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

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Sex in later life: Improving sexual health outcomes for midlife and older adults in British Columbia

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-04-09
Abstract: 

Although sexuality is experienced across the lifespan, evidence indicates that the sexual health of midlife and older adults is often dismissed within healthcare systems. More specifically, there is a lack of appropriate, accessible, and inclusive services to address the sexual health needs of older adults, including treatment for sexual dysfunction, STI prevention, and general sexual health counseling and advice. The issues described above, while problematic now, may become increasingly significant as baby boomers age and make up an increasingly larger segment of the population. As such, this study employs an extensive literature review, qualitative interviews, and a case study analysis to investigate strategies that can address barriers to improving sexual health for adults over the age of 50. Following an analysis of these strategies, this study makes a series of short term and long-term recommendations to improve the provision of sexual health services for midlife and older adults in British Columbia.

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.

Taking care of business: Preserving independent small businesses in Vancouver

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-03-28
Abstract: 

Independent small businesses make essential contributions to the economic and social wellbeing of their communities. In Vancouver, BC, a number of factors, including rising property taxes and rents, property redevelopment, labour shortage, and changing retail market trends, have contributed to a high number of independent businesses closing in recent years. This study uses available data to examine the rate of closure of these businesses across Vancouver, and the extent to which various factors contribute to their closure. Three policy options are considered to address independent small business closure: strengthening development requirements to increase the supply of affordable retail spaces; a municipal revitalization tax exemption to offer property tax relief to independent small businesses; and the creation of a small business assistance office. All of these options have the potential to address the policy problem, and some variant of each should be explored by the City of Vancouver.

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.

Firearm homicide in Canada: Extent, comparison and solutions

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-04-01
Abstract: 

Canada has an elevated rate of firearm homicide relative to comparable countries. The causes of this high rate are not entirely clear, but a very high level of civilian firearm ownership, along with a rise in gang culture and associated violence, appear to be potential culprits, at least in part. Despite a general lack of consensus on appropriate policies, this project analyzes several policy options aimed at reducing the rate of homicides committed with firearms in Canada. These policies are a grandparented handgun ban, the re-introduction of the so-called long gun registry, a national buyback accompanied by a time disincentive, and the government’s proposed Bill C-71. Ultimately, Bill C-71 is held to be the most viable policy option, owing primarily to its focus on background checks and firearm purchase records.

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.

Unplanned readmissions to BC hospitals: How can understanding patient experiences and health system expert information drive rate reduction policy?

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-04-01
Abstract: 

British Columbia’s patients experience more unplanned readmissions to hospitals than the Canadian average. These experiences are problematic for the patient and health system alike. Readmissions increase patients’ health risks and result in budgetary and efficacy costs to the health system. While progress has been made to isolate risk factors and target interventions, Canada’s rates continue to increase with BC and Saskatchewan’s rates the highest of the provinces. Through a review of the literature, interviews with health system experts including readmission researchers, and by conducting a survey targeted to patients with lived readmission experiences, this study seeks to locate and address the most fundamental and actionable drivers of the problem. Best practices for reducing readmission rates are reviewed across relevant criteria and priority practices are selected from these. Resolving preventable readmissions requires recognition of the impacts on care quality that the lack of integration within the provincial health system’s processes creates.

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.

Smartphones in high schools: Dumb idea?

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-04-05
Abstract: 

In public high schools, “appropriately” managing smartphones is an ongoing topic of debate. There are not only evident trade-offs but also significant primary research gaps with respect to academic and developmental impacts, divergent pedagogical paradigms, and varied stakeholder opinions within each school community. Smartphones provide promise as educational tools as they can address aspects of school’s digital and print resource constraints while offering access to both a variety of online platforms and software pertinent to an educational context. However, the devices also pose risks to students’ holistic well-being and the overall learning environment, placing an additional burden on teachers and administrators with their management. This study examines the motivations and effects of three different smartphone policies and provides a multi-criteria analysis using a literature review, conducted interviews, and a cross-jurisdictional scan of case studies. The study concludes with a recommended policy option and the key considerations behind its implementation.

