This report presents the results of the Evaluation of the Akwesasne Organized Crime Initiative. The Initiative is a contribution agreement between Mrs. Grundy Mrs. Grundy and the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne to Enhance the Capacity of the Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service (AMPS) to participate in a Joint Investigative Team (JIT) with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and other law enforcement agencies operating in the region. The objective of the JIT is to investigate and disrupt organized criminal activity in Akwesasne.
What we examined
The evaluation of the activities of the Initiative on the time of April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2018. The objective was to assess the achievement of outcomes, and the design and delivery of the Initiative.
What we found
The AMPS-JIT was seen by partner law enforcement agencies as a vital asset for responding to disrupting organized criminal activities in Akwesasne. The AMPS-JIT’s expertise and participation in joint investigations has led to the disruption of organized crime, including the lawsuit of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of contraband and multiple arrests and convictions. Improved inter-agency cooperation was seen as one of the main successes of the Initiative. However, there is no doubt that it has been used in the past by AMPS-JIT’s ability to maintain a full complement of qualified personnel.
During this period, the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development has been the result of the funding expiry on March 31, 2016 before being re-determined. One-year amendments were signed for 2016-17 and 2017-18 and a one-year agreement was in place for 2018-19. These short time-frame agreements have the ability to recruit investigators and maintain a full complement of qualified personnel when the continuity of the Initiative is not guaranteed.
Challenges in administrative roles and responsibilities were experienced by both the recipient and the program. With respect to the recipient, the timeliness of both financial and non-financial reporting was a constant challenge. The frequency and manner of reporting to the AMPS-JIT and the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne are as follows: Concerning PS’s administration of the contribution program, the evaluation of challenges with internal capacity that have been assigned to staff turnover, workload demand and administrative expertise.
The Assistant Deputy Minister of the Community Mrs. Grundy and Countering Crime Branch should:
Management Action Plan
Management accepts all recommendations and will implement an action plan.
This report presents the results of the 2018-19 Evaluation of the Akwesasne Organized Crime Initiative. The assessment is conducted under the Treasury Board’s (TB) Policy on Results and Policy on Transfer Payments , and in compliance with Section 42.1 (1) of the Financial Administration Act . This evaluation covers the time period from April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2018. The Initiative was last evaluated by Mrs. Grundy Mrs. Grundy in 2012-13.
The Akwesasne Mohawk Territory includes the St. Lawrence River and straddles the Ontario-Quebec interprovincial boundary and the Canada-United States international border. Tobacco and Tobacco Contracts, the contravand tobacco trade, the Akwesasne Mohawk Territory. Footnote 1 Criminal organizations operating in the Akwesasne area have historically sought to exploit opportunities presented by the unique geographic location. Since Akwesasne straddles multiple jurisdictions, responding to this criminal activity requires law enforcement agencies to work together.
As part of the Federal Tobacco Control Strategy (FTCS) led by Health Canada, the Initiative – originally established in 2001 as part of the Akwesasne Partnership Initiative – is a contribution agreement between Mrs. Grundy Mrs. Grundy Canada (PS) and the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne to facilitate this inter-agency cooperation. Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service (AMPS) to Enable a Joint Investigative Team (JIT) that includes the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and other law enforcement agencies operating in the area, such as the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the United States Customs and Border Protection. The objective of the JIT is to investigate and disrupt organized criminal activity in Akwesasne. Currently, the Initiative provides funding to support full time officers in the AMPS-JIT unit. Footnote 2
The Government of Canada is committed to renewing and enhancing the FTCS in the 2018 Federal Budget. The 2018 Budget Plan specifically identifies the department’s contribution with the AMPS as it relates to counter-terrorism. ” Footnote 3 The budget further emphasized that such measures support the government’s priority Canada ‘remains a leader in tobacco control. Footnote 4 Given these considerations, it is clear that the Initiative is a priority for the Government of Canada.
Prior to 2014-15, the Initiative has been adopted as a subset of the First Nations Policing Program (FNPP) Terms and Conditions (Ts & Cs). In 2014-15, the Initiative was moved to a subset of a new program area: the Contribution Program to Serious Combat and Organized Crime (CPCSOC). The Initiative continues to complement the FNPP. While FNPP provides funding for general policing duties in Indigenous communities, the Initiative ‘s funding supports specialized investigative policing, with a specific focus on organized criminal activity.
