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

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Living up to Gladue: Criminal Sentencing and the Over-incarceration of Indigenous Peoples in British Columbia

Date created: 
2017-04-10
Abstract: 

This paper examines ways in which British Columbia’s provincial government can counteract the over-incarceration of Indigenous peoples through policy interventions that repurpose the criminal sentencing process. I begin by providing a brief sketch of the long-standing issue of ‘over-representation’ in Canada focusing on competing accounts of the problem’s precise origin and the recommendations for reform that follow from each position. I proceed with an overview of my research, which consists of a series of interviews with individuals intimately familiar with the problem as it exists both in BC and the country at large. On the basis of these interviews and a complementary literature review, I outline three policy options the province might pursue and a set of key criteria against which these alternative pathways should be assessed. After analysing each option in turn, I conclude by recommending that the province implement a standardized Gladue report system in the immediate future.

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.

Setting up for Success: Programs for Indigenous Youth Aging out of Government Care in British Columbia

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

Indigenous youth aging out of government care face many challenges that other youth their age are not facing. This study addresses the policy problem: Too many Indigenous youth in British Columbia aging out of government care have not received the supports they need, and as a result many are becoming homeless. Some of the supports needed for success can include life skills, employment, housing, desired education attainment, and a supportive community. This study uses cases and interviews to identify programs that would best support these youth. One of the program options is based primarily around supportive, subsidized housing. The other option is a mentorship program that supports youth with life skills, finding housing, employment or educational outcomes, cultural identity, and leadership. These programs are assessed based on their effectiveness, cultural appropriateness, cost, scope, and administrative complexity. The supportive housing program is ranked as preferable based on several criteria.

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.

Where Home Meets Hotel: Regulating tourist accommodations in the age of Airbnb

Date created: 
2017-03-10
Abstract: 

Short-term rentals are not new, but companies like Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway have facilitated their proliferation at unprecedented levels.  For Vancouver, this has meant a yearly doubling in listings between 2013 and 2015. While rapid, this growth has been largely illegal and unregulated, raising concerns over short-term rentals’ effect on long-term rental supply and neighbours’ quality of life. This study explores both the impact of short-term rentals in Vancouver and provides an analysis of policy options for regulating the short-term rental industry. In doing so, a case study analysis of regulations in Austin, Portland, Denver and San Francisco is used to identify best practices and regulatory concerns. Ultimately a primary residence requirement, combined with special attention to implementation strategies that will increase compliance, is recommended.

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.

Enhancing Municipal Support for Child Care: Policy Options for the City of Surrey

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-03-20
Abstract: 

This study explores the role municipalities in British Columbia can play in addressing child care. It focuses on the City of Surrey, investigating what this rapidly growing municipality can do, within its jurisdictional authority, to enable and support the creation of high quality, affordable child care spaces. This study uses a literature review, jurisdictional scan and data gathered through qualitative interviews with municipal elected officials, planners and child care experts to identify and evaluate five policy options. Options are analysed using a standardized criteria and measures approach. This study concludes that the adoption of a non-profit support framework and the integration of child care into the City’s community amenity contributions approach are the most effective policy interventions for increasing the number of child care spaces, while ensuring high quality, affordability and accessibility objectives. Furthermore, it recognizes these interventions can be included within a more comprehensive strategy, maximizing flexibility and nimbleness.

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.

Valuing ecosystem services in the Columbia River Treaty

Date created: 
2016-04-11
Abstract: 

Canada’s participation in the Columbia River Treaty is potentially an inefficient use of Canadian water resources because the parties do not account for the value of ecosystem services in the payments made under the Treaty. The purpose of this study is to recommend a mechanism through which the parties could price ecosystem services in a modern Treaty. To inform my analysis of the options, I use economic valuation methods to estimate the major costs to Canada and the major benefits to the US of the Treaty in terms of changes in ecosystem services between two scenarios: Treaty Terminates and Treaty Continues. I also use a jurisdictional scan to identify mechanisms from other payment for ecosystem services schemes around the world. Results of the economic valuation suggest that the US benefits from ecosystem services are worth at least US$225 – 667 million per year. The valuation results also suggest that Canada incurs costs from foregoing benefits from Canadian ecosystem services worth US$24 to $41 million annually. The jurisdictional scan provides additional insights into pricing mechanisms. I assess three options based on their effectiveness in achieving the objective of maximizing the net internal benefit. I also evaluate the options’ sustainability, stakeholder acceptance, and administrative ease. I recommend that Canada and the US maintain the status quo practice of calculating annual payments on the basis of potential incremental hydropower, and consider the difference between potential and actual hydropower as a proxy for the value of ecosystem services.

