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/ Canadian Government Executive

// October 2016









he Government of Canada’s

newly announced

Policy on Re-


replaces the former


on Evaluation

. One new and

welcome feature is that it declares in its

Directive on Results that heads of evalu-

ation are responsible for “ensuring that

departmental evaluators have opportu-

nities to develop their competencies and

to earn evaluation-related designations

or certifications from recognized profes-

sional associations and certifying bodies”

(paragraph 4.4.12).

This new policy is the first time that

that the professionalization of evalua-

tion through the use of competencies and

certification has been mentioned in the

federal evaluation context. While there

has been recognition in past policies for

heads of evaluation to possess relevant

competencies, this expansion to all fed-

eral evaluators and reference to evalua-

tion-specific designations or certifications

represent important steps forward in the

professionalization of the federal evalua-

tion function.

It is a milestone. But how do you devel-

op your evaluation skills and seek certifi-


Golf Anyone?

Practicing evaluation is a lot like golf.

First of all, you need to train to improve

your skills, getting out on the course at

least once or twice a week. Each time you

swing that club, you learn something new

and the more you swing, the better you

get. Evaluation is the same. You have to do

a lot of evaluations to really understand

what is involved.

Golf requires many tools—driving irons,

long irons, short irons, putters. They are all

important to the quality of your game and

that game is comprised of many different

processes. Evaluation also requires a whole

kit bag, from qualitative to quantitative

methods, from formative to summative ap-

proaches, you need to know what pieces to

use and how to fit them together to create a

competent and useful evaluation.

So what do you do when you need to im-

prove your game? In golf, you can choose

to play with a friend who has better skills

than you have. In evaluation, you can find

a professional colleague to act as a mentor,

guiding you through the many aspects of

practice that comprise the whole.

Or you could take lessons from a pro!

This could be the fastest and most reliable

way to improve your skills. In evaluation,

the competencies identified by the Cana-

dian Evaluation Society (CES) can be used

as a guide to identify areas where profes-

sional development is needed. Once you

have identified your skill gaps, you can

find the appropriate training.

Probably, not too many of us will be-

come golf pros, but we can still reduce our

handicap. Evaluators are luckier. They can

be recognized by their peers for having

attained the skills needed to be deemed

a competent evaluator. The Canadian

Evaluation Society’s Credentialed Evalu-

ator (CE) designation indicates that those

skills have been acquired (see evaluation-


Program Evaluation

Professionalizing Evaluation

in the Government of Canada:

How PHAC and HC Did it