Parliamentarians are busy people who often turn to Agents of Parliament for independent, expert advice. This slideshow covers the appointments of the nine current Agents of Parliament and explains why parliamentarians need an Evaluator General supported by senior staff with a broad range of expertise.

The case for an Evaluator General in Canada was articulated in a 2006 article in Canadian Government Executive. Since then, an advocacy group has discussed the Evaluator General concept with Members of Parliament and journalists, some of whom have helped promote the idea. The advocacy group has organized a debate at a conference of the Canadian Evaluation Society, held meetings with university staff and students, and liaised with other groups, such as Evidence for Democracy, that believe parliamentarians should have access to expert, independent advice on findings from evaluation, scientific research and other credible sources.

The advocacy group prepared a case study on a situation in which an Evaluator General could have contributed to the evidence base on a highly contentious parliamentary debate.

The waxing and waning of the position of Comptroller General within the government bureaucracy, and the resultant instability of the federal government’s internal  evaluation function, demonstrates the importance of having an Evaluator General protected by legislation, such as has kept the Auditor General position alive and well for the past 140 years.

The Evaluator General’s primary role would be to model policies or programs of interest to Parliament and then gather relevant evaluative intelligence from within Canada and around the world. Evaluator General staff would assess the validity and reliability of this information then provide a balanced summary to Parliament. The role is described in more detail in a 2018 article, Evaluation and Government Decision Making, in Canadian Government Executive. The manuscript of the article can be downloaded here.   

Canada is not alone in reaching the conclusion that an Evaluator General, or an office that has a similar role, is needed to contribute to the evidence base for national decision-making. Click here to learn about developments around the world. 

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