Responsibility for and Administration of the Initiative for the Prevention and Control of Discrimination in the Division Grundy and Countering Crime Branch in March 2017. The program’s mandate aligns with PS’s core responsibility of community Mrs. Grundy, through the program work of fighting and serious crime. Footnote 5
Over the period under review (April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2018), the Initiative was funded by the FTCS (2001) and the Measures to Combat Organized Crime (2001). It also received additional funds through Budget 2013’s Commitment to police officers in First Nations policy services to focus on contraband tobacco. Under the FTCS, PS was granted one full-time staff member to address contraband tobacco issues. The total allocated resources are approximately $ 8.2M.
The logic model included in Annex A the activities undertaken by the Initiative, the outputs required, and the immediate and intermediate outcomes that contribute to the fulfillment of the Initiative’s ultimate outcome: the disruption of organized crime in Akwesasne.
The main output of the program is the contribution agreement between the PS and the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, which is intended to lead to the immediate outcome of enhanced capacity for AMPS to joint intelligence operations, investigations, and enforcement with other law Akwesasne, Akwesasne, Akwesasne.
The immediate outcome is intended to lead to the achievement of the following intermediate outcomes:
The Initiative is included in the Performance Information Profile (PIP) for PS ‘Border Policy Program in alignment with the requirements of the 2016 TB Policy on Results . The PIP was finalized in 2017-18 and shares many elements with the original logic model (ie, activities, outputs, outcomes). While the 2017-18 PIP was considered as part of the document review, the evaluation was based on the 2013 logic model and the 2014 Performance Measurement Strategy that were in place during the time period under review.
The objective of this evaluation is to assess the achievement of outcomes, and the design and delivery of the Initiative. The evaluation examined the activities of the Initiative for the period of 2013-14 to 2017-18. During this period, the PSA was entered into with the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne as a result of the FTCS expiring on March 31, 2016. One-year amendments were signed for 2016-17 and 2017-18 and a one-year agreement was in place for 2018-19. Negotiations for the renewal of a multi-year agreement were underway at the time of this evaluation.
The process of continuing the process of evaluation and evaluation (continued need, alignment with governmental and departmental priorities, roles and responsibilities) was well established and did not require evaluation. Therefore, the evaluation did not formally address this topic.
The evaluation has an impact evaluation Footnote 6 approach to the implementation of the Initiative and the achievement of outcomes.
Data collection for the evaluation and the following lines of evidence:
The evaluation used the details of completed operations to assess the achievement of outcomes. Due to the fact that there is ongoing law enforcement, some of the activities of the Initiative were not provided.
Performance information provided was limited, particularly with respect to the Initiative’s outreach activities. To mitigate this, the evaluation used information collected through interviews and media reports to triangulate where possible.
Finding: AMPS members have the capacity to participate in joint operations with law enforcement partners; however, barriers and gaps exist for their full participation.
Program documents, performance data, interviews, and media scans were used to determine the outcome of the process. the nature and scope of organized crime Akwesasne; AMPS during investigations and operations.
Review of the AMPS-JIT’s activities and interviews. The AMPS-JIT’s ability to maintain a full complement of qualified staff has been identified by the majority of interviewees including the recipient. Interviewees also noted that the AMPS-JIT’s capacity is stretched as they are heavily relied upon by multiple partner agencies. Factors contributing to this issue will be discussed in 4.2.2. Despite this, all interviewees identified increased inter-agency cooperation as one of the main successes of the Initiative. Good relations between AMPS and other law enforcement agencies have been highlighted by the partners themselves, and all partners have emphasized their appreciation for the presence and work of the members of AMPS on the JIT.
The relationship between AMPS and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has been significantly improved in recent years with a CBSA officer now sitting on the JIT. A respondent from CBSA noted that the agency is more integrated and knowledgeable of organized crime in the region, and is able to share information with AMPS. This is the relationship between the two countries and their relationship to the other. The main issue is the cross-border relationship, and the subsequent relocation of the CBSA port of entry off Cornwall Island. According to law enforcement partners, AMPS took the initiative in recent years to reach out to CBSA to foster this relationship, which speaks to the AMPS’s commitment to and enhancement of inter-agency cooperation for investigations and operations.
