Employment programs

Current and Completed Projects:

Evaluation of the Lookout Ethical Employment Program (LEEP) Pilot Project

The Lookout Housing and Health Society is developing and implementing the Lookout Ethical Employment Program (LEEP). The LEEP program combines innovation with research in creating flexible onsite services for marginalized individuals who face multiple barriers to employment. The goal of LEEP is to adopt a flexible, non-linear approach to reduce barriers to employment by “meeting individuals where they are at”, bringing pre-employment and training services to their residential site and providing one-on-one supports and coaching.

SRDC is conducting a comprehensive evaluation of LEEP that consists of two components: a formative evaluation and an implementation and outcomes study. The goal of the evaluation is to test the hypothesis that one-on-one personalized support and training will assist participants in building skills that will enable their entry into the job market in addition to improvements in health. SRDC is using a mixed methods approach for data collection and analysis. LEEP is funded by the BC Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction’s Community and Employer Partnerships Research and Innovation.

Start-end date: February 2021 - October 2023
Sponsor: Lookout Housing and Health Society

Youth Program Navigator Pilot

SRDC is conducting ethnographic studies on targeted youth facing barriers using a variety of qualitative research methods (observations, interviews, conversations) to learn how ESDC Youth Employment and Skills Strategy (YESS) funded programs may better connect to hardest-to-reach youth. While YESS is intended to help young people, particularly those facing barriers to employment, get the information and gain the skills, work experience, and abilities they need to make a successful transition into the labour market, this project is concerned with optimal outreach to youth who face additional barriers to accessing services. Policy makers recognize the need to identify potential touchpoints in youths’ daily lives for YESS outreach. The project draws on SRDC’s prior experience working with vulnerable youth and knowledge of the youth ecosystem and understanding of vulnerable communities. Deliverables include reporting on results of the ethnographic study and a collaborative workshop to apply study results and develop program delivery recommendations.

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

Skills Compass

Young people who are not in employment, education or training (NEET) are at risk of becoming socially excluded, with low income and lacking the skills to improve their economic situation. Indigenous youth, and youth who are newcomers to Canada, may face additional barriers to becoming engaged in employment or education. Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) is leading a pilot project to address potential barriers faced by Indigenous and newcomer NEET youth through a pre-employment training program, wraparound supports, and employment placements. SRDC as the evaluation partner is responsible for developing the evaluation framework and data collection instruments, measuring outputs and outcomes, integrative data analysis, reporting findings, and participating in knowledge mobilization.

Start-end date: October 2020 - March 2023
Sponsor: Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan)

CreateAction: Inclusive Social Innovation

CreateAction: Inclusive Social Innovation — This project is evaluating the role that six-month work experience opportunities in the social innovation, social finance, and social enterprise sectors can play in supporting youth who are either not in employment, education, or training (NEET). The project is being led by the Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDNet) in partnership with SRDC and the National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC). The project aims to recruit
100 Indigenous youth, new immigrants, young people living in poverty, those who identify as LGBTQ2S+, young people with disabilities, racialized youth, youth in rural/remote communities, and official language minority youth. SRDC is supporting the project design, coordinating tailored supports to participants, and leading the project’s evaluation activities. The evaluation is examining how the placement opportunities facilitate the transition of young people to secure employment in the labour market through the development of skills, workplace experience, professional networks, and tailored wraparound supports. It is also examining how hosting the youth placements will support the capacity and sustainability of innovative social purpose organizations across Canada to hire youth facing barriers from the communities they serve, connect to regional Social Innovation and Social Finance ecosystems, and leverage investments of the Investment Readiness Program and Social Finance Fund.

Start-end date: August 2020 - March 2023
Sponsor: Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDNet)

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

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

Guidance for workplace policy on substance use impairment

Ensuring employee well-being and workplace health is essential to developing successful, safe organizations across all industries and work settings. Canadian employers are seeking resources to support development of effective policies to address impairment and, in particular, that ensure employees affected by substance use issues get the help and support they need, but also that workplaces remain safe, employees’ health and privacy are protected, costs are contained, and any other potential negative outcomes are prevented. In response, the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) has engaged SRDC to conduct a review of the latest research and best practices in workplace policy regarding impairment and substance use. The resulting technical report will outline what is known about best practices – including in emerging areas such as peer support and harm reduction – and in turn, support CCSA in guiding employers and other workplace stakeholders as they develop workplace policies on substance use impairment.

