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Call for proposals: Collaborative research programs on labour market programming

To support the evaluations of current labour market programming, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) is requesting proposals for Programs of research/evaluation using the Medium Term Indicator (MTI) Performance Indicators database. The Programs will contribute to better understanding Canada’s labour market programs and/or Canada’s labour market dynamics. They will be undertaken collaboratively and will engage both academic and ESDC evaluators/researchers so that policy-relevant researchable questions that need empirical answers are formulated and addressed while taking into account the challenging features of the available data and applying the most appropriate econometric and statistical methods. An information session will be held on January 24 to provide researchers with sufficient information on the potential of the MTI Performance Indicators database before drafting and submitting their proposals which must be submitted by March 29. ESDC plans to fund two programs, each not exceeding $125,000 overall. All details are provided in the RFP.
 
The full RFP provides detailed information and instructions (part 1) and resulting contract clauses (part 2). Researchers will also find more information about The Medium Term Performance Indicators Database in Annex B; the evaluation criteria in Annex C; and the Security Requirements Check List in Annex D. Below we reproduce annex A, presenting the objectives, background and requirements and timeline of the Programs of research/evaluation.
 
ANNEX “A” STATEMENT OF WORK
 
1. PROJECT TITLE
Evaluation and research projects on labour market programming.
 
2. OBJECTIVE
This is a Request for Proposals for programs of research/evaluation to support ESDC evaluations of current labour market programming. The programs of research/evaluation are being commissioned as part of the ESDC Evaluation Plan to provide supplementary evidence to support ESDC evaluations of federally funded labour market programming in Canada and the EI Commission annual Employment Insurance Monitoring and Assessment Report (EI part I and II).
 
3. BACKGROUND
ESDC Evaluation of labour market programs
ESDC evaluates Ministry programs on the basis of a five-year Evaluation Plan, in accordance with the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) Policy on Results. Within this requirement, ESDC creates evaluation reports pertaining to the relevance, effectiveness (i.e., outcomes and impacts) and cost-effectiveness of Labour Market Programs. The studies that make up these reports focus on addressing current knowledge gaps about Labour Market Programs. They provide evidence to support emerging policy needs by identifying what works. Objectives of this activity include conducting:
  • Annual quantitative analysis of Labour Market Program short-term incremental impacts (2 years post- program) using administrative data.
  • Quantitative analysis of Labour Market Program outcomes and impacts at the medium term (5 years post-program) using administrative data.
  • Assessment of targeted questions about Labour Market Programs’ relevance, effectiveness and cost- effectiveness.
  • Supplementary studies on the effectiveness of the Employment Insurance Program for the Employment Insurance Monitoring and Assessment Report.
The Medium Term Indicators Performance indicators data base
The Medium Term Indicator (MTI) Performance Indicators Project began as a joint federal-provincial project designed to test the feasibility of using administrative data to measure and report on the effectiveness of Labour Market Development Agreements (LMDAs) over the medium- to long-term.
 
The main purpose of the MTI Performance Indicators Project is to develop incremental performance indicators for the measurement of the medium- to longer-term effects of Labour Market Program interventions. In terms of the LMDAs, this was successfully examined across all provinces and territories as well as nationally for the second cycle of evaluations (see Evaluation of Labour Market Development Agreements report at: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/corporate/reports... development-agreements.html). These indicators are developed using a comparison group approach and administrative data from the EI databank and the T1, T4 and Child Tax Benefits files from the CRA updated to the most current data available.
 
The MTI Performance Indicators database is used to generate labour market indicators in order to measure the following (but without being limited to) program outcomes:
  • Earnings and Income (from CRA tax data);
  • Employment (from a combination of the EI databank and CRA tax data); and • Reliance on the Social Safety Net, both in duration and monetary terms:
  • Use of EI (determined from the EI administrative databank);
  • Use of SA (determined on an annual basis from the CRA T1 tax data).
These indicators can be disaggregated by categories in order to answer policy questions on the effectiveness of Labour Market Programs such as what works for whom and, where sample size permits, disaggregate indicators by the characteristics and status of clients, as determined by the EI databank and CRA tax data, including by age, gender, occupation, industry, province, EI claim status (active or former), time since job loss and other various socio-economic and demographic characteristics, such as skills or educational levels, long-term unemployed vs. short-term unemployed, urban vs. rural areas, frequent EI users, older workers, long-tenured workers; new entrants/re-entrants, etc. A description of the ESDC MTI Performance Indicators database is presented in Annex B.
 
