Archived—The year in review: Public opinion research in the Government of Canada—Annual report 2015 to 2016

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In the 2015 to 2016 fiscal year, the Government of Canada contracted 51 public opinion research studies worth $3.8 million. It was almost the same number of projects (there were 54) that were contracted in the previous fiscal year. This, even though public opinion research and the regular business of government was restrained by the federal general election held on October 19, 2015. The election period lasted 78 days.

Map of Canada with statistical information - Description below.

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This image shows a map of Canada. On the map is this following text: 51 projects reached about 168,000 Canadian adults.

Highlights of 2015 to 2016 public opinion research projects

  • The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, with its mandate to protect consumers from unsolicited and illegitimate telemarketing calls, conducted a survey of businesses that use telemarketing in Canada. The Commission wanted a snap shot of the scope of telemarketing activity in Canada and the level of awareness of the unsolicited telecommunications rules
  • The Department of Citizenship and Immigration, using the Syrian refugee plan as a background for discussion, completed two national telephone surveys to ask more than 3,000 Canadians for their views on immigration
  • The Department of Finance regularly conducts research to help with the development of communications prior to the federal budget. Through public opinion research, they explored Canadians’ concerns and perceptions about the present state of the economy and their expectations of the role of the Government of Canada in the economy
  • The Department of Health conducted an online survey and focus groups to better understand Canadians’ views on genetically modified foods and issues related to the application of science and technology in food production and manufacturing
  • The Department of Natural Resources conducted focus group sessions and a telephone survey on a range of energy issues to support its mandate for making energy policy in Canada. The research explored top-of-mind priorities, attitudes toward different sources of energy, views on the environment and climate change, and opinion regarding major pipeline projects
  • The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, with its mandate to advance financial literacy among Canadians, used public opinion research to gain a better understanding of the issues related to payday loans and other forms of high-cost credit. Surveying payday loan users helps the Government understand their reasons for borrowing from payday lenders and perceptions of the options to payday lenders
  • The Offices of the Information and Privacy Commissioners of Canada conducted research with Canadian businesses to better understand their familiarity with privacy issues and requirements, and to learn about the types of policies and practices in place to protect personal information about their customers

A complete list of public opinion research projects for the 2015 to 2016 fiscal year is included in this annual report.Footnote 1

Other key activities

Along with the work of conducting research comes the selection of and contracting with suppliers for research services and products.

In an effort to obtain information on public opinion at a reasonable cost to the Government, the Department of Public Works and Government Services initiated the preliminary stage of a pilot project to purchase, on a trial basis, subscriptions to syndicated research studies. These off-the-shelf products can provide useful insight in a timely manner into areas of common interest throughout the government, such as Canadian diversity, social media, youth and seniors, etc. They are intended to inform current discussions regarding policies, programs and services.

To ensure research quality and timely access to pre-qualified suppliers, the Department of Public Works and Government Services maintains standing offer agreements that are made available to federal departments and agencies. In the 2015 to 2016 fiscal year, a new set of standing offer agreements for public opinion research services was put in place.

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