National Anti-Drug Strategy Evaluation

4. Summary of the Major Findings

This chapter summarizes the key findings of the evaluation gathered from all lines of evidence, grouped by evaluation issues (relevance, effectiveness, and efficiency and economy). Appendix B presents the list of evaluation questions and issues addressed in this study.

4.1 Relevance

This section explores the relevance of the Strategy in terms of its continued need, its consistency with federal priorities concerning illicit drug issues and with the role of the federal government in this area.

4.1.1 Continued Need

4.1.1.1 Illicit drug use among youth is a continuing concern

Illicit drug use among youth Footnote 21 is a constantly evolving concern in Canada. According to Health Canada’s Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey (CADUMS), the rate of drug use among youth aged 15 to 24 years remains much higher than that reported by adults 25 years and older. The rate of cannabis use is three times higher among youth (25.1% versus 7.9% for adults), and the use of any drug excluding cannabis is almost nine times higher (7.9% versus 0.8% Footnote 22 for adults) for the past year. Footnote 23 The Youth Smoking Survey confirms this issue as it reports that, in 2008/09, 27% of students in grades 6 to 12 reported marihuana use in the past year. Footnote 24 CADUMS 2010 shows that 38% of those who had used drugs in the past year are between 15 and 24 years of age, with the average age of first use being 15.7 years. Footnote 25 In addition, based on a national survey of parents with children aged 13 to 15, when they were asked to identify the most important problem facing youth, illicit drug use was identified as the second most important problem (14%), after peer pressure and fitting in with friends (29%). Two-thirds (67%) of parents also believed that drug use and experimentation among youth today are much higher than when they were young. Footnote 26

4.1.1.2 Higher drug use among other vulnerable populations

The literature points to increased risk of illicit drug abuse among other vulnerable segments of populations including Aboriginal people, youth living in northern regions, and federal offenders. According to the Northwest Territories Addictions Report (2010), the proportion of Aboriginal population cannabis use in the past 12 months was twice as high as the cannabis use among non-Aboriginals (approximately 25-30% versus 10-15%). Footnote 27 The same study found that about 40-45% of youth (aged 15 to 24) living in the Northwest Territories used marihuana in the past year, which is higher than the national average of 25.1% reported by CADUMS 2010. Footnote 28

During the DOCAS-ASP learning circle, participants who were affiliated with various Aboriginal organizations, councils or communities also explained that gangs are growing in their communities, and in turn, this is resulting in drugs becoming more accessible for Aboriginal people. Other studies also refer to the increasing number of gangs in Aboriginal communities and the higher vulnerability of Aboriginal youth to gang recruitment compared to non-Aboriginal youth. Footnote 29 CISC (2010) also reports that organized crime involvement in illicit drug trade leads to increases in other criminal activities such as property crime as organizations try and raise monies to assist with purchases and to offset debt. Footnote 30

Studies also show that one-fifth (21%) of male federal offenders have injected illicit drugs at some time in their life and the drugs most commonly used intravenously are opioids and cocaine. Footnote 31

4.1.1.3 Societal costs associated with illicit drug use

Illicit drug use is associated with costly health, community and economic impacts and presents an economic burden to the Canadian public. Justice Canada’s 2008 report on the Costs of Crime in Canada estimated that illicit drug use resulted in $1.3 billion in health care costs, $2 billion in justice-related costs (police, courts and correctional services), and about $5.3 billion in productivity losses. Footnote 32 The CCSA study also estimated that, based on the 2002 national data, the total annual cost of illicit drug abuse is $8.2 billion per year to the Canadian society. Footnote 33

4.1.1.4 Emerging illicit drug issues in Canada

A national strategy is also needed to address the changes in the illicit drug situation and to inform Canadians. The 2010 Emerging Issues in Drug Enforcement Workshop, the 2011 Illicit Use of Pharmaceuticals Workshop hosted by PS, and the 2010 Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Initiative Workshop hosted by CIHR acknowledged and discussed emerging issues such as illicit use of pharmaceuticals, drug-impaired driving, and some major local drug issues (e.g. MGOs, compassion clubs, and gang migration) that require attention. Footnote 34 Recent CCSA studies also found that driving after drug use is a growing issue. The CCSA’s Alcohol and Drug Use Among Drivers: British Columbia Roadside Survey 2010 found that 7.2% of drivers tested positive for illicit drugs. Marihuana and cocaine were the two most frequently used substances before driving. Footnote 35

4.1.1.5 Canada’s international role with respect to illicit drugs

The Strategy is also needed to enable Canada to play a greater role internationally. The United Nations World Drug Report 2010 notes that Canada has a role to play in terms of enhanced international cooperation, particularly with respect to curbing its export of methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) to the United States. Footnote 36 Stakeholders specifically highlighted an important role for Canada in enhancing the capacity of developing countries to combat illicit drugs and increase their knowledge of precursor chemical and synthetic drug issues. This was deemed important given the movement of such drugs across national borders as well as the high level of synthetic drug production in the country.

4.1.1.6 Need for approach to prevent drug use, particularly among youth

Stakeholders familiar with the Prevention Action Plan were asked to rate the need for programming that raises awareness of the harmful effects of illicit drug use, on a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is no need at all, 3 is somewhat of a need and 5 is a major need. They provided an average rating of 4.9 (n=13) noting that there is a particular need to increase awareness about marihuana, drugs and driving, and skills to avoid drug use. These stakeholders explained that there is a need to have prevention programming for not only at-risk youth, but for communities in rural areas and areas where there is higher prevalence of use. External stakeholders (e.g. national, provincial, municipal representatives and academics/experts, n=9) provided an average rating of 4.4 and explained that there is a need for strong, consistent messaging with respect to illicit drug use. Because prevention is more cost efficient than treatment, it can be used to address the social and health effects by reducing the demand for drugs.

Participants in the DOCAS-ASP learning circle noted that some Aboriginal youth believe that illicit drug use is acceptable because their parents are using these substances. Findings from the Prevention Action Plan case studies also indicate a strong continuing need for prevention programs, particularly for programs at the community level and targeted toward at-risk youth.

Findings from the literature review also confirm the need for prevention activities. In 2008/09, CCSA conducted a national survey of 1,500 youth (aged 10 to 24) regarding perceptions of harm and consequences of illicit drug use. Footnote 37 The survey found that a substantial percentage of youth are unsure or do not perceive any of the specific consequences stemming from use of ecstasy (approximately 20%) and marihuana (approximately 25%). The Canadian Chiefs of Police Drug Abuse Committee 2009/2010 Annual Report also highlights a need for a national strategy to address illicit drug education and prevention. Footnote 38 In addition, during the 2010 Emerging Issues in Drug Enforcement Workshop, participants noted that creating greater awareness is a key strategy for addressing various illicit drug-related issues, such as educating front-line officers regarding the enforcement against drug-impaired driving. Footnote 39

Literature also suggests that prevention strategies that focus on youth and at-risk populations are successful in raising awareness and preventing youth from using illicit drugs. Footnote 40 According to research by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the prime period for prevention programs is between grades 7 and 9 (ages 12 to 14) as this is near the most likely time for the initiation of illicit drug use. Footnote 41 An American study conducted in 2000 examined long-term follow-up data from a large-scale randomized prevention trial and found that students who received a prevention program during junior high school reported less use of illicit drugs than students who did not receive the program (control group). Footnote 42 Public opinion research conducted for the National Anti-Drug Strategy suggests that realistic messages delivered by credible sources (e.g. illicit drug users) and discussions about the serious health risks associated with specific drugs, particularly their impacts on the brain or about how they affect family or parental relations, tend to be effective with youth. Messages about the escalation of illicit drug use, the loss of social networks, and a loss of control also work well with youth. As well, messages that positively reinforce parents addressing illicit drug use with their children tend to be effective in getting parents to speak to their children about illicit drugs. Footnote 43

4.1.1.7 Need for coordinated approach to provide treatment services, build capacity and address gaps

A national strategy is needed to coordinate the wide range of drug treatment services available in Canada. A ddiction treatment services include inpatient and ambulatory services in psychiatric or general hospitals, services delivered through community-based treatment programs, crisis responses and emergency services, and services provided by general practitioners, psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers. Footnote 44 According to the CCSA National Treatment Strategy Working Group report, there is a need to better integrate and coordinate these systems to provide effective and efficient treatment. Footnote 45 Similarly, direct stakeholders of the Strategy noted that there is a need for a systems-based approach to coordinate the range of treatment services. They also referred to a need to build capacity in other sectors (e.g. schools, police, etc.) as well as in rural areas to address the continuum of care. These stakeholders rated the need for programming that supports effective treatment and rehabilitation services at 4.9 (n=10), on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is no need at all and 5 is a major need.

Every province and territory provides addiction services; however, because each system was developed independently, policies, funding and service delivery models vary significantly. According to the CCSA, the existing gaps in treatment services are related to a lack of adequate funding, the geographic vastness of the country, and the diversity of the population. Footnote 46 For example, the NNADAP Regional Needs Assessments reported challenges in attracting and retaining highly skilled workers in First Nations communities due to inadequate training opportunities and low wages. Footnote 47 The National Treatment Strategy Working Group supports this argument and explains that the development of such diverse systems in each jurisdiction has led to a “shortage of even basic health and social services in isolated and remote areas of the country”. Footnote 48

External stakeholders of the Strategy also noted that there is a need to address the mental health issues stemming from illicit drug addiction problems and rated the need for improved illicit drug treatment programming at 4.7/5 (n=8). The literature supports this claim; for example, CCSA’s Substance Abuse in Canada: Concurrent Disorders indicates that more than 50% of those seeking help for an addiction have a mental illness. Footnote 49 These stakeholders also highlighted a need to increase access to treatment for specific populations (e.g. offenders and youth). CIHR survey participants also provided an average need rating of 4.8/5 (n=8) and identified a need for more effective and evidence-based treatment.

Literature suggests that comprehensive multi-dimensional treatment services that include a focus on family, culture and peer support are more effective for youth. According to a study of best practices by HC, the types of treatment and rehabilitation programming that have demonstrated effectiveness for youth with substance abuse problems include family therapy, behavioural skills counselling, family and peer support, and continuing care. Footnote 50 Studies conducted by Justice Canada also report that substance abuse treatment is more effective for youth involved in the criminal justice system when multiple need areas are addressed including family, academics, and peer associates/problems. Footnote 51 A report on substance abuse in Canada also suggests that treatment services can be more effective when addressing potential causes such as trauma, violence, stigma, and neurophysiological vulnerability on substance abuse; and when culturally relevant interventions help youth to deal with trauma, learn appropriate coping strategies and use protective resources in their lives. Footnote 52

4.1.1.8 Continued need for programming that strengthens efforts to reduce the supply of illicit drugs

The production and trafficking of illicit drugs, particularly marihuana and synthetic drugs (e.g. methamphetamine and MDMA) continues to be an issue in Canada. According to the CISC, marihuana is one of the most trafficked illicit drugs in Canada with extensive organized crime involvement at all levels of production, distribution, importation and exportation. Footnote 53 The United States International Narcotics Control Strategy Report explains that the rise of methamphetamine production in Canada is a concern for the United States and that there is a need for deeper bilateral cooperation in this area. The report further emphasizes Canada’s continued role as a source country for MDMA (ecstasy) to U.S. markets, highlighting the need for greater cooperation in tracking precursor chemical activity. Footnote 54

Stakeholders noted a major need for programming that contributes to the disruption of illicit drug operations in a safe manner and targets criminal organizations at the national and international levels. On a scale of 1 to 5, external stakeholders of the Strategy provided an average rating of 3.8 (n=5), emphasizing the need to make it difficult for criminal organizations to engage in drug-related activities. CISC reports that, as of 2006, approximately 80% of organized crime groups were active in the illicit drug trade in Canada, and that t he number of organized crime groups in Canada has fluctuated between 600 to more than 900 between 2005 and 2010. High profits associated with the Canadian illicit drug market continue to drive most organized crime in the country. The report also explains that organized crime groups constantly change and adapt their production and distribution methods in response to law enforcement pressures and activities to meet domestic and international demands and to ensure a continued supply of illegal drugs. Footnote 55

Literature suggests that, although enforcement actions against traffickers and users of illicit drugs are not the only way to reduce the supply of illicit drugs and related crime, best practices are multidimensional and encompass suppression and formal and informal social control procedures in order to create safer and healthier communities. Footnote 56

4.1.2 Consistency with Federal Priorities

4.1.2.1 The National Anti-Drug Strategy is consistent with federal government priorities

The 2007 Speech from the Throne noted that “Our Government will implement the National Anti-Drug Strategy giving law enforcement agencies powers to take on those who produce and push drugs on our streets. In addition to tougher laws, our Government will provide targeted support to communities and victims. It will help families and local communities in steering vulnerable youth away from a life of drugs and crime, and the Anti-Drug Strategy will help to treat those suffering from drug addiction”. Footnote 57 The 2010 Speech from the Throne also noted that “It [Our Government] will reintroduce tough legislation to combat the organized criminal drug trade. Our Government will respect the will of Canadians by reintroducing this legislation in its original form”. Footnote 58 The Strategy is still relevant in relation to the government priorities concerning crime prevention and support to at-risk youth as the 2011 Speech from the Throne stated that: “Our Government will continue to protect the most vulnerable in society and work to prevent crime. It ... will help at risk youth avoid gangs and criminal activity”. Footnote 59

Almost all (98%; n=50) departmental representatives confirmed that the objectives of the Strategy are consistent with the strategic outcomes and priorities of the Government of Canada, particularly with respect to the linkages between the Strategy and the creation of safer and healthier communities. Some also explained that giving the lead role to the Department of Justice (as opposed to HC) is evidence of the strong focus on public safety and security. Departmental representatives also highlighted consistency with the government focus on being tough on crime, supporting DTCs, and developing programming to support Aboriginal people and youth. In addition, representatives noted that the interests of the federal government in strengthening international capacity for drug enforcement are evidenced by its contributions to the UNODC and the OAS-CICAD.

