective logistical support for conducting field work throughout the Canadian Arctic. This consistency remained despite movement amongst and across NRCan’s three strategic outcomes and seven program activities of the PAA since fiscal year 2006-07.

From 2006-07 to 2010-11, the PCSP has transitioned from reporting in NRCan’s Strategic Outcome (SO) one: Economic Competitiveness in 2006-07 and 2007-08, with the expected result of “Canadians derive social and economic benefits from the assessment, development and use of energy, forest and mineral resources, and have the knowledge to mitigate environmental impacts and respond effectively to nature and man-made hazard”Footnote25 to reporting in SO three: Safety, Security and Stewardship from 2008-09 to 2010-11, with the expected result of “Natural resources and landmass knowledge strengthens the safety and security of Canadians and contribute to the effective governance of Canada”.Footnote26

3.1.2 Continued Need for the Program

Evaluation Question Methodologies Assessment
2. Does the PCSP’s theory of change address the problem it was designed to address: specifically, its magnitude and targeted groups? Document review, literature review, stakeholder interviews. Ongoing need for the Program, however, theory of change/logic model is outdated.

Summary:
There is a need to provide logistical support for research in Canada’s Arctic because of the high cost of doing research there as well as its widespread geography. That said, the current logic of the PCSP reflects outcomes that the Program may be achieving but presents challenges with the logic flow given that it is based on outdated (i.e., 1958) thinking. In particular, outcome statements need to be updated to more accurately reflect the current objectives of the Program (i.e., safety and cost-effectiveness) and be more transparent in terms of intended users/clients or partners and anticipated impact.

Analysis:

Relevant literature highlights the importance of support for logistics in ensuring that scientific, other research and other government priorities (e.g., sovereignty, stewardship, etc.) can be met because “logistics are the means to access the Arctic”.Footnote27 However, the costs of logistics are often so high that they can claim the bulk of funds allocated to research and other activities in the North. With the costs for logistics being covered by individual research projects or northern-focused programs, there may be a negative impact on the science or other issues that can feasibly be addressed by researchers in the North.

Given this, it is evident that the PCSP is addressing an identified need for logistics support for researchers conducting activities in Canada’s Arctic. This is reflected in the theory of change behind the Program in that through the provision of logistics support, it aims to facilitate scientific and research activities in Canada’s Arctic (including building synergies, contributing to capacity building, etc.) and ultimately, supporting increased scientific knowledge of the Arctic region and its adjacent waters that contributes to current and emerging national priorities in support of Arctic stewardship and sovereignty (the full logic model is available in Appendix A).

However, the existing approved logic model for the PCSP was outdated in that elements of the Program’s mission related to safety do not appear, nor is there an outcome related to cost-effectiveness. This had implications that made it difficult to ascertain the degree of outcome achievement. For example, at the immediate outcome level, it was difficult to determine to what degree the PCSP has provided logistics support services without competing with private entrepreneurs operating in northern communities. This is, in part, because of how the Program defines, engages and monitors stakeholders. Stakeholder definitions would also be helpful in determining increased cooperation with research and logistical service agencies at the intermediate outcome level. In reference to these examples, documentation did little to identify private entrepreneurs, what types exist and how they engaged with the Program; nor did documentation identify what other logistical service agencies existed and how they engaged with the PCSP.

Notwithstanding the outdated logic model, stakeholder interviews (both NRCan and external respondents) indicated that there is a linkage between the PCSP activities and its intended outcomes, in particular through logistical support and the provision of shared resources. That is, PCSP contributes to increased logistics, synergies and northern research. Some of these respondents did note that other factors also contribute to these intended outcomes, including the International Polar Year (IPY) Program, delivered by AANDC, which was intended to fund northern research.

Nevertheless, the majority of external respondents confirmed that there is a need for strong logistical support within the Arctic due to the lack of widespread resources and the vastness of the geography. This is consistent with the need identified in the literature and the role/mandate of the PCSP.

3.1.3 Alignment with Federal Roles and Responsibilities

Evaluation Question Methodologies Assessment
3. To what extent does the PCSP’s mandate overlap with other public sector, volunteer, academic, private sector, or international organizations’ objectives, programs or activities? Would other organizations be able to safely provide similar services to those provided by the PCSP? Document review, literature review, stakeholder interviews, applicant survey, international comparison case studies. Aligns with federal roles and responsibilities.

Summary:
The mandate of the PCSP does not overlap with other organizations. This includes other government departments as well as organizations in the voluntary, academic, or private sectors. International organizations provide similar services as the PCSP to researchers from their own regions in Polar Regions (i.e., Arctic, Antarctic), but not specifically to Canadian researchers in Canada’s Arctic. Where services are provided by other organizations, they are complementary to those provided by the PCSP and the PCSP may work with them at times, as necessary. The PCSP is the only organization mandated to provide these activities/services (under the Resources and Technical Surveys Act, 1994). No other organization seems able to provide similar services to those provided by the PCSP.

Analysis:

Services Provided by the PCSP
The PCSP provides logistics support to field research projects conducted in the Canadian Arctic.Footnote28 Researchers using the Program are from Canadian universities and federal government agencies, territorial government departments, independent groups and foreign agencies.Footnote29 The research projects cover all disciplines, ranging from archaeology to space science and zoology.Footnote30

The primary service (in terms of dollars) provided by the PCSP is air transport for researchers to and from remote field camps.Footnote31 However, the Program provides the following services to field research projects conducted in Canada’s Arctic:

  • navigation and positioning systems;
  • radio and satellite telephone communications network;
  • field equipment (e.g., tents, snowmobiles) through the TFSS and Resolute warehouses;
  • fuel for aircraft, equipment and field camp;
  • workspace at the Resolute facility; and
  • accommodation and meals at the Resolute facility.Footnote32

The Resolute facility is used as a staging area for research conducted throughout the Arctic,Footnote33 where a team of PCSP staff is responsible for managing operations (including maintenance, flight schedules, field camp locations, etc.).

With respect to equipment, the TFSS unit of the PCSP provides researchers with equipment loans from its inventory of more than $7 million worth of equipment.Footnote34 The equipment available for loan includes camping equipment, field vehicles, clothing and communications and safety equipment.

Comparison to Other Countries
All of the programs from the countries examined through case studies (United Kingdom, United States, Sweden, Norway) provided similar types of logistical support to their researchers in Polar Regions (i.e., Arctic, Antarctic) but not to Canadian researchers within Canada’s Arctic. The full list of logistics support provided by the PCSP and international comparison case study proponents is available in Appendix B.

Other Organizations
There are organizations other than the PCSP that provide funding for Arctic logistics. According to a survey of PCSP support recipients conducted by the Program in 2009, the majority of respondents indicated that their projects received funding from sources other than the PCSP. The most frequently-mentioned other funding sources were:

  • federal/provincial/territorial governments;
  • university granting councils;
  • private industry; and
  • IPY.

Some organizations provide certain types of support to northern researchers on a regional basis. These organizations include the:Footnote35, Footnote36

  • Aurora Research Institute’s Inuvik Research Institute in the Northwest Territories;
  • Nunavut Research Institute in Iqaluit, Nunavut;
  • Government of Yukon;
  • Yukon College;
  • Arctic Institute of North America;
  • Northern Scientific Training Grants Program administered by the Department of Northern Development for university students;
  • Canadian Polar Commission; and
  • Canadian Circumpolar Institute.

However, there are a limited number of logistics providers operating in the North. In addition to the PCSP, those that do exist include:

  • Kluane Research Station;
  • Churchill Northern Studies Centre;
  • Centre d’études Nordiques;
  • Aurora Research Institute; and
  • CCGS Amundsen.Footnote37

While some of the services provided by the above-mentioned organizations are similar to those of the PCSP (e.g., equipment rental, work and laboratory space, etc.), they do not provide the same broad range of logistics support as the PCSP. Nevertheless, the PCSP works with these organizations to optimize the efficiency and effectiveness of support for Arctic researchers.Footnote38

NRCan and external interviewees, as well as survey respondents, also identified other organizations that offer some similar services. Many of these organizations are noted above. These interviewees did note the following details specifically about some organizations:

  • private companies that provide logistical support in the Canadian Arctic (e.g., Adventure Canada, Arctic Kingdom, Wilderness Adventures), which tend to service the tourist trade and foreigners who would not qualify for PCSP support as they are not undertaking scientific research activities related to Government of Canada priorities or NRCan’s mandate, and are not on the same scale as the PCSP;
  • the United States National Science Foundation, which has its own logistics provider (CH2MHill), but the majority of work is conducted in Alaska;
  • Coast Guard, which provides similar services off-shore, but does not provide near shore or on-shore logistical support like the PCSP;
  • Discovery Mining Services, an expediting service that ships goods, sets up camps and can help with hiring camp personnel, etc., which is complementary to the services provided by the PCSP;
  • other aviation companies, however researchers would not have access to the same network of fuel caches and remote camps as with the PCSP, nor do these companies provide appropriate services for scientists other than charters as they are more geared towards tourists; and
  • military (e.g., DND), which offers flights to Alert, but this service is limited.

Similarly, based on the survey conducted as part of this evaluation, while other service providers were identified, very few respondents were aware of other service providers that were comparable to the extent of services provided by the PCSP.

As noted in section 3.1.1, PCSP is mandated to provide these services/activities – no other government of Canada organization holds a similar mandate.

Level of Duplication and Overlap
The above evidence suggests that the services available from other organizations, where offered, are complementary to the services provided by the PCSP. Where services are provided, they are not provided to the same extent as with the PCSP, may be limited to specific locations and/or may not be coordinated to the same degree (e.g., sharing of resources).

3.2 Performance

3.2.1 Achievement of Expected Outcomes (Effectiveness)

Evaluation Question Methodologies Assessment
4. To what extent is the PCSP providing effective logistical support to all projects? Document review, database/file review, stakeholder interviews, applicant survey. Making progress towards achieving intended outcomes and Program objectives.

Summary:
In spite of the challenges of conducting research in the North and providing logistics for this research (i.e., inhospitable weather, human resource and procurement policies that are potentially incompatible with program delivery), the PCSP has provided effective logistical support to all projects. This is, in part, attributable to the quality and expertise of the PCSP staff both in Ottawa and at the Resolute facility. In particular, the Program has made progress towards increasing the awareness of the PCSP logistics services, creating synergies among research teams, building northern capacity, supporting the northern economy, facilitating the development of science-based knowledge, and increasing Canada’s presence in the Arctic while contributing to national priorities specifically related to the North. Overall, evidence indicates that the level of research currently being conducted in Canada’s Arctic could not be maintained without the existence and support of the PCSP.

