Evaluation of the Knowledge Infrastructure Program

Approved by the Deputy Minister on

Table of contents

Appendices (Separate document)

Note: Appendices are available via an Access to Information

  • Appendix A: List of Case Study Institutions and Projects
  • Appendix B: Distribution of Total KIP Project Funds

Acronyms, Abbreviations and Definitions used in this Report

Table of Acronyms, Abbreviations and Definitions used in this Report
Acronym Meaning
ACCC Association of Canadian Community Colleges
ACE Automotive Centre of Excellence
AEB Audit and Evaluation Branch
CAUBO Canadian Association of University Business Officers
CBE Centre for the Built Environment
CEGEP Collège d'enseignement général et professionnel
CMHC Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
CST Canada Social Transfer
Currie Centre Richard J. Currie Center
DPR Departmental Performance Report
EAP Economic Action Plan
EBP Employee Benefits Plan
FTE Full-time equivalents
FXG Collège François-Xavier-Garneau
GCRS Grants & Contributions Reporting System
HPL Human Performance Analysis Laboratory
HVAC Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning
IC Industry Canada
ILC Innovative Learning Commons
KIP Knowledge Infrastructure Program
LEED Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design
NSCAD Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University
NSCC Nova Scotia Community College
R&D Research and Development
S&T Strategy Science and Technology Strategy
U of C University of Calgary
UOIT University of Ontario Institute of Technology
UNB University of New Brunswick
USTC University of Toronto, Scarborough Campus

List of Tables

List of Figures


Executive Summary

Program Overview

The Knowledge Infrastructure Program (KIP) is part of the Budget 2009 Economic Action Plan (EAP). The program is a two-year, $2 billion economic stimulus measure to support infrastructure enhancement at post-secondary institutions across Canada. In addition to federal investments, provinces/territories and other sources contributed over $3 billion to KIP projects. In total, the program supported 520 projects with a total investment of over $5 billion.

Infrastructure investments made through KIP are expected to generate economic benefits in local communities across Canada. The new, expanded, or renovated post-secondary facilities are expected to enhance research capacity, support the attraction of new students and provide a better educational experience for the highly skilled workers of tomorrow.

Evaluation Purpose and Methodology

In accordance with the Policy on Evaluation and the Directive on the Evaluation Function, the purpose of this evaluation was to assess the core issues of relevance and performance of KIP. The evaluation findings and conclusions are based on the analysis of multiple lines of evidence. The methodology included a document review, data analysis, interviews, and case studies.

Findings

Performance

Despite the significant challenges in designing and delivering a new contribution program in a very short period of time, KIP was implemented in a timely manner. Contribution funds were allocated as planned, with almost all Contribution Agreements approved during the first four months of the program. The delivery of KIP was also found to be effective and cost-efficient. The use of a federal- provincial/ territorial delivery model responded to university and college infrastructure needs in a timely and effective manner. Internal resources were allocated efficiently, taking into consideration the time-limited nature of the program.

Although tight timelines were a significant challenge nearly all KIP projects were completed, or were close to being completed, within the intended timeframe. KIP funding also provided timely economic stimulus to over 190 communities across Canada. Construction activities maintained or created jobs during project implementation and the additional capacity created at post-secondary institutions led to an increase in administrative, technical and faculty positions.

The intended benefits of the new, expanded and renovated facilities are being realized. The use of the completed facilities by faculty members, staff and students is improving the R&D capacities of post-secondary institutions as well as strengthening their ability to deliver advanced knowledge and skills training.

Relevance

Investments in post-secondary infrastructure responded to the need to provide economic stimulus to communities throughout Canada while at the same time responding to the need for improved facilities to support the research, development and training capacity of universities and colleges. A significant proportion of facilities were in need of renovation and revitalization. Urgent maintenance issues existed and modern features needed to be incorporated to enhance learning and research capacity. In addition, universities and colleges have experienced increased enrolment along with a growth in programs and research. This has created a significant need for capital expansion.

The objectives of KIP are consistent with federal priorities to provide timely economic stimulus and align with departmental priorities to invest in science and technology. In the context of the global economic recession, the delivery of KIP by Industry Canada was an appropriate federal role and responsibility.

Lessons Learned

As the program will sunset at the end of March 2012, the evaluation does not contain recommendations, but rather identifies lessons learned with the overall objective of informing organizational learning and program excellence.

Lesson Learned 1: The use of a federal – provincial/territorial delivery model can be highly effective and instrumental to timely and efficient program delivery.

Lesson Learned 2: For time-limited programs, engaging professional firms to provide assistance with monitoring, reporting and auditing activities provides a high level of confidence in project oversight without having to build internal capacity.

Lesson Learned 3: Program processes that are responsive to stakeholder needs and are flexible can help to address the implementation challenges of programs developed under tight timelines. Controls to monitor project progress can ensure that projects are being completed as intended and within desired timeframes.


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1.0 Introduction

This report presents the results of an evaluation of the Knowledge Infrastructure Program (KIP), a national contribution program established under Budget 2009, Canada's Economic Action Plan.

The purpose of the evaluation was to assess the relevance and performance of KIP. The report is organized into four sections:

  • Section 1 provides the program context and profile of KIP;
  • Section 2 presents the evaluation methodology along with a discussion of data limitations;
  • Section 3 presents the findings pertaining to the evaluation issues of performance and relevance; and
  • Section 4 summarizes the study's conclusions and provides lessons learned.

1.1 Program Context

Since the late 1990's, post-secondary institutions in Canada, including universities, colleges, collège d'enseignement général et professionnel (CÉGEP) and publicly funded polytechnic schools and institutes of technology have been increasingly vocal about the state of their existing campus infrastructure. A major portion of that infrastructure was at or near the end of its projected life cycle, had significant accumulated deferred maintenance requirements, and often did not adequately meet the requirements for research or teaching activities. Addressing the funding needs of post-secondary institutions has been an issue for provincial and territorial governments. Support for the development and use of science and technology has been an issue faced by both provincial/territorial governments and the federal government.

In 2008 an international economic downturn was causing a recession in most countries around the world, Canada being no exception. Faced with significant challenges, and responding with other G20 countriesFootnote 1, the Government of Canada introduced a stimulus package to counter the potential effects of the global recession on the Canadian economy. In January 2009, Canada's Economic Action Plan (EAP) was announced, with an objective to provide economic stimulus to encourage growth and restore confidence in the economy. The Action Plan was based on three guiding principles – that the stimulus should be timely, targeted, and temporary.

The EAP contained a package of broad stimulus measures, which included a significant investment commitment to infrastructure projects. As part of this package, the Knowledge Infrastructure Program (KIP) was created to focus on repairing, retrofitting and expanding facilities at post-secondary institutions.

1.2 Program Overview

KIP is a two-year, $2 billion economic stimulus measure to support infrastructure enhancement at post-secondary institutions across Canada. The program is administered by Industry Canada (IC). The Minister of Industry oversees the program in consultation with the Minister of State (Science and Technology).

The Program has two components – one for universities and one for colleges.Footnote 2 The university component supports infrastructure projects that can improve the quality of research and development at the institution. These include projects intended to improve the scale or quality of research and development facilities and projects intended to improve the health and safety, environmental, or waste-management aspects of research and development facilities. The college component supports infrastructure projects that will strengthen the ability to deliver advanced knowledge and skills training. These include projects intended to improve the quality of teaching and training facilities or projects intended to improve the health and safety, environmental or waste-management aspects of teaching and training facilities.

As a stimulus measure, investments made through KIP are expected to generate economic benefits and support job creation in local communities across Canada. As a knowledge infrastructure program, projects are expected to enhance research capacity, support the attraction of new students and provide a better educational experience for the highly skilled workers of tomorrow.