4.1.2.2 The Strategy is also consistent with the strategic outcomes and priorities of the participating departments

Most departmental representatives interviewed (91%; n=50) noted that the objectives of the Strategy are consistent with the strategic outcomes of their department. Some noted that the mandate of their department is broader than the scope of the Strategy. A review of departmental Reports on Plans and Priorities also indicates that the Strategy is consistent with departmental priorities. For example, Justice Canada supports the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada in his dual role of steward of the Canadian justice system and chief law officer for the Crown. Another example is that the CIHR place a priority on promoting advances in health knowledge and being responsive to current opportunities and priorities, Footnote 60 which is consistent with its role in the Strategy of supporting research on the development, improvement and evaluation of addiction treatments. PS has a priority to ensure a “safe and resilient Canada”, Footnote 61 which is consistent with its role in the Strategy of chairing the Enforcement Action Plan Working Group and leading national coordination of efforts to improve intelligence, knowledge management, research and evaluation. Under the National Crime Prevention Strategy, PS is also involved in the prevention component of the Strategy. To this end, the NCPC supports targeted, evidence-based national and community-based crime prevention projects that aim to prevent and reduce drug abuse and drug-related crime among at-risk populations and communities. DFAIT has a priority to contribute to international stability and security and to enhance international cooperation in the Americas, which is consistent with its role in the Strategy in assisting the UNODC in the international fight against drugs and crime, and CICAD in fighting drugs and crime in the Americas.

4.1.3 Alignment with Federal Roles and Responsibilities

The role of the federal government is described in key legislation and international conventions and protocols in areas relevant to the Strategy’s activities. The federal government role in the Strategy is grounded in its authorities under the Constitution Act (1867) as well as key legislation, including CDSA; Criminal Code of Canada; Canada Health Act; Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act; and Youth Criminal Justice Act. Departmental legislative authorities of relevance include Canada Revenue Agency Act; Canada Border Services Agency Act; Corrections and Conditional Release Act; Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Act; Department of Health Act; Department of Justice Act; Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Act; Department of Public Works and Government Services Act; Director of Public Prosecutions Act; and Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act. International conventions and protocols of relevance include the United Nations Narcotic Drug Conventions and other multilateral processes such as the OAS, the G8, the Paris Pact, and the Dublin Group.

The federal government plays a critical role in addressing illicit drug issues at the broad policy level. For example, the Department of Justice led on introducing Bill C-10, which included mandatory minimum penalties for serious drug crime, and received royal assent on March 13, 2012. HC is responsible for amendments under the CDSA to control the movement of certain substances in and out of Canada. This is particularly relevant for controlling and preventing the movement of illicit drugs as well as precursor chemicals which are used to make synthetic drugs (e.g. methamphetamine). Table 6 shows how the Strategy is aligned with the roles and responsibilities of other departments that are involved in this initiative.

Table 6: Relevance of Strategy to Partner Departmental Roles and Responsibilities
Department Relevant Departmental Roles and Responsibilities Role within the National Anti-Drug Strategy
Justice Canada
Key legislation:
Department of Justice Act, Criminal Code of Canada, Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, and Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Strategic Outcome:
A fair, relevant and accessible justice system that reflects Canadian values. Footnote 62
Treatment Action Plan:
Leading the Youth Justice Fund Anti-Drug Component and Drug Treatment Court Funding Program.
Enforcement Action Plan:
Providing policy development work on the criminal law elements of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and assisting the Minister in developing legislation.
HC
Key legislation:
Department of Health Act, Canada Health Act, Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Act.
Strategic Outcomes:
Reduced health and environmental risks from products and substances, and healthy, sustainable living and working environments Footnote 63 (e.g. including amendments under the CDSA).
Advances in health knowledge; Canadian health research advances health knowledge and is responsive to current opportunities and priorities. Footnote 64
Prevention Action Plan:
Chairing the prevention and treatment action plans Working Group, and leading the Mass Media Campaign and Drug Strategy Community Initiatives Fund.
Treatment Action Plan:
Leading the Drug Treatment Funding Program, the National Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program, and supporting research on the development, improvement, and evaluation of addiction treatments.
Enforcement Action Plan:
Overseeing the Drug Analysis Service and Office of Controlled Substances.
RCMP
Key Legislation:
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act, Criminal Code of Canada, Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act, Youth Criminal Justice Act and Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
Strategic Outcomes:
Quality Contract Policing:
healthier and safer Canadian communities through effective crime prevention, education, law enforcement and investigation.
Quality Federal Policing:
ensure the safety and security of Canadians and their institutions, domestically and globally, as well as internationally protected persons and other foreign dignitaries, through intelligence-based prevention, detection, investigation, and enforcement of the law against terrorists, organized criminals and other criminal activity.
Quality Policing Support Services:
support Canadian policing investigation and enforcement organizations with critical intelligence, equipment, tools, systems, technology and education to optimize the delivery of proactive intelligence-based policing services and programs. Footnote 65
Prevention Action Plan:
Leading the Drugs and Organized Crime Awareness Service.
Treatment Action Plan:
Leading the National Youth Intervention and Diversion Program (Funding ended March 31, 2012).
Enforcement Action Plan:
Overseeing the Marihuana and Clandestine Lab Teams/Proceeds of Crime.
PS
Key Legislation:
Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Act.
Strategic Outcome:
A safe and resilient Canada. Footnote 66
Prevention Action Plan:
Leading the National Crime Prevention Strategy.
Enforcement Action Plan:
Chairing the Enforcement Action Plan Working Group and leading national coordination efforts to improve intelligence, knowledge management, research and evaluation.
ODPP
Key Legislation:
Director of Public Prosecutions Act.
Strategic Outcome:
Criminal and regulatory offences under federal law are prosecuted in an independent, impartial and fair manner. Footnote 67
Enforcement Action Plan:
Increasing capacity to deal with increased prosecution and prosecution-related workload generated by RCMP drug-related investigations.
CBSA
Key Legislation:
Canada Border Services Agency Act, Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, and Criminal Code of Canada.
Strategic Outcome:
Canada's population is safe and secure from border-related risks. Footnote 68
Enforcement Action Plan:
Intelligence Development and Field Support Division, Analysis and Scientific Services.
PBC
Key Legislation:
Corrections and Conditional Release Act and Criminal Code of Canada.
Strategic Outcome:
Conditional release as well as pardon decisions and decision processes that safeguard Canadian communities. Footnote 69
Enforcement Action Plan:
Reviewing cases and making decisions regarding conditional release.
DFAIT
Key Legislation:
Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Act.
Strategic Outcome:
Canada's International Agenda. Footnote 70
Enforcement Action Plan:
Providing policy coordination on the implementation of international drug conventions and programs for multilateral processes.
CRA
Key Legislation:
Canada Revenue Agency Act.
Strategic Outcome:
Tax Services:
Taxpayers meet their obligations and Canada's revenue base is protected. Footnote 71
Enforcement Action Plan:
Enhancing capacity to perform audits of persons known or suspected of deriving income earned from marihuana and synthetic drug production and distribution through its Special Enforcement Program.
FINTRAC
Key Legislation:
Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act.
Strategic Outcome:
Financial intelligence that contributes to the detection and deterrence of money laundering and terrorist activity financing in Canada and abroad. Footnote 72
Enforcement Action Plan:
Enhancing capacity to produce financial intelligence that supports law enforcement in investigations and prosecutions of persons who handle money generated by the production and distribution of illicit drugs.
PWGSC
Key Legislation:
Department of Public Works and Government Services Act.
Strategic Outcome:
High quality, central programs and services that ensure sound stewardship on behalf of Canadians and meet the program needs of federal institutions. Footnote 73
Enforcement Action Plan:
Through the Forensic Accounting Management Group, enhancing capacity to participate in IPOC investigations and prosecutions related to the production, distribution and possession of illicit drugs, specifically related to MGOs and clandestine labs.
CSC
Key Legislation:
Corrections and Conditional Release Act.
Strategic Outcome:
The custody, correctional interventions and supervision of offenders in communities and institutions contribute to public safety. Footnote 74
Enforcement Action Plan:
Case preparation and supervision of parole grants.

Departmental representatives (91%; n=50) and direct stakeholders of the Strategy (90%; n=23) confirmed that the Strategy aligns with the roles and responsibilities of the federal government. Stakeholders noted that the role of the federal government is meant to provide leadership (e.g. strategic direction, framework, standards, best practices, legislation and regulations), support (e.g. funding and information) and coordination whereas provinces, territories and other stakeholders are responsible for service delivery. They also noted that the Strategy is consistent with key legislated authorities, departmental strategic outcomes, and international conventions and protocols.

In addition, departmental representatives noted that the Strategy differs somewhat from other programs in its objectives and complements other federal, provincial/territorial, or community-based programs. For example, certain components of the Strategy focus on piloting innovative projects, whereas provincial and territorial jurisdictions focus on the delivery of services. Also, the Strategy has a specific focus on illicit drugs whereas other programs may focus on a range of substances. Furthermore, stakeholders noted that provincial funding available for youth services is limited to a certain age (e.g. age 19); programs funded by the Strategy complement those services by providing youth with transitional supports once the provincial support is over. On the enforcement side, some other federal initiatives such as the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Finance Regime (AML/ATF Regime) and the IPOC Initiative share similar objectives with the Strategy. For example, the AML/ATF Regime targets organized crime and shares some partners with the Strategy. Footnote 75 Representatives noted that as these initiatives address a continuum of crime (i.e. crime, proceeds, laundering) and combat crime in different ways, they are all necessary.

4.2 Effectiveness

The findings related to the effectiveness of the Strategy are presented in accordance with the evaluation questions related to each of the three action plans. These findings were obtained through a triangulation of data collected during interviews, focus groups, and document reviews as well as extraction of the results from each line of inquiry that related to each evaluation issue. A large volume of qualitative data was also analyzed and categorized in order to develop a summary response to each evaluation question.

4.2.1 Prevention Action Plan

This evaluation examined the activities of the Prevention Action Plan to determine its overall performance and the extent to which it has achieved its immediate and intermediate outcomes. The table below summarizes the relationship between the activities of the four components and the three immediate outcomes, as well as the link between the immediate and intermediate outcomes. For example, three of the four components featured activities that were designed specifically to increase awareness and understanding of illicit drugs and their negative consequences.

Table 7: Relationships between the Prevention Action Plan Components and their Outcomes

Prevention Action Plan Immediate Outcomes (Years 1-2)
Prevention Action Plan Components Increased awareness and understanding of illicit drugs and their negative consequences Enhanced supports for targeted/at-risk populations Enhanced community uptake of knowledge to address illicit drug use and its negative consequences
Mass Media Campaign (HC) Campaign targeted youth and parents since 2008, consisting of TV ads, radio, social media, print materials, and web technology -- Consultation, collaboration, and partnerships undertaken to involve stakeholders in development, and delivery of, programs/activities
DOCAS (RCMP) Delivers a range of programs targeted to youth and significant others (parents, teachers) to increase their awareness Delivers training and educational programs and materials for youth
DSCIF (HC) Funds awareness programs including CCSA Youth Drug Prevention Strategy and website: Xperiment.ca Funds intervention projects targeted youth at national and community-based level Develops prevention research, knowledge products, resources and tools through funding projects
NCPC (reoriented funding, PS) -- Funds community-based intervention projects targeted toward at-risk youth, Aboriginal, juvenile and adult ex-offenders
Prevention Action Plan Intermediate Outcomes (Years 3-5)
All Prevention Action Plan components Enhanced capacity of targeted populations to make informed decisions about illicit drug use Strengthened community responses to illicit drug issues in targeted areas
Reduced risk-taking behaviour among targeted groups

Discussion of the contribution of the various components to the achievement of the immediate and intermediate outcomes is provided in the following sections.

Immediate Outcomes
4.2.1.1 Increasing awareness and understanding of illicit drugs and their negative consequences

The results of document review and interviews with departmental representatives and stakeholders highlight the major impact that the Mass Media Campaign of HC and RCMP’s DOCAS programs have had in increasing awareness and understanding of illicit drugs and their negative consequences among parents and youth.

HC’s Mass Media Campaign targeted both youth aged 13 to 15 and their parents through a variety of TV, radio, web and print materials. The Parent Campaign (Phase I), initially launched in March 2008 and re-launched in September 2009 and 2010, consisted of TV, radio and print materials, the development of a parent website and a parent booklet entitled “Talking with Your Teen about Drugs”. The Youth Campaign (Phase II), launched in December 2009, included a high impact tactical TV presence to generate social dialogue and to drive youth to a website and other social and interactive media as well as print advertising in targeted locations (e.g. transit, malls and cinema). Footnote 76

According to performance information and online data, the Mass Media Campaign had a wide reach and engaged youth and parents across Canada through Internet and social media. The Parent Campaign generated over 685,000 booklets either ordered or downloaded since 2008. The Youth Campaign resulted in over 726,000 visits to the drugsnot4me.ca Website and more than 1,900 submissions to the Share your Story feature of the website since December 2009. In July 2010, the “DrugsNot4Me” Facebook fan page was launched, which features interactive drug prevention tools (e.g. the “Drug-alizer” and a quiz) that encourage youth to learn more about the dangers of illicit drugs. The Facebook fan page attracted over 63,000 followers within nine months (July 2010 to March 2011) and the TV ads had been viewed over 113,000 times on YouTube.

