I first stumbled upon focus groups in college. I got into it much like how others did: for the money. It was the best way for me back then to earn a little cash on the side.
It was way better than scrubbing floors and wiping tables, that’s for sure. I honestly didn’t even think I would still be doing it after all these years.
I won’t tell you how many years, lest you manage to wiggle out my age. But here’s what I will reveal. I will share with you the list. My go-to top paid focus groups in Canada in hopes that it will save you from a great deal of trouble and keep you far away from scam city.
And since, over the years I have collected thousands of dollars from Canadian marketing research studies so I fancy myself a bit of an expert. So below are tried and true options for best focus groups Canada has to offer
I will include both my favourite paid online focus groups in Canada as well as in person research studies. The ladder are a dying breed, but they were some of the best paid research studies I participated in. Lets jump in.
Paid Research Studies You Can Participate In
Canada is really thriving right now. It is the world’s tenth-largest economy, according to the latest World Bank report. No wonder there are a lot of companies willing to participate. Most of the in person research studies I have done were in Toronto. So sure enough, I have done my fair share of banking research studies. But there is a lot legit paid focus groups to choose from.
As such, you can also expect to work with the biggest global corporations such as:
- Marriott International
- BMG Music
And Canadian companies such as:
- WestJet Airlines
- ATCO Ltd.
- And more!
Online Focus Groups Worth Checking Out
Since it is still not entirely safe to venture outdoors, I have taken the liberty of selecting online focus groups that you can join. They are more accessible to anyone who might want to give paid focus groups a shot.
1. Branded Surveys
Are you looking for diversity? Then you should definitely check out Branded Surveys. They offer traditional focus group opportunities, video surveys, interviews, and more.
They have a wide range of payout methods as well. My personal preferences are Paypal and Amazon Gift Cards, but did you know that they have e-vouchers coming from more than 150 brands to choose from?
Qualification: Residents of USA and Canada, 14+
2. Leger Opinion
my list won’t be complete without mentioning Leger Opinion, a Canada-based market research company that also comes with a highly rated mobile application. Like Many other great market research firms, they will allow you to conveniently complete surveys while on the go. They also allow younger participants to join. I have personally in a habit of popping their app open when waiting in line and starting with the surveys. Then at the end of the month i just claim the gift cards. It’s a PLEASURE to get $50-$100 gift cards in the mail.
Qualification: Residents of Canada, 13+
3. PineCone Research Panel
What sets PineCone Research Panel apart from other market research companies is the quality of studies they offer. They target younger respondents (but must be over the age of majority), and most of their money making surveys are fun, hip, and interesting. You can check them out for yourself. Just sign up to view available studies.
Each Product survey pays $3 or more. I also like that they send new survey invites via email, so you won’t have to check their site constantly.
Qualification: Residents of Canada (excluding Quebec), 18+
This California-based company is a crowd favorite when it comes to market research platforms. After all, they offer both accessibility and convenience through their mobile application.
My personal routine? Answer qualification surveys while on transit. It saves me a lot of time, and that’s what you call efficiency.
Qualification: Residents of the USA and Canada, 16+ only.
5. Opinion Outpost
Finally, another equally engaging market research platform is Opinion Outpost. The company offers a wide range of opportunities to choose from, from paid surveys, watching ads, product tests, and even outdoor “missions”. Their incentives come in the form of e-vouchers and Paypal cash rewards.
Qualification: Residents of Canada, 18+
Top Five Market Research Companies in Canada
Want to complete the focus group experience by participating in in-person opportunities as well? I’ve chosen four more market research companies based on the criteria I’ve detailed in this post.
1. CRC Research
CRC Research is one of the pioneers of market research in Canada. They currently have four facilities: Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, and New Toronto, with new locations coming soon.
It is also notable to mention that they are one of the founding members of The Canadian Research and Insights Council (or CRIC). This organization seeks to raise the standards, ethics, and practices of market research, not just in Canada but also globally.
There’s no surprise that they offer a wide range of studies to participate in, from paid focus groups, individual interviews, and even taste tests. I have already participated in their studies and can confidently say that they are one of the most structured and professional.
2. Decision Point Research
Based in Toronto, this market research company offers opportunities in every major language. This allows them to never run out of options that you can apply for.
My personal favorite is providing live feedback on ads. I am always on the lookout for those types of studies.
I also like the fact that they offer their incentives in cash.
You can get your payout via Paypal, email money transfer, or check. That beats any e-voucher for me.
3. Quest Mindshare
Primarily based in Ontario, Quest Mindshare also have six regional offices globally. What I like about the company, though, are the opportunities they have to offer. Most of them are quick and easy to do, such as watching videos or listening to music.
My only complaint is that it does take a while to accumulate enough points to cash out on their platform. For instance, you have to earn 12500 points before you can even consider transferring your cash rewards to your Paypal account.
4. Qualitative Coordination
Based in Calgary, this market research company specializes in providing in-person focus group opportunities. All you need to do is fill out the contact form on their website and wait for them to reach out to you when an opportunity becomes available.
Don’t worry; they’re always recruiting new participants and providing equal access to studies for all of their respondents.
How do paid focus groups work in-person?
During the in person focus groups, you and your fellow focus group participants meet at a specific location. It is usually the market research company that hosts the focus group sessions. Sometimes you do it as part of the same group so that you can talk about your opinion to others to learn more, or vice versa. Typically, a Moderator guides the discussion and takes notes on this topic. It does not mean they are encouraging you in any way or encouraging others to to say good or bad things about the product being researched. Instead they’re looking to see you answer each question in great detail as well as get insights from other participants of the in person focus groups. More than one focus group meeting can be held on a single day, so the in person focus groups are usually limited by time.
How do online focus groups work?
Online focus group operates in similar way as offline focus groups. You may often be asked the same questions regardless whether you do it online or in person. The only difference is that these take place over Zoom or some other online meeting alternative software. You’ll normally see an email a day before with the details on the focus group meeting and a login link. Some paid market research services have a separate software application that the consumer can use.
How much do focus groups usually pay?
Focus groups typically spend $50 to $400, and sometimes you may not even have to leave the house. According to our own internal research, on average the focus groups in Canada pay $62 per Hour of participation. Keep in mind that this doesn’t include the time it take to actually qualify for the group.
Can anyone join an online focus group?
All adults 18+ who live in the Canada may register for a focus group. Most research agencies restrict the group size and have specific requirements as to who should be included in the group. So your chances of getting selected may vary depending on the study requirements. You can sign up for multiple studies simultaneously and that improves your odds in participating in a paid focus group studies. It is actually a good practice to register for as many focus groups as time permits.
Top Paid Focus Groups in Canada: Final Thoughts
There are definitely other market research companies in Canada that you can check out. I merely listed the ones that I have personally experienced and enjoyed working with. I have also ranked focus groups in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. So if you live in one of those cities, check out the best local research studies there.
How about you? Have you ever participated in a paid focus group? Are you willing to give it a try? Feel free to share your experience in the comment section below. I can’t wait to hear all about it.
Stan is a marketer, entrepreneur and a content creator. He worked in Marketing and Marketing Research for the last 14 years+ and is passionate about gigs economy. His mission is to educate others how to be successful with side hustles and this is what StansGigs aims to achieve. You can contact Stan be email or Facebook.