Canadian Policy Recommendations From Sociology

Tuesday Jun 01 9:00 am to 10:30 am (Mountain Time)
Virtual 1

Session Code: POL1
Session Format: Regular
Session Language: English
Research Cluster Affiliation: No
Session Categories: Regular Session

Sociological research has great potential to contribute ideas and strategies that address social problems, and highlighting policy solutions must be a priority. This session is comprised of empirical research on Canada that emphasizes policy repercussions and recommendations. Topics of the presentations include a discussion of the status of temporary foreign workers, health inequities at the city level, the gap between the policies and practices of Universities in supporting victims of sexual violence, the difficulties faced by the homeless population and service organizations serving this population during the COVID pandemic, and the relationship between zoning and multi-unit housing development. Tags: Canadian Sociology, Policy and Society, Politics and Social Movements

Organizer: Mitchell McIvor, University of West Georgia; Chair: Mitchell McIvor, University of West Georgia

Presentations

Sihwa Kim, The University of Western Ontario

Assessing the Impact of Denizenship in the Making and Evaluation of Temporary Foreign Worker Policies in Canada

The paper discussed the ways in which denizen status coupled with other social factors, such as race and the amount of human capital, create marginalizing migratory experience for low-skilled TFWs in Canada. Denizenhip is the fundamental politico-legal mechanism of unfree labour and non-membership. As denizens, these migrant workers are isolated in geographical, economic, political, and social periphery of the Canadian society. The exclusion not only undermines TFWs’ contribution to the Canadian society but also legitimizes the economic and social integration challenges they experience.    The critical analysis of the government publications demonstrated the nation’s neoliberal approach to TFWP, driven by the state’s economic gain. TFWP unarguably mediate TFWs’ experiences in Canada in many ways from everyday interaction with their employer and settlement service providers to their security of presence in Canada. In turn, overwhelming representation of employers’ interests and lack of TFWs’ involvement in the making, administration, and evaluation of the policies will continue to reproduce the precarity of these workers and the broader racial, social, and political inequality of which they are situated within. Thus, I conclude this paper by advocating for a more inclusive and equitable TFWP for low-skilled TFWs and recommending ways to achieve it. 

Charles Plante, University of Saskatchewan

How a comparative study of city-level health inequalities can advance policy making: Recent Canadian results and their implications

Health inequalities are an important indicator of health inequities, differences in health that are preventable. There is a pronounced tendency in canadian comparative health research to contrast provincial-level differences or higher. Over the past three years, our research group has been working with the canadian institute for health information (cihi) and statistics canada to develop new methodologies so that we are able to describe and compare population health at the city-level across the country. In this talk, i will present a handful of stylized facts that have emerged from this effort and which should inform ongoing research and policy making. I will also present on how a greater emphasis on comparative city-level research can more effectively inform evidence based decision making, lead us to think differently about health governance in canada, and allow us to more effectively engage diverse stakeholders.

V Bragagnolo, York University

The Implementation of Bill 132 and Onward: analyzing sexual violence response processes at Ontario university campuses

On March 8th, 2016, the Ontario government gave royal assent to _Bill 132: Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act (Supporting Survivors and Challenging Sexual Violence and Harassment)_. The Bill instituted guidelines to assist all Ontario universities in the development of sexual violence policies (to be advised at least once every 3 years) and paved the way for the hiring of Intake Coordinators or Sexual Violence Response Coordinators. This paper examines and compares the resolution processes and supports available for students after they experience a sexual assault at 10 Ontario university campuses. Results show that the policies cannot provide protection on their own; there is a disconnect between what is expected from the policies (what is written) and how the policies are experienced by survivors (how the processes are practiced). Thus, recommendations, such as more education and training programs and the need to approach sexual violence on university campuses as a collective responsibility, are provided and discussed. Sexual violence is a structural issue and any lack of trust between the survivor and the system cannot be mended by Sexual Violence Response Coordinators or Intake Coordinators on their own.

Sydney Chapados, Carleton University; Krista Luzzi, Algonquin College; Dennim Groke, Algonquin College; Jordan Wark, Algonquin College

When staying home is not an option: Evaluating system responses to homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted and exacerbated previously existing gaps and challenges in service provision for populations experiencing or at-risk of homelessness. Using interviews, focus groups, and surveys with service providers and individuals with lived experience of homelessness, this project partners with the Ottawa Alliance to End Homelessness to examine some of these gaps and challenges to help inform a more coordinated and efficient system response to homelessness -- both within and outside of pandemic times. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in mental health concerns, unemployment, and risk of overdose due to economic shutdowns and isolation measures. Services are struggling to meet the needs of their key populations due to decreased funding, reduced staffing capacities, and a lack of access to technology. Some of these services also face an increased risk of viral spread due to limited space for social distancing, the flow of population between services and shelters, and a service population that faces barriers to meeting public health guidelines. Our research team, made up of researchers from Algonquin College and Carleton University, highlights these barriers in support of Ottawa’s move towards a coordinated access approach to service provision that operates using a single, coordinated entry point, a streamlined service entry and exit process, and a specific service plan based on individual/familial needs and assessment. The coordinated access approach allows services to efficiently and accurately address client needs in partnership with one another and reduces flow between services.

Nathanael Lauster, University of British Columbia; Jens von Bergmann, MountainMath

Zoning Regimes and the Development of Multi-Family Housing in Vancouver

Research increasingly suggests the strong role of zoning as a constraint upon urban development in North America. In particular, zoning restricts parcels available for multi-unit housing by design. As an obscure and largely municipal policy, the content and direct effects of zoning often escape careful research attention. Recently we obtained CMHC support for a project documenting and codifying municipal zoning across the 21 municipalities of Metro Vancouver (https://zoning.sociology.ubc.ca/). In addition, the project explores historical change in zoning within the City of Vancouver. In this paper we directly explore and systematize changes in the City of Vancouver’s zoning regimes as they bear upon the development of multi-unit housing. We then connect changes in zoning regime to changes in urban development patterns from the initiation of zoning (across the 1920s) to the present day, highlighting the changing processes by which regimes have enabled new multi-unit housing. Overall the evidence suggests a strong and determinative role for zoning regimes in limiting multi-unit housing, opening up our discussion of several suggestions for policy reforms aimed at better meeting regional housing needs.