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

Receive updates for this collection

Handling the heat: Examining potential climate change adaptation strategies for British Columbia’s public sector organizations

Date created: 
2019-03-26
Abstract: 

Climate change and rising global temperatures are impacting British Columbia. The province has experienced changes in temperature and precipitation patterns that are projected to continue for decades. The operations of public sector organizations (PSOs) in British Columbia, including government agencies, crown corporations, health authorities and educational institutions, will be impacted by climate change. The Government of British Columbia has expressed intent to address this issue and specifically to have PSOs lead climate change adaptation efforts in the province. Despite this commitment, adaptation in the province has been limited and inconsistent. This research attempts to address this issue by evaluating policies the provincial government can implement to facilitate PSO adaptation initiatives. Three policy options are considered, which focus on ensuring PSOs identify climate vulnerabilities and implement adaptation strategies.

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

Reducing our foodprint: Encouraging dietary change for climate change mitigation in Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-03-19
Abstract: 

This study assesses the role of food consumption in climate change and the potential for mitigation in encouraging dietary change in Canada. A literature review reveals the significance of dietary change in this contemporary issue to curb greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Three case studies are analyzed (Australia, Sweden, and Denmark) in their attempts to shift dietary patterns to determine both the effectiveness and political acceptability of chosen policy instruments. Expert interviews are conducted to both confirm and supplement findings. The analysis reveals that although information-based policies can help to build vital public awareness, price incentives are the most effective interventions. Considering the sensitivity of diet intervention and the current limited public awareness about the issue, political acceptability is in the short-term a significant barrier. Building on these findings, three policy options emerge and are analyzed to curb the consumption of high GHG intensive foods – a tax on high GHG intensive foods over a carbon equivalent threshold, a combined general and low-income subsidy, and ‘traffic-light’ style GHG labels. These options are evaluated based on five criteria: effectiveness, political acceptance, administrative ease, minimized cost to government, and equity. As a result, I recommend that: (i) a low-income subsidy and ‘traffic light’ GHG labels be considered for implementation in the short term. In addition, a revision of dietary guidelines is recommended as a baseline to include the environmental impacts of specific foods; and (ii) in the long-term, a tax on high GHG intensive foods be applied to fund a general subsidy to further encourage dietary change among the Canadian public.

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

Investing in the future: Addressing gaps in social and emotional well-being for youth in BC

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

Social and emotional learning (SEL) initiatives have become popular in schools due to research consistently demonstrating their positive influence on student well-being. Although school districts in British Columbia (BC) have taken great steps toward improving SEL for students, some neighbourhoods continue to face lower well-being while others flourish. This study utilizes secondary data analysis and semi-structured interviews to identify neighbourhoods experiencing lower well-being and to understand key strengths and weaknesses in implementing SEL programs. In order of priority, I recommend increasing cultural knowledge and social and emotional competency for teachers by dedicating professional development days for training and workshops, integrating social and emotional learning into physical education classes, and implementing a province-wide program to promote social and emotional learning for students in BC.

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.

Thinking outside the box: Reducing administrative segregation with Indigenous prisoners

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-03-19
Abstract: 

This project looks at how correctional policy reforms in the near term can reduce admissions of Indigenous prisoners to administrative segregation in Canadian penitentiaries. In a given year, approximately one-third of Indigenous prisoners will spend time in segregation. While the federal government has introduced a bill to try to address the problematic aspects of the practice, Indigenous prisoners continue to suffer disproportionate impacts on correctional outcomes and rehabilitation as a result of their overrepresentation. This is supported by the BC Supreme Court ruling in BC Civil Liberties Association v. Canada (AG), Correctional Service Canada statistics, and by experts interviewed in this study. Drawing on a review of the literature, a scan of correctional systems in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States, and semi-structured qualitative elite interviews, three non-mutually exclusive policy options are explored. Through analysis of these sources, criteria for success are derived and the formation of an independent review panel is recommended in the near term. A secondary option to expand eligibility for Pathways Initiatives is also discussed, as well as longer-term considerations that fall out of scope of this project.

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

Building up: Policy options to accelerate the construction of energy efficient buildings in B.C.

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-03-11
Abstract: 

Buildings are the third largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in British Columbia and are a significant contributor to climate change. To mitigate this, energy efficient construction needs to be adopted. Current market penetration of energy efficient buildings is very limited in the province. While B.C. has a plan to regulate new construction by 2032, additional complementary policies are required to facilitate this transition. This paper determines gaps in the existing market transformation policy framework advanced by the provincial government through a comparative case study analysis of policies in France, Belgium and Germany. Following this, three policy options are analyzed for their applicability to B.C. Based off of this analysis, a mandatory labelling program and a performance-based rebate are recommended for implementation.

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

Fostering opportunities: Improving educational outcomes for youth in care in British Columbia

Date created: 
2019-03-05
Abstract: 

Children and youth in care in British Columbia face significantly lower high school completion rates than their peers, with only half of these young people completing high school by the age of 19. This study addresses systemic barriers in the child welfare and education systems in British Columbia that contribute to poor educational outcomes for youth in care. Systemic barriers and promising practices are explored through a literature review, jurisdictional scan, case study analysis, and expert interviews. Drawing on research findings, key challenges that contribute to poor educational outcomes are identified. These findings are then used to identify and analyze policy options targeted at improving educational outcomes for youth in care in BC. In the short to medium term, the study recommends the implementation of professional development for school district staff and the creation of a new Ministry of Education designation that includes targeted funding and an Individualized Education Plan for all youth in care in BC schools. In the long term, the study recommends extending the age of care supports to 21, implementing school-based social workers in all school districts, and increasing alternative education programs within schools in districts with an identified need.

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

Regenerating for generations: Integrating ecosystem services into BC's reforestation strategy

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-01-23
Abstract: 

Ecosystem services are the “outputs” of ecosystems that humans depend on and require for the fulfillment of life. These include goods and services such as timber, water, clean air, and mental wellness. A 2005 assessment of the world’s ecosystems found that human impact has resulted in their extensive degradation. Yet the demand for ecosystem services will continue to increase as the world’s population grows and as the effects of climate change take their toll on the planet. BC’s forests have experienced myriad catastrophic events that have led to the need to replant millions of hectares. However, the current timber-focused reforestation criteria preclude much replanting. This paper investigates best practices for integrating ecosystem services into forest policy in order to maximize the use of BC’s forests for both human and planetary health. Three policy options are evaluated and focus on: accountability through legislation and strategic direction, multi-objective management, forest health and resilience in the face of climate change, and sustainability and the role of culture.

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

Doctor Who: Foreign credential recognition of international medical graduates

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-03-14
Abstract: 

Although the Canadian immigration system selects economic-class immigrants on the basis of human capital, many new arrivals face difficulties in finding employment commensurate with their professional training. International medical graduates more specifically face lower employment outcomes, and have difficulty attaining work in the medical field. This can be attributed to barriers in getting foreign-earned credentials assessed and recognized. While several studies have investigated barriers related to equivalency debates, few have evaluated structural barriers in BC, in a more recent time frame. This paper attempts to fill this gap by evaluating structural barriers and investigating current policies and opportunities. Case studies, expert interviews, and a literature review help identify and assess policies. I recommend improving and expanding pre-arrival services for the credential assessment process. This should be followed by the creation of a BC initiative for international health care professionals which includes a micro-loan program, a career accelerator, and clinical trainee positions.

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

Nigerian asylum seekers: “A long walk to freedom” or “The pursuit of happiness”

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-03-13
Abstract: 

The pattern, trends and conditions of Nigerians migrating irregularly yearly to seek asylum around the world has been on the increase and is worrisome. It was about 48 persons per 100,000 of the Nigerian population in 2017 (UNHCR, 2018b). On the journey to Europe through North Africa, many die or are caught up in significant human rights abuse situations. In North America where the journey is arguably less dangerous, irregular migration from Nigeria has found its way into political discourses. This capstone applies panel regression techniques to pooled macro-level data to examine the origin and destination country factors driving the irregular migration of Nigerians. It considers the policy problem that: “There are too many Nigerians migrating irregularly to seek asylum in several countries”. Primarily, it recommends that the government employ coordinated and targeted information campaigns to counter incorrect narratives on migration and highlight the legal processes for migrating.

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

The beaten track: Visitor management in BC parks and protected areas

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-03-05
Abstract: 

Parks and protected areas are a valuable asset for the Province of BC that provide a number of economic, health, and social benefits. Demand for these areas in certain locations, however, has grown over the past number of years to the point where capacity challenges have led to negative externalities in terms of visitor utility and ecological degradation. This project investigates these capacity challenges related to overcrowding and visitor management in the area of Southwestern BC. The project includes an intercept survey of park visitors at three different sites in the study area, as well as a review of the recreation literature and interviews from experts and stakeholders. Three options are proposed that address visitor management challenges and seek to find a sustainable solution. Options are analyzed with a set of criteria to highlight their trade-offs before recommendations are provided.

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