In spite of the addition of two large-scale, full recoverable expenditure projects (GEM and UNCLOS) in the 2009 and 2010 field seasons, the PCSP was still able to provide logistics support to a number of other projects. In fact, during this time, the Program saw an increase in the number of applications and projects supported. However, with its relatively stable core funding, increase in the cost of providing logistics and increase in the number of projects, there is a trend towards supporting more projects but with less in-kind support across projects. That is, the PCSP appears to be increasingly moving towards a model of partial in-kind support and partial recoverable expenditures in order to continue to effectively provide support to researchers conducting research in the Arctic.

Although the addition of GEM and UNCLOS did not negatively impact the number of projects for which support was provided, large supported projects such as these may be difficult to sustain particularly given the internal time and human resources required to accommodate the increase in logistic requirements (both in terms of aircraft and equipment). This is in line with some of the internal challenges currently facing the PCSP, namely challenges associated with strict policies related to human resources and procurement. Other external factors that could negatively impact the effectiveness of the Program include weather, mechanical issues with aircraft, and fuel supply issues.

Analysis:

This evaluation question refers to the core performance of the Program, including the effectiveness of the PCSP in attaining its intended outcomes. It also examines the impact (if any) of larger projects on the capacity and sustainability of the PCSP, as well as internal and external factors affecting Program effectiveness. The PCSP logic model, presented in Appendix A, articulates the intended immediate, intermediate and long-term outcomes of the Program.

As identified in section 3.1.2 above, the PCSP logic model is outdated in that elements of the Program’s mission related to safety do not appear in the logic model, nor is there an outcome related to cost-effectiveness. Given this, the evaluation used multiple lines of evidence to identify what outcomes were being achieved (as closely aligned to the logic model and objectives as possible) and to what extent.

Progress Towards Outcome Achievement
Keeping in mind the limitations of the logic model as identified in section 3.1.2, evidence from this evaluation suggests that the PCSP is making progress towards achieving the following outcomes:

  • awareness of the PCSP logistics services;
  • providing effective logistics support;
  • creating synergies by bundling services (e.g., combined flights among researchers, accommodation at the Resolute facility);
  • building capacity through local hires and the use of students by supported projects;
  • supporting the northern economy through local purchases and rental of accommodation outside of the Resolute facility;
  • contributing to the development of science-based knowledge by enabling data collection in remote northern/Arctic areas; and
  • increasing Canada’s presence in the North and contributing to national priorities.

Awareness of PCSP Logistics Services
Some NRCan interviewees felt that researchers were generally aware of the Program through the PCSP website, word of mouth, and promotion done by the PCSP Advisory Board (e.g., through avenues such as the Canadian Polar Commission, ArcticNet, etc.). These interviewees also believed there was a greater recognition of the PCSP resulting from extensive outreach activities (e.g., annual science report, 50th anniversary, speaker series, annual open house events, Ottawa’s Winterlude festival, NRCan’s Science and Technology Week, etc.).

Similarly, most external stakeholder interviewees thought that the PCSP was well known by researchers, in particular those working in other government departments, First Nation and Inuit groups, and those in the United Kingdom. Still, some of these interviewees felt that the PCSP could do more advertising – although they did recognize that the PCSP may lack the capacity to meet an increased demand that could result from this advertising.

Providing Effective Logistics Support
The majority of stakeholder interviewees (both NRCan and external) posited that overall the PCSP was providing effective logistics support. External stakeholder interviewees attributed this to the quality of the PCSP personnel and the fact that they use various sources of information (including ice and weather information from the Canadian Ice Service), provide good radio equipment, and coordinate with other accommodation providers (e.g., with the Aurora Research Institute). These interviewees also indicated that the Resolute facility provided an effective hub, providing communications and accommodations in a strategically-positioned location.

One limitation to the provision of logistics support was noted by external stakeholder interviewees. Specifically, some interviewees identified that PCSP logistics support is better in the eastern Arctic than in the western Arctic, something that is recognized by the PCSP.

The applicant survey assessed the impact of receiving only partial in-kind support from the PCSP and found that the majority of projects were scaled back as a result. Less than 20 percent reported that there was no significant impact. Table 6 provides the breakdown of responses to the question of what the consequence was of having only partial in-kind support from the PCSP.

Table 6: Impact of Receiving only Partial In-kind Support from the PCSP (Applicant Survey)

Impact % of Survey Respondents*
Project was cancelled 3.1%
Project was delayed 3.1%
No significant impact 18.5%
Quality of the research/work was reduced 29.2%
Number of researchers sent on location was reduced 29.2%
Project was scaled back in terms of length of stay on location 32.3%
Project was scaled back in terms of number of sites visited 63.1%
Other impacts** 20%

Notes:
*Percentage is greater than 100 because multiple choices could be selected by respondents.
** Other impacts noted by respondents included: additional funding from other sources had to be raised; European Union Project – no Canadian government support; project occurred as planned but other projects were reduced or cancelled; and researcher paid for the fuel drop ($20K).

Moreover, the applicant survey assessed the incremental impact of the PCSP using a hypothetical question: if the PCSP had not provided in-kind support, would your last project have gone ahead anyway? A breakdown of responses is presented in Table 7.

Table 7: Assessment of the Incremental Impact of the PCSP (Applicant Survey)
Response to: If the PCSP had not provided in-kind support, would your last project have gone ahead anyway? % of Survey Respondents*
Yes 11.9%
Yes, but in part only 13.3%
Yes, but with delays 7.7%
Yes, but at a smaller scale 18.2%
Yes, but with added costs 23.8%
No 46.2%
Don’t know 7.0%
Note:
*Percentage is greater than 100 because multiple choices could be selected by respondents.

Thus, approximately half of respondents responded that their projects would not have gone ahead without in-kind support from the PCSP. Only a small percentage (17 of 142, or 11.9 percent) responded that the project would have gone ahead without any restrictions. This was supported by external stakeholder interviewees. Some of these interviewees stated that without the support of the PCSP, some research would continue but projects would be scaled back while others would be cancelled. The general sense was that without the PCSP, research in remote Arctic regions would be limited because of the cost of logistics to conduct this work; therefore land-based research would be limited to sites close to communities.

Creating Synergies
Many NRCan and external stakeholder interviewees indicated that the PCSP contributes to creating synergies by bundling services – that is, through the sharing of aircraft and accommodation. A couple of external stakeholder interviewees explained that these synergies have helped some organizations form research collaborations, including between DND, Environment Canada, and NRCan as well as within departments and across different sectors (academia, private sector, government, etc.).

Capacity Building
A few NRCan interviewees identified that the PCSP has contributed to capacity building through the increasing use of Aboriginal/northern aircraft companies. These interviewees also noted that projects supported by the PCSP use the services and purchase goods in northern communities, including accommodation services, groceries, equipment, and field camp labour. External stakeholder interviewees shared this view, but specifically suggested that the bulk of the impact is seen in Resolute where researchers interact with the local community.

The applicant survey conducted as part of this evaluation identified 89 cases in which Northerners were involved in PCSP supported projects, with an average of seven Northerners per project. Based on this survey, federal government clients were more likely to use Northerners than clients from other sectors.

Supporting the Northern Economy
The PCSP contributed to the development of the northern economy. For example, in 2007, the Program contracted/purchased $0.9 million in services, goods and supplies from northern companies and communities.Footnote39 The Program also contracted Nahanni Construction, a company based in the Northwest Territories, to upgrade the PCSP facility in Resolute.

Moreover, there was some sense among respondents to the applicant survey that projects supported by the PCSP led to economic benefits (44 percent agreed; 43 percent were neutral) and directly contributed to the enhancement of the quality of life of Northerners (44 percent agreed, 50 percent were neutral).

To determine impacts on the northern economy, the applicant survey also assessed person-day use of commercial accommodation facilities in the North. In total, the number of person-days spent in commercial facilities as part of PCSP-supported projects since 2006 was approximately 6,900 (although some respondents indicated they did not know, so simply provided an estimate). If it is assumed that each person-day equals $150 in accommodations expended in the northern economy, the respondents spent over $1.0 million in the northern economy, on commercial accommodations alone, since 2006. Considering that the applicant survey only covered half of the PCSP clients, estimated economic impacts would be in the range of $2.0 million (which is in addition to the air transportation and other direct expenditures). Other economic benefits derived from projects supported by the PCSP included:

  • transportation;
  • employment;
  • logistical support, including food and equipment; and
  • local purchases/boost to local economy.

Development of Science-based Knowledge
Canada exercises its Arctic sovereignty by securing international recognition for the full extent of its extended continental shelf.Footnote40 In support of this, the PCSP provided logistics support to the UNCLOS project, based on a 100 percent recoverable expenditure arrangement, for seabed mapping and surveying research to delineate Canada’s continental shelf.Footnote41

NRCan interviewees suggested that the PCSP facilitates the development of science-based knowledge by enabling data collection in the Arctic by addressing some of the associated cost barriers through in-kind support for logistics where feasible. In particular, it was explained that the PCSP provides low-cost accommodation at the Resolute facility, and creates economies of scale by coordinating shared flights and the use of equipment by different research teams.

Furthermore, some NRCan interviewees explained that the PCSP tries to support as many projects as possible and highlights the results of some of these projects in its annual science report, as well as through various talks and events (e.g., Arctic science talks, NRCan’s Science and Technology Week, Ottawa’s Winterlude Festival, conferences, Resolute facility open house events, etc.).

Likewise, all external stakeholder interviewees agreed that the PCSP contributes to the development of scientific knowledge related to the Arctic. Some of these interviewees suggested that without the PCSP, there would be very limited Canadian-generated knowledge.

The applicant survey conducted as part of this evaluation discovered that researchers receiving logistics support from the PCSP agreed that supported projects resulted in publications (92 percent of respondents) and directly contributed to protection of the environment (71 percent of respondents). In fact, the applicant survey found that 118 projects (of 142) that produced publications since 2006, on average resulted in 11 publications – thus, the PCSP contributed to approximately 1,356 publications since 2006.Footnote42

Increasing Canada’s Presence in the North and Contributing to National Priorities
The establishment of the Canadian Forces Arctic Training Centre co-located with the PCSP’s Resolute facility creates a military presence, which is also a demonstration of sovereignty under the “use it or lose” principle of Arctic sovereignty.Footnote43 The PCSP provided logistics support for this training on a full recoverable expenditure basis.

