Mobilizing Knowledge to Parliamentarians / Mobiliser la connaissance pour les parlementaires

by David Phipps (RIR-York)

Philip Kelly was on Parliament Hill recently speaking about his research and its policy implications for New Canadians seeking employment and social mobility. Phil was mobilizing knowledge to Parliamentarians.

Philip Kelly était récemment sur la colline du Parlement afin d’y présenter ses recherches et les implications politiques de celles-ci pour les Néo-Canadiens cherchant emploi et mobilité sociale. Phil mobilisait les connaissances pour les parlementaires.

Thursday morning, October 20, Philip Kelly (Department of Geography, York University) spoke as part of the Big Thinking series of the Canadian Federation of Humanities and Social Sciences on Parliament Hill. “Big Thinking is a lecture series featuring the best Canadian research and scholarly work in the social sciences and the humanities. Held on Parliament Hill up to six times a year, the Big Thinking lectures bring research directly to the attention of elected officials, policy-makers, government officials, NGOs and the media. While reaching Parliamentarians, these talks demonstrate the importance of humanities and social science research in the development of public policy and in contributing to the quality of life of Canadians. “

Philip Kelly demonstrated the importance of social sciences research by talking about Generation Next: Social mobility of the children of immigrants.  While Philip is a geographer he is also Director of the Toronto Immigration Employment Data Initiative, a SSHRC funded Knowledge Impact in Society project that practices knowledge mobilization providing community and government immigration “organizations with free access to statistical data and analysis on various aspects of immigrant labour market integration. The goal is to help organizations access the quantitative data they need in order to identify priorities, develop programs and services, compose proposals and reports, and carrying out advocacy and public education endeavours.” Phil is also a member of the Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Settlement, CERIS – The Ontario Metropolis Centre, a SSHRC and CIC funded knowledge mobilization collaboration led by York University.

I asked Phil to tell me about speaking to Parliamentarians.

I discovered that the day starts early for a knowledge mobilizer.   We started with an interview on CBC’s Ottawa Morning radio show at 6.15am.  The producers had picked up on my talk later in the morning on Parliament Hill and the discussion focused mostly on what my research had found that was unexpected about social mobility among second generation Filipino-Canadians.  The breakfast lecture in the ‘Big Thinking’ series then followed with a collection of MPs, Senators, parliamentary staff and Ottawa community folks present.   The talk focused on my current research through the Filipino Youth Transitions in Canada project, examining educational and employment outcomes for Filipino-Canadian youth.  Conscious that this was rare exposure to Geography (as an academic discipline) for many of those listening, I also tried to emphasize a geographical perspective in my approach to the issue.  The lecture will be posted at  The first question, about immigrant deprofessionalization, came from Senator Art Eggleton, who I think I might have referred to as ‘Art Eglinton’, but he didn’t seem to mind.  The lecture was followed by a meeting with Kevin Lamoureux MP, who represents Winnipeg North – one of the field sites for my study and Canada’s largest Filipino neighbourhood.  After lunch with SSHRC VP Gisele Yasmeen, I met with Statistics Canada staff to discuss data sources and ongoing research projects at the agency concerning second generation outcomes.

In addition to his CBC Radio interview, his talk picked up some press in iPolitics,an independent, non-partisan and committed to providing timely, relevant, insightful content to those whose professional or personal interests require that they stay on top of political developments in Ottawa and the provinces.”

See also the Federation’s blog on Philip’s talk including a video.

Talking to a group, one-on-one meetings, radio and on line media kept Phil busy practicing multiple forms of knowledge mobilization to multiple audiences all in one day.  A recent systematic review by Annette Boaz and colleagues shows that such multi-faceted methods of knowledge mobilization are more effective than single methods. We recently profiled this systematic review titled Effective implementation of research into practice: an overview of systematic reviews of the health literature in a ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche journal club.

SSHRC VP Gisele Yasmeen (@gyasmeen) tweeted from Phil’s presentation. CFHSS Director of Policy and Communication Alison Hebbs not only accompanied Phil throughout his day but phoned me to tell me what a great job he had done mobilizing academic research about an important Canadian topic to MPs, senators and bureaucrats. Phil was talking to Parliamentarians. Which is easier than (but not as funny as) talking to Americans as Rick Mercer found out.

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