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

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The Role of Foreign Capital in Vancouver's Housing Market

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-03-29
Abstract: 

The city of Vancouver has seen record high home prices in recent months. The housing price inflation has led to the city becoming one of the least affordable cities in the world in terms of housing. The rapid price increase has been blamed on various supply and demand side issues. This paper argues that foreign capital is playing a significant role in driving up home prices in Vancouver and proposes a series of policy options to mitigate the impact of foreign capital. Using secondary data analysis, the paper demonstrates that factors such as income, population growth, and supply of homes have not influenced home prices at a significant level. The paper provides evidence that influx of large sums of foreign capital and investment activity of High Net Worth Individuals are the primary drivers of housing prices in the city. Keeping this in mind, the policy options in the paper have been developed through substantive background research, expert interviews, jurisdictional scan and secondary data analysis. Policy options are evaluated using a criteria and measures matrix, which reflects the societal and government management objectives of effectiveness, budget impact, and stakeholder acceptance. The paper recommends using a Progressive Property Tax in conjunction with a Speculation Tax to mitigate some of the effects of foreign capital.

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

Revitalizing wellness: Fostering healing in BC’s Residential School abuse survivors

Date created: 
2016-03-29
Abstract: 

Survivors of childhood institutional abuse can face a lifetime of physical and mental health challenges. To address the on-going health challenges of claimants during the claims process, the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement created the Resolution Health Support Program. This study identifies gaps in existing services, and provides policy recommendations for future services after the duties of the Settlement Agreement are fulfilled. Expert interviews and three case studies highlight policy options, and the key issues impacting the wellness of claimants in the Settlement Agreement. Three policy options are assessed using eight criteria based on the objectives of efficacy, equity, and stakeholder acceptability. The creation of a Wellness Fund and funding for survivor cultural revitalization are the recommended options for addressing the immediate and long-term needs of Survivors in BC. Throughout policy implementation, it is important to consider the context of other colonial policies, the diversity of responses to the wellness needs, and to target the intergenerational effects of the IRS system.

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.

Embodied injustice: Policies to address self-injury among low-income women, aged 35-49, in Alberta

Date created: 
2016-04-01
Abstract: 

In Alberta, low-income women, aged 35-49, engage in self-injury at rates second only to female youth. This demographic faces the stressors of living in poverty combined with gendered and mid-age challenges and expectations. Government strategies addressing self-injury have been ineffective. A literature review and interviews with frontline professionals reveal that self-injury is a survival-based coping mechanism. Interviews with academics and policy professionals, supported by research on policy alternatives, illuminate the need for a comprehensive, intersectionality-informed approach to preventing and reducing self-injury. Three policy options are analyzed: the provision of counselling benefits for low-income individuals, greater integration of mental health care into the primary health care system and increased capacity for community mental health outreach and services. Increasing access to gender and trauma-informed mental health supports through community outreach is recommended to reduce self-injury among this population. Reforming systems of power to reduce inequity is recommended to prevent self-injury.

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

Micro suites: Does size really matter?

Date created: 
2016-03-17
Abstract: 

Housing affordability is a major issue for the City of Vancouver. The ever-increasing cost of housing is pricing many Vancouverites out of the housing market. Millennials, with interests in homeownership, are starting to move out of Metro Vancouver to more affordable locations. Loss of this generation creates serious concern for the labour market and the growth of the economy. One proposed way to help retain millennials in Vancouver is to develop micro suites. These apartments are smaller than what is currently allowed under Vancouver zoning bylaws, which should make them more affordable. This Capstone examines the possible consequences of developing micro suites by compiling research, looking at four other jurisdictions, and conducting interviews. In the end three options are presented with the benefits and disadvantages of each. A recommendation is made to submit the options to City Council and let elected officials decide the best option for Vancouver.

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.

Promoting Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions in British Columbia’s Small and Medium Sized Businesses

Date created: 
2016-03-11
Abstract: 

Small and medium sized businesses make up over 98% of the businesses in British Columbia (BC) and are estimated to account for 28% of the Province’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These businesses have the potential to reduce their emissions and achieve positive business benefits as a result, yet many face knowledge and resource barriers that prevent them from doing so. In order to reduce these barriers, three policy options were explored: an investment tax credit, a grant, and a consolidated information provision service. These options were developed, analyzed, and evaluated using information obtained from interviews with owners and managers of SMEs and technical experts and a review of existing research and policies. The analysis highlights the trade-offs, strengths, and weaknesses of each policy option and recommends that an information service be implemented followed by a wider survey of SMEs in order to determine the appropriate financial incentive.

