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Welcome to the first of a continuing series of e-based newsletters published by The Environics Institute.
Who We Are

The Environics Institute for Survey Research was established by Michael Adams in 2006 to promote relevant and original public opinion and social research on important issues of public policy and social change. The focus of the Institute’s mandate is to survey individuals and groups not usually heard from, asking questions not normally asked.

Integral to the Institute’s approach is: a) early consultation and engagement with populations to be surveyed to ensure a respectful approach in how the research is conducted; and b) broad dissemination of research findings to stimulate constructive discourse and informed responses to these findings. For more information about the Institute and its mission, see www.environicsinstitute.org

Latest News

Keith Neuman joins the Institute as its first Executive Director

Michael Adams is pleased to welcome Keith Neuman, Ph.D. as the Institute’s first Executive Director. Keith joins the Institute from the Environics Research Group where he was responsible for the company’s Public Affairs and Energy-Environment research practice. Since the 1980s, Keith has conducted a wide range of public opinion and social research projects for public, private and non-profit sector organizations, with leading research firms in Toronto, Halifax and Ottawa. Keith will be relocating from Ottawa to Toronto in mid-February 2012, but can be reached at any time at keith.neuman@environics.ca

Urban Aboriginal Peoples Study finds a permanent home at the University of Winnipeg 

The Institute has just signed an agreement with the University of Winnipeg to become the permanent host of the Institute’s Urban Aboriginal Peoples Study (UAPS). UAPS was a landmark national research project to better understand the growing population of Aboriginal citizens in Canadian cities, focusing on new areas of inquiry not previously addressed. Following release of the study results in 2010, the Institute conducted community engagement activities in 9 cities across the country to bring the research insights back to the communities in which it took place. For more information, see www.uaps.ca

An important objective of UAPS is to ensure the research is widely accessible to the Aboriginal community, academic researchers and decision-makers in all sectors. The University of Winnipeg will provide a permanent home for the UAPS data files and reports, as well as maintain the project website.

New Environics survey on immigration for the Trudeau Foundation

Environics Research recently completed a national survey to measure Canadians’ views about immigration and multiculturalism, on behalf of the Trudeau Foundation, in conjunction with the foundation’s Eighth Annual policy conference entitled "The Making of Citizens - Beyond the Canadian Consensus on Immigration" (Nov 17-19 in Halifax). The research revealed new insights into public views about the impact of immigration on Canada, and their expectations for what should be expected of those choosing to settle in this country.

The survey received widespread media coverage and was also presented by Keith Neuman at the conference. You can see the presentation here

Environics Focus Canada research cited in Ottawa Citizen column 

In a December 7, 2011 column entitled Is Canada becoming more conservative? Don't believe it”, Ottawa Citizen columnist Dan Gardner cites Environics Focus Canada research in challenging the conventional wisdom about the impact of six years of Conservative Governments in Ottawa. You can see the column here.

Column by Michael Adams published in The Mark

In a piece entitled “Rejecting reason and evidence, populism seems to be guiding the Canadian government”, Michael Adams comments on the recent trend of governments experimenting with forms of populism that reject evidence in favour of emotion (usually fear and anger). You can see the column here

Current Projects

Canadian Citizenship Study

The Institute is currently in the field with a major new national survey of Canadians on citizenship issues, in partnership with the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, the Maytree Foundation, and CBC News. Public release is now scheduled for early in 2012.

An estimated 2.7 million Canadian citizens live abroad. Canada has one of the highest immigration rates in the world, and is one of few countries to practice official multiculturalism. Recent debates about the integration of newcomers have prompted pundits and experts to debate the meaning and future of Canadian citizenship. This research will provide a definitive picture of how ordinary Canadians view citizenship today (e.g., what it means to be a “good citizen”), and how their concept of citizenship shapes their understanding of their rights, responsibilities, loyalties, and identities.

Focus Canada 

In 2010, the Institute launched Focus Canada as an annual national public opinion survey to take the pulse of Canadians on a wide range of public policy and social issues facing the country (e.g., economy, health care, multiculturalism, crime and justice, Canada’s role in the world).  This public interest research builds on the syndicated Focus Canada research program conducted by Environics Research for more than three decades (1976 – 2009).  The 2010 Focus Canada report is available on the Institute website here

The Focus Canada 2011 survey is currently in the field, and results will be published early in 2012. This year’s research is being conducted with the support of sponsors including the Canadian Opinion Research Archive (CORA) (based at Queen’s University), and the S-Vox Foundation, a new charitable foundation focused on promoting opportunities for young people to explore spiritual and faith issues.

The Black Experience in the Greater Toronto Area 

The Environics Institute, in partnership with the Atkinson Charitable Foundation and the Ryerson Diversity Institute, is launching a groundbreaking research study focusing on the Black community in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). The economic, educational, social and political disparities for Black people are well documented, but the underlying factors are not well understood.

The purpose of this study is to better understand the nature of the challenges facing the Black community, through exploring the lived experiences of individuals within this community (focusing on values, identity, aspirations and experiences), and the factors leading to success or failure. The first phase (launching in January 2012) will entail community engagement with the GTA Black community to ensure the research focuses on the issues and questions of greatest relevance, and will contribute to strengthening capacity within the community.

Upcoming Projects

Survey of Muslims in Canada

The Environics Institute’s inaugural project in 2006 was the first-ever national survey to examine the relationship between Canadian Muslims and Canadian society-at-large (and within the context of 13 other countries from research conducted by the respected Pew Research Center. You can view the 2006 results here.  

The Institute plans to update this important research in 2012 to find out how Muslims in this country are faring six years later. The 10 year anniversary of 9/11 has come and gone, prompting renewed examination of the place of Muslims in western democracies at a time when economic hard times are placing increasing pressures on all sectors of society, and the presence of immigrants is coming under renewed scrutiny.

The Institute is currently seeking sponsors and partners to launch an updated survey in 2012.

Palestinian-Israeli Social Values Study

Many surveys are conducted among Israelis and Palestinians on contentious issues of the day, but there has never been a thorough study of the deeper underlying social values of the people living in this conflict-ridden land. The Institute is planning to address this gap through a groundbreaking new study intended to provide those involved in negotiation and reconciliation in the region with a better understanding of the everyday lives and aspirations of these two societies, and areas of commonality that may serve as important bridges to peace.

This research will be conducted by reputable survey organizations in Israel and the Palestinian territories (based on Environics’ proprietary social values research methodology), and guided by an Advisory Group of prominent leaders and researchers in Canada and the Middle East. The Institute is currently seeking support from governments, NGOs and foundations in Canada and abroad who share the broad goals of the project.

Urban Aboriginal Peoples Study - Saskatchewan Follow-Up

The Urban Aboriginal Peoples Study has attracted strong interest across the country, and has prompted some to consider extending this type of research to new communities. The Institute is now in discussion with the University of Saskatchewan to develop a new research initiative focusing on Prince Albert, that would involve other partners in the government and corporate sectors, as well as the Aboriginal community.

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