1.3 Program Resources

Total program funding of $2 billion for the KIP program was initially allocated over two years. The original budget allocation, by vote distribution and year was as follows:

Table 1: Original Budget Allocation by Vote and Year ($ dollars)
  Fiscal Year Total
2009-10 2010-11
Vote 1 – Personnel & Operating Expenditures $13,583,649 $13,627,504 $27,211,153
Employee Benefits Plan & Accommodations     $1,788,847
Vote 10 – Grants and Contributions $485,500,000 $485,500,000 $971,000,000
Total Voted Appropriations $500,000,000 $500,000,000 $1,000,000,000
TB Vote 35 – Budget Implementation Act (Statutory) $500,000,000 $500,000,000 $1,000,000,000
Grand Total $2,000,000,000

However, while the total budget allocation ($2 billion) remained constant, funds were re-profiled as a result of two factors:

  • In the spring of 2009, the original operating estimates were subject to further analysis and business case justification. As a result, $2.4 million in operating expenditures was re-allocated to available contribution funds; and
  • In December 2010, the Prime Minister extended the deadline for certain infrastructure projects under the EAP. For KIP, extensions were approved for 189 projects resulting in a reallocation of $243.8 million of contribution funds and $6.3 million of operating expenditures to fiscal year 2011-12.

The final budget allocation, by vote distribution and year was as follows:

Table 2: Final Budget Allocation by Vote and Year ($ dollars)
  Fiscal Year Total
2009-10 2010-11 2011-12
Vote 1 – Personnel & Operating Expenditures $11,183,649 $7,327,504 $6,300,000 $24,811,153
Vote 10 – Grants and Contributions $487,900,000 $485,500,000   $973,400,000
Employee Benefits Plan & Accommodations       $1,788,847
Total Voted Appropriations $500,000,000 $493,296,645 $6,703,355 $1,000,000,000
TB Vote 35 – Budget Implementation Act (Statutory) $500,000,000 $255,692,000 $244,308,000 $1,000,000,000
Grand Total $2,000,000,000

1.4 Program Design and Delivery

Program Design

KIP funding supported knowledge infrastructure projects at universities and colleges across Canada. Project proposals were accepted under three categories: renovation, repair or maintenance; new construction or expansion; and both new construction or expansion and renovation, repair, or maintenance. Institutions were at liberty to submit applications with projects of any magnitude. The maximum allowable funding for each project, from all federal sources, was 50% of total eligible costs.Footnote 3 The remaining 50% of the funds had to be contributed by non-federal sources including post-secondary institutions themselves, provincial or territorial governments, the charitable sector and the private sector.

In terms of distribution of contribution funds, there were no set allocations to any province or territory. However, there was a proportional allocation set for universities and colleges. Overall allocations for colleges were to be between 30-50% of total KIP contributions and overall allocations to universities between 50-70% of total KIP contributions.

Eligible costs were those considered to be direct and necessary for the successful implementation of an eligible project effective February 24, 2009. Ineligible costs included: land acquisition or buildings (acquisition and leasing); financing charges, legal fees and loan interest payments; any goods and services costs received through donations or in kind; employee wages and benefits, overhead costs as well as other direct or indirect operating costs; and any costs for which the recipient was eligible for rebates.

Program Delivery

To expedite the project submission process, the Minister of Industry and the Minister of State (Science and Technology) invited applications by contacting provincial and territorial counterparts and post-secondary institutions directly in February and in early March 2009, prior to the official launch of the program on March 9, 2009. Project submissions were due by March 30, 2009.

Projects were assessed using the following set of criteria: completeness (of the application), readiness (approval by the institution's Board of Governors, shovel ready, etc.), and merit (university projects that would improve the institutions' quality of research and development and college projects that would strengthen the institutions' ability to deliver advanced knowledge and skills training).

The vast majority of funding was delivered via Contribution Agreements with the provinces and territories. The Ministers worked closely with provincial and territorial governments to identify projects that would receive funding. In most provinces and territories there were established processes in place to identify and prioritize infrastructure projects at post-secondary institutions. As well, the Terms and Conditions of KIP allowed the Minister to enter into agreements directly with post-secondary institutions.

As signatory to the Contribution Agreement, the province, territory, or individual institution, was obliged to enforce its Terms and Conditions. Institutions were required to report on the progress of their projects every three months to ensure timely monitoring and tracking. All projects were required to submit a Project Close-Out Report within three months of completion. To receive their final payment, institutions had to submit a Certificate of Substantial Completion, and an audited financial statement. Some provinces allowed the individual institution to do the final financial audit; others required that their provincial Auditor General do the final audits on all projects.

Industry Canada contracted an accounting firm, who had a subcontract with qualified infrastructure specialists, to assist in monitoring, reporting and auditing activities. This was due to the temporary nature of the program, its magnitude, and the fact that Industry Canada did not have in-house expertise in the delivery of infrastructure projects.

1.5 Expected Results

The following logic model for KIP was developed as part of the program's Performance Measurement Strategy (December 2009). The logic model outlines the program's inputs, activities, and outputs, as well as the intended short-term, intermediate, and longer-term outcomes.

In addition to providing an economic stimulus to local economies across Canada as a result of KIP construction projects, the major causal relationship depicted in the logic model is that the maintenance, repair and expansion projects at Canadian universities and colleges result in a strengthened advanced knowledge and skills related college infrastructure and an improved research and development (R&D) related university infrastructure and, therefore, contribute to the achievement of the Government of Canada's Science and Technology Strategy.

Figure 1: KIP Logic Model

Organizational chart of KIP Logic Model (the long description is located below the image)
Description of Figure 1

This figure depicts a logic model for KIP. A logic model shows how program inputs (financial and non-financial resources) enable activities that produce outputs and in turn, how these outputs are expected to lead to different levels of outcome, culminating in the ultimate outcome for the program.

KIP has four principle inputs that enable the program's activities. The KIP inputs include:

  • KIP funding of $2 billion,
  • Program administration (personnel and tools),
  • Criteria for funding, and
  • Program objectives.

With these inputs, the program generates the following activities:

  • Outreach and communications (call for proposals, solicitation of priority lists from provincial/territorial governments),
  • Assessing applications and selecting eligible applicants/projects for funding, and
  • Managing and delivering the program (project monitoring, claims review, compliance audits)

These activities result in the program's outputs. Outputs are the direct products stemming from the day-to-day activities of an organization. For KIP, they include:

  • Approved Projects, and
  • Signed funding agreements between Industry Canada and provincial/territorial governments and individual post-secondary institutions

In turn these outputs lead to the program's immediate outcomes. Immediate outcomes are generally considered directly attributable to the program's activities and are expected to occur in the short-term. KIP has two immediate outcomes, which are the following:

  • Increase employment and economic stimulus in local economies across Canada, and
  • Infrastructure projects underway and completed by March 31, 2011
    • University renewal projects
    • New university projects
    • College renewal projects
    • New college projects

These two immediate results jointly lead to two intermediate outcomes. An intermediate outcome is expected to occur once one or more immediate outcomes have been achieved. For KIP, the two intermediate outcomes are the following:

  • Strengthened advanced knowledge and skills related college infrastructure, and
  • Improved research and development related university infrastructure

The two intermediate outcomes lead to the long-term outcome of KIP. The long-term outcome is the highest level outcome that can be reasonably attributed to a program and is the consequence of the intermediate outcomes having been achieved. KIP has only one long-term outcome, which is the following:

  • Furthered Government of Canada Science and Technology Strategy

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2.0 Methodology

This section provides information on the evaluation approach, objective and scope, the specific evaluation issues and questions that were addressed, the data collection methods, and data limitations for the evaluation.

2.1 Evaluation Approach

The evaluation study was conducted in-house by Industry Canada's Audit and Evaluation Branch (AEB).

2.2 Objective and Scope

The Knowledge Infrastructure Program was part of the Budget 2009 Economic Action Plan (EAP); a time-limited initiative in response to the 2008 global economic recession. It was not intended to be an ongoing program. As such, the evaluation was calibrated to address the core issues of performance and relevance in accordance with the Policy on Evaluation and the Directive on the Evaluation Function.

