Public Policy - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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Opening up community music venues in Vancouver

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-08-14
Abstract: 

There is not enough access to safe community music venues in Vancouver. Safety includes architectural, social, substance, and emergency-response dimensions. Access is limited by age restrictions, physical inaccessibility, secrecy, and venue closures (caused by commercial conditions and enforcement of regulations). This study considers eight regulatory and financial support policy options that would address these issues and increase access to safer spaces for non-professional live music performance in Vancouver. The eight options are evaluated using policy analytic and risk management frameworks, producing two initial recommendations for government: fund a discreet venue upgrading initiative and make policy accessible through strategic planning, regulatory clarity, and inclusive policymaking. The research is based on 29 expert interviews with policymakers, community leaders, police, teachers, venue operators, event organizers, musicians, fans, youth, and people with disabilities, as well as case studies of skateboarding policy in Vancouver and music venue policy in Seattle, Oakland, Toronto, and London.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
John Richards
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Public Policy
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.P.P.

Supporting Syrians in Surrey: Policy Options to Increase the Responsiveness of the British Columbian Settlement System to Refugee Needs

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-03-07
Abstract: 

According to the United Nations, between 1990 and 2015 the number of international migrants around the world increased by over 91 million, or 60% (UN 2016). As a result, many countries have welcomed large numbers of refugees, including those from Syria. This study examines the response to the arrival and resettlement of Syrian refugees in Surrey, British Columbia, with a focus on how to improve the community’s ability to meet the needs of future refugees. The study addresses challenges that arose from the rapid arrival of Syrians, as well as ongoing and systemic barriers to optimal service delivery. Six policy options are presented flowing from interview results with settlement sector workers and related stakeholders, and evidence derived from secondary research. The four recommended policy options are designed to lower barriers to settlement service access for refugees, while efficiently increasing the communication flows between frontline settlement staff and policy makers.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Olena Hankivsky
John Richards
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Public Policy
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.P.P.

British Columbia's carbon tax: Addressing gender, age, and locational impacts

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-04-05
Abstract: 

This paper explores ways to design equitable carbon taxes across genders, ages, and locations in BC. This research begins to fill in the gaps in empirical knowledge about the impacts of a carbon tax on community groups beyond income-only based assessments. I begin this paper by outlining BC’s GHG emissions history, the structure of BC’s carbon tax, and a feminist approach to analyzing environmental and fiscal policies. I then outline my research, which uses multiple methods, and the results of the quantitative data analysis and expert interviews. My data analysis concludes that the carbon tax at its current rate does not disproportionately impact women or youth across urban and rural locations in BC to a significant extent. My research analyzes three policy options to recycle revenue back to households to off-set inequities. I make recommendations to improve the equity effects of BC’s carbon tax as the carbon tax rate increases.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Olena Hankivsky
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Public Policy
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.P.P.

No Place Like Home: Comprehensive Approach to Improve Aging-in-Place for Ethnocultural Minority Older Adults in British Columbia

Date created: 
2017-04-12
Abstract: 

This capstone explores how British Columbia’s (BC) policies can be more inclusive to the values and needs of ethnocultural minority older adults (EMOAs), such as aging-in-place, home and community services, and informal caregiver support. I first illustrate the BC context by explaining the service delivery model and the changes that occurred over time. Then, my literature review synthesizes the needs and service gaps ethnocultural groups experience. Finally, my research explores innovative policy options using insights generated from international and provincial jurisdictional analysis, expert interviews, and Canadian Institution of Health Information data. Through the interviews with service providers, I unpack how implementation affects EMOAs engagement. For example, I assess how specific targeting and tailoring styles meet the preference of local ethnocultural demographic and improve service utilization. My analysis recommends provincial policies that reflect the diverse values of ethnocultural groups and create flexibility for service providers to innovate according to local demographic demands.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Olena Hankivsky
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Public Policy
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.P.P.

Electrifying demand: Increasing zero emission vehicle adoption in Vancouver

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-04-11
Abstract: 

Light duty vehicles account for approximately one-third of Vancouver’s annual greenhouse gas emissions. To reduce these emissions, Vancouver has committed to transition to 100 percent renewable energy for all light duty transportation in the city by 2050. However, the cost difference between zero emission vehicles and the dominant internal combustion engine is identified as a barrier to adoption for many consumers. This study examines how municipal policy can minimize this difference. Key considerations are identified through interviews with experts and a jurisdiction scan of three cities. Four policy options are assessed against criteria of effectiveness, public acceptability, government cost, and administrative complexity. An education campaign and discounted parking are recommended for immediate implementation, and further analysis should be done on the development of a toll zone. At the same time, mode-shifting away from private vehicles to active transportation and public transit should remain a top policy priority.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Doug McArthur
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Public Policy
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.P.P.