Statistics from the Parents Baseline and Return-to-Sample Surveys Footnote 77 of the TV ad campaign (2009) and the Youth Baseline and Return-to-Sample Surveys Footnote 78 (2010) suggest that the campaign may have contributed to a number of changes in behaviours, although it is noted that these differences are not always statistically significant. Footnote 79 Just over four in ten (43%) parents of youth aged 13-15 have seen, heard or read advertising about youth and illicit drugs (unaided recall) and 75% recall the TV advertising based on a short description (aided). One quarter (27%) of those who reported aided recall of the TV advertising indicate they took action in response. The most common action cited, by 91% of parents, was to have a discussion with their child about drugs, the advertisement or drug terminology (consistent with the call to action in the ad). Those who recall the Strategy TV ad rate their overall knowledge about illicit drugs higher than those who do not (mean of 5.1 vs. 4.8 respectively, on a scale of 7). Consistent with the baseline, two in ten parents have sought out information or consulted a professional about the dangers or risks of drugs or how to deal with youth and drugs. However, those with aided recall of the TV ad (22% vs. 14% of those without recall) are more likely to seek out information. One-quarter of those parents who have ever visited a website to learn more or get information about the dangers or risks of drugs or how to deal with youth and drugs have done so in the past three months. Parents who reported recalling the ad campaign were also more likely to report having visited a website within the past three months (27% vs. 9% among those without recall). Among parents who have specifically discussed the dangers of drugs (91% vs. 82% of those without recall), those who recall any advertising are more likely to set rules around drug use regularly (53% vs. 38% of those without recall), and marginally, to monitor their child’s activities regularly (73% vs. 63% of those without recall). Footnote 80

The youth results indicate that 46% of youth aged 13 to 15 had seen, heard or read recent advertising about youth and drugs or youth using drugs (unaided recall), and 53% of youth recall seeing the TV ad based on a short description. One quarter of those who reported aided recall of any ad indicated that they took action in response; the most common action cited was talking to someone or warning someone about drugs. When asked if they had taken actions as a result of seeing the advertising, 45% of those who saw any ad say they talked to family, friends or someone else about the ad or the topic of drug use. There were differences between the return to sample and the baseline survey that might be expected as a result of the Mass Media Campaign, although it must be noted that these differences are not always statistically significant. Findings indicate that there has been a nine point increase in the proportion of those who say they know a great deal about the potential effects of drugs on relationships with friends and family (from 35% to 44%); the proportion of youth who say they would be very likely to try to stop someone close to them from using drugs has increased from 47% to 54%. The proportion of youth mentioning top-of-mind, that all/most drugs are harmful or a threat to people in their age group has increased from 16% to 26%. Youth who reported any aided recall (vs. those who did not recall ads) were more likely to be knowledgeable about the effects of drugs in general (28% vs. 15%) as well as their effects on friends and family (49% vs. 39%), on physical health (45% vs. 31%), and on mental health (43% vs. 28%).

Interviewees also noted that DOCAS was effective in providing information and generating awareness. The RCMP’s DOCAS programs educated parents, youth, professionals, Aboriginal communities and other stakeholders about drugs and organized crime and their negative consequences, and provided them with information, tools and skills on how to recognize and avoid bad situations and make healthy decisions. DOCAS performance data indicates that, between 2008/09 and 2010/11, the programs delivered over 13,270 awareness presentations to more than 513,190 youth, parents, Aboriginal youth, Aboriginal parents and professionals and trained 1,714 facilitators to deliver DOCAS programs. DOCAS updated the booklet entitled, “Talking to Your Teen about Drugs” in partnership with HC, Footnote 81 and updated “Kids and Drugs: A Parent’s Guide to Prevention”, in partnership with the Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission.

The results of project evaluations also indicate the success of DOCAS programs in raising awareness. For example, the results of a survey completed by 9,000 students, parents, teachers and principals who participated in the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) Program showed that almost all students said that the Program helped them learn about drugs, alcohol and tobacco (95%) and decide against using drugs in the future (96%). Also, 96% of parents and 80% of teachers confirmed that DARE had a positive impact on youth. Pre- and post-tests of training delivered through the DOCAS-ASP demonstrated that participants experienced a 39% increase in the level of knowledge of subjects discussed.

One challenge associated with increasing awareness that was identified by the representatives interviewed was a lack of parental involvement in some awareness activities.

4.2.1.2 Developing enhanced supports for targeted/at-risk populations

Activities of the Prevention Action Plan, particularly those generated through NCPC and DSCIF, have enhanced supports for targeted at-risk populations including youth.

The impact of NCPC and DSCIF in enhanced supports for targeted/at-risk populations was highlighted in the interviews, document review, learning circles and case studies. With the introduction of the Strategy, NCPC refocused a portion of its existing funding to enhance support for targeted/at-risk populations. NCPC exceeded its expectations in terms of the value and number of projects funded to support the Strategy objectives, which were originally budgeted through reoriented funding at $20 million for 12-15 projects. As of 2010/11, NCPC had approved funding for over 50 projects that provide support for at-risk populations, including children/youth aged 7-12 years who are already using substances, youth aged 13-17 years who are using substances and engaging in delinquent behaviour, youth and adult offenders no longer under correctional supervision who are addicted to substances, and Aboriginal people who are addicted to substances. To date, these 50 projects have provided supports for over 3,000 participants. NCPC conducted a pilot data-mining exercise to gather information on five projects identified as nearing completion. The mining exercise revealed that projects enhanced supports through activities such as therapeutic court processes, recovery group meetings, and group sessions that address the effects of illicit drug abuse.

A case study of the NCPC funded project in St. John’s, Newfoundland, illustrates how these projects enhance supports for at-risk youth. “Velocity” is an adventure-based program aimed at reducing anti-social behaviour, increasing attachment to school, and reducing substance abuse among at-risk youth aged 13 to 18 years. Youth participants are supported by “Velocity” staff and partners, and are referred to relevant community programs and services (e.g. addiction treatment). The goal of this project was that youth would begin to shift their decisions and lifestyles to more healthy, safe, and positive choices through staff support and guidance, and through increased access to services and meaningful opportunities to address some of the risk factors present in their lives. The project evaluation confirmed that “Velocity” has had a major impact in improving participant self-confidence, attitudes towards education, and openness to healthier ways to spend their time.

HC’s DSCIF also funds projects to provide supports for youth in general, as well as at-risk populations. As of 2010/11, DSCIF provided funding to 103 projects targeting youth (aged 10-24 years), parents and caregivers. Approximately 40% of these projects gave priority to at-risk populations (e.g. gay/lesbian, street youth and other at-risk youth). Departmental representatives noted that DSCIF continues to refine its focus and to give priority to a variety of at-risk populations.

A case study of the DSCIF-funded Vancouver School Board’s “School-Aged Children and Youth Substance Use Prevention Initiative” (SACY) suggests this project is a promising practice in providing supports for youth through school systems. The initiative operates in 18 Vancouver high schools and has attracted over 6,500 participants between 2008 and 2010. SACY is delivered in partnership with Vancouver Coastal Health. Project stakeholders noted that when referred through SACY, youth gained more timely access to addiction counsellors, mental health and other experts. SACY also ensures that youth are connected with an “adult ally” (e.g. a teacher or counsellor) who assists them in implementing their post-SACY action plan.

A mapping exercise of 118 projects reported that three quarters of the projects funded under the Prevention Action Plan (85 projects) and Treatment Action Plan (33 projects) targeted youth, including youth in school and those in custody. Footnote 82 In the interviews, stakeholders noted that the Strategy programs and projects that provide support for youth should pay particular attention to developing trust with them as a key contributing factor to facilitate referrals to other community services and programs.

4.2.1.3 Enhancing community uptake of knowledge about how to address illicit drug use and its negative consequences

Through DSCIF and DOCAS activities, relevant knowledge was developed and made available to communities. However, more time is required to achieve greater community uptake of this knowledge to better address illicit drug use and its negative consequences.

Evaluation findings suggest that community uptake of knowledge was facilitated through community awareness, education and training activities as well as through personal communication and partnerships involving a wide range of organizations, particularly through DOCAS and DSCIF activities. Similar findings obtained through the mapping exercise of 118 programs funded under the treatment and prevention action plans also report that the Strategy-funded projects enhanced knowledge in addressing illicit drugs through research, evaluation, development of tools, training, and identification of best practices. Footnote 83

DOCAS enhanced community uptake primarily through partnerships, delivering programs in over 700 Canadian communities, and mobilizing those communities to work in partnership on substance abuse prevention. In addition, DOCAS provided training, promoted the creation of working groups within communities, and provided those groups with the knowledge and intervention tools needed to address problems and to develop their own means of action. DOCAS reviewed all of its programs in relation to the Developmental Assets framework Footnote 84 to ensure that these prevention initiatives strengthen positive qualities (assets) that young people need to avoid risks and to thrive. This review also ensured that the initiatives were providing a consistent approach to prevention at the community level.

DSCIF projects targeted representatives of public health centres, municipalities, family health centres and community hubs. To illustrate the impact on community uptake, interviewees referred to the DSCIF-funded “Drug Prevention Strategy for Canada’s Youth” project, through which CCSA set prevention standards for communities. The standards are the first of their kind and provide step-by-step guidance, based on best available evidence, on how to plan, implement and evaluate a prevention initiative. Footnote 85 According to the 2010/11performance data, the project’s Community-based Standards document was downloaded 392 times in English and 86 times in French, and had 150 hard copy requests in just over a month (from November 22 to December 31, 2010).

The continued success of community uptake efforts is dependent, in part, on maintaining relationships, partnerships and resources. As such, staff turnover within the target organizations as well as the delivery organization can be a major challenge. Direct stakeholders of the Strategy also explained that enhancing the community knowledge uptake is difficult when resources are not available long enough to develop the relationships and capacity necessary to facilitate knowledge uptake.

Intermediate Outcomes
4.2.1.4 Enhancing capacity of targeted populations to make informed decisions about illicit drug use

All four components of the Prevention Action Plan work to enhance the capacity of targeted population s to make informed decisions.

The Prevention Action Plan is helping targeted populations, particularly youth, to make more informed decisions about illicit drug use. Those interviewed highlighted the Mass Media Campaign as an innovative campaign that used social media to help youth make informed decisions; the NCPC- and DSCIF-funded projects provide youth with support (e.g. education, mentors/experts, and a positive environment) to acquire capacity, information and tools to make informed decisions about illicit drug use; and DOCAS programs, such as DARE and CPEC, focus on positive choices, engage youth, and offer a decision-making model to them.

The Mass Media Campaign encouraged youth to visit the drugsnot4me.ca website to learn how to make informed decisions about drug use. The results of Youth Baseline and Return-to-Sample Surveys Footnote 86 (2010) indicate that 46% of youth had seen, heard or read recent advertising. Overall, a total of 53% of youth recall seeing any of the five ads (television, transit, mall, internet or Facebook) on an aided basis. Those who recalled the ad were more likely to seek out information about how to avoid drugs (44% versus 31% for those who did not recall the campaign). Footnote 87

NCPC and DSCIF community-based projects improved the capacity of participants to avoid drug use. During the case study, stakeholders explained that the NCPC-funded project “Velocity” supports open and honest communication about illicit drugs, facilitates participation in alternative activities, and exposes youth to engaging speakers who have been through the corrections system and overcame substance abuse problems.

Although the DSCIF cluster evaluation provides many examples of projects targeting this outcome, an evaluation of one particular DSCIF-funded project, the “Nanaimo Family Association Life Works Project”, shows that both elementary school and secondary school youth participants dramatically increased their stated confidence level in avoiding drug use (the increase between the pre-test and the post-test was 45% and 32%, respectively). Footnote 88

Evaluations, reports, and learning circle discussions indicate that the RCMP’s DOCAS programs increased target group awareness and skills in avoiding drug use. “Racing Against Drugs” (RAD) uses auto racing as a tool to communicate with youth about the consequences of drug use. Between 2008/09 and 2010/11, over 52,450 students, aged 10 to 12, participated in the program. According to 2009 participant surveys, 90% of students agreed that “I was taught how to deal with situations when I might be tempted to drink alcohol or use drugs”. Other DOCAS evaluations noted that programs delivered by health professionals, police officers and program specialists were particularly effective in influencing decisions.

Despite some progress, departmental representatives and stakeholders stressed that decisions regarding illicit drug use are complex and often involve multiple factors, noting that even if youth are informed of the harm, they may still choose to engage in drug use. It was suggested that prevention activities could be strengthened by placing a higher priority on reaching at-risk youth in the communities most in need as well as by recognizing the need to use a variety of channels to influence the decisions of the target population; for example, stakeholders noted that media awareness programs such as social marketing are often not sufficient on their own to influence the decisions of at-risk youth. The importance of having youth visualize the negative consequences of using drugs was also echoed during interviews and learning circles.

4.2.1.5 Strengthening community responses to illicit drug issues in targeted areas

Strengthening community responses to illicit drug issues is linked to the progress made in enhancing community uptake of knowledge. As noted earlier, although knowledge is being created and made available, more time is required to enhance community uptake of that knowledge.

The document review and case studies revealed that prevention projects’ staff collaborate with their respective communities in myriad of ways to address illicit drug-related crime. Moreover, during interviews, departmental representatives and stakeholders also referred to DOCAS initiatives, DSCIF-, and NCPC-funded projects as examples of efforts that strengthened community responses to illicit drug issues.

In 2010/11, DOCAS regions engaged in community strengthening activities such as developing components for a communication strategy regarding illicit drugs, preparing information packages on gangs and synthetic drugs, and establishing inter-agency relationships with community organizations (e.g. police, health agencies and schools). Other examples related to this impact include a DSCIF-funded project that used ‘Capacity Cafes’ to dialogue with Aboriginal parents, teachers and other community organizations about substance use, and another DSCIF project that involved the RCMP in a three-day work/planning meeting. Additionally, two NCPC-funded projects reported the creation of new community substance abuse services in 2010/11.

However, departmental representatives and stakeholders explained that it takes time for communities to mobilize, and that many of the responses are limited by the length of time that funding is available, which is usually short-term. CCSA’s survey of 173 community stakeholders revealed specific areas where community responses to illicit drug issues should be strengthened, including providing support to identify existing programs, developing a centralized resource of information on youth drug prevention programs, and learning about program planning, implementation, evaluation, best practices, possible partnership models, and ways to reach target audiences.

4.2.1.6 Reducing risk-taking behaviours among targeted groups

Although national statistics show some decline in illicit drug use among Canadians, particularly youth, it is too early to determine the extent to which the decline is attributable to the activities of the Prevention Action Plan and the Strategy overall.

According to HC’s CADUMS (2010), illicit drug use has declined among youth and adults since the initiation of the Strategy (Table 8).

Table 8: Changes in Drug Use of Canadians, Before and After the Implementation of the Strategy, by Age and Drug Type Footnote 89
  Youth
(ages 15-24)
Adults
(ages 25+)
Overall
(15+)
2004 2010 2004 2010 2004 2010
Cannabis – past year 37.0% 25.1%* 10.0% 7.9% 14.1% 10.7%*
Cocaine/Crack – past year 5.5% 2.7%* 1.2% 0.3%* 1.9% 0.7%*
Ecstasy – past year 4.4% 3.8% 0.5% S 1.1% 0.7%
Any five drugs (hallucinogens excluding salvia) Footnote 90 – past year 11.3% 7.0%* 1.5% 0.8% 3.0% 1.8%*

* - Indicates that the difference between 2010 and 2004 is statistically significant.

