The Bank's Monetary Policy Report (MPR) has been published since May 1995. Currently, there are about 1,400 subscribers to the MPR. Some 6,100 readers are notified of its publication through Bank Messenger, an email alert service.
Earlier this year, the Bank decided to seek formally, for the first time, readers' views on the MPR (its Summary and the Update). Such feedback is informing initiatives to improve the content, design, and delivery of the publication and to better tailor the Bank's messages to the needs of its target audiences – consistent with the commitment to enhanced transparency and to open, effective monetary policy communications.
Ipsos Reid was retained to conduct focus groups and telephone interviews among key domestic users of the MPR, at the same time as the Bank itself polled (via an email survey) certain targeted international readers.1
Participants in this exercise included financial analysts (in Canada, New York, and London), institutional investors, chief economists of chartered banks, media, business leaders and industry associations, academics, parliamentarians, and senior bureaucrats, as well as major central banks and international financial institutions (IMF, OECD).
The MPR: serving different audiences and needs
The MPR has multiple audiences with diverse needs. For financial analysts it is a source of time-sensitive information that they must interpret quickly to advise their clients. For media it is a news event on release and a reference point between issues. Academics use it as a classroom tool and to motivate their own research. International readers use it to inform their own projections of the Canadian economy and related research. Despite such user diversity, the MPR is seen to be achieving a happy medium that meets most needs.
How we are doing: an overall assessment of the MPR
The MPR is unanimously viewed as an essential, highly credible document on the current and future state of the Canadian economy. Users say that it is clear, precise, easy to read but substantive.
Key to this positive reaction is a sense among readers that the Bank has made important advances in its transparency and communications in recent years.
Recommendations for improvement
Participants in this study have not asked for dramatic changes in the MPR; but have, nevertheless, provided constructive criticism and suggestions for improvement, which we will be considering in drafting future issues of the publication. The main recommendations are outlined in the appended documentation.2
We thank all those who took the time to participate in this qualitative opinion research and to provide valuable feedback.
Copies of the full Ipsos Reid report are available in the original language (English) from the Bank's Public Information Office.
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