It’s time to get PolicyWise about administrative data

We are excited to announce Robyn Blackadar will be joining us on February 23rd at the MaRS Centre. Robyn will be sharing how her organization is working with multiple Alberta ministries to access previously unlinked administrative data about children and youth.

Robyn Blackadar Head Shot.jpg

Robyn is President and CEO of PolicyWise. She has over 20 years of experience in Alberta’s social and health system focusing on policy development and analysis, quality improvement, knowledge mobilization, and data system innovation. With the development of the Child and Youth Data Laboratory in 2007,  PolicyWise plays a unique role in the analysis and interpretation of linked administrative data collected across all child and youth serving ministries in Alberta.

The use of administrative data by the social sector is one of the topics we’re most excited to cover at Transform the Sector. Unlocking administrative data is important for improving evaluation and research, but it’s also a key enabling tool for social finance and social impact bonds. It’s a hot topic internationally. With the rise of the open government movement, governments across the world are seeking to harness the potential of their administrative data. There are a variety of terms to describe the innovative approaches to unlocking this data but the core idea remains the same. In each case, relevant government administrative data — like offender history data, job retraining programs information or social housing databases — is shared with nonprofit organizations delivering programs in those areas. Although these databases do contain private information, they are made available in ways that ensure confidentiality. Accessing this data in a controlled manner enables these organizations to better understand how their services are being used and what kind of impact their various programs are having.

Unfortunately, despite growing international successes, for the most part, the social sector cannot yet access administrative data in Canada. We’re thrilled that one of the Canadian leaders in this area will be with us in person to share the story of her work to harness administrative data for more effective public policy and service delivery.


Appointed in September 2012 as President and CEO, Robyn is responsible for strategic and operational leadership of PolicyWise for Children & Families.  Robyn oversees PolicyWise’ generation and mobilization of evidence for child and family well-being through a collaborative cross-sector approach between government, academia, and the community. You can find her full bio here.

If you can’t wait until February to learn more about this topic, you can read Powered by Data's previous blog post entitled: How a social innovation is unlocking government administrative data.