Government reports

Environmental scan on social media use by the public sector (2012)

Despite some experimentation by the public sector, the use of Web technologies to enhance collaborative interaction between government, stakeholders and citizens remains limited.

The aim of the environmental scan is to compare how different jurisdictions use social media. This is achieved by scanning selected jurisdictions’ applications of social media including Canada, the United States, Australia, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Ontario. The research explores implications of social media arising from convergent administrative and social trends by examining how different digital strategies produce different outcomes. It seeks to highlight both potential opportunities and challenges by surveying different public sector experiences. To this end the project draws evidence from government reports, academic journals, case studies, other grey literature, mainstream news media coverage, and direct observation. In addition, the scan identifies various social media experiments to gather lessons learned. From this comprehensive literature search the scan focuses on three key dimensions of public sector use of social media including administration, public engagement, and citizen‐centered service.

Saskatchewan Election Study (2011-2012)

While academics have studied the opinions of voters during federal elections in Canada, there is little research on how voters think and act during provincial elections. To address the lack of research in this area, the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy gathered a team of experts in Saskatchewan politics from various academic institutions. The team consisted of Dr. Michael Atkinson (Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy), Dr. Loleen Berdahl (University of Saskatchewan), Dr. David McGrane (St. Thomas More College) and Dr. Stephen White (University of Ottawa). Together, this team designed and implemented a telephone survey during the two weeks immediately following the 2011 Saskatchewan provincial election. The survey, conducted by the University of Saskatchewan’s new Social Responsibility Research Laboratory, polled 1,099 Saskatchewan residents. Several Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy and University of Saskatchewan students were involved as interviewers for the survey and gained practical, ‘hands on’ experience conducting academic research.  The survey examined such issues as how engaged people were with the election, attitudes about democracy, what people thought of the leaders, whether Saskatchewan is still a social democratic territory and feelings about aboriginal issues, organized labour, internal trade and party affiliation. 

The Saskatchewan Election Study was funded by the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy with additional support from LEAD Saskatoon, St. Thomas More College and the College of Arts and Science at the University of Saskatchewan.

Research Briefs

Regional College Review (2010)

The 2010 Regional Colleges Review Panel was appointed by the Honourable Rob Norris, Minister of Advanced Education, Employment and Immigration, to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of the Regional College system in relation to its legislated mandate.  The Regional Colleges Act requires that a committee be appointed at least once every five years to review and report on the mandate of the regional colleges and any other matters concerning the Act.

There are seven regional colleges in Saskatchewan, which include: Carlton Trail, Cumberland, Great Plains, Northlands, North West, Parkland and Southeast Regional College. The regional college system is accessed by over 24,000 learners each year.

The review assessed the effectiveness and efficiency of the regional college system in relation to its legislated mandate, alignment with government objectives and priorities, as well as the colleges' planning and service delivery. Dr. Michael Atkinson, Executive Director and Professor of the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, led the 2010 review of the regional college system. The committee's recommendations were intended to optimize the operation and funding of the regional colleges.

Western Policy Analyst

The Western Policy Analyst was a unique, online publication intended to provide policy makers and those interested in policy formation with useful, empirical analysis of western Canadian trends and issues. Provincial and federal government departments, business groups, academics, non-governmental organizations and municipalities were among the stakeholders who found the information beneficial in gaining a further understanding of public policy.  The publication provided policy insights from a evidence-based point of view, based in part on information provided by Statistics Canada.