Data Analytics

SRDC analyzes survey and administrative datasets to identify market segments, target population characteristics and needs, behavioural patterns, and statistical relationships. The end goal is to inform clients on issues like program design, targeting, and expected outcomes. Using predictive models, SRDC has used relationships between known random variables in order to predict how an event will likely occur in the future.

Current and Completed Projects:

Options for studying the impact of investments in education, health, employment, and other systems on involvement in the criminal justice system

The objective of this research is to identify different approaches to study how investments in various areas would have an impact on the criminal justice system. The specific research questions include: What kind of research can we do to ensure that we are making smart investments to reduce crime-related costs (including an overview of different types of studies and methodological approaches that could be undertaken)? What information is required for the different methods? Are there any data gaps? Which areas of research are most pressing? Which research methods could most effectively answer these questions? and Would the answers differ when assessing the impact of investments through a gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) lens? SRDC is developing a methodological framework for future work in this area, including options for several different methods approaching the research problem and identifying data gaps. This involves a literature review, key informant interviews, and several stages of synthesis and report generation.

Start-end date: March 2021 - July 2021
Sponsor: Department of Justice Canada

Improving student success in Surrey School District (Phase 1)

SRDC is reviewing the school district’s datasets that could be used to undertake a study focused on understanding student transitions and success within the Surrey School District education system. The aim is to design a project to answer key questions within the context of a study of student transitions through the K-12 system in Surrey including entry from pre-K and access to PSE and the labour market, where data allow. Given successful grade to grade transitions provide evidence of progress towards graduation, the first question is what are some strategies and structures that support successful transitions? Other questions include: What does graduation mean for students? What factors influence transitioning into post-secondary education or training programs? What factors influence transitioning into sustaining employment? What are some of the barriers or limitations faced by students who don’t graduate within six years of entering secondary school in Surrey?

Start-end date: March 2021 - April 2021
Sponsor: Surrey Schools

Embedding Evaluation into the SmartICE Technology Production and Employment Readiness Program at the Northern Production Centre

The Technology Production and Employment Readiness Program at the SmartICE Northern Production Centre (NPC) in Nain, Nunatsiavut, offers young Inuit (between the ages of 18-30 years old) a paid, six-week training and employment opportunity. Trainees learn to assemble and test the SmartBUOY, a stationary sea-ice thickness sensor intended for use across Labrador, Inuit Nunangat, and the circumpolar-arctic. In this project, SRDC is working closely with SmartICE to integrate evaluation into regular program activities at the NPC to minimize intrusiveness for staff and trainees and ensure sustainability over the long term. The goal is to consistently collect and track implementation and individual-level outcome data. SRDC will also work with SmartICE and its partners to identify and develop a plan to assess meso- or community-level outcomes of interest, including social, cultural, community, economic, and environmental outcomes. Community stakeholders will be engaged in this process to ensure that the selected outcomes are meaningful and that the evaluation approach is acceptable and appropriate for Nain.

Start-end date: January 2021 - September 2021
Sponsor: SmartICE + Social Enterprise Research

SmartICE: Inclusive Workforce for Arctic Ocean Technology Project

SmartICE is a not-for-profit organization that produces a range of innovative sea ice monitoring technologies that integrate Inuit knowledge with advanced data acquisition and remote monitoring technology. SmartICE operates as a work integration social enterprise (WISE) that provides Inuit with training and employment opportunities and bridges to the mainstream labour market. Grounded in Inuit Societal Values and Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ), SmartICE works with Inuit to blend IQ with digital and technical skills and social emotional learning. In this project, SRDC is working with SmartICE to develop, pilot, and evaluate a holistic, culturally contextualized training curriculum for its SmartICE Technology Operators. The project is based on principles of co-design and work is being done in partnership with communities and stakeholders. Project partners include Pinnguaq Association and Ilitaqsiniq, the Nunavut Literacy Council.The project will address the barriers faced by Inuit in remote northern communities and promote their inclusion and participation in the ocean economy. The curriculum will embed literacy and essential skills, digital literacy, and social emotional learning and regulation.  