- Estimate is qualified due to high sampling variability; interpret with caution.

S - Estimate is suppressed due to high sampling variability.

Departmental representatives and stakeholders noted that it is too early to assess the impacts of the Prevention Action Plan on drug-related and other risk-taking behaviours. Representatives noted that changing public opinion and behaviour takes time; for example, changing attitudes about alcohol and driving (or smoking) took longer than three or four years. Also, some Strategy-funded projects have not been operating long enough to be able to report on intermediate- and longer-term outcomes.

Nevertheless, there is evidence showing that some programs funded under the Prevention Action Plan positively influenced behaviours among target populations. In particular, the RCMP’s DOCASCPEC in the Cranbrook region experienced a significant reduction in the use of drugs (all categories). According to a study on the effectiveness of CPEC, a decline of 13% in marihuana use (grade 8 - 12) was reported in three of the CPEC communities over the past five years. For marihuana, the difference in decrease of use between CPEC and non-CPEC communities is much more pronounced: over 10% in all of the CPEC communities, and either a minimal decrease or an actual increase in the comparison communities. Footnote 91

Stakeholders and departmental representatives who were familiar with, or involved in, the Prevention Action Plan were asked about the overall success of this action plan in achieving its objectives. Respondents noted that the Prevention Action Plan had been particularly successful in raising awareness among youth, parents and communities. However, many also noted that more time and effort are needed to not only bring about behavioural and community changes related to illicit drugs, but also to measure the effect of prevention initiatives. Various other challenges were identified as well, including the difficulties in focusing on only illicit drugs when the target populations are exposed to multiple risk factors and the sustainability of prevention initiatives beyond the funding period. Departmental representatives noted that prevention activities could be more successful if they more specifically targeted at-risk youth and communities in most need.

4.2.2 Treatment Action Plan

The Treatment Action Plan targets three immediate and two intermediate outcomes. Table 9 summarizes the relationship between the activities of six components and the three immediate outcomes, as well as the link between the immediate and intermediate outcomes. For example, five of the six components of this action plan featured activities that were specifically designed to improve collaboration on responses and knowledge of treatment issues.

Table 9: Relationships between the Treatment Action Plan Components and their Outcomes

Treatment Action Plan Immediate Outcomes (Years 1-2)
Treatment Action Plan Components Improved collaboration on responses and knowledge of treatment issues Enhanced federal-provincial/territorial commitments to improve treatment systems in targeted areas of need Enhanced capacity to plan/deliver a range of treatment services and programs to targeted population
DTFP (HC) Signs contribution agreements with provincial/territorial governments and other stakeholders Establishes common objectives, priorities and outcomes and provides funding needed to establish criteria and guidelines Provides financial support to assist provinces and territories in strengthening treatment systems and filling gaps in services
NNADAP (HC) Improves collaboration and knowledge exchange, both within and across First Nations and Inuit communities, on effective treatment approaches Develops a national framework that will support First Nations communities as well as provincial, territorial and federal governments to enhance collaboration on service delivery and planning in targeted areas of need. Strengthens capacity within First Nations and Inuit communities to both plan and deliver treatment services to a range of populations.
YJADS (Justice Canada) -- -- Funds projects to support youth in conflict with the law who have illicit substance abuse issues
DTCFP (Justice Canada) Signs contribution agreements with provincial/territorial governments and other stakeholders that create collaboration between legal and treatment professionals Provides financial support to provincial, territorial, municipal and regional governments and to other eligible organizations to implement DTC pilots Provides non-violent offenders with a range of treatment and counselling services through DTC pilots
NYIDP Footnote 92 (RCMP) Creates collaboration between legal and treatment professionals -- Helps young offenders with substance abuse problems to access assessment and treatment services
Research on Drug Treatment Models (CIHR) Creates collaboration among researchers and CIHR institutes -- Develops research knowledge that contributes to the planning and development of treatment services
Treatment Action Plan Intermediate Outcomes (Years 3-5)
All Treatment Action Plan components Improve treatment systems, programs and services to address illicit drug dependency in targeted population in areas of need Increase availability of and access to effective treatment services and programs for targeted populations in areas of need
Reduce risk-taking behaviour among targeted groups

Discussion of the contribution of the various components to the achievement of the immediate and intermediate outcomes is provided in the following sections.

Immediate Outcomes
4.2.2.1 Enhanced capacity to plan/deliver a range of treatment services and programs to targeted populations

Components of the Treatment Action Plan, particularly the DTFP and the NNADAP, have enhanced the capacity to plan and deliver a range of treatment services and programs across Canada. However, more time and effort are needed before the impacts can be fully assessed given that many of the activities are in an early stage of implementation.

HC’s DTFP provides financial support to provinces and territories and other key stakeholders through two separate components: 1) support to strengthen treatment systems; and 2) time limited support for treatment services. The DTFP implementation evaluation reports that the DTFP projects are working towards enhancing provincial and territorial capacity to deliver evidence-informed early intervention treatment programs and services. For example, the report highlights the role of a DTFP-funded project in enhancing treatment capacity in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. Footnote 93 The report also refers to funding to enhance the delivery of intervention treatment to youth in Prince Edward Island by involving community service providers such as local high schools, police, aboriginal community centres and new immigrant community centres. The case study of the DTFP-funded “In Roads” project in Alberta indicates that the project has enhanced the capacity of 19 NGOs to provide better referrals for high-risk youth. Twenty-nine projects received funding under the DTFP in 2010/11. However, the implementation of the DTFP was slowed by the lead time required to secure the support and participation of provincial/territorial governments and treatment service providers. The delay in implementation was also due to the capacity challenges encountered by some projects.

Through HC’s NNADAP, the Strategy has supported a range of initiatives to enhance planning and delivery of treatment services for First Nations. From 2007/08 to 2010/11, HC worked in partnership with First Nations communities and leaders to carry out a comprehensive, community-driven review of First Nations addiction services. This review led to the development of seven regional needs assessment reports which identified key gaps, duplications and strengths within the existing services. These reports have led to investments in re-profiling or expanding services per community needs. As well, the renewal process contributed to the development of a national framework for NNADAP (launched in 2011). The framework reflects a continuum of care approach that will guide community, regional and national responses to addiction and other substance use issues among First Nations. It will also provide opportunities for greater collaboration on service delivery and planning between First Nations communities and provincial, territorial and federal governments. However, some direct stakeholders of the Strategy noted that it is still early to measure the full impacts of NADS within First Nations communities since some projects have just been implemented. They also mentioned that there is still a need to improve the buy-in of the program in targeted communities.

Justice Canada’s YJADS piloted innovative intervention/treatment strategies for youth in conflict with the law, supported training and knowledge-sharing among criminal justice personnel and youth service providers, and supported some research and evaluation projects. Until 2010/11, YJADS funded a total of 71 projects, with some projects receiving funding over several years. One example reported during interviews was a project that enhanced the capacity of probation officers to address substance use and motivate youth clients to seek and complete further treatment.

The RCMP’s NYIDP provided tools and training to enable front-line members of the RCMP to consider alternatives to charging youth by referring at-risk youth to community and treatment programs. The results of an implementation review of eight NYIDP pilot sites Footnote 94 that received training on the use of a risk-screening tool, between 2007/08 and 2010/11, showed that the training increased officers’ understanding of risk and protective factors of youth offenders as well as their knowledge of community-based youth serving resources. Departmental representatives also echoed this point and mentioned that NYIDP was successful in developing and piloting a screening tool for police officers to use in early interventions with at-risk youth as well as in educating officers about the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Direct s takeholders also noted that NYIDP has enhanced the capacity to plan/deliver treatment services by encouraging dialogue between treatment service agencies and RCMP officers. However, they mentioned that the impact of the NYIDP is dependent on the services available in a jurisdiction. For example, the number of referrals made depends on external factors such as availability of treatment and social programs in a given community as well as the presence of a dedicated community liaison. This point was echoed by some departmental representatives who said that once a youth was identified and referred, the community was not always able to provide the treatment to this youth. It was suggested that the availability of services and dedicated youth workers should be a key determinant in deciding whether to introduce NYIDP to a detachment.

4.2.2.2 Improving collaboration on responses and knowledge of treatment issues

Members of components of the Treatment Action Plan have consulted and collaborated with various stakeholders including addiction experts, health professionals, provincial and territorial governments, First Nations and Inuit groups, and community groups.

According to the interviews, document review and learning circles, members of components of the Treatment Action Plan have collaborated extensively at various levels, such as federal-provincial-territorial governments and community-based organizations. NNADAP, DTFP and CIHR- Research on Drug Treatment Models were highlighted as components that placed a particular emphasis on collaboration.

The process to develop the renewed NNADAP Framework involved top experts in Aboriginal as well as non-Aboriginal addictions treatment, provincial governments, researchers, and front-line workers among others. The engagement and consultation process was identified as a best practice in program renewal and policy development by First Nations communities and leaders as well as by departmental representatives and stakeholders who participated in the evaluation. The NNADAP Renewal Process led to the development of regional needs assessment reports and a national framework that will guide service delivery and design for the next five to ten years. Footnote 95

The DTFP contributed to enhanced collaboration between and within provinces and territories on treatment issues. DTFP held bilateral consultations with provinces and territories in 2008/09 following the call for proposals to discuss and clarify issues related to the nature and scope of applications under the DTFP. In 2009/10, all provinces and territories (except Quebec) participated in the development, collection and reporting of national treatment indicators. In 2010/11, collaboration activities focused mainly on stakeholders within the jurisdictions and, in some cases, at the community or municipal level. For example, the BC systems project reported that collaboration between health authorities has been improved through attendance at the annual “Change Talk Summit” for practice champions and the co-creation of knowledge exchange tools/mechanisms to support practices post-summit. According to the DTFP implementation evaluation report, one project provided a vehicle for some jurisdictions (e.g. Yukon) to improve communication and understanding among service providers, for example, between detox and treatment services.

CIHR funded research that examined the capacity of the treatment systems for knowledge translation and hosted several workshops to enable researchers from different areas of addictions to collaborate. In October 2010, the CIHR INMHA held the Substance Abuse Treatment and Prevention Initiative Workshop to improve collaboration and exchange of knowledge amongst researchers and federal government representatives. Footnote 96 During this workshop, participants suggested that CIHR should play a coordinating role in bringing together funders and researchers and in exploring opportunities for joint initiatives, for example, research on the illicit use of pharmaceuticals.

There is room to improve collaboration. For example, departmental representatives referred to YJADS where knowledge transfer is targeted but occurring on only a small scale. With respect to the CIHR Research on Drug Treatment Models, stakeholders noted that more attention is required to enhance collaboration between researchers and the users of the knowledge. During the NYIDP Footnote 97 learning circles, participants explained that there is a disconnection between officers and service providers and suggested that regular meetings between these groups could increase collaboration.

4.2.2.3 Enhancing federal-provincial/territorial commitments to improve treatment systems in targeted areas of need

Although some programs benefited from enhanced federal-provincial/territorial collaboration, more needs to be done to promote provincial, territorial and community commitments to treatment systems in targeted areas of need.

The evaluation findings indicate that the Treatment Action Plan has enhanced federal-provincial/territorial commitments in some areas but commitment is lacking for some programs. For example, departmental representatives noted that, although the DTCFP contributed to enhanced federal-provincial/territorial commitments for treatment, the implementation and sustainability of programs such as the DTFP were constrained by the willingness and ability of provincial and territorial governments as well as communities to support programs.

The Department of Justice DTCFP funds DTCs in Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa and Regina. The DTCs provide court-monitored treatment and social service support intended to reduce drug use behaviour, enhance social stability of drug-addicted offenders, and contribute to a reduction in criminal recidivism. Departmental representatives explained that, when the funding recipient is a provincial government (as opposed to an NGO), DTCs are able to capitalize on the provincial government’s existing partnerships and resources, such as housing and mental health services, thereby enhancing the overall treatment outcomes. Of the six DTCFP-funded DTCs, only two agreements (Vancouver and Regina) are currently with provincial governments. As such, it was recommended that DTCFP would benefit from further agreements with provincial and territorial governments given they are a key partner for the DTCs. Footnote 98

According to the implementation evaluation of the DTFP Footnote 99, as of 2010/11, 10 of the 13 provinces and territories received funding. The evaluation raised concerns about the sustainability of the initiatives once the federal funding is no longer available. Under the DTFP agreements, provinces and territories are not required to match federal funding and, thus far, most funding recipients enhanced their financial commitments through the dedication of in-kind resources to DTFP investment areas.

4.2.2.4 Increasing availability of, and access to, effective treatment services and programs for targeted populations in areas of need

The NNADAP, DTCFP, DTFP and NYIDP Footnote 100 have each increased the availability of, and access to, treatment services and programs.

Re-profiling and expanding treatment centre activities of NNADAP resulted in improved accessibility of treatment services for First Nations communities. I nitiatives have supported treatment centres to more effectively meet population needs (e.g. women, youth, families, and individuals with mental health issues) and address service gaps. As of 2011/12, 36 treatment centres had refocused programming in line with First Nations and Inuit needs and priorities. Access to services was also improved by piloting eight innovative and collaborative multi-disciplinary teams (Mental Wellness Teams) in First Nations and Inuit communities across Canada. These pilot projects will identify new approaches to provide care to communities, which incorporate traditional, cultural and mainstream approaches to mental health services that span the continuum of care.

