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Driving Forces for Change: Cost and Quality Concerns

Example: A South Asian male youth service user, who cannot read and speaks limited English, may face discrimination on any of the grounds of age, race, colour, ancestry, ethnic origin, place of origin, gender, disability or perceived disability e. To better understand the potential impact of multiple identity factors, or intersectionality, when collecting and analyzing data about a group of interest, it may be helpful to consult with communities, and review applicable research and other relevant documents that highlight how the dynamic of discrimination and disadvantage can play out in a practical way for persons identified by Code and non- Code grounds.

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The OHRC has also developed policies and guidelines that provide a more detailed outline of how the Code applies to the various grounds see Appendix G for a list of OHRC guides, policies and guidelines. The experiences of youth service users who cannot read and who speak English as a second language can then be compared to youth service users who cannot read but can speak English fluently. Some data collection initiatives require gathering data from multiple sizes, groups or communities located in different locations and geographical areas.

When determining where to collect information from, key factors to consider include who the data will be collected about and who the data will be compared to. Example: A local community centre is interested in making its current youth literacy program more responsive to the needs of an increased number of youth in the surrounding area who cannot read and who speak English as a second language.

The community centre plans to gather information about the community it serves and the geographical region it is located in.

What Is Risk Management in Healthcare?

Publicly available information about the characteristics of the surrounding neighbourhood is also explored, among other data sources. Choosing categories provides a way to organize the information that is collected. This can be done either before collecting data, as discussed in this step, or after data is collected see Step 5. In some cases, although it is not required, it is preferable to use pre-determined categories such as those developed by Statistics Canada.

There are certain benefits to this approach.

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Example: Organizations can be confident that the 12 racial groups used by Statistics Canada will represent how the majority of Canadians racially classify themselves. In addition, use of these categories is most likely to produce reliable and valid results and enable researchers to directly compare the results of their studies to Census data collected by Statistics Canada.

Another limitation is that Statistics Canada does not produce Census data on all grounds for example, on sexual orientation. Organizations may ultimately choose the categories that best reflect where the organization is at in terms of achieving its human rights, equity and diversity goals. In the context of human rights, social-science researchers [30] are commonly asked to lead or help with data collection projects.

Two types of data are used in social science research: qualitative and quantitative. A good research effort involves the use of both types. Both approaches, while distinct, can overlap and rely on the other to produce meaningful data, analysis and results. Example: A restaurant chain wants to improve service and access to customers with disabilities. Management decides to collect qualitative information using focus groups consisting of a range of stakeholders, including customers and representatives of organizations from the disability community.

Did the respondent understand the term "human rights grievance"? Has the respondent had experience filing a grievance with the union? Does the respondent like unions generally? A comparison between these figures and gap data from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada HRSDC shows that, while there is an overrepresentation of women in the ranks of cleaners, there is no gap for women in the ranks of supervisors.

Nationally, so few women are Custodial Services supervisors that there is a statistically insignificant availability, giving rise to the conclusion that there is no numerical gap with respect to women supervisors.

This conclusion, however, does not make sense since the organization knows that the women to men cleaning staff ratio is supervised by a male to female supervisory staff ratio. The organization decides to ignore the HRSDC data and apply common sense by setting up career advancement mentoring and other policies and programs to increase the number of female supervisors in its workforce. Qualitative and quantitative data are generally gathered from more than one source.

Where possible, two or more of the following sources should be used together to strengthen reliability and consistency in results. Pre-existing or official data is information that has already been documented e. This data may contain information that directly relates to specific Code grounds like race, but more commonly will relate only indirectly for example, in the form of names, place of origin or ethnicity. This type of information could be used as proxies or stand-ins for race, but would be less reliable than actually having self-reported racial data.

Example: Outcomes of workplace recruitment, hiring, promotions and terminations can be recorded, as can events such as interventions by security guards and customer complaints. When recording these events, relevant Code ground and non- Code classifications could also be included. This data could then be examined for trends over time to show whether discrimination or systemic barriers exist, may exist or do not exist.

Survey research is a broad area and generally includes any measurement procedures that involve asking respondents questions.


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A "survey" can range from a short paper-and-pencil questionnaire to an in-depth one-on-one interview interviews will be discussed further below. In designing a survey, it is important to consider the specific characteristics of the respondents, to make sure that the questions are relevant, clear, accessible and easy to understand.

Some practical considerations to keep in mind are whether the respondents can read, have language or cultural barriers, have disabilities, and can be easily reached. Example: A transgender employee may self-identify as female but a third party may identify her as male. The data can be recorded in a wide variety of ways including written notes, audio recording and video recording.

In focus groups, the interviewer facilitates the session. A select group of people are brought together, asked questions, encouraged to listen to each other's comments, and have their answers recorded. The same set of questions may be used for a number of different groups, each of which is constituted slightly differently, and for a range of purposes. Focus groups may be facilitated by professionals, but this is not always needed.

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The decision to hire a professional facilitator may depend on the goals of the focus group research, the nature of the questions asked, the skills and experience of staff taking part, and the need for confidentiality or anonymity. Or, it may be of greater value to organize a group that includes people representing all key internal and external stakeholders, to allow for contrasting ideas to be expressed and discussed.

In some cases, this may not be possible without setting up separate focus groups or hiring a professional facilitator who is not connected to the organization. Typically, interviews involve a set of standard questions being asked of all respondents, on a one-on-one basis, so that accurate trends and gaps can be drawn from the data. Interviews are commonly conducted face-to-face, but for more rapid results, can also be done over the telephone, or, as technology advances, through video-conferencing and other means.

Trained staff or external experts can gather data by identifying and recording the characteristics and behaviour of research subjects through observation, either within or outside of an organization.

Observed data can include information gathered using all of the senses available to the researcher, including sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. Example: A human rights organization that offers a mediation service hires a mediation expert to observe mediators and service users and provide feedback about any issues of concern related to human rights.

To minimize potential stress and anxiety experienced by the people being observed, staff and service users are informed in advance of the purpose and goals of the exercise. Staff is advised that the observed data gathered will only be used for research purposes and not shared with their managers. The expert maintains access to the data, and the results are reported on an aggregated and summarized basis to prevent individuals from being identified. Hiring experts, while potentially expensive, can add validity and credibility to research analysis because they are often perceived as having no vested interest in the research results.

Information gathered using observation techniques differs from interviewing, because the observer does not actively ask the respondent questions. Observed data can include everything from field research, where someone lives in another context or culture for a period of time participant observation , to photographs that show the interaction between service providers and service users direct observation. The data can be recorded in many of the same ways as interviews taking notes, audio, video and through pictures, photos or drawings. Each source of data used to collect information has its strengths and weaknesses.

Some of the more common potential strengths and weaknesses identified above have been highlighted.

Work Health and Safety Codes of Practice

Analyzing data from multiple perspectives and relying on data from different sources can strengthen the conclusions drawn from research. Data can be collected and analyzed on a short-term or project basis in response to situations or needs that arise from time to time. A short-term data collection project would include a start and a finish date, with set deliverables to be carried out over a certain period of time.

The best practice is to collect data on an ongoing, permanent basis, and to analyze this data as often as is needed to identify, address and monitor barriers to Code -protected persons or other persons based on non- Code grounds.


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  • Data collected in a time-limited study may be less complete than data collected through ongoing monitoring. This is because short-term studies do not allow for the assessment of trends, patterns or changes over time. However, where costs, time and resources are a factor, short-term studies may be the preferred choice to fulfil a need and project goals. Other factors may also influence the reliability of the data.