Policy Research

Many policy questions can be answered without a formal evaluation. Such questions may relate to the need for a new program, the tools other jurisdictions have used to address a social issue, why potential clients are not making use of a program, or whether program data can support effective evaluations. SRDC applies methodologies like literature reviews, environmental scans, applied data analysis, key informant interviews, and focus groups to address such questions.

Current and Completed Projects:

Environmental Scan and Analysis: Monitoring and Evaluating Impact – Options for Federal Accessibility Legislation

The Office for Disability Issues (ODI) is the Government of Canada’s focal point to advance the full participation of people with disabilities in Canadian society. It also supports the Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities on the mandate to develop and introduce new federal accessibility legislation. The goal of the federal legislation will be to eliminate systemic barriers in areas of federal jurisdiction and promote equal opportunities for all Canadians living with disabilities. In order to assess the outcomes and impact of the new accessibility legislation and complementary programming, a measurement framework will also be designed and implemented. SRDC has been engaged by ODI to conduct an environmental scan and analysis to help inform the development of this framework.

Start-end date: October 2017 - February 2018
Sponsor: Employment and Social Development Canada

Long-term Case Studies of Work Integration Social Enterprises (WISE) in British Columbia

The BC Centre for Employment Excellence (CfEE) is conducting a five-year demonstration project to evaluate the role of WISEs in supporting the labour market transitions of populations facing barriers to developing their career potential. The project is partnering with a minimum three WISEs in locations outside of Vancouver and Victoria to provide transitional employment opportunities for different groups of vulnerable populations, including people with disabilities, immigrants, and Indigenous people. The pilot involves a series of case studies to provide a better understanding of WISE capacity to serve barriered job seekers as well as the employment outcomes of participants who receive placements with the project's WISE partners. By combining research that examines both WISE capacity development and participant long-term employment outcomes, this study is designed to offer unique insights into the needs of WISEs who serve job seekers facing significant barriers to employment, as well as the benefits that accrue to participants whom they employ.

Start-end date: June 2017 - March 2022
Sponsor: Employment and Social Development Canada

The relationship between education savings accounts and postsecondary education aspirations

SRDC is undertaking an original analysis of its unique “Future to Discover” dataset to help answer questions on how best to maximize the impact of education savings programs such as Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) and associated government grants, such as the Canada Education Savings Grants (CESG) and the Canada Learning Bond (CLB) on access to postsecondary education (PSE) for students from low-income family backgrounds. Specifically, this new study sheds light on whether the positive educational outcomes associated with these approaches arise because (a) acquiring accounts changes families’ orientations towards PSE over time or (b) the funds in accounts help students overcome financial barriers at the point of paying for their studies.

The findings of this study will inform the search for new ways to increase the take up rate of RESPs, CESG, and CLB. The study will assess factors that lead to the opening of accounts; the role of parental involvement and level of education; the relationship of family income to educational attainment of the child; sources of personal contributions to RESPs; and the relationship of educations savings to debt and the availability of student financial assistance in relation to the determination to participate in PSE. In addition, the analysis explores the role of trusted intermediaries and sources of information regarding decision-making related to PSE. The study findings will be structured to provide concrete lessons learned from the research for optimal next steps in the development and delivery of RESPs, CESG, CLB, and related programming.

Start-end date: April 2017 - December 2017
Sponsor: Employment and Social Development Canada

Relationship between PSE participation and household income

The current decade has seen very little new research into the relationship between household income and PSE participation for Canada in general and Ontario in particular. The effects of recently adopted policies aimed at increasing PSE accessibility on this relationship, such as the reforms to the Ontario Student Assistance Program, are consequently poorly understood. This project uses a time series of harmonized long-form data from the Canadian Census 1996-2016 to examine the relative impact of household income and parents’ human capital on their children’s post-secondary education participation.

Start-end date: March 2017 - October 2018
Sponsor: Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario

Enhancing Volunteer Recruitment and Retention

The study explores the motivations and constraints facing volunteer firefighters to support the development of an enhanced set of recruitment and retention practices, particularly in rural communities. The project is a partnership with the Community Development and Homelessness Partnerships Directorate of Employment and Social Development Canada, funded by the Canadian Safety and Security Program. The project seeks to augment existing outreach strategies and messaging to create better alignment with volunteers’ motivations and constraints through multiple methods, including behavioural-based analyses. The feasibility of the new model will be tested through a small-scale pilot.

Start-end date: January 2017 - December 2018
Sponsor: Canadian Safety and Security Program

Assessing Impact of Federal Student Financial Assistance Eligibility on Targeted Part-Time Programs at Public Post-Secondary Institutions

Under the Canada Student Loans Program, part-time post-secondary programs that do not have a full-time equivalent option are ineligible for federal student financial assistance (SFA). Little is known about the impacts of this policy on student demand for these types of programs, potential demand if they were SFA-eligible, and the capacity of post-secondary institutions to deliver them. This project includes an assessment of the federal legislation, regulations, and policies that oversee SFA program eligibility, a jurisdictional scan of targeted programs at public post-secondary institutions across Canada, and a market demand assessment. The findings will inform recommendations regarding students' accessibility to SFA for part-time programs.