Under the DTCFP, a dedicated drug treatment is available to drug addicted offenders accepted into the DTC pilots. According to performance data, in the absence of these pilots, drug treatment would not necessarily be available to this population. The summative evaluation of DTCFP (2009) reports that the Program has reached economically disadvantaged individuals who had serious drug addictions (typically cocaine) as well as mental and physical health issues, and had committed a variety of non-violent crimes. Footnote 101

DTFP provided a vehicle to the federal government to enhance the availability and accessibility of treatment services and programs for high-risk groups across Canada and helped the regional services to have clearer targeted populations. Examples of DTFP projects that have a particular focus on this matter are two BC Ministry of Health Services projects delivered in the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver. The “Assertive Community Treatment” features a mobile, community-based, client-centred, recovery-oriented service delivery model designed specifically to provide long-term support to people with the most serious types of mental illness who cannot be adequately managed with traditional community services. The second project is the “Women’s Residential/Day Program” (Rainier Hotel), which is an integrated day program and supported housing model with intensive supports for the most challenging women in the Downtown Eastside who are at highest risk, such as involvement in the sex trade. This program focuses on accessibility, responsiveness, and appropriateness of services, particularly regarding distinct conditions commonly identified among the target population, such as severe trauma and cultural marginalization. Although it is too early to determine the success of such projects, the DTFP implementation evaluation reports growing evidence that enhancing collaboration among service providers is improving outcomes for people suffering concurrent mental health and addiction problems. Footnote 102

While the NYIDP was in effect, it provided young offenders with a combination of treatment and community services to which they would not otherwise have access. However, the treatment alternative and intervention would be considered when there are no grounds for a charge. Based on the implementation review of NYIDP, as of 2010/11, approximately 170 youth were screened and referred to programs; 69 of whom were identified as having alcohol or drug problems. Of the 69, 29 had a history of conduct disorder, 32 had school or employment problems, 41 had some criminal friends, 23 exhibited antisocial personality traits, and 37 had unsupportive family circumstances. During the NYIDP learning circle, participants explained that the Program provided access to treatment services for youth who had nowhere else to go. They also mentioned that NYIDP works as a “wake- up call” at early stages of drug problems and provides youth with an opportunity to change their lives. They also suggested that the Program should be accessible to younger children (as early as age nine).

Intermediate Outcomes
4.2.2.5 Improving treatment systems, programs and services to address illicit drug dependency in targeted populations in areas of need

Components such as the DTCFP, NNADAP, YJADS and CIHR- Research on Drug Treatment Models have directly and indirectly improved treatment systems, programs and services.

According to a summative evaluation (2009), the DTCFP has been effective in providing positive and comprehensive treatment services. Stakeholders who participated in this evaluation explained that, through a combined system of enforcement and treatment where non-violent offenders receive intensive treatment instead of incarceration, offenders are better able to overcome their addictions and avoid future criminal behaviours. Access to coordinated services such as treatment counsellors, nurses and psychologists was another important attribute of the DTCFP that increased participant social stability by helping them find suitable housing, income assistance, education and employment. Program participants reported that encouraging honesty about drug use and recognizing that relapses may occur were two key components that differentiate the DTCFP from traditional court processes. Participants also made reference to the non-judgmental approach of treatment staff and their helpfulness in connecting them to other available resources. Footnote 103

For NNADAP, both the regional needs assessments and a new national framework have been instrumental in strengthening treatment services at a systems level. The new national framework outlines a continuum of care approach that is supporting strengthened program design and delivery at community, regional and national levels. At the service delivery level, NNADAP modernization projects improved services for key populations, incorporated culture in the continuum of care, and improved the physical aspects of centres. In addition, treatment centre quality was also enhanced as a result of funding support to centres to become accredited by a recognized body. As of 2011/12, 48 of 59 (82%) of treatment centres were accredited, up from 43 of 58 (74%) in 2010/11 and 40 of 57 (68%) in 2009/10. Furthermore, the quality of NNADAP services was improved through a range of workforce development activities, including support for certified educational opportunities (e.g. training on treating illicit drug use) and financial incentives to workers to obtain and retain certification with a recognized national body. As of 2011/12, 157 of 204 (77%) treatment workers were certified.

Direct stakeholders of the Strategy noted that YJADS has improved treatment services indirectly by, for example, increasing the capacity and knowledge of probation officers to address illicit drug issues with their youth clients. Stakeholders also noted that CIHR has improved treatment services by funding research that examines treatment responses for emerging issues such as drug-impaired driving. More cumulative data from funded projects will assist to improve the measurement of the impact of these components in future evaluations.

4.2.2.6 Reducing risk-taking behaviours

The DTCFP and NNADAP components of the Treatment Action Plan have demonstrated considerable success in reducing risk-taking behaviour among targeted groups.

An empirical evaluation of recidivism of the Drug Treatment Court of Vancouver (DTCV) demonstrated the effectiveness of DTCs in reducing recidivism. Compared to a matched group of offenders, the Court participants exhibited significantly greater reductions in offending, and a significant decrease (over 50%) in drug-related offences. Footnote 104 A recidivism study for the DTCs similarly found that participation in a DTC program is statistically linked to a lower level of recidivism (refer to Appendix D for more details). A meta-analysis of DTC effects in Canada, Australia and the United States concluded that DTCs reduced recidivism by 14% compared to conventional justice system responses. Footnote 105 Also, as part of the DTCFP summative evaluation, 61% of evaluation survey respondents agreed that DTCs are effective in reducing criminal recidivism during the Program and 39% think the effects remained post-Program. Many of the DTC case study participants also indicated that this program helped them abstain from drug use, even if they have an occasional relapse. Footnote 106 The evaluation provided comparable data on graduation and retention rates across the DTCs; the graduation rates ranged from 6% to 36% and the retention rates ranged from 34% to 55%. Key factors that influence participant retention and graduation include access to safe, secure housing; personal motivation; low-risk background (no history of violence); and various demographic factors (race, education, employment at admission, marital status and gender). Footnote 107

In addition, feedback from NNADAP funding recipients about the impacts of Strategy investments to their programs/services suggests that Strategy funding has contributed to more effective and accessible treatment services for First Nations and Inuit clients, including youth , which will contribute to gradual reductions in illicit drug use and associated risk-taking behaviours. The current Strategy-supported efforts to improve the quality, effectiveness and accessibility of treatment services are also expected to reduce negative health and social impacts of illicit drug use, including risk-taking behaviours (e.g. drug-impaired driving or violence). However, more time will be needed to measure these results.

Stakeholders and departmental representatives who were familiar with, or involved in, the Treatment Action Plan were asked about the success of the Plan in achieving its objectives. They highlighted the progress that programs under the Treatment Action Plan have made in improving treatment in First Nations communities, expanding existing treatment centres, supporting innovative treatment projects, and developing treatment interventions for at-risk youth and offenders. The success of the Action Plan in collaborating with other initiatives (e.g. the Human Resources and Skills Development Canada National Homelessness Initiative) to provide funding was also highlighted.

These respondents identified various challenges that slowed the progress made, including delays in implementation, particularly in terms of developing agreements and implementing activities that required partnerships with other organizations or other levels of government. Other perceived challenges included a lack of adequate capacity (i.e. programming dollars) in various provinces and territories to follow up on successful projects. Another factor was the relatively low profile of treatment activities supported under the Strategy relative to enforcement activities (i.e. the perception amongst certain stakeholders that the primary emphasis of the Strategy is on enforcement).

4.2.3 Enforcement Action Plan

The Enforcement Action Plan targets four immediate and six intermediate outcomes. Table 10 summarizes the relationship between the activities of the ten components and the four immediate outcomes, as well as the link between the immediate outcomes and six intermediate outcomes. For example, nine of the ten components featured activities specifically designed to increase capacity for drug enforcement and prosecution of illicit drug producers and distributors.

Table 10: Relationships between the Enforcement Action Plan Components and their Outcomes

Enforcement Action Plan Immediate Outcomes (Years 1-2)
Enforcement Action Plan Components Increased capacity for drug enforcement and prosecution of illicit drug producers and distributors Increased capacity to gather, analyze and share intelligence and analyze evidence Increased capacity to control and monitor controlled substances and precursor chemicals Increased awareness of illicit drug and precursor chemicals issues for enforcement officials
National Coordination of Efforts (PS) -- -- -- Holds conferences, workshops, conducts research and improves drug-related knowledge
Prosecution and Prosecution-related Services (ODPP) Prosecutes drug-related offences, provides legal advice and training to the police, and provides input on draft legislation -- -- --
OCS (HC) Recruits new staff -- Applies policy, regulations and legislation, monitors movement of controlled substances and precursor chemicals, and assists inspections and investigations; authorizes destruction of illicit drugs --
DAS (HC) Provides drug analysis and expert support Provides drug analysis and expert support, recruits new staff, trains RCMP officers, and supports RCMP investigations -- Trains law enforcement officers
Marihuana and Clan Lab Teams/ Proceeds of Crime (RCMP) Recruits new staff, creates new positions, creates collaboration across partners involved, and trains law enforcement officers Recruits new staff, creates new positions, creates collaboration across partners involved, trains law enforcement officers, and works with local stakeholders to perform investigations Seizes all types of illicit drugs and precursor chemicals, lays charges, and trains related industry and key stakeholders Trains law enforcement officers
Intelligence Development, Field Support Division, Analysis and Scientific Services (CBSA) Recruits new staff, creates new policies to support the Strategy, provides training/workshops, and cooperates with the RCMP Recruits new staff, obtains scientific equipment and lab services to assist analysis, creates a network for precursor related intelligence, and trains border officers Seizes all types of illicit drugs and precursor chemicals, recruits new staff, and trains border officers --
Special Enforcement Program (CRA) Performs audits of individuals involved in drug issues Performs audits of individuals involved in drug issues Performs audits of individuals involved in drug issues --
FAMG (PWGSC) Produces forensic accounting reports, and acts as expert witnesses in criminal investigations Provides financial information/services to support the RCMP Provides financial information/services to support the RCMP --
Financial Intelligence (FINTRAC) Dedicates staff to drug-related cases, provides financial information/services to support the RCMP, and monitors financial activities to identify suspicious transactions Dedicates staff to drug-related cases, provides financial information/services to support the RCMP, and monitors financial activities to identify suspicious transactions Dedicates staff to drug-related cases, and provides financial information/services to support the RCMP --
Annual Contributions to UNODC, CICAD (DFAIT/PS) -- RCMP and OCS share knowledge and experience on regulatory and enforcement issues through CICAD Expert Meetings Provides international technical training to increase the capacity of beneficiary states to control and monitor controlled substances and precursor chemicals Provides funds to assist UNODC and CICAD and raises international awareness
Enforcement Action Plan Intermediate Outcomes (Years 3-5)
All Enforcement Action Plan components Increased/enhanced investigations, audits, arrests, prosecutions, forensic accounting analyses and legal consequences Improved intelligence and evidence Increased compliance/seizures and reduced risk/ occurrence of diversion of precursor chemicals Increases safety in dismantling illicit drug operations
Increased dismantling/disruption of organizations/operations related to illicit drug production and distribution Reduces health, safety and security risks associated with illicit drug production

Further discussion of the contribution of the various components to the achievement of the immediate and intermediate outcomes is provided under the following section.

Immediate Outcomes

4.2.3.1 Increasing capacity for drug enforcement and prosecution of illicit drug producers and distributors

The Enforcement Action Plan has increased the capacity, particularly within the RCMP, CBSA and ODPP, for drug enforcement and prosecution of illicit drug producers and distributors, and enabled enforcement partners to be more strategic in using resources.

The RCMP Marihuana and Clandestine Lab Teams/Proceeds of Crime increased their capacity for drug enforcement through training, establishing partnerships, providing ongoing intelligence, increasing the number of staff, strengthening internal mechanisms, and tracking emerging issues in the drug industry. All officers involved in this work require specialized training. Cross-training occurred in many areas, as training often included partners (e.g. HC, other police forces, the chemical industry, CBSA). The RCMP developed an intelligence-led approach to resource use, linking MGOs to organized crime groups and allocating more resources to areas where there was more drug activity and risk. Departmental representatives noted that the RCMP has been able to dedicate more investigators, resulting in more prosecutions. They also noted that synthetic drugs became a priority for the RCMP. In August 2009, the RCMP developed the Synthetic Drug Initiative (SDI) that brings together partners from public and private sectors with a focus on synthetic drugs and the diversion of precursor chemicals.

CBSA also enhanced its capacity for drug enforcement through increased resources, improved analytical capability, enhanced collaboration, and it provided training opportunities within CBSA as well as across departments. CBSA funded eight full-time equivalent employees (FTEs), one for every CBSA region, plus an additional FTE in each of the three most active regions (i.e., Pacific, Greater Toronto and Quebec).

The Strategy funding enabled ODPP to increase the number of FTEs dedicated to the prosecution of illicit drug producers and distributors. In 2010/11, the Strategy allocated $2.9M to the ODPP. However, actual spending reached $3.4M, according to time recorded against Strategy files by staff prosecutors and paralegals, representing an incremental increase of approximately 25 in-house FTEs assigned to the Strategy activities (increased from 7.5 FTEs in 2008/09 to 9.5 FTEs in 2009/10). The FTEs were distributed nationally to enable the ODPP to respond to the growing demand for prosecution services at locations where enforcement activities had increased.

4.2.3.2 Increasing capacity to gather, analyze and share intelligence and analyze evidence

Enforcement partners increased their capacity to gather, analyze and share intelligence and analyze evidence, enabling a wide array of intelligence/analysis sources to support illicit drug investigations.

The capacity to gather and share intelligence and analyze evidence increased within the RCMP, CBSA, CRA, FINTRAC, PWGSC-FAMG, HC-DAS, HC-OCS, and internationally through contributions to the UNODC and OAS-CICAD. Although the enhancements contributed greatly to improved capacity, departmental representatives referred to some challenges, such as regulatory restrictions on sharing information, which may constrain cooperation. For example, the CRA may receive individual leads from the RCMP but is not permitted to provide certain information to that organization.

The RCMP increased its capacity to gather intelligence and has been active in developing national and international partnerships. It received funding for an increased number of intelligence analysts, which allowed them to be more tactical and link the MGOs to organized crime groups. Internationally, contact has been made with China and India, major suppliers of precursors, to work with them to prevent the illegal diversion of chemicals from those countries to Canada. Within the Strategy, the RCMP developed initiatives that involve coordination with federal (HC, CBSA, Environment Canada, Justice Canada, ODPP, PS, and DFAIT) and international partners (the G8 and a Strategic Advisory Group). There is also ongoing liaison with counterparts in other countries to exchange ideas and explore areas of joint concern.

CBSA’s additional FTE resources have also led to enhanced collaboration with federal and international partners such as the United States, Japan, New Zealand, Australia and India. Also, as a result of the Strategy funding, CBSA’s Laboratory and Scientific Services Directorate – now the Science and Engineering Directorate - was able to analyze more precursor chemicals. From 2007/08 to 2010/11, lab analysis of Class A Precursor chemicals increased from 23 to 73 annually, and lab analysis of suspected contraband, designer substances and precursor chemicals increased from 1,972 to 3,200.