An assessment of the performance of KIP was the main focus of the evaluation. This included an assessment of progress toward the achievement of expected outcomes (effectiveness), and the demonstration of efficiency and economy. As KIP was an EAP initiative, emphasis was placed on assessing the program's success in delivering financial assistance in a timely and targeted manner.

The evaluation was conducted in the fall of 2011. During the time of evaluation, KIP projects were recently completed, or were in the process of being completed. The assessment of effectiveness, therefore, focused on the achievement of short-term outcomes. While the achievement of intermediate outcomes was assessed to the extent possible, it was too early to fully assess the program's achievement of intermediate outcomes.

KIP is a time-limited program that will sunset at the end of March 2012. The evaluation does not contain recommendations, but rather identifies lessons learned with the overall objective of informing organizational learning and program excellence.

2.3 Evaluation Issues and Questions

Based on the KIP Performance Measurement Strategy, and subsequent consultations with the program in 2011, the evaluation addressed the following questions:

Performance

  • Was KIP delivered in an effective and efficient manner?
  • To what extent has KIP achieved its expected short-term outcomes?
  • To what extent has KIP achieved its expected intermediate outcomes?

Relevance

  • Are the objectives of KIP consistent with government-wide priorities and departmental strategic outcomes?
  • Was KIP consistent with federal roles and responsibilities?
  • Was there a need to improve research and development related university infrastructure and advanced knowledge and skills related college infrastructure?

2.4 Data Collection Methods

Multiple lines of evidence, along with a triangulation of data, were used to address all evaluation questions. The data collection methods included a document review, data analysis, interviews, and case studies.

Document Review

A review of documents from KIP and Industry Canada was conducted as part of this evaluation, including Cabinet and Treasury Board documents, reports to Parliament, program delivery processes, application forms and guides, quarterly and close-out forms, monitoring reports, project audits and reviews. A number of stakeholder documents were reviewed, including reports on the state of post-secondary infrastructure and submissions to Parliamentary committees. In addition, other studies on the subject matter were reviewed.

Data Analysis

Financial and performance data were reviewed at the program and project level to inform the assessment of all evaluation questions on the program's performance. Secondary data on the state of post-secondary infrastructure was reviewed for contextual and relevance purposes.

The KIP Access database was used as the primary source of information on the projects. Information captured in the database as of December 15, 2011 was analyzed. The main source of the data came from applicants, through their quarterly, bi-monthly and close-out reports. An in-depth analysis of project close-out reports was also conducted, but was limited to the 365 reports (out of a total of 520) that had been received as of this time.

The evaluation also examined financial data, such as planned and actual operating expenditures.

Interviews

Interviews were undertaken in-person and by telephone. Interviews sometimes involved more than one individual. A total of 24 interviews were conducted with representatives of three main groups:

  • Industry Canada officials – Interviewees included KIP program officials, IC regional office staff, along with one representative of the firm contracted to assist in monitoring activities. A total of seven interviews were conducted, involving 18 individuals.
  • Provincial and Territorial officials – Interviewees included officials involved in the delivery and monitoring of KIP funds as well as those responsible for post-secondary education. Interviews were conducted with officials representing all provinces and territories except Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. A total of 14 interviews were conducted, involving 22 individuals.
  • Key Stakeholders – Interviewees included representatives of national associations representing post-secondary institutions. A total of three interviews were conducted, involving five individuals.

Case studies

Case studies were conducted to gather information on the early outcomes of projects along with lessons learned in the design and delivery of KIP.

The projects selected for case studies were based on the total population of projects with completion dates by July 31, 2011. Projects were then stratified by a variety of criteria including: magnitude of funding, region, college or university, and scope.

Case studies were conducted at an institutional level with some institutions having multiple projects. In total, 13 case studies were conducted involving 22 KIP projects. Appendix A contains a complete list of institutions and projects included in the case studies.

The case study approach included a file review, research on the institution and the project history, and a site visit. The site visit included interviews of three groups of key officials: those responsible for project management and finance; those responsible for planning the use of the facilities where there was increased capacity; and, faculty and staff using the new facilities. Interviews with students who had experienced the impact of the projects were also requested, where appropriate. A standardized interview guide was used for all case studies. Case study site visits were conducted in November and December, 2011.

2.5 Data Limitations

The following were the three main data limitations identified:

  • Timing of the Evaluation – The evaluation was conducted in the fall of 2011. KIP projects were recently completed or were in the process of being completed during this time period. Project reporting was ongoing, with close-out reports not yet available for 155 projects. Further, the new or enhanced R&D laboratories and training spaces were just starting to be used, and in many cases were not yet being used to their full extent. Also, while energy efficiency and health and safety improvements were completed, it was too early to measure their actual impact on ongoing operations. As a result, it was not possible to fully assess the extent to which KIP achieved its intermediate outcomes (improved R&D related infrastructure and strengthened advanced knowledge and skills related infrastructure).
  • Attribution Challenges – For some projects KIP funding was allocated to small components of much larger projects. In some of these cases impacts were reported for the entire project, while in others it was reported for only the KIP-funded component. For these projects it was difficult to determine the impacts of the projects that could be directly attributed to KIP funding.
  • Availability of Cost-efficiency Data – For the assessment of the cost-efficiency, efforts were made to compare the percentage of KIP's operating costs to total program costs with similar contribution programs for benchmarking purposes. Comparable data was either unavailable or the program context and delivery model was too different to allow for a meaningful comparison.

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3.0 Findings

3.1 Performance

3.1.1 Was KIP delivered in an effective and efficient manner?

The assessment of the effectiveness and efficiency of KIP included an analysis of the timeliness of program implementation and an assessment of the overall efficiency and effectiveness of program delivery.

3.1.1.1 Timeliness of program implementation
Key Finding: Despite the significant challenge of designing and delivering a new contribution program under very tight timelines, the department succeeded in implementing the KIP within the required timeframe. Contribution funds were allocated as planned, with almost all Contribution Agreements approved during the first four months of the program.

To respect the intent of the EAP to provide a timely economic stimulus, the design and implementation of KIP was completed under tight timelines. The program was a new undertaking for IC and a number of challenges were faced. The department did not have previous experience delivering infrastructure programs and a team needed to be quickly assembled. Relationships had to be established with stakeholder groups and controls to manage program risk put in place. Further, at the same time that KIP was being developed, IC had to implement other EAP programs under similar constraints.

Despite these significant challenges, the department succeeded in implementing KIP within the required timeframe. The 2010 report on the delivery of the Economic Action Plan, by the Auditor General of Canada, assessed various EAP programs with respect to the timeliness of program implementation. The report cited KIP as an "example of speedy implementation".Footnote 4

The timelines for KIP implementation are illustrated in Figure 2 below. Funding for KIP was announced through Budget 2009 on January 27, 2009 and the program was formally launched on March 9, 2009. Proposals were due shortly thereafter on March 30, 2009. The demand for the program was high and over 950 proposals were received. By June 2009, almost the entire KIP budget ($1.8 billion) had been allocated to over 400 projects. The remaining allocations were confirmed by October 2009.

KIP Implementation Timeline

Flow chart of Knowledge Infrastructure Program Implementation Timeline (the long description is located below the image)
Description of Figure 2

This figure depicts the key dates during the implementation phase of the program.

January 27, 2009 – Budget 2009 Announcement

March 9, 2009 – KIP formal launch

March 30, 2009 – Deadline for submission of proposals

April 2009 – B.C. (Round 1) and Nova Scotia

May 2009 – Alberta (Round 1), Manitoba (Round 1), Yukon, Ontario (Round 1), Newfoundland and Labrador, and Ontario (round 2)

June 2009 – New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan and Quebec (Round 1)

July 2009 – Manitoba (Round 2), Alberta (Round 2), and Northwest Territories

August 2009 – British Columbia (Round 2)

September 2009 – Nunavut

October 2009 – Quebec (Round 2)

In total, over $1.96 billion was allocated to 520 KIP projectsFootnote 5 to over 235 different post-secondary institutions. The vast majority of funding was delivered through Contribution Agreements signed with provinces/territories, with only 18 projects (representing a total allocation of just over $30 million) proceeding through bilateral agreements between the post-secondary institute and Industry Canada. In terms of distribution of KIP funding, 34% ($664 million) was allocated to colleges and 66% ($1.3 billion) allocated to universities. Further, as provinces/territories and other sources contributed over $3 billion to approved KIP projects, the total value of the 520 projects was over $5 billion. A detailed profile of funding distribution can be found in Appendix B.

