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

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Are voluntary greenhouse gas reductions enough? An assessment of BC's industrial emitters

Author: 
Date created: 
2012-04-03
Abstract: 

British Columbia has taken specific policy action to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in order to meet its legislated target: a 33% reduction in GHG emissions below 2007 levels by 2020. This study evaluates whether voluntary actions by emission-intensive firms in combination with the preliminary effects of BC’s carbon tax can potentially reduce industrial GHG emissions in line with the 2020 target. While findings are tentative due to limited time elapsed and data available for a comprehensive assessment, my analysis indicates that current policy and actions are not sufficient to reach BC’s fast-approaching GHG reduction target. Corporate approaches to manage emissions are assessed alongside facility GHG performance from 2004 to 2010. In order to put industrial GHG reductions on track to meet BC’s 2020 target, two policy directions are explored: an increase in the price per unit of carbon through a higher level of BC’s carbon tax, or performance standard regulations.

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.

Improving consultation processes between mining companies and First Nations in BC

Date created: 
2012-04-12
Abstract: 

British Columbia’s Premier Christy Clark has promised eight new mines by 2015, and upgrades to current mines. Unfortunately, the variety of individual mining company practices for consulting with BC First Nations regarding mining activities on traditional native land contributes to an atmosphere of uncertainty regarding the success of the negotiations. This uncertainty jeopardizes the Premier’s plan by raising the constant spectre of litigation, fractured relationships between companies and First Nations, and delayed mine development timelines. This capstone research contributes to the literature in three ways: it provides analyses of the consultation processes used in four BC mineral deposit and mine development cases; identifies positive and negative aspects of the status quo; and recommends effective policy options and implementation procedures for the BC government to reduce the likelihood of litigation, improve First Nations’ capacity to respond to mine development projects, and assist mining companies and First Nations in building mutually-beneficial relationships.

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.

Land use permits and water licences: improving enforcement of terms and conditions in the NWT

Date created: 
2012-03-13
Abstract: 

Regulation and enforcement of land and water use in Canada’s north is an important policy issue and an integral component of environmental protection in Canada’s northern territories. This study examines the inspection, enforcement and compliance gaps that exist in the Northwest Territories (NWT). Specifically, the fact that very few inspections are carried out in the NWT is the policy problem at stake in this study. In order to better understand the problem, a multiple case study approach is used and three regions of the north, including the Yukon, the Inuvialuit Settlement Region and Nunavut, are examined. This study, while focusing on literature and publicly available reports, correspondence and other documents, also enlists an interview approach to identify key problems that exist in the north relating to inspections, enforcement and compliance. Policy options are provided and a final recommendation to combine “follow-up” programs with inspections is the concluding finding of this study.

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

Changing developmental trajectories: evidence based policy to deal with pregnancy of girls in long-term care

Author: 
Date created: 
2011-12-08
Abstract: 

This study addresses the problem of high pregnancy rates among children and youth in BC government care compared to those in the general population. Key research questions addressed are: a) What is the BC structural and legislative context for girls in care and what role does this play in contributing to their higher than average pregnancy rates; and b) What can BC learn from the policies, guidelines, and program implementations of other jurisdictions that have attempted to deal with this problem in their own at-risk populations? Research findings show that BC children and youth in care lack access to targeted, coordinated and holistic health services. A policy requiring the development of standardized guidelines, as well as set of indicators of psychosocial development to be documented within an integrated monitoring system in order to track the health and well being of children in care, is recommended. This is imperative to bolstering the well-being of children and youth in care and in turn reduce pregnancy rates. An additional recommendation, to pilot a health care coordinator program in one BC health region, is made.

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

Small farms and climate change adaptation in British Columbia

Author: 
Date created: 
2011-04-26
Abstract: 

Small-scale farms in British Columbia (BC) face the challenge of adapting to both positive and negative climate change impacts, while maintaining their financial viability. This study explores the issue of climate change adaptation for small-scale farmers in British Columbia using semi-structured interviews and case study analysis. Small farms frequently employ soil preservation techniques, organic methods, and grow a diversity of crops, which make them more resilient to some of the negative implications of climate change while their propensity to experiment with new high value crops puts them in the position to take advantage of potential opportunities. Farm incomes have been declining across BC and the financial vulnerability of small-scale farms places their long-term survival at risk. This research examines ways to enhance small-scale farm resilience to climate change. Agricultural policies and regulations impact on large and small operations differently and policies are needed to ensure that both have the capacity to face increasing pressures from climate change.