An example where intelligence capacity has increased significantly is the recent CBSA intelligence-led joint project with the RCMP, which supports both the CBSA Precursor Chemical Diversion Initiative and the RCMP SDI. It combines the efforts of CBSA and RCMP intelligence and enforcement sections in identifying, targeting, interdicting and disrupting criminal organizations involved in the importation of precursor chemicals that are used in the manufacture of illicit synthetic drugs for both the domestic and international marketplace. The project has led to increased intelligence capacity in identifying existing and imminent threats, involving illicit shipments of precursor chemicals. In such a law enforcement arrangement, there is a greater ability to share information as the joint effort requires that both agencies are aware of common targets and can therefore share more easily under the Customs Act Section 107 (5) (a).

CRA’s Special Enforcement Program increased the resources available to perform audits on persons known or suspected of deriving income from marihuana production, synthetic drug production and distribution operations, as well as to recover tax dollars owing from raised assessments. From 2007/08 to 2010/11, funding was provided for six FTE dedicated to the Strategy, including two in each of the “high-risk tax service offices” (i.e. Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver). CRA is also developing an intelligence component within the Department. It was noted that capacity could be further enhanced if CRA staff developed a better understanding of the drug trade. The RCMP could facilitate this by sharing additional information about the production and trafficking of illicit drugs as well as the participation of organization crime in those activities.

FINTRAC provided increased financial intelligence to law enforcement partners to assist their efforts in investigating organized crime elements and money laundering related to illicit drug production operations. In 2010/11, FINTRAC dedicated six FTEs to enhance support to law enforcement by aligning priorities (a focus of FINTRAC’s over the last several years) and developing financial intelligence case disclosures to assist law enforcement in Strategy-related investigations. Footnote 108

PWGSC’s FAMG increased its capacity to provide forensic accounting services to law enforcement about specific drug cases. FAMG received funding for two FTEs to support Strategy files as of 2010/11. FAMG provided specialized forensic accounting services and analysis to the RCMP and ODPP on proceeds of crime investigations, including investigations related to the importation, exportation, production, trafficking and possession of illicit or controlled drugs and substances.

HC’s DAS has increased its capacity since receiving Strategy funding. The increased resources helped the Service to eliminate its backlog of unanalyzed exhibits. DAS also improved its average response time to a request from 90 days in 2007/08 to 64 days in 2010/11. It increased its analysis of drug exhibits from 108,881 in 2007/08 to 121,346 (61,829 cannabis and 59,517 non-cannabis) in 2010/11. A total of 115,572 exhibits were received in 2010/11 (compared to 104,255 received in 2009/10). Other intelligence capacity improvements included the purchase of laboratory instrumentation to increase drug analysis capacity, a one-time laboratory fit-up, and renovation projects in the four DAS laboratories to improve the utilization of available laboratory space.

Annual contributions to the UNODC and OAS-CICAD have served to improve the global intelligence capacity. Through the work of DFAIT, Canada became recognized in the international community as a major source of information. DFAIT’s contributions to OAS-CICAD supported the work of the Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism process, whose reports are increasing in quality and utility as a means to measure member states’ efforts in the fight against illicit drugs. DFAIT funding to OAS-CICAD provided professional support for the Inter-American Observatory on Drugs, which works to build a drug information network for the Americas. Contributions to OAS-CICAD programs in four Caribbean countries (Haiti, Dominican Republic, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines) aimed to establish drug information networks to improve the availability, quality and timeliness of information related to drug production, trafficking, use and the consequences thereof. The goal of these drug information networks is to improve the participating countries’ performance in creating effective anti-drug policies, responses and programs.

4.2.3.3 Increasing awareness of illicit drug and precursor chemicals issues for enforcement officials

Workshops, training and information sessions conducted by the Enforcement Action Plan partners have raised awareness of illicit drugs and precursor chemical issues among enforcement officers in Canada and in other countries.

PS held discussions and workshops across the country to raise awareness among federal, regional and municipal enforcement stakeholders as well as other groups and individuals who are not normally involved in enforcement (such as pharmacists, doctors and other stakeholders) to discuss emerging issues of common concern. For example, the Emerging Issues in Drug Enforcement Workshop held in Montreal in November 2010, included presentations by 16 expert panellists and was attended by 80 participants from law enforcement and related fields across the country, to facilitate discussion on emerging issues of national concern so as to support operational and policy responses. Footnote 109 PS also hosted the Illicit Use of Pharmaceuticals Workshop in Vancouver in June 2011. This workshop was attended by 100 participants and facilitated discussions across law enforcement and the public health sector towards developing a coordinated response. In addition, PS participated in various international fora to promote Canadian enforcement efforts and supply reduction approaches. During the evaluation period, PS also funded 25 projects that advance knowledge related to the enforcement of illicit drugs. Examples of these projects include an Intelligence-led Anti-Gang Strategy (Ottawa Police Service) and a Comparison of Drug and Alcohol Involved Motor Vehicle Fatalities (CCSA); PS also worked closely with the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) to develop a handbook on promising practices in policing substance focusing on integrated models.

The RCMP’s Marihuana and Clandestine Lab Teams/Proceeds of Crime undertook extensive training focusing on precursor chemicals, illicit drugs and safety training. In 2007/08, an initiative was implemented to train the MGO Teams to play an ancillary role of Clandestine Drug Laboratory (Clan Lab) responders. This resulted in the most current members of the MGO Teams being cross-trained in Clan Lab qualifications. The Clan Lab recertification program, managed by the RCMP, allowed for the annual accreditation of close to 200 personnel from law enforcement and partner government agencies (e.g. HC) in 2010/11.

HC’s DAS provided training to law enforcement personnel on topics such as precursor control and clandestine lab hazards. In 2010/11, DAS delivered 46 training sessions, up from 37 sessions in 2009/10. Training was given primarily to law enforcement personnel (e.g. federal, provincial and municipal police forces) for the purpose of increasing awareness about illegal drug production and trends. The training also covered such topics as the dangers and necessary safety precautions that should be utilized when investigating Clan Labs. In 2010/2011, a total of 936 participants received training from DAS on two main topics: Drug Analysis/Synthesis, and Dismantling Clan Labs. In surveys conducted post training, 93% of participants reported an increase in their awareness of hazards and dangers related to chemicals and 83% reported an increase in awareness of safe procedures to dismantle a clandestine laboratory.

HC’s OCS developed training materials for law enforcement regarding illicit drug and precursor chemical issues. In 2007/08, training materials were developed for inspectors, including various ongoing and enhanced training tools (e.g. e-learning solutions). OCS also made presentations at RCMP and CBSA training events on the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and its Regulations.

The CBSA also increased understanding and awareness about precursor chemicals through workshops and training. In 2010, the “Precursor Chemical Diversion/Synthetic Drugs Workshop”, hosted by the CBSA (Contraband Intelligence Section/Intelligence and Targeting Operations Directorate), was held at the CBSA National Training Centre. The aim of the workshop was to increase awareness about the diversion of precursor chemicals that enter Canada for use by organized criminal networks in illegal activities (clandestine labs) and ultimately lead to the export of illegal synthetic drugs. The workshop participants included subject matter experts from international (US, New Zealand, Australia, India) and domestic partners (RCMP and HC). In addition to representing the starting point for joint intelligence/enforcement cooperation between the RCMP and the CBSA, this workshop linked their respective initiatives under the Strategy – the CBSA’s Precursor Chemical Diversion Initiative (importations of precursor chemicals and potential exports of synthetic drugs) and the RCMP’s Synthetic Drug Initiative (domestic and potential exports). Precursor chemical awareness training was provided to Border Service Officers, in support of an initiative developed in partnership with the RCMP, to gather data and provide the CBSA with a better understanding of how chemicals are getting into the hands of organized crime groups, as well as how to effectively target, interdict and assist in the dismantling of these groups.

DFAIT’s contributions supported training to increase awareness internationally. For example, in 2010/11, DFAIT’s contribution to the UNODC resulted in precursor control training for 90 Uzbekistan officers. As well, training workshops were offered in all five Central Asian states for 56 law enforcement officers on risk indicator, precursor identification, classification of drugs, heroin manufacture and precursors, and the TIR Convention. The DFAIT contribution for the OAS-CICAD strengthened the capabilities of national anti-drug agencies to implement national anti-drug policies, and resulted in assessments of institutional and legal regimes in five Caribbean countries (Belize, Guyana, St. Kitts, St. Vincent and Barbados). In addition, DFAIT supported a technical seminar with regional officials on drug policy development in Trinidad and Tobago in April 2011.

4.2.3.4 Increasing capacity to control and monitor controlled substances and precursor chemicals

Enforcement Action Plan partners, particularly the RCMP, HC-OCS and CBSA, increased their capacity to control and monitor controlled substances and precursor chemicals; however, there are regulatory challenges.

The RCMP increased its control capacity by focusing on organized crime groups, partnering with other departments and stakeholders, and developing new programs. It worked in association with local stakeholders (e.g. hydro companies, property inspectors) to increase intelligence capacity. The RCMP also developed the Chem Watch Program, which is a partnership between the National Chemical Diversion Program and the chemical industry (e.g. chemical associations, producers, distributors and retailers) to raise awareness across the country of the Clan Lab problem, to educate company employees, and to control access to regulated precursor chemicals. Footnote 110

Between 2007/08 and 2010/11, HC-OCS increased the number of inspections of dealers licensed under the Precursor Control Regulations, as well as pre-license inspections and targeted inspections under the Narcotic Control Regulations. Since 2007/08, over 95% of the Class A Precursor Licensed Dealers have been inspected. Also, in 2010/11, OCS received 1,623 Loss and Theft Reports and 79 Forgery Reports. In addition, OCS contributed to increased understanding of the legislative and regulatory framework for controlled substances and precursor chemicals by exercising a multi-level compliance model. As part of this model, compliance officers monitor compliance to controlled substances regulations through the use of administrative tools such as Monitoring Letters with due dates mailed to inspected regulated parties pursuant to their inspection. In 2008/09, close to 250 Letters were sent to parties, indicating a high level of monitoring.

CBSA lab services and HC also worked together to identify the shipments being imported without permit or falsely described as chemicals not presently controlled by HC. Their partnership has leveraged the opportunity to discuss the types of chemicals that are being imported without a permit or described as chemicals not presently regulated by HC. The joint work of the CBSA and RCMP helps to identify chemicals and to keep HC informed about the nature of chemicals seized. This provides assistance to HC in determining what chemicals should be scheduled and how quickly this should occur in order to prevent further harm to Canadians. Also, CBSA, HC, PS, the RCMP and Justice Canada are in discussions to establish policies and procedures to advance effectiveness in the control, handling and destruction of seized precursor chemicals.

However, departmental representatives noted that it can take several years to implement amendments to the CDSA to account for emerging precursor chemicals and illicit drugs and that this constrains enforcement efforts. The challenge is attributed to the process involved in implementing amendments and the limited resources at HC. It was noted during interviews that the U.S. legislative framework, which allows for the promulgation of emergency legislation of precursor chemicals within approximately 90 days, could be a useful model for Canada.

Intermediate outcomes

4.2.3.5 Increasing/enhancing investigations, audits, arrests, prosecutions, forensic accounting analyses and legal consequences

The Strategy has increased/enhanced investigations, audits, arrests, prosecutions, forensic accounting analyses and legal consequences. However, enforcement partners experienced some challenges related to the complexity of investigations and communication.

The RCMP’s Marihuana and Clan Lab Teams/Proceeds of Crime have become more strategic and collaborative in their approach to investigations since the Strategy began. As investigations increase in complexity, the RCMP provides leadership and investigative tools that support ongoing enforcement efforts. The use of wiretaps and undercover operators is now common to project-oriented investigations. The increased manpower has enhanced intelligence-gathering and significantly increased the RCMP’s ability to successfully disrupt and dismantle organized crime groups profiting from illicit drug production. MGO teams routinely work with Proceeds of Crime and Civil Forfeiture departments to seize offence-related property and proceeds of crime of those involved in the illicit production and sale of marihuana. The Clan Lab program works collaboratively with the Seized Property Management Directorate to ensure that seized assets are destroyed in an environmentally responsible manner and do not reach the hands of organized crime groups that are known to repurchase property seized by police. In 2010/11, MGO/Clan Lab Teams were involved with 46 project-oriented investigations and 1,022 other investigations.

The CRA undertook additional drug-related audits and recovered millions of dollars worth of federal taxes. The Agency completed 219 audits in the 2010/11 fiscal year related to the production and sale of drugs with over $12 million of federal taxes and GST/HST reassessed. The $0.8 million in funding received from the Strategy accounted for 29 of these audits, with over $4.7 million of federal taxes and GST/HST reassessed (compared to $1.2 million in 2007/08).

FINTRAC disclosed a greater number of cases to law enforcement. In 2010/11, it disclosed 777 cases, including 199 unique cases that related to at least one drug-related offence, compared to disclosing 556 cases in 2008/09. In 2009/10, FINTRAC shifted its management of compliance operations from focusing on outreach and awareness to focusing on compliance enforcement. As a result, the number of compliance examinations conducted in this year showed over 50% increase.

In 2010/11, PWGSC’s FAMG continued to provide services to the RCMP on three particular files identified in 2006/07 as well as on other Strategy files. By providing specialized services, it has enhanced forensic accounting analyses in linking criminals’ assets to proceeds of illicit drug production and distribution. FAMG remained at the forefront of forensic accounting techniques in unlocking complex schemes used by criminals to hide or launder the proceeds of illicit drug activities so as to assist the RCMP investigate, and the ODPP to prosecute, these illegal activities. Departmental representatives noted that in a number of cases when the forensic accounting report was provided, the case moved straight to plea bargaining.

In 2010/11, the ODPP handled 28,275 prosecution files that related to drug production, drug distribution offences, or both. This was a significant increase from 14,429 prosecution files in 2007/08.

The findings also highlight some challenges associated with the complexity of investigations involving organized crime groups. Although the complexity varies, most investigations are labour-intensive, time-consuming and require a thorough knowledge of the licit and illicit chemical industry. RCMP reported that the investigations related to MGOs have become more complex as criminal organizations adapt and expand operations to diversify their trafficking activities and attempt to evade prosecution .

