Department of Canadian Heritage: 2016 Innovation award finalist

The Department of Canadian Heritage was nominated as a finalist for this award for an initiative that modernized the management of grants and contributions.

The Department of Canadian Heritage has a broad mandate and an equally diverse range of clients. Through its grants and contribution (Gs&Cs) programs, it provides support to organizations working in the arts, culture, sport, heritage and official languages sectors.

In recent years, the department was given a new mandate to modernize the delivery of Gs&Cs, enhance client service, increase operational efficiency and improve transparency, and to deliver all of these improvements within its existing budget. Clearly, a fundamental shift was required in how the department manages and administers funding applications.

After mapping, analyzing and challenging existing business processes, the department discovered that its customary “one-size-fits-all” approach to delivering Gs&Cs could be more efficient given that approximately 90 per cent of funding recipients are repeat applicants. Therefore, a risk-based approach to assessing applications and monitoring funding agreements was adopted, reducing administrative burdens and allowing programs to focus their resources on more complex files or on innovative projects. It also helped increase efficiencies and reduce operational costs; these results were measured using a complex and comprehensive Time and Motion study.

The project team was instrumental in supporting the department in meeting its commitment to service excellence by helping further streamline business processes, improve program service standards and increase transparency.

Impacts of project deliverables include:

  • improvements to processing of applications: results, on average, showed a 30 per cent increase in efficiency (exceeding the department’s goal of 10 per cent)
  • payment process is standardized and simplified, reducing the time for issuing payments from 28 days to five days
  • time to notification of funding decision (i.e. service standard) is reduced by two weeks to 10 weeks
  • programs’ service standards performance results are accessible on department’s website.
  • all funding awarded by Canadian Heritage is disclosed: from 60 per cent (prior to 2016) to 100 per cent (in 2016)

With buy-in from senior management, the support of committed managers, and the engagement of program employees, this project is credited with making huge strides toward improving the delivery of grants and contributions programs to applicants.

Team members include:

Étienne Boivin-Dumais, manager, Maintenance of Gs and Cs Systems
Alain Deschamps, technical advisor, Application Development
Nicole Gardner, manager, Financial Advisory Services
Diane Haché, manager, Regional Program
Valerie Hopper, regional manager, Arts Programs
Trevor Keck, senior program consultant
Hoda Kirkish, administrator, Operational Systems
Jo-Anne Landriault, chief, GCIMS Services
Annie LeBlanc, regional manager, Financial Services
Randy Miller, manager, Canada Arts Presentation Fund
Diane Nadeau, advisor
Marc Rathier, analyst
Todd Scarfone, senior financial advisor
Sean Sheehan, senior advisor
Amanda Troupe, policy and research analyst