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

Receive updates for this collection

Flipping the Switch: Policy that Supports Alternative Electricity Production in Alberta

Date created: 
2015-03-11
Abstract: 

Alberta’s electricity sector has traditionally relied on coal and natural gas thermal plants to produce electricity. Alberta’s dependence on fossil fuel technology has meant that its electricity sector generates more greenhouse gas emissions than all other provinces in Canada combined. A shift toward clean electricity substitutes is limited by the competitive market structure of electricity in Alberta, which favours low-cost fossil fuels rather than alternatives. Government policy intervention is required if Alberta wishes to increase its clean electricity uptake in the next 10 years. Three case studies from Ontario, California, and British Columbia are undertaken to evaluate their polices to enhance clean energy investment. Expert interviews are conducted to assess the potential applicability of similar policies in the context of Alberta’s electricity sector. A Clean Electricity Standard that mandates a minimum proportion of clean electricity production is found to be the best of three policy options.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Jonathan Rhys Kesselman
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences:
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.P.P.

Determining Policy Options for Sustainable Honey Bee Populations: The Case in Ontario

Date created: 
2015-04-14
Abstract: 

This study examines approaches to improving the sustainability of honey bees in Ontario. The use of pesticides, specifically neonicotinoids, by crop producers is associated with increased honey bee deaths and represents a threat to the health of honey bees. Three case studies, as well as nine interviews with experts, are used to identify policy options for Ontario. The analysis reveals that policies should seek to limit the expansion of neonicotinoids in the environment, mitigate their environmental consequences, encourage evidence development, and target other factors affecting honey bee health. Based on these findings, policy options are proposed and analysed according to seven criteria. I recommend implementing an adaptive management strategy targeting beekeepers and crop producers, and restrictions on the use of neonicotinoids by crop producers. A combination of these policies would meet the short-term objectives to improve honey bee colony health, develop strategies to reduce honey bee losses, and measure results.

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

Canada's Best Shot: Policies to Improve Childhood Immunization Coverage

Date created: 
2015-03-20
Abstract: 

Despite high coverage overall, routine childhood immunization coverage rates vary across Canada, and are in decline in some regions. Numerous systematic and social factors affect vaccine uptake, including access to healthcare services, vaccine hesitancy, and misinformation. Interviews with public health stakeholders, a review of international best practices in selected countries, and case studies of British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario identify relative successes and limitations to inform potential policy interventions. This study assesses four policies: mobile immunization clinics, school reporting structures, provider incentives, and extended recall-reminder programs. While jurisdictions have improved accessibility of immunization services, further steps are needed to prompt behavioural change among hesitant parents of under-immunized children. To promote widespread immunization coverage, facilitate data collection, and enhance outbreak management, mobile outreach and immunization clinics are recommended, along with province-wide immunization requirements for school entry. Developing electronic immunization registries remains a foundational priority to target policies for under-vaccinated populations.

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

Encouraging aging parents of an adult child with a developmental disability to plan for the future

Date created: 
2015-04-01
Abstract: 

A future plan is key to directing and continuing supports for a person with a developmental disability. Despite its importance, many aging parents of an adult with a developmental disability do not have a future plan ready for the time when they will be unable to provide supports. This study explores why some parents in British Columbia do not have a future plan and proposes government actions to encourage future planning. Semi-structured interviews with parents, non-profit and government employees reveal barriers that hinder future planning in the areas of financial, housing, and service processes. Case studies of different jurisdictions examine the current supports for people with disabilities and present possible solutions to facilitate future planning. Four policy options mitigating the barriers are evaluated: an information campaign, increasing housing choices, utilizing a navigator role, and increasing respite. All options are superior to the status quo.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Judith Sixsmith
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences:
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.P.P.

Rethinking Shelter-Cost-to-Income Ratios in Housing Allowances

Date created: 
2015-03-24
Abstract: 

The Canadian definition of housing affordability depends on a ratio, which states that housing is affordable if it costs less than 30% of gross household income. This ratio is used to determine both eligibility and benefit levels in many Canadian affordable housing programs, including social housing and housing allowances. However, this ratio is not a methodologically sound or equitable way to define housing affordability. The result is that affordable housing programs underserve large families living in high-rent urban regions. This study searches for an alternative method to define eligibility and allocate benefits within provincial housing allowances. British Columbia’s Rental Assistance Program is used to illustrate the application of concepts and measures. Four eligibility and two benefit allocation methods are evaluated. It is recommended that provincial housing authorities adopt Housing Income Limits and the Transfer method to determine eligibility and allocate benefits respectively in housing allowances targeted at families.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
J. Rhys Kesselman
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences:
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.P.P.