Similarly, the majority of NRCan interviewees agreed that the PCSP contributes to Canada’s Arctic sovereignty by supporting a presence in remote Arctic areas (i.e., by putting “boots on the ground in far regions of the North”). These interviewees also noted that the co-location of the new Canadian Forces Arctic Training Centre at the PCSP Resolute facility will further increase Canada’s presence in the North and contribute to national priorities such as Arctic sovereignty.

Furthermore, many external stakeholder interviewees believed that the PCSP helps provide a Canadian presence across Canada’s Arctic, specifically noting examples that could not have been done without the logistics support provided by the PCSP. These examples include:

  • expanding the Resolute facility to accommodate Arctic-specific training for DND;
  • supporting the work of UNCLOS from which scientific work stems that will support Canada’s continental Arctic shelf claim by enhancing knowledge of the geological structure linking the Arctic to Canada’s continental territory;
  • supporting projects that increase Canada’s scientific knowledge about climate change, which specifically relates to a national northern priority around building environmental knowledge; and
  • supporting projects related to oil, gas and minerals through the GEM Program, which could potentially lead to economic development.

Capacity and Sustainability of the PCSP
In addition to the logistics support already provided under core program funding, the PCSP received dedicated funding from external sources to provide logistics support, through a 100 percent recoverable expenditures arrangement, for specific large initiatives. These include:

  • GEM: $10.0 million (for salary and O&M) over five years (2008-09 to 2012-13) to provide logistics support for geo-mapping activities;Footnote44
  • UNCLOS: $3.8 million over four years (2008-09 to 2011-12) to provide logistics support for the data collection related to the development of Canada’s submission to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf;Footnote45 and
  • IPY: $0.2 million to cover the provision of logistics support for research projects conducted in 2008.Footnote46

As identified in Table 4 above (section 1.3.4), the PCSP provided logistical support to a total of 748 projects from the 2006 through 2010 field seasons. In 2009 and 2010, these supported projects included 100 percent recoverable expenditure projects, namely GEM and UNCLOS. Although GEM and UNCLOS were supported based on a 100 percent recoverable expenditure arrangement, it was possible that the large size of these projects, and the amount of logistics support provided by the PCSP, could have negatively impacted the amount of logistics support provided to other smaller projects.

Figure 2 provides an illustration of the number of non-GEM and non-UNCLOS projects supported by the PCSP from 2006 through 2010, which shows that there has been no decrease in the number of projects supported when the larger GEM and UNCLOS projects came into place. In fact, there was a slight increase in projects in 2009 and 2010 (from 2008). Therefore, there appears to have been no impact in terms of the PCSP’s ability to provide logistics to smaller projects.

Figure 2: Number of Non-GEM, Non-UNCLOS Projects Supported by the PCSP, by Year

Figure 2 provides an illustration of the number of non-GEM and non-UNCLOS projects supported by the PCSP for each year from 2006 through 2010.

Source: PCSP Database.

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Figure 2:

Figure 2 provides an illustration of the number of non-GEM and non-UNCLOS projects supported by the PCSP for each year from 2006 through 2010.

In 2006, there were a total of 136 projects supported, 114 of these received full or partial in-kind support, and 22 were supported through full recoverable expenditures.

In 2007, there were a total of 127 projects supported, 91 of these received full or partial in-kind support, and 36 were supported through full recoverable expenditures.

In 2008, there were a total of 157 projects supported, 109 of these received full or partial in-kind support, and 48 were supported through full recoverable expenditures.

In 2009, there were a total of 167 projects supported, 126 of these received full or partial in-kind support, and 25 were supported through full recoverable expenditures.

In 2010, there were a total of 161 projects supported, 106 of these received full or partial in-kind support, and 41 were supported through full recoverable expenditures.

Because aircraft support represents the largest dollar amount of total logistics support requested by applicants of the PCSP, the PCSP database was analyzed to determine if there have been any changes to the amount of in-kind aircraft support agreed toFootnote47 for non-GEM and non-UNCLOS projects as of 2009 (when GEM and UNCLOS projects began to be supported by the PCSP).

Figure 3 provides an illustration of the 516 projects that received 100 percent or partial in-kind aircraft logistics support (i.e., not 100 percent recoverable expenditures and therefore, in this case, non-GEM and non-UNCLOS) between 2006 and 2010. This shows that there have been relatively minor changes in the number of projects receiving in-kind aircraft support since the inclusion of GEM and UNCLOS.

Figure 3: Projects Receiving In-Kind Aircraft Support by the PCSP

Figure 3 provides an illustration of the number of projects receiving in-kind aircraft support by the PCSP for each year from 2006 through 2010.

Source: PCSP Database.

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Figure 3:

Figure 3 provides an illustration of the number of projects receiving in-kind aircraft support by the PCSP for each year from 2006 through 2010.

In 2006, 117 projects received in-kind aircraft support.

In 2007, 85 projects received in-kind aircraft support.

In 2008, 100 projects received in-kind aircraft support.

In 2009, 117 projects received in-kind aircraft support.

In 2010, 97 projects received in-kind aircraft support.

However, Figure 4 illustrates the average percentage of requested aircraft support agreed to by the PCSP and project proponents, showing a steady decline in the percentage of requested dollars being approved from 2006 to 2010.

Figure 4: Average Percentage of Requested Aircraft Support Agreed to by the PCSP and Project Proponents, 2006-2010

Figure 4 provides an illustration of the average percentage of requested aircraft support agreed to by the PCSP and project proponents for each year from 2006 through 2010

Source: PCSP Database.

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Figure 4:

Figure 4 provides an illustration of the average percentage of requested aircraft support agreed to by the PCSP and project proponents for each year from 2006 through 2010.

In 2006, 52% of requested aircraft support was agreed to by the PCSP and Project Proponents.

In 2007, 53.8% of requested aircraft support was agreed to by the PCSP and Project Proponents.

In 2008, 44.1% of requested aircraft support was agreed to by the PCSP and Project Proponents.

In 2009, 40.6% of requested aircraft support was agreed to by the PCSP and Project Proponents.

In 2010, 36.1% of requested aircraft support was agreed to by the PCSP and Project Proponents.

Taken together with Figure 3, this suggests that the PCSP is providing less in-kind support (average percentage) across relatively similar numbers of projects. Because the drop in average support approved is first evident in 2008, this also suggests that the decrease in average aircraft support approved is not as a result of GEM and UNCLOS as these projects do not appear until 2009. That said, the majority of NRCan interviewees indicated that the amount of work required by PCSP to arrange for the additional logistics associated with these larger projects is not sustainable, particularly if recoverable expenditures did not include salary as well as O&M.

Given the database limitations (as noted previously, section 2.3), it was not possible to assess whether there was an impact on the provision of equipment after supporting the large 100 percent recoverable expenditure projects (i.e., GEM and UNCLOS).

Factors Affecting PCSP Effectiveness

Internal Factors
Internal factors identified by NRCan interviewees as impacting the effectiveness of the PCSP include internal Government of Canada/NRCan policies, rules and procedures – in particular those relating to the areas of human resources (staffing and compensation) and procurement because they create barriers to the delivery of the Program.

Some external stakeholder interviewees suggested that the PCSP staff is a major positive internal factor contributing to the effectiveness of the Program, noting specifically that the internal expertise is crucial as key decisions are made even when they are sometimes not popular with research teams. It was explained that expertise at all levels of the PCSP is key as some decisions need to be made quickly (i.e., on-the-spot), especially at the Resolute facility. A few interviewees also recognized the ability of the Program to plan ahead and maintain strong relations with northern service providers, other government departments and territorial governments, and that this was a key factor necessary for the Program to be effective.

Available resources (dollars) to support researchers were also mentioned by some external stakeholder interviewees as a factor impacting the effectiveness of the PCSP – this time hindering its effectiveness.

External Factors
As part of the Program’s operational landscape, changing and inclement weather conditions present a challenge for those conducting research in Canada’s Arctic as well as for those providing these researchers with logistics support. Travel is the singular most important component affected by harsh environments.

In addition to weather, NRCan interviewees noted that mechanical issues with aircraft and other supply issues (e.g., related to fuel) created challenges to the effectiveness of the PCSP.

External stakeholder interviewees indicated that the availability of other sources of support (i.e., from other programs) could also impact the effectiveness of the Program, particularly in terms of progress towards achieving its intermediate and ultimate outcomes. This is because researchers often also depend on funding sources other than the PCSP and/or to cover the costs of the logistics provided by the PCSP. Therefore, when these other resources are reduced, researchers cannot take full advantage of the PCSP logistics expertise, particularly those being provided with PCSP support through a 100 percent recoverable expenditure arrangement. This means that researchers may not be conducting research in the remote regions of Canada’s Arctic so may no longer require the services of the PCSP, thus posing a risk to the achievement of synergies between researchers, contribution to northern capacity building and increased scientific knowledge of the Arctic regions and adjacent waters.

3.2.2 Unintended Outcomes

Evaluation Question Methodologies Assessment
5. Have there been any unintended outcomes (positive or negative)? Database/file review, stakeholder interviews, applicant survey, project case studies. Some positive unintended outcomes identified, including related to gender-based analysis.

Summary:
A few positive unintended outcomes were identified through multiple lines of evidence. The bulk of these focused on impacts to northern communities and economies, as well as building the capacity through the inclusion of students in the projects supported by the PCSP and presentations by researchers to schools in northern communities. Attempts were made during the evaluation to determine if findings are supported by gender disaggregated performance data. While there is a variance in the gender data (of principal researchers and students), the five-year period examined in this evaluation did not identify any significant findings related to this.

Analysis:

The purpose of exploring unintended outcomes is to identify any positive or negative outcomes that may have occurred as a result of the PCSP but that were not anticipated at the time the Program was planned and/or the logic model developed. It refers to any outcomes not mentioned in the PCSP logic model or stated Program objectives.

Very few unintended outcomes were identified by stakeholder interviewees through the survey and as part of the project case studies. Nevertheless, many external stakeholder interviewees indicated that the PCSP had a direct impact on the local communities. In addition to the impacts on northern logistical services noted earlier, the presence of the PCSP had positive impacts particularly in Resolute where some local community members found jobs at the PCSP facility.

