Current and Recent Projects

SPR's ongoing and recently completed projects examine a diversity of issues:

  • Study of Truck Stops and Rest Areas in Southern Ontario:  This ongoing study will aid Ontario's trucking industry by ensuring that truck drivers have sufficient places to rest when they exceed their expected hours of work and ensuring that aspects of highway infrastructure meet the needs of trucking carriers. Key study components include: a Southern Ontario Highway System Analysis (including projections of traffic to 2027 and a collision analysis); in-person consultations in Toronto, Ottawa and London, with key stakeholders (major trucking associations and municipal officials); a Rest Stop Inventory; and a large-scale on-line survey of truck drivers. The final study report will contain recommendations for improvements to accommodate commercial motor vehicles (for the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, 2017-2018).

  • Assessment of Financing Models for Shared Equity Housing in Canada:  The goal of this recent study was to provide a balanced assessment of the success, benefits and risks of shared equity housing financing models. The research focused on shared equity housing programs in BC, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario and involved an on-line survey of individuals involved in shared equity housing (planning/housing officials; developers; non-profit sponsors/partners; and financial organizations). Telephone interviews were conducted with key informants, such as: housing developers/sponsor organizations; housing agencies; planners; financial institutions and mortgage brokers (for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, 2017-2018).

  • Approaches to Applying a Gender-Based Lens to Affordable Housing:  This project will help CMHC to better understand various initiatives which will be launched under the National Housing Strategy (NHS). An environmental scan was conducted to identify the housing needs of women and members of the LGBTQ+ communities. The study results will help CMHC to ensure that NHS-funded initiatives are developed through a gender lens and address the housing needs of women and the LGBTQ+ community (for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, 2017-2018).

  • Child Welfare Worker Safety Technology - Best Practice Recommendations:  This follow-up to SPR's 2014 study of worker safety in Ontario Children's Aid Societies was focused on establishing recommendations on communications technology, tools, policies & procedures for safety devices and peer support to assist CAS child protection workers. The study methodology included: a scan of literature and best practices across Canada and internationally; an on-line survey of key stakeholders, to aid initial consultations with Ontario CAS's; and consultation input from joint health and safety committees and others in Ontario's 40+ CAS's, to review new initiatives. Key outputs from the study included a report on the survey findings and recommendations regarding technology and peer support for child protection workers (for the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies, with funding provided by the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services, 2017).

  • Evaluation of the Portable Housing Benefit Pilot:  The goal of this 11-month project was to design and complete an evaluation of the Portable Housing Benefit Pilot Program for Survivors of Domestic Violence (SDV-PHB). The program provides funding from the Ministry of Housing to Service Managers in select regions of Ontario. The pilot program was delivered by four Service Managers in selected areas of Ontario where there were eligible households on social housing waiting lists. The SDV-PHB provides an alternate means of providing housing assistance as a monthly subsidy so households can find their own non-rent-geared-to-income (RGI) housing in their communities rather than waiting for an available RGI unit (for the Ontario Ministry of Housing, 2016-2017).

  • Understanding How the Canadian Housing System Facilitates Rental and Owner-Occupied Housing:  This recent study on Canada's housing system assessed how government policies influence both rental and ownership housing, in particular, factors affecting the supply and demand for these types of housing. The study examined the policies of all levels of government and all housing sub-sectors. Key steps included: development of a profile of the policies and impacts by tenure, based on existing information from CMHC and on-line website searches (including a scan of relevant literature); telephone interviews with key policy officials and other experts to clarify sources of information on policy impacts; development of an on-line survey of key representatives from public, non-profit and private sector housing organizations, and other experts, to obtain insights on supply and demand impacts of policies; and selection of specific policy impact areas for case studies. Case studies included on-line research and follow-up telephone interviews with key housing stakeholders (for CMHC, 2016-2017).

  • Mandate Review of the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD), Special Investigations Unit (SIU) and Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC):  This project involved a review of the mandates for three policing oversight agencies in Ontario. Main data sources for the review included: legislation; past reviews; literature on policing oversight; and data from key informants. Analysis methods included: assessments of consistency of the mandate and agency actions; and analysis of performance of the three agencies in achieving mandate goals (within a Balanced Scorecard Framework). Key program design features addressed the need for more open public scrutiny, in particular, for the SIU (for the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, 2015-2016).

  • An Examination of International Housing Policies and Initiatives for Home Ownership, and Policies to Encourage Movement Within the Housing Continuum:  This project reviewed and assessed international housing policies and initiatives in the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand. Through a robust literature review, approaches and funding models were identified that are relevant to the Canadian context. A review of affordable homeownership included downpayment assistance or rent-to-own programs. Policies and approaches examined those that increase self-reliance such as asset building programs, escrow accounts or trust funds, grant or loan programs, intervention subsidies and other programs that help to increase self-sufficiency and encourage movement along the housing continuum (for CMHC, 2015-2016).

  • Assessment of Income-Mix Models for Affordable Housing:  This multi-method study involved an on-line scan of literature in Canada, the US, UK and Australia, and other jurisdictions; the completion of program summaries, case studies; and project profiles to address issues such as the financial viability and other impacts of income mixed housing. Unique research approaches included an international survey of experts regarding assessments of mixed income housing models and a multi-country survey to identify specific projects for case studies (for CMHC, 2015).

  • Renewing Ontario's Recreation-Nature Trails Strategy:  This study provided evidence of the major health and economic benefits of hiking and other trail-related activities. Types of trails examined included: footpaths with natural surfaces, bicycle routes, utility corridors or former rail lines, forestry and mining access roads designated as trails, waterways and portage routes, and seasonal trails used for snowmobiling or cross-country skiing. The main data source relied on the results from an on-line survey of over 5,000 Ontario trail users. SPR's final report, submitted in Spring 2015, was complemented by the introduction of Bill 100 - the Supporting Ontario's Trails Act, 2015 in the Ontario Legislature on May 12, 2015 (for the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, 2014-2015).
  • Study of Worker Safety in Ontario Children's Aid Societies:  This project, funded by the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services assessed the incidence of client violence experienced by CAS workers in Ontario. The goal was to identify ways of developing programs to reduce violence against workers in the future. On-line surveys of 5,800+ CAS workers (from support staff to management) and 35 Ontario CASs were conducted and high-level performance indicators were developed (for the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies, 2013-2014).