Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
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Descriptors for Government of Canada Outcome Areas

This section describes each of the 16 outcome areas, namely the essence of what each outcome area is trying to achieve for Canadians, and enumerates the types of program activities typically found in those areas.

This is provided as a tool for departments seeking guidance on how to align their program activities to the whole-of-government framework.

I. Economic Affairs

Income security and employment for Canadians:

Program activities aim to improve the financial situation of Canadians and to provide basic income support to the most vulnerable of Canadian society. This outcome area also includes Employment Insurance.

Strong economic growth:

Program activities aim to create an environment conducive to economic growth and to promote the development of all sectors of the economy and in all regions of Canada.

An innovative and knowledge-based economy:

Program activities aim to prepare Canada for future challenges by investing in innovative research and development and in specialized education and training.

A clean and healthy environment:

Program activities aim to ensure that Canada's environment is restored and protected, and that natural resources are used in a sustainable manner for future generations.

A fair and secure marketplace:

Program activities aim to stimulate private investment and business activities and to maintain the integrity of the Canadian marketplace.

II. Social Affairs

Healthy Canadians:

Program activities aim to create a responsible, accessible, and sustainable health system. This outcome area also includes the Canada Health Transfer.    

A safe and secure Canada :

Program activities aim to maintain the safety and security of Canada and its citizens through crime prevention, law enforcement, the securing of Canadian borders, and emergency preparedness.

A diverse society that promotes linguistic duality and social inclusion:

Program activities aim to promote and protect Canada ’s official languages, human rights (including basic living standards), and the participation of all groups in Canadian society.

A vibrant Canadian culture and heritage:

Program activities aim to support Canadian culture and enhance knowledge of Canada ’s history and heritage, such as military history and national heritage sites.  

III. International Affairs

A safe and secure world through international engagement:

Program activities aim both to promote peace and security, freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law throughout the world, and to provide Canadian representation abroad. This is achieved through the provision of military and police support, services to Canadians abroad, and international diplomacy. Where and when the focus of program activities is primarily in a domestic context, that is, within Canadian borders, those program activities should then be identified within the A Safe and Secure Canada outcome area.

Global poverty reduction through international sustainable development:

Program activities aim to support sustainable development in developing countries. This includes supporting social and economic development and food security activities; providing emergency international development assistance and debt relief; strengthening the effectiveness of public, non-governmental and international institutions; engaging Canadians; and influencing the global aid agenda.

A strong and mutually beneficial North American partnership:

Program activities aim to improve the socio-economic well-being and security of citizens across the continent. Canada’s efforts in this outcome area touch on issues, such as security, trade facilitation, transportation, the environment and public health.

A prosperous Canada through global commerce:

Program activities aim to promote and sustain international trade and investment for Canada and Canadian businesses through the promotion of Canadian goods and services abroad, the negotiation of international trade agreements, and the regulation of Canadian products to meet international market requirements.

IV. Government Affairs

Strong and independent democratic institutions:

Program activities include the functions performed by the three arms of government – the judiciary, the legislature, and the executive – and activities that aim to support these institutions and to maintain their independence. This is achieved through the provision of services and advice to the judiciary, the legislature and the executive, as well as the implementation of various Acts and Codes.

A transparent, accountable and responsive federal government:

Program activities aim to safeguard public trust in government and strengthen the interaction between the government and Canadian citizens. This is done through the delivery of services that are responsive to citizens’ needs, and through public accountability, compliance and recourse measures.

Well-managed and efficient government operations:

Program activities aim to support the government in delivering its core operations, and to maintain rigorous stewardship over financial resources, assets and human resources. This includes the federal treasury, tax collection, public service recruitment and development, the provision of linguistic and procurement services, and administrative tribunals.