Addressing the Water Crisis for Indigenous Peoples

By: Ertiana Rrokaj Water is our most precious natural resource. Vital to our existence, it is shared by all and, therefore, must be protected and managed responsibly to be preserved for our own use and for the use of future generations. Canada is fortunate to have an abundance of water, being endowed with one-fifth of…

Plastic Waste: Driving a Circular Economy

By: Lisa Alers-Hankey In today’s global economy an estimated 95 percent of the material value of plastics is lost after single-use, amounting to a value between $100-150 billion dollars annually. The Canadian economy only recycles nine percent of plastics, leading to vast amounts of economic value being lost to landfills. Furthermore, the production and end-of-life care of…

Indigenous Child Welfare in Ontario: Reconceptualizing Neglect Investigations

By: Eliana Sinicropi The overrepresentation of Indigenous children in Canadian child welfare systems is driven by substantiated neglect investigations. Indigenous Peoples are more likely to face structural inequalities which can impede their ability to meet the needs of their children. The understanding of neglect as a parental failure, which is consistent across provincial jurisdictions, does…

A Closer Look at Canada’s Net-Zero by 2050 Commitment

By: Sean Cameron Canada joined other nations in committing to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 when it passed the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act in 2021. These commitments signal that governments around the world recognize the urgent need for stronger action to mitigate the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has definitively stated that…

Vaccine Mandates: The Pre-COVID Landscape

By: Ally Buchanan Since the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine to Canada in December 2020, the discourse surrounding the novel immunization and potential mandates has become widespread. As different jurisdictions have begun implementing workplace and business vaccination requirements, the conversation has become increasingly divisive and antagonistic. What is the scope of vaccine mandates across Canada?…

The Russo-Ukrainian Conflict: How Clean Energy Emerged as a Foreign Policy Tool

By: Sophia Stavropoulos On February 24, 2022, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, with the situation continuing to escalate. The Russo-Ukrainian conflict has seemingly brought the democratic world together as countries join in support for Ukraine and condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions. In response, Western countries, including the famously ‘neutral’ Switzerland, have imposed…

The Effectiveness of Fossil Fuel Divestment: A Historical Analysis

By: Anna Hardie On October 27 2022, University of Toronto announced its commitment to divest from all direct and indirect fossil fuel investments by 2030. Since 2017, ten Canadian universities have committed to divesting from fossil fuels with 40% of these divestment announcements made in just this past year. The increased momentum in calling for academic institutions to divest…

The CANDU Attitude: Expanding Nuclear Energy Capacity in Canada

By: Nicholas Johnstone In the summer of 2020, the province of Alberta joined with Saskatchewan, Ontario, and New Brunswick in a commitment to research and eventually develop small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs). These provinces did this amidst heightening social pressure to combat climate change and in light of the growing need to find energy solutions that…

Is Canada Phasing Out Fossil Fuel Subsidies?

By: Anna Hardie According to BloombergNEF, between 2015-2019 Canada increased fossil fuel support by 40%. These funds havegone on to support pipelines such as the Trans Mountain pipeline, Keystone Pipeline, and Coastal GasLink. Yet, Canada is also obligated under the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act to have a Net-Zero economy by 2050. Further, Canada has made a promise to phase out all inefficient…

The Case for a National Community Relocation Program

By: Sean Cameron The impact that climate change is having on the resilience of Canadian communities is becoming clearer with every passing season as rising global temperatures trigger more frequent, deadly natural disasters across the country. A growing share of areas where Canadians are displaced may soon be considered no longer livable, yet the support provided by…

Plastic Waste: How Insufficient Policies are Failing Us 

By: Lisa Alers-Hankey  Government recycling markets and policies cannot keep up with the waste Canadians generate. The pandemic has increased reliance on single-use plastics through personal protective equipment and deliveries, further exacerbating the waste problem. The federal government has two policy proposals: a ban on select single-use plastics and a commitment to “Zero Plastic Waste…

Should Environmental Rights be Included in the Canadian Constitution?

By: Sophia Stavropoulos This past year at the annual United Nations Climate Change Convention (COP26) – where over 100 countries come together to discuss how to tackle climate change and  biodiversity loss – Canada agreed to the Glasgow Climate Pactwhich aimed to push global efforts to address climate change to new levels. Despite this ‘achievement’ many critique…

Science & Policy: Time for an Old Idea to Enter the Modern Conversation

By: David Côté Questions of science have penetrated the daily political discourse: What is the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines in children? Is social media dangerous to mental health? What proportion of greenhouse gas emissions are produced through factory farming? The list goes on. People increasingly rely on their perception of science as objective and categorical…

COVID-19 Policy and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

By: David Côté  Whether it be non-essential business closures, vaccine passports, social gathering limits, or otherwise, COVID-19 policy and civil liberties have become intertwined. Now two years into the pandemic, people are increasingly wondering when and why certain government actions are justified. A basic understanding of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (“Charter”) is…

A Look at Recent Changes to the Ontario Autism Program

By: Emerson Iudiciani In February 2019, the Ontario government announced its revised approach to the Ontario Autism Program (OAP) and launched it in March 2021. Part of this amended commitment was the result of significant backlash from parents and community organizations against the program previously announced the year prior, by former Minister of Children, Community and…

