The top five Canadian sources for connected social policy wonks

These start with the basics for anyone who’s been at this a while, but someone had to tell us about them, right?  And these are focussed pretty narrowly on Canada; another entry will get us beyond our own borders. So, here goes.

First, Canadian social research.  The website:  and, perhaps even more importantly, the weekly update, to which you can subscribe here:  Published by Gilles Seguin, a longstanding policy wonk, the newsletter and the website are both treasure troves for the social policy wonk.  The website has almost all the historical documents you’d want (like past budgets and party platforms), the current documents you could spend years searching for (like current social assistance policies and manuals for every province and territory, and their most recent budgets), and things you didn’t even know you were looking for (you’ll have to explore for examples of this one).  The newsletter, distributed at the beginning of each week, has a compilation of every major social policy development over the previous week, along with links to other parts of the website that provide the context for this development.  Amazing. Thanks, Gilles, for all you do that benefits so many of us.

Second, The Daily.  From Statistics Canada, this is a brief description of data and/or analysis to be released the next business day at 8 a.m.  Not all of it is relevant to social policy wonks, but much of it is.  You can narrow down what information you receive, by selecting any of a number of topic-specific RSS feeds, at  Or you can subscribe to an email notification, for every-day delivery, or topic-specific delivery, at  There is no charge associated with this service, though the same is not always true of the data or publications the Daily will describe and sometimes summarize.

Third, the Caledon institute of Social Policy is one of the most productive and informative think tanks in Canada.  With three major researchers/analysts/commentators – Ken Battle, Sherri Torjman, and Michael Mendelson – this Institute produces some of the most important and influential material available in the country.  You can sign up to receive email about new publications on its homepage, at

Fourth, the Institute for Research on Public Policy, publisher of the monthly Policy Options, and one of the think tanks dedicated exclusively to public policy, conducts and commissions research, and often is responsible for op-ed pieces in Canadian daily newspapers.  You can subscribe to its RSS feed here: feed://

In fifth place, I’ve added two more think tanks, one decidedly on the left and one decidedly on the right: the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Fraser Institute.  You can pretty much guarantee that they won’t write about the same things, and that they will not agree on those things they both address.  The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has several regional offices and provides more local information through them.  For national information, you can sign up for email notification of or a RSS feed about new research at  The Fraser Institute, also with offices across Canada, provides an email subscription to its updates on its home page at

All of these will put information in your RSS feed-reader or in your email inbox.  All with provide you with timely information and analysis.  I’m sure others have their own top five.  If I’ve missed your favourites, please add them in the comments!

    • Brigid Hayes
    • February 19th, 2010

    Thanks Havi for these links. Also, I’m glad that you have an RSS feed. I’ve moved to using RSS rather than trying to remember all the websites I should be checking and I find it a great time saver.

  1. Good list. I’d add the Childcare Resource and Research Unit (CRRU). The CRRU has been the source for child care as public policy info, resources, research and news for over 20 years. The CRRU demonstrates how one public policy tool touches on and address so many others: child poverty, women’s employment participation, equity for children with special needs, human resources, social inclusion and etc.

      • haviechenberg
      • February 21st, 2010

      Great addition – thanks!

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