Over the next year, ESDC will expand the MTI Performance Indicators database to conduct the evaluations of the Youth Employment Strategy (YES) and the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ASETS) using the same methodology and indicators used for the evaluation of the LMDAs. The expansion of the MTI Performance Indicators database to include these programs will increase significantly the research and evaluation potential of MTI Performance Indicators database by providing longitudinal information not only on participants to one single program but also on the participation to one or more programs overtime. In the medium term (in the next 3-4 years), additional ESDC Labour Market Programs (e.g., Workforce Development Agreements announced in Budget 2017) will also be added to the MTI Performance Indicators database increasing further its potential for research and evaluation.
 
By the end of June 2018, we expect that the MTI Performance Indicators database including the three ESDC labour market programs (LMDA, YES, ASETS) will be completed and could be made available to researchers under contracts with ESDC. In the longer term, ESDC’s objective is to make the MTI Performance Indicators database available in RDCs. This should facilitate continuation of a collaborative relationship beyond the contract period
 
4. PROJECT REQUIREMENTS
ESDC plans to provide funding for two programs of research/evaluation in areas of labour market programing using the MTI Performance Indicators database. Projects under each research/evaluation programs would supplement current research/evaluation activities and/or address an important labour market policy issue and would engage both academic and ESDC evaluators/researchers.
 
Programs of research/evaluation would be undertaken collaboratively so that policy-relevant researchable questions that need empirical answers are formulated and addressed while taking into account the challenging features of the available data and applying the most appropriate econometric and statistical methods.
To facilitate and ensure engagement, researchers will be expected to participate in two meetings/workshops (in- person or virtually). The purpose will be to review progress, to provide constructive comments in relation to issues that have yet to be resolved and work that has yet to be done, and discuss new issues of research/evaluation that have arisen.
 
Researchers will have the right to publish their results; indeed, they will be expected to produce papers of publishable quality. The research may also be posted at the ESDC website and used in ESDC Evaluation Reports.
 
Proposal requirements
Proposals must contain (but not exclusively) new research using the MTI Performance Indicators database.
 
Proposals need to contribute to better understanding of Canada’s labour market programs and/or Canada’s labour market dynamics.
Proposals must be national in scope (no provincial/territorial dimension).
 
All proposals and papers will be peer reviewed. Reviewers will assess the academic excellence of the proposed program of research/evaluation, its potential contribution to knowledge and its policy relevance (broadly defined). Only proposals that meet all three criteria – academic excellence, contribution to knowledge and policy relevance – will be funded.
 
Interested parties are invited to submit brief proposals (of up to five pages) for collaborative programs of research/evaluation using the MTI Performance Indicators database. Proposals should include a title, the policy- relevant research/evaluation question(s) to be addressed and an explanation of their relevance for public policy (bearing in mind ESDC mandate), situating it in the relevant literature and indicating the gaps in our knowledge that it proposes to fill, the theoretical underpinnings, a description of the data to be used, the proposed empirical approach, the personnel to be involved, and a budget. The CVs of all co-investigators should be included with the proposal.
 
Proposals and final papers may be written in English or French. ESDC will work with researchers to establish mutually satisfactory collaborations after decisions have been made about which proposals will be invited to proceed.
 