In addition, departmental representatives noted that coordination and communication between CRA and RCMP should be improved in order for the departments to learn about each other’s areas of expertise and strategic priorities. CRA noted that its work is hindered by legislative restrictions that result in its inability to share information and/or intelligence with law enforcement partners and other stakeholders. Moreover, departmental representatives said that the departmental resource increase should be proportionate to their additional workload as a result of increased RCMP investigations.

4.2.3.6 Improving intelligence and evidence

Significant growing collaboration, aligned with increasing capacity, contributed to improved intelligence and evidence.

The RCMP improved intelligence and evidence by developing partnerships, connecting to international resources, and having dedicated expert staff in the field. It developed an engagement strategy with major source countries and participated in international groups that gather intelligence on precursors and monitor laboratory equipment. The RCMP received invitations to provide training from around the world, which indicates its expertise and success in areas of Clan Labs and precursor interdiction.

Through working with a broad range of stakeholders, the RCMP helped them to understand the key role of intelligence and how they can, and need to, work together to further intelligence goals. The RCMP also reported that since a synthetic drugs-focused intelligence analyst position was established at headquarters in 2007/08, synthetic drug monitoring and operational support have improved. Strategy-supported capacity improvements have enabled RCMP Clan Lab enforcement and response teams to broaden their focus and target higher levels of organized crime operations in this area. The increases have also enabled the RCMP to become involved in transnational production and smuggling files with many of the countries that had identified Canada as a source country for illicit synthetic drugs. Other key intelligence initiatives include the development of the 2008 Clandestine Laboratory Activity report, the development of a template to gather information on synthetic drugs and laboratory equipment in collaboration with the CISC and the CACP Organized Crime Committee, and other intelligence initiatives in collaboration with EUROPOL and the G-8. During the enforcement case study, the improved intelligence capacity that enables MGO teams to be more strategic in selecting high level organized crime groups for enforcement measures was also discussed.

In addition, departmental representatives noted that the quality of intelligence has improved as a result of collaboration among Enforcement Action Plan partners. For example, DAS has provided expert testimony in court when needed and FAMG helped to identify the financial details of a crime/criminal organization.

4.2.3.7 Increasing safety in dismantling illicit drug operations

Departmental representatives expressed the view that the RCMP follows appropriate health and safety standards in dismantling illicit drug operations and that DAS provided support and advice that contributed to a “no health risk environment” during the dismantlement operations. Representatives also suggested that there is a continued need to cover safety-related costs among enforcement partners. For example, CBSA has an ongoing need to provide the training and equipment needed to safely handle illicit drugs and precursors at the borders.

In addition, the RCMP Marihuana and Clan Lab Teams/Proceeds of Crime reported that there were no serious incidents or injuries from dismantling Clan Labs or MGOs between 2008/09 and 2010/11. All officers attended a stringent training program that entailed a two-week basic course followed by annual training (as per the Canada Labour Code) as well as training to be Site Safety Supervisors. Training procedures are regularly reviewed and updated to match new risks encountered in various types of labs. The need for health and safety risk management is paramount at MGOs and Clan Lab sites; it is a fundamental principle guiding the policy and procedures regarding dismantling illicit drug production sites.

4.2.3.8 Increasing compliance/seizures and reducing risk/occurrence of diversion of precursor chemicals

The RCMP prepares an annual drug situation report, which includes information collected from a number of agencies. Based on these reports, drug seizures in terms of quantities have fluctuated between 2006 and 2009 with increases in seizures of some substances (e.g., heroin, opium) but decreases or few changes in seizures of other substances (see Table 11 ). Footnote 111

Table 11: RCMP Report on the Illicit Drug Situation in Canada 2009: Canada Drug Seizure Data
  2006 2007 2008 2009
Cocaine 2,676 kg 2,630 kg 2,263 kg 2,373 kg
Hashish 27,730 kg 227 kg 899 kg 9,667 kg
Hashish Oil 1,060 kg 115 kg 761 kg 241 kg
Heroin 93 kg 112 kg 102 kg 213 kg
Khat 13,917 kg 28,270 kg 22,710 kg 19,003 kg
Marihuana 1,749,057 plt/
13,154 kg
1,878,178 plt/
49,918 kg
1,828,861 plt/
37,169 kg
1,845,734 plt/
34,391 kg
MDMA (Ecstasy) 3,000,347 units 1,374,592 units 1,494,769 units 954,929 units
Methamphetamine 59 kg 170 kg/
9,000 tablets
109 kg/
52,142 tablets
79 kg/
62,307 tablets
Opium 124 kg 148 kg 108 kg 338.46 kg
Dode: 17 tonnes

Note: Seizure data is based on information collected from a variety of sources, including RCMP databases, CBSA information, and HC’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Database.

However, data related to the RCMP’s Marihuana and Clan Lab Teams/Proceeds of Crime indicate an increase in the number of MGOs and Clan Labs dismantled (Table 12).

Table 12: RCMP – Profile of Dismantled Drug Operations
Year MGOs: Number dismantled MGOs: Number of plants, kg seized Clandestine Labs: Number dismantled Clandestine Labs: kg substances seized
2007/08 138 95,924 plants, and
1,202 kg of marihuana bud
22 90 kg of methamphetamine
95 kg of MDMA
2008/09 257 182,404 plants and
6,447 kg of marihuana bud
20** 150 kg of methamphetamine
615 kg of MDMA
2009/10** 385 151,782 plants and
521 kg of marihuana bud
Data not available Data not available
2010/11 512 274,798 plants and
304 kg of marihuana bud
59 113 kg of methamphetamine, 73.9 kg of MDMA,
182 kg of red phosphorous, 43.5 litres of GHB/GBL mix, and 110,000 tablets of methamphetamine

**Of the 20 Clan Labs dismantled, 6 were capable of producing an excess of 10 kg of finished drug product, per production cycle.

In addition, CBSA seizures have almost doubled (from 377 seizures in 2008/09 and 338 in 2009/10 to 678 seizures in 2010/11), which is attributed to the introduction of a dedicated Desk Head, workshop and information sessions with frontline officers, and strengthened precursor intelligence network. As of 2010/11, the joint CBSA/RCMP initiative has resulted in key seizures, including an arrest and seizure of 900 grams of sodium gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) in Ottawa, and a seizure at a residence in Sainte-Thérèse, Quebec of GHB, cannabis, psilocybin (magic mushrooms), tablets of methamphetamine, precursors used to manufacture other psychotropics, as well as a large sum of cash and two firearms.

HC’s OCS also reported an expansion of its inspection program, which resulted in the inspection of over 95% of the Class A Precursor Licensed Dealers since 2007/08. As a result, in 2010/11, 1,452 instances of potential diversion of precursor chemicals were reported compared to 78 instances in 2007/08. The OCS also accomplished 2010/11 inspections using a risk-based model that recognizes risks that need to be managed as well as when controls need to be introduced to mitigate the risk of precursor chemicals and controlled substances being diverted to the illicit market. In addition, the number of authorizations for the destruction of seized goods increased from 118,006 in 2006/07 to 139,902 in 2010/11.

Departmental representatives noted that it is difficult to attribute these impacts (e.g. the volume of drugs seized) directly to the Strategy. They explained that there is a wide variety of resources and factors which may contribute to the resulting impacts, and it is not possible to separate the impacts that are directly attributable to the activities of the Strategy from those that are attributable to other resources or factors. Representatives also expressed reservations about the appropriateness of certain indicators, noting that not all results are quantifiable (e.g. it is difficult to measure the impact of pieces of intelligence on an investigation), some indicators do not reflect Strategy success (e.g. the number of charges is not necessarily indicative of success given that, even when there is no arrest or charge, enforcement efforts could disrupt drug activities, result in a seizure, or prevent the transfer of funds), and certain impacts cannot be measured in the short-term (e.g. investigations can last a number of years).

4.2.3.9 Increasing dismantling disruption of organizations/operations related to illicit drug production and distribution

Illicit drug organizations/operations were dismantled and disrupted using various approaches (e.g. developing CHEM WATCH, reducing financial incentives). However, tracking the number of charges is a challenge.

In 2010/11, 24 criminal organizations and 216 individuals were identified by MGO teams. The majority of these individuals are tied to organized crime groups that operate inter-provincially and/or internationally (mainly in the United States). MGO teams disrupted the operations of 8 of the 24 different criminal organizations and arrested 208 of the 216 individuals identified. The Clan Lab teams disrupted the operations of 15 different criminal organizations by dismantling labs, seizing chemicals and assets, and effecting arrests. Many of these groups are transnational in nature. It is difficult to report an exact figure linking investigations to charges laid and convictions obtained as charges are often dropped or mitigated. In other cases, MGOs and Clan Labs are dismantled and disrupted without individuals being identified or charged. Departmental representatives also noted that charges do not reflect the full impact of activities as labs could be dismantled and disrupted without individuals being charged.

The enforcement case study also highlighted the development of the CHEM WATCH Program by the RCMP to work with legitimate industry and educate manufacturers to explore methods to minimize the possibility of diversion of Class A precursors and products containing key precursors. This program has seen some significant successes thus far as reports on suspicious purchases of microcrystalline, a binding agent for tablets, led police to “super” labs in Toronto and Montreal.

The Strategy has supported the increased involvement of FINTRAC, CRA and FAMG in disrupting illicit drug operations/organizations by targeting financial activities and taking away the incentive and ability to commit crimes. FINTRAC analyses have assisted in visualizing the dynamics behind the financial transactions conducted as well as associated companies, and in identifying new parties that were involved in transactions. CRA activities disrupt operations by performing lifestyle audits and taking away the financial resources of criminal organizations. FAMG plays an important role in helping to take away assets related to criminal activities as well as the immediate amounts that have already been seized.

Departmental representatives noted some challenges associated with disrupting and dismantling organizations/operations related to illicit drugs. They highlighted the time it takes to ramp up enforcement activities noting that an intelligence cycle can take several years, and criminal investigation cycles can be even longer, all of which have an impact on their ability to report on performance.

4.2.3.10 Reducing health, safety and security risks associated with illicit drug production seizure and dismantling operations

Safety in dismantling illicit drug operations improved as a result of training police officers and people who are closely involved in dismantling operations, raising awareness among the general public and as a result of the advice provided during dismantling operations, such as on the use of appropriate safety equipment on intervention sites.

During the enforcement case study, it was explained that the National Coordinators for MGOs and Clan Labs were heavily involved in the development, update and delivery of courses related to safety issues in dismantling illicit drug operations offered to law enforcement agencies across Canada and internationally. They also work closely with the Canadian Police College and other training institutions like the Ontario Police College. Courses, workshops and presentations on risks associated with chemicals or MGO installations are also provided to non-law enforcement agencies like HC, Real Estate Associations, and Canadian Home Inspectors Associations.

Along with the creation of the MGO teams, the RCMP invested in specialized equipment to ensure the safety of police officers and surrounding areas when dismantling Clan Labs and grow operations. For example, the RCMP purchased specialized vehicles and equipment such as mobile trailers, tow vehicles, all-terrain vehicles, respiratory equipment and chemical-resistant suits. Over 200 indoor grow operations were disrupted by the MGO teams, most of which were required to undergo some level of health and safety remediation for mould/chemical damage, electrical hazards and/or structure modifications. HC’s DAS assisted the RCMP with the safe shut-down and dismantling of seized Clan Labs. In 2008/09, the drug dosage units disrupted/seized were equivalent to 6.9 million units, which represent a significant increase from the 3.4 million dosage units seized/disrupted in 2007/08. Footnote 112

Departmental representatives and stakeholders, active in this area, were asked about the overall success of the Enforcement Action Plan in achieving its objectives. Representatives explained that significant progress has been made towards disrupting and dismantling illicit drug operations, particularly with respect to synthetic drugs and the establishment of the Synthetic Drug Initiative. Notable progress was also reported in terms of improved intelligence as a result of increased capacity amongst the enforcement partners, increased collaboration on investigations, identification of emerging issues such as the illicit use of pharmaceuticals, and development of ad hoc partnerships within the enforcement partners for particular purposes (for example, the recent CBSA/RCMP joint project to enhance their intelligence capacity, which resulted in increases in illicit drug seizures and arrests). The enforcement case study also described multiple levels of partnerships that have been developed in the operations of MGO and Clan Lab teams. Another successful aspect of this action plan included international activities such as capacity-building and data monitoring of synthetic drugs and precursor chemicals (i.e., Global SMART-Synthetics Monitoring Analysis Reporting and Trends). Stakeholders also noted the progress made in shifting the focus of enforcement more towards addressing the distribution of illicit drugs as opposed to targeting illicit drug users.

The representatives noted some challenges and limitations associated with the Enforcement Action Plan. For example, there are significant challenges with respect to measuring impacts given that investigations can take a long time, the results are not always quantifiable and it is often difficult to isolate the impact of Strategy funding from other sources of funding available for their activities. Another challenge noted by enforcement partners is that the system for amending regulations with respect to precursor chemicals can take up to 24 months and does not allow law enforcement to respond quickly enough. Finally, representatives noted that, given the magnitude of this issue, there is much work left to do with respect to the manufacture, production, export and import of illicit drugs in Canada.

4.3 Demonstrated Efficiency and Economy

This section presents a synthesis of the evaluation findings obtained through the interviews, document review, cost-efficiency analysis, and literature review to address the evaluation questions with regards to the efficiency and economy of the Strategy, as well as the potential opportunities for improvement going forward.

4.3.1 Efficiency of the Strategy

Given the size, complexity and early stage of de velopment of the Strategy, it is not yet possible to comment conclusively on its overall efficiency and economy. However, based on the document review and field research, it is possible to comment on the efficiency of the Strategy as a whole as well as factors that have contributed to, and constrained, its efficiency.

The efficiency of the Strategy benefited from building on existing resources and adding new programming to fill various gaps. The new initiatives under the Strategy were designed to complement previously existing activities, securing the participation of a broader range of departments, particularly with respect to enforcement. The nine new components have enhanced effectiveness and efficiency of the Strategy by focusing on improving the investigation and disruption of illicit drug operations (i.e., CBSA, CRA, PWGSC, FINTRAC, and ODPP), raising public awareness about the use of illicit drugs (i.e., Mass Media Campaign), providing at-risk youth with alternatives (NYIDP), and identifying evidence-based initiatives and best practices (CIHR-Research on Drug Treatment Models). However, more time must elapse before the full impact of the new initiatives will be evident.

