Feasibility studies and concept papers

Enhancing Volunteer Recruitment and Retention

The study is exploring the motivations and constraints facing volunteer firefighters in an effort to support the development of an enhanced set of practices to improve the recruitment and retention of volunteers in rural communities. SRDC will augment existing outreach strategies and messaging to create better alignment with these underlying factors and will incorporate behavioural “nudges” to motivate action. The feasibility of the new model will then be tested through a small scale pilot.

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

BGCC National Youth Outcomes Consultation

As part of a longstanding commitment to quality programming and continuous improvement, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada developed its Model for Success framework to describe the common features of Boys and Girls Clubs’ environments, the core programming they offer, and the desired positive outcomes for children and youth that drive these efforts. To further this work, SRDC was engaged to help BGCC develop a plan for evaluating program outcomes at a national level. This project includes background research, interviews, feasibility assessment, and development of options and recommendations.

Start-end date: December 2015 - April 2016
Sponsor: Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada

On Track to Opportunities: Linking Transit Development to Community Employment and Training Project – Design and implementation plan

The goal of this project is to develop a detailed design and implementation plan for a workforce development 'pipeline' model to support the implementation of the Metrolinx Community Benefits Framework. The purpose of the 'pipeline' is to ensure Toronto residents that have been historically disadvantaged are engaged and prepared for employment in new jobs related to Metrolinx transit projects in the GTA. This project is building on previous work undertaken by SRDC in 2015, which involved designing a prototype of the 'pipeline' model.

Start-end date: December 2015 - April 2016
Sponsor: Atkinson Foundation, Metcalf Foundation, and United Way of Greater Toronto

Identifying leading disability-confident companies in Vancouver

The project aims to develop a list of leading companies that have implemented inclusive practices and made their workplaces welcoming to persons with disabilities. The list will be shared with service providers in the employment services sector in BC, with a view to increase labour market access for persons with disabilities.

Start-end date: November 2015 - May 2016
Sponsor: Vancouver Foundation

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

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

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

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

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

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

Healthy Transitions from High School — A mental health promotion and prevention initiative: Pilot Phase

This project pilot tests and refines curriculum resources designed to help students develop the social, emotional and learning skills needed to navigate the transition from high school. It builds on earlier phases of background research and program development, and includes two components: 1) evaluate the adoption, delivery, and potential effectiveness of the resources in a pilot test in a small group of Ontario high schools and 2) consultations with educators, youth, and mental health experts to fine-tune the resources and prepare for their potential delivery in a greater number of schools. As with earlier phases, this project is conducted in collaboration with the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and the Ontario School Mental Health ASSIST team.

Start-end date: December 2014 - September 2017
Sponsor: Anonymous sponsor + School Mental Health ASSIST

The Face-to-Face Project: Bringing Youth with Disabilities and Employers Together

The Face-to-Face Project: Bringing Youth with Disabilities and Employers Together aims to find creative solutions that improve labour market integration for youths with disabilities. The project is an initiative of the BC Centre for Employment Excellence with financial support from the Vancouver Foundation’s Disability Supports for Employment Fund. Youths with disabilities (ages 18-25 years old) who have little to no work experience are matched with local employers of various sizes and sectors to engage in mock interviews and networking scenarios. Following this first connection, the employers refer the youth to a second employer. In addition to recruiting the youth and employers, the Centre provides resource materials and orientation for participating employers and youths. The project wrapped up in spring 2015 with a mini-forum and an evaluation that captures lessons learned and effective practices. This project is managed by the BC Centre for Employment Excellence, a division of SRDC.

