New Project: Where do decision-makers get their information?

When decision-makers need to make a call about policy, where do they get their information from? Who helps to inform their decisions? How do they weigh information coming from different sources such as their party, local constituents, and external players like lobbyists, and think tanks?  What kind of data are they able to take into account, and how?

These are the questions we hope to answer in a new research project, in partnership with the Canadian Climate Forum.

There is increasing demand for government decisions to be based in evidence and science in Canada. Many federal ministerial mandate letters explicitly require that policies be based on science, facts and evidence.

While there have been some commitments and discussions about evidence-based decision-making at the federal level, little is known about Canada’s capacity to fully engage in evidence-based decision-making in policy.

This new project will consist of structured interviews with federal decision-makers to determine their current sources of information and evidence and what barriers they face when trying to base policies on science and evidence. This will involve interviews with Members of Parliament from all parties, senior government executives, and policy practitioners.

We will synthesize these views into a report summarizing the information landscape that feeds into federal decision-making and hopefully identifying entry points in the translation of evidence up to policymakers, so we can better connect experts and evidence with relevant decision-makers.

The ultimate goal of this project is to aid in deepening the practice and efficiency of evidence-based policy in Canada, and to provide scientists, experts, and decision-makers with improved tools and knowledge to ensure Canada’s policies are based on the best available evidence.

We’re excited to get started! If you have any questions about the project, please reach out to us at katie@evidencefordemocracy.ca

About the Canadian Climate Forum
The Canadian Climate Forum is a national non-profit focused on brokering, disseminating, and applying the best evidence-based climate knowledge to advance decision making for a safer, more resilient, and sustainable Canada.

Kathleen Walsh

Director of Policy

Kathleen Walsh is driven by a passion for social innovation and finding ways to make policy more effective, inclusive, and based on robust evidence. She serves as Evidence for Democracy's Director of Policy, and was previously the organization's Interim Executive Director.