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In progress

Understanding the Challenges Associated with Finding and Accessing Restricted Data in Canada: A Mixed Methods Study

This study aimed to identify Canadian access-limited data sources and evaluate a subset of restricted health sciences data sources to determine how well they make their data discoverable and accessible.

A search was conducted across Canadian sectors and national experts were consulted to identify access-limited data sources. A subset of restricted health sciences data sources (n=48) was evaluated using a rubric to assess how well they make their data discoverable and accessible. The rubric assigned data sources a grade of A through C denoting how well they met certain discoverability and access criteria. The degree to which data sources demonstrated consistency between their discovery and access grades was assessed using Kendall’s rank correlation coefficient. Preprint.

Family ties: Exploring fertility choices and parental marital disruption

This work proposes to examine the exposure to divorce of the parents and subsequent reduction in fertility as an adult based on a model where perceived stability of a partnership influences number of children and is influenced by parents’ divorce. An empirical analysis finds that parental divorce is correlated with negative selection in the choice to have any children, but, conditional on having some children, there is a small positive correlation between parental divorce and fertility but only when the woman’s parents are divorced. This result
can be applied to models of bargaining to conclude that some more unitary household bargaining models can be rejected in the Canadian context, however, the results cannot differentiate between frameworks making the
same predictions regarding the assignment of decisions to individuals within a partnership.

David vs. Goliath, or David and Goliath: Evaluating the Impact of a Regional Poverty Initiative

Can municipalities make a difference for individuals receiving benefits from programs at higher levels of government, or is their spending cancelled out by mechanical adjustments in policies that are often designed formulaically to reduce administrative costs? This article seeks to examine the impact of a regional poverty-reduction initiative enacted in Niagara Region in Ontario which saw a large increase in municipal funding for charities with the goal of creating new programming for low income families. The paper evaluates the potential conflict between regional government strategies and programs at higher levels of government, where the regional strategy could incentivize greater dependence on the higher level government’s programs, or could completely crowd out government spending. The use of administrative data permits testing of a new strategy in estimating treatment effects in duration models where there exists regional variations in the baseline hazards by using an extension to the synthetic control method within a duration model difference in difference framework. This method has broad applicability to duration models with treatment effects where stratification exists in a way that is not randomly assigned. I find that the poverty initiative resulted in a small increase in the expected duration of an Ontario Works spell, but had no effect on the growth of the caseload and an unknown effect on spending. These findings suggest that the initiative did not increase overall dependence on social assistance, and, under reasonable assumptions, that the policy was welfare enhancing for the social assistance
recipients. The proposed method of analysis was also able to reduce bias in the estimated treatment effect in the duration model over estimates conducted without matching.


Missed follow up for chronic condition sufferers during the onset phase of the COVID-19 pandemic - what are the equity implications?

What this research hopes to understand is how these choices were made in the onset and early phases of the pandemic and the consequences of missed appointments. First, the behaviour of patients who had pre-pandemic history of repeat visits for chronic condition management for certain conditions will be investigated during the pandemic (most notably diabetes, COPD, hypertension). Second, the incidence of hospitalizations for chronic conditions (especially ambulatory care sensitive conditions Caminal et al. 2004) will be tracked across socio-economic status. There is some evidence that missed primary care has had important consequences for missed cancer diagnoses (Yekedüz et al 2020). There have also been suggestions made about how to adjust primary care in response, though these are generally not data-driven (van Weert 2020 and Krist et al. 2020).

The answer to these questions will not only be helpful in understanding how to manage the tail end of this pandemic, and how care might be targeted to more vulnerable groups during the next pandemic, they will also help us understand the extent to which there is heterogeneity for those with chronic conditions in the ability to self-manage.

Healthcare Access Among Canada's Elderly

This research program will measure the vulnerabilities to negative health shocks in Canada's elderly population, identify geographic patterns in gaps in elderly care, as well as quantify and map inequities in the labour market disruption caused by reliance on (or choice of) informal care in lieu of professional care. 

This study will examine the implications for Canada of using different methods to calculate inequality. Measurements using both revealed and stated access methods will be provided across provinces and different socio-economic groups.

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