Patching the Leaks: Reforming British Columbia’s Approach to Property-level Flood Resilience

Date created: 
2015-03-16
Abstract: 

British Columbia’s existing flood risk will be intensified due to climate change. One approach to adapt to this increased risk is to encourage the floodproofing of properties in flood prone areas. This study examines the gaps in BC’s current flood policy framework that are inhibiting the uptake of floodproofing. A literature review and interviews identify the institutional context, a lack of resources and information, and low public awareness as key barriers. A jurisdictional scan examines different options to overcome these barriers, which include the private sector response of creating an overland flood insurance market. This study recommends a provincial floodplain-mapping scheme as a necessary precondition for further actions. In addition, a program offering floodproofing grants to vulnerable households should be piloted.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
J. Rhys Kesselman
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences:
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.P.P.

Swimming against the current: valuation of white sturgeon in renewal of the columbia river treaty

Date created: 
2015-03-19
Abstract: 

The Columbia River Treaty (CRT) between Canada and the United States was implemented in 1964 to cooperatively manage water-related issues. Treaty terms were based on concerns of flood control and economic growth with no consideration for ecosystem health and the benefits therein. In turn, basin management has become fragmented and deleterious to the River’s vast and complex watershed ecosystems. To ensure the Columbia River Basin (CRB) is able to absorb increasing demands while protecting environmental quality, provisions for the management of ecosystem services must be improved in the modernization of the Treaty. This study uses the white sturgeon as an example of how undervalued ecosystem goods and services can be integrated into the CRT. While the CRB once supported a productive population of white sturgeon, basin management has rendered them an endangered and threatened species. This study’s analysis yields recommendations for a portfolio of policies to entities of the CRT.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Dr. J. Rhys Kesselman
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences:
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.P.P.

The Employment-Impact of Automation in Canada

Date created: 
2015-03-19
Abstract: 

Standard neoclassical models of labour demand predict that automation does not produce long-term increases in unemployment. Supporting evidence in Canada between 1970 and 2008 is explained by the reallocation of labour from industries with high levels of automation such as Manufacturing to industries with low levels of automation such as Retail and Wholesale Trade, and Business Services. Recent evidence indicates however that on-going technological advances are now driving labour automation in many industries, and will likely expand to others in the near future. As automation technologies grow more sophisticated and decline in cost, Canada faces the prospect of historically high levels of structural unemployment due to declining labour demand. The study utilizes previous work on occupation-level automation probabilities to estimate the impact of automation on Canadian employment over the next two decades. Findings suggest that up to 50% of Canadian jobs will be at high risk for automation over this time frame. Suggested policies for minimizing unemployment include a nationally coordinated education and skills-training framework, and greater publically-funded assistance for the creation and development of small- and medium-sized enterprises. Beyond the next two decades the study suggests that policies will need to shift in focus from employment to redistribution.

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

Life Won't Wait: naloxone and drug overdose prevention in British Columbia

Date created: 
2015-04-02
Abstract: 

In recent years British Columbia has seen an increase in fatal drug overdoses. In 2013, 308 British Columbians lost their lives to drug overdoses. The highest yearly total since 1998. Each death represents an emotional, social, and economic burden for the province to carry. Many of these deaths are entirely preventable. This research paper was conducted in order to understand the potential role that public policy and provincial legislation can play in reducing fatal drug overdoses, as well as the barriers and challenges that current programs face in their delivery. This paper uses a mixed-method design based on case studies, qualitative stakeholder interviews and quantitative survey results to determine fatality reduction measures, with a particular focus on naloxone, an overdose reversal drug.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Judith Sixsmith
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences:
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.P.P.

Canadian Immigrant Youth and their Academic Performance

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-04-13
Abstract: 

This paper analyzes high school completion among immigrant youth by ethnic group/source regions and period of arrival, using 2011 National Household Survey data. These data indicate a great disparity among the ethnic group/source regions and within each ethnic group/source region by province of residence. The emphasis in this study is in Vancouver. The group most at risk of dropping out of school in Vancouver is Southeast Asians. Qualitative analysis is conducted with stakeholders connected to the Vancouver School Board to determine the policies and programs in place to support immigrant youth, and policies that are likely to improve high school outcomes. This research finds that better identification for those groups at risk, better outreach and coordination of support services, and improvements to the English Language Learning program would help newcomers achieve better success in school.

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