Four factors contributed to the timeliness of program implementation:

  • Central Agency Approvals – Policy and financial approvals for new programs under the Economic Action Plan programs were accelerated. Regular approval processes were shortened from six months to two. As well, a temporary measure (Vote 35) to allocate funds to EAP programs in advance of regular approval processes allowed KIP to approve funding agreements between April and June 2009.Footnote 6
  • Federal-Provincial Delivery Model – Cooperation between federal and provincial and territorial officials helped to speed up the application process and the joint approval of projects.Footnote 7 Provincial and territorial governments had familiarity with the institutions and had capital project expertise to support the initiative. Further, by establishing formal arrangements with provinces, the program avoided the time intensive exercise of establishing Contribution Agreements with each individual institution.
  • Mobilization of Internal Departmental Resources – As the program was short-term in nature and under time constraints, only a small number of permanent staff were put in place. After receiving over 950 project submissions, it was decided that there was no need for any additional calls for proposals. A temporary team of 50 departmental employees with significant program experience was assembledFootnote 8 and trained to expedite and complete the initial project assessment phase. The efficient mobilization of internal departmental resources enabled all of the assessments for the first announcement to be completed by April 8, 2009.
  • Capacity of Post-secondary Institutions – Eligible proposals had to not only meet merit criteria, but also a set of readiness criteria to ensure that program funds would target projects that would begin upon approval. The program received a large number of high quality proposals that satisfied the readiness criteria. The capacity of post-secondary institutions to submit these proposals, under tight timelines, enabled the program to be implemented quickly.

While the department succeeded in implementing the program within a very short period of time, some provincial officials and post-secondary institutions reported delays in implementation at the project level. Project announcements were made at the time of approval of the federal-provincial agreement. However, provinces then had to formalize agreements with the ultimate recipients – the post-secondary institutions. In some cases, provincial interviewees indicated that their internal approval processes were lengthy (up to six months in some cases). For some post-secondary institutions, the time needed to formalize the final agreements delayed the implementation of their projects.

3.1.1.2 Effectiveness and Efficiency of Program Delivery
Key Finding: KIP was delivered in an effective and cost-efficient manner. The actual operating costs for KIP were lower than planned, representing less than 1% of total program costs. This was largely due to the use of an effective federal-provincial delivery model along with an efficient allocation of internal program resources.

To assess the overall efficiency of program delivery an analysis of the planned versus actual operating costs was conducted, along with an assessment of the allocation of resources. This included a review of program controls and operational processes used to achieve timely and cost-efficient delivery.

The original financial authority for KIP included $27.2 million in internal operating expendituresFootnote 9 to manage the program, representing 1.36% of total program costs. Initial estimates developed for the program's operating budget attempted to address several factors including: the anticipated high demand for the program, the potential complexity of applications, and the need for a high level of oversight.

In terms of actual costs, the internal operating expenditures for KIP were significantly less than anticipated. The program is expected to be delivered with actual internal operating costs totaling $14.4 millionFootnote 10, representing 0.73% of total program costs. Three factors were identified as contributing to efficient delivery and low operating costs:

  • Personnel – One of the significant sources of the lower operating costs was the low number of full-time equivalents (FTE) used for program delivery. The original business case for the program anticipated requiring 30 FTEs in order to complete delivery of the program. While a high number of temporary staff (50) were assigned to the program for the initial assessment phase, overall staff levels remained low – averaging 16 per year for a three year period.
  • Efficiency of the Federal-Provincial Delivery Model – Program delivery efficiencies were also realized due to the significant front-line monitoring role of the provincial and territorial governments. Relying on provincial and territorial governments to provide a significant share of project due diligence and monitoring decreased KIP's costs for oversight.
  • Third-Party Monitoring – An accounting firm, with sub-contracted qualified infrastructure specialists, was contracted to assist in monitoring, reporting and auditing activities. The decision proved to be an efficient one. The program avoided the cost and learning curve associated with hiring and building internal capacity for a time-limited program. As well, an assessment by the accounting firm of the processes and controls put in place by the provinces and territories found them to be rigorous thereby allowing the program to reduce the number of risk-based audits required. Consequently, the final cost of the contract was significantly less than anticipated.

Perspectives on the effectiveness and efficiency of the program delivery at the level of individual projects were also gathered through interviews with provincial and territorial officials, along with case study visits to post-secondary institutions. Overall, the federal-provincial/territorial delivery model was found to be highly effective in responding to university and college infrastructure needs in a timely and appropriate manner.

Some implementation and delivery challenges were noted. The time required to clearly define processes, guidelines and requirements (e.g. audits) created uncertainty for some recipients. Further, the timing of federal requirements (e.g. budget processes, yearly audits, timing for quarterly reports) did not always match the timing of provincial requirements. In addition, communication protocols were found to be lengthy and time-consuming. Finally, the frequency of reporting, particularly at the onset of the program, was perceived to be onerous by some recipients. From the program perspective, however, the requests were necessary to ensure project progress respected the intent of the EAP and met federal reporting requirements.

The program was perceived to be very responsive, flexible, and able to adequately address these issues as implementation proceeded. Provincial and territorial interviewees noted the accessibility of program officials and the usefulness of their frequent communications. In addition, face to face meetings were held between IC program officials and provincial and territorial representatives in the spring and summer of 2010. The meetings provided an opportunity to discuss and resolve a variety of issues. This was helpful in eliminating uncertainties, clarifying audit requirements, and clearly defining processes and guidelines. The positive relationship between IC program officials, IC regional federal representatives and provincial and territorial counterparts was identified as strength in program delivery.

3.1.2 To what extent has the KIP achieved its expected short-term outcomes:

  • Infrastructure projects completed and/or underway at universities and colleges
  • Increased employment and economic stimulus in local economies across Canada

This section is presented in two parts: the first describes the completion of KIP projects and the second describes the employment and economic stimulus outcome.

3.1.2.1 Infrastructure Projects Completed and/or Underway at Universities and Colleges
Key Finding: Although tight project timelines were a significant challenge nearly all KIP projects were completed, or were close to being completed, within the intended timeframe. Controls to monitor project progress were put in place, giving the Department increased assurances that projects were being completed as intended and within allowable timelines.

The first immediate intended outcome of KIP was that infrastructure projects be underway and completed within the program timelines. This was to ensure that the program met the EAP objective of stimulating the economy in a timely manner as well as ensuring that longer term outcomes would subsequently be realized.

The original deadline for KIP project completion was March 31, 2011, similar to other EAP programs. Industry Canada put a number of controls in place to collect key information on project progress and federal spending, giving the Department increased assurances that the projects were being completed as intended and within the required timeframe.Footnote 11 As was the case with other EAP infrastructure programs, it became apparent that a number of KIP recipients were going to have difficulty completing their infrastructure projects by the intended deadline. As well, a central agency analysis concluded that the economic environment warranted continued federal support for EAP projects beyond their original deadline.Footnote 12 As a result, a decision was made by the Prime Minister to allow KIP to approve project extensions to October 31, 2011.

