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

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Independently-managed education: Creating a robust education market by understanding school choice families

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-06-12
Abstract: 

BC independent school enrolment has steadily increased over four decades. This study is the first in a generation to survey parents to understand why this is, who chooses independent schools, and evaluate what to do about it. The overwhelming majority of independent school parents are very satisfied with their independent school. Of the many reasons given, nearly all parents agree their independent school offers a supportive and nurturing environment that is motivating for and instills confidence in students, thanks to outstanding teachers and excellent administration. BC’s independent schools serve diverse families and communities, and meet demand for pedagogical variations and emphases unmet by public schools. This paper presents evidence and policy options for expanding educational choice in BC through Scholarship Tax Credits (STCs), Autonomous Public Schools (APS), and recommends a voucher-like Education Savings Account (ESA) that reroutes education funds to parents (for students), allowing for a fully tailored education experience.

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

Ticket to ride: Reducing social isolation for seniors through better access to public transportation

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-04-18
Abstract: 

Social isolation is one of the top issues facing seniors in Canada. Most seniors get around by personal vehicle and may experience social isolation when they lose the ability to drive due to the loss of access to services and opportunities to socialize. With the region’s aging population, the transportation needs of this demographic will become increasingly important over the coming decade. This study examines one role that TransLink, the regional transportation authority, can take in reducing social isolation for seniors in Metro Vancouver by providing or facilitating travel training. A literature review, jurisdictional scan, focus group, and expert interviews help identify and evaluate policies that can increase seniors’ access to public transit within TransLink’s existing network, budget, and jurisdiction. I recommend a one-on-one travel training program be implemented with a train-the-trainer approach to complement the general travel training program currently being piloted in the region.

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.

Countering radicalization to violence in Canada: Policy and intervention

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-04-23
Abstract: 

The development of non-kinetic and non-coercive policy tools in counter-terror, roughly called countering violent extremism (CVE), has been controversial but important. However, an expanded evidence base and “good practices” have begun to enable more effective and nuanced CVE policy, including the development of early intervention programs. To ensure that CVE policies for early intervention in Canada are aligned with Canadian principles, supported by research, and proportionate to the Canadian threat environment, this research provides an overview of the theory, history, and current practice in Canada, and makes recommendations for future developments in the field. Canada’s early intervention policies are well-designed but could be improved by developing safeguards for current programs and supporting parents’ associations and family counseling.

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.

An end to inaction: Addressing female genital mutilation in Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-03-14
Abstract: 

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a human rights and health issue affecting women and girls across the world. As Canada is lagging behind other countries in tackling FGM, this study addresses this gap. The research includes interviews with nine experts in Canada and Europe, and a case study analysis examining the legislative and policy frameworks in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, and France. Drawing on the research findings, the study recommends creating a multi-sector policy framework on FGM with a lead ministry and a national action plan. Key action plan items include an FGM prevalence study, a multi-agency guide, and training formats for relevant professionals. These policies are assessed based on effectiveness and feasibility criteria, and recommended for short-, medium-, or long-term implementation. For Canada, it is time to end inaction and Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence provides now an important policy window for addressing FGM.

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.

Sex in later life: Improving sexual health outcomes for midlife and older adults in British Columbia

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-04-09
Abstract: 

Although sexuality is experienced across the lifespan, evidence indicates that the sexual health of midlife and older adults is often dismissed within healthcare systems. More specifically, there is a lack of appropriate, accessible, and inclusive services to address the sexual health needs of older adults, including treatment for sexual dysfunction, STI prevention, and general sexual health counseling and advice. The issues described above, while problematic now, may become increasingly significant as baby boomers age and make up an increasingly larger segment of the population. As such, this study employs an extensive literature review, qualitative interviews, and a case study analysis to investigate strategies that can address barriers to improving sexual health for adults over the age of 50. Following an analysis of these strategies, this study makes a series of short term and long-term recommendations to improve the provision of sexual health services for midlife and older adults in British Columbia.

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.