5. SCHEDULE FOR DELIVERABLES
The timelines for the project proposals are as follows:
  • An information session/workshop will be organized in late January, 2018 to provide detailed information on the MTI Performance Indicators database and discuss its potential for research/evaluation in the area of labour market programming. The objective of the information session is to provide researchers with sufficient information on the potential of the MTI Performance Indicators database before drafting and submitting their proposals. Details on the participation to the information session are the following:
Date: January 24, 2018
Time: From 12:30 to 4:30 pm (Gatineau Time) WebEx link: https://pwgsc-nh-fr.webex.com Meeting ID: 557 722 027
Toll Free Dial In Number (Canada/U.S.) : 1 877-413-4790;  Conference ID : 9433645 rd
In person: Location: Promenade du Portage, Phase IV, 3 Floor, Gatineau, Québec, Room 3-1
  • The closing date to submit a proposa is March 29, 2018 at 14h. Return bids to ESDC, by email at nc-solicitations-gd@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca (c/o Manon Rondeau).
  • Researchers will be informed of decision and given feedback from peer reviews on April, 30, 2018.
6. USE, RETENTION, DISPOSAL, AND SECURITY REQUIREMENTS
1. For the purpose of allowing the Contractor to perform the work under the contract, ESDC shall make available to the Contractor, in accordance with the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development Act, the Department of Social Development Acts and other applicable laws governing the protection of information under its control, the following information:
  • Medium Term Indicators (MTI) Performance Indicator database includes masked data on 100 percent of individuals who participated in the major labour market programs including: Labour Market Development Agreements (LMDAs), Youth Employment Strategy, Aboriginal Human Resources Development Agreements (AHRDAs), Aboriginal Skills and Employment Partnerships (ASEP)) and Indigenous Skills and Employment Strategy (ISET – previously ASETS) from 1996 to the most recent available (2016). MTI database include also information on 20 to 100 percent of individuals who received Regular EI benefits, but had no participation under the LMDAs from 1996 to the most recent year for which data is available (2016) which constitute a potential pools of control group.
  • The files containing masked data on participants and non-participants are linked to Employment Insurance (EI) administrative data files such as Status Vector (SV) to include detailed data on claim experience and Record of Employment (ROE) data on job separation. It also includes Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) data on earnings and receipt of social assistance (SA) from 1990 to the most recent year available (2015).
  • All data will be stored and accessed through an ESDC protected and secure server for the duration of the contract.
2. Unless otherwise required by law or authorised in writing by the individuals to whom that information relates, the Contractor shall not use or disclose the information referred to in section 1 above except for the purpose of performing the work under the contract.
 
3. The Contractor shall maintain all information referred to in section 1 above, and make sure it is only accessible, in Canada.
 
4. The Contractor shall segregate all records containing information referred to in section 1 above (whether in electronic format or in hard copy) from its other records, and keep all databases in which such records are to be maintained physically independent from all other database, directly or indirectly, which are located outside Canada.
 
5. The Contractor shall ensure that all aspects of the processing of information referred to in section 1 above are conducted and only accessible in Canada.
 
6. The Contractor shall take all necessary measures to ensure that every person it hires, or the services of whom it retains to fulfill its obligations under this contract, knows and complies with all the terms and conditions of this contract with respect to the protection of information referred to in section 1 above.
 
7. Unless otherwise required by law or authorised in writing by the individuals to whom that information relates, the Contractor will ensure that no information referred to in section 1 above, is disclosed to a third party for a purpose authorised herein, unless there is a written agreement between the Contractor and the third party, imposing upon the third party obligations that are the same as those that are imposed upon the Contractor under this contract with respect to the protection of this information.
 
8. The information referred to in section 1 above remains at all times under the control of ESDC.
 
9. The information referred to in section 1 above is protected by the Privacy Act and any other applicable federal laws governing the protection of personal information held by federal institutions. That information shall be treated as such by the Contractor in accordance with the HRSDC Security Policy and Procedures Manual, the Government of Canada Security Policy or other instructions that
ESDC may issue.
 
10. Unless otherwise required by law or authorised in writing by the individuals to whom that information relates, the Contractor shall not make any copies of the information referred to in section 1 above except with the written consent of ESDC.
 
11. Unless otherwise required by law or authorised in writing by the individuals to whom that information relates, upon expiry or termination of the contract, whichever is earlier, the Contractor shall return to ESDC the information referred to in section 1 above and copies thereof, if any.
 
12. The Contractor’s premises shall be open for inspection by authorized representatives of ESDC at reasonable times to ensure compliance with the provisions of this contract governing the protection of personal information.
 
13. The Contractor shall notify ESDC immediately after he becomes aware that a breach of any provision of this contract governing the protection of personal information has occurred.
 
14. Any intentional breach by the Contractor of any provision of this contract governing the protection of personal information constitutes a fundamental breach of contract such that the contract may be terminated by ESDC.
 
7. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
The Minister of Employment and Social Development Canada has determined that any intellectual property arising from the performance of the Work under the Contract will vest in and remain the property of the contractor.
 
The main purpose of the Contract, or of the deliverables contracted for, is to generate knowledge and information for public dissemination. Therefore, the contractor may publish any papers that are generated from this contract.