Start-end date: November 2016 - March 2017
Sponsor: British Columbia Ministry of Advanced Education

Feasibility Study of the Ontario Community Employment Loan Program

The BC Centre for Employment Excellence received a grant from the Vancouver Foundation to conduct a feasibility study of the Ontario Community Employment Loan Program (CELP). In 2006, Social Capital Partners introduced CELP, a social finance instrument, aimed at facilitating access to subordinated debt financing to the private sector – small business owners and franchisees – who agree to hire individuals with disadvantages in the labour market. The program was designed to achieve twin objectives: 1) borrowers received beneficial financing terms and free services from CELP to find pre-screened job candidates; and 2) job seekers supported by community agencies had opportunities for real employment. The Centre conducted the study in collaboration with Vancity Community Foundation and MSDSI Accessibility Secretariat to gain a better understanding of CELP that is currently underway in Ontario to support a discussion among the study partners to establish its potential for implementation in BC.

Start-end date: September 2016 - January 2017
Sponsor: Vancouver Foundation

Development of a "How To" Guide for Integrated Mental Health and Substance Use Services for Youth and Young Adults

Only a small proportion of youth with mental health and substance use disorders actually receive treatment, in part because services designed for adults are neither accessible nor appropriate. This “How To” guide is intended to support the Provincial and Territorial Working Group and other policy makers in understanding how to create enabling environments for the development of integrated MHSU services for youth and young adults. To develop this guide, SRDC is collecting information via interviews and surveys on program exemplars in six different provinces, and work closely with the BC Ministry of Health MHSU Branch and members of the P/T WG members.

Start-end date: July 2016 - March 2017
Sponsor: British Columbia Ministry of Health

Income Support in Relation to Housing in Canada and Selected Other Countries

To support the Government of Canada in developing a national housing strategy, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation engaged SRDC to research the relationship between social assistance and housing/shelter benefits, both across Canada and internationally. SRDC conducted a literature review and environmental scan of related policy instruments in all 13 P/Ts and in six other OECD countries. The comparative analyses also include policy trends and promising practices.

Start-end date: July 2016 - September 2016
Sponsor: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

National Housing Collaborative

The National Housing Collaborative engages a broad range of pan-Canadian interests to generate and advocate for the inclusion of critical ideas and policies that will guide the renewed federal role in affordable housing. SRDC was engaged by the Collaborative to assist with the policy analysis process including: scoping out policy objectives; developing a detailed research agenda; and overseeing the development of a series of policy options papers. SRDC will also work with the Collaborative to develop the final submission to the Federal government as part of the government’s consultation phase on the National Housing Strategy. The Collaborative is administered by a Secretariat, housed within the United Way Toronto & York Region. The Secretariat is funded by a funding circle that includes United Way, the Maytree Foundation, Evergreen CityWorks, and the McConnell Foundation.

Start-end date: June 2016 - October 2016
Sponsor: United Way of Greater Toronto

Needs Analysis for Mentoring and Support Services for Women in the Trades

Women are consistently underrepresented in the skilled building trades. While efforts have been made to encourage women to enter the trades as a career option, significant challenges remain for those already in the trades and retention rates are low. The BC Government aims to develop a support system for women in skilled trades including networking and mentorship training to support new apprentices. This project lays the ground work for development of these services by exploring the challenges faced by women in the skilled trades and the kinds of supports that would help improve retention. The research includes a series of focus groups across the province with women currently in the skilled trades, both union and non-union, and with a sample of women who have recently left the trades. Consultations are conducted with employers to explore their hiring decisions.

Government of British Columbia news release

 

Start-end date: May 2016 - December 2016
Sponsor: SkillPlan

Determinants of Participation in Indigenous Labour Market Programs

The primary goal of this project is to identify barriers to participation in ESDC Indigenous Labour Market Programs: the Aboriginal Skills and Training Program; the Skills and Partnership Fund; and the First Nations Job Fun (joint project with IAND). The project includes: a document review and environmental scan of program evaluations and recent policy research; key informant interviews with program agreement holders; and an exploratory analysis of program administrative data.

Start-end date: February 2016 - March 2016
Sponsor: Employment and Social Development Canada

Assistive Equipment and Technology for Students with Disabilities

There is a commitment to support students with disabilities in the post-secondary environment by federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions, as well as post-secondary institutions. The advent of assistive technology over the last few decades has drastically altered the ways in which curriculum is delivered in education and has also resulted in making education much more accessible to students with disabilities. In partnership with the Neil Squire Society, SRDC is conducting a literature and information source review; developing an inventory of assistive technology for barriers to post-secondary education; reviewing new and emerging technologies and the assessment processes used to identify suitable technologies; as well as the application of assistive technology as part of the universal design in curriculum delivery. The findings from this study will inform decision making for all jurisdictions and post-secondary institutions experiencing challenges related to the accommodation of increasing numbers of students with identified disabilities, the rapidly evolving state of assistive technology and the effective provision of the most appropriate and applicable assistive technology to address disability related barriers to education.

Start-end date: December 2015 - March 2017
Sponsor: British Columbia Ministry of Advanced Education

School Choices and Educational Trajectories of Youth of French-speaking Immigration Backgrounds

As stated in the Roadmap for Canada’s Official Languages 2013-2018 : Education, Immigration, Communities, education plays a vital role in strengthening Francophone minority communities (FMC). This project aims to understand the factors (environmental and social) and motivations of students (and their families) of French-speaking immigrant backgrounds living in FMCs in their choices and educational trajectories in three different education systems, namely French-language schools, English-language schools offering various French-second-language educational options, and English-language schools offering no classes in French. Moreover, the impact of these choices on Francophone identity and the sense of belonging to the Francophonie will be explored. The project scope is limited to Ottawa, Ontario.