The curriculum will first be piloted with SmartICE Technology Operators in Nain, Nunatsiavut and Arctic Bay, Nunavut. A model for upscaling the curriculum delivery and implementation across Inuit Nunangat will follow.

Start-end date: November 2020 - August 2022
Sponsor: SmartICE + Canada's Ocean Supercluster

Indigenous Students' Access to Post-Secondary Education in B.C.

The project examines the descriptive characteristics of Indigenous students in high school in British Columbia and accessing post-secondary education (PSE) to better understand academic pathways and transitions from kindergarten through to PSE. The results are intended to contribute evidence for policy development to support current and future generations of Indigenous learners to access higher education. Two specific research questions are addressed: What are the trends in access to PSE among Indigenous students in BC? and How is access to PSE related to a range of student and educational background factors, such as individual student characteristics; scores on standardized tests for reading, writing, and numeracy administered in Grades 4 and 7; participation in special programs; school characteristics and district; course choices; and academic performance. The main data source is BC linked administrative data.

Start-end date: November 2020 - June 2021
Sponsor: Employment and Social Development Canada

Economic Feasibility Study: Public policy alternatives to promote education savings

SRDC is supporting Momentum to examine the economic costs of implementing policy options intended to ensure all eligible children claim their Canada Learning Bond. The principal methodology is economic modeling using tools such as the Statistics Canada Social Policy Simulation Database and Model to analyze three policy alternatives: establishing new Canada Education & Training Account; disbursing Canada Learning Bond funds through the Canada Student Loans Program; and expanding Ontario’s online Newborn Registration 5-in-1 Service Bundle nationwide. The aim is to estimate the potential costs that would result from developing and implementing the three policy alternatives in question, as well as any potential savings. The final report is intended to describe the methodology, analysis, findings, and limitations of costing for the three policy alternatives.

Start-end date: November 2020 - March 2021
Sponsor: Momentum

Assessment of IRCC Settlement Service Impacts

Recently, Statistics Canada introduced a supplementary administrative data module capturing usages of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) funded settlement services to the Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB). This project is making use of this enhanced administrative database of newcomers to investigate the feasibility of estimating the intermediate and ultimate impacts of IRCC funded settlement service programs through some non-experimental statistical models. The project examines the journey and determinants of newcomers’ usage pattern of settlement services. The usage pattern will inform the creation of the counterfactual comparison samples to assess the socioeconomic outcomes and impacts of various IRCC funded settlement services. The statistical model will be validated against the data from the randomized controlled trials in the Career Pathways for Visible Minority Newcomer Women Pilot Project before it is applied to assess the intermediate and ultimate impacts of an IRCC initiative.

Start-end date: June 2020 - March 2025
Sponsor: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Building the evidence base about economic, health and social inequities faced by LGBTQ2S+ individuals in Canada

Research shows that, as a group, gender and sexual minorities – including people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and two-spirit (LGBTQ2S+) – are more likely to live in poverty, face more barriers to employment (including stigma and discrimination), and earn less at work, despite often having higher levels of educational attainment than the general population. These areas of research are still emerging, and major knowledge gaps remain. For example, most research does not examine differences within the diverse LGBTQ2S+ community and does not link people’s experiences in the labour market with health and social outcomes. In addition, most research is from the US and Europe as Canada has very few indicators of gender and sexual minority status in its existing large survey datasets. This makes it difficult to understand the scale and scope of the problem and determine how best to address it through research, policy, programs, or practices (e.g., in the workplace). In partnership with Dr. Sean Waite at the University of Western Ontario, Pride at Work Canada, and the Labour Market Information Council, SRDC will lead this project, which aims to identify key determinants of economic outcomes for gender and sexual minorities in Canada. This work will inform effective program and policy interventions to reduce the socio-economic inequities that LGBTQ2S+ people experience.

Read the Phase 1 Report.

