We collaborate primarily with the educational, social service, and community health sectors, in their work with children, adolescents, and adults, including those who are vulnerable or have special needs. We strive to represent the University of Ottawa, and our co-sponsoring faculties (Social Sciences and Education), in these service sectors. We aim to produce new knowledge and mobilize existing knowledge to improve practice and policy. We also provide training to many graduate and undergraduate students, as well as those in our part-time graduate certificate program in Program Evaluation.

This section contains some of the current projects undertaken by CRECS Senior Researchers.

Emotion, intuition and public support for harsh criminal justice policy

Principal Investigator: Carolyn Côté-Lussier
Funder/Partner: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council SSHRC
Objective:  The proposed research will be the first to identify the role of instantaneous experienced anger in linking social structural factors (e.g., social inequality) and stereotypes about criminals' evil and callous nature to punitive intuitions. It will also make important advancements in terms of establishing the role of intuition and emotion in public support for criminal justice policy. This program of research consists of 4 interrelated studies. The first two studies make methodological refinements. The third study uses cutting edge methodologies to detect individuals' rapid emotional and punitive decisional responses. The fourth study establishes a longitudinal association between these responses and support for harsh criminal justice policy.  This research is a first step in identifying the potentially detrimental impact of growing social inequality on the public's punitive attitudes. These studies represent fundamental research necessary to improve understanding of robust public punitiveness, despite changing criminal and penal contexts. Future studies will investigate whether growing social inequality and political strategies that drum up anger against crime (for instance, by presenting criminals as angry, cruel, and cold-hearted) contribute to strong public punitive intuitions and attitudes. The results will be of interest to advocacy groups, decision- and policy-makers, and to the scientific community.

Child Welfare Outcome Monitoring Research

Principal Investigator: Robert Flynn
Funder/Partner: Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies
Report: A Formative Evaluation of Two Crown Ward Education Championship Teams in Ontario (2016)

Building Community Capacity through PDP: Celebrating Success and Learning though Collaboration

Principal Investigator: Virginie Cobigo
Funder/Partner: Queen's University 
Objective: We proposed to engage a diverse group (adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities, family members, agency staff, planners, community members) in the identification of practical ways in which Person Directed Planning (PDP) can be a tool to build community capacity by engaging more effectively with natural and community supports. Recognizing that people involved in PDP possess reflexive knowledge that can inform planning teams across Ontario about how to build community capacity, we will create focus groups hosted by partner agencies and engage the participants as active members of the research team to identify successful practices, develop strategies for sharing these with others and evaluating their impact. Our goal is to support these stakeholders in sharing their stories (e.g. creating practical tools such as posters, videos, `how to¿ guides and mechanisms for their dissemination) while documenting the process, challenges and outcomes.

HCARDD program - Health Care Access Research in Developmental Disabilities

Principal Investigator: Virginie Cobigo
Funder/Partner: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health  
Objective: People with developmental disabilities (DD) are at an increased risk of experiencing poor health compared to the general population. They have been found to be marginalized and have difficulties accessing services, leading to disparities in health and well-being between them and the general population. From a policy perspective it is urgent that information related to their health care be made available. However, data required to conduct population based health research on DD are housed within multiple government sectors in Ontario and typically not shared. Currently, we lack sufficient data for an understanding of the basic health needs and the types and quality of health care services that Ontarians with DD are receiving. Government officials, scientists, and a range of community and health care stakeholders in Ontario are collaborating on the H-CARDD (Health Care Access Research and Developmental Disabilities) project to address this need for more comprehensive data in order to support policy development, service provision and research relevant to this vulnerable population.

A Review of Housing Needs Assessment Tools for People Who are Homeless

Principal Investigator: Tim Aubry
Funder/Partner: York University
Objective: To develop a brief consensus statement that will identify key assessment tools for potential use by communities that are planning and implementing housing first programs. The field is currently unaware of the wide range of options beyond instruments that are being actively promoted by their developers.  There is a current opportunity to provide advice to Homelessness Partnering Strategy regarding other scales that might be included in the Homeless Individuals and Families Information System.

Formative and Outcome Evaluation of the Familiar Faces Program at CMHA - Ottawa Branch

Principal Investigator: Tim Aubry
Funder/Partner: Canadian Mental Health Association
Objective: The objectives of the proposed work is to (1) Conduct a formative evaluation of the Familiar Faces Program (FFP) delivered by CMHA Ottawa in Ottawa hospitals, (2) create an internal monitoring system, summarize and report on the collected monitoring data on clients of FFP, and (3) design and conduct an outcome study examining health services use by clients of FFP. Finally, the work will also include: (4) the development and submission of a proposal to CIHR for a more rigorous examination of the effectiveness of FFP through a Randomized Controlled Trial or Quasi-Experimental Design.

