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

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Diversification policies to enhance the Fraser Valley's economic resilience

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-03-12
Abstract: 

The Fraser Valley Region has a specialized economy in agriculture. Empirical studies in economic geography literature find that specialized regional economies are less resilient and hence, more susceptible to economic shocks. Thus, this capstone project highlights the need for the region to implement diversification policies to enhance its economy’s resilience to economic shocks. This capstone project conducted a panel study of 157 Canadian regional economies in 2006 and 2011 to determine if diversified regional economies were more economically resilient. Supporting the findings in economic geography literature, this study found that Canadian regional economies that were more diverse were more resilient. Base on economic geography literature, expert interviews, a jurisdictional scan, and policy analysis, this capstone project identified and recommended that the Fraser Valley Regional District implement several diversification policies.

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.

Electing a diverse-city: Improving visible-minority representation in local governments in Metro Vancouver

Date created: 
2021-04-09
Abstract: 

Visible minorities make up roughly half of the population in Metro Vancouver. Despite this, their representation in municipal governments is very low, in partial contrast to provincial and federal levels of government, where representation is higher, although still not proportionate. This study documents this underrepresentation at the municipal level, investigates the sources of that underrepresentation and examines policy options to address it. In five case studies, the research looks at the impact of at-large versus ward electoral systems, varying rates of voter turnout, and the influence of incumbency on electoral chances of visible minority candidates. Drawing on these case studies and six subject matter interviews, the study then evaluates four policy options in the Metro Vancouver context: changing to a ward system for elections, education campaigns, civic engagement opportunities and the status quo.

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.

Traffick stop: Addressing labour exploitation of migrant workers in Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-03-09
Abstract: 

Policy efforts to reduce human trafficking in Canada have heavily focused on sex trafficking relative to labour trafficking. Partly as a result, victims of labour trafficking often lack effective protection from exploitation and coercion. This study looks at one important avenue through which labour trafficking can occur in Canada – the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Many migrant workers in the program lack the legal standing and resources to escape exploitative and dangerous situations. This problem is compounded by inconsistent definitions and interpretations of labour trafficking, a lack of reliable data, and weak protective mechanisms in legislation. Through an analysis of the policy problem in Canada, this study proposes and evaluates four policy options to enhance the security and protection of victims and survivors of labour trafficking. The recommendations aim to improve migrant worker mobility in the labour market such as granting migrant workers the ability to change employers, and address data collection issues that have bedeviled existing efforts. A strategy for implementing these options is also considered to illustrate some of the trade-offs and challenges that exist.

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.

Beyond city limits: Strategies for preventing overdose deaths in rural British Columbia

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-03-30
Abstract: 

Four years into the provincial overdose crisis, rural B.C. municipalities increasingly report overdose rates that meet, and often exceed, that of urban centres. In rural communities, where populations are dispersed and healthcare services limited, the overdose prevention strategies that have succeeded in urban centres may not apply. This report examines the geographical variations of British Columbia’s overdose crisis through an analysis of overdose rates across urban and rural municipalities. Socioeconomic factors are assessed for a subset of rural communities that, year-over-year, report the highest overdose rates in the province. This section of the report is supplemented by interviews with public health, addiction, harm reduction, and drug policy experts on the challenges to delivering overdose prevention services in rural settings. Findings from the research component of this report are used to develop a framework of analysis and recommendations for intervention. Due to the demographic complexities and urgent nature of the overdose crisis, this report recommends a short and long term strategy for increasing access to addiction treatment in rural settings. First, by streamlining the requirements for becoming a methadone prescriber, and second, through targeted opioid substitution programs designed for rural settings.

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.

The price is not right: Reducing mobile telecommunications bills in Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-21
Abstract: 

Over the past decade, the Canadian mobile telecommunications service market has grown at an exceptional rate, ultimately overtaking landlines as the dominant form of telecommunication. Mobile telecommunications has therefore become an essential service in the lives of most Canadians. However Canadian consumers continue to face some of the highest mobile service prices in the developed world. This study seeks to identify the principal causes of continued high mobile telecommunications prices in Canada, and to suggest potential policy solutions to lower service costs for consumers. This study involves a combination of expert interviews, secondary research, and case study analysis of the Australian, U.S. and Saskatchewan mobile markets. This study identifies high levels of market concentration as a principal cause, and recommends that mandated MVNO access be implemented to address high prices in the Canadian mobile service market.

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.

