Youth

Phased approach for Options for a rigorous test for an online micro-grant

This project is for the development of a pilot test for an online micro-granting tool as a means of funding, in a more direct and streamlined fashion, youth-led projects aligned with public policy objectives. While the pilot will be designed in the specific context of Canadian Heritage's goals of enhancing youth engagement and diversity, evidence on the feasibility and effectiveness of the tool as a crowdsourcing platform will have pan-governmental benefits, and support further innovation in Grants and Contributions across all federal departments. The key output of the project will be a design report for a “choice” experiment that will help refine the micro granting model as well as an evaluation and implementation strategy for a full pilot.

Start-end date: March 2017 - August 2017
Sponsor: Canadian Heritage

Evaluation of Student Financial Assistance Programs for Aboriginal Learners

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

These questions are being answered through a combination of three research and evaluation activities: (a) reviews of existing research evidence on learners' financial barriers to accessing PSE and available sources of financial aid, as well as evidence on debt aversion, (b) analysis of administrative records on applicants and recipients of federal and provincial aid, and (c) primary data collection with Aboriginal people (First Nations and Inuit students turned down for PSSSP as well as Aboriginal learners — including Métis and non-status — receiving and not receiving SFA). The project will conclude with recommendations for federal and provincial governments to improve PSE access for Aboriginal learners, including an impact analysis of proposed program changes.

Start-end date: March 2017 - March 2018
Sponsor: British Columbia Ministry of Advanced Education

Relationship between PSE participation and household income

The current decade has seen very little new research into the relationship between household income and PSE participation for Canada in general and Ontario in particular. The effects of recently adopted policies aimed at increasing PSE accessibility on this relationship, such as the reforms to the Ontario Student Assistance Program, are consequently poorly understood. This project uses a time series of harmonized long-form data from the Canadian Census 1996-2016 to examine the relative impact of household income and parents’ human capital on their children’s post-secondary education participation.

Start-end date: March 2017 - October 2018
Sponsor: Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario

Learning more from the BC AVID Pilot Project: impacts of program delivery on postsecondary persistence

This project examines the long-term impacts of BC AVID on students’ post-secondary outcomes by obtaining up to four more years of updated postsecondary records. It is the first stage of a two-phase research endeavour to learn which elements of AVID program fidelity are predictors of student success. The research team is analyzing the patterns of outcomes and evolution of impacts over time. If the program impacts vary between student cohorts experiencing different levels of AVID program intensity, the research team will seek a second phase to study the relationship between AVID program fidelity and students’ long-term outcomes.

Start-end date: January 2017 - July 2017
Sponsor: AVID Center

Evaluation support for Quebec Council on Tobacco and Health initiatives – Youth Programs

Despite the significant progress made in recent years, many factors in the youth environment continue to promote tobacco initiation. Between 80% and 90% of current smokers started smoking before the age of 18. To address this issue, the Quebec Council on Tobacco and Health (CQTS) has been implementing a series of innovative and best practice initiatives for the prevention and cessation of smoking among young people for more than 20 years. SRDC was hired to support the evaluation processes of these initiatives by providing technical advice and training to the CQTS.

Start-end date: January 2017 - December 2017
Sponsor: Quebec Council on Tobacco and Health

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

Kid Food Nation

Canadian children are entering adulthood without sufficient knowledge to make healthy food choices. Moreover, rates of childhood obesity and chronic diseases such as diabetes are increasing. In collaboration with SRDC and other partners, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada is designing and delivering a food skills and healthy eating curriculum for children aged 7-12 in select Clubs. This food literacy program will be supplemented by a national media campaign, and recipe competition and gala event for children. SRDC is evaluating the design and delivery of the initiative, as well as the extent to which food literacy and other outcomes have been achieved.

Government news release

Start-end date: November 2016 - March 2021
Sponsor: Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada

Life After High School Ontario – Phase III

The purpose of Life After High School is to improve the rates at which high school students transition to post-secondary education by reducing the non-financial and financial barriers students face. The program applies lessons from behavioural economics to provide all Grade 12 students at selected Ontario secondary schools with practical support applying for post-secondary education and financial aid. Students are guided through online tools and video in the process of selecting a post-secondary program of their choice, applying for a place in that program without incurring a fee, and applying for financial aid. As options are considered for the delivery of a streamlined Life After High School program in Ontario in future years, SRDC is running the program in 69 low-transition schools in 2016-17.