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.

Kids on the Outside: Policy Options for Youth with Incarcerated Parents in British Columbia

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-03-09
Abstract: 

The United Nations, non-profit organizations, and research communities have identified youth with incarcerated parents as a distinct and vulnerable population requiring tailored policy response. This research study examined the situation in British Columbia, and focused on how to foster resilience in this population rather than only examining damaging effects of having incarcerated parents. The study drew on academic and grey literature and key expert interviews to identify policy options. Importantly, the study also presents insights into advancing research in the field, specifically what is required when working with youth in the future. As a result of preliminary research, four policy options are presented: an integrated approach, education-centred supports, corrections-centred supports, and a justice-centred option. The policy options recommended are intended to support the resilience, life outcomes, and well-being of youth with incarcerated parents, and feature youth engagement in decision-making, and integrating data collection and sharing to inform evidence-based service provision.

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.

Paying Up for Paying Out: Tracking Trends in Patient Satisfaction at Mid-Main Community Health Centre

Date created: 
2016-04-13
Abstract: 

The purpose of this report is twofold. The first purpose is to assess whether there has been an appreciable change in patient satisfaction at Vancouver’s Mid-Main Community Health Centre in response to a transition in remuneration methods from salary to fee-for-service. This was accomplished through the administration of a patient satisfaction survey capturing both quantitative and qualitative data. Based on the 179 received responses it was determined that patient satisfaction did not differ significantly after the transition. However, the survey results, combined with expert interviews with individuals involved in primary care, and an examination of the literature on the topic, suggests that fee-for-service is not the optimal primary healthcare remuneration method. The second purpose of this report is to assess the trade-offs between four remuneration methods: enhanced fee-for-service, capitation, salary, and a blended model of capitation and enhanced fee-for-service. Ultimately, this report finds that the medium-term policy goal for Mid-Main, and clinics like it that want to engage in interdisciplinary models of care, is to attempt to transition to the blended model of capitation and enhanced fee-for-service.

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

A brighter future: solar energy in BC

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-04-18
Abstract: 

This report collects and analyzes the available information on solar energy development in BC, including existing major barriers, costs and benefits, and externalities. The objective is to assess the future viability of solar and recommend policies that can improve its viability. It is a first step in considering solar energy as a dependable energy alternative to help power BC’s future. Under current conditions, the net benefits of solar are negative due to regulatory and cost barriers. Three policy bundles designed to address these barriers are assessed using a set of criteria that include sustainability, stakeholder acceptance, administrative ease, and efficiency. I recommend a combination of regulatory reform, technology assistance, and allowing consumers the option of paying a premium for solar or other green electricity generation. The recommended policy bundle will allow solar to reach grid parity in BC at minimal cost to government and add to BC’s electricity capacity.

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.

Permitting Precariousness: Addressing Employment Standards Challenges for Temporary Foreign Workers in British Columbia

Date created: 
2016-03-24
Abstract: 

Since 2002, there has been an increase in the number of low-skill and low-wage temporary foreign workers in Canada. This study examines the employment standards challenges that these workers may encounter while in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Employment standards legislation provides the minimum requirements for workplace procedures, conditions, and transactions, such as overtime pay and hours of work. Given that the regulation of labour and employment fall under provincial jurisdiction, this study focuses on the experiences of temporary foreign workers in British Columbia and provides policy options to improve their precarious situation. This research explores a combination of provincial and federal policy changes to help mitigate temporary foreign workers’ susceptibility to employer violations, both by increasing their access to employment standards support and by reducing their dependence on employers. Policy recommendations centre on reforming the current employment standards complaint and enforcement mechanisms, increasing temporary foreign workers’ labour mobility, and separating the application process for permanent residency from employment relationships.

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

Creating Possibilities: An Examination of University Career Support Services for International Students in British Columbia

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-04-01
Abstract: 

Given the projected increase in the international student population, there is a need to understand the existing state of career support services on university campuses in British Columbia (BC) and whether these services meet their needs. Currently, the limited research in this area illustrates that international students intending to stay in the host country may not be adequately prepared to navigate the Canadian labour market. This study investigates the availability of career support services at two university campuses and their effectiveness in achieving the provincial government’s labour market objectives. University expert interviews and a comparative analysis inform the analysis of potential options. This study recommends that universities integrate mandatory online English as Second Language (EAL) workshops to enhance existing career development programs. Further, it is recommended that universities and the provincial government collaborate in improving the data quality of career support services. Ultimately, enhanced data is necessary to implement evidence based policies.

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.