Short-term loans with long-term consequences: An analysis of payday loan policy for British Columbia

Date created: 
2017-03-22
Abstract: 

Payday lending has grown in popularity among British Columbians. It remains an expensive form of consumer credit, which can lead borrowers into a cycle of debt. Alarmingly, the majority of people who access payday loans are borrowing repeatedly to meet financial shortfalls and not enough has been done to ensure these consumers are protected. This capstone seeks to explore various ways of reducing repeat payday loan use and improve borrower outcomes. The topic is explored by compiling relevant literature, speaking with experts, and examining the policy actions of three distinct jurisdictions. The advantages and disadvantages of four policy options are assessed relative to a set of criteria. The proposed solution is for the government to promote more affordable credit alternatives and stringently regulate licensed payday lenders.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
J. Rhys Kesselman
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Public Policy
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.P.P.

The price of creativity: Policy and the professional artist in British Columbia

Date created: 
2017-04-10
Abstract: 

The arts are a thriving business in Canada. The arts and culture sectors contribute 3% to the Canada’s GDP each year: a larger share than the agricultural, hospitality, or forest industries. However, professional artists—the core cultural labour force—are not as prosperous, and BC artists are worse off than most. The median income of artists in BC is the second lowest in Canada, well below the low-income cut-off. Although they are far more likely than the average worker to hold a university degree, BC artists earn an alarming 48% less than the provincial median for all workers. Women, visible minorities, and aboriginal people working as artists in BC earn even less.Using data collected from a jurisdictional scan, expert interviews, and an online survey of artists from across BC, I identify four potential policy measures to address the issue of low earnings in the arts sector. Options include an expansion of the existing project grants programs administered by the BC Arts Council, as well as three different plans to provide a monthly minimum income to artists. After analyzing each policy in terms of effectiveness, equity, budgetary cost, administrative complexity, and stakeholder acceptance, I recommend establishing a need-based but competitive grant stream providing a Basic Income to professional artists. Referring to survey data, I also propose a set of recommendations to enhance the accessibility, flexibility, and targeting of BC Arts Council programs.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Maureen Maloney
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Public Policy
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.P.P.

Enabling choice: Addressing barriers to abortion services in rural British Columbia

Date created: 
2017-04-19
Abstract: 

Induced abortion is an extremely common procedure in Canada; 1 in 3 Canadian women terminate at least one pregnancy in their life time. It is a medically necessary service, but women living in rural communities in British Columbia face extreme barriers when accessing abortion services. Women face extra-legal barriers related to distance, cost, a lack of rural health care professionals, and a lack of health care facility resources. This study seeks to examine existing interventions in BC and other jurisdictions, and synthesize existing research to compile a complete list of policy options. Following a full evaluation of these options to better understand effectiveness and tradeoffs, the study culminates with a list of priorities for action. The final recommendations first address flaws in existing policies for short term more immediate interventions, and secondly, introduce new initiatives for longer term success.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
John Richards
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Public Policy
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.P.P.

On assistance, can work: The unrealized employment potential in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

Date created: 
2017-03-30
Abstract: 

Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES) neighborhood is home to around 2400 welfare recipients, many of whom can and want to work, but experience barriers in doing so. Many engage in a continuum of income generating activities that creates pathways from informal work to traditional employment. Currently there is inadequate movement along the continuum due to multiple systemic barriers. To understand these barriers, I undertake a qualitative thematic analysis of primary interview data with welfare recipients, representatives from community organizations/social enterprises in the DTES, and social policy experts. Using a series of evaluative criteria, I combine primary research findings with the literature to assess five policy options. I recommend a combination of these options to reduce administrative barriers, recognize the income generation continuum, and increase the financial incentive to work. This recommendation is designed to facilitate movement along the continuum and enhance economic security and well-being for DTES welfare recipients.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Kora DeBeck
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Public Policy
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.P.P.

Attracting talent to Vancouver's tech sector: Policy options for future growth

Date created: 
2017-04-07
Abstract: 

In BC’s shift toward a knowledge-based economy, growth in the tech sector and the ability of start-ups to evolve into globally competitive companies is vital for BC’s future economic viability. Vancouver is a leading centre for tech growth in BC, and an increasing number of firms are doing business in the city. Vancouver is also home to three “tech unicorns” – start-ups valued over $1B – in Hootsuite, Avigilon, and Slack, all of which have helped legitimize the city’s brand as a viable destination to do business. However, the sector faces a dire problem of finding adequate talent supply to fill over 2,000 immediate vacancies and 15,500 vacancies over the next five years in tech, specifically at the executive level. This capstone evaluates policy options using criteria and measures, and recommends changes to Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program and immediate action on Vancouver’s housing affordability to ultimately increase tech talent supply.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Josh Gordon
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Public Policy
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.P.P.