Program and Management Consulting

The Elders say that our “tool bundles” are breaking new ground in Indigenous Evaluations

Since 2001 we have managed nine longitudinal evaluations, each about 3-years long and inclusive of 150 – 300 program participants. We keep you in-the-loop with a start-up call, check-in on data collection process, review of early findings, and discussion on vital messaging, to talking about implementing the final report recommendations.  We include action plans with budget estimates and potential funding sources as a means for addressing recommendations.

Our policy research and program evaluation services have met the needs of First Nations, government departments, and independent programs and organizations.  We prefer mixed method approaches that include triangulated methodologies utilizing culture-appropriate and grounded tools. One example is our Waawiyeyaa Evaluation Tool, which has been rigorously tested. Since 2010, this tool has been applied in evaluation, research, and program delivery settings, and our database has received over 500 entries by Indigenous program participants.  We provide core competencies for our clients in program evaluation, program policy research, strategic planning, Indigenous governance training, and economic development research.

Program Evaluation

“Johnston Research Inc. focuses on utilizing tools for change.

We believe that the tools used in evaluation need to match your program because the tools are by themselves an intervention in-line with the program. Further, we don’t approach our contract work as “the expert”. We are collaborators and believe in social justice and reconciliation as viable processes. We also believe evaluation can be taught — creation stories, stories of specific beings, and stories of the natural world in which we live, guide the actions we take and this type of thinking is evaluative thinking. Our evaluators have explored this approach in books on Indigenous evaluation as well as several articles on Aboriginal approaches to evaluation. We have presented and published in literature since 2005 at the Canadian Evaluation Society and American Evaluation Association annual conferences, and have challenged other evaluators to embark upon a path of reconciliation in their work. Our clients appreciate our attention to detail, innovative models, flexibility to consider alternative methods to strengthen the study and our willingness to meet their timelines and taking time to share our reports in real time.

Program Policy Research

Our work is driven by notions of social justice and culture-based approaches”

Our work in program policy research matters to us at a personal level because it deals with ethics. But far from getting ourselves wrapped-up in personal discourse, we are objective and fact-driven and look for all factors that help us create a “wholistic”picture of the matter at hand.  Some of these ideas are still widely quoted as part of our 2006 Johnston Report. Since that report, we have developed specific analyses: cost-benefit, legal risks, and impacts of the on-reserve shelter system for Alberta On-Reserve Shelters United, entitled “Moving Forward! Planning for Self-Determination”. Additionally, Johnston Research Inc. was hired to complete the “My Home on Turtle Island Youth Lodge Needs Assessment and Evaluation Reports” for Ganohkwasra Family Assault Support Services. Working with strong, intelligent women dedicated to their work and their community was an incredibly fulfilling experience. We also recognize, in the case of women’s shelters, the importance of significant programming to men.

Strategic Planning

Evaluation and strategic planning really go hand-in-hand”

Since the late 1990’s, on a tip from several American evaluation colleagues, we have been writing funding grants in partnership with program managers. This makes a lot of sense because evaluators are known to develop clearer and more realistic program objectives (Weiss, 19987). Similarly, bringing-on an evaluator in writing strategic priority and direction statements is highly beneficial. Evaluators, and our team in particular, are highly experienced in observing the operation of a diverse and vast portfolio of program, services and interventions. We have completed high-level strategic business plans, such as the First Nations and Inuit Home and Community Care 10 year Strategic Business Plan, 2013, as well a local agency, the Facilitation of the Strategic Business Plan for Anishnawbe Health Toronto, 2015.  Another strategic plan — one that was close to our hearts because it was perfectly in line with our personal priorities — was Creating a Common Path: Hearing from Practitioners who serve First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children and youth and families, 2012. We have also engaged youth in the production of the Action Strategy for Responsible Gambling among First Nations youth.

Indigenous Governance Training

We see Indigenous governance training as a missing component of evaluation”

Most of us believe in a just society, but few understand the barriers that a lack of emotional intelligence (EI) or empathy can pose for justice. The Harvard Business Review calls emotional intelligence “a ground-breaking, paradigm-shattering idea,” one of the most influential business ideas of the decade. Daniel Goleman, author of a book on Emotional Intelligence, argues that EI is a more important quality than IQ for school students to be trained in. When we apply this idea to the Indigenous context, we can see that historic trauma affected the emotional intelligence for students on-reserve and in cities. Academics such as Missens (2008) and McCaslin & Boyer (2009) have argued that through evaluative thinking, Indigenous communities can use the ideas of EI to help decolonize and rebuild Native governments and ultimately work towards self-determination. They can apply the knowledge gained from self-evaluation exercises to governance training, emotional intelligence of board members, degree of colonization entrenched in the current governance approach, assessment of the input from community processes, assessment of the sovereign obligations, their responsibility to the international community, and most importantly in respect to the Creator’s laws.

Economic Development Research

Evaluation cannot be complete without economic development”

Johnston Research is recognized as an expert on research and best practices on economic development approaches and investments for Indigenous people in Canada. Through our amassed evaluation experience over 20 plus years, we have learned first-hand the various economic successes and challenges communities are experiencing.  We evaluated the Mi’gmawei Mawiomi Business Corporation (MMS) in 2014. The Mi’gmaq leadership of the Gespeg, Gesgapegiag and Listuguj communities mandated the MMS to engage the wind power industry.This was a green energy project with an investment capital of over $4 Billion CAD, thousands of employment opportunities and 1,169 wind turbines generating 1,838 MW of energy. Through our help, MMS successfully secured over 100 positions for their band members in the wind power industry. We have also analyzed the success factors of housing trusts in affordable housing, Elders steering economic development in the forestry industry, land-base agreements, and economic assessment of loss and legal implications for on-reserve shelters. In 2016, we completed a summative evaluation of the 2014–2016 fiscal year expenditures for the First Nation – Municipal Community Infrastructure Partnership Program (CIPP) for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. The evaluation concluded that CIPP provides a unique opportunity of support and tools in the development of water and sewage services sharing agreements, that also took-on a deeper role in establishing long-term sustainable community-based relationships. Since then, we have been offered to conduct economic development policy research with INAC.

The Benefits of Hiring Johnston Research for Contract Work

What You Will Learn

  • The gaps and challenges in your organization’s current evaluation practice.
  • An understanding of the issues surrounding the reconciliation between western and Indigenous evaluation practice.
  • How to utilize templates to develop draft tools and sketch-out a comprehensive evaluation plan.

Who Has Hired us in the Past

  • Indigenous non-government organizations (in every province and Yukon).
  • First Nations.
  • Métis organizations.
  • Inuit governments (in Nunavut and Kativik).
  • Canada government departments.
  • Ontario government departments.
  • Non-government organizations (who work with Indigenous peoples).

We want to thank you for taking your time to participate on the Ways Tried and True Working Group meetings, and contributing to the development of the WTT Framework and identifying Ways Tried and True for sharing through the Best Practices Portal.

Nina JethaManager, Canadian Best Practices Initiative

Despite tight timelines, JRI conducted a survey, analyzed the data and wrote a report that is highly regarded by our nursing colleagues as providing invaluable information in a succinct, clear, easy to read manner.

Fjola Hart WasekeesikawExecutive Director, Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada

Anishnawbe Health Toronto would hire Johnston Research Inc. again for Board of Directors consultations and strategic planning.

Joe HesterExecutive Director, Anishnawbe Health Toronto

From the beginning of the contract, I was impressed with the thoroughness and attention to detail, as shown in the care with which JRI put together their breadth of knowledge and sensitivity to the topic.

Senior Program Advisor, First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, Health Canada

Our timelines for this project were rather short (2 months); however Johnston Research Inc. undertook two northern site visits, a series of telephone interviews, and produced a final report on-time.

Manager, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

We Can Help Your Organization

Get in touch and find how we can work together to improve your program.