Start-end date: December 2019 - March 2020
Sponsor: Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction

Literature Review on effective labour market programs and services to assist youth and social assistance recipients to integrate into the labour market

ESDC has commissioned SRDC to undertake literature reviews of labour market programs that have been shown to be effective for integrating youth and social assistance recipients into the labour market. The focus is on recent (last five years) activation programs in Canada and OECD countries.

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

Development of Evaluation Methodology for Arctic Hunter and Guardian Programs

In partnership with Tides Canada and Dr. Shari Fox, SRDC is supporting the development of an evaluation framework for hunter and guardian programs in the Territories and Inuit Nunangat. Hunter and guardian programs have inherent value to Indigenous communities, and generate outcomes related to several components of societal wellbeing, including environmental stewardship, cultural revitalization, and food security; moreover, these benefits accrue across multiple levels – to individuals, communities, and government. Dr. Fox is a researcher who, along with Esa Qillaq, piloted a full-time hunter program in Clyde River, NU. SRDC will work with Dr. Fox to build on her evaluation approach to identify and validate outcomes of interest, with key stakeholders across communities implementing hunter and guardian programs, and communicate these outcomes to wider audiences such as government and philanthropic funders. SRDC will also engage with key government and community stakeholders to co-develop a methodology to economically value the individual, community, societal, and ecological outcomes of hunter and guardianship programs.

Start-end date: August 2019 - March 2020
Sponsor: Tides Canada

BC Partners in Workforce Innovation – Increasing Employment Through Inclusive Workplaces

This two-year demonstration project is evaluating how enhanced employer supports and supported workplace experiences can enable BC employers to achieve their diversity and inclusion (D&I) strategies by establishing more inclusive workplaces, recruiting career-focused talent, and improving overall outcomes for people with disabilities. Through the position of an HR Specialist, the project is engaging employers in the Greater Vancouver region to secure work placements for a minimum of 100 people with disabilities/diverse abilities, with a goal of 75% of employed people with disabilities remaining employed with either the employer partner or elsewhere after six months. The project is building on a previous pilot that demonstrated the potential of this approach to meeting the needs of sectors facing workforce shortages through the further enhancement of recruitment and employer training strategies that can lead to the recruitment and retention of a more diverse workforce.

Start-end date: July 2019 - June 2021
Sponsor: Employment and Social Development Canada

Formative evaluation of HR Tech Group’s Diversity and Inclusion Tech Project

SRDC is undertaking a formative evaluation of HR Tech Group’s Diversity and Inclusion Tech Project, part of a Sector Labour Market Partnerships contribution agreement supported by B.C.’s Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. HR Tech Group will pilot four components: diversity and inclusion training, a B.C. technology sector online hub, a diversity and inclusion reporting mechanism, and a promotion and attraction campaign. The goal of the pilot projects is to improve diversity and inclusion in the province’s Technology sector workforce. The purpose of the projects is to increase the attraction, retention and advancement of women, Indigenous peoples, persons with diverse abilities, newcomers to Canada, and individuals who identify as LGBTQ/S2 and all under-represented groups in skilled occupations within the sector through the implementation of diversity and inclusion strategies to recruit, retain and support career development in these professions.

Start-end date: June 2019 - July 2021
Sponsor: HR Tech Group

Integrating Essential Skills Tools for Employment Counsellors

This project is being led by Alberta Workforce Essential Skills Society (AWES) and is building, testing, and refining a training program for employment counsellors to integrate Essential Skills (ES) tools into their practice and services. The ES framework that will be tested during the project will include how to incorporate ES assessments, occupational profiles, complexity levels, and job task terminology related to skills. The project will also reinforce practice by including mentoring and support services to ensure quality as practitioners begin to integrate the ES framework and tools (including all nine Essential Skills) in all their services. As the developmental evaluation partner on the project, SRDC’s research activities are supporting the development process to ensure that the training is practical, delivers results, and has high chances of replication and adoption in diverse sectors and with different populations across Canada.

