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

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Mindful paths forward: Effective treatment for youth experiencing depression in British Columbia

Author: 
Date created: 
2022-03-21
Abstract: 

Youth between the ages of 15 and 24 face the highest rates of depression in Canada. Depression is a mood disorder that affects how a person thinks, acts, and feels, and it contributes to a variety of adverse outcomes for individuals and society if left untreated. Despite this, youth in British Columbia continue to face barriers that hinder both help-seeking and the ability to access effective treatments. This study utilizes a literature review, jurisdictional scan, and findings from 15 expert interviews to determine the most significant barriers experienced by youth in BC. Four policy options for increasing access to and use of effective depression treatments among youth in BC are then proposed and analyzed. Ultimately, this study recommends care passports and the implementation of CBT in schools, followed by a survey and coverage of psychotherapy through BC’s Medical Services Plan, based on the analysis.

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

Should I stay, or should I go: Where are all the public toilets in Vancouver?

Author: 
Date created: 
2022-03-18
Abstract: 

Public toilets are a topic that evade public and political awareness; however, they are integral to maintaining healthy, sustainable, and equitable public spaces in which all people can take part. In the City of Vancouver, there is a severe lack of public toilet provision, which has a detrimental effect on the ability for women, seniors, people with disabilities, and many other vulnerable people to leave their homes and take part in public activities and contribute to the local economy. This study explores and evaluates four potential policy options to help the city increase their public toilet provision with the support of existing literature, case studies and key informant interviews.

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

Good enough to work, good enough to stay: Addressing the impact of Canada’s human capital model on permanent residency pathways for ‘low-skill’ temporary foreign workers

Author: 
Date created: 
2022-03-29
Abstract: 

This paper reviews Canada’s use of a skills-based determinant system for economic immigration, focusing on admission for the ‘best and brightest’ candidates. The human capital model has led to disproportionate access to permanent residency pathways for temporary foreign workers classified as low skill, who are often filling critical labour market gaps in essential and in demand sectors of Canada’s economy. Through an evidence-based policy analysis, including a jurisdictional scan and expert interviews, three policy options were explored in challenging the human capital model and effectively providing permanent residency opportunities in Canada for temporary foreign workers in low wage positions. Recommendations include the implementation of sector-specific pathways for 'low-skill' temporary foreign workers in critical industries, greater support services and an overhaul of the points-based system to focus on competencies for labour-market driven immigrant selection, balancing abilities and labour market needs with equity and long term societal and economic goals.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Yushu Zhu
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Public Policy
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.P.P.

Moving forward: Addressing climate change in Canadian marine planning and policy

Author: 
Date created: 
2022-03-28
Abstract: 

Today’s governments face increasingly wicked challenges in concerns over the marine environment which are exacerbated by climate change. Canada’s sectoral approach to departmental mandates and twenty-five-year-old Oceans Act (1997) legislation have failed to incorporate climate change in marine planning. To conceptualize this problem, this study focuses on marine spatial planning (MSP) in British Columbia and examines the following research question: how to address the main barriers to the incorporation of climate change in MSP? The methodologies used include a literature review, document review, and case studies. The findings of this study suggest that there are some meta-level key strategies that can help set up more successful incorporation of climate change policy into MSP. These strategies include provisions in legislation, extensive policy guidance, and cross-collaborative governance structures.

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

From illicit to equitable: An evaluation of decriminalization models for British Columbia

Author: 
Date created: 
2022-03-21
Abstract: 

The criminalization of psychoactive drugs creates preventable harms to individuals and society. Decriminalization of personal possession of drugs is an innovative approach to mitigate the harms of criminalization. Despite widespread support for the general approach of decriminalizing drug possession, the policy model for decriminalization, including how personal possession should be defined, is contentious. To inform decriminalization policy approaches in BC and Canada, data was generated from a literature review, qualitative interviews with 16 key stakeholders/experts, and police drug seizure data to: a) identify the most relevant and feasible objectives of decriminalization; b) select evaluation criteria; and c) evaluate six decriminalization policy models that differed based on how personal possession was defined. Based on this multi-criterion policy analysis, it is recommended that the approach to defining personal possession that would best meet the identified policy objectives and considerations for BC is one that utilizes a global threshold quantity of 15 grams.

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

Vancouver’s dirty laundry: Policy considerations and interventions to address synthetic (plastic) microfibre ocean pollution in a large urban centre

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-04-20
Abstract: 

The environmental sustainability issues arising from growing global textile and fashion consumption have increasingly come under scrutiny. Reportedly, synthetic microfibre emissions during the use-phase of textiles account for the largest land-based source of microplastic pollution. Developing potential intervention strategies aimed at minimizing microfibre leakage into the ocean requires an examination of household-level sources. Previous studies have approximated the rate of microfibre release from washing machines. A number of intervention strategies have been recommended by experts and stakeholders. Some international jurisdictions may put forward legislation to address the issue. However, there is a knowledge gap in understanding the role the public plays as a key stakeholder group and their behaviours and policy preferences as they impact microfibre leakage. This study addresses that knowledge gap and investigates the drivers of the problem and the practicability, feasibility, and cost-effectiveness of interventions and policies to address synthetic microfibre emissions from households in British Columbia.