It was also noted by a few external stakeholder interviewees that the research itself can benefit local economies. Some specific examples were provided by a couple of interviewees, including:

  • local fisheries benefit from the ice research that occurs in partnership with DFO;
  • geological work is expected to have a direct impact on the northern economy by identifying mining opportunities for the private sector;
  • all mining sites in the Arctic were found by people doing fundamental science there;
  • Resolute benefitted from the presence of the PCSP facility and is expected to benefit more as it expands in the coming years; and
  • the community of Resolute benefitted from the expanding infrastructure – the possibility that one or two incinerators may be installed at the facility and may be available for the community to use.

With respect to capacity building, stakeholder interviewees mentioned that researchers receiving logistical support from the PCSP have made a number of presentations to schools in northern communities. Interviewees identified that this research also contributes to training students from Canadian universities who have had the opportunity to accompany senior researchers to the Arctic. Without opportunities such as this, costs would be prohibitive to students being able to participate in/conduct research in the Arctic.

Similarly, the survey of applicants identified 107 cases since 2006 in which students were involved in the research projects that received logistical support from the PCSP. On average, there were nine students involved per project, amounting to 946 students overall who were involved with projects supported by the Program. The survey also found that non-federal clients of the PCSP were more likely to use students.

Three of the seven project case studies did identify a few unintended outcomes. Table 8 identifies these unintended outcomes.

Table 8: Unintended Outcomes Identified through Project Case Studies
Case Study Proponent Unintended Outcomes
GEM Northern Base and Precious Metal Potential, Victoria Island (NT)
  • GEM teams facilitated the harvesting of approximately 700kg of carving stone (alabaster) from a site discovered during a reconnaissance survey.
  • Project contributes to the development of researchers through the use of approximately 15 students to date.
Ecology of Ross’s Gulls and Ivory Gulls in Penny Strait, Nunavut
  • The unnamed island that served as the location for the project’s fieldwork became a tourist attraction when a group of tourists made an unplanned visit as part of an adventure trip. Upon their arrival in the Arctic, the project leader was available and offered to bring them to the island for a tour.
  • PCSP-induced collaborations with other researchers have led to: (i) new avenues of investigation; (ii) nationally and internationally-relevant scientific results (including media coverage); and (iii) a group of new scientific scholars becoming familiar with Arctic environmental issues.
Glacier Mass Balance and Snow Pollution Studies across the Queen Elizabeth Islands
  • Positive interactions with the local Inuit communities, mainly in the hamlets of Resolute and Grise Fiord resulted in the sharing of glacier knowledge with these communities and, as a result, contributed positively towards the social license of the research team to operate in the North.
Gender-based Analysis

Given the nature of the PCSP and the Government of Canada requirement to consider gender in its analysis and evaluations of programs, this evaluation explored gender-related unintended outcomes. As illustrated in Figures 5 and 6, males make up approximately three quarters of both those submitting proposals and those leading supported projects. There is no significant variation in the number of females submitting proposals and/or having their projects supported.

Figure 5: Number of Proposals by Year and GenderFootnote48, 2006-2010

Figure 5 provides an illustration of the number of proposals received by the PCSP broken down by gender for each year from 2006 through 2010

Source: PCSP Database.

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Figure 5:

Figure 5 provides an illustration of the number of proposals received by the PCSP broken down by gender for each year from 2006 through 2010. Note that gender was determined based on the name of the principal investigators. It was not always clear which gender, and/or no name was given, these cases were captured as unknown.

In 2006, proposals were received from 129 from males, 40 proposals from females and 1 from unknown.

In 2007, proposals were received from 119 from males, 42 proposals from females and zero from unknown.

In 2008, proposals were received from 125 from males, 54 proposals from females and 4 from unknown.

In 2009, proposals were received from 148 from males, 46 proposals from females and 2 from unknown.

In 2010, proposals were received from 154 from males, 44 proposals from females and 3 from unknown.

Figure 6: Number of Projects Receiving Logistical Support by Year and GenderFootnote49, 2006-2010

Figure 6 provides an illustration of the number of projects receiving logistical support broken down by gender for each year from 2006 through 2010

Source: PCSP Database.

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Figure 6:

Figure 6 provides an illustration of the number of projects receiving logistical support broken down by gender for each year from 2006 through 2010. Note that gender was determined based on the name of the principal investigators. It was not always clear which gender, and/or no name was given, these cases were captured as unknown.

In 2006, projects included 105 led by male researchers, 30 led by female researchers, and 1 by unknown.

In 2007, projects included 96 led by male researchers, 31 led by female researchers, and zero by unknown.

In 2008, projects included 111 led by male researchers, 42 led by female researchers, and 4 by unknown.

In 2009, projects included 127 led by male researchers, 38 led by female researchers, and 2 by unknown.

In 2010, projects included 122 led by male researchers, 36 led by female researchers, and 3 by unknown.

Moreover, both male and female students have the opportunity to conduct work in the Arctic as part of the projects supported by the PCSP. However, most project representatives surveyed were men (74 percent). This survey did identify that, on average, four female students were used per project (or 447 overall) since 2006, which is only slightly less than half of the overall number of students (946).

While there appears to be no significant variation by gender over this five-year period, this is a variable that could easily be tracked by the PCSP. It would be useful to monitor this over a longer time period (i.e., 10-15 years) to see if there is an unintended outcome related to this (e.g., an increase in representation by females).

3.2.3 Efficiency and Economy

Evaluation Question Methodologies Assessment
6. Is the Program the most efficient means of achieving outputs and outcomes? Document review, literature review, database/file review, stakeholder interviews, applicant survey, project case studies. Making good use of resources while creating efficiencies and economies of scale; however, some barriers/challenges exist that should be addressed to improve the efficiency, economy and effectiveness of the Program.
7. Is the Program the most economic means of achieving outcomes? Document review, literature review, database/file review, stakeholder interviews, applicant survey, project case studies, international comparison case studies.

Summary:
Overall, the PCSP makes good use of resources. However, the Program efficiency and economy could be increased through improvements to its administrative procedures and modernization of inventory and project management tools (including financial management tools). While the PCSP currently has high quality (and well-qualified staff), it is encountering challenges with program delivery caused by inflexibilities in Government of Canada human resource and procurement processes.

Nevertheless, there seems to be a trend towards providing logistics support to more projects, but with less in-kind support to each project. In particular, there is a trend towards more partial recovered expenditure and partial in-kind support arrangements with respect to flight hours requested by researchers. This can be attributed to the relatively stable core funding from 2006 through 2010, increased costs of delivering logistics (such as increased costs for fuel and transportation) and an increased number of applicants over the same time period.

The PCSP is also playing an important coordination role, thereby increasing efficiency and creating economies of scale. Specifically, partnering or entering into agreements with other jurisdictions helps improve the efficiency, economy and effectiveness of the Program. Coordinating flights, whereby multiple research teams share chartered flights, also creates efficiencies and economies of scale. However, there are barriers and challenges that should be addressed through the examination of alternatives or flexibilities, where feasible. Addressing these could benefit the PCSP and its ability to provide logistics support to assist researchers in conducting research in the Arctic.

Analysis:

The efficiency and economy of the PCSP was explored by:

  • examining the various delivery mechanisms of the Program, including the application process (application form, deadlines, etc.), support mechanisms, logistical supports, etc.; and
  • investigating potential alternatives that could improve the Program, including some that could address challenges/barriers impacting the effectiveness and efficiency of the Program.

Application Process and Field Work Preparation
All Program applicants must complete and submit PCSP’s online application form in October each calendar year, with the PCSP providing a response in February or March of the following calendar year. The field season can start as early as February, but for most research projects, it begins in the early spring (i.e., April). The Program requires that all field researchers have basic training in first aid and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), at a minimum, and that at least one principal investigator (i.e., leader of the field team) have: (i) a minimum of three years of experience working in the Arctic; and (ii) at least two years of experience running, or helping to run, an Arctic field camp.Footnote50

In addition, to further help ensure the safety of researchers, the application form requires:

  • trip details (identification of team members, camp locations, dates of arrival and departure for camp locations);
  • years of Arctic experience held by the project lead;
  • first aid and CPR training of all project team members; and
  • emergency communications arrangements and contact telephone numbers for project teams when they are at camp.Footnote51

While the PCSP requires and collects this information to ensure the safety of researchers supported by the Program, the safe conduct of research is a shared responsibility between the PCSP and the researcher’s employer because occupational health and safety is at least partly the responsibility of the researcher’s employer. In a 2009 survey of clients (conducted by the PCSP), most (60 percent) of respondents indicated that they did not want the PCSP to provide any additional training to increase safety, while another 26 percent neither agreed nor disagreed with this idea and 13 percent agreed.Footnote52 This suggests that the amount of safety information gathered and provided by the PCSP is sufficient for the researchers. The Program offers two safety-related tools:

  • For PCSP personnel, there is the Earth Sciences Sector Field Guide which covers roles and responsibilities, communications, general safety and health, personal protective equipment, transportation of dangerous goods, and specific field operations related to boats, aircraft, motor vehicles, tower climbing and safety precautions for equipment.Footnote53
  • For researchers, there is the Polar Continental Shelf Project Operations Manual which covers communications, advice related to an extensive list of safety issues, including clothing, first aid, isolation, sanitation, wind chill, hypothermia and weather observation.Footnote54

Similarly, the applicant survey conducted as part of this evaluation assessed applicants’ level of satisfaction with various aspects of the PCSP, including the application process, safety/training information, and services/advice provided. Figures 7 and 8 illustrate that applicants are generally satisfied with these aspects of the Program.

Figure 7: Satisfaction with the PCSP Application Process and Planning Activities (Applicant Survey)

Figure 7 provides an illustration of the level of satisfaction with the PCSP application process and planning activities based on an applicant survey conducted as part of this evaluation

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Figure 7:

Figure 7 provides an illustration of the level of satisfaction with the PCSP application process and planning activities based on an applicant survey conducted as part of this evaluation.

In terms of ease of applying for the Program, 85% of respondents were satisfied, 11% were neutral and 4% were dissatisfied.

In terms of timeliness of support, 82% of respondents were satisfied, 15% were neutral and 3% were dissatisfied.

In terms of clarity of response of application, 72% of respondents were satisfied, 15% were neutral and 13% were dissatisfied.

In terms of ease of filling out forms, 68% of respondents were satisfied, 19% were neutral and 13% were dissatisfied.

In terms of general information provided about doing research in the Arctic, 65% of respondents were satisfied, 31% were neutral and 5% were dissatisfied.

