Ken Battle founded the Caledon Institute of Social Policy in 1992 to conduct research and analysis on poverty and public policy, with an emphasis on developing and promoting practicable proposals for reform. Caledon's work covers a broad range of social and tax policy areas including income security (e.g., pensions, welfare, child benefits, Employment Insurance, benefits for Canadians with disabilities), early learning and child care, community capacity-building, taxation, social spending, social services and disability supports. Under his guidance, the Institute’s team has earned a reputation for its rigorous, high-quality work and clear writing.
Caledon is a non-partisan organization, independent of government but with a unique capacity to work both inside and outside government on major policy issues. Caledon has played an influential role in social and tax policy reform, including the National Child Benefit, the proposed Seniors Benefit, early learning and child care, re-indexation of the personal income tax system, tax benefits for Canadians with disabilities, and community-based socioeconomic development.
Battle was awarded the Order of Canada for his work on the National Child Benefit and social policy reform in 2000. In 2004, the Government of Saskatchewan awarded him its Distinguished Service Award.
“Over the years we have deliberately attempted to insure young people were part of the process, either as employees or interns,” he says. “This inter-generational exchange is crucial if we are to ensure the generation following our footsteps will share our concern for social issues.”
As well, the experience provides young people, whose previous exposure to social policy may have been confined largely to the classroom, to see some of what happens in the real world. Particularly, notes Ken Battle, Caledon wants to help young people acquire some of the analytical and technical skills employed in real-world social policy research and development. “Our work is not academic,” he explains, “We are involved in applied policy. I hope I will be able to contribute something to the Scholars, and open new doors for them with my network as well.”
Ken Battle also served as a member of the Ministerial Task Force on Social Security Reform in 1994, and as policy advisor on child benefit reform to the Minister of Human Resources Development from 1996-97. He has published widely on public policy, including income security programs, taxation, social services, poverty and income equality, and the politics of social policy.