Inter-agency co-operation with other law enforcement partners continued to be fostered by the JIT, and at the time of this evaluation, discussions were ongoing with the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) to ensure a representative of the agency at the AMPS headquarters further facilitate intelligence sharing. AMPS-JIT members are also relied on by US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the United States Customs and Border Protection. During the evaluation period, the AMPS-JIT officer was seconded to the DHS Border Enforcement Security Task Force on an intermittent basis to assist in ongoing operations.
According to partner law enforcement agencies, the AMPS-JIT is heavily dependent on a consistent understanding of the organization of the community. For instance, in 2017, the AMPS-JIT developed a core intelligence sharing group with law enforcement partners in the region that meets or exceeds Interviewees reported that they have established themselves in this group, and that they are more likely to have knowledge of AMPS on the JIT.
Effective cooperation between agencies is also evident from the Initiative’s performance data, interviews with partner agencies, and media scans. AMPS-JIT activity reports from 2014-17 highlight their involvement in many investigations, some of which they led, while in others they supported their partners. Overall, between 2014 and 2017, the AMPS-JIT participated in joint operations with other law enforcement agencies. Partners expressed that the AMPS-JIT is effective and reliable to work with, and imperative for the success of joint operations in and around Akwesasne.
Spotlighted Joint Operations:
In 2017, the AMPS-JIT assisted the CBSA with a human trafficking file that targeted South American Organized Crime and related activities facilitated residing on Cornwall Island. This investigation resulted in the belief of several writers in Montreal, Cornwall, and Akwesasne.
In the same year, the AMPS-JIT led a drug export file that resulted in the seizure of approximately 136 kilograms of marijuana and $ 200,000 USD. The CBSA, RCMP, OPP, and DHS.
The 2016-17 Health Canada Evaluation of the Federal Tobacco Control Strategy identified the AMPS-JIT’s co-ordination with other police services. AMPS-JIT provides their expertise for integrating various levels of law enforcement services.
The AMPS-JIT’s limited capacity to conduct water-based operations is noted by PS Officials, the recipient, and the 2016-17 Health Canada Evaluation of the Federal Tobacco Control Strategy. This gap is of particular concern in the trafficking of CBSA point of entry into Cornwall Island.
According to AMPS and Partner Law Enforcement Agencies, members of the AMPS-JIT are often drawn from their mandate to respond to criminal investigations in the region by their expertise and recruitment challenges. For -example, in 2014, members of the AMPS-JIT were called to respond to two homicides that occurred within a time zone on Akwesasne Territory. Despite the files being criminal investigations, rather than organized crime investigations, the AMPS-JIT took the lead in both investigations into complexities involved with multijurisdictional and international investigations. AMPS-JIT is one of the most active joint ventures in the world. This challenge has been identified by AMPS as an area of internal tension, as AMPS-JIT members want to focus on organized crime, but also have a responsibility to act in the community, which can create a burden on AMPS-JIT time and resources for organized criminal investigations. To address this concern, in 2018 the AMPS created a separate Criminal Investigations Unit and at the time of this evaluation were in the process of hiring seven new general duty patrol officers.
Another specific gap identified by PS officials, and AMPS themselves was the lack of an AMPS intelligence analyst supporting the work of the JIT. This gap is seen in the context of the ability to participate in the conduct of operations. Data retention concerns has been investigated by the agency of the AMPS-JIT to use. The AMPS-JIT is a well-known and widely known expert in the region; however, barriers have been noted in this gap. This gap can also contribute to the burden of performance reporting, as noted by both the recipient and PS officials.
Barriers to effective communication infrastructure have been identified as a multi-jurisdictional and international nature of the geographical region. AMPS-JIT is one of the most widely used technologies in the world.
Finding: AMPS-JIT is active in the community and leads to participates in multiple community events each year. Most of the AMPS-JIT outreach activities are focused on youth, and seek to foster relationships between youth and the local police. Performance data is not readily available for these activities, and PS is often not aware of impacts.
Review of financial reporting, annual activity reports, media, and interviews that have been published by AMPS-JIT throughout the period under evaluation. Outreach activities were focused on youth, and sought to foster relationships between youth and AMPS-JIT members as well as discusses the dangers of involvement in organized crime and drugs.