In terms of assistance with planning field activity, 63% of respondents were satisfied, 31% were neutral and 6% were dissatisfied.

In terms of timeliness of response to application, 61% of respondents were satisfied, 24% were neutral and 15% were dissatisfied.

Figure 8: Satisfaction with the PCSP Services and Advice (Applicant Survey)

Figure 8 provides an illustration of the level of satisfaction with PCSP services and advice based on an applicant survey conducted as part of this evaluation

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Figure 8:

Figure 8 provides an illustration of the level of satisfaction with PCSP services and advice based on an applicant survey conducted as part of this evaluation.

In terms of safety instructions provided by pilots, 88% of respondents were satisfied, 10% were neutral and 2% were dissatisfied.

In terms of professionalism of PCSP staff, 86% of respondents were satisfied, 10% were neutral and 4% were dissatisfied.

In terms of appropriateness of services to need, 85% of respondents were satisfied, 10% were neutral and 6% were dissatisfied.

In terms of overall satisfaction with PCSP, 84% of respondents were satisfied, 11% were neutral and 5% were dissatisfied.

In terms of advice from PCSP staff during field work, 75% of respondents were satisfied, 17% were neutral and 9% were dissatisfied.

In terms of response during high risk/crisis situations, 75% of respondents were satisfied, 17% were neutral and 8% were dissatisfied.

In terms of access to PCSP staff, 71% of respondents were satisfied, 18% were neutral and 11% were dissatisfied.

Support Mechanisms and Mix of Logistical Support
As noted previously (section 1.3.4), the PCSP provides logistical support to research proponents using one of three arrangements:

  1. 100 percent in-kind support, whereby logistics costs are covered in full by the PCSP;
  2. partial in-kind support and partial recoverable expenditures, whereby logistics costs are shared between the PCSP and the research proponent; and
  3. 100 percent recoverable expenditures, whereby logistics costs are covered in full by the research proponent.

Although not specific to logistics support, the literature also highlighted that there has been a “lack of funding for northern research in Canada, at a time when most other polar countries have significantly increased their investment in research capacity, including infrastructure and logistical support.”Footnote55 And although money will not necessarily solve the problems, inadequate funding limits the ability for them to be addressed.Footnote56

In line with this, until 2009-10, core Program funding (i.e., A-base) had not changed since 2003; however, costs for delivering logistics had increased – particularly with respect to fuel and transportation.Footnote57 The focus of the analysis was on aircraft support because it makes up the greatest amount of logistics support, and information related to equipment was not available at the time of the evaluation.

As illustrated in Figure 9, the number of projects for which aircraft logistical support was provided by the PCSP, through a 100 percent in-kind support arrangement, fluctuated slightly between 2006 and 2010. However, over the same period, there was an increase in the number of projects receiving logistical support either through a partial in-kind support arrangement or 100 percent recoverable expenditures arrangement.

Figure 9: Projects Receiving Aircraft Support by Support Arrangement, 2006-2010

Figure 9 provides an illustration of the number projects receiving aircraft support by support arrangement for each of year from 2006 through 2010

Source: PCSP Database

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Figure 9:

Figure 9 provides an illustration of the number projects receiving aircraft support by support arrangement for each of year from 2006 through 2010.

In 2006, 24 projects received aircraft support through a 100% in-kind support arrangement, 31 projects received aircraft support through a partial in-kind support arrangement, and 67 received aircraft support through a 100% recoverable expenditures arrangement.

In 2007, 28 projects received aircraft support through a 100% in-kind support arrangement, 33 projects received aircraft support through a partial in-kind support arrangement, and 56 received aircraft support through a 100% recoverable expenditures arrangement.

In 2008, 23 projects received aircraft support through a 100% in-kind support arrangement, 46 projects received aircraft support through a partial in-kind support arrangement, and 77 received aircraft support through a 100% recoverable expenditures arrangement.

In 2009, 28 projects received aircraft support through a 100% in-kind support arrangement, 40 projects received aircraft support through a partial in-kind support arrangement, and 75 received aircraft support through a 100% recoverable expenditures arrangement.

In 2010, 20 projects received aircraft support through a 100% in-kind support arrangement, 51 projects received aircraft support through a partial in-kind support arrangement, and 75 received aircraft support through a 100% recoverable expenditures arrangement.

At the same time, the proportion of projects receiving 75 percent or more of their requested aircraft hours (converted to dollars) through in-kind support, declined from 43 percent in 2006 to 32 percent in 2010, as shown in Figure 10.

Figure 10: Projects Receiving 75 percent or More of Requested Dollars in Aircraft SupportFootnote58, 2006-2010

Figure 10 provides an illustration of the percentage of projects receiving 75% or more of the requested dollars in aircraft support (based on dollars of in-kind aircraft support, excluding full recoverable expenditures) for each year from 2006 through 2010

Source: PCSP Database.

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Figure 10:

Figure 10 provides an illustration of the percentage of projects receiving 75% or more of the requested dollars in aircraft support (based on dollars of in-kind aircraft support, excluding full recoverable expenditures) for each year from 2006 through 2010.

In 2006, 43% of projects received 75% or more of the requested dollars in aircraft support.

In 2007, 50% of projects received 75% or more of the requested dollars in aircraft support.

In 2008, 37% of projects received 75% or more of the requested dollars in aircraft support.

In 2009, 42% of projects received 75% or more of the requested dollars in aircraft support.

In 2010, 32% of projects received 75% or more of the requested dollars in aircraft support.

Figures 9 and 10 suggest that the mechanism/arrangement (i.e., full in-kind vs. partial recoverable expenditures) through which the PCSP is providing logistical support is changing. This is likely due to an increase in the number of supported projects as well as increases in the costs of providing logistics (particularly aircraft support) while core funding has remained relatively stable.

To assess the extent to which the PCSP is offering the “right” mix of funding and logistical support, aircraft logistical support requested by the project proponents was compared to the aircraft support provided by the PCSP (regardless of support arrangement). Again , the focus of this analysis was on aircraft support rather than total logistics support (including aircraft, accommodations, equipment and fuel) because of: (i) a lack of accessible data on non-aircraft logistical support; and (ii) the overwhelming cost, in terms of dollars spent by the Program in terms of delivering aircraft support.

Based on a sample of 50 costing reports (10 per year), Figure 11 shows that the dollar value of aircraft support represents over 90 percent of the value of total logistical support provided by the PCSP.

Figure 11: Proportion of Aircraft and Non-AircraftFootnote59 Support Provided by the PCSP, 2006-2010

Based on a sample of 50 costing report (10 per year) Figure 11 provides an illustration of the proportion of aircraft and non-aircraft support provided by the PCSP for each year from 2006 through 2010

Source: PCSP Project Costing Reports.

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Figure 11:

Based on a sample of 50 costing report (10 per year) Figure 11 provides an illustration of the proportion of aircraft and non-aircraft support provided by the PCSP for each year from 2006 through 2010. Note that non-aircraft support includes equipment, accommodation and fuel.

In 2006, 96% of support provided by the PCSP was for aircraft and 4% was for non-aircraft support.

In 2007, 91% of support provided by the PCSP was for aircraft and 9% was for non-aircraft support.

In 2008, 97% of support provided by the PCSP was for aircraft and 3% was for non-aircraft support.

In 2009, 94% of support provided by the PCSP was for aircraft and 6% was for non-aircraft support.

In 2010, 98% of support provided by the PCSP was for aircraft and 2% was for non-aircraft support.

That said, the number of pieces of equipment issued between 2007 and 2010 increased by over 50 percent going from 35,000 to 53,000 items.Footnote60 This is attributed to the increased demand resulting from UNCLOS and GEM projects, which are supported through a 100 percent recovered expenditures arrangement.

For 100 percent in-kind and partial in-kind supported projects from 2006 to 2010, Figure 12 shows that there has been an overall increase in the total value of aircraft logistical support requested by applicants, while the total value of aircraft support covered through in-kind support from the PCSP has gradually started to decline in 2010. This should be monitored over time to observe if the trend continues, what impact this has had (if any) on the effectiveness, efficiency and economy of the Program, as well as identifying potential causes and solutions/mitigation strategies.

Figure 12: Aircraft Support Requested of, and Agreed to In-Kind Support by the PCSP, 2006-2010

Figure 12 provides an illustration of the total dollar value of aircraft support requested of, and agreed to through in-kind support by the PCSP for each year from 2006 through 2010

Source: PCSP Database.

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Figure 12:

Figure 12 provides an illustration of the total dollar value of aircraft support requested of, and agreed to through in-kind support by the PCSP for each year from 2006 through 2010.

In 2006, $7.3 million in aircraft support was requested, and $3.8 million was agreed to through in-kind support by the PCSP.

In 2007, $7.4 million in aircraft support was requested, and $4 million was agreed to through in-kind support by the PCSP.

In 2008, $8.7 million in aircraft support was requested, and $3.8 million was agreed to through in-kind support by the PCSP.

In 2009, $9.3 million in aircraft support was requested, and $3.8 million was agreed to through in-kind support by the PCSP.

In 2010, $8.1 million in aircraft support was requested, and $2.9 million was agreed to through in-kind support by the PCSP.

Based on this information alone, it is not possible to say if the Program offers the “right” mix of funding and logistics services, but there are indications that perhaps there is a decrease in the amount of agreed to in-kind support available across projects. As shown in Figure 6 above, at least with respect to aircraft support, there appears to be a trend towards more cost-recovery and partial in-kind support of projects. Given that core funding has remained relatively stable from 2006 through 2010, increases in the costs associated with logistics as well as an increase in the number of applicants, this is not unexpected.

Limited information was available in databases/documents related to equipment provided by the PCSP. Therefore, the applicant survey was used to assess applicants’ level of satisfaction with the equipment provided. As shown in Figure 13, researchers using equipment provided by the PCSP (n=56) were generally satisfied.

Figure 13: Researcher Satisfaction with Equipment Provided by the PCSP (Applicant Survey)

Figure 13 provides an illustration of research satisfaction with equipment provided by the PCSP based on an applicant survey conducted as part of this evaluation

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Figure 13:

Figure 13 provides an illustration of research satisfaction with equipment provided by the PCSP based on an applicant survey conducted as part of this evaluation.

In terms of availability of equipment, 91% of respondents were satisfied, 9% were neutral and 0% were dissatisfied.

In terms of quality of equipment, 85% of respondents were satisfied, 9% were neutral and 6% were dissatisfied.