Tight project timelines were a significant challenge for most projects. However, several other factors affecting project completion were identified through interviews with provincial/territorial officials and case study visits to post-secondary institutions. These factors included:

  • Construction Seasonality – The geographical context of some projects, along with the ability to access sites throughout the academic season, limited the available construction time. Northern communities face shorter construction seasons in general and in some instances are limited by the availability of winter roads. Project sites in other regions faced early and harsh winter conditions. For other projects the academic calendars of post-secondary institutions created challenges as the bulk of construction work had to be completed from May to August while buildings did not have high occupancy levels.
  • Labour Supply Shortages – Projects located in small and remote communities faced challenges in accessing an adequate supply of qualified labour. In a few regions, high levels of construction activity created a shortage of labour supply during the program period.
  • Procurement of Goods and Equipment – In some project areas there were shortages in the supply of materials and basic equipment (e.g. steel, elevators) leading to delays. For other projects, the timely procurement of specialized equipment needed to complete R&D labs was a challenge. In addition, in some provinces the mandatory provincial public tendering processes added to project timelines.
  • Permits – Delays in obtaining permits also created challenges to timely project completion. Of note are two examples; Manitoba and Quebec. In northern Manitoba it took 13 months to gain federal, provincial, and First Nation government approvals to build on First Nations land. In Quebec many municipalities required land use studies (e.g. traffic pattern reviews) to be undertaken prior to issuing building permits.
  • Unforeseen circumstances – In some cases, unforeseen or unexpected circumstances such as geo-physical site conditions, soil contamination, or fires also affected project timelines.

Despite these challenges, as of March 31, 2011 nearly all KIP projects were completed or were close to being completed. Over $1.7 billion of KIP funding had been disbursedFootnote 13, representing just over 87% of planned allocations. Spending was also tracked at the project level and as of March 31, 2011, $3.69 billion in eligible project costs had been incurred.Footnote 14

Approximately one-third of KIP projects (189 out of 520) requested additional time to reach substantial completion. These projects tended to be larger in size, more complex in scope, and had a later start date. Extensions were granted and by October 31, 2011 over 98% of all projects (512 out of 520) were substantially complete.

3.1.2.2 Increased employment and economic stimulus in local economies across Canada
Key Finding: KIP funding provided economic stimulus to over 190 communities across Canada. Construction activities maintained or created jobs during project implementation. Further, the increased capacity created at post-secondary institutions led to an increase in administrative, technical and faculty positions.

A total of 520 knowledge infrastructure projects were implemented in over 190 communitiesFootnote 15 across Canada. The magnitude of KIP expenditures (federal and matching) ranged from $102,000 for one project in Caronport, Saskatchewan to $374 million for 14 projects in Toronto, Ontario. In total, $3.69 billion in eligible KIP project costs had been incurredFootnote 16 as of March 31, 2011 and $4.5 billion as of October 31, 2011. The distribution of eligible costs incurred by each project reporting period is illustrated in Figure 3 below.

Figure 3: Distribution of Eligible Costs Incurred by KIP Reporting Period

Graph of Distribution of Eligible Costs Incurred by Knowledge Infrastructure Program Reporting Period (the long description is located below the image)
Description of Figure 3

Figure three is a chronological line chart representation of Distribution of Eligible Costs Incurred (Y axis) by KIP Reporting Period (X axis). The line chart demonstrates a gradual increase in incurred eligible KIP project costs starting from August 2009. Costs incurred culminate to $3.69 billion as of March 31, 2011 and $4.5 billion as of October 31, 2011.

The impact on local economies as a result of KIP projects was significant. As part of the project close-out reports, recipients were asked to describe the impacts on the local economy.Footnote 17 Providing work opportunities to local labor during the economic recession was one of the main themes that emerged. Recipients reported that KIP projects initiated local spending on labour, construction materials and equipment that would not have occurred otherwise. Some recipients noted the program also supported consultants, architects, engineers and trade workers where otherwise opportunities in these occupations would have been scarce.

While KIP funding provided economic stimulus in all of the project communities, the impact of the stimulus varied across different regions. Interviews with provincial and territorial officials, along with post-secondary officials, identified a range of regional economic contexts during the time of project delivery. For some regions, a construction boom was already underway and while the KIP projects contributed to overall economic stimulus they also increased construction demand. In some cases, this led to higher than expected project costs. For other regions, the KIP funding allowed for construction activity to be sustained and, therefore, enabled construction companies to retain staff and help to keep labor localized. In some regions, in the absence of KIP, labour may have left the region in search of employment opportunities elsewhere. Further, provincial and territorial interviewees indicated that in some cases KIP projects helped spur broader community revitalization efforts leading to an increase in local development in the areas surrounding these KIP projects.

The improved infrastructure has also created increased employment opportunities at post-secondary institutions. Project recipients were asked to identify, in their close-out reports, the number of additional administrative, technical and faculty positions that have been realized as a result of the project. At the time of the evaluation, 365 project recipients had submitted close-out reports. These project recipients reported that 369 positions have already been created at their institutions. Table 3 below shows the distribution of these jobs. Slightly more than half of the new positions were increases in faculty members. In addition, 22% of these project recipients expected that additional staff could be accommodated over the medium or long term.

Table 3: Post-secondary Employment
Projects with Close-Out Reports (n=365)
Type of Position Number of Positions Already Realized
Administrative 52
Technical 98
Faculty 219
Total 369

The economic benefit of additional post-secondary jobs was also a consistent theme that emerged in the qualitative analysis of project close-out reports. Recipients reported that KIP has enabled them to increase their ability to attract, develop and retain high skilled employees within their respective provinces. Directly, some of the projects will increase the teaching capacity of the institutions, particularly in the case of new buildings or significantly improved teaching spaces. In addition to increases in faculty staff, the new facilities require additional support and administrative staff to operate the facilities. Indirectly, addressing deferred maintenance issues either extended the viability of the existing space or provided the infrastructure for future capacity increases. This extended viability, along with the potential for future capacity increases, is expected to result in ongoing economic benefits.

An example of the short and long-term economic impacts resulting from KIP projects is illustrated in the following examples from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) and the University of New Brunswick.

The construction of the Automotive Centre of Excellence (ACE) at the UOIT, partly funded by KIP, involved the provision of over 100 contracts involving more than 50 skilled trades and the estimated creation of 485 direct jobs and 680 indirect jobs over the short term. Over the longer term, it is anticipated that the increased capacity of ACE will lead to 17 full-time positions being secured at the UOIT. In addition, spin-off benefits are being created for the local engineering, testing and consulting industries that are using the facility. Specifically, the use of the R&D tools at ACE offer the potential for Canadian companies to gain a competitive advantage by getting products to market faster, as well as keeping engineering expertise within Canada. Further, the use of ACE could give industry across Canada a competitive edge for international corporate R&D projects.

The construction of the KIP funded Human Performance Analysis Laboratory (HPL) at the University of New Brunswick led to the creation of approximately 120 direct and indirect jobs in the short-term. The laboratory was part of much larger project, the Richard J. Currie Center (Currie Centre), one of the largest building construction projects undertaken in New Brunswick's history. The size and complexity of the project contributed to building local managerial and technical capacity. Engineering students were hired to work on site during the summer months and through the academic year, gaining valuable experience with local firms and increasing their opportunities to pursue careers within the province. Going forward, the new research facility offers unique capabilities and opportunities for conducting high quality research. As such, HPL can train skilled and highly qualified technicians, health and wellness practitioners, and biomechanical professionals as well as attract top-rated faculty and researchers to the institution.

3.1.3 To what extent has the KIP achieved the following expected intermediate outcomes:

  • Improved research and development related university infrastructure
  • Strengthened advanced knowledge and skills related college infrastructure
Key Finding: The intended benefits of the infrastructure projects are being realized. Use of the completed facilities is improving the R&D capacities of post-secondary institutions as well as strengthening their ability to deliver advanced knowledge and skills training.

This section is presented in three parts:

  • In the first part, an analysis of the intended benefits of the infrastructure projects is presented;
  • In the second part, an analysis of the use of the new, expanded, or renovated facilities is presented; and
  • In the last part, the unintended impacts of the completed projects are described.
3.1.3.1 Intended Benefits of the Infrastructure Projects

As part of the performance reporting for KIP, recipients were asked to identify the intended benefits of their infrastructure projects. Five categories of benefits were provided, with each institution identifying up to three benefits per project. These benefits identify the areas in which the projects are improving the R&D infrastructure of universities and strengthening the advanced knowledge and skills related infrastructure of colleges.