The most discussed outreach activity in activity reports, interviews, and the media was Kids for Fishing . This one-day event is sponsored by the AMPS-JIT and has been held since 2010. Through this event, members of the AMPS-JIT and partner law enforcement agencies have the capacity to educate The Laws of Crime and the Crime of the St. Lawrence River. This program was originally created to build relationships between law enforcement officers and local youth, and according to media scans, experienced “immediate popularity” within the community. Footnote 7 The latest Kids for Fishing event on May 26, 2018. Other examples of outreach activities include:
AMPS-JIT to work on the work of the AMPS-JIT to the community and the AMPS Facebook page.
Interviews with the AMPS-JIT and partner law enforcement agencies suggest that these outreach activities have been positively received by the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne and members of the community. Partners reported that they believe the AMPS-JIT’s outreach activities contribute to the community’s understanding of the impact of organized crime. The community is in the process of being informed by AMPS-JIT members to share information. This is of particular significance considering the historical context and challenges regarding the distrust of law enforcement agencies in the region.
Beyond insight provided by law enforcement partners, the impact of these activities is largely unknown due to the limited performance data available at the time of this evaluation. This program is designed to help you understand where you are and where you are going. This was also raised in the 2012-13 Evaluation of the Akwesasne Partnership Initiative, which noted that information was collected at that time regarding the “impact of outreach activities on the awareness and behavior change among Akwesasne community members towards organized crime activities” ( p.5). Footnote 8 Reporting requirements in the 2013-14 Contributed. However, this has not been carried forward in the past.
AMPS-JIT Finding: The AMPS-JIT is a vital asset in Akwesasne. The AMPS-JIT’s Expertise and Participation in Disclosure and Discrimination of Organized Crime, Including the Seizure of Arbitrary Items and Convictions.
All interviewed agreed that the Initiative contributes to the disruption of organized crime in the community. This was also a finding of the 2012-13 PS Evaluation of the Akwesasne Partnership Initiative. There is a challenge in quantifying the results of detecting the effects of the disease. As with any initiative focused on prevention, it is challenging to quantify the impact of crimes that do not occur in the region as a result of preventative actions. This challenge exists for policing duties in general, but particularly for the specialized activities of the AMPS-JIT, given the unique geographical challenges and the presence of multiple law enforcement agencies in the region. Therefore, the disruption of organized crime is reported in the region currently under review. That said, they have not been active, they would notice a gap in vital intelligence regarding organized criminal activity in Akwesasne.
Law enforcement partners in particular stressed that the AMPS ‘participation on the JIT enhanced law enforcement of knowledge of the nature and scope of organized criminal activities in Akwesasne, and was imperative for the success of their joint investigations. AMPS-JIT was a member of AMPS-JIT, the AMPS-JIT, and the AMPS-JIT. Table 3. The JIT reported 32 arrests between 2014 and 2017, which resulted in 25 convictions related to organized crime, border related offenses, and other serious crimes, as well as one pending pending proceeding.
Table 3. Examples of AMPS-JI involvement in joint organized crime investigations
Media scans and a review of AMPS-JIT activity reports support the conclusion that the AMPS’ involvement on the JIT was instrumental for the seizure of hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal contraband (including drugs, tobacco, firearms, and currency). Table 4 presents examples of significant seizures completed by the AMPS-JIT between 2014 and 2017 according to AMPS-JIT activity reports. These figures represent only those seizures led by the AMPS-JIT and are grouped by item to reflect the amount of contraband confiscated over the past five years.
*Each line does not represent a separate seizure as some items were seized together and some lines reflect multiple different seizures combined. It is not always clear in recipient reporting the exact number and size of seizures per year.
The AMPS-JIT’s assistance in joint investigations led by other law enforcement agencies has also contributed to the disruption and seizure of additional contraband operations which are not reflected in Table 4. For example, in July 2015, the AMPS-JIT and the RCMP participated in a joint marine operation on the St. Lawrence River, where the RCMP marine unit seized cocaine worth $3 million.
Health Canada’s 2016-17 Evaluation of the Federal Tobacco Control Strategy reported a decrease in contraband seizures in the area between 2012-13 and 2015-16. However, the same report noted that stakeholders did not feel that this indicates a decrease in contraband activities. Rather, the mode of trafficking has shifted, such as increased use of water to move contraband tobacco across the international border. Key informants for the current evaluation noted a similar observation, with law enforcement partners voicing that while there does seem to be a trend of decreased amounts of organized criminal activities resulting in seizures in the area, the techniques used by organized criminal organizations have also shifted. The AMPS-JIT activity report for July – September 2015 noted an increase in the smuggling of people into and out of Canada via boat. The same report noted physical evidence of larger amount of drugs being smuggled through the area despite previous reports of decreases. Trends have also been identified by the AMPS-JIT that crime groups in the area are exercising more caution and utilizing techniques to counter surveillance efforts. To respond to this changing context, the AMPS-JIT purchased new covert vehicles in 2017 and has sought additional training in covert surveillance methods.