Start-end date: April 2019 - February 2024
Sponsor: Alberta Workplace Essential Skills Society (AWES)

Enhancing Displaced Workers Literacy and Essential Skills

This three-year research project aims to fill knowledge gaps on what works in the realm of LES supports and training for displaced workers in Canada to improve their employability. The project is aimed at supporting workers who have been displaced from their jobs through planned or unplanned circumstances, with a focus on those workers who are hard to reach or reluctant to access skills training or employment services, and who have low essential skills, including digital skills. The project will be identifying and testing models that have the potential to be adapted and expanded at the national level, by conducting beta tests involving a new Displaced Worker Outreach Team and network partners in select regions of BC to evaluate their effectiveness and scalability. The ultimate aim of the project is to provide the evidence base for the development of a new model that can help address workforce displacement for individuals and communities in Canada.

Start-end date: March 2019 - June 2022
Sponsor: Decoda Literacy Solutions

Feasibility Study for the Creation of a WISE Outcomes Database

This research study is assessing the feasibility of creating an outcomes database on work integration social enterprises (WISEs) in Canada. Through research and consultation with WISE stakeholders, the project will enable ESDC to be well-positioned to work with the WISE sector to develop a coherent outcomes database for Canadian WISEs.

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

An innovative model to enhance entry, advancement, and employment outcomes of women apprentices

This project aims to support the entry, retention, and advancement of women in the skilled construction trades. The model will include a series of support services and mentorship opportunities for women seeking or already employed in the skilled trades as well as a number of supports for employers, based on a successful approach used by the Office to Advance Women Apprentices (OAWA) in Newfoundland and Labrador. Services will be provided for at least 750 apprentices and tradeswomen in the provinces of Nova Scotia, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. The project is being led by Canada’s Building Trades Unions (CBTU), along with their provincial partners, the Office to Advance Women Apprentices, and the Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC). SRDC will be responsible for the research and evaluation strategy, including an outcomes study to measure the effects of the program on participating women in trades and their employers as well as an implementation study to explore best practices. The project will run for three and a half years from December 2018 to May 2022.

Start-end date: December 2018 - May 2022
Sponsor: Canada’s Building Trades Unions

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

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 - March 2023
Sponsor: Employment and Social Development Canada

Career pathways for visible minority newcomer women

SRDC is carrying out a study to identify approaches and interventions to support programming for visible minority newcomer women. The results from the study will help shape a three-year pilot with the aim to learn about new initiatives and to use the results to improve programs, policies, and practices for newcomers.

Start-end date: July 2018 - March 2022
Sponsor: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

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

EASIEST – Easier Access to Settlement, Integration, Employment and Skills Training

EASIEST is an innovative research and analysis project that places the newcomer experience at the centre of the design & delivery of settlement services. The overall goal of EASIEST is to help Immigrant Serving Organizations in BC deliver the most appropriate package of settlement services to newcomers at the right time and for the right duration to improve their settlement and integration outcomes. SRDC will use a Behavioural Insights (BI) approach to understand how and why newcomers access services. These insights will then be used to identify, design, and test behavioural strategies to improve services and address gaps. To do this project BI will be combined with a user-centric approach to explore services from the perspectives of newcomers so that innovations deliver services to newcomers that are easier to access, relevant, timely, and socially and culturally appropriate. A four-phase approach of discovery, diagnosis, design, and delivery will be used to bring about improvements in services and outcomes for newcomers, especially vulnerable groups. Findings will be used to support continuous improvement and disseminated widely to contribute to the goal of helping newcomers settle successfully in Canada.