Start-end date: November 2015 - February 2017
Sponsor: Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Women Gaining Ground Research Study

SRDC was engaged by the United Way of Greater Toronto to inform the further development of their Career Navigator program to better meet the needs of young women facing multiple barriers to employment, by gaining a deeper understanding of the challenges and service/support needs of this group. The study includes a systematic literature and evidence review, and interviews and focus groups to identify and understand: the main barriers (environmental/external and personal) that young women facing multiple barriers are experiencing while transitioning into the labour market; evidence-informed and promising approaches for serving young women with multiple barriers; how the current Career Navigator program is addressing barriers and where there might be gaps; and how adjustments to program design/delivery can be implemented in a way that works for both jobseekers and employers.

Start-end date: September 2015 - January 2016
Sponsor: United Way of Greater Toronto

The role of financial literacy on financial decisions and retirement preparedness among seniors and older adults

Recent evidence suggests that many seniors and older adults may struggle to manage their finances. On assessments of financial capability, Canadian seniors and older adults fared poorly on objective measures of financial knowledge including those with high self-rated skills. These gaps may have serious consequences for financial decision-making, particularly among those heading into retirement. This project analyzes the 2014 Canadian Financial Capability Survey (CFCS) to understand the challenges that Canadian seniors and older adults face with financial literacy, how these relate to financial outcomes, and retirement preparedness.

Start-end date: September 2015 - March 2016
Sponsor: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

The role of subjective attitudes and beliefs in financial decision-making of Canadians

While many Canadians lack basic financial literacy, mounting evidence from behavioural economics suggests that financial decisions are also frequently undermined by psychological factors. Even with the requisite financial knowledge and literacy skills, people are prone to various kinds of cognitive biases when making financial decisions such as those related to evaluating risk and uncertainty or the time value of money. This project undertakes an analysis of the 2014 Canadian Financial Capability Survey (CFCS) with the aim of understanding the role of cognitive biases in the financial decision-making of Canadians, with a particular focus on youth, aboriginals, and those with low incomes.

Start-end date: September 2015 - March 2016
Sponsor: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Incremental cost of living as a result of being a person with a disability in Ontario

SRDC conducted empirical research to estimate the incremental cost of living as a result of being a person with disability, relative to the cost of living experienced by non-disabled adults, for Ontario. This data analysis is based on a literature review of research (particularly in methodology development) on measuring the additional needs for people with disabilities; analysis of applicability of identified models to the Ontario context; and investigation of internal/external data available to estimate incremental cost of living for disabled people in Ontario. The final product is a report that (a) reviews the most commonly adopted methodologies in evaluating the additional direct costs incurred by people with a disability, including pros and cons of each method, (b) evaluates the robustness or applicability of each method using Canadian data, and (c) evaluates the potential additional cost of living for people with a spectrum of disabilities living in Ontario using the best currently available data.

Start-end date: June 2015 - December 2015
Sponsor: Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services

Inter-jurisdictional Analysis of Rate Setting Methods and Approaches

An inter-jurisdictional review and analysis of the rate structures of social assistance programs across Canada and selected OECD countries. The review looks at the underlying rationale behind social assistance rate policies and structures and government responses to economic crisis in adjusting rates or practices. The review covers different family/household types as well as rates and other allowances for persons with disabilities.

Start-end date: June 2015 - November 2015
Sponsor: Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services

Research on Low Income/Poverty and Adequacy Measures

The project reviews different measures of poverty / low income and assesses their relevance to social assistance in Ontario. An environmental scan explores the use of similar measures in comparable jurisdictions. A literature review examines: the methodological and policy-related aspects of poverty measurement; recent developments related to measures of material deprivation and social inclusion; and empirical studies on entrance to, persistence in, and exit from poverty.

Start-end date: June 2015 - November 2015
Sponsor: Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services

Research – Settlement and Integration of Newcomers

This research contributes to the Government of Alberta’s process of developing a future-focused, innovative, and high-impact approach for newcomers, communities, and the economy through a three-fold approach: a review of promising practices related to immigrant settlement and integration; a scan of delivery models for settlement services in Canada, the U.K., New Zealand, Australia, and Denmark; and identification of policy drivers and key players in the field of settlement and integration in the province of Alberta.

Start-end date: June 2015 - August 2015
Sponsor: Alberta Ministry of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour

Social Assistance Rate Level(s) and Withdrawal Models

The project generated three products to inform the ongoing review of social assistance in Ontario. These include: a literature review on existing theoretical and empirical evidence from Canadian provinces and internationally on approaches to setting income assistance rates and withdrawal rates; an environmental scan of existing practices; and an options paper comprising a set of alternative future models for setting social assistance rates and withdrawal rates. All three consider the implications of different approaches for work incentives, fairness and adequacy.

Start-end date: June 2015 - December 2015
Sponsor: Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services

PSE Mobility of French Immersion Secondary School Students in Central Southwestern Ontario

The study surveys high school students in grades 11 and 12 enrolled in English high schools offering a French immersion program to establish the viability of offering PSE programs in French immersion in the central and southwestern regions of Ontario. A stratified sample frame is used to select 12 school boards and 22 high schools offering French immersion and Extended French programs. Secondary school students complete an online survey on their language preference for university and/or college studies (i.e., French, English, or both) and factors they are considering when selecting a postsecondary program and a location.

