Weighing Benefits and Risks

Implementation, Impact and Effectiveness

The Issue

Although BAs may contain provisions for monitoring and evaluation, there is very little public information about frameworks, tools, and metrics for assessing the impact and effectiveness of implementation, particularly from the view of First Nations.

In their review of the BA literature, Caine and Krogman (2017) point out that most analyses frame BAs as a way to compensate for social and economic impacts, propose these instruments as tools to improve opportunities for more positive engagement, or develop standard criteria for assessing and comparing impacts.

Keenan and Sosa (2001) add that different variables affect the extent to which a BA may succeed in accomplishing
its objectives, such as how committed the parties are, how realistic their expectations, how much information the community has access to and how clearly drafted the agreement and its implementation plan are (see also, Bradshaw, Fidler and Wright, 2016).


Certain issue-framing strategies also affect which metrics and benchmarks are adopted to assess impact and effectiveness. In some cases, these can be highly sensitive political choices with serious consequences – for example, when analyses or audits of actual financial benefits are completed after the agreement is in place, and variance between promised and delivered amounts is shown, it can be very challenging to identify and rectify the sources and consequences of such differences in outcomes.

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