Start-end date: May 2020 - July 2022
Sponsor: Women and Gender Equality Canada

Implementing a Virtual Recruitment and Assessment Centre for the Unionized Construction Industry

This project will develop a recruitment strategy integrating sectoral needs analysis, behavioural insights, and social marketing to reach underrepresented groups and increase their awareness, knowledge, and connection to the building trades. A social media based messaging strategy informed by how each of the targeted groups perceives benefits and barriers to entering the trades will connect prospective candidates to an innovative online assessment and matching platform which will help users determine their suitability, connect directly to a Building Trades union, and transition into the apprenticeship system with essential skills tutoring. Unions will help to inform the recruitment strategy and refine the assessment and matching process to ensure candidates have the skills and mentor/support networks to succeed. 

Start-end date: April 2020 - March 2022
Sponsor: Future Skills Centre

Characteristics of adults who return to Education and Training, and understanding the barriers to Adult Learning

This project seeks to examine the characteristics of Canadian adult learners with labour market experience who took further education or training for upskilling or reskilling, as well as those who expressed an unmet learning need and want. The project analyzes data from the Longitudinal International Survey of Adults linked to tax records to gain a better understanding of adult learners, including: causes and correlations for (re)entry into education and training, such as job loss, change in family status or other life events; and the barriers adults face in pursuing education and training. The research also considers how federal and provincial/territorial student financial assistance programs can better support adult learners.

Start-end date: October 2019 - October 2020
Sponsor: Employment and Social Development Canada

Survey tool to evaluate Actua’s Artificial Intelligence Teacher Training Activities

Actua’s Teacher Training is designed to equip educators with the toolsets, skillsets, and mindsets to deliver transformative STEM education to youth, including integrating coding and digital skills and Artificial Intelligence (AI) into the classroom. Although Actua has supported educators through workshops and training opportunities for years, completing a full suite of teacher support represents a strategic growth area for Actua. Actua has engaged SRDC to evaluate the AI teacher training package, from the perspectives of network members and teachers, for launch in January 2020. Teachers are important influencers in youth participation in STEM and through Actua’s AI Teacher Training Program, Actua is hoping to broaden their reach and create deeper impact with students across Canada.

Start-end date: September 2019 - December 2019
Sponsor: Actua

The Canada Pension Plan Disability Appeals Management Pilot

ESDC conducted a randomized control trial of a streamlined management process of Canada Pension Plan Disability Benefit application appeals. As part of the broader evaluation of service improvement, SRDC is commissioned to conduct the quantitative analysis of the pilot’s impacts, outcomes, and value for money. The results of this project will inform ESDC about the business case of the streamlined management process, the potentials of further improvements, as well as the possibilities of scaling.

Start-end date: June 2019 - May 2020
Sponsor: Employment and Social Development Canada

Strathcona County Youth Needs and Assets Assessment

Strathcona County, located in central Alberta, is commissioning a report on how the County is currently serving the needs of resident youth, ages 14 to 29, and that identifies potential gaps in these services. The research will include opportunities for engagement and inform recommendations or potential policy directions for Council’s consideration. Yardstick Assessment Strategies Inc. is leading the research on behalf of a team of consultants. SRDC is responsible for preparing statistical profiles of youth and young adults in the County, comparator communities, and Alberta more broadly; conducting an online scan on root contributors to youth issues/challenges and how small urban and rural communities can best serve the health, social, and community needs of resident youth; and contributing to the development of a directory of service provider organizations accessible to youth and young adults in the County.

Start-end date: March 2019 - December 2019
Sponsor: Yardstick Assessment Strategies Inc.