Start-end date: April 2015 - January 2016
Sponsor: University of Ottawa

Analysis of PIAAC Data and Development of Evidence Base on Adult Learning for Ontario

This study examines the literacy skills proficiency distribution among key subgroups in the province of Ontario including recent immigrants, Aboriginals, Francophone, youth, and older workers. The objective is to inform policy direction with respect to resource targeting for adult learning initiatives in the province. Among other sources, the project utilizes the latest data from the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC).

Start-end date: March 2015 - September 2015
Sponsor: Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities

How youth develop career decisions

Making use of existing literature from Canada and abroad, this study examines when, where and how youth use labour market information to make postsecondary education and career-related decisions, including recommendations for the development and refinement of labour market information tools and initiatives. The report includes design considerations, critical features and strategies including those to adopt and those to avoid.

Start-end date: February 2015 - March 2015
Sponsor: Employment and Social Development Canada

Flexible Workplace Practices in Support of Caregivers

Working Canadians often have multiple roles outside of the workplace that may conflict with the demands of their jobs. One increasingly prominent role is to provide unpaid care for family members or close friends with a long-term health condition, physical or mental disability. Caregiving commitments have a number of direct consequences for workers and businesses that employers can help mitigate through various leave policies, flexible practices, and supports. The objective of this project is to fill knowledge gaps with respect to the costs and benefits to Canadian employers of offering various flexible workplace practices in support of caregivers. SRDC conducted a series of nine business case studies with a comprehensive cost-benefit methodology that measures the return on investment for employers from introducing a range of flexible practices and policies in support of caregivers.

Start-end date: February 2015 - September 2015
Sponsor: Employment and Social Development Canada

International students immigration in Francophone minority communities (FMCs) in Canada

Immigration is one of the proposed solutions to promote demographic growth, economic health, and vitality in FMCs. Amidst the diversity of the newcomers, integrating foreign French-speaking students into FMCs seems a promising avenue to ensure the viability and sustainability of FMCs. A series of three projects together aim to deepen our knowledge about separate but connected aspects of the immigration process for foreign French-speaking students to FMCs. The first project draws up a profile of the international student community in FMCs. The second identifies the recruitment strategies as well as the orientation, settling, integration, and retention services offered to foreign students in FMCs. And the third project studies the facilitators and issues connected with the immigration process for foreign students and looks at the promising services and programs that are already implemented at the FMC level or that could potentially reach the pilot project stage.

Start-end date: December 2014 - March 2016
Sponsor: Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Saskatchewan Program Supports Service

This project assists the Saskatchewan Ministry of the Economy in the redesign of an employment service program for parents applying to or in receipt of social assistance. SRDC applied a comprehensive, evidence-based approach that included an environmental scan, review of program documents, key informant interviews, stakeholder consultations, policy analysis, and program design. SRDC also developed an evaluation and research strategy to measure the effectiveness of the program.

Start-end date: October 2014 - March 2015
Sponsor: Government of Saskatchewan Ministry of the Economy

Workforce development pipeline model

This project is part of Labour Market Partnership between the United Way Toronto and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. As part of the partnership, SRDC created a workforce development ‘pipeline’ model to support the new Eglinton Crosstown Line Metrolinx Community Benefits Agreement. The objective is to ensure Toronto residents that have been historically disadvantaged in the labour market are engaged, assessed, recruited, registered, trained, and employed on new jobs related to the construction of the Eglinton Crosstown Line. The design of the pipeline is a developmental process: planning, testing, evaluating, learning, adapting, re-testing, and re-evaluating multiple iterations of the model.

Start-end date: October 2014 - September 2015
Sponsor: United Way Toronto

Market Study and Feasibility Study related to the offer of trades and applied technology programs in the Greater Toronto Area

The goal of the market and feasibility studies is to increase access to trades and applied technology programs for the Francophone population of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). The market study focuses on various potential sources of labour force supply and demand based on labour market trends and economic forecasts in the GTA. Analyses address trades and apprenticeship training needs as dictated by the local economy, with an emphasis on the Francophone population. As for the feasibility study, it presents a partnership-based action plan to identify program and service delivery models in the GTA.

Start-end date: July 2014 - September 2014
Sponsor: Collège Boréal d’arts appliqués et de technologie + Collège d’arts appliqués et de technologie La Cité

Provincial and Territorial Engagement on Mental Health Issues

To support the MHCC in its preparations for a series of deliberative dialogues with P/T stakeholders about advancing Changing Directions, Changing Lives: the Mental Health Strategy for Canada, SRDC conducted background research and analysis on the mental health policy landscape in each of the 13 provinces and territories.

Start-end date: June 2014 - October 2014
Sponsor: Mental Health Commission of Canada

Ontario Labour Market Focused Credential Options

SRDC conducted an evidence-based analysis of Ontario’s current mix of labour market credentials to determine whether Ontario has the appropriate mix of credential options in its publicly-funded post-secondary education system to ensure successful student labour market outcomes. The analysis informs the development of detailed recommendations for enhancing the provincial credential framework. Options take into account evidence from eight other jurisdictions and an analysis of potential costs and benefits of the recommended changes.