The five types of benefits are:

  • Expands or enhances the utility of R&D space (R&D space)
  • Expands or enhances the utility of training space (training space)
  • Improves energy efficiency (energy efficiency)
  • Upgrades the health and safety aspects of facilities (health and safety)
  • Develops incubation facilities for industry and research (incubation facilities)

An analysis of the benefits was conducted across all KIP projects. Table 4 shows the distribution of benefits by category. The majority of university infrastructure projects are providing benefits related to expanding or enhancing R&D space and improving energy efficiency. For colleges, the majority of infrastructure projects are increasing the utility of training space, improving energy efficiency and improving health and safety.

Table 4: Distribution of Benefits by Category and Type of Institution
Universities Colleges
Projects Percentage Projects Percentage
Utility of R&D space 113 58% 7 2%
Utility of training space 86 44% 167 51%
Improves energy efficiency 104 53% 172 53%
Health & safety 79 41% 181 56%
Incubation facilities 18 9% 4 1%
Note: Projects may identify up to three types of benefits so the percentages will not add up to 100%
Expands or enhances the utility of R&D space

Over half of all university infrastructure projects identified expanded or enhanced utility of R&D space as a benefit of the completed infrastructure. Examples of how the projects have expanded or enhanced the utility include:

  • Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University – KIP funding supported renovations that addressed deferred maintenance issues, improved energy efficiency and increased research capacity. In the Academy Building specifically, renovations were undertaken to create specialized labs, collaborative multimedia studios for research and technology development initiatives, technical support areas, and archival space for rare and valuable film collections. These enhancements will allow the university to accommodate additional researchers and research projects.
  • University of Regina – KIP funding supported the addition of a second data centre to the University. The data centre contributes to advanced computing functionality and increased data security. This helps researchers requiring high performance computing systems which are necessary in some fields of research such as physics and theoretical chemistry.
Expands or enhances the utility of training space

Approximately half of all KIP projects identified expanded or enhanced utility of training space as a benefit of the completed infrastructure. Examples of how projects expanded or enhanced the utility of training space include:

  • University of Toronto, Scarborough Campus (UTSC) – KIP provided funding for the construction of the Instructional Centre and Laboratory Complex, a 148,460 square foot instructional and laboratory centre. This new building addressed a severe shortage of classroom space and academic offices.
  • Royal Roads University – The KIP project involved the construction of a 1,837 square metre Innovative Learning Commons (ILC), part of a larger building, the Learning and Innovation Centre (5718 metres). The ILC provides learning and research spaces that provide access to information resources and expertise, new technology, and group learning and study spaces. The new facility supports the institution's growing student population as well as strengthens the capacity of the university to deliver distance learning programs.

Provincial and territorial interviewees, along with representatives of post-secondary institutions indicated that the additional R&D and training spaces created through KIP projects is helping institutions catch up with increasing enrolments and expanding programs. However, challenges to the sustainability of the new infrastructure were also identified. The maintenance of new or expanded facilities also increases the operating costs of institutions. Due to ongoing fiscal constraints, the ability of institutions to address increased operating costs, and the capacity of many provinces to respond to new funding needs is limited. Some provincial and post-secondary institution interviewees also indicated that the ability to use the new or enhanced facilities to their full extent may be limited by the availability of funds required to conduct research and development activities.

Improves energy efficiency

Energy efficiency improvements were identified in approximately half of all KIP projects. This is largely due to the fact that most new builds or renovations incorporate the latest building techniques and technological features, which are usually more energy efficient than what existed in older buildings. The most common types of improvements included:

  • Upgraded building envelopes and insulation including the addition of energy efficient windows and doors;
  • Upgraded mechanical and electrical systems, including HVAC systems;
  • Improved heat recovery systems including the addition of geothermal systems;
  • Increased use of natural light together with energy efficient lighting and lighting control systems; and
  • Installation of energy efficient equipment

For instance, a KIP renovation project at Camosun College incorporated energy efficiency features while improving the functionality of libraries and learning common facilities. Specifically, an HVAC system was upgraded, energy efficient lighting was installed, and in adjacent buildings inefficient generators and emergency power systems were upgraded.

Many provincial and territorial interviewees, along with post-secondary institution officials, noted that the expected savings generated by the KIP energy efficiency projects are also expected to have positive impacts on the overall operating costs of institutions. As institutions replace aging mechanical and electrical systems with modern technologies, such as geothermal technology, recipients cited significant expected savings in on-going operational costs, as well as positive environmental impacts.

The KIP funded Cogeneration and Energy Performance Program at the University of Calgary provides a good example of the potential impacts that can be realized through energy efficiency improvements. The installation of a new cogeneration unit is meeting the heating needs of the main campus, as well as reducing energy costs and emissions. It is estimated that the plant will result in $3.5 million in cost savings on energy bills per year and reduce the U of C's carbon dioxide emissions by 80,000 tons per year. The Energy Performance project involved energy retrofits, such as updating lighting and HVAC systems, to almost every building on campus. In addition to improving indoor air quality and lighting quality, the improvements are expected to reduce campus wide utility operating costs by more than $2 million per year.

Upgrades the health and safety aspects of facilities

Health and safety improvements were identified in 56% of college projects and 41% of university projects. The most prevalent improvements included the removal of hazardous materials such as asbestos and lead and increased accessibility for the disabled. Other projects resulted in improved fire safety through the upgrade of fire alarm systems, sprinklers and fire escapes.

Examples of health and safety improvements include:

  • KIP funding provided to the Collège François-Xavier-Garneau included renovations to three existing chemistry laboratories. The renovations enhanced ventilation systems as well as adding operational showers, eye rinse and various protection mechanisms. The improvements enabled the College to offer a modern science learning environment.
  • At Université Laval, KIP funding was provided for the construction of a new facility to manage and store hazardous waste materials (radiological, biological, and chemical). These waste materials are generated products from research activities throughout the campus. The new facility addressed critical safety issues faced by users (specialists, instructors, researchers, and students) concerning the risk of exposure to these hazardous materials.
Develops incubation facilities for industry and research

Overall, this benefit was least frequently identified across all KIP projects with only 9% of university projects and 1% of college projects contributing to the development of incubation facilities for industry and research. Examples include:

  • University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) – KIP funding expanded the scope of the Automotive Centre of Excellence (ACE). The expansion resulted in two dedicated floors for the conduct of collaborative university-industry projects, as well as industry-focused projects.
  • The KIP funded demonstration project at the Nova Scotia Community College Centre for the Built Environment (CBE) is providing a showcase for industry product applications and increased opportunities for faculty-industry collaboration.
3.1.3.2 Use of the New, Expanded, or Renovated Facilities

During the case study visits to post-secondary institutions, interviews were conducted with faculty members, staff members, and students who are now using the new, expanded or renovated facilities. The purpose of the interviews was to identify whether the use of the facilities is improving R&D capacities and strengthening the delivery of training at the post-secondary institutions. In many cases, as the R&D laboratories and classrooms were only recently being occupied, it was too soon to identify the full impact of the completed infrastructure projects. However, across all case studies early impacts were identified. Faculty members, staff, and students all identified ways in which their use of the completed facilities is enabling them to either increase their capacity to conduct R&D activities or is contributing to their ability to provide or benefit from a higher quality educational experience. Summaries of the case study analysis for four different KIP projects are provided below.

Deep Bay Field Station, Vancouver Island University

KIP provided funding for the construction of the Deep Bay Field Station. The new building is a 10,000 sq. ft. multi-use research facility that is built to LEED platinum standards. The facility accommodates research and education programs devoted to the development of the sustainable shellfish aquaculture industry on Vancouver Island.