In terms of age of equipment, 7% of respondents were satisfied, 19% were neutral and 4% were dissatisfied.

In terms of service support for equipment, 75% of respondents were satisfied, 23% were neutral and 2% were dissatisfied.

In terms of support on equipment assembly and/or operation, 71% of respondents were satisfied, 29% were neutral and 0% were dissatisfied.

In terms of safety instructions and manuals provided, 66% of respondents were satisfied, 34% were neutral and 0% were dissatisfied.

In terms of training on equipment assembly and/or operation, 64% of respondents were satisfied, 33% were neutral and 3% were dissatisfied.

In terms of written instructions for equipment, 55% of respondents were satisfied, 45% were neutral and 0% were dissatisfied.

Services provided by the PCSP (including logistics for aircraft, equipment, accommodations, etc.; and in-kind support) are consistent with what the literature suggests is required to sustain research in the North. In particular, the Canadian Polar Commission identified a number of elements required of an infrastructure network, including logistics, to sustain research in the North, including:

  • a mechanism to fund construction of new facilities and/or upgrading facilities;
  • operating funds that are not tied to projects ongoing at any specific time to allow for ongoing operations;
  • funding for year-round operation (as appropriate);
  • a viable funding/project renewal strategy;
  • science funding for the long-term support of projects;
  • a network based on partnerships; and
  • centres of research infrastructure or regional hubs that are open year-round can be centres of integration for training, data management/archiving/analysis and have laboratory capacity.Footnote61

The PCSP provides some of this, namely: a newly-upgraded facility which includes accommodation facilities and full laboratory; dedicated operating funds (i.e., core funding); a field season appropriate to Canada’s Arctic; and a network of partnerships. However, the Program does not have a specific support/project renewal strategy nor long-term agreements (researchers must apply each year).

Barriers/Challenges and Potential Solutions
Stakeholder interview results focused on potential barriers and challenges to the efficiency and economy of the PCSP and the possible impact on the Program’s effectiveness. The following challenges were noted by interviewees:

  • Inventory management: While the equipment is generally appreciated by users, some NRCan interviewees mentioned that some aspects of inventory management could be improved. While there is an inventory system in place with bar codes to track equipment, interviewees acknowledged that the software used in the Ottawa warehouse (i.e., the TFSS) is outdated and at risk because it is a tailored system that can only be serviced by the consultant who designed it. The TFSS system is also not linked to the system used at the Resolute facility.
  • Financial management of inventory: Many NRCan interviewees indicated that the current financial management of inventory is not optimal. Recovered expenditure amounts are calculated based on outdated formulas that do not enable full cost recovery and/or equipment maintenance and/or replacement. Given that Government of Canada financial policies do not allow for the lapse of funds, purchases are made directly from annual program revenues. As such, there is no long-term plan for purchases and inventory management.
  • Human resources processes: Many NRCan interviewees noted that HR management is a challenge given Government of Canada policies related to isolated post arrangements vs. travel status because the cost of travelling to Resolute is high and the location is isolated, with no option of bringing family along. As a result, it is difficult to find qualified staff for the Resolute facility and follow Government of Canada human resource policies. At the time of this evaluation, the Program interviewees noted that Resolute staff are put on travel status rather than isolated post pay because if put on isolated post pay, employees have to pay their own way to/from Resolute which is extremely costly. It has recently been confirmed by Treasury Board that this practice is not the proper approach and that they should instead be using isolated post pay, which may then be cost-prohibitive to qualified and interested individuals. Consequently, there are no flexibilities available to the Program management to assist them with staffing the Resolute facility.
  • Procurement processes: Many NRCan interviewees noted challenges with the procurement processes, in particular those associated with procuring and shipping goods to the North given that sea lifts only go once per year. Although the National Master Standing Offer (NMSO) does not require the involvement of Public Works and Government Services (PWGSC) for call-ups under $400,000, some NRCan interviewees did note challenges of having to abide by the limits of the PWGSC Standing Offer for the provision of contracts for charter airline, including price limitations and nine to five/ Monday to Friday working hours of PWGSC, which does not always correspond to the reality of conducting research in the North. As a result, there are no flexibilities available to the Program management to assist them with their procurement and shipping activities.
  • Invoicing processes: Both NRCan and external interviewees identified challenges related to invoicing processes. It was recognized by some interviewees from both NRCan and external interviewees that the invoicing process to recover expenditures could be done in a more timely manner. NRCan interviewees noted that invoicing delays were partly due to a lack of human resource capacity, as well as researchers changing plans from the initial applications. The challenge raised by external interviewees was that researchers were often clearing up invoices from the previous field season while also trying to determine the resources needed for the upcoming field season.
  • Alignment with Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) funding decisions: Both NRCan and external interviewees noted that the lack of alignment between PCSP and NSERC funding decisions creates challenges. This supports a recent mid-year review report and 2010 Advisory Board minutes that expressed a need for more direct interaction between the PCSP and federal granting councils such as the NSERC and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR). The Board noted that the PCSP application screening process collects information on alternative funding sources obtained by applicants while NSERC (a key alternative funding source for university researchers) makes its funding decisions after the PCSP has made its decisions.Footnote62 As a result, the PCSP is making decisions related to in-kind logistics support without knowing the actual amount needed by researchers. If research projects are not supported by NSERC, for instance, the support from the PCSP may not be required as it may not be possible for the researcher to move forward. Similarly, if the amount of logistics approved for in-kind support by the PCSP is not sufficient for the researcher, it may not be possible to proceed with the research project(s) as planned. It may be beneficial to align funding decisions between the organizations and/or for the PCSP to approve in-kind logistics support on a conditional basis (e.g., pending support of NSERC).

In addition, some of the relevant literature identified barriers and challenges that could impact the effectiveness, efficiency and economy of providing logistics and conducting research in the North, including the:

  • high cost of access to the North and its field stations, travel around the North, and accommodation for researchers in communities; and
  • advanced planning that is required in order to ship scientific equipment by sea lift when this option is often not suitable for scientific equipment, lacks alignment with the short and often late funding, as well as delays due to weather (particularly in remote camps, which adds to the cost of access).Footnote63

In terms of solutions to potential barriers/challenges, the literature suggests the following:

  • “special operating funds for scientists and scientific equipment, coordination of supply with the Coast Guard…, coordination with the Department of National Defence as activities with an Arctic training centre, deepwater port, and Arctic patrol vessel increases”;Footnote64
  • arranging a balance “between subsidized accommodation within a research centre and the importance of commercial accommodation to the community”;Footnote65
  • coordinated approach for operations and logistics for research stations, vessels and aircraft in the Polar Regions;Footnote66 and
  • international cooperation to increase the progress of science and enable research that would otherwise be expensive and not feasible.Footnote67

Alternatives and Good Practices
The Canadian Polar Commission recommends a pan-northern network of facilities that would provide the infrastructure necessary to “enable coordinated strategies for service provision and funding and link all northern research communities”.Footnote68 Research from the Canadian Polar Commission identified that existing facilities (as of 2008) were uncoordinated and fragmented. Therefore, the Canadian Polar Commission suggested that the network should:

  • establish linkages between facilities;
  • enable economies of scale for activities such as training new northern researchers, contracting logistics support, administrative services, etc.;
  • ensure common standards and interoperability with national and international partners;
  • contribute to the study of fundamental global science issues and coordinate observations and experiments on an international scale;
  • address regional priorities while also covering geographical regions such as the boreal forest, Subarctic and Arctic as well as the cordilleran areas of the northwest and Labrador; and
  • provide locations for research critical to national defence, regulatory enforcement and search and rescue as well as to science.Footnote69

As identified through some internal and external interviews, the PCSP is providing some of these suggestions for a network. For example, the PCSP:

  • enables economies of scale through the creation of synergies between researchers, including through the coordinating of flights between research teams, consolidating field locations, contracting for bulk services (such as flight hours) and providing accommodation to researchers at the Resolute facility;
  • increases the study of fundamental global science issues (such as climate change); and
  • provides locations for research critical to national defence, regulatory enforcement and search and rescue (for example through UNCLOS, support to Canadian Space Agency projects, GEM, etc.).

Literature also recognized the importance of having a Canadian Polar Policy, which in part could help to align the PCSP allocation of logistics support with the NSERC granting process.Footnote70 It was noted in the literature that many other countries, including Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia have “integrated support for polar research that leaves Canada trailing”.Footnote71 Similarly, evidence from the literature suggests that a national strategy for northern science, research and knowledge is critical for providing a road map for national priorities,Footnote72 and not having one would leave “already fragmented Canadian northern research activities exceedingly vulnerable during times of financial stress”.Footnote73 Canada’s Northern Strategy may be one step towards achieving this, however, the general sense among external interviewees was that there is no Canadian strategy for northern science and research. Though outside the purview of the PCSP, such a policy could assist the PCSP in ensuring supported projects align with Government of Canada priorities.

Another example provided in the literature relates to the establishment of a Canadian northern research service which would:

“…house and coordinate essential programs to support northern research, such as an expanded and revitalized Polar Continental Shelf Project [sic] capable of providing logistical and infrastructure support across the entire North, with a mandate to include the diverse and growing needs of academic, government and community-based researchers. Land, ocean, and space-based infrastructure, including research stations, aircraft, icebreakers, and dedicated satellites could be centrally coordinated. This coordination could be done in collaboration with other organizations, including the northern research institutes and communities, the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing, the Canadian Coast Guard, and other federal departments and agencies, and industry.”Footnote74

The international comparison case studies conducted as part of this evaluation also served to provide examples of good practices or lessons learned, as identified in Table 9. Recognizing the different operating contexts of the case study proponents and the PCSP, these could nevertheless be considered by the PCSP as it seeks to address some of the identified challenges/barriers.

Table 9: Potential Good Practices and/or Lessons Learned from International Comparison Case Studies
Case Study Proponent Potential Good Practice and/or Lessons Learned

United States: Arctic Research Support and Logistics (RSL) Program and the U.S. Antarctic Program
  • Allows more time than the PCSP for logistics planning and budgeting.
  • Draws on resources in the military and commercial sectors, as well as cooperative arrangements with international partners, to provide logistical support to researchers.

United Kingdom: British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and the United Kingdom’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
  • Allows more time than the PCSP for logistics planning and budgeting.
  • Logistics reviewed and approved independently of the science – if the logistics request is feasible and the science is supported, logistics are covered in full.