Start-end date: April 2014 - January 2015
Sponsor: Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities

Review of Manitoba Employment Assistance Service Providers

SRDC conducted an evidence-based analysis of Manitoba’s Employment Assistance Service (EAS) providers to inform future funding decisions of the Manitoba government intended to promote an effective and efficient service delivery network. SRDC’s analysis provides indications of where changes in EAS programming are needed so that the program can “do more of the things that help, and less of the things that do not.” The analysis addresses five key questions: To what extent is EAS programming aligned with provincial and federal policy objectives? To what extent is current programming responsive to the needs of key population groups and communities? To what extent are programs responsive to the changing dynamics of Manitoba’s labour market? How effective is current programming in achieving results for job seekers, employers, and communities? What is the relative value for money of the existing EAS program, and are there opportunities for service improvements?

Start-end date: April 2014 - September 2015
Sponsor: Manitoba Department of Jobs and the Economy

Episodic and Moderate Disabilities and Employment

This project identifies key characteristics of populations with episodic and moderate disabilities, and the nature of their respective attachments to the labour market. A literature review and environmental scan identify policies and practices that are supportive to the labour market participation of those with episodic disabilities, as well as barriers to work. Prevalence rates and indicators of labour market attachment are calculated based on the 2013 Canadian Survey on Disability, while trends in the receipt of income assistance among those with occasional work limitations are based on the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics.

Start-end date: January 2014 - August 2014
Sponsor: Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services

Understanding current employment programming and services for BC youth

This project funded five research papers that explored challenges faced by BC youth who are struggling in the labour market. The project involved a call for papers inviting researchers to submit proposals to explore youth employment barriers from a variety of angles, and to identify promising solutions for such issues as supporting youth who are entering the labour market or helping them find work that is a better match for their skills. The five selected papers covered such topics as: the barriers faced by vulnerable youth and youth living with mental illness; the value of work placements for refugee and immigrant youth; the role of employers; and the potential of social enterprises for supporting transitioning youth. The papers were presented at a June 2014 symposium in Vancouver involving approximately 80 stakeholders. The research teams also presented their findings during a series of webinars hosted by the Centre in fall 2014. The final papers have been published on the Centre’s Web site. This project was managed by the BC Centre for Employment Excellence, a division of SRDC.

Start-end date: October 2013 - August 2014
Sponsor: British Columbia Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation

Further Analysis on the Impacts of Needs Assessment Simplification

This project extends work seeking to identify options to simplify student financial aid (SFA) applications in Canada by assessing the scope for limiting or modifying the data elements currently collected to determine SFA offers. The analysis involves data from actual applications and awards. SRDC simulates aid offers to assess the role played by each data element in determining the level and composition of actual aid offers made and runs sensitivity tests for different student sub-groups to assess their vulnerability to the removal or modification of each element. The simulations and sensitivity tests are undertaken at both a national and a provincial level. The main deliverable is a range of simplification options along with the pros and cons of each, including a range of possible effects on program costs.

Start-end date: July 2013 - December 2013
Sponsor: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Manageable Student Debt Threshold Research

This project assesses current understanding on levels of manageable student debt. It begins with a review of existing theoretical and empirical evidence, both national and international, and an environmental scan of the existing practices in defining and measuring manageable student debt. Current private and public sector practices on definition, calculations, and measurements of manageable debt are gathered through key informant interviews with private sector loan providers, credit agencies, and debt counselling representatives. Data analysis of individual level microdata from Statistics Canada is used to estimate various manageable student debt thresholds, corresponding to those identified in the initial review.

Start-end date: January 2013 - March 2013
Sponsor: Alberta Enterprise and Advanced Education

Review of Employment and Training Programs

The purpose of this Program Review is to assist the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities in developing an evidence-based framework for the potential integration and ongoing evaluation of employment and training programs. To achieve this SRDC uses a comprehensive approach including: environmental scan, review of program documents, extensive discussions with MTCU staff, analysis of existing state of knowledge reviews that SRDC has conducted, key informant interviews with other ministries, value for money techniques, stakeholder consultations, policy analysis, and program design. Based on findings from the review of in-scope programs and consultations with key stakeholders as well as an analysis of the existing research on effective and/or promising approaches to employment and training services, SRDC develops high level recommendations for a potential future state of the Ontario employment and training system.

Start-end date: December 2012 - December 2013
Sponsor: Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities

Study of the gaps between French-language and English-language postsecondary education and training systems

SRDC reviews the French-language postsecondary education and training system in Ontario through comparative analyses of the French and English systems. Of particular interest is a review of the gaps between the two systems in terms of access, retention, and participation, as well as the quality of services offered by the French-language postsecondary education and training system in Ontario. In close collaboration with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities and the Ministry of Education, SRDC developed a tool to assist postsecondary and training institutions self-assess the quality of the services they provide to Francophones. The results of this review provide information to both ministries on the strengths of the French-language system and aspects that would benefit from greater attention in order to better serve the student population wishing to pursue studies in French and increase the number of individuals studying in French in Ontario.

Start-end date: December 2012 - March 2013
Sponsor: Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities

CPP Disability Vocational Rehabilitation Business Case Analysis

This project provides an analysis and critique of the VR program and its business components, including its overall cost effectiveness, human resources model, regional delivery process, client participation, outcomes, and other relevant issues. It provides recommendations for re-design to support program and departmental objectives, i.e., for providing modernized, focused, and efficient services to people with disabilities to support their return to work.

