COVID Rapid Response projects

Many CRCF members are actively battling the COVID-19 pandemic by spearheading research initiatives that explore the social dimension of the crisis with the aim of providing valuable insights into its impacts on individuals and communities. Through their projects, listed below, CRCF researchers will provide evidence and solutions to inform decision-making and address pressing challenges resulting from the rapid spread of COVID-19. 

In order to support members who are responding to the pandemic by addressing innovative social sciences and humanities research questions, the CRCF has awarded RBC Fellowship grants to many of the projects. These grants were made possible thanks to the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) Children’s Services Research & Training Program which was established with a generous gift from the RBC to the CRCF.



Funded by the CRCF Royal Bank of Canada Children’s Services Research & Training Program

COVID-19: A critical case study on the challenges and risks for VAW shelters

Principal & Co-Investigators: J. Krane & R. Carlton

Funding Source: The CRCF Royal Bank of Canada Children’s Services Research & Training Program

Social workers practicing in the emotionally charged field of intimate partner abuse have been found to suffer a disproportionate rate of adverse effects including secondary traumatic stress, compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, and post-traumatic stress disorder. How these same social workers manage to respond to the needs of women and children seeking refuge during the current COVID-19 pandemic is the focus of our research proposal. Already practicing within a context driven by crisis and over-burdened due to gaps in funding and access to necessary resources, shelter workers now risk experiencing even greater responsibilities as well as heightened risk for burn-out and trauma.


COVID-19 and Frontline Healthcare Workers: knowledge synthesis and dissemination

Principal & Co-Investigators: H. B. MacIntosh & K. Fletcher

Funding Source: The CRCF Royal Bank of Canada Children’s Services Research & Training Program

The funds received will assist in the development of a CIHR research grant. The grant, the CIHR Knowledge Synthesis Grant: Mental Health and Substance Use Responses to COVID-19, will allow our research team to develop materials for psychoeducation and training of frontline healthcare workers facing the overwhelming physical and mental health crisis that is the COVID-19 pandemic. The objective of this research is to provide accessible trauma-informed training for frontline healthcare workers working in relation to the mental health and substance use impacts of COVID-19, including on their own mental health, the impacts of trauma and overwhelming stress on mental health, couple and family functioning, impacts of exposure to trauma on frontline workers, basic assessment and intervention/crisis management techniques as well as strategies for referral. The modality of this training will, most likely, be comprised of a series of short 3-5 minute videos developed and filmed by the research team and made widely available.


COVID-19 and Refugee Families in Montreal: Strategies for reaching hard-to-reach populations in health emergencies

Principal & Co-Investigators: N. Ives, J. Hanley, M. Rabiau & Rev. P. Kline

Funding Source: The CRCF Royal Bank of Canada Children’s Services Research & Training Program

This research project aims to answer the following questions: (1) To what extent is public health messaging about COVID-19 by government and not-for-profit entities reaching refugee families?; (2) What does effective disseminating COVID-19 information to refugee families look like?; (3) What are the barriers and facilitators to acting on public health messaging?; (4) What have been the impacts of COVID-19-related social isolation on refugee families?; (5) What strategies have families used to cope?


Intervening with Interpreters in Times of Crisis

Principal & Co-Investigators: Ruiz-Casares, M., Bentayeb, N., Leclair Mallette, I-A, Leanza, Y., Gagnon, M., & Hanley, J.

Funding Source: The CRCF Royal Bank of Canada Children’s Services Research & Training Program

In the current COVID-19 situation, there is growing concern about the disproportionate negative impact of the pandemic on migrants and other vulnerable groups. Lack of English or French proficiency accentuates the situation of vulnerability experienced by these populations who are more at risk of health deterioration and hospital readmission. In these situations, the presence of an interpreter is a necessary adaptation to access health and social care. The main objective of this project is to better understand how service providers and interpreters intervene with allophone users in times of crisis such as during COVID-19.


Intimate partner violence prevention services: The forgotten intervention to reduce risk of intimate partner violence during the COVID-19 shut-down

Principal Investigator: K. Maurer

Funding Source: The CRCF Royal Bank of Canada Children’s Services Research & Training Program

The objective of this research project is to address the following questions: (1) Based on available forensic and community-based data, has IPV perpetration increased during the COVID-19 shutdown in Greater Montreal?; (2) What services are available to the 2SLGBTQIA communities, cisgender male, and other IPV victims who are not traditionally served by cisgender heterosexual female IPV victim services in Greater Montreal?; (3) How are IPV perpetrator services being provided during the COVID-19 shutdown in Greater Montreal and what is the degree of service provision reduction in Greater Montreal?; (4) What supports do IPV perpetrator services need to increase visibility and access during the pandemic and beyond in Greater Montreal?


Investigating the Incidence of Perinatal Anxiety and the Effectiveness of Telephone-Based Interpersonal Support Therapy to Foster Resilience in Expectant Mothers during COVID-19

Principal Investigator: T. Montreuil

Funding Source: The CRCF Royal Bank of Canada Children’s Services Research & Training Program

The developmental implications of perinatal anxiety are of great concern as the negative effects of in-utero exposure to highly stressful life events, such as during this COVID-19 pandemic, are well documented. Creating supportive adult-child relationships is a critical component of resilience building. The aims of the proposed study is to (1) Determine the incidence of perinatal stress and anxiety; and (2) Evaluate the effectiveness of a phone- based IST (emotion regulation and attachment-focused) in building resilience in expectant mothers with high anxiety and low resilience scores during COVID-19.


Shift: Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on peer researchers and identifying opportunities for change.

Principal Investigator: Z. Marshall

Funding Source: The CRCF Royal Bank of Canada Children’s Services Research & Training Program

Public participation in research is increasingly emphasized by governments, researchers, funders, and community members themselves. Despite the rise in public participation, we know little about the impact of this involvement on health and well-being. The current context of COVID-19, where many research projects have been put on hold, places peer researchers in a vulnerable position. It is important to learn how this crisis is impacting them, including attention to health, wellbeing, and material factors linked to financial status. Questions that will be explored are a) the impact of COVID-19 on peer research work, and b) how researchers could develop more sensitive measures to document the impact of these types of fluctuations on the lives of peers.


Funded by other sources

Responding to Child Protection-Involved Families During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Principal Investigator: D. Collin-Vézina

Funding Sources: McGill’s SSHRC Institutional Grant with support from the MI4 Emergency COVID-19 Research Funding (ECRF) and Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services

The aim of this research project is to assist Quebec-based frontline and child protection (CP) workers to quickly identify and intervene to address economic and associated health and social hardships experienced by vulnerable families during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. In collaboration with three Quebec agencies the five specific objectives are to: (1) Adapt and translate to the Quebec context a newly-developed Ontarian web-based clinical tool; (2) Develop and provide clinical video training and supports to workers implementing the clinical tool; (3) Implement and evaluate the tool in agencies offering frontline and child protection services in Montreal and Quebec City; (4) Develop a protocol for the dissemination of the tool in all CIUSSS and CISSS across the province; and (5) Document the challenges faced by frontline service-seeking and child protection-involved families using the data generated by the tool, as means to disseminate timely information that can directly influence practices and policies.

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