Tourism, Business and Industry

SPR has conducted a wide variety of projects in tourism, business and industry, including:

  • Renewing Ontario's Recreation-Nature Trails Strategy:  This recent 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. Results from a major on-line survey of over 5,000 Ontario trail users formed the main data source. 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);
  • 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 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);
  • 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);

  • Evaluation of the Atlantic Canada Tourism Partnership (ACTP) Program:  This evaluation assessed the impacts of tourism promotional programs which had been jointly developed with the tourism industry associations of the four Atlantic provinces, the four provincial governments, and the federal government (through the Atlantic Canada Opportunity Agency).  The study involved case studies, surveys of participants, and analysis of Statistics Canada and other data (for the Atlantic Canada Tourism Partnership, 2000-2009);

  • Evaluation of the Program for Strategic Industrial Projects:  This evaluation examined the implementation of Canada's $350 million contribution to the development of a $5 billion investment in new automobile assembly facilities in Ontario, over the period 2004-2009. Case studies were conducted in auto plants located in Oshawa-Durham, Woodstock and Oakville, and interviews were also conducted with key informants in each of the communities (business organizations and union representatives) (for Industry Canada, 2008-2009);

  • Evaluation of the New Opportunities Fund (NOF):  A project to evaluate this $500 million program which provides research grants to Canadian universities.  Over 3,000 university researchers and administrators (including Vice-Presidents, Research, Deans and Department Heads) were surveyed as part of the evaluation.  An international comparison of similar programs in five countries (US, UK, Australia, Germany and Japan) and the European Union was also conducted (for the Canada Foundation for Innovation, 2006-2007);

  • Evaluation of the Federal Labour Code: Phase II:  This evaluation continued the earlier review of ways in which the Federal Labour Code could be improved, examining how Canadians balance the demands of work and family and needs for lifelong learning.  A major survey conducted in 1998 examined these issues for Canadian employers and workers and concluded that workers face major problems in achieving balance in these areas. Consultations and focus groups were conducted across Canada to identify important economic advantages in supportive workplace policies, and emphasized an information and best practices strategy for a re-focused labour standards program to aid the goal of balance of work and family.  The evaluation provided an element of the foreground research for Canada's expansion of Parental Benefits (leave on birth of a new child) in 2000 (for Human Resources Development Canada, 1998-2006);

  • Evaluation of the Ontario Base Closure Adjustment Program:  This study assessed program logic, indicators and evaluation options for assessment of this program to offset economic impacts of military base closures in six Ontario communities.  Detailed case studies were also conducted in three communities (Ottawa, North Bay and Toronto) (for Industry Canada, 2001);

  • Evaluation of the Federal Labour Code:  Phase I:  This project, implemented in a "balanced scorecard" type framework, examined labour standards as a tool for the achievement of broader labour and economic goals of the Government of Canada and how human and technological resources affected bottom-line outcomes in complaints and costs under the Federal Labour Code.  The evaluation focused on the need for improved information processes to aid the reduction of employer infractions. Key data sources included employer, union, worker and staff satisfaction surveys.  A strategy to allocate new resources to Labour Code communications and information was approved as a result of this project (for Human Resources Development Canada, 1996-1998);

  • Evaluation of Occupational Health and Safety and Joint Health and Safety Committees (JHSCs):  This study replicated SPRís 1984-86 industry-wide study of Ontario JHSCs. The evaluation refined a method for measuring performance of an 'internal responsibility system' in occupational health and safety across industries, and included a survey of over 6,000 co-chairs of JHSCs in more than 3,000 Ontario workplaces in all industrial sectors (for the Ontario Workplace Health and Safety Agency, 1993-1996);

  • Review of the Export Promotion Program:  This study examined exporters' experience with federal export promotion programs, including services from headquarters and offices abroad, issues in market intelligence, and support services and related factors.  Indicators were developed regarding client satisfaction, changes in marketing strategies, and cost-benefit impacts of the program (incremental impacts on exports) (for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, 1994);

  • Management Review of the Workplace Health and Safety Agency:  As part of the requirements of the 1990 Occupational Health and Safety Act, a review of the Agency's operations was required in 1994-95. Analysis of historic Agency and other Ontario (pre-1990) training output indicators indicated that under the Agency, significant gains in cost-effectiveness in occupational health and safety training occurred (for the Ontario Workplace Health and Safety Agency and the Ministry of Labour, 1994).

SPR's studies of business are complemented by a consulting team including: Dr. Morley Gunderson, Consultant on Economics (Professor of Economics, University of Toronto); Dr. Arthur Donner (Consultant on Macroeconomics and Business, and Adjunct Professor of Economics, York University); and Dr. Philip Rosson, Consultant on Technology and International Trade (Professor of Business, Dalhousie University).