Start-end date: November 2014 - April 2015
Sponsor: Vancouver Foundation

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

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

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

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

Understanding current employment programming and services for BC youth

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

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

Design phase: Promoting mental health for youth through transitions

Building on an earlier phase of background research into student mental health issues, this project aims to design an intervention to support students through the transition from high school. SRDC met with potential collaborators, finalized the conceptual framework, developed an intervention/ delivery model and curriculum outline, developed an evaluation plan, and identified potential funders for a subsequent pilot test. SRDC also consulted with youth on design and delivery, and engaged experts as required to ensure the feasibility, scalability, innovation, and appeal of the intervention to high school students. The result is a detailed proposal to a funder to implement and test the program on a pilot basis, to learn what works to promote and protect student mental health.

Start-end date: September 2013 - June 2014
Sponsor: Anonymous sponsor

Transfert de la recherche ontarienne et des connaissances (TROC)

The TROC initiative (or the Ontario knowledge and research transfer) concerns the development of a portal to facilitate knowledge mobilization research and evaluation findings related to the 2011 Politique d’aménagement linguistique (PAL) policy framework in post-secondary educational institutions and apprenticeship programs. The need for such a portal was first identified during a 2011 symposium introducing the PAL policy framework. Participants at the time noted a gap in their capacity to access research which, in turn, hindered their ability to systematically investigate issues related to post-secondary education and training in a Francophone minority setting. As a preliminary step towards establishing a research agenda, the collective will was to initially invest in the design of a portal for the long term which would: (1) include a centralized directory of key stakeholders; (2) house a clearinghouse of scientific publications and grey literature; (3) focus on known best practices; and (4) provide a forum open to all key stakeholders for exchanging publications and knowledge.

Start-end date: April 2013 - February 2014
Sponsor: Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities

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

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

Start-end date: August 2012 - December 2012
Sponsor: Anonymous sponsor

Occupational Health and Safety and Essential Skills

The purpose of this project is to design a field test of an innovative program of occupational health and safety training that embeds individually customized transferable skills enhancement for lower skilled workers. The goal is to enhance the effectiveness of such training in improving OHS outcomes such as worker knowledge, worker and organizational actions that reduce injury risk, and reduced illness and injury rates.

Start-end date: April 2012 - March 2013
Sponsor: Institute for Work and Health

Summative Evaluation of HealthLink BC – Phase One

HealthLink BC (HLBC) provides BC residents with 24-hour, 365-day access to medically approved information and advice. The goal of the first phase of the project is to develop an evaluation framework to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the HLBC services that examines awareness, use, satisfaction, outcomes, impacts, and cost-benefit associated with the HLBC programs and services.

Start-end date: December 2011 - December 2012
Sponsor: BC Ministry of Health, HealthLink BC

Design for Evaluating an Online Career Development Services Intervention

A study assessing the feasibility of using a random assignment design for the evaluation of the delivery of a Web-based comprehensive Career Development Services (CDS) intervention that can improve the career development of older workers and recent immigrants, enabling them to make meaningful and effective decisions in relation to the labour market and to take action on those decisions.

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

An Evaluation of “Foundations” Enhancing Transferable Skills through Career Exploration

The purpose of this project is to design a field test of an innovative program of career exploration that embeds individually customized transferable skills enhancement for lower skilled adults. In spite of anecdotal evidence of its effectiveness, the “Foundations” program has not been rigorously evaluated or widely implemented in Canada. A randomized control trial (RCT) will be developed in order to estimate the effects of the program on participants’ skills and a range of labour market outcomes including success in further training, job search, and future employment.

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

Healthy After School Pilot Project

The aim of this project is to develop a program around physical activity and healthy eating in after-school care. The program will provide after-school care providers with a range of supports and resources to encourage and facilitate children to be more active and to choose healthy foods. After-school care sites participating in the project will be trained and given a resource bin that will include some equipment and tools to help staff incorporate the program into their activities. Ongoing training and support will also be provided to staff and they can choose what to use from these resource bins. Lines of evidence: consultations, interviews, observations, surveys, and measurements of physical activity.