Sweden: Swedish Polar Research Secretariat
  • Promotion of research findings from Swedish polar researchers through storage and dissemination of results.
  • Swedish Polar Research Secretariat and the Swedish Research Council developed a roadmap to guide planning for polar research which provides some direction for the types of projects to be supported.
  • Has a two-stream process for screening projects – research projects requiring extensive logistics planning and higher costs undergo feasibility studies for the purposes of analyzing their implementation prior to moving on to the operational and project planning phases.

Some of these organizations also have organizational structures that differ from that of the PCSP, which may also be considered as potential alternatives. Table 10 provides examples of these.

Table 10: Governance Structures Identified through the International Comparison Case Studies
Case Study Proponent Potential Good Practice and/or Lessons Learned

United States: Arctic Research Support and Logistics (RSL) Program and the U.S. Antarctic Program
  • The Office of Polar Programs is housed within the National Science Foundation, a U.S. federal government agency and has two science-based divisions – one for the Arctic and one for the Antarctic:
    • a third division manages the provision of logistics and support (including field stations, camps, and laboratories) in the Antarctic;
    • environmental health and safety issues are handled by the Office of Polar Environment, Health and Safety; and
    • management of logistical support within the Arctic is housed in the Arctic Science Division itself.
  • Logistical support to Arctic researchers is provided by contractors funded directly by the Office of Polar Programs.

United Kingdom: British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and the United Kingdom’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
  • NERC, which includes BAS and the Arctic Office, is independent of government although is funded mostly by government through the UK Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.
  • NERC is responsible for funding the science, while BAS is responsible for approving the logistics for covering the science.
  • NERC responsibilities include awarding grants, funding post-graduate students, as well as providing and operating ships, equipment and other facilities for the environmental research community.

Norway: Norwegian Polar Institute
  • The Norwegian Polar Institute conducts expeditions related to its identified research activities while the Operations and Logistics Department is responsible for practical and technical implementation of the expeditions and overall responsibility for the Polar Institute’s research vessel Lance.

Use of Resources and Partnerships
There was agreement among stakeholder interviewees that the Program makes excellent use of resources. This is supported by the level of satisfaction with services noted by respondents to the applicant survey, as well as the extent to which the Program has provided logistics support to an increasing number of projects in spite of maintaining consistent core funding.

The PCSP has also undertaken a number of activities that could be expected to improve the efficiency and economy of the Program. Specifically:Footnote75

  • In 2008-09, the PCSP signed a MOU with the United Kingdom to pursue collaboration on logistics for polar research activities. Under this agreement, Canada agreed to share its accommodation and logistical support with the United Kingdom in exchange for the United Kingdom sharing its logistical support with Canada for activities in the Arctic and Antarctic. This MOU also includes the sharing of a United Kingdom fixed-wing aircraft that is housed in Calgary.
  • In 2009, the PCSP entered into an agreement with the Canadian Coast Guard to enable the latter to transport dry cargo to Eureka, using its icebreaking vessels, on behalf of the PCSP.
  • At the end of 2010, NRCan signed a 25-year MOU with the Department of National Defence to enable cooperation between the two departments in the Canadian Arctic for the purpose of facilitating more effective program delivery and operational capabilities of each organization in the Arctic. Areas for cooperation covered by the MOU include expansion of the PCSP facility at ResoluteFootnote76 and the occupancy and use of the Resolute facility by both organizations, as well as logistics, use of materials/equipment, exchange of information and personnel:
    • for DND, the purpose of funding the expansion of the PCSP Resolute facility was to gain expanded access to the facilities for the purposes of the Canadian Forces Arctic Training Centre; and
    • for the PCSP, allowing the expansion of the Resolute facility serves the purpose of increasing the capacity to accommodate and support additional research teams.
  • For research projects proposed by other government departments, the PCSP does not generally provide 100 percent of the support requested through in-kind arrangements; rather, it expects the OGD to contribute a percentage of its own funds.
  • The PCSP looks for synergies between research projects in order to find efficiencies and economies of scale in providing logistics support. This includes sharing of flights to/from field camps and combining research teams.

Moreover, the PCSP works with several organizations that provide some logistical support to northern researchers on a regional basis. These include:

  • Aurora Institute in the Northwest Territories;
  • Nunavut Research Institute in Iqaluit, Nunavut;
  • Government of the Yukon; and
  • Yukon College.

In the case of the Aurora Research Institute, the PCSP entered into a MOU with the objective of establishing frameworks of cooperation to optimize the efficiency and effectiveness of the delivery of northern research activities. Areas of cooperation included entering into joint projects, the provision of government facilities and equipment, and activities such as radio communication with field parties and search and rescue.

Two of the project case studies (GEM Northern Base and Precious Metal Potential, Victoria Island, NT; and Dynamic Inuit Social Strategies in Changing Environments: A Long-Term Perspective) noted that the PCSP provided charter flights in which many research teams shared the same flight, which results in savings for both the research proponent and the PCSP. Similarly, the UNCLOS project case study identified ways in which the PCSP uses its collaborations to assist researchers. In this case, PCSP identified contractors to support the UNCLOS team with setting up its ice camps, which saved the research team significant time and connected the UNCLOS team with mechanics to support the research team at field camp locations.

Through these collaborations and synergies, the PCSP is delivering its logistics support as efficiently and economically given the barriers and challenges described herein.

3.2.4 Performance Information

Evaluation Question Methodologies Assessment
8. To what degree does the PCSP collect performance information that supports the determination of effectiveness, efficiency and economy? Document review, database/file review, stakeholder interviews. Collection of performance information is limited.

Summary:
Limited performance information is collected by the PCSP that would support the determination of effectiveness, efficiency and economy. That said, the PCSP does collect information on the satisfaction of PCSP clients through regularly-conducted satisfaction surveys. However, there are inconsistencies and gaps in the accessibility, availability and reporting of information across the Program’s various data/information systems and files. Similarly, the PCSP does not systematically collect, monitor or report on progress towards achieving its outcomes related to providing safe, efficient and cost-effective logistical support – this includes systematically monitoring and reporting on the immediate, intermediate and long-term outcomes in the Program logic model. As a result, information gaps exist with respect to: safety of researchers in the field; economy of the Program; and performance of the Program in terms of progress towards achieving the intended outcomes identified in its logic model.

Analysis:

As noted in the limitations to the evaluation section above (section 2.3), information (e.g., requests received, in-kind logistical support, costs for provision of logistical support, amounts invoiced to project proponents) is spread across several separate systems or groups of files. Although projects can be cross-referenced using the project number, it is not possible to link information electronically. This makes the tracking and reporting of performance (effectiveness, efficiency and economy) difficult. In particular, without extensive time and resources, it is not possible to compare requested, approved and actual logistics (including costs). These challenges exist because of the different sources of information, including:

  • PCSP Database: maintained in MS Access and contains information about the project objectives as well as some information about the equipment, accommodation and aircraft logistics support requested and approved;
  • Project Letters of Support: separate MS Word files exist for each project and also contain information on logistics support approved by the PCSP;
  • Costing Reports: individual MS Excel spreadsheets are created for each project for which the PCSP provides logistics report and appear to be the only source of information related to the amounts invoiced to project proponents; and
  • ABC Master Database: one summary MS Excel spreadsheet listing the value of logistical support provided and amounts invoiced by the PCSP for each project, but only for the years 2006, 2007, and 2008.

There are also inconsistencies and gaps in the accessibility and reporting of information across Program databases, information systems and files. For example, in addition to requesting aircraft requirements, the Logistics Request Form (i.e., the application form) requests requirements for camp equipment. However, the PCSP database retains only minimal information on whether requested equipment was approved and provided. Detailed information on equipment and camp fuel provided is contained in the costing reports; however, as noted above, there is a separate Costing Report for each project supported by the PCSP and not electronically-linked to the information from the Logistics Request Form (which is captured in the PCSP Database).

Notwithstanding these challenges, the 2011-12 PAA identifies the expected result for the PCSP as providing cost-effective logistical support, with the identified indicator of “ percent projects supported within budget constraints”; however, this is not a true measure of cost-effectiveness. When looking to the existing Program logic model, there continues to be a disconnect in that outcomes and performance information are not identified in the logic model, nor in documentation available at the time of the evaluation.

Given these challenges, NRCan interviewees were asked to explain how performance information is monitored and reported. These interviewees noted that the Program regularly conducts client satisfaction surveys (every two to three years) and annually conducts internal management reviews. The client satisfaction surveys, in particular, may be able to provide insight into how to better meet the needs of its clients and therefore deliver the Program more effectively.

In addition, the evaluation process identified that little program information is collected systematically and reported against the logic model’s immediate and intermediate outcomes. Nevertheless, the Program is responsible for reporting internally through mid-year and year-end reviews, and also publishes an annual science report highlighting some of the research projects supported by the Program.

Mid-year and year-end reports identify the number of research projects supported by the Program, dollar value of support provided, nights of accommodation provided, flight hours, tracking of Program revenues and expenditures, and dollars contributed through purchases of supplies and services. However, there is no direct link between this information and the outcomes and objectives of the Program beyond provision of logistics support to researchers. Nor is it clear from where this information originates (with the exception of Program expenditures), which is a concern given the limitations identified previously with the different databases/information systems.

On the other hand, the annual science reports highlight the results and findings of some of the research activities for which the PCSP provided logistics support. This information does provide evidence of progress towards achieving the immediate outcome of “researchers conducting research in the Arctic are aware of and using PCSP services”, as well as the long-term outcome of “increased scientific knowledge of the Arctic region and its adjacent waters contributes to current and emerging national priorities in support of Arctic stewardship and sovereignty”.

On the whole, the evaluation determined that the PCSP does not systematically collect, monitor, or report on progress towards achieving its outcomes, particularly those related to providing safe, efficient and cost-effective logistical support (the Program’s mandate) and including the activities, outputs and outcomes identified in the Program logic model. The challenge to conducting this systematic collection, monitoring and reporting on performance is that indicators/performance metrics have not been developed for each component of the logic model. Thus, the Program may not have identified what data to collect, monitor and report. For example, key information/data gaps exist with respect to:

  • Safety of researchers in the field: Information is not collected to track safety-related incidents related to flights and equipment – for example: supplemental flights to rescue researchers from the field, flights to follow-up missed scheduled contacts by researchers with the Resolute facility; number of times equipment has to be replaced/repaired in the field is not readily available for tracking/reporting purposes.
  • Economy of the Program: Without manually aligning information from the individual project costing reports with the PCSP Database (or other sources), it is not possible to track, monitor, and report on the amount of support requested versus amount of support agreed to (in-kind basis and recoverable expenditures), versus actual logistics support provided to determine the economy of the Program.
  • Performance: Information is available across data sources; however, information is not systematically collected or reported on to identify the extent to which the PCSP is contributing to the outcomes identified in the Program logic model – this may, in part, be because performance metrics have not been identified for the Program outcomes, definitions of stakeholders (i.e., partners, clients, other types of stakeholders) have not been explicitly articulated, and the Program’s theory of change has not been described (i.e., assumptions of how the activities/outputs will lead to the immediate outcomes, how immediate outcomes will lead to the intermediate outcomes, and how intermediate outcomes will lead to long-term outcomes).