Start-end date: September 2016 - June 2017
Sponsor: Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development

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

Development of a "How To" Guide for Integrated Mental Health and Substance Use Services for Youth and Young Adults

Only a small proportion of youth with mental health and substance use disorders actually receive treatment, in part because services designed for adults are neither accessible nor appropriate. This “How To” guide is intended to support the Provincial and Territorial Working Group and other policy makers in understanding how to create enabling environments for the development of integrated MHSU services for youth and young adults. To develop this guide, SRDC is collecting information via interviews and surveys on program exemplars in six different provinces, and work closely with the BC Ministry of Health MHSU Branch and members of the P/T WG members.

Start-end date: July 2016 - March 2017
Sponsor: British Columbia Ministry of Health

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 - January 2019
Sponsor: British Columbia Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation

The long-term impacts of offering enhanced career education to Manitoba high school students

This project extends analysis of the impacts of offering Future to Discover (FTD) enhanced career education on Manitoba high school students. While FTD reports to date have covered the 2005 to 2010 period for Manitoba, this extension permits analysis of impacts on later education and labour market participation through to the end of 2014 when the participants were in their mid-twenties. The study examines impacts on education and earnings using tax records that capture outcomes for all 1,044 participants regardless of whether the participants still reside in Manitoba.

Start-end date: February 2016 - June 2017
Sponsor: Manitoba Department of Education and Training

Long-term Education and Labour Market Impacts from the Future to Discover Project

Postsecondary access has been the dominant priority in Ontario’s higher education policy over the past three decades. With this project, SRDC is undertaking data collection and analysis to help answer critical questions about the impacts of postsecondary access policies. The study provides answers to the question "When students at the margin of participating in postsecondary education actually go, what happens to them?". This study uses data on 5,400 students from SRDC’s Future to Discover Project and links these to tax records.

Start-end date: January 2016 - September 2017
Sponsor: Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario

Learning and Labour Market Information Symposium

SRDC organized a learning and labour market information (LLMI) symposium in May 2016 to engage Federal/Provincial and Territorial government senior officials in a discussion with subject matter experts on ways and means to improve the availability and quality of data and tools to inform student choice. In addition to planning the agenda and facilitating the symposium, SRDC conducted an environmental scan, and prepared a synthesis document for circulation prior to the event.

Start-end date: December 2015 - June 2016
Sponsor: Employment and Social Development Canada + Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities

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

HR Policies and Best Practices Toolkit for Restaurants

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

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

Evaluation of the Active Outdoor Play Strategy

'Active outdoor play' is unstructured and of varied intensity, takes place outdoors with natural materials, and involves an element of risk (e.g., due to the height, speed, context, or tools involved). A wide range of sectors and organizations has recently begun to promote active outdoor play as a means of correcting a perceived over-emphasis on safety/risk and injury prevention, as well as promoting healthy child development in the long term.

The aim of the Lawson Foundation’s Outdoor Play Strategy is to better understand how to support Canadian communities to foster children’s opportunities for outdoor play; in other words, how to create environments that enable – rather than hinder – such play. The Strategy is designed to support the development and implementation of a variety of creative ideas across sectors and a range of contexts, including community programs, services, and supports as well as policy and research initiatives. SRDC conducted an evaluation of the Strategy to develop understanding about how and why funded initiatives experience success, and to what degree. The evaluation includes information about both implementation and early impacts of the Outdoor Play Strategy, at three levels: individual projects/grantees; the collective cohort of grantees; and the broader landscape of stakeholders involved in outdoor play. In addition to examining multiple levels of operation and impact, the project takes a developmental evaluation approach – one that is flexible, future-oriented, and focused more on learning and performance improvement than on narrow definitions of merit and accountability.

