Farewell CPRN

I regret to see that the Canadian Policy Research Networks (CPRN) are closing down. This further narrows the scope and space for civil and rational public policy discourse in Canada, and is a not accidental by product of  cuts in federal government support for independent policy research combined with lack of business support for think tanks other than those of the right.


Founded by Judy Maxwell after the demise of the Economic Council of Canada, CPRN could certainly not be described as squarely on the left, but they played an important role as research-based advocates for centre-left policies, especially in the areas of social policy and labour market policy.  The CPRN made significant contributions to policy research in favour of child care and early learning, investment in social housing, better income support policies for the working poor, a federal role in the cities, and progressive changes to minimum wage and employment standards. Under the former Liberal government, they played an important role in connecting progressive academics to the internal government policy process – and it came as no surprise that modest federal funding of their activities came to an abrupt end with the election of the Harper government.    CPRN did tap into some private support and what exists in the way of a progressive employer community, but I’m sure they got only pennnies compared to what corporate Canada pays out to support the Fraser Institute and the CD Howe.


  • That’s so disappointing – I regularly got their updates by email – kept me informed on social policy in social welfare area of concern.

  • Sad, considering the level of quality and balance that came from the CPRN, I just do not see that space being filled, which further polarizes the politics of compromise.

    I am surprised it hung around this long given the length of time the libertarians have been set up on the hill.

    Just another sign of decline in the political capacity of this country to maintain slim notions of democratic speech.

    Sorry to hear that news- for a progressive stats guy, it was definitely a place where the numbers were not tortured into submission and that was refreshing to have that trustworthy analytical capacity. HAve you seen the CFIB “report” on public/private sector wages, in all my years of analysis I have never seen such a report given such a spotlight and contain a methodology that basically is not a methodology. Really- it is quite unique in the whole history of reports- the methodology just does not exist- neither do the reliabilities estimates of the data, the quality measures, or how the numbers were even put together.

    So does the eradication of the CPRN now mean that methods and quality are no longer required. Not even a small bit? Oh this really is a sad day- we have statcan that no longer does analysis, the CPRN gone, and all them major think tanks on the right fully stocked with cash but not a methodologist to be found.

    Hey Ted Mallet for the sake of small business in Canada please hang up your research hat, that report by the CFIB was pure and utter garbage and should not be allowed in Canada, when did fascism come back into fashion anyway?

  • Judith Maxwell put parts of the old Economic Council at Queen’s when that was closed down because the Council found that Quebec independence would not lead to everyone living in mud huts along the St. Lawrence Valley. At the time the University of Ottawa could have taken on a major role, but declined.
    The provinces stepped up to help fund the CPRN at the outset, and also HRDC when the Liberals came back into power.
    I never thought I would miss the Economic Council, but I did. The CPRN was a mixed bag, but it will be missed. The upshot is that we will read more American stuff, and try and figure out what applies to Canada.
    Long live the PEF blog.

  • In my opinion, one of the best things the CPRN has going for it is its Housing Research Internship
    and Scholar program. The program is the only national housing-specific training program for young scholars in Canada. Last year, I participated in the program, which resulted in the publication of a policy paper on Toronto’s Streets to Homes program.

    The program in question is run by Professor Michael Buzzelli (Dept. of Geography, University of Western Ontario). He did a great job of both grooming young housing scholars and securing outside funding for the program!

    Now that CPRN is about to be put to bed, I hope that other organizations (such as the CCPA) will contact Mike and see if the program can rescued/adopted and given a new institutional home. It has structure, it has a supervisor and it has outside funding…

  • Anyone know if their web presence will stay? Or be archived somewhere, like the Law Commission?

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