Designing a Canadian What Works Centre

As demand for evidence-based policymaking increases at all orders of government, Canada must build capacity to generate and mobilize evidence. This paper explores the concept of What Works Centres, independent and non-partisan organizations structured to create, collect and curate evidence on public policy challenges and the success – and failure – of government and community-based interventions.

What Works Centres aim to provide the bridge between researchers, policymakers and practitioners – the convenors, translators and users of evidence. In other jurisdictions, What Works Centres have emerged as a key asset for one of government’s most pressing problems – how to make interventions more impactful and cost-effective for citizens.

This paper builds on previous Mowat Centre work to provide a thorough exploration of the model in the Canadian context and to guide the decisions required to create such an organization in Canada.

View PDF


Joanne Cave
Kent Aitken
Lisa Lalande


Nabeel Ahmed
Adam Jog

Release Date

September 19, 2017