Lawson Foundation notice

 

Start-end date: November 2015 - April 2019
Sponsor: Lawson Foundation

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

The role of subjective attitudes and beliefs in financial decision-making of Canadians

While many Canadians lack basic financial literacy, mounting evidence from behavioural economics suggests that financial decisions are also frequently undermined by psychological factors. Even with the requisite financial knowledge and literacy skills, people are prone to various kinds of cognitive biases when making financial decisions such as those related to evaluating risk and uncertainty or the time value of money. This project undertakes an analysis of the 2014 Canadian Financial Capability Survey (CFCS) with the aim of understanding the role of cognitive biases in the financial decision-making of Canadians, with a particular focus on youth, aboriginals, and those with low incomes.

Start-end date: September 2015 - March 2016
Sponsor: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Employment and Training Service Integration (ETSI) Strategy for Evaluation and Evidence Generation

The purpose of this project was to develop a framework for conducting effective monitoring and evaluation of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities' Employment and Training Service Integration (ETSI) initiative. The framework sets the standards for, and provides strategic guidance around alignment, for all evaluation activities supporting ETSI. This work is supporting the Ministry's goal of ensuring it has a comprehensive strategy for evidence generation to inform current pilots, programs and system features being introduced, as well as to guide future evaluation frameworks for programs and system features under ETSI. The project involves: conducting a review of evaluation approaches and existing frameworks from other relevant jurisdictions used to assess active labour market programs; developing a monitoring and evaluation framework of ETSI in consultation with key stakeholders and based on findings from the review of existing frameworks in other jurisdictions; and developing options for a monitoring and evaluation strategy and methodology.

Start-end date: August 2015 - January 2016
Sponsor: Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities

Measuring Resilience as an Education Outcome

SRDC is investigating the most appropriate means for Ontario postsecondary institutions to assess the impacts of their programs on student resilience. In addition to an extensive literature review, the study assesses how well one of the most promising existing measures of resilience (the Brief Resilience Scale) predicts student coping behaviours over a three-year period post-measurement. The project report includes the combined results and recommendations for next steps based on lessons learned from the literature and from implementing resilience measures in the field.

Start-end date: May 2015 - April 2016
Sponsor: Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario

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

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

Start-end date: April 2015 - May 2016
Sponsor: A Canadian Foundation

Analysis of PIAAC Data and Development of Evidence Base on Adult Learning for Ontario

This study examines the literacy skills proficiency distribution among key subgroups in the province of Ontario including recent immigrants, Aboriginals, Francophone, youth, and older workers. The objective is to inform policy direction with respect to resource targeting for adult learning initiatives in the province. Among other sources, the project utilizes the latest data from the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC).

Start-end date: March 2015 - September 2015
Sponsor: Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities

How youth develop career decisions

Making use of existing literature from Canada and abroad, this study examines when, where and how youth use labour market information to make postsecondary education and career-related decisions, including recommendations for the development and refinement of labour market information tools and initiatives. The report includes design considerations, critical features and strategies including those to adopt and those to avoid.

Start-end date: February 2015 - March 2015
Sponsor: Employment and Social Development Canada

Long-term impacts of the Life After High School program in BC

This project extends analysis from SRDC’s previous study of the Impact of Lowering Non-financial Barriers on Access to Post-secondary Education (Life After High School) in British Columbia. The intervention tested a sequence of three workshops delivered to high schools’ Grade 12 students intended to encourage the students to apply for post-secondary education and related student financial aid. A total of 50 BC high schools with low rates of students entering post-secondary education are involved. Impacts on students’ enrolment and persistence in post-secondary education, use of student financial aid and program choices are investigated across key subgroups defined by Aboriginal status, gender and high school achievement.

Start-end date: January 2015 - January 2016
Sponsor: Max Bell Foundation

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

Students' exit profile

The goal of this project is to develop qualitative and quantitative measurement tools to collect an exit profile for each student. This profile includes the main attitudes, values ​​and competencies that the Board wants to develop in every student from kindergarten to Grade 12. The tool will be used to populate the Board's Accountability and Improvement Framework. This framework will serve the planning and evaluation needs of teachers as well as those of principals and senior administrators. SRDC's mandate is to provide technical support toward completing the profile.