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

Pathways to Work: Co-designing improved employment pathways for Inuit youth in Nunatsiavut, Labrador

In Nunatsiavut, Labrador, Inuit youth face many structural challenges including reduced access to sustainable, long-term employment. As in other parts of Canada, many services exist to connect youth with employment, however, there are few, if any, studies that examine how to strengthen Inuit youth pathways to employment in this context. SRDC is working in partnership with community partners to explore two existing challenges to Inuit youth employment in Nunatsiavut: 1) a lack of awareness among employers, community stakeholders, and youth about effective practices to enhance youth employment and how these could be adapted locally, and 2) a lack of alignment between youth’s skills and assets and the available services, resources, and opportunities in Nunatsiavut communities. To enhance awareness and alignment, SRDC and the project leadership team, including partners from Nunatsiavut Government and community programs, will synthesize what is known about effective ways to support youth employment in the region – based on the research literature, promising practice, and local knowledge. This synthesis will be used as the basis for a community-based co-design process for one or more of Nunatsiavut’s five coastal communities (Nain, Hopedale, Makkovik, Rigolet, and Postville). This process will engage local employers, community stakeholders, and Inuit youth in developing priorities and ultimately, a concrete intervention model for youth employment in Nunatsiavut.

Start-end date: July 2018 - December 2019
Sponsor: College of the North Atlantic

Development of Business Case for Work Integrated Learning in Mining

This project is outlining the business case for work-integrated learning in the mining industry through interviews with industry stakeholders and secondary research on the benefits of work-integrated learning in mining and other sectors.

Start-end date: March 2018 - June 2018
Sponsor: Mining Industry Human Resources Council

S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Connecting Arabic-speaking Refugees to Employers (C.A.R.E.) in the Hospitality Sector Project

This pilot in Surrey, British Columbia is using the behavioural economics concept of “nudging” in order to understand the behaviours and choices of small business employers in the hospitality sector towards recruiting and hiring Privately Sponsored and Government Assisted refugees.

Start-end date: September 2017 - March 2018
Sponsor: S.U.C.C.E.S.S.

Alleviating Homelessness: Work Integration Social Enterprises (WISE) Research (Quasi-experimental design)

This project being led by the Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDNet) in partnership with SRDC and Social Enterprise Toronto (SET) will provide a longitudinal assessment of the effectiveness of WISEs and compare them with other interventions for people who are homeless and at risk of homelessness. The first study of its kind in the Greater Toronto Area, the project will identify the impact of WISEs on both hard and soft outcomes including employment and housing stabilization, as well as the returns for government investment in these types of WISEs. Finally, it will identify effective practices to maximize impacts for several models of training under various circumstances. As evaluation partner, SRDC will be responsible for leading the measurement of the impact and effectiveness of WISEs on social and labour market outcomes for people who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness through a quasi-experimental design study. An additional objective is to build the capacity of participating WISE to measure their social outcomes using professionally designed research tools.

Start-end date: June 2017 - March 2022
Sponsor: Canadian Community Economic Development Network

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

Developing Provincial/Territorial Capacity for Innovation in Employment and Training Services

Following a Fall 2016 Best Practices session convened for the Forum of Labour Market Ministers (FLMM), SRDC is meeting with provincial and territorial labour market officials to share knowledge about labour market programming. The meetings, which include presentations highlighting innovation in the design and delivery of programs, aim to identify opportunities to promote innovation through learning exchange and collaboration among jurisdictions.

Start-end date: April 2017 - March 2018
Sponsor: Employment and Social Development Canada

Women in Trades – Implementation Options and Recommended Pilot Projects

Following the completion of a comprehensive needs analysis for women in BC’s skilled trades, SRDC held a facilitated workshop to present and discuss its findings with a series of industry, union, and government stakeholders. Based on the research results and stakeholder input, SRDC is preparing a series of recommended pilot projects for the implementation and evaluation of women in trades programming for British Columbia.