Start-end date: October 2012 - March 2013
Sponsor: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Predicting Student Loan Delinquency and Default

This project develops a model to predict student loan delinquency and default based on borrower characteristics using administrative data. The goal is to improve the targeting of at-risk borrowers and improve the efficiency of program resources devoted to reducing student loan default. The work involves documenting the theoretical and empirical evidence to date, a thorough data assessment to identify key variables, statistical modelling of loan delinquency and default, calculating probabilities for different borrower characteristics, and comparing again to the literature to identify discrepancies and new findings.

Start-end date: October 2012 - March 2013
Sponsor: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Needs Assessment Simplification

This project seeks to identify options to simplify student financial aid (SFA) applications in Canada. It does this by assessing the scope for limiting or modifying the data elements currently collected to determine SFA offers. The main analysis involves data on actual applications and awards. SRDC simulates revised aid offers to assess the role played by each data element in determining the level and composition of actual aid offers made and runs sensitivity tests for different student sub-groups to assess their vulnerability to the removal or modification of each element. The simulations and sensitivity tests are undertaken at both a national and a provincial level. Based on these findings and a review of the literature, a range of simplification options are presented along with the pros and cons of each, including a range of possible effects on program costs.

Start-end date: September 2012 - March 2013
Sponsor: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Learning how to promote youth mental health through the transition from high school

With youth mental health rapidly emerging as a public policy priority, this project examines the needs of students as they make the transition from high school to post-secondary education or work. It aims to develop a plan for an intervention that will help improve students’ mental health literacy, so they are better equipped to recognize potential problems, develop effective coping strategies, and know how to use resources to promote and protect their mental health. The project involves a review of the relevant research literature, an environmental scan of existing programs, and interviews with key stakeholders, as background research to designing a potential intervention.

Start-end date: August 2012 - December 2012
Sponsor: Carthy Foundation

Pay for Performance Project

SRDC collaborated with Workplace Education Manitoba (WEM) to explore ideas for experimenting with different performance-based funding (PBF) approaches for Essential Skills training. The project investigates the state of knowledge in PBF and identifies key lessons learned, opportunities, and promising directions. Building on promising directions, SRDC designs program model(s) for pilot testing in Manitoba and Nova Scotia and an evaluation to investigate the model(s) effects.

Start-end date: December 2011 - June 2012
Sponsor: Workplace Education Manitoba

Mental Illness as a Disability over the Life Course in Canada

This project examines mental illness experiences over the life course, among the full spectrum of Canadians from very young children through senior adults. It uses secondary data from the 2006 Participation and Activity Limitation Survey (PALS) data set and from the 2009 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) to investigate the prevalence and characteristics of mental illness as a disability among each age group.

Start-end date: November 2011 - March 2012
Sponsor: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

An Overview of Financial and Social Supports for Students with Dependants in Canada

This project fills knowledge gaps pertaining to existing policy and program levers in place to respond to the needs of students with dependants. The initiative entails jurisdictional policy review to identify the range of federal, provincial, and territorial social and financial programs available to students with dependants and provide an in-depth analysis of the extent to which these programs interact with each other, their degree of integration, and identification of existing program gaps that may prevent these students from undertaking and completing post-secondary education. The analysis informs policy decision-making on the accessibility issues faced by post-secondary students with dependants.

Start-end date: October 2011 - March 2012
Sponsor: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Non-Standard Delivery of Post Secondary Education and Student Financial Assistance

The majority of PSE students undertake programs of study which are delivered in a standard format — typically they attend full-time, on campus programs, during fall-winter semesters. A segment of PSE students is, however, opting to pursue learning opportunities outside of this standard model by participating in a wide range of non-standard formats, including online or e-learning, modular programs, and compressed or extended semesters. The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that student financial assistance (SFA) fully addresses the needs of all segments of the PSE student population, including those who wish to pursue PSE through non-standard programming. The purpose of this project is to examine the role that non-standard programs play in PSE and how SFA can help support student participation in such programs.

Start-end date: October 2011 - March 2012
Sponsor: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Community Maturity Model

With this project, SRDC provided technical assistance to HRSDC to build on prior work done to develop a Community Maturity Model (CMM), a tool that is designed to allow Official Language Minority Communities (OLMCs) to assess their own capacity for human resource and community economic development. SRDC reviewed and revised the CMM tool to make it more relevant to the Enabling Fund’s Performance Measurement Framework, and to the role of recipient organizations within their communities. SRDC’s work also focused on making the tool clearer, more practical, and user-friendly.

Start-end date: March 2011 - April 2011
Sponsor: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Assessing the Impacts of the New Canada Student Grants Program

This project consists of a program evaluation study of HRSDC’s new Canada Student Grants Program (CSGP). Introduced in 2009, the CSGP consolidates all previous federal student grants. The new grants aim to improve access to post-secondary studies and to reduce costs for students from low- and middle-income families, students with permanent disabilities, part-time students, and students with dependants. The project involves a literature review of relevant policies and programs, an evaluation of the feasibility of the available data and research methods to assess the CSGP, and a final report containing an empirical analysis of the effectiveness of the CSGP in achieving its stated objectives.

Start-end date: February 2011 - March 2012
Sponsor: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Group-based Employment Assistance Benefits

A research study that examines the growing trend of group-based approaches to employment programming in Canada and abroad. The study includes a literature review on the theoretical principles of this approach, a summary of domestic and international evidence on its barriers, challenges, and effectiveness, and a brief description of 8-10 Canadian and international examples of effective group-based employment programs.