Taking care of business: Preserving independent small businesses in Vancouver

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-03-28
Abstract: 

Independent small businesses make essential contributions to the economic and social wellbeing of their communities. In Vancouver, BC, a number of factors, including rising property taxes and rents, property redevelopment, labour shortage, and changing retail market trends, have contributed to a high number of independent businesses closing in recent years. This study uses available data to examine the rate of closure of these businesses across Vancouver, and the extent to which various factors contribute to their closure. Three policy options are considered to address independent small business closure: strengthening development requirements to increase the supply of affordable retail spaces; a municipal revitalization tax exemption to offer property tax relief to independent small businesses; and the creation of a small business assistance office. All of these options have the potential to address the policy problem, and some variant of each should be explored by the City of Vancouver.

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.

Firearm homicide in Canada: Extent, comparison and solutions

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-04-01
Abstract: 

Canada has an elevated rate of firearm homicide relative to comparable countries. The causes of this high rate are not entirely clear, but a very high level of civilian firearm ownership, along with a rise in gang culture and associated violence, appear to be potential culprits, at least in part. Despite a general lack of consensus on appropriate policies, this project analyzes several policy options aimed at reducing the rate of homicides committed with firearms in Canada. These policies are a grandparented handgun ban, the re-introduction of the so-called long gun registry, a national buyback accompanied by a time disincentive, and the government’s proposed Bill C-71. Ultimately, Bill C-71 is held to be the most viable policy option, owing primarily to its focus on background checks and firearm purchase records.

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.

Unplanned readmissions to BC hospitals: How can understanding patient experiences and health system expert information drive rate reduction policy?

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-04-01
Abstract: 

British Columbia’s patients experience more unplanned readmissions to hospitals than the Canadian average. These experiences are problematic for the patient and health system alike. Readmissions increase patients’ health risks and result in budgetary and efficacy costs to the health system. While progress has been made to isolate risk factors and target interventions, Canada’s rates continue to increase with BC and Saskatchewan’s rates the highest of the provinces. Through a review of the literature, interviews with health system experts including readmission researchers, and by conducting a survey targeted to patients with lived readmission experiences, this study seeks to locate and address the most fundamental and actionable drivers of the problem. Best practices for reducing readmission rates are reviewed across relevant criteria and priority practices are selected from these. Resolving preventable readmissions requires recognition of the impacts on care quality that the lack of integration within the provincial health system’s processes creates.

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.

Smartphones in high schools: Dumb idea?

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-04-05
Abstract: 

In public high schools, “appropriately” managing smartphones is an ongoing topic of debate. There are not only evident trade-offs but also significant primary research gaps with respect to academic and developmental impacts, divergent pedagogical paradigms, and varied stakeholder opinions within each school community. Smartphones provide promise as educational tools as they can address aspects of school’s digital and print resource constraints while offering access to both a variety of online platforms and software pertinent to an educational context. However, the devices also pose risks to students’ holistic well-being and the overall learning environment, placing an additional burden on teachers and administrators with their management. This study examines the motivations and effects of three different smartphone policies and provides a multi-criteria analysis using a literature review, conducted interviews, and a cross-jurisdictional scan of case studies. The study concludes with a recommended policy option and the key considerations behind its implementation.

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.

Accommodating asylum: Improving the housing support system for refugee claimants in Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-04-03
Abstract: 

Canada has recently seen a dramatic increase in the number of refugee claims being filed in the country. A backlog in the processing of claims has left an increasing number of people dependent on limited support infrastructure. This has been particularly problematic when it comes to housing. Studies have consistently found that refugee claimants face more barriers to accessing housing than other newcomers. This is further complicated by the growing dearth of affordable housing in Canada. The majority of research on this issue has been done at a regional level, with less consideration of federal factors. Using case studies and semi-structured interviews, this study attempts to fill that gap by examining what changes need to be made at a federal level in order to facilitate access to housing support for refugee claimants nationally. The three recommended policy options are designed to improve refugee claimants’ access to housing, and to lower current barriers by facilitating communication and planning.

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