A clear focus on illicit drugs and target groups also contributed to the Strategy’s efficiency by focusing specifically on illicit drugs, youth and other at-risk and vulnerable populations. Although the focus of the Strategy on illicit drugs has created some challenges, particularly for the prevention and treatment action plans, to disseminating funds among eligible projects and programs, departmental representatives explained that having a clear focus on illicit drug and target groups contributes to its success. They noted that the Strategy complements similar programs that exist at the provincial/territorial, municipal and community level and focus on more than just illicit drugs (e.g. tobacco, alcohol and other substances). In addition, departmental representatives noted that the focus on illicit drugs, combined with the three-pronged approach involving prevention, treatment and enforcement, worked well and allowed partners to tackle illicit drug problems from different angles and to work multilaterally.

4.3.2 Leveraging Support for Strategy Projects

Individual components have enhanced cost efficiency of the Strategy by leveraging funding from other sources, developing partnerships and working closely with other departments and stakeholders.

The results of the document review, interviews, and case studies highlight various instances through which the Strategy has been able to make effective use of available resources. Through the cost-efficiency templates, some programs reported leveraging funding from other programs; for example, the NCPC leveraged over $1 million in funding from other sources to support prevention initiatives. DOCAS reported creating and maintaining over 3,000 partnerships with other police agencies/detachments, provincial, territorial, municipal, Aboriginal, and non-governmental partners; these partnerships enabled DOCAS to make effective use of local resources while empowering community agencies and individuals to take ownership and responsibility for addressing substance abuse-related problems in their communities. DOCAS also reviewed all of its programs in relation to the Developmental Assets framework to ensure that its prevention projects facilitate strengthening of developmental assets amongst youth. Footnote 113

Treatment Action Plan components, including DTCFP, YJADS, and DTFP, also enhanced cost efficiency of the Strategy through creating partnerships. Departmental representatives noted that certain DTCs benefited from partnerships with provincial governments. Some YJADS-funded projects have been continued with other sources of funding or have contributed to the development of new provincial projects and initiatives. DTFP funding recipients also leveraged program funding through the dedication of in-kind resources.

Within the Enforcement Action Plan, Strategy funding was used to enhance the cost efficiency of operations across a range of partners such as DAS, the RCMP and CBSA. DAS increased its cost efficiency through lab renovations and increased FTE resources. These improvements enabled DAS to eliminate its backlog of unanalyzed exhibits and to improve its average number of days to respond to a request from 90 days to 64 days. The RCMP undertook strategic partnership and awareness activities, which represented a cost-efficient approach. For example, it developed the Chem Watch Program to work with legitimate industry in order to minimize the possibility of diversion of precursors. This program resulted in significant successes, including reports on suspicious purchases of microcrystalline, which led police to “super” labs in Toronto and Montreal. In addition, the joint RCMP and CBSA project enhanced their capacity and resulted in increased illicit drug seizures in 2010/11. S takeholders noted that contributing to multilateral organizations such as the UNODC and OAS-CICAD is a cost-efficient approach for several reasons: the UNODC has comparative advantages in technical competencies in knowledge, data collection, research and analysis; the UNODC has many offices in Latin America and is the only organization actively building capacity with respect to amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) in the region; funding these organizations is much more cost-efficient than having multiple bilateral agreements, and the funding allows Canada to easily access global drug information.

4.3.3 Tax Revenues

Federal taxes collected and assets seized as a result of CRA Special Enforcement Program and FAMG activities have offset some of the costs of the Strategy. From 2007/08 to 2010/11, the Strategy invested $3.2 million in the Program; in turn, the CRA has assessed over $10 million through federal taxes and GST/HST (i.e., over a 300% return). PWGSC - FAMG also plays an important role in helping to take away assets, including money, from those who take part in criminal activity.

4.3.4 Internal Factors constraining the Overall Efficiency of the Strategy

In the short term, the efficiency of the Strategy was constrained by a number of factors including: the challenges associated with creating such a large, complex horizontal initiative; the time required to establish new components or expand the capacity of existing activities; and the inability to redistribute funding across components. Efficiency has also been impacted by certain regulatory issues, competing priorities, the low profile of the Strategy, and the limited availability of complementary services in some regions or communities.

Because they involve multiple partners, horizontal initiatives are more difficult to create and manage than programs conceived and delivered by a single department. To illustrate its complexity, the Strategy was compared with other horizontal initiatives within the federal government such as the Federal Tobacco Strategy, Youth Employment Strategy, Federal Initiative to Address HIV/AIDS, and IPOC in Canada. The results reveal that, even relative to other horizontal initiatives, the Strategy is unique and very complex in terms of the number of departments participating; it is relatively new; it has far-reaching objectives (which makes it more difficult to measure performance); and it encompasses a three-pronged approach of prevention, treatment and enforcement (in contrast, for example, the Federal Tobacco Strategy focuses primarily on prevention while the Federal Initiative to Address HIV/AIDS focuses primarily on prevention and treatment). Although it took time and considerable effort to establish governance structures and develop strong relationships between partners, these two factors are now considered as major strengths of the Strategy.

Additionally, there can be significant challenges associated with introducing new components or expanding the capacity of pre-Strategy programs. It takes time to create program structures, guidelines, operating procedures, and to build relationships and awareness among key stakeholders or target groups. In addition, new programs and new responsibilities often create the need for additional staff and training. As highlighted in the previous sections, there were significant increases in capacity particularly within components of the Enforcement Action Plan. At the RCMP, staffing challenges were exacerbated by the necessity to hire new recruits able to meet extensive security and training requirements (e.g. MGO/Clan Lab Teams require additional mandatory training). Some departmental representatives noted that available staff resources were not sufficient to fully meet the demand for services. DTCs also reported some difficulties in providing specialized programming given existing staff levels. Footnote 114 PS reported that staff turnover had an impact on its capacity to undertake additional activities in support of the Strategy.

Under the terms and conditions of the funding, there is limited flexibility to redistribute budgets across components. Departmental representatives explained the challenge of not being able to redistribute funding between different programs or departments in response to changing priorities or when funding for one program was going to lapse. Although greater flexibility in terms and conditions may theoretically have made it easier for different programs to collaborate operationally on specific programs or issues, such flexibility is unlikely to occur as each department is responsible and accountable for the resources allocated to it under the Strategy.

4.3.5 External Factors Constraining the Overall Efficiency of the Strategy

Certain regulatory issues can also impact efficiency by making it more difficult for partners to respond to new developments or to share information. In particular, departmental representatives noted the time required to implement amendments to the CDSA (in response to emerging precursor chemicals and illicit drugs), and the impact of the Privacy Regulations on the sharing of information across federal departments.

Some departmental representatives also suggested that the low public profile of the Strategy has impacted efficiency by reducing stakeholder involvement and interest in the Strategy and creating difficulties in developing partnerships and collaboration with local sources, particularly with respect to the Treatment Action Plan. There was no dedicated budget for promotional activities and for raising the profile of the Strategy among stakeholders, target groups or the broader public. In focus groups, departmental representatives noted that aside from the main Strategy website, which was supported by the Department of Justice, there were no marketing and promotional materials, either web-based or paper, developed to promote the Strategy. Furthermore, some individual components and projects did not feature the Strategy prominently in their marketing and communication activities. As a result of the low profile, it was perceived among stakeholders (strongly expressed in the learning circles and external stakeholder interviews) that the Strategy places a much greater emphasis on enforcement than treatment and prevention.

In addition, the efficiency of certain components or projects is dependent on the presence of other services, which may not be available in some regions and communities. It was noted during interviews and focus groups that the ability of some programs to generate their intended outputs (e.g. referrals to other resources in the community) is dependent on the existence of other services that are not part of the Strategy. For example, given that the NYIDP was intended to improve referrals of youth to treatment, its efficiency in generating the intended outputs depends in part on the availability of treatment services in a community. In the focus groups, it was mentioned that an environmental scan was required prior to implementing this program in a jurisdiction. Departmental representatives also explained that treatment for First Nations and Inuit people requires partnerships between provinces/territories and the federal government (e.g. the province/territory provides detox and the federal government offers residential and community treatment services). However, when a First Nations or Inuit person is addicted to a substance that may require medically assisted withdrawal management (e.g. heroin), most treatment centres require the person to undergo detoxification prior to being admitted into longer-term treatment. This situation can be an impediment because, in some provincial/territorial jurisdictions, such services are not readily available.

4.3.6 Appropriateness of the Strategy Model to Support the Objectives

The three-pronged approach is an efficient model, delivering an appropriate mix of policies, programs and services, and it is consistent with approaches undertaken in other countries. A balanced approach that includes prevention, treatment and enforcement is strongly supported by departmental representatives and stakeholders. The major advantage of this approach is that it enables partners to take a multilateral approach tackling the illicit drug problem from different angles, simultaneously working on both demand and supply reductions. According to the departmental representatives interviewed, the fact of having three separate action plans contributes to efficiency by allowing each partner to focus on their own specific activities, target groups and objectives, while at the same time contributing to the broader objectives of the Strategy.

Reviews of the literature and drug strategies in other countries also suggest that the Strategy is following a model that has proven to be effective and efficient. Footnote 115 In addition, a comparison of the Strategy with similar strategies implemented in eleven other countries reveals that most countries employ a multi-faceted approach that incorporates prevention, treatment and enforcement although the structure and relative emphasis on each element vary. For example, some countries focus more heavily on treatment and harm reduction policies (e.g. the Netherlands and Portugal) with the rationale that complete abstinence is not realistic, and that it is important that policies minimize the harm caused to society and the individual drug user, so as not to marginalize them. Other countries (e.g. USA) place a greater emphasis on prevention and particularly on enforcement strategies. Similar to the Strategy, some countries place a strong emphasis on community capacity-building (e.g. UK). All eleven countries have strategies to reduce the supply and demand of illicit drugs while focusing on youth.

4.3.7 Appropriateness of the Governance Structure

When asked about the strengths of the Strategy, departmental representatives commonly identified the effective governance structure, committed leadership, and the high level of communication within and across participating departments as well as with other organizations and stakeholders. More specifically, the governance structure of the Strategy is effective in facilitating communication, collaboration and cooperation among partners. Representatives highlighted the importance of regular communication among partners and having all departments involved in both program-level and DG/ADM-level committees to ensure that the Strategy remains a priority within the participating departments. Although there was an adjustment period as Justice Canada took on the lead role under the Strategy, departmental representatives noted that the strong leadership and commitment of senior staff from Justice Canada (particularly in fostering relationships among partner departments and buy-in from key ADMs) greatly contributed to the success of the Strategy. In addition, there is broad support for the model in which Justice Canada focuses primarily on leading the Strategy while other partners focus primarily on their own components within the context of the broader action plans.

Similarly, various stakeholders highlighted the commitment, competence and buy-in of staff, partners and communities and, more broadly, the federal government’s leadership and its commitment to establishing and implementing a national strategy. Departmental representatives and stakeholders commonly identified information sharing and collaboration between federal, provincial/territorial, municipal and community-level partners as a key to success. For example, the DTCs benefited from sharing information and regular collaboration, formally and informally, among the sites to solicit advice from their counterparts. Enforcement partners benefited from increased communication and information sharing to identify emerging issues. The NNADAP renewal process was a collaborative, grassroots initiative where First Nations and government worked together to guide all activities. This process underscored the importance of including indigenous cultural understandings in all aspects of service delivery and design. CCSA coordinated partners and stakeholders to develop national standards for prevention. Stakeholders noted that the success of the Strategy management can be seen through the growth of the programs, the development of partnerships and subsequent discussion. During focus groups, departmental representatives highlighted the effectiveness of ad hoc meetings as well as workshops and conferences in sharing information and best practices arising from Strategy programs. The summative evaluation of the DTCFP (2009) also indicated the usefulness of roundtables and conferences in sharing best practices. Stakeholders explained that the involvement of many experts and use of best practices contributed to the efficient delivery of the Strategy programs.

4.3.8 Better Ways of Accomplishing the Strategy’s Objectives

Key informants and focus group participants provided suggestions on how to improve the efficiency and the accomplishment of the Strategy’s objectives in the future. The major themes are summarized below:

Communication and coordination between demand and supply reduction activities.
Concerns were raised in the interviews and focus groups about how demand and supply reductions are working in silos resulting in a disconnection and imbalance in the Strategy. Departmental representatives suggested that ad hoc meetings, conferences and workshops focused on specific issues could be an effective vehicle to improve the coordination of supply and demand reduction activities, as well as the collaboration and communication across the three action plans, particularly with respect to emerging issues. Efforts should also continue to further coordination of the activities of components within action plans. In focus groups, it was suggested that having joint terms and conditions could help the programs target common objectives. It was also suggested that collaboration could be enhanced by establishing an internal website for the Strategy, which would contain key background documents and a wiki directory through which participating departments could regularly update lists of their key contacts involved in the Strategy. Such a site would be particularly useful for staff members recently assigned to Strategy programs.
Efforts should be made to coordinate and strengthen knowledge transfer activities.
Although the Strategy has been successful in developing knowledge by supporting innovative pilot projects, undertaking research, and identifying best practices or lessons learned, it is important to recognize that the eventual impact of those projects is dependent on the ability to transfer that knowledge to other parties and for them to act on it. With respect to the former, both departmental representatives and stakeholders identified challenges in disseminating knowledge, best practices and research findings to potential users. With reference to the latter, there is concern that funding constraints at the provincial and territorial level may mean, for example, that some very successful pilot projects will not continue once federal funding ends.
The Strategy should continue to build on its evidence-based approach.
Stakeholders highlighted the importance of evidence-based programs that focus on the root causes of drug abuse and its related activities, building on research and best practices from Canada and internationally, and placing a strong emphasis on evaluation to make the Strategy more evidence-based.
The Strategy should further strengthen its international focus.
Stakeholders referred to a need for greater coordination in efforts across countries, particularly when targeting sophisticated criminal networks, and increased diversity of precursor chemicals, as well as greater sharing of research, effective models and best practices.

Other suggestions to improve the Strategy included undertaking greater consultation with the provincial/ territorial governments and communities to improve understanding of and capacity to address current needs, further linking mass media campaigns with community programming, increasing the level of funding for communities and at-risk populations, and simplifying application processes for funding programs.

Date modified: