New report finds that policy-making across Canada scores low on transparency of evidence usage – Canada NewsWire

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Oct 17, 2022, 07:32 ET
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OTTAWA, ON, Oct. 17, 2022 /CNW/ – In a new report, titled “Eyes On Evidence III: An assessment of the transparency of evidence usage across provincial policy announcements,” Evidence for Democracy (E4D) evaluated over 100 policies issued by the provincial governments of Ontario, British Columbia and Sasketchawan, to determine whether the public can find and understand the evidence used to make policy decisions. Similar to earlier work examining federal policies, E4D found that provincial policies scored low on the transparency of evidence usage, meaning that it is difficult for people across Canada to find the evidence behind government policy.
“Our Eyes on Evidence series asks: can the evidence behind policy decisions be found by the lay public?” Dr. Caitlin Fowler, a Senior Research Associate at E4D. “This is an important question to ask because the public has the right to know and understand what considerations lead to the policy decisions that impact their lives. This understanding starts with transparent communication of evidence, from all levels of government within our federated system.”
When evidence is made transparent in policy-making, the public has the opportunity to scrutinize the evidence behind the decisions shaping their lives.
E4D’s provincial assessment found that policies often failed to mention the evidence used to make a decision, let alone provide a reference or citation for any evidence mentioned. Almost all policies scored poorly in the testing and evaluation section (i.e., to know how and when a policy has worked) of E4D’s transparency framework, and rarely explored the merits of alternative policy options, or acknowledged any absent, weak or contradictory evidence. In particular, policies from the Government of Saskatchewan scored very poorly.
“We all benefit when governments make policy decisions informed by the best available evidence. In fact, virtually every policy issue that our elected representatives face can benefit from evidence, especially as we consider the complexity of the ever-growing challenges we must confront as a society,” said Dr. Vanessa Sung, E4D’s Interim Executive Director. “Asking for transparency in policy-making may be ambitious, but communicating the evidence used to make policy decisions shouldn’t just be a bonus added on when time and resources permit. We must place evidence at the heart of public policy.”
Read the full report.
SOURCE Evidence for Democracy
For further information: Media Contact: Caitlin Fowler, Senior Research Associate, Evidence for Democracy, [email protected], Phone: 613-282-9219
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