Socio-economic Impact Assessment

Social finance mechanisms, including social impact bonds, place a premium on high-quality program impact and performance measurement techniques, as well as comprehensive cost-benefit frameworks. These tools are required to accurately measure program outcomes that may affect returns for investors, funding agencies, and other stakeholders. SRDC has decades of experience in applying various economic and socio-economic assessment techniques. As a result, we have been retained as partners or advisors for a number of social finance interventions and as measurement experts for several social impact bonds.

Current and Completed Projects:

Connecting multi-barriered newcomers to the Canadian labour market

This project involves the design, delivery, and evaluation of a comprehensive package of employment services for the increasing numbers of refugees and other newcomers who have trouble transitioning from settlement to sustained employment. The program model augments traditional language training by offering a holistic suite of employment services including Essential Skill upgrading, technical training, work placement, and job retention support. A randomized control trial design is used to evaluate program impacts, by comparing the outcomes of those who are randomly assigned to receive the new suite of services with a control group who continue receiving existing services.

Start-end date: July 2018 - March 2021
Sponsor: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Patient Portal Value Proposition

SRDC is working with Canada Health Infoway to assess the value and impact of Canadians’ access to online Personal Health Records (PHR) in terms of accessibility, quality, and productivity in healthcare. As a part of this study, SRDC is completing a targeted literature review and evidence synthesis focused on the value of Canadians of being able to access their online healthcare information. This work will support the development of a quantitative model estimating the value of such access for citizens and health system stakeholders. SRDC will also help to identify critical success factors that maximize the benefits of online PHR access. The primary audiences for this project include federal and provincial/territorial ministries of health, health systems organizations, and digital health leaders.

Start-end date: July 2017 - December 2018
Sponsor: Canada Health Infoway

Community Hypertension Prevention Initiative

The Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), and MaRS Centre for Impact Investing (MCII) have partnered to launch a community‐based intervention to prevent cardiovascular disease, using a social impact bond as a financing vehicle. This intervention builds off of an evidence-based program called CHAP, and integrates local community partnerships, best-in-class lifestyle management resources, coaching, and digital technology to support participants in engaging in and maintaining healthy behaviours. The intervention aims to increase awareness of the risks associated with high blood pressure and to modify participant behaviour (e.g., physical activity, weight loss, smoking cessation) among pre-hypertensive Canadians 60 years of age or older. As the external validator, SRDC will be responsible for confirming the extent to which specified outcomes have been achieved – specifically in terms of volume and blood pressure outcomes – and the extent to which the risk-based funding contracts should be paid out to partners and investors. To our knowledge, this project represents the first time social finance has been used to support a population health intervention in Canada.

Heart and Stroke notice

Government of Canada news release

thestar.com notice

National Post notice

 

Start date: December 2016
Sponsor: The Heart and Stroke Foundation

Community Employment Loan Program Evaluation

Social Capital Partners has engaged SRDC to evaluate the impact and return on investment of the Ontario Community Loans Program (OCLP). The OCLP is a joint initiative between Social Capital Partners (a non-profit organization that develops innovative social finance solutions) and the Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure (MEDEI), in partnership with employment service providers and financial institutions. Through the OCLP, low-income jobseekers facing employment barriers are matched with job opportunities at small- and medium-sized employers (SMEs). SMEs who hire and retain jobseekers for at least six months pay reduced interest rates on their business loans through reimbursements provided by the Ontario government. SRDC is conducting an impact evaluation to examine the extent to which the OCLP leads to increased employer reach among employment service providers, improved employment outcomes for low-income jobseekers, and improved business outcomes for SMEs, as well as a cost-benefit analysis to assess the extent to which OCLP yields a net return for the Ontario government.

Start-end date: January 2016 - January 2017
Sponsor: Social Capital Partners

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

Essential Skills Social and Economic Impacts

Essential Skills Impacts is the first phase in a larger project to assess the extent to which gains in Essential Skills (ES) are associated with long-term gains on a wide range of social and economic outcomes, including health outcomes, involvement with the criminal justice system, and early childhood education. This project uses the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy’s longitudinal databases to link gains in Essential Skills to a series of socioeconomic indicators of interest. As a preliminary step, the study reviews the reliability and validity of the ES assessments currently being used in Manitoba.

Start-end date: June 2014 - October 2015
Sponsor: Workplace Education Manitoba

Evaluation of Social Finance Pilots

SRDC is conducting an evaluation of two pilot projects for Essential Skills training based on performance-based funding models. The Skilling UP pilot is led by Alberta Workforce Essential Skills, providing workplace essential skills training to lower-skilled workers in the manufacturing sector. Employers pay up-front for the training, and are reimbursed up to 50% of their investment if their workers achieve targeted skill gains. The second project is a social impact bond (SIB), in which private investors pay up-front for essential skills training for low-skilled unemployed persons, and are repaid their capital plus interest if participants achieve skill gains. Colleges and Institutes Canada is the intermediary for this Essential Skills Social Finance (ESSF) social impact bond, with three College delivery partners: Douglas College, Confederation College, and Sask Polytech. In addition to serving as proof-of-concept of the implementation of the two models, the pilot evaluations are measuring a range of outcomes of interest including skill gains, and indicators of employability and performance measurement.

Start-end date: January 2014 - December 2018
Sponsor: Employment and Social Development Canada