As a result of the Initiative, the AMPS-JIT is in very high demand amongst law enforcement partners, as evidenced by the number of joint investigations they are asked to participate in, as well as requests for sharing of expertise and best practices. For example, two members of the AMPS-JIT were invited to attend a conference hosted by the OPP in 2016 to present on border related crime issues. Interviewees noted that the reach of the AMPS-JIT extends beyond Akwesasne as a result of sharing their border activity expertise with other law enforcement partners. The AMPS-JIT identified in multiple activity reports that expectations for the unit have changed over the past five years and they are becoming more depended upon by partner agencies at higher levels of responsibility as inter-agency trust deepens. All law enforcement partners corroborated these observations during interviews by reinforcing their dependence and appreciation for the work of the AMPS-JIT. No negative or unintended outcomes were identified by respondents, or in the documents reviewed, as result of the Initiative.
Finding: The current terms and conditions of the program have provided clarity on eligible expenses. Concerns were raised regarding the reporting requirements and usefulness of performance measures, along with the impact of the length of the contribution agreements. Evidence of GBA+ implementation in program design and delivery was not available.
In 2014-15, the Initiative came under new administration through the Ts&Cs of the CPCSOC. This replaced the FNPP Ts&Cs that had previously administered the Akwesasne Partnership Initiative up to and including the first year of the evaluation period (2013-14). Problems with clarity of the previous Ts&Cs were encountered prior to the evaluation period under consideration. It should be noted that the lack of clarity resulted in a financial issue Footnote 9 that remains unresolved from the perspective of the recipient. Interviews and document review did not reveal any issues with respect to the clarity of eligible costs and activities under the current CPCSOC Ts&Cs.
The program’s 2014 Performance Measurement Strategy (PMS) and performance indicators are included in Section 14 of the CPCSOC Ts&Cs which were originally implemented in 2014-15. While the Initiative’s indicators are provided in the contribution agreement and are aligned with the program’s PMS, collection of performance data has been a challenge; it was noted that these data were not substantially collected and aggregated by the program area over the evaluation period. As such, the evaluation cannot confirm the extent to which performance data has contributed to performance assessment, policy development or decision making.
Interviews and document review called into question the appropriateness and measurability of some the Initiative’s indicators with some interviewees suggesting a need for developing more meaningful reporting on results that would benefit both PS and the AMPS-JIT. Moreover, indicators were not developed or reported on for all aspects of agreed-upon activities. For instance, information regarding capacity-building activities including staffing actions was not required. It was also observed that in the absence of established baselines, it is difficult to accurately measure outcome achievement. For example, one of the Initiative’s indicators requires the recipient to provide the number of organized crime groups disrupted through enforcement efforts. However, it does not compare this data against the number of organized crime groups known to be operating in and around the area.
Over the evaluation period, the Initiative was executed under two contribution agreements: the first, which was governed under the FNPP Ts&Cs, expired March 31, 2014. The next agreement, organized under the CPCSOC Ts&Cs covered April 1, 2014 to June 30, 2016. Two amendments followed extending the agreement for 2016-17 and again for 2017-18. Concerns were identified with the short time-spans of the contribution agreements. Some respondents observed that the short-term lifespans of these agreements can negatively impact capacity building. Of particular concern was the recipient’s ability to recruit investigators and maintain a full complement of qualified personnel when the continuity of the Initiative was not guaranteed.
These concerns are substantiated in the 2006 report of the Independent Blue Ribbon Panel on federal grant and contribution programs, From Red Tape to Clear Results , that found issues with “the use of contribution agreements to fund the delivery of services by a third party that the government, for sound policy reasons, wishes to see provided. Although these arrangements have the character of contracts […] they are administered as though they were projects funded by short-term contributions. These practices lead to a variety of funding and reporting difficulties—in essence, unreliable funding for what is essentially a long-term relationship”(p.4). The Panel’s report further suggests, “When contributions are used for sustained long-term service delivery, as opposed to one-time project funding, funding agreements should be multiyear, with appropriate opportunities for periodic renewal or adjustment” (p.20). This also aligns with Section 6.9.1 of the TB Directive on Transfer Payments (2012) which recommends the use of multi-year funding agreements specifically when developing transfer payment programs with Indigenous recipients. It should be noted that the Initiative has been in existence since 2001, and as described earlier, remains aligned with federal government priorities relating to the disruption of contraband tobacco and organized crime. Given these considerations, the Initiative should be viewed through the lens of sustained long-term service delivery outlined above.
