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

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Should Canada go nuclear? An analysis of Canada’s small modular reactor strategy to meet 2050 net zero goals

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2022-04-13
Supervisor(s): 
John Richards
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Public Policy
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.P.P.
Abstract: 

Like most developed countries, Canada wants to reduce the risks and impacts of climate change. Doing so involves major decarbonization of Canada’s energy sector. A major question is how to switch our current energy sector from fossil fuels to clean energy production while meeting energy demand and current employment rates. International organizations such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have recommended a large increase in the world’s nuclear energy production. A major barrier to constructing conventional nuclear power plants has been the complex regulations and large cost overruns of traditional reactors. Instead, the nuclear industry, and Canada aim to begin constructing Small Modular Reactors (SMR). These will potentially allow the nuclear industry to standardize production, realize scale economies in construction, and lower the regulatory burden. By building the reactor within a factory, companies hope to save time and costs relative to on-site construction. The question this paper addresses is how do we do that in Canada, and how much nuclear energy should we generate to meet our Net-Zero goals by 2050? The recommendation is based on analysis of the current literature and 10 expert interviews.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project

Hydrogen in remote communities: Opportunities and barriers for displacing diesel in British Columbia

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2022-03-23
Supervisor(s): 
John Richards
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Public Policy
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.P.P.
Abstract: 

Hydrogen has the potential to displace diesel in remote off-grid communities for electricity production in British Columbia. Through an analysis of literature, case studies, and expert interviews this study demonstrates the benefits of utilizing hydrogen, as well as the barriers that exist for its adoption. Hydrogen is a versatile fuel that produces no emissions at the point of use. Some examples of challenges hydrogen faces are the high cost of hydrogen technologies, limited access to funding for remote communities, the risk of new technology, and limited local capacity for operations and maintenance. This study concludes with several policy recommendations. First, a Hydrogen Grant Program should be implemented with funding from the federal and provincial government. After this, three other policies should be implemented in priority order: 1) Training Programs for hydrogen system maintenance, 2) Low Carbon Fuel Standard, and 3) Reduction of Regulatory Uncertainty.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project

A space to thrive: Addressing barriers to accessible housing for people with disabilities in British Columbia

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2022-03-08
Supervisor(s): 
Olena Hankivsky
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Public Policy
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.P.P.
Abstract: 

People with disabilities who make up nearly 25% of the population in British Columbia (BC) encounter barriers that hinder their full and equal participation in all aspects of society, including within the housing sector. Two housing crises are currently underway in BC – an affordability crisis and an accessibility crisis. Because of the combination of high costs and lack of suitable housing, people with disabilities are uniquely impacted by this problem. This study documents the barriers experienced by people with disabilities in relation to housing and their impact on people’s quality of life. In order to analyze the policy problem, a literature review, evaluation of promising practices, and qualitative analysis of interview data was conducted, in which four policy options were determined and evaluated: (1) guiding principles for policy; (2) a province wide information campaign; (3) accessible modular housing; and (4) grants for housing providers. This study recommended all four of these options, in addition to the alignment of provincial, municipal, and non-governmental organizations mandates, and the improvement and development of standards that are focused on, and outline requirements for accessible housing.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project

Finding a better fit: Rethinking occupancy standards for British Columbia

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2022-04-01
Supervisor(s): 
Yushu Zhu
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Public Policy
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.P.P.
Abstract: 

The National Occupancy Standards (NOS) are guidelines primarily used in social housing to determine the number of bedrooms required for housing applicants based on the gender, age and relationships of household members. Within the context of British Columbia’s ongoing housing crisis, adherence to the NOS has become a barrier to housing for many families, most often including those who have experienced violence, immigrant and refugee families as well as Indigenous families. This study analyzes the issues stemming from the NOS and common approaches to guiding occupancy. Methodologies used in this study are a literature review, assessment of existing policies and expert interviews. The findings determine recommendations for more inclusive occupancy standards moving forward that ensure families have the autonomy to choose what is appropriate housing for themselves and to decrease the risk of housing precarity as a result of overly prescriptive occupancy standards.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project

Rising above hate: Policy options to address hate crimes and hate incidents in British Columbia

File(s): 
Date created: 
2022-04-26
Supervisor(s): 
Olena Hankivsky
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Public Policy
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.P.P.
Abstract: 

Canada is a diverse country with 22.3% of Canadians belonging to visible minorities (Wang & Moreau, 2022). Canada’s history has been marked by systemic racism against visible minorities such as Indigenous, Black, and Asian communities. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, brought racism into stark relief with an increase in the number of hate crimes and hate incidents across Canada. This study examines the reasons behind the prevalence of hate crimes and hate incidents against visible minorities in the province of British Columbia. The study aims to better understand the experiences of racism in the province of British Columbia through focus group discussions involving members of the racialized communities, and also by drawing on evidence derived from secondary sources to understand the reasons behind the issue. Interviews were conducted with key informants belonging to various organizations involved in efforts to combat racism to determine potential gaps in current policies and government initiatives. The compilation and analysis of the data obtained in the study identified several key factors that contribute to the problem of hate crimes and hate incidents. Four policy options comprised of short to long term solutions have been proposed to address the issue of hate crimes and hate incidents.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project

