Indigenous people

Current and Completed Projects:

Evaluation of Indigenous Labour Market Programming

There is a lack of empirical evidence for how well the labour market needs of all Indigenous people are being met by the current suite of programming supported by Labour Market Development Agreements and the Aboriginal Skills & Employment Training Strategy. The core objective of this program of research is to provide a pan-Canadian picture of the use of employment services and programs by Indigenous people and their associated outcomes. The work includes: identifying barriers to program participation; charting the persistence of effects; assessing the consequences of changes in policy priorities and programming options; and analysing how well served groups are by the current mix of employment and skill development services. Grounded in sound statistical and econometric principles, and an understanding of the unique nature of research that is conducted for Indigenous peoples, this study sets out to provide actionable knowledge of interest to program designers and planners; program managers; service delivery organizations and front-line workers; and to Indigenous workforce and community development organizations.

Start-end date: October 2018 - December 2021
Sponsor: Employment and Social Development Canada

Field trials and evaluation of three WISE programs in Northern Simcoe County Ontario

SRDC is implementing a four-year research study in partnership with three work integration social enterprises (WISE) that are part of a co-operative network, known as the Karma Project. These social enterprises provide a range of services and green occupations in demand in the North Simcoe county region of Ontario. The study, spanning four years, will examine the effectiveness of WISE in improving the employability and social inclusion of youth in rural communities. At the same time, it will assess changes in the capacity of social enterprises and examine variations in outcomes by alternative models of work integration.

Start-end date: March 2018 - March 2022
Sponsor: Employment and Social Development Canada

Evaluation of the Indigenous Communities Public Works Project

The Indigenous Communities Public Works Project is an innovative demand-driven approach to workforce development in First Nations communities. The initiative was designed with the aim of strengthening employment opportunities for unemployed or underemployed Indigenous individuals. It also aims to provide communities with the local expertise needed to address their public works and community infrastructure needs. The project builds on a unique partnership model that includes diverse cross-sector partners. The lead organization is Okanagan Training and Development Council, the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy agreement holder for the Okanagan service areas that consist of six band memberships. The other two partners are Westbank First Nation, a self-governing nation in Kelowna and ASTTBC, a not-for-profit, provincial professional association/regulator established in 1958. SRDC has been commissioned to conduct a proof of concept to show how the pilot plays out in the real world and if it is feasible and viable for a wider implementation and evaluation.

Start-end date: September 2017 - July 2019
Sponsor: Okanagan Training and Development Council + anonymous donor

Student Financial Assistance for Indigenous Learners

SRDC is compiling and reviewing available data on access and usage of CSLP and provincial and territorial student aid programs by Indigenous learners. The broad aim is to support assessment of the effectiveness of existing student financial assistance under CSLP as it relates to Indigenous learners. Federal funding for First Nation and Inuit learners under the Post-Secondary Student Support Program (PSSSP) has been capped since 1996, and program eligibility requirements can be limiting. Indigenous learners who do not receive PSSSP – or whose needs are not fully met – can apply for student financial assistance (SFA) from the federal and provincial/territorial governments, as a mix of student loans and grants. The work considers the demographic characteristics of clients identified as Indigenous learners, their aid received, loan repayment, and default rates. The deliverables will aid these jurisdictions' ongoing review of how effectively the system works to improve PSE access and affordability.

Start-end date: August 2017 - March 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

Evaluation of Student Financial Assistance Programs for Aboriginal Learners

SRDC is undertaking an evaluation to provide recommendations on improving access to postsecondary education for Aboriginal learners. Key questions include: whether Post-Secondary Student Support Program (PSSSP)-eligible First Nations and Inuit students who are turned down for PSSSP funding apply for provincial and federal student financial assistance; whether these learners are more likely to abandon or delay their plans for postsecondary; whether Aboriginal learners are more debt-averse than non-Aboriginal learners, including variation between populations; whether certain groups are more likely to apply for and receive assistance; whether Aboriginal learners who receive assistance are more likely to default on loans, and if so, what are the reasons for this.

These questions are being answered through a combination of three research and evaluation activities: reviews of existing research evidence on learners' financial barriers to accessing post-secondary education and available sources of financial aid, as well as evidence on debt aversion; analysis of administrative records on applicants and recipients of federal and provincial aid; and primary data collection with Aboriginal people. The project will conclude with recommendations for federal and provincial governments to improve post-secondary education access for Aboriginal learners, including an impact analysis of proposed program changes.

Start-end date: March 2017 - February 2019
Sponsor: British Columbia Ministry of Advanced Education

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

HR Policies and Best Practices Toolkit for Restaurants

The BC Centre for Employment Excellence (CfEE) with its partner, MacLeod Silver HR Business Partners, developed an HR Policies and Best Practices Toolkit for Restaurants Canada's 30,000+ members. The toolkit produced supports the objectives of Restaurants Canada to provide its member restaurants with tools on how to recruit and retain employees, particularly those from underrepresented groups such as people with disabilities, aboriginals, new immigrants, and youth. The ultimate aim of this project is to produce an accessible and practical set of tools and resources to enable small- and medium-sized restaurants to achieve the workforce benefits of being more inclusive employers.