4.0 Conclusion

The PCSP was found to be highly relevant in that it is aligned with federal government priorities, NRCan’s strategic objectives, as well as federal roles and responsibilities. The Program was found to be addressing a need for coordination and provision of logistics support for research being conducted in Canada’s Arctic. This need is particularly relevant given the cost of conducting research in the Arctic as well as the vastness of the geographic area.

Overall, the PCSP was contributing to the achievement of its intended outcomes and objectives, specifically those related to: awareness of the PCSP logistics services; providing effective logistics support; creating synergies among research teams; building northern capacity; supporting the northern economy; facilitating the development of science-based knowledge; and increasing Canada’s presence in the Arctic while contributing to national priorities specifically related to the North. Nevertheless, the evaluation found that key performance information is not systematically tracked with respect to: safety of researchers in the field (in terms of safety-related incidents related to flights and equipment); economy of the Program; and performance of the Program in terms of progress towards achieving the intended outcomes identified in its logic model.

Although the Program is making good use of its resources and successfully providing researchers with logistics support, improvements to internal processes/project and inventory management tools could increase the effectiveness, efficiency, economy and sustainability of the Program.

Appendix A: PCSP LOGIC MODEL

Appendix A presents the logic model for the PCSP

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Text version - Appendix A

Appendix A:

Appendix A presents the logic model for the PCSP.

With respect to good governance, the activity is: logistics services in support of research conducted in the Arctic region (aircraft, accommodations at the Resolute base, etc.). The output of this is coordinated, cost-effective and high-quality logistics support to research programs in the Canadian Arctic. The immediate outcome (to be achieved by April 2009) is Researchers conducting research in the Arctic are aware of and using PCSP services. The intermediate outcome (to be achieved by April 2011) is increased cooperation with research and logistic service agencies to ensure that services are provided to support research aligned with national priorities.

With respect to Arctic sovereignty/stewardship, the activities are:

  • Participation in the horizontal planning, priority-setting, management and funding of logistics for northern S&T programs across federally-funded stakeholder groups;
  • Participate in various board meetings, exchange information, attend review panels, etc.; and
  • Use of local suppliers and service providers.

The outputs are:

  • Horizontal planning done and implemented for northern S&T programs;
  • Logistics support provided in collaboration with northern communities and international partner agencies; and
  • Contribution to the northern economy in terms of purchasing supplies and services and indirectly to job creation in northern communities.

The immediate outcomes (to be achieved by April 2009) are:

  • Increased synergies between stakeholders due to better coordinated logistics support; and
  • Logistics support without competing with private entrepreneurs operating in northern communities.

The intermediate outcome (to be achieved by April 2011) is contribution to the northern capacity building in Canada with respect to the provision of logistics services in the Arctic.

The overall long-term outcome for the PCSP (to be achieved from 2011 and later) is increased scientific knowledge in the Arctic region and its adjacent waters contributes to current and emerging national priorities in support of Arctic stewardship and sovereignty.

This logic model also includes the obligation, context/policy linkages, and key performance indicator for the PCSP.

The obligation is pursuant to Section 8 of the Resources and Technical Surveys Act, the Minister may coordinate logistics support and provide related assistance for the purposes of advancing scientific knowledge of the Arctic region and contributing to the exercise of Canada’s sovereignty in that region and its adjacent waters.

The context/policy linkages is PCSP is a national logistics agency which supports research related to national social, economic and environmental priorities.

The key performance indicator is logistics support is provided to Arctic research projects that contribute to national strategic priorities.

Appendix B: Overview of International Comparison Case Studies

Canada United States United Kingdom Norway Sweden
Organization: Polar Continental Shelf Program Arctic Research Support and Logistics Program, and U.S. Antarctic Program British Antarctic Survey and National Environment Research Council Norwegian Polar Institute Swedish Polar Research Secretariat
Governing Sector: Government Government (use of private sector to coordinate logistics) Non-government organization Government Government
Location of Facilities: Arctic Antarctic Antarctic and Arctic Arctic Arctic and Antarctic
Logistics Provided Available:
  • Air and overland transport
  • Navigation and positioning systems
  • Radio and satellite telephone communications network
  • Field equipment such as tents and snowmobiles
  • Fuel for aircraft, equipment and field camps
  • Workspace at the Resolute facility
  • Accommodation and meals at the Resolute and Eureka facilities
  • Transportation
  • Air support
  • Cargo movement and facilities
  • Field camp management
  • Field camp staffing
  • Lodging
  • Coordinating support requests with appropriate agencies and contractors
  • Field equipment
  • Research facilities
  • Transportation to and from field camps (via snowmobile or sled)
  • Accommodation
  • Access to research ships and aircraft
  • Limited field equipment (e.g., VHF radio, satellite telephones, firearms, boats and snowmobiles)
  • Research facilities / infrastructure
  • Accommodation
  • Local transport and air transportation / air freight
  • Snowmobiles, boats and sledges (available for rent)
  • Field equipment such as tents, sleeping bags, clothes, etc. (available for rent)
  • Safety equipment such as rifles radios, personal beacons (available for rent)
  • Some out clothing
  • Snowmobiles, zodiacs and tracked vehicles
  • GPS and maps
  • Radio and satellite communications
  • Camping equipment
  • Arrangements for transportation of researchers and equipment between Antarctic and South Africa
  • Transportation to and from Arctic-based research locations
Typical Clients:
  • Researchers affiliated with the Canadian government
  • Researchers affiliated with Canadian universities
  • Foreign researchers or researchers in the Canadian private sector
  • Researchers affiliated with territorial governments, undertaking traditional knowledge research or undertaking projects within the Canadian Arctic-Antarctic Exchange Program
Researchers from:

  • Universities and colleges
  • Non-profit, non-academic organizations
  • For-profit organizations
  • Governments
  • Unaffiliated individuals
  • (rarely) foreign organizations or other federal agencies
  • UK researchers and students
  • Researchers from UK universities, research institutes and other recognized organizations (and their international collaborators
  • Norwegian Polar Institute Researchers
  • Norwegian and international researchers
  • Academics
  • Swedish researchers
  • Researchers from other countries who undertake research in cooperation with Swedish researchers
Types of Supported Projects: Research related to:

  • Ecological integrity
  • Sustainable communities and culture
  • Climate change
  • Northern resources and development
  • Planetary science
  • National parks and weather stations
Antarctic
Research related to:

  • Aeronomy and Astrophysics
  • Earth science
  • Glaciology
  • Integrated system science
  • Ocean and atmospheric sciences
  • Organisms and ecosystems

Arctic

  • Arctic natural sciences
  • Arctic social sciences
  • Arctic system sciences
  • Work on the Arctic long-term environmental observation network
  • Cyberinfrastructure
Research related to:

  • Chemistry and past climate
  • Climate
  • Ecosystems
  • Environmental change and evolution
  • Icesheets
  • Polar oceans
Research related to:

  • Climate change
  • Biological diversity
  • Pollution
  • Glaciology
  • Oceanography
  • Meteorology
  • Quaternary geology
  • Marine geology
  • Monitoring of persistent organic pollutants, heavy metals and radioactivity
Research in all science fields, often:

  • Natural sciences
  • Physical sciences
Logistics Funding / Support Approach / Model:
  • Full cost-recovery
  • Partial support
  • Full support
  • Partial support
  • Full support of logistics
  • Full support
  • Cost-recovery
  • Grants (in 2010)
Timelines (application to project start): Applications submitted in October for the next field season (starting as early as the following March) Antarctic
Review process takes up to six months
Arctic
Review and processing takes up to six months plus up to an additional six months for logistics planning and budgeting
Antarctic
Six months between submission and funding decision. Two-year total lead time required.
Arctic
Applications submitted before March 31 for the summer season starting in June of the same year
Information not available Information not available
Linkage to the PCSP Not applicable In the Arctic, American researchers receive support in the form of:

  • Field equipment (e.g., tents, satellite telephones)
  • Transportation
  • Air support
  • Cargo movements
  • Field camp management and staffing
  • Field safety training and medical services

Some of this support may be coordinated with, or provided by, the PCSP

Support from the PCSP is obtained via CH2M HILL, a private sector company tasked by the United States Government with providing support for American field support in Canada

Memorandum of Understanding between the governments of the United Kingdom and Canada that established a bilateral agreement on accessing polar infrastructure and logistics:

  • NERC provides Canadian scientists with access to the British Antarctic Survey facilities in the Antarctic and the use of the British Antarctic Survey logistics in the Arctic

  • In return, Canada provides NERC-funded scientists with access to its Arctic base, vessels and aircraft

PCSP also helps UK researchers with coordinating logistics in the Arctic, such as with the Nunavut Research Institute

No known linkages beyond potential informal communications with previous PCSP Director No known linkages beyond potential informal communications with previous PCSP Director
Potential Good Practices and/or Lessons Learned
  • Produce an Annual Science Report highlighting some of the science / research projects supported by the PCSP during that field season
  • Allows more time for logistics planning and budgeting
  • Draws on resources in the military and commercial sectors, as well as cooperative arrangements with international partners, to provide logistical and administrative support to researchers
  • Allows more time for logistics planning and budgeting
  • Logistics reviewed and approved independently of the science – if the logistics request is feasible and the science is then supported, logistics are covered in full
No specific examples identified
  • Promotion of research findings from Swedish polar researcher, through storage and dissemination of research results
  • Swedish Polar Research Secretariat and the Swedish Research Council developed a roadmap to guide planning for polar research, which provides some direction for the types of projects to be supported
  • Has a two-stream process for screening research projects – research projects requiring extensive logistics planning and higher costs undergo feasibility studies for the purposes of analyzing their implantation prior to moving in to the operational and project planning phases.