Canadian Partnership for Public Policy-Oriented Consumer Interest Research (PPOCIR)

Executive Committee and Robert R. Kerton 

This “Year 1 Overview” is a summary of PPOCIR Partnership activity for 2014-2015.  The research project is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and by Partners.

Main Outcomes from Year 1

1. Creation of New Research

SSHRC and partners supported a total of five graduate research projects.  Additional information about the graduate student work will be posted on the Partnership website.  Three academic expert disciplinary surveys have now been completed.  The surveys are meant to provide an overview of key consumer-focused insights from the academic literature over the past decade or so.  The Partnership has prepared an initial compendium with the first set of three surveys: behavioural sciences, technology law, and business management studies related to new ICT-based business models.  The Compendium is available to view.

2. Capacity Creation

A graduate student in technology law and a PhD student in Economics developed research skills as well as research administration skills facilitating Workshop contributions.  Five students in other disciplines, or in joint disciplines related to PPOCIR, were engaged in studying methods of research.  Further, these studies were presented at the Partnership 2014 Workshop (see below) where experts from many disciplines made suggestions to strengthen research capabilities of the students.

Grad Student Research presented at the December 2014 Workshop

Research Grad student
“Food Labelling for Children,” Shannon Allen, University of Alberta, PhD Candidate.
“Canadian Consumer Finances: Context-Setting” Étienne Boucher, Université Laval.
“Comparing the Public Policy Frameworks for Mobile Communication Devices in Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States: Convergence or Divergence” Paul Goodrick, Ryerson University.
“Younger Consumers’ Attitudes toward Counterfeit Goods” Amy Faria, University of Guelph, recent Masters graduate.
“The Intermittent Consumer of Organic Foods” Camille Massey, Université Laval, Masters student.

Other Ongoing Research funded by the project

Research  Researcher's Name
“Analysis of consumer debts and assets in Canada using the Survey of Financial Security.” Behnoush Amery, PhD candidate, University of Waterloo.

December 2014 Workshop

The Partnership organized its first annual Workshop on December 5, 2014.  About 40 people attended the event.  The full-day event was hosted in Toronto, at Ryerson University.  The multi-stakeholder nature of the PPOCIR Partnership was well reflected in the agenda.  Presentations notably included two partner organizations, four graduate students, three consumer NGOs, and three academics.   In addition, an informal networking meeting was held by some participants on the evening prior to the Workshop.  This model is worth repeating in the future.

Summary Report on the Workshop is available online in both official languages.  This mobilization mode is in plain language suitable for all Partners and all disciplines.

The feedback received through an online evaluation survey indicates that the event was well regarded Expectations were met or exceeded.  Many useful suggestions were also provided and will inform the Partnership Executive Committee for the preparation of the next annual workshop in December 2015.

Thirdly, new research initiatives are being identified for years two and three, particularly in relation to internet issues and to fields we have not yet covered by our network’s disciplinary surveys.

 Knowledge Mobilization

Through the ongoing provision of new research findings, the Workshop Report, the Network, and the website, the PPOCIR is helping to:

  • facilitate and enable the accessibility and impact of research by increasing and enhancing the flow of research knowledge among researchers, and between researchers and knowledge users;
  • improve research connections by facilitating reciprocal relationships among researchers and knowledge users for the (co-)creation and use of research knowledge; and
  • enhance the quality of knowledge mobilization by developing networks, tools and best practices.

Three achievements relating to the promises about knowledge mobilization are:

  1. the Disciplinary surveys (see above),
  2. the Workshop (see above), and
  3. the PPOCIR web site.

On that latter point, a network of some fifty researchers has been created to “improve research connections by facilitating reciprocal relationships among researchers.” Members’ own networks are providing further opportunities for disseminating Partnership information to a wider audience.  Members have undertaken such outreach activities by posting notices about the December 5th workshop to their own online forums.

In conclusion, we can report that PPOCIR is enhancing the quality of knowledge through developing networks, tools and best practices that are contributing to the consumer interest research and related objectives of government and other PPOCIR members and partners.  For example, Industry Canada has been actively using the PPOCIR expert contacts for consumer policy research work.  The benefits to policy-makers stem from the PPOCIR Partnership’s unique character: not only is it interdisciplinary from a subject matter perspective, it also draws its strength from the collaborative insights emerging from a multi-stakeholder partnership that combines academics, government organizations, consumer NGOs and private sector organizations.

For questions with respect to the Canadian Partnership for PPOCIR and its activities, please contact Dr. Robert Kerton at