Information and Communications

SPR has conducted numerous projects on the communications and information needs of business and the general population, usually on specific topics such as how to comply with government regulations, or on a specific topic such as pollution prevention, family violence or child development.  Typical projects include:

  • Review of Attractions Ontario's Summer Coupon and Passport Program.  A multi-method review was conducted of this program which provides web, toll-free telephone and print information to hundreds of thousands of visitors to Ontario each year. The effectiveness of the program in aiding the marketing of major attractions such as African Lion Safari, CN Tower, was examined. The review also provided insights on linkages with regional tourism bodies and the broader province of Ontario tourism strategy. Key elements of the project included an on-line survey, interviews and site visits across Ontario (for Attractions Ontario, 2012-2013);

  • Review of the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association (CHRA). This review examined the CHRA's performance from 2006 to 2008, in providing information and housing-related services to the non-profit and broader housing sectors. An on-line survey of some 1,000 non-profit and other housing and social service stakeholders was used to assess the CHRA's achievements, communications, and web-site (for the CHRA, 2008-2009);

  • Review of the Newcomer's Guide to Canadian Housing.  This evaluation examined the use of this CMHC publication through telephone and web surveys of newcomers to Canada, potential newcomers to Canada still residing in China, India and the Philippines, and staff of settlement and housing help agencies in major Canadian cities.  Comparisons were drawn to the situation of Canadians generally and the way in which housing information maximizes the quality of newcomers' housing choices in terms of homebuying and finding rental accommodation (for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, 2007-2008);

  • Evaluation of the Homeowner Education Training Program (HETP) Pilot.  This evaluation assessed the value-for-money of HETP in the Auditor General Framework, with an emphasis on a cost-effectiveness analysis.  Telephone, web, FAX and mail surveys were conducted to assess the impacts of two main information treatments on over 2,000 potential homebuyers:  HETP in-person seminars; and CMHC web and print publications.  Impacts were assessed in a quasi-experimental design and applied a variety of regression models (for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, 2004);

  • Evaluation of Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) Information Products.  This project examined the use of the Internet and print media for the distribution to Canadians of information on labour standards, careers, jobs, Employment Insurance, pensions, and children's issues.  A key feature of the project was a survey of over 4,000 information intermediaries (persons who refer others to information, such as employment counsellors, income security outreach staff, and school guidance counsellors) to audit the quality of over 300 key HRDC print products and web-sites, and to examine issues of duplication and coordination in the delivery of print and Web products (for Human Resources Development Canada, 1999-2001);

  • Survey on the Canadian Pollution Prevention Information Clearinghouse.  With a focus on a survey of 1,000 businesses, this project examined this Internet-based information clearinghouse from the point of view of its process, client satisfaction and results.  Issues examined included market reach, user satisfaction with access to the web-site, satisfaction with content, technical issues in navigating the web-site, retrieving information, and results in terms of pollution abatement (for Environment Canada, 1999-2000);

  • Evaluation of the National Clearinghouse on Family Violence.  This project included a national survey of 3,800 users of this information agency to examine user satisfaction, views of services and service needs, and related issues.  Particular recommendations were made by SPR on developing a strategy for improved utilization and access to the Clearinghouse web-site (for Health Canada, 1998-99);

  • Survey to Evaluate the Communications Component of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP).  This project involved a nation-wide mail and telephone survey of over 2,000 hospitals, social service agencies, employers and insurance companies who acted as information redistributors.  This survey examined access, quality and use of information on benefits, and recommended improvements in CPP communications (for Health and Welfare Canada, 1989).