Building labour force resilience in British Columbia

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-16
Abstract: 

With the rapid growth of automation and technological advancement, the skills and competencies required across British Columbia’s economic development regions are evolving. As the province shifts towards a more digital, knowledge-based economy, it is important to consider the development of BC’s labour force. While there are a number of initiatives targeting the next generation of workers, few supports sufficiently address the needs of mid-career workers in medium-skill occupations, who are more likely to experience challenges in adapting to changing job requirements. The purpose of this study is to determine the role the provincial government can play in building labour market resilience among this group. Using a case-study analysis as the primary research methodology, this study evaluates public employment supports in Ontario, Québec and Australia to identify policy options that may aid in streamlining job-transitions in BC.

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.

Under Fire: Improving Wildfire Prevention in BC’s Wildland-Urban Interface

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-03-11
Abstract: 

The province of BC has experienced a rapid increase in wildfires, causing forest ecosystems to lose resiliency and requiring human intervention to restore affected landscapes. One area that is particularly prone to the destructive effects of wildfires in BC is the wildland-urban interface (WUI), which is the transition zone between wildland and human development. In the WUI, many communities are exposed to excessive wildfire risks and are underprepared for the threat of increasing wildfires. To understand the approach to wildfire prevention taken in WUI communities in BC, this paper uses a survey research methodology that collects opinions and perspectives on the barriers to taking preventative action. Following this, three policy options are identified that address the improvement of wildfire prevention and mitigation initiatives at the community level. Policy options are then analyzed using a set of evaluation criteria that propose a policy package as the recommended course of action.

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.

Indigenous Tourism: Policy as Reconciliation in the Canadian Domestic Market

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-16
Abstract: 

Indigenous tourism has been identified as a vehicle for addressing the many socio-economic disparities faced by Indigenous communities. This is supported by literature that have examined how tourism can have an economic impact. While previous studies on Indigenous tourism have largely focused on building capacity and sustainable development, little has been explored on its role in Canada’s reconciliation narrative. This narrative includes 1) government policies that support Indigenous tourism; 2) social, economic, political impacts that Indigenous tourism has on Indigenous communities; and 3) social impacts that Indigenous tourism has on tourists, both international and domestic. Through exposure to Indigenous tourism experiences, interactions with Indigenous cultures may challenge and change tourists’ preconceived ideas, perceptions, attitudes or expectations of Indigenous peoples. Currently, Indigenous tourism is largely supported by international tourists rather than domestic tourists. This capstone seeks to understand the domestic demand for Indigenous tourism in the Province of British Columbia (BC) because there is a lag in this particular market. Based on findings from descriptive statistics and case studies analyses, three policy options are introduced and evaluated for their efficacy in increasing domestic participation in Indigenous tourism. This is an important opportunity for government policies to encourage and support reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians by developing the domestic market.

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.

The Path Less Travelled: Improving vocational education in BC

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-02-25
Abstract: 

Schools are the primary government institution that prepares youth for adulthood in BC. Whether youth move on to postsecondary education or employment after secondary school, it is expected that the school system prepare youth for the next stage of their lives. This study finds that a significant population of British Columbian youth struggle to find steady employment or complete a postsecondary education program after leaving secondary school. The secondary school system poorly prepares students for non-academic postsecondary education and employment. This study describes BC’s population that struggles to transition from secondary school into education or employment, and explores the social and educational factors that lead to strong employment outcomes in adulthood. The secondary school-based vocational educational system and youth employment outcomes of British Columbia are compared with those of Australia, Germany, and Switzerland. Four policy options are considered to expand connections between secondary schools, employers, and postsecondary institutions. It is recommended that British Columbia expand its current suite of vocational education programs through a grant to school districts, and that it expands the occupational fields with training certified by the Industry Training Authority. These options are determined to best connect youth to existing support structures and expand the types of occupational training youth may participate in while in secondary school.

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.

Will robots take our jobs?: The effects of artificial intelligence on high-skilled Canadians

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-09
Abstract: 

With the forthcoming Artificial Intelligence (AI) revolution estimated to cause millions in job losses throughout all sectors of the economy it is important to consider the broader societal impact that worker displacement and worker transition will have. Several studies have investigated the projected experience of low-skilled workers and the impact automation is predicted to have on their employment prospects, however, very few have focused on the effects on high-skilled workers. This paper attempts to fill this gap by evaluating policies for mitigating the expected negative impact of automation and AI-based technologies on Canada’s high-skilled workforce. Three policy options are presented which focus on retraining, portable benefits schemes, and maintaining the status quo. As AI is an ever-changing field of technology with capabilities not yet fully achieved this paper and the policy options presented within attempt to create proactive policies that will effectively address the negative labour market outcomes regardless of technological advances.

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.