Data & Research at the SPCO

Increasing the capacity of voluntary sector organizations to effectively use research and data for planning and policy change.

The Social Planning Council of Ottawa is pleased to lend its experience in social research, policy analysis, and community consultation to not-for-profit organizations and community members. Our goal is to build the capacity of local agencies and organizations to produce and to integrate community-based research in their planning processes and in taking action on social and economic issues.

Our projects benefit from the superior access to data, thanks to our membership in the Community Data Consortium, and to the full range of skills, knowledge, and expertise of SPCO staff and volunteers.


The SPCO hosts the Ottawa and Region chapter of a national Community Data Program (CDP) created by the Canadian Council for Social Development and run by the Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDNet).  Established in 1990s to track poverty, CDP now offers a wide range of web-based data products, analytical tools, and services. This unique initiative enables organizations with a social or public service mandate to identify and better understand the social and economic trends within their individual communities.

The local chapter, called the Ottawa and Region Data Consortium, is a membership initiative operating on a cost-recovery basis.  Member organizations receive the following:

  • Access to over $1 million worth of data from Statistics Canada and other reliable data providers.
  • Customized training sessions on Community Data Program and catalog, Beyond 2020, Excel, Power BI and Tableau.
  • Help to more effectively use the data for research and to gain new understanding of communities or areas they serve.

Download our summary of FAQs on the Data Consortium FAQ 2022.

To find out more, or to request membership, please contact Stefka at


2021 Census Highlights is an open data initiative of the Data Consortium. The website is updated with data, maps, dashboards and data summaries for Ottawa and Eastern Ontario following the release of new statistics from 2021 Census of Canadian population.  Visit the open data portal:

Data in Action aims to empower communities and organizations in their path to progressive transformation through data and research.  The website provides access to reliable data prodeucs tht raise awareness of inequity, help identify local gaps and challenges, and focus efforts for building a fair and equitable society.

Visit Data in Action at

The Neighbourhood Equity Index

The Ottawa Neighbourhood Equity Index is a tool to assess and compare unnecessary and unfair differences factors impacting wellbeing. The Index measures how each neighbourhood is doing in five domains of wellbeing supported by 28 indicators. The NEI website offers a variety of data products, research and visualizations.  You can also explore the following themes by neighbourhood:

  • Anti-racism
  • Hate Crimes
  • COVID-19
  • Digital Inclusion
  • Food Security, and
  • Profiles of Families & Children, Youth, Immigrants & Racialized Groups, Seniors.

Visit the NEI:


GIS Mapping

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) apply location-based analytics to transform, visually explore and gain greater insights of data. Maps reveal spatial patterns that might not be apparent from tables and charts. Maps also break down barriers, facilitate collaboration and communication and raise questions about human relations.  Our maps and dashboards have been used as valuable decision-making tools by experts, policymakers, and community organizations. We offer:

  • Analysis and visualization of socio-demographic trends using census data or community infrastructure and services information.
  • Analysis of neighbourhood level data to identify issues, strengths, proposed solutions & to develop community action plans.
  • Creating story maps and participatory community maps: Using community or agency data to tell a story”.

View the SPCO’s recent and ongoing data mapping projects: 


Youth Employment

Transitioning from school to employment is challenging for Canadian youth due to limited job opportunities, high living costs, and substantial debt. Many face barriers such as lack of work experience and overqualification for available jobs, leading to precarious employment situations. Statistics Canada highlights higher unemployment rates among youth, partly due to vulnerability during job cuts and the time needed to find suitable employment. To address these challenges, there’s a need for innovative approaches to youth employment programs, focusing on skill development and adaptation to the changing job market.

