Current Projects

OCWI supports research that produces or improves knowledge about delivery and impact of services in the training and employment sector in Ontario.
Brief descriptions for  projects currently in-progress are provided below. Please contact research@ocwi-coie.ca for more information.


Analysis of local labour market

Principal investigator: Claude Dubuc

Key questions:
• What are the gaps in the Nipissing job market compared with the needs of the global economy?
• Where are the skills shortages in the local workforce?

To gain a better understanding of Nipissing labour market trends and needs, the project will use a mix of quantitative and qualitative research methods. Consultations will be held with partners and local stakeholders, including Indigenous and Francophone communities. The research results will then inform local training and economic development strategies.

Evaluation of a collaborative approach to job development

Principal investigator: Carol Stewart

Key questions:
• How effective is the Job Developers Network, an online portal, in overcoming job sharing challenges?
• What we can learn about job development collaboration in an online context?

This project will assess the benefits of job posting sharing through the Job Developers Network by exploring the motivations for job sharing, evaluating the numbers and types of jobs shared, measuring the employment outcomes, and evaluating the portal’s utility. The broader aim is to better understand how collaboration can drive regional and provincial workforce development strategies

Job search support for clients with mild/moderate mental health issues

Principal investigator: Ira Schweitzer

Key questions:
• What job search supports and services are needed for clients displaying signs, symptoms, and/or diagnosis of mild-to-moderate mental health issues?
• How can they be best supported in fully transitioning into the labour market?

The project will gather and evaluate case studies from local Employment Ontario Employment Services (EOES) experiences across the province to answer these questions. The objective is to develop a best practices framework that EOES providers can use to support the job search of clients with mild-to-moderate mental health issues.

Integration of immigrant talent into the regional workforce

Principal investigator: Jennifer Hollis

Key questions:
• Are immigrants working in their intended occupations in the region?
• In what industries and occupations have immigration talent attraction and retention strategies been most effective?
• Which industries and occupations continue to have skills gaps?

The overall aim of the research is to improve immigrant talent attraction and retention strategies in the region. Quantitative research methods will be based on analysis and mapping of (i) data from Statistic Canada’s Longitudinal Immigrant Database to the hard-to-fill job positions in LMIEC’s Job Match Network, and (ii) results from this analysis to aggregated information on labour market needs in Southwestern Ontario

The changing profile of the unemployed, underemployed and non-working population in Rural and Urban Ontario

Principal investigator: Dr. Bakhtiar Moazzami

Key questions:

• Who are the unemployed, underemployed and non-workers in Ontario and where do they reside?
• What factors are responsible for increasing employment or employment opportunities for the unemployed, underemployed and/or non-working populations?

The objective of this study is to provide baseline information about the labour market characteristics and the changing profile of unemployed, underemployed and non-working Ontarians in rural and urban areas between 2001-2016. It will examine various causality/correlation hypotheses regarding different factors influencing the current state of employment, unemployment, etc.  As a result, the study will clearly identify who the unemployed, underemployed and non-working individuals are in Ontario, providing necessary information that will inform further research.

Service experience of singles on Ontario Works

Principal investigators: Dean Herd, Christine Carrasco, Tharsni Ram

Key questions:
• How does the size of the Ontario Works singles caseload in Toronto compare with that of other family types and how has it changed over time?
• How do the service needs and experiences of various sub-populations of singles compare with those of the broader singles population? What are the outcomes and where are the gaps?
• Which employment services programs and strategies have worked effectively for sub-populations of singles in other jurisdictions?

By exploring these questions, the project intends to develop more effective employment services responses to singles on Ontario Works in Toronto. The mixed-method approach includes a literature review/jurisdictional scan, a caseload profile, and focus groups and interviews with singles on social assistance, front-line staff, and other stakeholders.

Support for young jobseekers with mental health issues

Principal investigator: Sandra Moll

Key questions:
• How can the experiences of youth, employment counsellors, and employers help to improve the employment and mental health trajectories of young adults with mental health issues?
• What can be learned from using an experience-based co-design approach in youth employment services?

By investigating the experiences of youth, employment counsellors, and employers in Hamilton, the project seeks to improve employment supports for youth with mental health issues. It plans to use an experience-based co-design approach, common in the health sector, for the first time in an employment context.