Start-end date: February 2011 - October 2012
Sponsor: Public Health Agency of Canada

First-generation Post-secondary Education Households: Scoping Paper

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

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

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

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

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

Community Action for Seniors Independence – Evaluation Framework

Workshop facilitation with government officials to develop a logic model for a project delivering non-medical support and services to frail seniors.

Start-end date: September 2009 - September 2010
Sponsor: United Way of the Lower Mainland

Learning and Active Employment Programs

An examination of the participation of low-skilled adults in literacy and employment training programs and the role that literacy and other factors have in explaining take-up and program effectiveness. Drawing on lessons from an initial qualitative study and consultation phase, design options for experiments are proposed to improve the take-up and delivery of public training programs.

Start-end date: August 2009 - September 2010
Sponsor: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Design of a Demonstration Project to Evaluate Workplace-based Literacy and Essential Skills Training

A design for a demonstration project using random assignment to measure the impacts of Literacy and Essential Skills (LES) training in the workplace.

Start-end date: May 2009 - September 2009
Sponsor: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

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

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

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

Labour Market Information to Help High-School Students Access Post-secondary Education: The “Life After High School Experiment”

Concept paper to assess whether the process of providing information to high-school students about labour markets, their post-secondary options, potential post-secondary program acceptance, and eligibility for financial aid can improve knowledge acquisition and human capital acquisition.

Start-end date: March 2009 - May 2009
Sponsor: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (Policy Research)

Design of a Demonstration Project to Evaluate the Impact of Providing Labour Market Information to Internationally-trained Immigrants

A study assessing the feasibility of using random assignment designs to explore options to improve labour market outcomes for internationally-trained immigrants through different means of LMI delivery.

Start-end date: March 2009 - June 2009
Sponsor: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Design of a Pilot Project to Assess the Impacts of Flexible Benefits for First Time and Occasional EI Claimants

A design for a demonstration project using random assignment to measure the impacts of introducing flexibility in the delivery EI benefits.

Start-end date: February 2009 - October 2009
Sponsor: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, EI Policy Branch

Feasibility Study for Evaluating Debt Management Measures

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

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

Challenges and Opportunities Facing Canada’s Student Financial Assistance System

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

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

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

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

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

Design of Possible Demonstration Projects to Assess the Impact of Labour Market Information

A study assessing the feasibility of using random assignment designs to explore options to improve labour market outcomes of three target groups (new immigrants, youth at risk, and small- and medium-size businesses) through the provision of labour market information tailored to their needs.

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

Feasibility of Field Experiments to Test Government Support Programs for Innovation

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

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

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

Improving the EI Program Through Experimentation

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

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

Increasing Access to the Labour Market for Persons with Disabilities Who Experience Episodic Periods of Wellness and Illness: Options for Research Demonstration Projects

Start-end date: November 2006 - March 2007
Sponsor: Canadian Working Group on HIV and Rehabilitation

Personal Re-employment Accounts

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

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

Proposal to Develop a Personal Supports Model for People with Disabilities and Evaluate the Impacts on Community and Labour Market Participation

Start-end date: June 2006 - December 2006
Sponsor: BC Ministry of Employment and Income Assistance

Feasibility of a Birth Cohort Study

A background paper on the feasibility of designing and implementing a birth cohort study in Manitoba.

Start-end date: March 2005 - May 2005
Sponsor: Healthy Child Manitoba Office

Design Options for Demonstration Projects to Improve Participation in Post-secondary Education

Start-end date: May 2002 - June 2002
Sponsor: Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation

Identifying Language Training Interventions for Government-assisted Refugees and options for demonstration projects

Start-end date: January 2002 - March 2002
Sponsor: Citizenship and Immigration Canada (Strategic Research and Review)

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

Potential use of an Economic Experiment to Examine Issues Related to Student Financial Aid

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

Technical assistance on the costs and benefits of “work first” welfare-to-work programs

Start-end date: August 1999 - October 1999
Sponsor: BC Ministry of Social Development and Economic Security