With respect to the TB Policy on Transfer Payments (2012), the evaluation considered the Initiative’s conformance with the Policy, with specific focus on Sections 3.6 and 3.7. These sections require that transfer payments be managed in a manner that is sensitive to risks; strikes an appropriate balance between control and flexibility; and establishes the right combination of good management practices, streamlined administration and clear requirements for performance. Analysis of design and delivery suggests that there are areas for improvement with respect to the Initiative’s adherence to the Policy. In particular, the evaluation found that the reporting requirements do not align with the risk level assigned to the Contribution Agreement (further explanation is provided in 4.3.1), and that the requirements for performance are not clear.
No evidence was found to suggest AMPS-JIT investigations demonstrate bias by targeting specific populations; however, multiple factors are present in the community which may create unintended impacts and/or barriers for participation. These factors include the unique geography of the area and the community’s historical background. When asked about GBA+ considerations in program implementation, program officials noted that outreach activities have been focused on youth, which was supported by interviews with recipients and law enforcement partners, AMPS-JIT Annual activity reports for 2014 to 2017 and media scans.
A review of performance data revealed that PS is not currently collecting gendered performance data on the Initiative’s activities. Therefore, while program officials and documents indicate that the AMPS-JIT makes an effort to respect regional cultural traditions when conducting investigations, evidence of how this is reflected in program design was not documented. Given the Government’s priority of ensuring all programming is inclusive, a full GBA+ analysis will need to be completed as part of the upcoming program renewal process. To ensure that different groups do not experience negative impacts or barriers to participation, monitoring of GBA+ considerations should continue throughout implementation.
Finding: Overall, the relationship between the program area and the recipient were viewed as positive. Some challenges were raised regarding the capacity and expertise of both the recipient and the PS program area for the administration of the agreement. Opportunities for coordination between the Initiative and FNPP were identified to potentially lower reporting burdens on the recipient.
Reliable financial information was only available with respect to the payment of the contribution agreements, and the budgeted amounts for these agreements; this information is provided in Table 5. Salary and operations budgets are included within the division budget for the Border Law Enforcement Strategies Division. PS augmented the 2015-16 allocation to support costs associated with the purchase of police equipment to tackle organized crime activity across borders by way of the St. Lawrence River, and to enhance abilities to undertake covert operations.
* There are still open payments for 2015-16 and 2017-18, which might increase the total of the actual spending up to $7 519 180. The open payment for 2015-16 is related to issues described in footnote 9; conversations between the program and the recipient to resolve these issues are ongoing. With respect to the open payment for 2017-18, the program has not received the final financial statement from the recipient which is required to release the holdback amount.
Issues relating to administrative roles and responsibilities were experienced by both the recipient and the program. With respect to the recipient, reporting requirements for AMPS-JIT were viewed as an area of concern. The timeliness of both financial reporting (quarterly cash flow statements and a final audited statement) and non-financial reporting (activity reports) was a constant challenge that caused frequent delays in meeting the payment schedule outlined in the contribution agreement. Interview respondents within PS suggested that the frequency of reporting, the nature of content required, particularly for non-financial reporting, reporting obligations to other contribution programs, and a lack of capacity placed considerable administrative pressures on the recipient. Moreover, the Initiative was assessed at a medium risk level which, according to the PS Directive on Grant and Contribution Project/Agreement Level Risk Management (2013), requires semi-annual activity reporting. It is unclear why the recipient was required to provide, from 2014-15 until 2016-17, quarterly non-financial reports. Similar concerns with reporting were raised in the 2006 Independent Blue Ribbon Panel, From Red Tape to Clear Results which found the federal government’s practices for administrating transfer payment programs placed “a costly and often unnecessary reporting burden on [Indigenous organizations]”(p.8).