This new field station has fundamentally altered the type and way in which research is being undertaken. The advanced research laboratories are enabling researchers to undertake more complex research under greater controlled conditions, including conservation research on species in decline, as well as research on the management of sustainability and cultivation potential of other species. Research partnerships are being developed with government agencies, and the laboratories are acting as an incubator for new species that may have future food uses. A commercial kitchen is providing an opportunity for culinary students to experiment on new ways to prepare seafood.

Nursing Facility, Collège François-Xavier-Garneau

With the support of KIP, the college built a modern facility specifically designed for the nursing program. The new building enables 500 nursing students, supported by 50 instructors, to train in an academic environment that provides enhanced learning capabilities. Before the confirmation of KIP funding, nursing training was to be provided off-campus in rented spaces.

The new facility, with modern equipment, supports innovative teaching techniques that respond to the work requirements of the health sector. Training spaces replicate work environments, enabling students to engage in the same type of interactions that take place in hospital settings. For instance, a number of advanced learning tools, such as interactive simulation mannequins, audio-visual systems, and interactive maps allow students to test their knowledge and assess their own learning. As a result, the quality of the nursing program is improved, graduates will be better prepared to enter the workplace, and the high demand for nursing professional in Quebec will be addressed.

The Research and Innovation Centre, University of Regina

As a result of KIP funding, the University of Regina was able to complete the fifth floor of its research centre. This provided an additional 2,000 square metres of space for advanced research activities. Sections of the floor were specifically designed for one of the University of Regina's Canada Research Chairs, who is conducting research in water quality, a major strategic issue in Saskatchewan. The benefits of the space include a highly advanced Environmental Quality Analysis Laboratory which enables sophisticated capabilities including advanced sample-holding, environmental agent isolation of water samples and environmental agent qualification.

The additional research space has also provided an opportunity to initiate an innovative operating model with regard to research practices. Specifically, the university has implemented "flex labs", which are laboratories designed for multipurpose research. The intent of the design is two-fold. It provides visiting scientists with their own space to conduct leading-edge research in the fields of ground soil, freshwater and climate change. In addition, researchers can propose research subjects, and if selected, the flex labs can be configured to further their research. This model is a novel approach and provides the institution with a significant leveraging tool. It facilitates the development of top tier collaborations with leading experts, which increases the quality of the research conducted within the university.

Centre for the Built Environment, Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC)

The funds provided by KIP to support the construction of the Centre for the Built Environment (CBE), an environmental demonstration and training facility built to LEED gold standards. It is being used primarily by students in trade and engineering technology programs, but also for industry associations to showcase how environmental technologies and sustainability can be incorporated into building design and operations. The ultimate goal of the centre is to incorporate environmental stewardship and sustainability practices in the construction trades.

KIP funds enabled the integration of a number of features that provide students with enhanced learning opportunities. For example, additional building system control features allow students to access and monitor building systems, including geothermal monitoring and an interactive discovery centre. Interior bio-walls improve air quality and help students understand their use and benefits. Multiple types of solar panels and wind turbines provide students and researchers with the opportunities to study the benefits and effectiveness of each type. In this context, the building is a learning tool where students can see first-hand the results generated by a range of sustainable technologies. The CBE will allow NSCC to infuse sustainability and environmental stewardship directly into College programs. The building's design also encourages collaboration by students from different trades and technology programs, enhancing learning and better preparing them for real-world built environment projects. Overall, KIP has provided the CBE with enhancements that emphasize sustainable building practices, environmental stewardship and collaborative learning.

3.1.3.3 Other Impacts of KIP Projects

An analysis of interview responses, along with a review of qualitative data collected through project close-out reports, identified a number of other impacts that can be attributed to KIP projects, but were not captured through identified program performance indicators. The impacts are positive and will likely contribute, directly or indirectly, to improving R&D capacities and strengthening the delivery of training at the post-secondary institutions. The other impacts that were identified include:

  • Renewed private sector interest: In interviews with recipients and stakeholders, many cited examples of increased private sector interest in supporting current and future post-secondary infrastructure projects. This was mainly attributable to both the high profile and prestige of many KIP projects, along with an increased confidence in the ability of the institutions to deliver the projects.
  • Enhanced capacity to access R&D funding: Institutions consistently face challenges accessing funds to conduct R&D activities. However, by expanding or improving infrastructure, academic institutions have also enhanced their capacity to access different funding sources. For example, one institution secured a Canada Research Chair position based on a KIP enabled new facility, while another institution had begun bidding on computing based research grants after improving their IT infrastructure.
  • New ways of learning: The use of the completed KIP facilities is fostering new and creative ways of learning and increasing interdisciplinary collaborations, particularly for projects that supported the development of learning commons. A learning commons is a space, often enhanced with technology, which is dedicated to addressing the learning and research needs of students and faculty from across different disciplines and faculties.
  • Strengthened articulation of university and college programs: Some KIP projects supported the development of facilities that are shared by a university and a college. In these cases, the use of the completed facilities is leading to increased collaborations and a greater articulation of programs between the two different types of institutions.
  • Fulfillment of strategic goals: The completion of KIP projects is contributing to the ability of institutions to fulfill their mandate. KIP projects have addressed issues that have been gestating for years. Strategic goals are being met allowing institutions to pursue other new priorities.
  • Improved support for First Nations/aboriginal communities: Some KIP projects made a significant contribution towards enabling institutions to better support the needs of First Nations/aboriginal communities. Specifically, new research capabilities enabling work in areas such as water and biomass research are expected to lead to results that will impact the well-being of remote First Nations/aboriginal communities. As well, some KIP projects are leading to enhanced academic opportunities for aboriginal students, such as improved long-distance learning opportunities.

3.2 Relevance

3.2.1 Are the objectives of the Knowledge Infrastructure Program consistent with government-wide priorities and departmental strategic outcomes?

Key Finding: The objectives of the Knowledge Infrastructure Program are consistent with governmental priorities and align with departmental strategic outcomes.

Budget 2009, Canada's Economic Action Plan (EAP), contained a package of broad stimulus measures, including a significant investment commitment to infrastructure projects. Part of this package was directed at knowledge infrastructure, with one program specifically focused on repairing, retrofitting and expanding facilities at post-secondary institutions. In line with all other EAP programs, the objective was to provide short-term stimulus to the Canadian economy.

One of the main objectives of KIP is to accelerate repairs, maintenance and construction at universities and colleges in order to provide short-term, targeted stimulus to the economy in communities across Canada. This objective is consistent with federal priorities of providing timely economic stimulus. The department included KIP in its reporting for all EAP initiatives in its Departmental Performance Report (DPR) in 2009-10 and 2010-11. It also identified KIP as a priority program under its EAP initiatives for the Department in its 2010–11 and 2011-12 Reports on Plans and Priorities.

The other main objective of KIP is to further the Government's Science and Technology Strategy (S&T Strategy), Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada's Advantage. Specifically, KIP projects are expected to enhance the research capacity of post-secondary institutions and enable them to attract students and provide a better educational experience for the highly skilled workers of tomorrow. The objective of KIP aligns with the three advantages of the government's S&T Strategy. The knowledge advantage focuses on building on research and technology strengths to achieve innovative and new ideas. The people advantage is focused on growing Canada's knowledge workers through developing, attracting and retaining highly skilled people. The entrepreneurial advantage focuses on translating knowledge into practical applications to improve Canada's wealth, wellness, and well-being.

KIP objectives are also consistent with the strategic outcomes of IC. In particular, KIP is directly aligned with Industry Canada's Strategic Outcome 2.0 Science and Technology, Knowledge, and Innovation are Effective Drivers of a Canadian Economy. Industry Canada invests in science and technology to generate knowledge and equip Canadians with the skills and training they need to compete and prosper in the global knowledge-based economy. These investments help ensure that discoveries and breakthroughs happen here in Canada and that Canadians can realize the social and economic benefits.

