Applied research is central to the IOG’s mission. Our research informs our advisory services, ensures that our course offerings and curricula are forward-looking and up-to- date, and promotes intellectual rigour in all our activities.

We engage in a wide range of research activities from environmental scans, trend analyses, and opinion research to modelling, interviews, facilitated workshops and comparative analysis.

We produce discussion papers and reports, analytical tools and models with real world applicability in advisory and teaching contexts, and have provided expert testimony to parliamentary committees.


The IOG disseminates its research findings through a range of media, from editorials, news articles and blog posts to academic articles, conference talks and presentations, as well as dialogues, webinars and other fora that we organize ourselves or with partners.

We engage in research in all our business and practice areas – always focusing on governance challenges, implications and solutions. This has included research in areas as diverse as housing governance, healthcare governance, and governance surrounding cannabis legalization, to reviews and evaluations of government policy portfolios, research on democratic governance and reform, and research on service modernization and transformation.

Our discrete research projects are informed by our work on key cross-cutting priority research initiatives:

  • Public Governance Exchange (PGEx)
  • Digital Governance Applied Research Program
  • Indigenous Governance Research Agenda
  • Federalism and Democratic Governance Research
  • Public Governance Opinion Research

Ongoing Research

Clients frequently commission us to conduct specific governance related research to support their work and help them achieve their objectives. We also conduct applied research across all our domains of expertise. Have a look at our active research projects below.

Legislative Assembly of Ontario

Public Governance Exchange (PGEx)

The Public Governance Exchange (PGEx) is the Institute on Governance’s multi-jurisdictional syndicated initiative for advancing and sharing knowledge on public sector governance. Unique in its focus on public governance, PGEx equips senior public sector leaders and their organizations with the analysis they need to understand and address the real-world problems they face in the digital age.
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Digital Governance Applied Research Program

The IOG’s Digital Governance Applied Research Program explores the historic challenges and opportunities facing public institutions in the digital age – where governments must navigate technological, geo-political and economic volatility, while meeting rising expectations for speed, efficiency, fairness and accountability in the delivery of public services. Multi-stakeholder and cross-sectoral, our research program examines the impacts of digital culture and technologies on public governance, in policy, service and regulatory contexts with an annual thematic focus (e.g. democratic governance in a networked age, framing innovation: Westminster 2.0).
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Indigenous Governance Research Agenda

The IOG’s Indigenous Governance Research Agenda is both multi-year and multidisciplinary. It pursues evidence-based solutions and modern approaches to governance to provide practical direction to those looking to close the gap between Canada’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations.​​
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Federalism and Democratic Governance Research

As part of its research activities, the IOG focuses on federalism and democratic governance, developing and exploring models and tools for fiscal federalism, looking at the evolution of federal models (whether in the Canadian Westminster context or abroad), and exploring questions related to democratic institutions and reform, and their place in the broader governance ecosystem.
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Public Governance Opinion Research

The IOG draws on commissioned opinion research to gauge public awareness of governance challenges and to identify trends. For example, we recently commissioned opinion research on democratic reform, on questions concerning Indigenous governance and representation, as well as on awareness of the implementation challenges related to the legalization of cannabis. This research has included traditional opinion surveys, but also analysis based on the findings of customized artificial intelligence systems that look at what people do online.
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