Start-end date: April 2014 - May 2014
Sponsor: Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est de l’Ontario

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

Evaluation of the Urban and Priority High Schools (UPHS) Initiative

The initiative was first implemented in the 2008-09 school year with 37 urban secondary schools across the 12 school boards receiving funding until 2013-2014. It aimed to enhance the well-being and academic success of students living in high-needs neighbourhoods by way of creating a safe and positive learning school environment. The secondary schools that participated in the UPHS worked with community partners to provide additional supports and opportunities to these students based on a needs assessment and existing services. This evaluation intends to increase our understanding of how additional supports and opportunities influenced at-risk youths’ academic success, to document effective practices in engaging students, parents, and the community, to provide recommendations in regards to the content of a program monitoring information system, and to draw recommendations for improving student outcomes at the system level.

Start-end date: February 2014 - March 2015
Sponsor: Ontario Ministry of Education

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

Measuring the Impact of the YMCA of Greater Toronto on Community Health

The project supports the YMCA of Greater Toronto’s 2010-2020 Strategic Plan and the establishment and continuous improvement of its new Centres of Community by identifying a community health monitoring strategy that cuts across life stages and the community level, the regional level, and the GTA. The project provides a set of options for a community health monitoring strategy based on an analysis of other community health monitoring initiatives in Canada and abroad, data availability and quality for selected indicators in the GTA, and the YMCA’s outcomes of interest related to its programming.

Start-end date: November 2013 - March 2014
Sponsor: YMCA of Greater Toronto

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

PSE-related financial literacy among disadvantaged youth

This project aims to address information barriers to post-secondary education (PSE) access faced by disadvantaged youth – specifically, the lack of engaging online resources to learn about the benefits of PSE and how to afford it. Together with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada (BGCC), SRDC is conducting an evaluation project that tests the effectiveness of new, online financial literacy resources related to PSE and targeted to low-income youth. The resources are provided through Rogers Raising the Grade, a new after-school program offered at 35 Boys and Girls Clubs across Canada, and build on an existing collaboration between SRDC and BGCC. Funding for this project is provided by the TD Financial Literacy Grant Fund administered by Prosper Canada.

Start-end date: October 2013 - April 2015
Sponsor: Social and Enterprise Development Innovations (SEDI)

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

Evaluating the impact of patients’ direct lab access

As part of the move toward a more modernized health care system, tele-health and digital health services provide patients with direct access to health information and advice 24/7, 365 days a year. The aim of this study is to understand the impact of direct patient access to laboratory results in B.C. in terms of healthcare access, quality, and productivity. Through interviews with physicians and a survey of service subscribers and a general population panel, the study examines how direct access to lab results compares to traditional means of access (i.e., via the physicians’ office) in terms of service reliability and efficiency, patient experience, patients’ utilization of healthcare services, and physicians’ practices and workloads. Results of this study support future planning around patient access to health information and contribute to the peer-reviewed literature.

Start-end date: July 2013 - March 2014
Sponsor: Canada Health Infoway

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

Moving on Mental Health – Toronto Implementation Panel

Working with the Ministry and sector stakeholder groups to develop a report that outlines options and recommendations for system reform consistent with Moving on Mental Health, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services policy framework for child and youth mental Health (A Shared Responsibility).

Start-end date: April 2013 - October 2013
Sponsor: Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services

Life After High School Ontario – Phase II

A pilot project to develop and test streamlined options for delivery of the Life After High School program in Ontario. The program options provide Grade 12 students at selected Ontario secondary schools with practical support applying for post-secondary education and financial aid. Students are guided through online tools and video in the process of selecting a post-secondary program of their choice, applying for a place in that program, and applying for financial aid. In the initial stage of the project, SRDC provided consulting services and a set of recommended models for test, including consideration of a variant model for Crown Wards. Following the selection of preferred models, the second stage commenced delivery of the options during the 2013-14 school year. Delivery models vary in order to assess the impact of paying the application fee of either the Ontario College Application Service (OCAS) or the Ontario Universities Application Centre (OUAC) and different forms of facilitation. This research project seeks to learn which models are most effective in supporting all Grade 12 students at a school to make applications for post-secondary studies and financial aid, and in increasing enrolment in further education.

Start-end date: April 2013 - March 2016
Sponsor: Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities

Extension of Future to Discover data collection and analysis

The evaluation of a demonstration project involving 4,400 high-school students in New Brunswick that is testing, through a randomized trial, an alternative form of financial support and enhanced career education as ways to increase youth participation in post-secondary education, especially youth from low-income families. This extension permits the study to collect data for the analysis of outcomes through to the completion of post-secondary education and early labour market experience.