The role of career education during high school in postsecondary success

This project seeks to find better ways to support youths’ career decisions and make the case for policies that prolong learning into appropriately aligned postsecondary education. SRDC is using
two rich longitudinal data sources created to test experimental career interventions through the linkage of education records to surveys of youth and parents in three provinces. The data document the lives of 7,000 young Canadians, including their occupational aspirations as high school students at age 14, their postsecondary education and earnings outcomes over 10 years. Research tasks include the team mapping the students’ early collected occupational aspirations to their course and program choices as well as outcomes on leaving high school. SRDC’s researchers are taking advantage of the experimental design, but also using non-experimental methods to analyze the factors over this key period that caused changes in career choices, and altered career pathways. The study builds knowledge about (a) how and when to intervene to assist youth in their career decision making, and (b) for whom supports are effective yet currently lacking. The intent is to help equip the career counselling profession to respond authoritatively to increasingly urgent policy questions about how optimally to structure career education for young people. Positive and negative impacts of interventions and tracking of outcomes following specific mediators of advice (such as parents, teachers, counsellors, peers) would point to future best practices and the development of tools to support the work of counsellors and guide students in their planning and decision making regarding career choices early in, and throughout, high school.

Start-end date: February 2019 - January 2021
Sponsor: CERIC

Calgary Foothills Primary Care Network: Annual staff survey

Calgary Foothills Primary Care Network (CFPCN) is a group of more than 450 family doctors who collaborate with teams of other health professionals to offer care to approximately 379,000 patients in north Calgary and Cochrane, Alberta. SRDC is administering the 2019 iteration of CFPCN’s annual online survey of more than 200 staff members, and analyzing the quantitative and qualitative data. The PCN will use the results for internal reporting and ultimately to better understand staff engagement, how organizational values are being upheld, and acceptance of change management across the organization.

Start-end date: February 2019 - March 2019
Sponsor: Calgary Foothills Primary Care Network

Preliminary assessment of the scale and extent of student hunger in BC's K-12 school population

SRDC is undertaking a project to define the scope of student hunger in K-12 BC public school students. This includes the degree of occurrence, frequency, seasonality, and the location of high risk areas. It is reviewing the literature, undertaking an environmental scan of funding options available to school districts to address hunger/food insecurity, and analyzing four existing datasets. The project aims include: to understand the dependencies and factors affecting student hunger in K-12 BC public schools; to identify areas for improvements; and to provide recommendations and identify options that are having a positive or negative impact in addressing food hunger.

Start-end date: January 2019 - March 2019
Sponsor: British Columbia Ministry of Education

Sector-led Evaluation of the Early Care and Learning Recruitment and Retention Strategy in British Columbia

The Province of B.C. is making a $136 million investment in an Early Care and Learning Recruitment and Retention Strategy (R&R Strategy) for B.C.’s Early Childhood Educator (ECE) sector. This sector-led evaluation is part of a larger 10-year plan to increase the quality and availability of childcare spaces in B.C. The evaluation project will help provide continuous feedback for strategies that are implemented. SRDC is helping to develop a framework that will assess the effectiveness of the R&R Strategy. Evaluation questions include: whether there is less turnover in the skilled Early Care and Learning workforce; whether the numbers of certified Early Childhood Educators are better able to meet demand; whether careers in Early Care and Learning become more popular; and whether public confidence in Early Care and Learning is increasing.

Generally, these outcomes are being measured as trends across the Early Care and Learning system in B.C. Evaluation methods include: cross-sectional surveys of providers of early childhood education and care in B.C., and their employees; creating and maintaining a unique database of the province’s providers to include licensed and unlicensed, registered and unregistered carers; public opinion surveys; media and social media analysis; key informant interviews; analysis of micro-data from the 2016 Census; and compilation and analysis of administrative data. SRDC is collecting, analyzing, and reporting on these measures to determine whether the R&R Strategy is on track to achieving its long-term goals and expected outcomes until 2022. A sector steering committee made up of individuals involved in B.C. childcare will guide the work. The project is being led by the Early Childhood Educators of BC, with funding and approvals of project deliverables through the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training.