Start-end date: January 2017 - February 2017
Sponsor: SkillPlan

Forum of Labour Market Ministers' Senior Officials – Best Practices Session

SRDC was responsible for organizing a half-day session to share innovative approaches, lessons learned, and research and evaluation on labour market programs and service delivery strategies. It featured presentations from a number of jurisdictions on recent projects and initiatives to identify best practices, improve program effectiveness, and foster innovation. SRDC staff presented on three SRDC projects in this area, teaming up with provincial Senior Officials who provided context on how the projects respond to their respective program and policy objectives. SRDC was also responsible for producing an Event Report summarizing the discussion.

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

Labour Market Transfer Agreements summary report

Employment and skills training programming and services in Canada are supported and delivered by federal, provincial, and territorial governments. The federal government provides almost $3 billion annually to provinces and territories through four major bilateral transfer agreements to support training and employment programming for Canadians. The design and delivery of the programs and services funded under these agreements are the responsibility of provinces and territories. This includes programs and services for unemployed workers eligible for Employment Insurance (EI), individuals without recent or sustained labour market attachment (non-EI insured), low-skilled workers, employers, persons with disabilities, and older workers. The 2016 Federal Budget announced new investments for 2016-17 totaling an additional $175 million. This is the first step in a plan to boost support for skills and training through the transfer agreements. To further ensure that these agreements continue to be relevant, flexible, and responsive to new and emerging labour market needs and priorities, the federal, provincial, and territorial governments have collaboratively embarked on a process in the summer 2016 to gather stakeholder input on these important investments. SRDC summarizes the outcomes of the consultations related to the labour market agreements renewal in this report.

Start-end date: August 2016 - September 2016
Sponsor: Ministère du Travail, de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale du Québec

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 Fund (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

The Role of Employment Social Enterprises in Supporting Transitioning Youth

The BC Centre for Employment Excellence and its partner, the Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria, are conducting a demonstration project to evaluate the role of Employment Social Enterprises (ESEs) in supporting the labour market transitions of youth facing barriers to developing their career potential. The project partners with local social entrepreneurs, employment service providers and employers to generate work placements in new or existing ESEs that focus on employing barriered youth, giving youth participants the opportunity to gain valuable work experience and skill development that is in line with local labour market opportunities. This project is designed to fill a gap in knowledge with regard to understanding the role that transitional placements in ESEs can play in improving employment outcomes for at-risk youth.

Start-end date: February 2016 - December 2017
Sponsor: British Columbia Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation

Employment Support and Income Assistance (ESIA) Transformation Project

SRDC has partnered with Davis Pier Consulting to support a project to transform the Employment Support and Income Assistance system in Nova Scotia. A key component of the project is the development of a client segmentation approach to service delivery that will help the government design and implement targeted interventions to serve clients according to their labour market needs. SRDC is designing this client segmentation model, including both analysis of client and outcome data and the development of criteria/assessment tools to support the model. SRDC is also contributing to the design of targeted interventions to best serve ESIA clients according to their needs.

Start-end date: January 2016 - December 2016
Sponsor: Nova Scotia Department of Community Services

Toronto District School Board (TDSB) Local Poverty Reduction Fund Program Evaluation

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) has engaged SRDC to evaluate the impact of its Local Poverty Reduction Fund initiative. The Local Poverty Reduction Fund is a six-year initiative launched by the Ontario government in 2015 to support innovative, community-driven projects that measurably improve the lives of those most affected by poverty. TDSB has been granted funding through the initiative to introduce innovative process improvements at its Next-Steps Employment Centres, including a coaching-based case management framework and Motivational Interviewing. The changes are designed to improve outcomes for clients who are not in education, employment or training, and clients who are long-term unemployed. SRDC is serving as a third-party evaluator that is designing and conducting an evaluation of the implementation and impact of these process improvements on clients’ outcomes.

