Youth Issues and Programs
SPR has conducted many projects focused on issues involving or affecting youth, in employment, social services and other areas. Some of these include:

  • Evaluation of the Gang Risk Assessment Instrument (GRAI).  This ongoing study is assessing the efficiency and effectiveness of the Gang Risk Assessment Instrument. Key activities include: a review of the research literature on gangs and gang risk assessment procedures; focus groups with staff from Ontario's Youth Justice System who have used the GRAI for risk assessment purposes; one-on-one interviews with a random sample of youth justice staff who have used the GRAI for risk assessment purposes; and an analysis of the Ministry's existing database documenting all GRAI assessments conducted to-date (for the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services, 2017-2018);

  • Assessing the Capacity of Sport and Recreation in the Not-for-Profit Sector in Ontario.  This project assessed the capacity of small and rural non-profit community sport organizations -- mainly serving youth -- to meet Ontario's upcoming Not-for-Profit Corporations Act. The project also identified the service delivery capacity of not-for-profits to meet sport and recreation service standards in Ontario; explored related challenges that sport & recreation not-for-profits experience as regards standards; and identified measures to address the capacity gaps and the challenges encountered by sport and recreation not-for-profit organizations in Ontario. Key methodologies included a partially-annotated inventory of literature and a major on-line survey of community sports and recreation organizations (for the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, 2014-2015);
  • Evaluation of Project Early Intervention.  This project, implemented in selected communities across Newfoundland, examined the impact of a four-year Boys and Girls Club Program to aid youth by enhancing life skills and developing social participation patterns. The evaluation involved surveys of youth and their families in two Newfoundland communities to assess their assessment of the impact of this program (for the Department of Emergency Preparedness Canada and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Newfoundland and Labrador, 2002-2007);

  • Study of the Need for Post-Secondary Education in Central Newfoundland.  This study involved an analysis of Census data to assess the demographic and the population base for post-secondary educational programs. Several survey methodologies were implemented, including Web, telephone and personal interviews with community members, students and professionals, to assess the demand and need for educational services (funded by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, 2003-2004);

  • Delphi Study of the Future of Youth Employment.  This Delphi study examined the views of future needs in this area, among over 70 leaders in major Canadian institutions (business, academia, and government), and provided a view of future needs and research to aid understanding of related issues in skills, transitions from school to work, etc. (for Human Resources Development Canada, 2002);

  • Evaluation of Tourism Careers for Youth.  This evaluation examined Tourism Careers for Youth, a youth internship program funded by HRDC to provide career transitions for youth interested in careers in the tourism industry. Key topics included impacts of the program on training culture in the tourism industry, and impacts of the devolution of training (from HRDC to the provinces/territories). The evaluation involved national surveys of employers, youth, trainers and funders (for the Canadian Tourism Human Resources Council, 2001-2002);

  • Strategic Review of Exchange Programs.  This review examined the delivery of Canadian Heritage youth exchange programs, particularly those involving interprovincial reciprocal visits between high school youth. The review reflected a balanced scorecard framework in that it examined these programs in a through-time systems context. The research examined resources, reach of these programs, impact and future potential. Research involved key informant interviews across the federal government, focus groups, and surveys with exchange providers and participants (particularly youth) in every province and territory. The study demonstrated important social benefits of youth exchanges, including impacts on national identity, use of official languages, social and work skills of youth, and led to the development of Exchanges Canada, a new youth program aiming at providing Canada with over 100,000 youth exchanges per year (for Canadian Heritage, 1997-2000);

  • Review of Policy Issues in Child Development.  This review examined international experience in children’s programs such as head start, infant programs, pre-natal programs, income security and related initiatives to identify models for review by Canadian policy-makers (for Human Resources Development Canada, 1999);

  • Evaluation of Logistics Ventures Youth Internship Program.  This evaluation study examined the process and impact of this national training program in logistics and entrepreneurship. The evaluation included bilingual surveys of trainees and participating employers in 6 sites across Canada. Over 1,200 participants were surveyed examining such topics as business and logistics learning, entrepreneurship, and impacts of internships. The final phase of this research also included focus groups across Canada (for the Canadian Professional Logistics Institute, 1998-99);

  • Evaluation of Construction Technology for Women Youth Internship Program.  This evaluation examined this program aimed to encourage entry of young women into construction technology (a pilot project of the Human Resources Development Canada Youth Internship Program). Surveys examined the experiences of over 250 participating employers and young women and dealt with such topics as course assessments, on-the-job experiences, impacts in work attitudes, and attitudes towards women in construction and careers in construction. Focus groups were a key part of the study method, with workshops conducted in 5 sites across Canada (for the Women in Trades and Technology National Network and HRDC, 1997-99);

  • Evaluation of the Internship Program for Aboriginal Youth.  SPR aided in the implementation of surveys for this evaluation of a housing-oriented youth internship program examining youth internships as applied in approximately 50 of Canada’s First Nations and Inuit communities. Surveys of First Nations and Inuit employers and interns examined program operations, employment and housing impacts, and comparisons to other youth employment programs and alternatives for improving youth employment potential (for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, 1998-99);

  • Evaluation of the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth.  As part of this evaluation, SPR consulted with youth programs and services, social agencies and all levels of government in all of the provinces and territories.  The research also involved a Delphi panel of methodologists and youth experts in Canada and the U.S. (for Human Resources Development Canada, 1995-96).

SPR’s research on youth-related issues is aided by key consultants such as Dr. Scot Wortley (Senior Consultant on Youth Gangs, Criminology, University of Toronto), and Dr. Julian Tanner (Consultant on Youth Unemployment, Sociology, University of Toronto).