Evaluation and Utilization of Policy Information in the Canadian Parliament: The Influence of External Policy Actors

Vincent Hardy


While policy information utilization in the Public Service has been the subject of investigation, little is known in Canada about how legislators seek out knowledge or respond to information provided by external actors. Often described as lacking influence within the policy process, the average Canadian MP is assumed to engage little in policy-making. Based on a survey conducted amongst Members of the Canadian Parliament in April 2013, this paper investigates how MPs engage with both internal and external sources of information and what are some of the potential factors that explain MPs’ utilization of policy knowledge. Findings indicate that internal sources of information are the most regularly consulted, yet that amongst external providers, academic research is valued most highly. In line with recent literature on policy networks, results suggest that personal contact between policy actors is one of the most important mechanisms to ensure a positive reception of information. The overall conclusion is that MPs continue to have a strong interest in policy and respond positively to lobbying, whether these are the efforts of industry associations or academics disseminating their research.


information utilization; Canadian MPs; Policy networks; Federal policy-making

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@Canadian Political Science Review (CPSR). ISSN 1911-4125