Start-end date: March 2013 - December 2017
Sponsor: New Brunswick Education and Early Childhood Development

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

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

Evaluation of WellnessFits

The Canadian Cancer Society, BC and Yukon Division, in partnership with Healthy Families BC Initiative, has developed a comprehensive workplace health promotion program, WellnessFits. The aim of WellnessFits is to help employers and employees address key health behaviours that can reduce an individual’s risk for cancer and other chronic diseases. The program’s three principle strategies of educate, act, and support guide the overall development and delivery of the program. SRDC was commissioned to conduct an initial evaluation of this program.

Start-end date: December 2012 - April 2013
Sponsor: Canadian Cancer Society, BC and Yukon Division

Summative Evaluation of HealthLink BC – Phase Two

HealthLink BC (HLBC) provides BC residents with 24-hour, 365-day access to medically approved information and advice. The aim of the second phase of this project is to conduct a summative evaluation of HLBC client facing services. This includes examining awareness, use, satisfaction, outcomes, impacts, and cost-benefit associated with the HLBC programs and services.

Start-end date: December 2012 - June 2016
Sponsor: BC Ministry of Health, HealthLink BC

Job Entry Manitoba (JEM)

The project is a developmental evaluation that examines and provides regular feedback to the client on the development and implementation of the new Job Entry Manitoba (JEM) program, a key component of Manitoba’s new training-to-employment service support continuum. The project also identifies key immediate outcomes and measurement approaches to support the building of a data collection system and tools. The evaluation addresses standard implementation questions such as how does the JEM model work in practice? It also aims to systematically understand how the implementation of JEM influences provider practices in both intended and unintended ways. More fundamentally, it assesses how JEM has impacted providers’ sense of professional efficacy by exploring the extent to which providers feel that the new model enables them to better meet the needs of their target population.

Start-end date: November 2012 - December 2013
Sponsor: Workplace Education Manitoba

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

School engagement in middle and secondary schools – Phase II

Pilot project for testing educational practices that encourage school engagement among middle and secondary school students. This second phase of the study focuses primarily on creating the measures required for evaluating implementation of the educational practices tested during Phase I of the project. The tools were developed in close collaboration with stakeholders from four schools in the Ottawa region, in particular school board and teaching staff members, as well as students. The third phase of the project aims to evaluate the effect of educational practices on student school engagement. To achieve this, student engagement is examined based on the degree of implementation of educational practices.

Start-end date: October 2012 - April 2013
Sponsor: Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario

Needs Assessment Simplification

This project seeks to identify options to simplify student financial aid (SFA) applications in Canada. It does this by assessing the scope for limiting or modifying the data elements currently collected to determine SFA offers. The main analysis involves data on actual applications and awards. SRDC simulates revised 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. Based on these findings and a review of the literature, a range of simplification options are presented along with the pros and cons of each, including a range of possible effects on program costs.

Start-end date: September 2012 - March 2013
Sponsor: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

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

Evaluation of HeartSmart KidsTM

HeartSmart KidsTM has trained over 8,390 educators to deliver health education to elementary school students. Its curricula based program is designed to help educators teach young people to have a healthy lifestyle and a healthy heart. The Heart and Stroke Foundation of BC and the Yukon commissioned SRDC to conduct an evaluation of this program to provide information for future development by identifying components that worked well and aspects of the program that could be improved.

Start-end date: August 2012 - March 2013
Sponsor: The Heart and Stroke Foundation of BC and the Yukon

Raising the Grade Evaluation

This project provides evaluation support to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada (BGCC) as they develop and launch an innovative new after-school program in 25 clubs across Canada. SRDC is conducting a developmental evaluation to provide useful, timely feedback to BGCC as it fine-tunes program design and implementation, as well as an outcome evaluation to investigate potential benefits of the program for participants and clubs.

Start-end date: June 2012 - June 2017
Sponsor: Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada

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

School Engagement in Middle School

A pilot project aiming to develop, apply, and test teaching strategies that enhance school engagement in middle school students. The existing strategies are identified based on document and literature reviews. In addition, new strategies are developed using a motivational framework extensively applied to the school setting. The strategies are then tested in two classrooms in a school located in the Ottawa area.