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.

Accommodating asylum: Improving the housing support system for refugee claimants in Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-04-03
Abstract: 

Canada has recently seen a dramatic increase in the number of refugee claims being filed in the country. A backlog in the processing of claims has left an increasing number of people dependent on limited support infrastructure. This has been particularly problematic when it comes to housing. Studies have consistently found that refugee claimants face more barriers to accessing housing than other newcomers. This is further complicated by the growing dearth of affordable housing in Canada. The majority of research on this issue has been done at a regional level, with less consideration of federal factors. Using case studies and semi-structured interviews, this study attempts to fill that gap by examining what changes need to be made at a federal level in order to facilitate access to housing support for refugee claimants nationally. The three recommended policy options are designed to improve refugee claimants’ access to housing, and to lower current barriers by facilitating communication and planning.

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.

Easing demoviction: Tenant relocation policies in Vancouver and Burnaby

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-04-05
Abstract: 

A proliferation of demolition-related displacement has affected renters across the Metro Vancouver area. This study examined tenant relocation assistance in Burnaby and Vancouver, the two municipalities that have been the most heavily impacted by this trend. A jurisdictional scan of San Francisco, Toronto, and Austin is used to uncover policy responses in areas that are facing comparable levels of redevelopment. Interviews with key informants are supplemented with policy and planning documents to provide further context to the ways in which governments are coping with an aging stock of purpose-built rental housing. This study recommends that local governments further assist the most vulnerable displaced tenants through the provision of subsidies.

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.

The future of VSB schools: funding schools during declining and uneven enrollment

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-04-10
Abstract: 

In recent years the management of Vancouver School Board (VSB) schools has generated significant public and media attention. VSB district enrollment has declined significantly over the past 20 years while Vancouver’s population has increased. Further, enrollment has increased in areas of urban development creating planning challenges where there are too many students in some schools and too few elsewhere. The Province expects the VSB to effectively manage their enrollment and have prioritized seismic upgrades for schools with high enrollment. This has led to potential school closures, catchment boundary changes, and 43 schools are listed as future priorities for seismic upgrades. This capstone investigates solutions to the VSB’s uneven enrollment challenges and related capital funding shortfalls through a jurisdictional scan, interviews, and a mapping study using VSB enrollment data. A recommendation is made for the VSB to consult the public on partial land leases and implement School Site Acquisition Charges.

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.

Policies to encourage commuting by electric bicycle in Metro Vancouer

Author: 
Date created: 
2014-03-04
Abstract: 

Metro Vancouver currently has very low rates of cycling due to hilly terrain, wet winters, and an auto-centric urban design. Metro Vancouverites instead travel primarily by gasoline powered motor vehicles, creating traffic congestion and air pollution. For many commuters electric bicycles present a feasible alternative to vehicle commuting, including those living in hilly areas. If enough people started commuting by electric bicycles the societal benefits could be significant. Four policies that would encourage more people to commute by electric bicycle on a regular basis are considered. A provincial e-bike to work tax incentive and loan program is recommended as the policy most likely to increase rates of bicycle commuting while being cost-efficient for government and providing affordable access to e-bikes for most vehicle commuters.

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.

Handle with care: Assessing Canadian medical policy for children with intersex variations

Date created: 
2019-04-09
Abstract: 

It is estimated that 1 in 2000 babies are born with atypical genitalia, also known as an intersex variation. In Canada, parents can consent to elective surgery to make the genitalia appear more typically female or male, but there is a growing recognition of the physical and psychological harms associated with these surgeries being performed on children too young to consent. The ability of parents to provide informed consent is hindered for reasons including a lack of information about the child’s wishes and potential framing bias by doctors. To minimize exposure to the significant risks associated with such procedures, it is recommended that Canada conduct a consultation process and a commission of inquiry to investigate current practices associated with elective genital surgeries on infants and young children. Based on those processes, minimum standards for psychological support should be established, and restrictions on early surgeries should be considered.

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.