Youth Employment Report – Opportunities and Challenges in the Local Economy (2) (1)


Evaluation and Research Support

Effective Measures is the SPCO’s evaluation service, providing evaluation and research services in support of community programs and initiatives aimed at improving the lives of all Ottawans.  Our goal is to make program evaluation accessible to all.  We assist our clients to achieve their targeted impact by providing them with credible information that supports change.  We operate on a geared-to-budget fee-for-service model.  Our services range from workshops and coaching to full-service evaluation, research and reporting.  Visit or contact Prayash at
Participatory research or action research is done by and for community groups to:
  • Enable communities to better understand their social and physical reality.
  • Help people open conversation about community.
  • Build capacity for social engagement and participation.
  • Increase awareness on an issue and prompt new programs or policies.
  • Inspire action to improve local conditions.
For research support contact Prayash at
Contact us for data visualization and report design in a variety of formats:
  • traditional print reports
  • interactive online reports
  • social media friendly infographics
  • dashboards/instant data analytics
  • case studies
  • videos (see our Social Enterprise, Hot Shoe Productions), and more.
Contact Stefka at

Recent Publications

Seniors' assessment report
 The assessment brief provides preliminary insights and recommendations regarding the well-being and healthy aging of ethnocultural seniors in Ottawa. It highlights key findings across various themes such as access to information, social activities, home repairs, groceries and medications, transportation, outdoor activities and digital access.
Read the full report here.
black commuinty The Black community in Ottawa is characterized by a rich tapestry of various backgrounds and experiences. Some members of this community have deep-rooted Canadian ancestry, while others have immigrated more recently. Regardless of their origins, they have all played significant roles in shaping the city’s growth, enhancing its cultural diversity, and driving its development. black community report This report provides an introductory portrait of the Black population in Ottawa, through a review of data collected by the Statistics Canada 2021 census of population (the most current population statistics available). The report is an update of the Summary Portrait of Ottawa’s Black Community in Comparison with the General Population based on the 2016 census. Read the report here
Re-Imagining Crisis Interventions:  A Reveiw of te Literature on Best Practices in Community-Based Crisis Intervention (2021). Download:  Hussein-N.-2021.-Reimagining-Crisis-Intervention_Final_Report.
YouVoice Ottawa Report:  Youth-Led Participatory Research on Improving Mental Wellness for Racialized Youth (2021). Download:  YouVoice Ottawa Report_version1 See summary video.
Boosting the Signal, Part 1:  Urban Connectivity Report.  Improving Digital Equity in Ottawa (2021). Download:  Digital_Equity_Part_1_Increasing_Digital_Equity_in_Ottawa_(Final_2021)
Boosting the Signal Part 2:  Rural Connectivity Report.  Pathways to Improving Digital Equity in Eastern Ontario (2021). Download: Digital_Equity_Part_2-Rural_Eastern_Ont_Report_(Final_2021)
Boosting the Signal Part 3:  Community Mesh Study.  A Community Braodband Solution in Ottawa (2021). Download:  Digital_Equity_Part_3-Community_Mesh_Study_(Final_2021)
Summary Portrait of the Black Community in Comparison with the General Population Based on the 2016 Census (2020). Download:  Summary-Portrait-of-Ottawas-Black-Community-2016-Final

Dementia Community Programming – Conceptual Framework (2021).

Download:  Dementia Community Programming-Conceptual Framework Final

Dementia Program Design Toolkit (2021).

Download:  Tool_Dementia_Program_Design_Toolkit

Ethno-Cultural Seniors Cultural Home Visitors Training Guide (2019). Download:  Caregiving-Training-Guide-Nov5 Also available in French, Punjabi, Spanish, Vietnamese and Chinese at
Elder Abuse and Neglect:  Ethno-Cultural Communities Facilitator’s Resource Guide (2019) Download: Final-Version-Elder-Abuse-and-Neglect-2020-with-Cover

The Ottawa Community Wellbeing Report:  Spotlight on the Role and Wellbeing of Ottawa’s Community Services (2018)

Download:  Ottawa_Community_Wellbeing_Report_2018_Final

Publications Pre-2018

Please contact for publications pre-2018.  

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