Start-end date: December 2018 - July 2022
Sponsor: Early Childhood Educators of BC

Enhancing employment programming for vulnerable youth

In 2017, the Government of Canada committed to renewing its youth employment strategy, part of which involves a renewal of Skills Link with more focus on at-risk youth and additional investments to increase the planned participant intake. The Government has also committed to continue improving the way it serves the needs of youth including helping understand what’s working and to encourage good program practices. In coordination with ESDC’s Office of Literacy and Essential Skills (OLES) and youth employment branch, SRDC developed a multi-staged four-year project to both explore improvements in employment programming for vulnerable youth and to pilot test a Pay-for-Performance model for incentivizing innovation and best practices among service providers.
The first phase in year one will involve a comprehensive review and re-analysis of employment programming as part of Skills Link along with a series of consultations with providers of youth programming to document strengths in existing delivery, best practices, and any gaps and opportunities for innovation. The second phase will involve the design and implementation of a demonstration project to test a Pay-for-Performance model to incentivize innovation and best practices. The demonstration phase will span three years and will involve up to 600 youth from across Canada.

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

Social Enterprise Impact Measurement Pilot Project

Three-year project to develop a common approach to impact measurement for social enterprises with consortium of national partners under the direction of Carleton University’s Centre for Community Innovation (3ci). Originally co-funded by the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), the current phase of the project is being funded under ESDC’s Investment Readiness Program to address the impact measurement needs of social purpose organizations across Canada. SRDC is serving as the developmental evaluation partner on the project.

Start-end date: April 2018 - March 2021
Sponsor: Carleton University

A comprehensive review and development of measurement options for Essential Skills initiatives

The Office of Literacy and Essential Skills (OLES) currently supports a wide range of Literacy and Essential Skills initiatives including pilots of various delivery models in both workplace settings and for the unemployed, through the Adult Learning, Literacy and Essential Skills Program (ALLESP). Performance measurement is critical to the success of these projects and for the achievement of the broader objectives of ALLESP. On behalf of OLES, SRDC is conducting a comprehensive review of measurement options for assessing outcomes of Literacy and Essential Skills initiatives and will develop a framework to support a broader performance measurement strategy for the ALLESP program.

Start-end date: March 2018 - March 2019
Sponsor: Employment and Social Development Canada

A review of the Canadian Financial Capability Survey Questionnaire

The Canadian Financial Capability Survey (CFCS) is administered by Statistics Canada to a nationally representative sample of Canadian adults in an effort to measure their financial knowledge, abilities, and behaviours. The CFCS is administered on a five-year cycle with prior waves in 2009 and 2014. In preparation for the 2019 cycle, SRDC has been contracted by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) to advise on the renewal of the instrument. In addition to a review of the core financial literacy and knowledge assessments, SRDC will advise on the various measures of financial behaviours and outcomes. The review aims to enhance both the statistical properties of the instrument and align it with recent developments in both the Government of Canada’s National Strategy for Financial Literacy and international developments in measurement.

Start-end date: February 2018 - August 2018
Sponsor: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

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

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

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

Manitoba Works! evaluation

The purpose of the research is to test the Government of Manitoba’s Manitoba Works! employment service model in the real-world setting of Manitoba’s new and evolving employment continuum and to assess its effectiveness for improving the labour market success of individuals who are receiving EIA and/or have complex needs. The research will assess gains on outcomes of interest among participants compared to non-participants, model cost-effectiveness, model implementation, and identify key success factors.

Start date: November 2013
Sponsor: Manitoba Department of Jobs and the Economy

Validation of Manitoba’s Employment and Training Assessment (ETA)

The project aims to assess the predictive validity of Manitoba’s new Employment and Training Assessment tool. As well, it assesses the extent to which adding additional information improves the overall accuracy of the model in predicting long-term unemployment and the extent to which a “scoring” method could be designed that identifies “tiers” or segmentation points, that categorize jobseekers into “categories of risk” or “levels of need” using what has been referred to as a “distance to the labour market approach.” Given the results of the analyses, the project will recommend an optimal approach to needs assessment and jobseeker classification in the Manitoba context.

Start date: November 2013
Sponsor: Manitoba Department of Jobs and the Economy

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

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