Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I will take the opportunity to make a couple of contextual comments as well. I think it is important to note that this is a significant initiative, a major undertaking. In my opening statement, I said it is three times the normal volume since 1995. Being able to bring in the people under those circumstances is, I think, important to note.
The other important point I would like to make is in our conclusion. For every audit, the methodology requires that we make a conclusion, and the conclusion is that they have provided these selected programs. We didn't look at all services. The services we looked at were provided when they were needed. I think that's important to note. That's to the point that several members have spoken to.
What we've observed is really ways to see whether we can enhance things. Nothing is ever perfect. While we are doing well overall, there is a need to ask if there is room for improvement, and how that can be done so that we can further the programs in the future. A bit of it was about accountability, but I think a good part of it was looking forward, to see how this can benefit future refugee programs.
I have a couple of comments, if I may. First of all, just now, we talked a fair bit about working with service organizations and how, post-audit, there has been more information about how some of them weren't able to get the funding when the department was indeed in a position to give it to them.
It seems to me that it behooves us to help smaller organizations access that, because if they don't have the assurance that the funding is going to be there, it's very difficult for them to implement programs, especially when they are smaller organizations. There seems to be a bit more of a challenge for us, and it's a challenge that we need to rise to in order to help them get there, because ultimately, to do a lot of this work, we're relying on these 500 service organizations. That's the point I want to make.
To the point that was raised by the member about the outcome framework, it's absolutely essential that we have a framework like that. We're very happy that a framework has been laid out. They were looking at different steps, initially looking at some performance indicators for different periods, then having some rapid evaluation to see quickly on the ground whether things are going in the right direction, and doing some research. The overall framework is described in the report, and we're quite happy with that.
A member also pointed out that there was a lot of detail in the management action plan. We noted that too. We haven't audited the management action plan, but it looks quite comprehensive to us.
The important thing to do now is to make sure that all the steps in the management action plan get implemented. Especially for the outcome, knowing what's happening on the ground is quite significant in terms of knowing how to deploy resources if there are resources remaining to be deployed in this area. Also, in carrying out settlement services and programs in the future, it is important to understand whether there are things we can learn from this exercise. This is a big exercise, involving large numbers, and maybe there are more areas we can learn lessons from.
The linkages and the need to get information from the provinces are absolutely critical. Just now, members raised the question, “What's the ultimate purpose? What can we hope to accomplish?” We are a compassionate people. We are helping refugees and bringing them into the country, but we're also hoping they will contribute to the Canadian community.
There is a need for us to help them be capable so that they can contribute. The outcome discussion, in terms of education, is absolutely crucial, as is health care.
If people come from war-torn countries, there are mental health issues. Do we know whether they are supported? The indicators also speak to the fact that some of the children will have special needs. To what extent do we know about them, and to what extent are those needs being addressed? The broader Canadian population has learning deficiencies in our school system. How do we help our refugee population deal with that as well? The family members have a large population of school-age children, so we need to really look after them.
It's really trying to support the point that the management action plan is there. We have to make sure it gets implemented, and we need to get the information on how well they are ultimately integrating so that we can move forward.