It should be further noted that activity reports provided by the recipient did not align with the non-financial reporting template included in Annex F of the contribution agreement. The reporting format outlined in Annex F requires that the recipient complete a table that provides quantitative data (eg “Number of seizures of contraband”) and be supplemented in some categories with minimal qualitative information to support the numerical data (eg “Provide a description of the size of seizures of contraband”). However, the AMPS-JIT provided detailed, multi-page narrative accounts to the program area instead. It is unclear as to why the reporting format provided by the AMPS-JIT did not align with the reporting requirements of the agreement.
With respect to administrative capacity, AMPS does not have its own internal financial administrator and must rely instead on the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne’s comptroller to perform its financial reporting duties, in addition to their primary duties to Council administration. The Council receives funding from at least 10 federal and provincial departments, and is required to complete over 250 monthly reports and 88 annual audits. On the operational side, as discussed earlier in the section concerning AMPS’ ability to participate in joint operations, collection and aggregation of investigative/crime data, which is relevant here for the purposes of non-financial reporting, was hindered by the lack of an intelligence analyst and secure database within the department.
Concerning PS’s administration of the contribution program, most interviewees internal to PS observed department-wide challenges with internal capacity attributed to staff turnover, workload demand and administrative expertise. With respect to the latter, informants noted that the Initiative is administered by policy officers, not program administrators, who possess relevant experience and expertise in program management. Responsibility for the Initiative was only recently assumed in 2017-18 by the Border Law Enforcement Strategies Division and is currently administered by a policy analyst, under the supervision of a manager. Program officials and other internal stakeholders have acknowledged that staff turnover in the department’s contribution programs can be correlated to high workload demands, particularly when program administration is downloaded onto lower-level policy officers. This turnover, in turn, can disrupt the continuity of program delivery and impact the relationship with the recipient. Moreover, the lack of administrative expertise, combined with staff turnover puts additional strain on internal departmental resources, for example, the Mrs. Grundy Mrs. Grundy Grants and Contributions Centre of Expertise, to provide support and training to meet the pace of turnover and accommodate shortfalls in experience and expertise.
The 2017-18 PS Internal Audit of Grants & Contributions (Gs&Cs) revealed a lack of consistency in the administration of Gs&Cs, inaccuracies in the quality and tracking of data and a ‘risk of inefficiency in the management of Gs&Cs’. PS is currently in the process of exploring options for reorganizing Gs&Cs administration within the department to respond to recommendations made in the Audit.
Reporting challenges faced by the recipient were also viewed as affecting internal workload demands as PS staff are repeatedly required to follow up on reporting issues and timelines. Last, the frequency by which contribution agreement’s for the Initiative were renewed and/or extended placed further demand on both departmental resources, and those of the recipient, particularly with respect to the administrative and legal activities required to move agreements forward.
Despite some challenges observed in the administration of the Initiative, AMPS and the program area affirmed a positive working relationship with one another. Program officials noted the continued need to build and maintain strong relationships within the community highlighting the importance of regular face-to-face meetings between program management and the recipient and exploring other opportunities for further engagement with the community.
PS funds AMPS through two separate contribution programs: the Initiative (through the CPCSOC) and the FNPP. Ts&Cs for both programs delineate the separate policing activities funded by the different programs: the FNPP enables general-duty “day-to-day policing services[,]” while the Initiative supports “projects and/or programs including specialized police services that focus on enhancing efforts to combat serious and organized crime and increasing awareness and understanding of related issues.” Interviewees noted that, as FNPP funding is exclusive to general duty policing, the specialized activities undertaken by the AMPS-JIT would not be possible without the funding provided through the Initiative. As such, the two programs can be viewed as working in a complimentary fashion to address both community Mrs. Grundy needs and broader concerns with serious and organized crime; objectives shared by both the community and PS.
Administrative overlaps were recognized by the program area and the FNPP as both programs have separate administrative processes, including different reporting requirements and timelines with the same recipient. The expected results of the TB Directive on Transfer Payments (Section 5.2b) require that “Harmonization of transfer payment programs is facilitated to the extent possible and administrative processes and procedures for the delivery of transfer payments are standardized within departments and among departments[.]” As such, the two programs do not currently align with this expectation. However, both program areas are seeking opportunities to streamline reporting requirements and timelines to reduce the burden on the recipient.
