Making the Shift: Youth Homelessness Demonstration Lab (Canadian Observatory on Homelessness)
Job Type: Full-time (35 hours/week)
Type of Position: 12-Month contract (with possibility of renewal)
Salary: $45,000 per annum and 3 weeks’ vacation (in addition to 2 weeks over the winter break). Comprehensive benefits package included.
Apply By: 4 February 2022             
Start Date: ASAP 

Making the Shift funds, conducts, prototypes, and mobilizes cutting-edge research to prevent and end youth homelessness in Canada. As a social innovation lab, MtS uses the principles of co-creation, co-ownership, and deep collaboration between researchers, policymakers, and service providers to identify what works and for whom. Making the Shift (MtS) is a partnership between A Way Home Canada (AWHC) and the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness (COH). 

As part of our work, we are implementing demonstration projects on Housing First for Youth (including a Randomized-Controlled Trial), Youth Reconnect, Enhancing Family and Natural Supports, and the Upstream Project as well as other prevention focused interventions in communities across Canada.  To test the different interventions, we are conducting outcomes and process evaluation of all the projects with a focus on mixed methods approaches. This includes longitudinal quantitative and qualitative data collection, as well as reviews of program fidelity. The project is intended to help build an evidence base for youth homelessness prevention in Canada and to inform work on youth homelessness internationally.

At the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness (COH), we believe anti-racism and anti-oppression must be at the center of our work. Indigenous, Black and racialized communities are disproportionately represented among people experiencing homelessness as a result of social, political and economic inequities that create pathways to homelessness, and mainstream systems that keep these communities on the margins. Therefore, to address homelessness, we need to speak to the root of racial disparities, proactively engage in courageous conversations about power, privilege, and whiteness (including white supremacy and fragility); and follow through with meaningful action.

We are currently looking for a Research Assistant who is interested in working on a Randomized Controlled Trial investigating the effects of Housing First for Youth (HF4Y) for young people exiting the “child welfare system.” Successful candidates will demonstrate the strong interpersonal skills necessary for engagement with vulnerable study participants, a keen attention to detail, and the ability to stay organized and flexible while juggling multiple responsibilities.
Data Collection

  • Explaining study procedures so that individuals can make an informed decision whether to consent to participate in the study; assessing their capacity to consent
  • Administering a survey battery to study participants on a 3-month schedule
  • Following up with participants by phone/text/email to book follow-up appointments
  • Building rapport and maintaining relationships with study participants
  • Completing related administrative tasks: tracking, filing away raw data

Data Validation, Entry and Analysis 

  • Following correct confidentiality policies and procedures while handling raw data
  • Quality-checking and entering quantitative data into database
  • Verifying accuracy of interview transcripts
  • Supporting qualitative data coding and analysis


  • Providing frequent updates on progress and/or issues to Research Manager
  • Attending meetings with the research team, including the site Research Assistants, Research Manager, and Lead Researcher
  • Maintaining good working relationships with partners and other stakeholders
  • Carrying out any additional and related responsibilities as assigned by the Research Manager, e.g. contributing to reports  


  • Has lived or living experience of homelessness, preferred
  • Undergraduate degree from the social sciences (Child and Youth Care, Psychology, Social Work, Public Health, Sociology) or equivalent work/volunteer experience will be considered
  • At least 1 to 2 years of recent related training/experience, preferably in an academic or NGO environment
  • Experience with data collection (e.g., surveys, key informant interviews, focus groups, etc.) and delivering interviews in a research capacity
  • Strong understanding of ethical considerations and policies related to conducting research involving human participants 
  • Knowledge of social justice issues, Housing First, and how homelessness affects youth, racialized and 2SLGBTQ+ populations
  • Experience working/volunteering with youth and/or marginalized populations
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Excellent written communication skills
  • Excellent organizational, planning, and coordination skills
  • Initiative to complete responsibilities independently
  • Ability to multi-task and adapt to change
  • Strong attention to detail

What would make you stand out:

  • Proficiency in SPSS, NVivo, Microsoft Excel
  • Experience and comfort working with quantitative data and statistics
  • Training in trauma-informed care, harm reduction and anti-oppressive practice
  • Knowledge and/or lived experience of “child welfare system”
  • Lived or living experience of homelessness as a youth

To address issues of systemic inequity within the Canadian labour market, we strongly encourage applications from individuals from communities and groups that have historically been disadvantaged and/or marginalized, including First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples, Indigenous Peoples of Canada, racialized persons, persons with disabilities, individuals who identify as women and/or gender diverse, 2SLGBTQ+ persons, and persons with lived or living experience of homelessness.

In efforts to take diversity, equity, and inclusion seriously, we welcome you to share as much or as little as you like about your identity and experience with us. We value your time and can meet over phone/video call, or in-person. We are committed to reducing barriers to employment and can cover transportation if needed. We care about accessibility and don’t want to cause unnecessary anxiety for candidates. So, please do not stress about what setting you are attending from (ex. Emergency shelter, outside), physical appearance (ex. No need for “office attire”), or if there are kids present with you, etc.

Note on COVID-19 social distancing and work practice: This position is currently remote and this may change within the 12-month contract. However, it is preferred that the candidate is located in Toronto. At minimum, the candidate must be familiar with the Toronto context.

Please submit your cover letter and resume to (Mel, Research Manager) by February 4, 2022 with “Research Assistant Toronto” in the subject line. Please also contact Mel if you need accommodations or support in applying. Questions and comments about the hiring process for this position are also welcome. We will be in contact with you by February 18, 2022 regardless of whether or not we would like to offer you an interview.