Evaluation of the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program - Summary

About the Evaluation

  • This evaluation reports on the relevance, performance, design, and delivery of the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP), focusing on results achieved from April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2019.
  • The evaluation used multiple lines of evidence including document, file, and data review; literature review; interviews; and case studies.

Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program

  • CAAP provides project-based funding to not-for-profit organizations in the agricultural sector. CAAP is intended to bridge gaps in science, adoption, and commercialization across Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) programming, including those in the Growing Forward 2 and Canadian Agricultural Partnership policy frameworks, with flexibility to complement AAFC’s innovation programs.  
  • The CAAP budget is $38.2-million for fiscal years 2014-15 to 2018-19. Projects are cost-shared with industry partners in the form of non-repayable contributions, up to 50 percent of eligible project costs.

What we found


  • There is a continued need for the Program. CAAP enables the agricultural sector to remain competitive in an evolving global marketplace. Flexibility is a key attribute of CAAP, making it responsive to the needs and priorities of the agricultural sector.
  • The Program does not duplicate other federal government adaptation and innovation programming. CAAP aligns with other AAFC programming and is uniquely positioned to support adaptation projects that other programs cannot, increasing the sector’s ability to respond to new or emerging issues.


  • The Program experienced low uptake due to a variety of factors related to overly broad objectives; changes to the program scope, eligibility, funding ratio, and delivery model; and limited promotion.  
  • Despite limited uptake, funded projects generated some positive results. Examples include increased collaboration and information sharing, and the development of tools, strategies, products, and processes to address critical needs, investigate solutions, and seize new opportunities.
  • CAAP achieved its excepted immediate outcome of establishing partnerships and collaborations, as well as disseminating project information to target groups.
  • CAAP achieved one of the intermediate outcomes and is on track to achieve the other two of its three intermediate outcomes including the development of tools, strategies, products or processes, and has supported collaboration across stakeholders.
  • For over 20 years, AAFC adaptation programming has addressed new and emerging issues in the agricultural sector enabling it to adapt and remain competitive. CAAP has made progress in facilitating sector implementation of tools and strategies to adapt to changing circumstances, and adoption of innovations developed through multiple initiatives. Program management is responding to identified design and delivery issues. There are opportunities to address the limitations of the current Program design and delivery model to increase uptake and better align the Program with departmental, federal government, and industry needs and priorities.
  • CAAP has generally exceeded its current operational efficiency service standards for timely processing of applications and claims payments.
  • The Program’s performance indicators and targets did not capture the full scope of the Program impacts as they rely on average or percentage levels of achievement. Results could be misleading since one or two very successful projects could significantly skew the averages. Immediate and intermediate outcomes did not adequately consider the broad range of CAAP objectives. Longer-term outcomes could better address Program economic or other public good impacts while an absence of long-term tracking studies made it difficult to assess long-term impacts. 


Recommendation 1:  Assistant Deputy Minister, Programs Branch, should refine priorities, assess alternative design and delivery options, and develop a communication strategy to promote the CAAP with key national and sector stakeholders.

Recommendation 2:  Assistant Deputy Minister, Programs Branch, should review its performance outcomes and indicators to ensure they, align with Program objectives and priorities and develop tools or processes to better assess the long-term impacts of adaptation programming.

Management has agreed to refine program priorities; assess alternative design and delivery options; develop a communication strategy targeted to relevant industry stakeholders; review performance outcomes; and explore appropriate methodology to assess the impacts of adaptation programming. All actions will be completed by December 2022.