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

Policy options: Towards making a universal prescription drug policy for Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-04-01
Abstract: 

A universal prescription drug coverage policy remains an unfinished business of Canadian healthcare system with over sixty year long historical roots. Since national medicare doesn’t provide prescription drugs outside of hospitals, provinces and territories have independently developed public drug insurance programs (primarily for seniors and the poorest on social assistance) under various eligibility and patient cost-sharing arrangements. The absence of universal public coverage inevitably created a large role for private financing of prescription drugs by means of a variety of costly private insurance plans and out-of-pocket payments that many Canadians cannot afford. This situation has by now driven the system to a crisis point where the phenomenon of fast-rising costs of medically necessary drugs has added further adverse effects on public health, in terms of reduced equity of access and lost socio-economic wellbeing. It costs the health system billions of dollars downstream by requiring additional visits to physicians and resulting hospitalizations as patient health conditions deteriorate due to cost-related non-adherence to prescriptions. In the past a number of attempts towards making a national pharmacare failed and the status quo with a confusing patchwork prevailed. Of late, the federal government has taken a sincere initiative to implement a universal drug coverage plan inclusive of some measure of user-charge. This study evaluates the likely impact of different types of patient charges in a public system of prescription drug coverage for Canada. Employing qualitative and quantitative methods of analysis, it examines both primary and secondary data to evaluate the three policy options considered in this study. Taking all aspects into account, reasonable policy recommendations are made to make an affordable and efficient prescription drug coverage for all Canadians with the aim of reducing cost-related non-adherence to prescriptions, providing improved access to medications and, in the end, to achieve better health outcomes.

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

Supporting Indigenous water governance in BC: An exploration into opportunities within the Water Sustainability Act

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-07-09
Abstract: 

Indigenous peoples have maintained that sovereignty over their waters is a priority for them. Yet, most water governance systems across Canada exclude Indigenous peoples from decision-making processes over the waters that sustain them. There is growing recognition across water practitioners and watershed users that this needs to change. In BC, the modernization of the province’s water laws through the introduction of the Water Sustainability Act has enabled a suite of water governance tools that show potential to be leveraged to support Indigenous water governance. This paper draws on a literature review, expert interviews, and case studies to analyze how select tools in the Water Sustainability Act could be used to further Indigenous sovereignty over water. Then, it provides recommendations to the BC Government on areas of action that would enable or assist with the uptake of water governance tools by Indigenous peoples.

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

Moving beyond end-demand legislation: Understanding the impact of client criminalization on sex worker health and safety and policy alternatives to end-demand approaches to sex work

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-04-20
Abstract: 

This project explores the role of client criminalization in shaping the health, safety and human rights of sex workers and evaluates potential policy options to improve the occupational health and safety of sex workers in Canada. As part of a longstanding community-based study (An Evaluation of Sex Workers’ Health Access; AESHA) this capstone draws on 47 in-depth qualitative interviews with sex workers and third-parties in indoor venues between 2017-2018, as well as a literature review on client criminalization and previously adopted policy interventions in various settings. A range of policy options were identified to address sex workers' occupational health and safety, including decriminalization, legalization and the adoption of a police agreement to end the targeting of sex workers, and were evaluated against selected criteria. Findings suggest that the elimination of punitive, enforcement based approaches to sex work towards decriminalization, is expected to have the greatest impact on improving sex workers' health and safety. Notably however, anti-sex work opposition remains a significant barrier in implementing decriminalization in Canada. Considering the time, effort and political will required to create an appropriate decriminalization model, the recommendations of this analysis are two-fold: (1) immediately eliminate unrequested police involvement in the sex industry and implement a Good Samaritan law to provide sex workers with the space to define a decriminalization model without the threat of punitive policing; (2) take the time to directly include and consult with the sex work community to establish a decriminalization framework that meets the needs of Canadian sex workers.

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

Bridging the gap: Addressing the labour market barriers of black youth in Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-04-08
Abstract: 

Black youth in Canada experience poor labour market outcomes compared to other Canadian youth. Data shows that Black youth experience a higher unemployment rate, lower employment rate and lower earnings compared to other Canadian youth. Using a literature review, case study analysis and expert interviews, this study identifies key labour market barriers Black youth face and policy options to address them. The barriers identified include socioeconomic, educational and discrimination, both during the job search and during employment. The study makes a case to focus on education and discrimination as the two significant barriers. The options evaluated include using mentorship programs for Black youth in secondary school and in post-secondary institutions, adopting AI technology in the hiring process and initiating workplace solutions such as anti-racism training and mentorship. The study concludes with the recommendation to implement mentorship programs at the secondary and post-secondary level to address the educational barriers Black youth face, which in turn affects their labour market outcomes.

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