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

Heads Up: Improving Youth Athlete Concussion Protocol in British Columbia

Date created: 
2016-06-10
Abstract: 

Concussions in youth sports have gained increasing attention over the past decade, as connections between head impacts and long-term damage have become more apparent, and as high profile cases of concussions have garnered more consideration in the public discourse. Despite this growing awareness, there is little in the way of basic legislation or policy to protect at-risk youth athletes in British Columbia. The highest incidence of concussion in the general population is among eleven to fourteen year olds in the province. This study investigates policies that other jurisdictions have implemented in efforts to increase awareness among athletes, parents and coaches, and reduce the number of youth concussions.

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

Home Adaptations: Fall Prevention for Seniors Living on-Reserve

Date created: 
2016-04-11
Abstract: 

The policy problem is that Aboriginal seniors living on-reserves have a higher rate of injury hospitalizations due to unintentional falls than the general population. Hospitalization data show that 50% of falls occur inside the home and 14% occur in areas outside the home. Seeing that most Aboriginal seniors would prefer to age in place and in their communities, the research aimed to determine the adequacy of available funding for home adaptations and to learn of any issues and challenges with the eligibility requirements that would prevent access. The programs available to on-reserve communities for home adaptations are the Residential Rehabilitation Assistance for Persons with Disabilities and the Home Adaptations for Seniors Independence program (HASI), which are both delivered by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). Based on the literature review and the results of expert interviews with Housing Managers, Administrators and Coordinators working on-reserves, the recommendation is made to CMHC to increase the funding in the HASI program and to make available a revenue stream for on-reserve communities to build single-level communal living spaces for seniors.

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.

A Breath of Fresh Air: Policies to Address Second-Hand Smoke Exposure in British Columbia's Multi-Unit Rentals

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-03-10
Abstract: 

Despite a decline in provincial smoking rates, data specific to British Columbia indicates that a large portion of residents of multi-unit dwellings are exposed to the second-hand smoke of their neighbours. Further, renters and lower income persons are exposed at higher rates. A large body of scientific evidence confirms the negative health impacts associated with second-hand smoke and in particular, that there is no safe level of exposure. Interviews with relevant experts, international case studies and survey data analyses identify key considerations as well as barriers and facilitators to inform potential policy options. This study assesses four policy options: smoke-free housing for all multi-unit rentals, including balconies and patios; amending the right to quiet enjoyment in the Residential Tenancy Act (2002) to include intrusive second-hand smoke; implementing a disclosure law requiring landlords to state the smoking status of the building, unit and premises in the tenancy agreement; and, initiating a public health education campaign on the health hazards associated with neighbour smoke. To promote widespread awareness and to provide tools for addressing exposure, a public health education campaign is recommended in the short term. As smoke-free housing represents the most effective option for protection of health, it is recommended to ban smoking in multi-unit rentals in the medium term under the condition that the liberty and equity risks which arise under this option are addressed. A disclosure law is recommended in conjunction with smoke-free housing to promote awareness and compliance as well as to inform tenants of potential exposure resulting from grandfathered leases or exceptional circumstances.

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.

Opioid overdoses in supportive housing facilities: how to keep people safe

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-03-31
Abstract: 

Supportive housing facilities are a high-risk environment for opioid overdose fatalities and have been identified as an area where overdose prevention and response efforts are crucial. To help understand the context and dynamics of opioid overdoses in supportive housing, and identify and evaluate potential policies, qualitative interviews and focus groups were conducted. Research participants included frontline supportive housing staff and managers, health professionals, a coroner, and several clients from one supportive housing agency in Vancouver. A range of policies aimed at reducing the risk of fatal opioid overdoses in supportive housing facilities were identified and evaluated using a multiple-criteria analysis. The evaluation criterion included: effectiveness, stakeholder involvement, budget, and implementation time. Based on this analysis, it is recommended that all frontline supportive housing staff receive annual opioid overdose prevention and response training, and that supportive housing agencies develop and implement opioid overdose intervention protocols for their unique settings.

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

School Choice in Vancouver: Implications and Policy Options

Date created: 
2016-04-01
Abstract: 

This paper examines the effects of school choice legislation introduced by the Provincial Government in 2002 on the Vancouver School Board (District 39) elementary and secondary schools. It employs qualitative and quantitative research methods to determine the changes in school enrollment and school performance post-choice policy. It found a correlation between average student test performance in a school and changes in the school enrollment, with the top performing schools increasing their enrollment and the worst performing schools undergoing a decline. Since average socio-economic status of a school’s students contributes to average student performance in a school, improving student performance in a choice system becomes a matter of compensating for the socio-economic inequalities within a school system. The paper analyzes and proposes policies that the Vancouver School Board can implement in order to deliver equitable student outcomes in a choice model.

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