Start-end date: February 2011 - May 2011
Sponsor: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Financial Literacy of Low-income Students

This project seeks to inform the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario about the relationship between financial literacy and post-secondary access for low-income youth, and what programs may be implemented to help youth overcome the financial literacy barrier in attending PSE. The first part consists of a literature review of research related to the financial literacy of low-income high-school students with respect to their decisions about post-secondary attendance. The second part consists of an environmental scan of programs that have been implemented to raise financial literacy among low-income youth with respect to post-secondary attendance.

Start-end date: January 2011 - May 2011
Sponsor: Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario

Career Development Services (CDS) – Field Consultations with Canadian Practitioners

A consultative study to identify gaps in services and explore innovative practices in the delivery of employment counselling and training for unemployed lower-skilled Canadian adults. Consultations include focus groups and depth interviews with practitioners involved in the intake, assessment, and referral of unemployed clients as well as training providers in four provinces: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Nova Scotia.

Start-end date: December 2010 - March 2011
Sponsor: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

First-generation Post-secondary Education Households: Scoping Paper

The purpose of this project is to describe existing data sources and pertinent variables contained therein that relate to first-generation PSE households (FGH) in Canada. First-generation PSE households consist of households where neither parent has completed PSE, namely a university, college, or apprenticeship program. A list of data sets with the pros and cons of each, along with the available information contained therein, are to be produced.

Start-end date: November 2010 - February 2011
Sponsor: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Relationship Between Funding, Learning Objectives, and Choice of Instructional Programs and Courses for Adult Learning

Making use of the micro-data from the 2008 Access to Supports and Education Training Survey and the Adult Education and Training Surveys, this study documents existing theoretical evidence and conducts descriptive and multivariate analysis on the sources of funding for Canadian adult learners, with a focus on the relationships with learning objectives and instructional programs and courses chosen.

Start-end date: November 2010 - March 2011
Sponsor: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Successful Programs That Were Effective at Economically Integrating Immigrants Into Official Language Minority Communities (OLMCs)

This research project seeks to understand the support and services available or needed for newly arrived families in Official Language Minority Communities to help them settle and adapt to life in Canada and to find gainful employment. It also seeks to identify promising ideas that can be implemented and evaluated in the Canadian OLMC context.

Start-end date: November 2010 - April 2011
Sponsor: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Successful Programs That Were Effective in Developing Entrepreneurship Skills Among Youth and Contributed to Sustainable Settlement of Youth in Official Language Minority Communities (OLMCs)

This research project focuses on understanding and developing the role of youth entrepreneurship as a strategy to encourage the sustainable settlement of youth in Official Language Minority Communities. It also seeks to identify promising ideas that can be implemented and evaluated in the Canadian OLMC context.

Start-end date: November 2010 - April 2011
Sponsor: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Training in SMEs

The research is to provide a better understanding of policies and programs that have proven effective at encouraging small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) to undertake training and skills development among their employees, with a view to provide HRSDC with an external view on recent and effective developments in policy and programming on issues pertinent to SME-sponsored training and skills development, and present the findings of this research in provincial roundtables in Quebec and Manitoba.

Start-end date: October 2010 - March 2011
Sponsor: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and Ministère de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale du Québec

Employees’ Perspectives on Intermittent Work Capacity: What Can Qualitative Research Tell Us in Ontario?

The purpose of this project was to better understand the experiences and needs of people with disabilities in Ontario who are able to work intermittently (i.e., not full-time). Focus groups, interviews, and personal stories were used to identify the conditions and supports that make it possible for people with disabilities to stay attached to the labour force.

Start-end date: July 2010 - March 2011
Sponsor: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science, and Technology

Providing expert advice on accessibility of post-secondary education in Canada.

Start-end date: June 2010 - June 2010
Sponsor: Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science, and Technology

Challenges for Canada’s Retirement Income System

The design and implementation of a multi-disciplinary research program to further our understanding of how retirement saving decisions are made by Canadian men and women and identify ways to improve retirement planning.

Start-end date: April 2010 - June 2011
Sponsor: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
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Adult Learning and Returns to Training

The design and implementation of an integrated and multi-disciplinary research program to measure a comprehensive range of economic and social returns to learning to inform adult learning policy development.

Start-end date: February 2010 - November 2013
Sponsor: Employment and Social Development Canada
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Family Partnership Framework for Integrated Family Literacy Planning Project

To provide advice and technical assistance for the development of a partnership framework and cross-ministerial engagement strategy that forms the basis of a province-wide family literacy strategy.

Start-end date: February 2010 - October 2011
Sponsor: Ontario Literacy Coalition

Labour Mobility between Canada and EU – Phase 3

An analytical study to assess the mobility potential of Eastern and Central European Union (EU) environmental workers to Canada and to develop insight regarding the facilitation of immigration of EU environmental workers to Canada, including the identification of barriers to immigration in Canada.

Start-end date: February 2010 - July 2010
Sponsor: Eco Canada

House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women

To provide expert advice on the consequences and effects the current Employment Insurance program has on women in Canada.

Start-end date: April 2009 - April 2009
Sponsor: House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women

Skills Upgrading for Ontario Working Age Adults: An Environmental Scan of Programs, Gaps, and Opportunities

A review of existing workforce and workplace-based skills training in Canada and selected international jurisdictions. The study provides a detailed examination of the most promising models and conducts a preliminary analysis of the feasibility of implementing them in an Ontario context.