Addressing skilled labour shortages in biomanufacturing sector in British Columbia

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2022-04-13
Supervisor(s): 
Yushu Zhu
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Public Policy
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.P.P.
Abstract: 

The study explores policy options to address skilled labour shortages in the biomanufacturing sector in British Columbia (“BC”). Interviews with local biomanufacturing companies and analysis of BC labour market reports reveal several issues that affect labour supply and demand, that could cause severe labour shortages in the near future, resulting in the industry’s limited ability to increase sales and production and foregone economic profit for the province. An examination of three jurisdictions is used to identify specific factors that contribute to the development of a strong talent ecosystem. Interviews with local biomanufacturing companies also inform policy options that could improve talent attraction and retainment in the sector. Results indicate that BC’s biomanufacturing labour market could benefit from three consecutive policy options: 1) Creating a sector coalition focused on integrating employer perspectives into existing educational initiatives; 2) Building a Biomanufacturing Training Center in Metro Vancouver to address a gap in hands-on training provided to students in biomanufacturing -related fields; 3) Establishing a Life Sciences and Biomanufacturing Cluster in BC, focused on sector’s competitive in attracting talent, investment, and collective effort in removing barriers that indirectly affect labour in biomanufacturing.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project

Policies to reduce textile waste in Metro Vancouver

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2022-03-18
Supervisor(s): 
John Richards
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Public Policy
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.P.P.
Abstract: 

"Linear" production and consumption systems are unsustainable; they create excess waste, which exacerbates environmental pollution. Apparel and textiles are no exception, creating annually approximately 40,000 tonnes of textile waste in Metro Vancouver, which amounts to approximately 5% of the waste stream. It is estimated that 95% of textile waste is recyclable. Few policies exist at the municipal and provincial levels to reduce or recycle textile waste. This study uses a jurisdictional scan and expert interviews to identify and analyze new policies to reduce local textile waste. The study concludes with a bundle of policy recommendations for municipal and provincial governments to reduce textile waste and encourage more circular use of textiles locally.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project

Toward a low-carbon and climate resilient agriculture sector: Policies to increase the adoption of cover crops in British Columbia

File(s): 
Date created: 
2022-03-30
Supervisor(s): 
Nancy Olewiler
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Public Policy
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.P.P.
Abstract: 

British Columbia’s (BC) agriculture sector produces greenhouse gasses that contribute to climate change. The agriculture sector is also severely threatened by adverse impacts of a changing climate such as drought, flooding, soil erosion, loss of biodiversity, and more. Increasing the adoption of cover crops is one important pathway to mitigate emissions from and increase the resilience of the province’s agriculture sector. However, cover crops are not being adopted to their full potential on farms given the presence of externalities that generate unpriced societal benefits from planting and maintaining cover crops, and additional barriers faced by farmers. I examine five policy measures to address the externality problem as well as alleviate barriers: expand BC’s Farm Adaptation Innovator Program (FAIP); carbon sequestration payment; expand BC’s Beneficial Management Practices (BMP) program; compulsory cover crop regulation; and a cover crop advisory committee. I recommend that BC expand its FAIP and BMP programs.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project

Mindful paths forward: Effective treatment for youth experiencing depression in British Columbia

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2022-03-21
Supervisor(s): 
Olena Hankivsky
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Public Policy
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.P.P.
Abstract: 

Youth between the ages of 15 and 24 face the highest rates of depression in Canada. Depression is a mood disorder that affects how a person thinks, acts, and feels, and it contributes to a variety of adverse outcomes for individuals and society if left untreated. Despite this, youth in British Columbia continue to face barriers that hinder both help-seeking and the ability to access effective treatments. This study utilizes a literature review, jurisdictional scan, and findings from 15 expert interviews to determine the most significant barriers experienced by youth in BC. Four policy options for increasing access to and use of effective depression treatments among youth in BC are then proposed and analyzed. Ultimately, this study recommends care passports and the implementation of CBT in schools, followed by a survey and coverage of psychotherapy through BC’s Medical Services Plan, based on the analysis.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project

Should I stay, or should I go: Where are all the public toilets in Vancouver?

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2022-03-18
Supervisor(s): 
Olena Hankivsky
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Public Policy
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.P.P.
Abstract: 

Public toilets are a topic that evade public and political awareness; however, they are integral to maintaining healthy, sustainable, and equitable public spaces in which all people can take part. In the City of Vancouver, there is a severe lack of public toilet provision, which has a detrimental effect on the ability for women, seniors, people with disabilities, and many other vulnerable people to leave their homes and take part in public activities and contribute to the local economy. This study explores and evaluates four potential policy options to help the city increase their public toilet provision with the support of existing literature, case studies and key informant interviews.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project