Start-end date: September 2011 - January 2012
Sponsor: Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario

A multidimensional approach to reducing the appeal of sweet beverages

The main goal of the project is to gain a better understanding of how sweet beverages are marketed to target young Canadians so that it is easier to take concrete actions in the future to make environments more conducive to healthy lifestyle habits. To accomplish this, the project incorporates three main thrusts: 1) provide a comprehensive picture of the sweet beverage market in Canada and existing marketing strategies targeting young people; 2) adapt the Gobes-tu ça? project developed by Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec for young Francophones age 13 to 17 in Alberta and, if funding is extended beyond this period, identify other potential sponsors for the Gobes-tu ça? project elsewhere in the country; and 3) disseminate and use our study of the sweet beverage market and adapt this knowledge transfer tool accordingly.

Start-end date: June 2011 - October 2012
Sponsor: Association pour la santé publique du Québec and Public Health Agency of Canada

Life After High School in Ontario

A pilot project to test an innovative program called Life After High School in Ontario. Starting in October 2011, the program provides Grade 12 students at selected Ontario secondary schools with practical support applying for post-secondary education and financial aid. In three on-line facilitated workshops at 43 schools, students are guided through the process of selecting a post-secondary program of their choice, applying for a place in that program, and applying for financial aid. The application fee of either the Ontario College Application Service (OCAS) or the Ontario Universities Application Centre (OUAC) is covered by the program. This research project seeks to learn whether supporting all Grade 12 students at a school in making real applications for post-secondary studies and financial aid increases enrolment in further education.

Start-end date: May 2011 - March 2015
Sponsor: Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities

Assessing the Impacts of the New Canada Student Grants Program

This project consists of a program evaluation study of HRSDC’s new Canada Student Grants Program (CSGP). Introduced in 2009, the CSGP consolidates all previous federal student grants. The new grants aim to improve access to post-secondary studies and to reduce costs for students from low- and middle-income families, students with permanent disabilities, part-time students, and students with dependants. The project involves a literature review of relevant policies and programs, an evaluation of the feasibility of the available data and research methods to assess the CSGP, and a final report containing an empirical analysis of the effectiveness of the CSGP in achieving its stated objectives.

Start-end date: February 2011 - March 2012
Sponsor: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Career Development Services (CDS) – Field Consultations with Canadian Practitioners

A consultative study to identify gaps in services and explore innovative practices in the delivery of employment counselling and training for unemployed lower-skilled Canadian adults. Consultations include focus groups and depth interviews with practitioners involved in the intake, assessment, and referral of unemployed clients as well as training providers in four provinces: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Nova Scotia.

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

Successful Programs That Were Effective in Developing Entrepreneurship Skills Among Youth and Contributed to Sustainable Settlement of Youth in Official Language Minority Communities (OLMCs)

This research project focuses on understanding and developing the role of youth entrepreneurship as a strategy to encourage the sustainable settlement of youth in Official Language Minority Communities. It also seeks to identify promising ideas that can be implemented and evaluated in the Canadian OLMC context.

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

Multisite evaluation of the Francophone Youth Inclusion Program (YIP)

A multisite evaluation of a youth crime prevention program entitled Youth Inclusion Program (YIP). The Francophone YIP seeks to reduce the number of arrests, truancy, and school expulsions for a group of high-risk youths within the same community. To achieve its objectives, the program offers youths, by way of an individualized intervention plan, a combination of sports, education, training, and interventions on subjects such as health and drugs. The evaluation of the Francophone YIP is spread over five years and was conducted in Montreal (Quebec) and in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield (Quebec). SRDC conducted a process evaluation, an impact evaluation, a costs analysis and a relevancy evaluation.

Start-end date: November 2010 - December 2016
Sponsor: Public Safety Canada

Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science, and Technology

Providing expert advice on accessibility of post-secondary education in Canada.

Start-end date: June 2010 - June 2010
Sponsor: Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science, and Technology

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

Navigating the Labour Market

A short-term classroom economic experiment to probe the relationship between literacy and labour market knowledge, and to assess the impact of a short labour market information intervention on labour market knowledge.