Start-end date: January 2016 - January 2017
Sponsor: Toronto District School Board

The Employment Navigator Pilot Project

The project involves new cross-systems partnerships working collectively to improve employment opportunities for individuals in supportive housing. The proposed model is a new and untried approach that pairs two distinct evidence-based approaches in housing and employment — Housing First and Customized Employment. The approaches place an "employment navigator" in the supportive housing location to link housing with Customized Employment and other employment services for tenants who are in stable and permanent housing. This is consistent with an underlying principle behind Housing First, which is that people are better able to move forward once housing is stable. The project will operate in two residences in Vancouver’s downtown eastside. The evaluation strategy involves both implementation research and case studies. The BC Centre for Employment Excellence is partnering with the Lookout Emergency Aid Society and the Open Door Group to develop and implement this project.

Start-end date: October 2015 - September 2018
Sponsor: British Columbia Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation

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

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

Year Two Review of the Canada-Manitoba Job Grant

SRDC conducted an evaluation of the Canada-Manitoba Job Grant. The review assessed the early results from the first year of implementation of the Canada-Manitoba Job Grant and determined whether the grant is (1) helping participants develop the skills necessary to find and keep meaningful long-term employment, and (2) increasing employer investment in training to ensure that skills are better aligned with job opportunities and address labour market demands. SRDC developed a research framework, designed and implemented follow-up surveys for training participants and employers, analyzed administrative and survey data on participant employment outcomes, and conducted interviews and focus groups with key stakeholders. The findings of the review identify promising practices and challenges and inform adjustments required at a provincial and/or national level to better meet the goals of the Canada Job Grant.

Start-end date: May 2015 - September 2015
Sponsor: Manitoba Ministry of Jobs and the Economy

Integrating Motivational Interviewing within Employment Services for BC Employment and Income Assistance Recipients

This project implements and tests an intervention that uses an innovative approach to engage and motivate income assistance (IA) clients using employment services in British Columbia to improve their work readiness and participation in the labour market. The project includes a rigorous evaluation of the proposed intervention randomizing both participants and case managers to the treatment, so that clear lessons for policy and practice can be learned and disseminated. This project is managed by the BC Centre for Employment Excellence, a division of SRDC.

Start-end date: April 2015 - March 2017
Sponsor: British Columbia Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation

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

Design of a Learning Management System for the Training Group at Douglas College

The project designs a common learning management system (LMS) for the Training Group at Douglas College so that the organization can conduct business analytics and analyze program outcomes in order to inform program development and to demonstrate outcomes achieved to program stakeholders. The project involves analyzing existing data management information collected for individual programs, identifying common and unique data collection needs across programs, and analyzing funder reporting needs and trends to design a common, standardized learning management system and reporting protocol.

Start-end date: December 2013 - August 2014
Sponsor: The Training Group at Douglas College

Motivational Interviewing for Manitoba Employment Income Assistance recipients

The project aims to determine the effectiveness of an innovative approach to employment counselling – called Motivational Interviewing – to help Employment Income Assistance (EIA) recipients in Manitoba progress along the Government of Manitoba’s employment service continuum. The study assesses the extent to which the approach: helps participants move forward along the stages of change; improves participants’ readiness for employment; helps participants obtain employment, particularly stable employment; and reduces the receipt of income assistance benefits and recidivism. The study also investigates participants’ experience with the program to learn about what worked well and what did not.

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

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

Pay for Success

A pilot project aiming to develop and test an innovative performance-based approach to funding Essential Skills service delivery in the provinces of Manitoba and Nova Scotia. This pilot project is the first Canadian test of a “pay for success” model for Essential Skills delivery. The model is designed to stimulate innovation in service delivery, encourage a community of practice for delivery of Essential Skills services, and improve longer-term employment outcomes for underrepresented groups in the labour force.

Start-end date: September 2013 - June 2017
Sponsor: Workplace Education Manitoba

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

Youth Connect

The provision of technical assistance with the development of an evaluation strategy for the Youth Connect pilot program. Areas of assistance included strategies for the effective use of random assignment in one study site, sampling and recruitment issues, and on the development of data collection instruments.

Start-end date: August 2008 - March 2009
Sponsor: Newfoundland, Department of Human Resources and Employment

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

Advice on the needs for and sources of data on seasonal workers and part-year jobs

Start-end date: June 2000 - January 2001
Sponsor: Human Resources Development Canada