Frequently Asked Questions

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Table of contents
  1. → How long will the survey take?
  2. → What does 'FOCUS' mean?
  3. → Who can participate in the survey?
  4. → Why is the eligible age range 18-29?
  5. → What format are the survey questions?
  6. → Why should I participate?
  7. → Can participating in the survey be bad for me?
  8. → What is the purpose of this research?
  9. → How is the study conducted?
  10. → How are youth involved in the research process?
  11. → How will the study results be used and shared?
  12. → How will the study influence public policy?
  13. → How will my identity be protected?
  14. → Who is conducting & funding the research?
  15. → Will I be paid for taking part in this survey?
  16. → What are the benefits?
  17. → Who can I contact if I have complaints about the study?
  1. How long will the survey take?

    Each survey will take approximately 20-25 minutes to complete.

    You can complete the survey on either your laptop, tablet or on your smartphone.

  2. What does 'FOCUS' mean?

    The France-Canada Observatory on COVID-19, youth health and social well-being.

  3. Who can participate in the survey?

    To be able to participate in this study you must:

    • Be between the legal age in your province or territory of residence (18 or 19 years old) and 29 years of age (may be 30+ if you participated in previous surveys);
    • Reside in France or Canada; and
    • Comprehend English or French.

    You can also take part of this survey if you have participated in the first online survey (October-December 2020) and you are 30 years!

  4. Why is the eligible age range 18-29?

    This age range tends to be a stage of immense development for many young people, including changes to economic, social, and physical wellbeing. These “normal” youth experiences were interrupted by the pandemic, which could impact  youth in many important ways.

    We recognize that “youth” is a broad term that reflects individuals’ perceptions of their stage of life. We define “youth” broadly to include a wide range of individuals’ ideas of youth. Read more about this here.

    The study’s eligible age range starts at the “age of majority” which is 18 in France and some provinces in Canada, and 19 in many other Canadian provinces. Because of this difference, participants in France can be 18-29 years old. Participants in Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec can also be 18-29. Participants in all other Canadian provinces and territories are required to be 19-29.

    The FOCUS study will soon be expanding to include adolescents 15 years old and above, to capture the experiences of a wider range of youth and better understand the impacts of our changing societies.

  5. What format are the survey questions?

    Survey questions are predominantly multiple choice, rating scales, matrix (multiple choice chart), and dropdown questions.

  6. Why should I participate?

    This is an opportunity to share your perspectives and experiences living in and following the COVID-19 pandemic.

    By participating, you can contribute to a greater understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on youth and help to inform social and economic policy that improves the health and wellbeing of youth in Canada and France.

    You also can be entered to win 1 of 3 $100 cash prizes!

  7. Can participating in the survey be bad for me?

    We don’t think that there is anything that will be harmful to you if you decide to participate in this study.

    Because we will be discussing issues related to substance use and mental health issues there may be some questions that are sensitive or difficult for you. You do not have to answer any questions that you do not want to.

    You will be provided with a list of resources if you would like to talk to someone about how you are feeling.

  8. What is the purpose of this research?

    The purpose of this survey is to examine social life, sexual health, substance use, and mental health among young adults living in Canada and France within and after the pandemic. This includes how societal inequities are impacting young people.

    We want to better understand how you are managing while public health measures (e.g., social distancing) are in place including your experiences with health care services. It is especially important to know how inequities are being felt during and following the pandemic.

    We want to learn about your social and health needs in order to improve social and health care services for young people in both the Canadian and French contexts.

  9. How is the study conducted?

    The study has two arms:

    1. Online annual surveys. Participation in this survey includes the completion of a ~10-20 min confidential online questionnaire.
    2. Virtual qualitative interviews. Participation in the interviews includes a ~1.5 hour virtual interview.

    Learn more about the study design on the Project Overview page.

  10. How are youth involved in the research process?

    Questions in this survey have been developed, designed and test by a group of young people in both Canada and France.

    It’s essential for us to involve youth throughout our research process to ensure that our research is in line with the expectations of young people across both Canada and France.

    We also work closely alongside a Youth Advisory Committee who provide ongoing and integrated feedback on our research tools, methodologies, and results.

    We are partnered with several organizations that serve young people in both Canada and France to ensure our results will be returned to young people across these settings.

    For example, after the first wave an infographic was created and shared.

  11. How will the study results be used and shared?

    Your responses will be combined with those of other participants and together the findings will produce new knowledge about how young people are coping during and following the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The main study findings will be published in academic journal articles and shared through conference presentations and public talks.

    Our funder, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, requires us to make our research findings freely available and openly accessible through the website of academic journals.

  12. How will the study influence public policy?

    We aim to produce knowledge based on the experience of young adults, and thus raise public health professionals' awareness of these issues.

    With the preliminary results of the first phase of the study, we produced multiple scientific journal articles as well as several news articles. We have had and will continue to have ongoing presentations with public health professionals in both countries.

    The results inform policy makers on how youth were impacted, so that they can make evidence-informed decisions.  More initiatives will follow in the future!

  13. How will my identity be protected?

    This survey is completely confidential.

    We do not record any identifying information except for email address (optional). The computer records of your responses to the questionnaire will be stored on highly-secure, encrypted, password-protected work computers and backed up on Sync, a secure server featuring zero-knowledge, client-side, end-to-end encryption with servers located only in Canada. We will maintain the survey data indefinitely for future research.

    If you choose to complete annual surveys, your email address will be used to connect your answers this year with your answers in previous year’s answers.

  14. Who is conducting & funding the research?

    The study is conducted by a team of public health researchers in Canada and France. See our Research Team Page.

    Additionally, the study is supported by:

    • British Columbia Centre on Substance Use, (Canada)
    • University of British Columbia, (Canada)
    • Simon Fraser University,  (Canada)
    • Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, (France)
    • University of Montréal, (Canada)
    • University of Sherbrooke, (Canada)
    • Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (France), and
    • University of Paris (France).

    This study is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR).

  15. Will I be paid for taking part in this survey?

    We are not able to provide you with an honorarium for participating in the survey, but participants will have the option to enter into a draw to win 1 of 3 cash prizes of $100.

  16. What are the benefits?

    While there may not be any direct benefit from participating in the study, you may enjoy knowing that by sharing your experiences, there is a potential for this information to be used to improve the health and social well-being of youth in both Canada and France.

  17. Who can I contact if I have complaints about the study?

    If you have any concerns or complaints about your rights as a research participant and/or your experiences while participating in this study, contact the Research Participant Complaint Line in the UBC Office of Research Ethics at 604-822-8598 or 1-877-822-8598 (toll-free from within Canada).

    You can also contact the UBC Office of Research Ethics via email at Please reference the study number H20-02053 when calling or emailing so the Complaint Line staff can better assist you.

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