Start-end date: November 2015 - March 2016
Sponsor: Restaurants Canada

Mental Health First Aid Inuit Program Evaluation — Phase 2

SRDC was engaged by the Mental Health Commission of Canada to evaluate the second phase of the adaptation of the Mental Health First Aid course for Inuit, using cultural safety principles. Results of this formative evaluation were used to finalize the program adaptation and prepare for its launch in the spring of 2016.

Start-end date: November 2015 - March 2016
Sponsor: Mental Health Commission 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

Applying social finance approaches to Aboriginal Labour Market Programs

ESDC Aboriginal Affairs Directorate held a one-day event for social finance experts and informed stakeholders to share knowledge and expertise in developing and implementing social finance approaches into pre-employment, skills development, and training to employment programs for Aboriginal people. SRDC contributed to the planning of the event, moderated panel and group discussions, delivered presentations on social finance approaches, and authored a report of the event.

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

Demonstrating an enriched Kocihta eMentoring Program Model – A Design/Development Phase

The first phase of a project to tackle one of Canada’s major policy problems: too few Indigenous youth achieving successful transition into the labour market. SRDC is working with Kocihta - a national Indigenous charity founded in 2013 by the Aboriginal Human Resource Council - to develop and test an innovative program model. The model bridges career education to eMentoring with the intent to encourage Indigenous youths to identify and pursue their desired career paths, thereby enhancing their educational investments and improving their labour market outcomes. This phase of the project involves designing an enriched eMentoring program model and developing a comprehensive, detailed implementation and evaluation plan for Phase 2. The main ‘developmental’ activities include: continuing discussions with potential collaborators; developing the intervention/delivery model; finalizing the conceptual evaluation framework; developing the evaluation plan, feasibility and market research for low-cost delivery of eMentoring; and identifying potential funders for a subsequent demonstration project.

Start-end date: April 2015 - May 2016
Sponsor: Carthy Foundation

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

Mental Health First Aid Canada: Inuit Course Framework and Evaluation

Like first aid for physical injury, Mental Health First Aid is designed to provide immediate help to a person experiencing distress or crisis until professional assistance is provided or the crisis is over. Mental Health First Aid is an evidence-based course that increases mental health literacy, decreases stigma, and increases helping behaviours. The Mental Health Commission of Canada has adapted the basic course for many special populations, and together with Inuit communities and organizations, is developing an adaptation for Inuit. SRDC was engaged to conduct a formative evaluation of the first stage of the adapted program, using cultural safety principles. Results help to guide subsequent iterations of the course.

Start-end date: January 2015 - June 2015
Sponsor: Mental Health Commission of Canada

Programs for PSE Access and Retention of Under-represented Groups

University and college partners are assessed in terms of their data-readiness for evaluating their programs, supporting achievement of goals, development, or implementation of new programs to increase participation in PSE of first-generation scholars, Aboriginal students, and those from lower-SES backgrounds.

Start-end date: May 2009 - November 2009
Sponsor: Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation

Literature Review for the Evaluation of Income Assistance for First Nations Individuals and Families on Reserve

Start-end date: July 2007 - October 2007
Sponsor: Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Audit and Evaluation

Literature Review for the Evaluation of the National Child Benefit Reinvestment Initiatives for First Nations Individuals and Families on Reserve

Start-end date: July 2007 - November 2007
Sponsor: Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Audit and Evaluation

Willingness to Pay for Post-secondary Education Among Under-represented Groups

A study to evaluate high-school students’ debt aversion or willingness to incur debt to access post-secondary education. The study focuses in particular on the decision-making process of youth from low SES families, Aboriginal families, and rural sectors, and on first generation students. Participants are tested for numeracy, risk, and time preferences. A sample of 1,400 students in 14 schools across 4 provinces took part in this project.

Start-end date: May 2007 - December 2009
Sponsor: Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation
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BC Reclamation and Prospecting Teams Pilot Project

Preparation of a research design report for evaluating a culturally specific training curriculum delivered to First Nation youths in Northwestern BC using a mainly non-classroom-based teaching model.

Start-end date: February 2007 - April 2007
Sponsor: Northwest Community College

Making Education Work

Provides advice on the random assignment evaluation for a project concerned with increasing educational attainment among Manitoba Aboriginal students.

Start-end date: August 2005 - December 2009
Sponsor: Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation

Case Coordination Project in Downtown Eastside Vancouver

An evaluation of a three-year demonstration project delivering a multi-component employment-related intervention designed for long-term welfare recipients living in one of the most disadvantaged urban areas in Canada. Many of the program participants had issues with housing, addictions, health (both physical and mental), income, and coping. The service delivery network comprised six non-profit organizations, including an Aboriginal organization helping Aboriginals residing in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Almost half of the program participants were Aboriginal people.

Start-end date: December 2004 - February 2008
Sponsor: City of Vancouver (Vancouver Agreement) Employment Programs