Issues

Research and policy development on issues of concern to the social sciences and humanities community is a key contribution of the Federation to the quality of research and teaching in Canada. The Federation facilitates its community’s contribution to such issues as digital publishing, open access, equity representation in the academy. In the past, the Federation has also helped facilitate discussions that feed into SSHRC-led transformations such as past consultations for strategic planning and the foresight exercise and talent renewal consultations. As such, the Federation has built a strong policy development capacity, facilitating consultations, providing expert advice, and disseminating information within the social sciences and humanities community.

Over the past years, significant progress on all files from equity matters to industrial R&D, thanks to the guidance and insight provided by the members of the Federation’s taskforces on these issues. Work on these issues will continue, while the Federation will also explore engaged scholarship and knowledge mobilization, international collaboration, and will seek opportunities to mobilize the community in response to requests from federal agencies.


 

The Federation has launched the Smart Ideas initiative to help articulate the value and role of the humanities and social sciences (HSS) in building a better future for Canada. An array of factsheets demonstrate how— through research, teaching and community engagement—Canada’s leading thinkers are helping explore profound questions about who we are as Canadians and what kind of future we want for ourselves and our country.

How do we realize reconciliation with Aboriginal peoples?
How do we tell Canadian stories?
How do we support youth and education?
How do we enhance productivity and innovation?
How do we strengthen citizenship and integration?
How do we build Canada’s future?

Feel free to download and use these resources! We hope these fact sheets can:

  • help members of the HSS community communicate the value of our disciplines
  • help Canadians at large better understand the work of HSS scholars
  • help parliamentarians and policy makers* connect with the experts they need


Click through the Smart Ideas fact sheets to learn about the issues and meet the researchers at work for Canadians.





  

 


Humanities and social sciences research in Canada
Canada’s humanities and social sciences researchers deepen our understanding of modern social, cultural, technological, environmental, economic and health issues. The Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences is a national, member-based organization that represents Canada’s professors, students and practitioners in the humanities and social sciences. We connect researchers to the media, the public and decision makers. We bring scholars to Parliament Hill to share insights on topical issues through our Big Thinking lecture series. We also organize Canada’s largest academic gathering every year, the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences.

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Enhancing productivity and innovation
Humanities and social sciences researchers are collaborating across disciplines and working with communities, businesses and governments to build Canada’s innovation agenda.

  • We’re making Canada a more innovative country by:
  •  Exploring and testing new methods of organization, creation and production
  •  Understanding the challenges of adapting to and adopting new technologies
  • Strengthening creative and problem-solving skills among entrepreneurs, workers and employers
  • Exploring social, environmental, economic and health issues
  • Expanding international collaboration to make Canada an innovation centre
  • Transforming government practices in the digital era

Meet the researchers at work for Canadians:

  • Suzanne Stein, Associate Professor, Strategic Foresight and Innovation, OCAD University
  • Louis Raymond, Emeritus Professor, Research Institute for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, Univeristé du Québec à Trois Rivières

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Strengthening citizenship and integration
Humanities and social sciences researchers are exploring how family sponsored immigrants fare and how that compares to the results for economic immigrants.

We’re finding better approaches to support new citizens by studying:

  • How to remove barriers to help refugees and immigrants become fully engaged in Canadian society
  • How to help groups that might face targeting for their connections to troubled regions of the world
  • Better ways to connect employers and immigrants with the skills they need
  • The role of faith communities in integrating newcomers 
  • Early experiences of skilled immigrants under the new Express Entry system 

Meet the researchers at work for Canadians:

  • Bessma Momani, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Waterloo
  • Yoko Yoshida, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Dalhousie University

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Reconciliation with aboriginal peoples
Humanities and social sciences researchers are asking bold questions as they work with Indigenous peoples on our toughest challenges.

We’re looking to improve progress on reconciliation by:

  • Promoting understanding and respect for First Nations, Métis and Inuit knowledge
  • Preserving and restoring Indigenous languages
  • Identifying how to end inequalities in health, education and employment
  • Sharing knowledge and ideas to address issues such as obesity, suicide and substance abuse
  • Using arts and culture to stimulate reconciliation
  • Learning how to make schooling more welcoming and supportive

Meet the researchers at work for Canadians:

  • Jo-ann Archibald, Associate Dean for Indigenous Education at the University of British Columbia
  • Marie-Odile Junker, Professor in the School of Linguistics and Language Studies, Carleton University 

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Telling Canadian stories
Humanities and social sciences researchers are helping artists and the public address identity and contemporary topics in a variety of new ways.

We’re helping Canadians explore and express identity by:

  • Using artistic processes in research
  • Relying on art and the creative process as a way of exploring identity
  • Mentoring and developing Canadians’ skills in writing, communication and design
  • Embedding arts and culture in curricula to reach at-risk students
  • Using new digital technologies to create interactive documentaries
  • Exploring social problems through literature, theatre and film
  • Using technology to expand the impact of artistic mediums such as dance and theatre

Meet the researchers at work for Canadians:

  • Aritha van Herk, Professor, Department of English, University of Calgary 
  • Miao Song, Affiliate Assistant Professor, Department of Engineering and Computer Science, Concordia University  

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Supporting youth and education
Humanities and social sciences researchers are asking bold questions about the factors that improve citizenship, beyond academic achievement.

We’re looking to improve results for youth by:

  • Encouraging critical thinking about our place in the world and in society
  • Preparing students to be lifelong learners and problem-solvers
  • Creating a broader menu of learning options, to suit all needs
  • Teaching history in ways that support Aboriginal reconciliation
  • Finding the best ways to combat bullying

Meet the researchers at work for Canadians:

  • Joel Westheimer, Professor in the Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa
  • Susanne Lajoie, Professor in the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology, McGill University

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