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

Evaluation of the BC Healthy Living Alliance (BCHLA) Initiatives

BCHLA is a provincial coalition of organizations working together to improve the health of British Columbians. The coalition has implemented 16 initiatives in the health promotion and population health areas, designed to deliver activities across the province in three themes: Healthy Eating, Physical Activity, and Tobacco Reduction. In the first phase of the evaluation project, SRDC conducted evaluability assessments for each initiative as well as the clusters or themes to produce evaluation plans and budgets for “evaluable” projects and clusters. In the second phase, SRDC evaluated 6 of the 16 initiatives, as well as a case study of the Community Capacity Building Strategy and provided technical assistance to the other BCHLA initiatives that were not part of the evaluation project. Some of the evaluations involved vulnerable populations, such as Aboriginal communities.

Start-end date: July 2007 - May 2010
Sponsor: Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research
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Willingness to Pay for Post-secondary Education Among Under-represented Groups

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

Start-end date: May 2007 - December 2009
Sponsor: Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation
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Research Support for Dissemination: Early Analyses of Future to Discover Baseline Data

In advance of planned publication, the Future to Discover evaluation team undertook early analysis of Future to Discover’s two recruited cohorts from New Brunswick and one cohort from Manitoba, prepared tables for three conferences and presented at the conferences.

Start-end date: December 2005 - April 2006
Sponsor: Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation

Making Education Work

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

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

BC Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) Pilot Project

The evaluation of a demonstration project, using a random assignment design with more than 1,300 high-school students in British Columbia, of an academic preparation model for under-achieving students who are unlikely to go on to post-secondary education without some supportive intervention. To date, SRDC has published BC AVID Pilot Project: Early Implementation Report (2008), BC AVID Pilot Project: Interim Impacts Report (2010), and BC AVID Pilot Post-secondary Impacts Report (2014).

Start-end date: August 2003 - December 2013
Sponsor: Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation
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Facilitation of a “Sounding Board” on Youth Labour Market Indicators/Evaluation for YES Strategic Policy Development

Start-end date: April 2002 - May 2002
Sponsor: Human Resources Development Canada, Employment Policy (Labour Market Policy)

Fostering Adult Education: The Efficient Use of Loans, Grants, and Savings Incentives

An examination of the barriers to adult education and the relative attractiveness of alternative forms of student financial assistance to encourage investment in education.

Start-end date: April 2002 - December 2004
Sponsor: Human Resources Development Canada (Applied Research Branch and Canada Student Loans Program)

Expert advice and design options for at-risk youth and for frequent users of Employment Insurance

Start-end date: September 2001 - October 2001
Sponsor: Human Resources Development Canada

Will the Working Poor Invest in Human Capital?

An examination of people’s willingness to delay consumption, to invest in education for themselves or their children, and their reaction to risk.

Start-end date: September 2001 - February 2002
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

Transitions

A study to review promising school-based programs to increase student retention. The study involved reviews of the reasons students “drop out” of high school and field visits to 24 stay-in-school programs in 5 cities across BC. It recommended several promising intervention options and strategies for their evaluation.

Start-end date: January 1999 - July 1999
Sponsor: BC Ministry of Advanced Education, Training and Technology

BladeRunners and Picasso Café: A Case Study Evaluation of Two Work-based Training Programs for Disadvantaged Youth Case

The BladeRunners Partnership and the Picasso Café (Vancouver) both used work-based approaches to re-engage street youth. This case study evaluates the programs’ implementation and effectiveness.

Start-end date: August 1998 - March 2001
Sponsor: HRDC Evaluation and Data Development Branch, HRDC Youth Initiatives Directorate, National Literacy Secretariat, BC Ministry of Community Development, Cooperatives and Volunteers, and ARCO Foundation

Research Support to the HRDC Ministerial Task Force on Youth

Including the preparation of the report: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Employment-related Programs and Services for Youth (a summary of this report was subsequently published as the first study in the HRDC “lessons learned” series).

Start-end date: November 1996 - November 1996
Sponsor: Human Resources Development Canada

Evaluation Strategy for BC Benefits

Youth works and welfare-to-work components.

Start-end date: February 1996 - February 1996
Sponsor: BC Ministry of Skills, Training and Labour, Program Evaluation