PRIV-SENSE: Privacy, security, and ethics of the use of emerging technologies: development and validation of a framework for research and policy

Principal Investigator: Virginie Cobigo
Funder/Partner: University Health Network   
Objective: Millions of Canadians with disabilities use technologies that assist them with activities of daily living and independence. Technical innovations in information communication technologies are therefore important, but users' concerns about ethical, security, and privacy factors limit their diffusion and adoption. This project aims to develop and validate a conceptual framework describing the influence of ethical, security, and privacy factors in technology adoption. This will be achieved through the development of a mobile application to promote safe and rational medication use by the elderly and persons with disabilities. It is an excellent opportunity for scientific innovation by advancing knowledge on ethical, security, and privacy challenges that have so far received little attention. The solution-driven study will significantly contribute to Canada’s reputation as an international leader in the use of technology as a practical solution to address the health concerns of a population. The adoption of this innovation will produce significant social and economic benefits to Canadians with the potential to save millions of dollars in health hazards resulting from irrational medication use. Following a knowledge-to-action cycle, we aim to develop applied solutions that will produce change in policy and regulation frameworks and in caregivers’ daily practice. We will promote the useful and widespread application of this knowledge through creative partnerships with community agencies and government-funded residential care centers.

Consultation in Program Evaluation of Staff at Family Services Ottawa

Principal Investigator: Tim Aubry
Funder/Partner: Family Services of Ottawa
Objective: The proposed work is to assist Family Services Ottawa (FSO) developing program evaluation capacity.  For this project, personnel from CRECS will work closely with FSO to conduct the following: (1) Completion of an agency-wide client satisfaction survey, (2) provision of a workshop on program evaluation, and (3) development of a program logic model and evaluation framework for the mental health team. 

Review of Responsible Gambling Targets and Processes

Principal Investigator: Brad Cousins
Funder/Partner: Nova Scotia Provincial Lotteries and Casino Corporation
Report: Gamgard Evaluation Report (English only)
Objective: Review and assessment of Nova Scotia Provincial Lottery and Gambling Corporation program evaluation system. Make recommendations for improving the system, outcome metrics and target setting procedures.

Evaluation of the Elder Abuse Prevention and Response Services Program (EAPRS) of Renfrew County

Principal Investigator: Brad Cousins
Funder/Partner: (MITACS) Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems
Objective: Elder abuse (physical, emotional, sexual, financial, deprivation, neglect) is a pressing social concern. Approximately 10% of seniors in Canada are victims of abuse each year. Elder abuse impacts all social, cultural, and economic groups. Prevention programs have been established to address the underlying causes of abuse, prevent it, and reduce the prevalence and incidences of abuse. However, research on the effectiveness of elder abuse prevention and the consequences of it is sparse. Needed, is research that identifies best practices and lessons learned in preventing elder abuse in Canada. The proposed study will address this need. The goal of this research is to evaluate the effectiveness of EAPRS as a means to reduce risks of harm (physical, financial, psychological, sexual abuse, neglect and self-neglect) to Renfrew County elder population, the costs of long-term care, hospitalization, and emergency care due to elder abuse, and to mobilize resources and best practices to provide a coordinated response to elder abuse situations.

Social Reactions to Crime and Safety, and Public Health

Principal Investigator: Carolyn Côté-Lussier
Funder/Partner: Faculty of Social Sciences
Objective: The project has two principal axes. A first axis focuses on public reactions to criminals in the context of punishment of crime. This research component will be conducted in a laboratory setting and will involve collecting primary data. The study will aim to demonstrate the physiological and emotional responses generated by stereotypical criminals when individuals are making rapid punitive decisions.  The second axis focuses on the associations between crime, feelings of safety and the health of vulnerable populations. This research component will make use of secondary data to measure the impact of neighborhood features and interventions, police activities, crime and victimization on individuals' feelings of safety, physical and mental health. The study will focus on vulnerable populations (e.g., youth, visible minorities, individuals below the poverty line) living in Montreal.

Southeast Ottawa Community Health Centre Primary Care Outreach Seniors Program

Principal Investigator: John Sylvestre
Funder/Partner: South-East Ottawa Community Health Centre 
Objective:   A partnership between South-East Ottawa, Centretown, Pinecrest Queensway, Carlington and Somerset West Community Health Centres, the program supports vulnerable seniors who are, and wish to remain, living safely at home. It is expected that by managing chronic health conditions and medication, introducing falls prevention activities, facilitating access to a family physician, and reducing isolation and caregiver stress, the program will result in reduced visits to the Emergency Department, reduced numbers of Alternative Level of Care beds and an increased capacty amongst program participants to live safely in their homes for longer.

Review of the literature on strategies for promoting increased awareness and use of the Good2Talk helpline

Principal Investigator: John Sylvestre
Funder/Partner: Good2Talk
Objective: Good2Talk is soliciting a proposal to conduct a scan of the literature on strategies for promoting increased awareness and use of its helpline. In consultation with Good2Talk, the Centre for Research on Educational and Community Services (CRECS) has developed a proposal to conduct this review. The work will be conducted by Odilia Yim, a PhD student in the School of Psychology at the University of Ottawa. The work will be supervised by John Sylvestre, Director of CRECS and Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Ottawa.

Providing Catchment statistics and profiles to the Coalition of Community Health and Resource Centres of Ottawa.  

Principal Investigator: Elizabeth Kristjansson
Funder/Partner: Coalition of Community Health and Resource Centers of Ottawa
Objective: The Ottawa Neighbourhood Study staff and investigators will run analyses and provide statistics, graphics, charts and written reports for each of the 13 Community Health and Resource Centres of Ottawa


Quick Info

The Centre for Research on Educational and Community Services (CRECS) collaborates in research, evaluation, and training with organizations in the educational, social service, and health sectors to improve social programs and policies for citizens, especially those facing social exclusion.

CRECS is the only bi-faculty research centre at uOttawa!

Read our 15th Year Anniversary Report.

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