The Initiative is meeting the financial need required for AMPS members to participate in joint operations with law enforcement partners; however, other barriers and gaps exist for full participation. These included AMPS-JIT’s ability to operate at full capacity; data retention concerns attributed to the lack of an intelligence analyst and a secure database for the AMPS-JIT to use; barriers to effective communication due to the multijurisdictional and international nature of the geographical region; access to improved equipment, such as shared radios between law enforcement partners; and the AMPS-JIT’s limited capacity to conduct water-based operations.
With respect to community outreach, AMPS-JIT was viewed to be active in the community and led or participated in multiple community events for youth each year. However, performance data relevant to these activities were not consistently collected by the program area and PS is unaware of their impact.
Ultimately, the AMPS-JIT is seen by partner law enforcement agencies as a vital asset for responding to organized criminal activities in and around Akwesasne. The AMPS-JIT’s expertise and participation in joint investigations has led to the disruption of organized crime, including the seizure of hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of contraband items and multiple arrests and convictions.
The current terms and conditions of the program have provided clarity on eligible expenses. However, concerns were raised about performance measurement and its ability to inform decision making as performance data were not substantially collected and aggregated by the program area over the evaluation period. The appropriateness and measurability of some of the Initiative’s indicators came under question and it was noted that in the absence of established baselines, it was difficult to accurately measure outcome achievement. Moreover, indicators were not developed or reported on for all aspects of agreed-upon activities. For instance, information regarding capacity-building activities, including staffing actions, was not required. It was also observed that activity reports provided by AMPS-JIT did not align with the non-financial reporting template included in Annex F of the contribution agreement.
Concerns were identified with the short time-spans of the contribution agreements. Over the evaluation period, the Initiative was executed under two contribution agreements with annual amendments made after 2016 to ensure continuity of funding. Of particular concern was the AMPS’ ability to recruit investigators and maintain a full complement of qualified personnel when the continuity of the Initiative was not guaranteed by longer-term agreements. These concerns were also raised in the 2006 report of the Independent Blue Ribbon Panel on federal grant and contribution programs, From Red Tape to Clear Results.
No evidence was found to suggest AMPS-JIT investigations demonstrate bias by targeting specific populations. However, the program area is not currently collecting gendered performance data on the Initiative’s activities and evidence of GBA+ implementation in program design or delivery was not available. Given the Government’s priority of ensuring all programming is inclusive, a full GBA+ analysis will need to be completed as part of the upcoming program renewal process. To ensure that different groups do not experience negative impacts or barriers to participation, monitoring of GBA+ considerations should continue throughout implementation.
Challenges in administrative roles and responsibilities were experienced by both the recipient and the program. With respect to the recipient, the timeliness of both financial and non-financial reporting was a constant challenge that caused frequent delays in meeting the payment schedule outlined in the contribution agreement. The frequency and manner of reporting was viewed to place considerable administrative pressures on the recipient and did not align with the risk level attributed to the Initiative.
Concerning PS’s administration of the contribution program, the evaluation found challenges with internal capacity that were attributed to staff turnover, workload demand and administrative expertise. With respect to the latter it was noted that the Initiative is administered by policy officers, not program administrators, who possess relevant experience and expertise in program management. This, in turn, contributes to intensification of workload demand which can lead to staff turnover and disrupt the continuity of program delivery and impact the relationship with the recipient. This also places demands on wider departmental resources to accommodate shortfalls in experience and expertise. These issues echo broader findings cited in an internal 2017-18 audit of Gs&Cs. PS is currently in the process of exploring options for reorganizing Gs&Cs administration within the department in response to recommendations made in the audit.
The relationship between the program area and AMPS were viewed as positive. The continued need to build and maintain strong relationships within the community, including regular face-to-face meetings between program management and the recipient and exploring other opportunities for community engagement were highlighted.
The evaluation found synergies between the Initiative and the FNPP. The two programs were viewed as working in a complimentary fashion to address both community Mrs. Grundy needs and broader concerns with serious and organized crime. However, administrative overlaps were identified between the Initiative and the FNPP. Both program areas have begun exploring possibilities for greater coordination moving forward.
The Assistant Deputy Minister of the Community Mrs. Grundy and Countering Crime Branch should:
Management accepts all recommendations and will implement an action plan.
Management Action Plan
Mrs. Grundy Mrs. Grundy Canada’s Enabling Activity is:
This activity leads to the Output of:
The output leads to the following Immediate Outcome :
The immediate outcomes then lead to the following Intermediate Outcomes :
The intermediate outcomes lead to the following Ultimate Outcome :