Start-end date: April 2009 - August 2009
Sponsor: Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities

Family Dynamics

An evaluation of indicators used to measure family dynamics influencing child development.

Start-end date: October 2008 - October 2009
Sponsor: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Feasibility Study for Evaluating Debt Management Measures

A study exploring the feasibility of using random assignment designs to test various debt management measures administered by Canada Student Loans, including the Repayment Assistance Program (RAP) in the fall of 2009.

Start-end date: October 2008 - December 2008
Sponsor: Human Resources and Social Development Canada

Challenges and Opportunities Facing Canada’s Student Financial Assistance System

A concept paper profiling future challenges to Canada’s post-secondary education and student financial assistance systems, in the context of enrolment trends, labour market demands, returns to a post-secondary education, and current policy tools.

Start-end date: September 2008 - December 2008
Sponsor: Human Resources and Social Development Canada (Canada Student Loans)

Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science, and Technology

Provided expert advice on the role the employment insurance program plays in supporting Canadians’ income security.

Start-end date: May 2008 - May 2008
Sponsor: Subcommittee on Cities of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science, and Technology

Identifying Promising Language Acquisition Interventions to Improve Labour Market Integration for Immigrants

A project to explore policy and program ideas to improve labour market outcomes for new immigrants that could be tested via demonstration projects.

Start-end date: January 2008 - March 2008
Sponsor: Human Resources and Social Development Canada

Feasibility of Field Experiments to Test Government Support Programs for Innovation

A study to determine the feasibility of using field experiments to test government support programs for innovation. The project also presented experimental designs to test the impact of tax breaks and grants for research and development. A roundtable of policymakers and experts concluded the project.

Start-end date: November 2007 - March 2009
Sponsor: Industry Canada

Improving the EI Program Through Experimentation

A study assessing the feasibility of using random assignment designs to explore options to improve labour market outcomes of workers through changes in provisions and rules of the employment insurance program.

Start-end date: February 2007 - April 2007
Sponsor: Human Resources and Social Development Canada

Personal Re-employment Accounts

A study exploring the use of personal accounts for re-employment, unemployment insurance, human capital development, and other purposes. A workshop and presentations of policymakers and experts assessed the alternatives.

Start-end date: June 2006 - March 2007
Sponsor: Human Resources and Social Development Canada

House of Commons Standing Committee on Human Resources on Employment Insurance Reform, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities

Expert advice to the Hearings concerning the update and review of issues addressed in the Committee’s report Beyond Bill C-2.

Start-end date: May 2004 - May 2004
Sponsor: House of Commons Standing Committee on Human Resources, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities

Experience Rating Employment Insurance in Canada: A Literature Review

Start-end date: January 2004 - April 2004
Sponsor: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Comportements et attitudes des prestataires québécois de l’assurance-emploi

A study of behaviour and attitudes of Employment Insurance recipients in Quebec using data from SRDC Survey of the Repeat Use of Employment Insurance (SRUEI).

Start-end date: December 2001 - March 2002
Sponsor: Ministère de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale du Québec

Disability Supports Feasibility Study

A 16-participant pilot project in Ottawa and Vancouver to test the feasibility of providing wider “consumer control” over the acquisition of disability supports that facilitate employment.

Start-end date: December 2001 - June 2003
Sponsor: Human Resources Development Canada

Earnings Supplement Project, Phase III

A three-year program of research on patterns of work and reliance on Employment Insurance (EI) that brings together a wide range of data, including the linkage of surveys and administrative databases. The objective of this research is to better understand the barriers that certain workers face in trying to obtain secure year-round employment as a basis for formulating appropriate policy responses.

Start-end date: March 2001 - March 2004
Sponsor: Human Resources Development Canada
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Review of the Coherence of Income Security Programs in New Brunswick

An analysis of options to improve the effectiveness of New Brunswick income security programs and related services for the non-elderly population by identifying specific aspects of the present income security system that can be improved to produce a more integrated and effective model of income and employment support.

Start-end date: January 2001 - March 2001
Sponsor: Human Resources Development Canada

Statistical Profile of Government-assisted Refugees

A descriptive and analysis of selected outcomes of Government-assisted Refugees based on administrative landing data and tax records.

Start-end date: January 2001 - January 2002
Sponsor: Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Earnings Supplement Project, Phase II

A program of research to develop and conduct the Survey of the Repeat Use of Employment Insurance (SRUEI), a nationally representative survey (administered in the field by Statistics Canada) of frequent beneficiaries of Employment Insurance, and to produce a set of research studies based on data derived from the survey.

Start-end date: March 1999 - March 2001
Sponsor: Human Resources Development Canada, Applied Research Branch
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Transitions

A study to review promising school-based programs to increase student retention. The study involved reviews of the reasons students “drop out” of high school and field visits to 24 stay-in-school programs in 5 cities across BC. It recommended several promising intervention options and strategies for their evaluation.

Start-end date: January 1999 - July 1999
Sponsor: BC Ministry of Advanced Education, Training and Technology

Student Financial Assistance Programs

Report for HRDC’s Lessons Learned Series.

Start-end date: October 1997 - October 1997
Sponsor: Human Resources Development Canada

Research Support to the HRDC Ministerial Task Force on Youth

Including the preparation of the report: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Employment-related Programs and Services for Youth (a summary of this report was subsequently published as the first study in the HRDC “lessons learned” series).

Start-end date: November 1996 - November 1996
Sponsor: Human Resources Development Canada