3.2.2 Was KIP consistent with federal roles and responsibilities?

Key Finding: A federal role in the delivery of knowledge infrastructure funds was appropriate due to the unique circumstances of the global recession. The federal government also has the mandate to encourage the development and use of science and technology. As such, the delivery of the Knowledge Infrastructure Program by Industry Canada aligns with federal responsibilities.

KIP was developed in response to the exceptional circumstances of the global recession that began in 2008. In order to meet federal economic stimulus priorities, KIP was delivered by the federal government with the close collaboration of the provinces and territories.

The federal government also has a history of playing a role in post-secondary facility renewal over the past 60 years. From 1951 to 1967 the federal government offered a grant program to post-secondary institutions through the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. From 1957 to 1967, the Canada Council distributed over $60 million under its University Capital Grants program, sharing equally the eligible building construction costs with specific post-secondary institutions and allocating these funds across the provinces on a provincial per capita basis. During the same period, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) provided loans to universities to build student residences.

From 1967 to 1997, the federal government began a system of cost-sharing transfers directly to the provinces and territories for the purpose of, among other things, the funding of post-secondary education. The transfers were provided to the provinces unconditionally. Since 1997 transfers for post-secondary education have been included in the Canada Social Transfer (CST), which consists of both cash and tax transfer components. However, federal assistance to provinces for post-secondary education under the CST is provided without conditions, and is not specifically targeted to the renewal of basic capital infrastructure. Recognizing that there was a significant problem in this area, Budget 2006 provided $1 billion over two years through a third-party trust to help provinces and territories deal with immediate pressures of post-secondary education infrastructure.

Under the Industry Canada Act S5 (d), the Minister of Industry may exercise his powers and duties to "encourage the fullest and most efficient and effective development and use of science and technology." Universities and colleges are instrumental agents in the education and training of students in science and technology. These institutions require the appropriate infrastructure to support their programs, students and faculty. The investments made under KIP align with the authority given to the Minister under the Act.

3.2.3 Was there a need to improve research and development related university infrastructure and advanced knowledge and skills related college infrastructure?

Key Finding: Investments in post-secondary infrastructure responded to the need to provide economic stimulus to communities throughout Canada. At the same time, these investments also responded to the need for improved facilities to support the research, development and training capacity of universities and colleges.

Infrastructure investment was identified as a key to economic stimulus given the rapid decline in housing, construction and business investment. Providing financial stimulus to knowledge infrastructure responded to a need to stimulate construction demand in communities throughout Canada while at the same time improving university and college infrastructure.

In Canada there are 289 public and 113 private post-secondary institutions that educate more than 1.5 million students and produce 250,000 graduatesFootnote 18 annually. Universities perform more than one-third of Canada's research and development. Community colleges, distinguished by a range of titles including institutes of technology, CÉGEP, university-college, and polytechnics share the primary functions of responding to the training needs of business, industry, and service sectors.

Universities and colleges have a significant proportion of their infrastructure which dates from the 1960s and 1970s. Given that the average service life of education building is estimated to be 40 years oldFootnote 19, facilities are nearing the end of their effective lives, necessitating renovation and revitalization. In addition, universities and colleges have experienced a steady growth in enrollment, programs and research over the past 30-50 years. This has created a need to expand their facilities to accommodate this growth.

In a study published in 2000 by the Canadian Association of University Business Officers (CAUBO), the estimated value of university infrastructure backlog across Canada was $6.84 billion, of which $5.1 billion was deferred maintenance. Of the $5.1 billion of deferred maintenance, close to half, or $2.4 billion, was considered to be urgent. Following the CAUBO study, the Senate Standing Committee on National Finance studied the issue and produced a report on the role of the government in the financing of deferred maintenance costs in Canada's post-secondary institutions. Their recommendation was that the Federal Government should begin negotiations with the provinces on a joint program to arrest the accelerating deterioration of the physical infrastructure of colleges and universities.

As well, a recent survey of thirty-two representative colleges and institutes conducted by the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) in 2008 indicated a significant need for funding to assist colleges and institutes with the basic maintenance of buildings, the acquisition of modern equipment for instruction, the construction of new facilities, and the expansion of teaching capacity. Extrapolating their findings to the entire college system indicated a need for $6.5 billion to retrofit and expand the capacity of aging buildings which were thirty years or older.

Seeking to address these identified needs, individual universities and colleges, as well as their representative associations, have been seeking a large-scale federal intervention to address deferred maintenance and capital investment in university and college infrastructure over the past decade. Consistent with recent studies, all provincial/territorial interviewees indicated a significant need for infrastructure renewal, along with a limited capacity to address funding needs. Fiscal constraints over the past fifteen years have limited the ability of the provinces and territories to respond to the need to renew aging infrastructure and provide for new buildings.

Case studies conducted during the evaluation illustrate the need to improve post-secondary infrastructure at the institutional and project level. For example:

  • Officials from one university indicated that current estimates to maintain the status quo of their aging university infrastructure would require funding of $50 million annually. However, provincial funding limits are $5 million a year, to be used under specific guidelines. As well, their overall operating budgets are decreasing while internal costs are increasing. The need to address urgent infrastructure needs with very limited funds has reduced the amount of resources they can allocate to teaching and research activities.
  • At a project level, the need to improve research and development infrastructure in order to conduct high quality research is illustrated by the KIP funded Living with Lakes research centre at Laurentian University. Prior to the research centre being built, freshwater ecology research was conducted within a cluster of cottages. These cottages were constructed during the 1930s and first served pilots conducting aerial firefighting and were subsequently repurposed by the University. The capacity of researchers and students to conduct high quality research was limited by the makeshift facilities. For instance, the available space and testing areas limited the scale and scope of research that could be conducted and could not support the installation of state-of-the-art laboratory equipment. Additionally the aging buildings represented a major operational risk, as samples and data points were stored in basements which were prone to seasonal flooding.

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4.0 Conclusions and Lessons Learned

4.1 Conclusions

Regarding the relevance and performance of the program, the following conclusions can be reached.

Performance:

  • Industry Canada succeeded in implementing KIP within the required timeframe.
  • KIP was delivered in an effective and cost-efficient manner. This was largely attributable to the use of an effective delivery model with provinces and territories as well as an efficient allocation of program resources.
  • The program achieved its short-term outcomes. Nearly all KIP projects were completed, or were close to being completed, within the intended timeframe. KIP funding provided economic stimulus to over 190 communities across Canada.
  • The program is achieving its intermediate outcomes. Use of the completed facilities is improving the R&D capacities of post-secondary institutions as well as strengthening their ability to deliver advanced knowledge and skills training.

Relevance:

  • Investments in post-secondary infrastructure responded to the need to provide economic stimulus while at the same time addressing the need for improved facilities to support the research, development and training capacity of post-secondary institutions.
  • The objectives of the program are consistent with federal government priorities and the strategic objectives of Industry Canada.
  • In the context of the global economic recession, the delivery of KIP by Industry Canada was an appropriate federal role and responsibility.

4.2 Lessons Learned

As KIP will sunset on March 31, 2012, and there are no plans for Industry Canada to deliver similar programming to the post-secondary sector in the near future, the lessons learned were identified with the intent of informing the design and delivery of programs with similar contexts – new contribution programs, designed and delivered with short timelines.

The lessons learned include:

Lesson Learned 1: The use of a federal-provincial/territorial delivery model can be highly effective. Leveraging the expertise and knowledge of provinces and territories, as well as incorporating a front-line role for them in project monitoring can be instrumental to timely and efficient program delivery.

Lesson Learned 2: For time-limited programs, engaging professional firms, with specialized expertise, to provide assistance with monitoring, reporting and auditing activities provides a high level of confidence in project oversight without having to build internal capacity.

Lesson Learned 3: The development and implementation of infrastructure programs under tight timelines can create challenges. Program processes that are responsive to stakeholder needs and are flexible can help to address implementation issues as they arise. Controls to monitor project progress can ensure that projects are being completed as intended and within desired timeframes.

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