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February 2013 

Welcome to the latest news from the Environics Institute.

In the News

Focus Canada 2012 Report Released


The Environics Institute has just released the 2012 edition of Focus Canada, an annual national survey which takes the pulse of the Canadian public on issues of importance to the country.  This is the latest update in what is Canada's longest-running and most extensive public opinion research program (starting in 1976).  Measuring opinions over time in a consistent way provides the only true basis for identifying how opinions are changing (or not) over time.


This year's survey explores "the ties that bind", focusing on how Canadians view the country's economic and social fabric, and how this has changed over time. Major sections of the report include:

  • The economy and standard of livingfocus canada
  • Canadian identity and symbols
  • National governance and federalism
  • Foreign investment
  • Health care 
  • Climate change
  • Immigration
  • Canada's role in the world
  • Social capital

The report is available here and on the Institute website.


Contact Keith Neuman for more information, or if you would like to arrange a presentation of this research to your organization.


Current Projects

Black Experience Project Community Engagement Nearing Completion

The Environics Institute, in partnership with Ryerson University's Diversity Institute, the United Way of Greater Toronto, the YMCA of Greater Toronto and the Atkinson Charitable Foundation, is undertaking a ground-breaking research study focusing on the Black community in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).


Phase One of the project involves extensive engagement with the Black community across the GTA, to ensure the research focuses on the issues and questions of greatest relevance to the community, and will contribute to strengthening its capacity. 


Phase One has been underway since the fall, and by early March close to 20 interactive group sessions will have been held across the GTA with individuals from many parts of the region's Black community (including youth). This effort is being organized almost entirely through volunteers, and with the critical support of the Project's Collaborating Partners, such as the United Black Students Conference, the Region of Peel, Redemption Reeintegration Services, TAIBU Community Health Centre, Tropicana Community Services and the Black Business Professional Association. 


The results of this engagement process will provide essential guidance to the design of the research, which is scheduled to launch later in 2013.


We invite your participation, and encourage you to connect with our Community Engagement Project Director Marva Wisdom. 


Assessing the Cultural Competency of Police and Security Officers


The Institute is now collaborating with McGill University, the University of Quebec in Montreal, the University of Saskatchewan, Ryerson University and the Service de Police de le Ville de Montr´┐Żal, on a new study focusing on the cultural competency of the country's police and security officers. The country's expanding ethnic diversity and growth in visible minorities makes it essential that those responsible for the country's policing and security have the necessary training to appreciate the cultural background and practices in the communities they serve.


The study will employ a mixed-methods research design, including qualitative and quantitative methodologies to collect data from police and security officers, as well as from the broader community.  The Institute's role will be to conduct an opinion survey with individuals from selected visible minority communities in three Canadian cities. The study is scheduled to be completed in 2016.


In The Works

Toronto Social Capital Project


The Institute is in the early stages of planning for a major new study of social capital in Toronto, in partnership with the Toronto Community Foundation. 


social interaction

The purpose of this research is to answer such questions as: To what extent do Torontonians feel connected to, and actively engage with, their neighbours and community organizations? How well do they trust their neighbours? These questions matter because social trust and engagement are critical to a good quality of life, a healthy population, safe streets, and economic prosperity.


This study will map the the level of social trust and community engagement across the City, to provide organizations in all sectors with an empirical basis for policies, programs and initiatives that sustain and strengthen the community's social capital, social cohesion and subjective well-being. It will build on the well-established Toronto Vital Signs program pioneered by the Toronto Community Foundation.


The Institute will be inviting other organizations to join the project as lead partners, collaborating partners, media partners or project sponsors. For more information contact Keith Neuman.

Social Values and Social Change in the USA and Canada


On June 17, the Institute and the Munk Centre for Global Studies will host an event inToronto to present the latest chapter in the ongoing story about social values and social change, based on recent research conducted in both countries by the Environics Research Group.


In 2003, Michael Adams published the award-winning book Fire and Ice, which revealed how the social values of Canadians and Americans are distinct and diverging in important ways. This event will present an important update on how values have been evolving in both countries over the past decade, and where they stand in 2012. The American story is one of a significant shift that provides valuable context to the recent US election, and has important implications for the next few years.


The event will feature Michael Adams, leading US pollster Celinda Lake, and a distinguished panel of scholars from the University of Toronto.

The event is free and by invitation. Please
contact us if you are interested in attending.


At The Institute

Chaviva Hosek joins Institute Board


The Institute is pleased to announce that Chaviva Hosek has agreed to join the Board of Directors.


Chaviva Hosek is currently a Professor at the School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Toronto. From 2001 to 2012, she served as President and CEO of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR).


Her previous work was as Director of Policy and Research in the Prime Minister's Office under The Rt Honorable Jean Chretien for seven years, and as Senior Policy Advisor for three years in Opposition. Chaviva was given the Public Policy Forum Outstanding Performance Award in 2003 and the Queen's Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals. She has holds three other honorary degrees and is an Officer of the Order of Canada.


Chaviva is replacing the Board position currently held by John Honderich, who has served as an adviser to the Institute since its inception in 2006. 


Presentations and Advisory Services


In addition to launching original research studies, the Institute pursues its mission by serving as a centre of excellence for responsible public opinion research, methods and application through education, training and consulting. The Institute offers its services on a cost-recovery basis, which include:

  • Presentations on public opinion, demographics and social values for conferences, workshops and in-house events; this may cover general trends and/or be customized to specific topics;
  • Expert advice and consulting on public opinion and social research, to assist organizations requiring guidance in such areas as purchasing research services, external review of existing studies, and research methodology; and 
  • In-house training on survey methodology and analysis.

As an example, the Institute is a regular contributor to the ongoing educational program for newly-appointed Federal Judges organized by the National Justice Institute (NJI) and the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice (CIAJ).  Twice a year, the Institute provides judges with an in-depth view of important trends in demography, public opinion and social values, to help them better understand how Canada is changing, and the social context underlying the cases and individuals they are being asked to adjudicate.


For more information, contact Keith Neuman.

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