BALTA - B.C.-Alberta Social Economy Research Alliance

Research Program

BALTA is a regional research collaboration amongst community based organizations, universities and colleges in Alberta and British Columbia, Canada. BALTA's mandate involves researching various aspects of the social economy with a view to both increasing knowledge about the sector and identifying ways to strengthen and expand the sector. This five year research initiative (2006-2011) is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

The basic framework for BALTA’s research program is set out in BALTA’s proposal to SSHRC and further elaborated in a subsequent working paper, Building a Social Economy Research Platform: Towards a Strategic Decision-Making Approach within the BC-Alberta Social Economy Research Alliance.

BALTA’s research program has five major objectives:

  1. To create an effective network of academics, researchers, and social economy partners in order to sustain long-term knowledge production and exchange necessary to strengthen and grow the social economy for many years to come;
  2. To understand better the scope and characteristics of the social economy in the region - and to contribute to designing measures for tracking its progress;
  3. To assess and better understand exemplary practices, both within and outside the region, and analyze the requirements for their replication and/or scaling up in the region;
  4. To speed the exploitation of knowledge about these exemplary practices in and between both provinces;
  5. To contribute to the design and development of the social economy infrastructure in BC and Alberta - especially to contribute to defining and promoting policy and regulatory changes and other infrastructure that will support the growth of the social economy in this region.

Building from these objectives, BALTA’s research framework focuses on four Analytical Domains:

Domain one analyses theory and practice, exploring and elucidating exemplary social economy practices and failed experiments. What impact does inserting social goals into enterprise and economic development have on process, results and theory?

Domain two focuses on the adaptation of demonstrable results and the scaling-up of innovations to improve social well-being. Specifically, it calls for analysis of what factors support or thwart broadening and deepening impacts of socio-economic innovation into the BC and Alberta contexts.

Domain three focuses on the relationship between territorial and social enterprise approaches, the relationship between community economic and social enterprise development actors, how they are organized (or not), the strategies employed to strengthen linkages between the two, and the extent that resources are being mobilised and co-ordinated between the two.

Domain four focuses on the exploration of the future role and relevance of the social economy in a rapidly changing economic, political, and social landscape.

BALTA’s research program is broadly organized into five priority areas:

List of BALTA research projects

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