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.

Balancing regional and local interests: Preventing further job sprawl in the greater Vancouver region

Author: 
Date created: 
2011-04-08
Abstract: 

Despite Vancouver’s reputation for urban planning excellence, there are fears the current voluntary model of regional governance may be unable to ensure the achievement of the vision defined in the Regional Growth Strategy. Managing land use to promote a compact city form and reduce the need for transport is a key element of the regional vision. Several factors such as cheaper land and competition for property rates revenue have contributed to “job-sprawl,” with office park developments in suburban locations unsupported by transit. Several policies are considered to improve the alignment between local municipal and regional interests, and guide employment-generating developments to urban centres. Improved policy coordination, targeting of public funds to designated growth areas to reduce private sector risk and regional revenue sharing are recommended as the most promising options to address job sprawl.

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.

Supportive policies to promote high school completion for Vietnamese boys and young adults

Date created: 
2011-04-06
Abstract: 

This study examines ways to improve high school completion rates for Vietnamese-speaking boys in Vancouver. On average, English as a Second Language students have high school completion rates above the provincial average. However, for the past five years, Vietnamese-speaking boys have averaged completion rates 6.1 percentage points behind their non-Vietnamese-speaking peers and 14.4 percentage points behind Vietnamese-speaking girls, a gender gap twice that of non-Vietnamese speakers. Using a mix-methods approach of interviews and a focus group, this study argues that Vietnamese boys need integrated school, family and community support to complete high school. Current policy adequately meets the boys’ school-based needs but fails to link with family/community support, resulting in a lack of school participation. Policy recommendations include: continued support for school programs that bridge the school-family gap; and an expanded Vietnamese Youth Development Program and a community-based mentorship program to encourage community engagement, skills-development opportunities and positive male influences.

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

Vancouver's inner-city elementary schools: evaluating policy alternatives for improving student outcomes

Date created: 
2010-07-12
Abstract: 

This study investigates the effects of open catchment boundaries on Vancouver's inner-city elementary schools. Enrolment levels in these schools have declined over the past ten years despite a stable number of local school-aged children, suggesting that the perception of school quality among parents is low. Foundation Skill Assessment results have also declined in recent years. The challenges facing these schools include high numbers of immigrant and Aboriginal children and high poverty levels. Policy recommendations to improve student outcomes in these schools include changes to the administration of school choice, enhancement of the Inner City Schools Project, and school closure.

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

Learning to save by looking ahead: the role of financial literacy in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

Date created: 
2011-06-27
Abstract: 

This study uses survey information collected from low-income people living in Vancouver’s impoverished Downtown Eastside to explain why some people and not others manage to save, and suggests policies financial institutes might enact to make low-income non-savers into savers. A survey of 110 Pigeon Park Saving Community Bank (PPS) members examines the degree to which the tendency to save corresponds with financial literacy levels, sticking to a budget and, future planning. Tests of association show that the only variables directly related to saving is future planning and making and sticking to a budget, but further testing indicates a relationship between future planning and financial literacy, future planning and budgeting and budgeting and financial literacy. Based on these findings this study proposes three policy options that augment the status quo by which PPS can encourage increased saving among customers. These include; (1) one-to-one lessons on financial literacy; (2) one-to-one lessons on financial literacy with matched incentives; (3) one-to-one lessons on financial literacy with supermarket incentives. However, using assessment criteria of cost, effectiveness, administrative ease, and stakeholder acceptability, there is no one option that outweighs the other options. Therefore, the study recommends a monitored pilot program involving all the above options to find the most effective option, referred to in this study as the “Mixed Bag’.

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

Residents' access to healthy foods in a lower income region of Vancouver, BC

Author: 
Date created: 
2011-02-07
Abstract: 

With settlement patterns in many large North American cities changing, policy makers have begun to analyze the extent to which residents have access to the services necessary for a healthy life. This study assesses the barriers to food access in the North East Health District of Vancouver, British Columbia. With only three large grocery stores serving close to 100,000 people, residents must either find different sources for food purchasing or devise methods to access large grocery stores in order to achieve a healthy and nutritious lifestyle. Several barriers reduce residents’ ability to find appropriate food choices, the most significant barriers being distance, availability, and affordability. This study develops and evaluates policy options to overcome these barriers. It concludes that easing zoning and permitting restrictions could create more small business opportunities and increase availability for underserved residents of the community.

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