A Tale of 3 Cities: Spatial Concentration of Poverty in Toronto

By: Hilda-Matilda Idegwu Labelling Toronto as an “urban hub of vitality” is a blatant disregard of the significant amount of the city’s population experiencing poverty at alarming rates.  Waking up every morning on the corner of King and Portland (famously known as the Entertainment district) it’s easy to notice the hustle and bustle of workers…

Holistic “Education for All”: The Case for Student Services

By: Ally Buchanan “Education for all” has existed as a policy goal and buzzword for years. Increasing education in a population, especially historically excluded groups, provides social mobility, improved labour forces, and increased diversity in academia. However, universities and colleges as they currently exist are not built for “all,” and neither are the priorities of provincial education…

Assessing the Liberal Government’s Plan for 10-dollar-a-day Childcare

By: Lisa Alers-Hankey This summer, the federal government pledged to cut family childcare costs in half by the end of 2022 and create 10-dollar-a-day childcare by the end of 2026. Eight out of ten provinces have signed on to the deal. However, infant childcare in Toronto currently costs over twenty-two thousand dollars a year per…

Canada’s COP26 Emissions Reduction Pledges

By: Sean Cameron Canada entered the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow as one of the highest per capita greenhouse gas emitters in the world, with the largest increase in emissions of any G7 nation since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2016. Earlier this year, the federal government released A Healthy Environment and A Healthy Economy plan,…

Can Toronto’s Inclusionary Housing Policy Overcome Exclusionary Market Forces?

By: Anna Hardie It is hard to walk through downtown Toronto without coming across a new condominium. This is in part because housing policies incentivize condo development over any other type of housing. Between 1998 and 2018, 77% of all new housing supply in Toronto were condominiums. However, most people cannot access the new supply of housing…

A Resource Gap: Why First Nations Need Access and Authority Over Water

By: Sophia Stavropolous Indigenous communities in Canada have long faced a lack of access to safe drinking water. Since 2015, the Liberal federal government has invested $5.2 billion towards clean water and eliminated 119 long-term drinking water advisoriesin First Nations communities, yet many continue to have boil water advisories in place.  To properly address this issue, it is imperative that…

Income Inequality in Canada: A Pre-Election Primer

By: Hugh Ragan and Jack Pankratz With the inequities exposed by the pandemic fresh in people’s memory, and an election looming for September 20, Canadians will be looking for their political leaders to promise progress on economic inequality in the month ahead.  Although the troubling patterns of American inequality may have spurred a worldwide reckoning on the…

Climate Action in Canada During the Biden Era: Is Canada on Track?

By: Sonja Perisic On April 22 and 23, in advance of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) climate talks in November, President Joe Biden will host a Leaders’ Climate Summit. As the United States proposes new climate investments, Canada could potentially fall behind in the global forefront of climate leaders. The Climate Summit…

Everything You Wanted to Know about Laicity But Were Afraid to Ask

By: Rachel May The Quebec ban on religious symbols, enacted as “An Act respecting the laicity of the State” and commonly known as Bill 21, has always been controversial.  Canadians are both passionate and sensitive about the subject matter, an explosive combination.  Combine that with the apparent contradiction of certain rights and freedoms guaranteed by…

The Real Culprit in Toronto’s Housing Crisis

By: Sonja Perisic Khaleel Seivwright has become something of a household name in Toronto in the last few weeks. With the support of over $200k in GoFundMe donations, the Toronto carpenter has been building tiny insulated shelters for Toronto’s homeless community as an alternative to tents or park benches. Many of the city’s homeless shelters…

Initiatives to Improve Indigenous Housing: A Panel with Policy Leaders

By Serena Rawn The Indigenous Policy Initiative (IPI), is a student organization driven by a single goal; to do our part in promoting open, cross-cultural dialogue regarding Indigenous issues. Housed in the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, we hope to inspire strategic changes within our community. We strive to foster productive partnerships and make a positive impact…

Houston, We Have a Problem…There’s No Power

By: Rachel May There has been much talk about increasing political polarization in recent times.  This chatter took on a new, intensified meaning when severe winter weather conditions created an entirely different kind of polarization in Texas.  There are many theories about the cause of the Texas freeze – Tucker Carlson blamed wind turbines, and…

Challenges and Potential Solutions for Northern Ontario’s Internet Service

By: Sean McGowan The Government of Ontario recently committed $1Billion towards improving internet infrastructure in Northern Ontario. This funding adds to the $6Billion in investments that the Government of Canada has allocated nationwide through the Universal Broadband Fund. This is a good sign for Northern Ontario, where internet service speeds and coverage greatly trail behind…

What does it mean for Canada that Biden cancelled the Keystone XL Pipeline?

By: Ella Hartsoe Unpacking Equity is a collaboration between the Public Policy and Governance Review and the Equity, Diversity and Public Policy Initiative (EDPP) at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. This series aims to explain equity-related policy issues and break down complicated topics involving equity, diversity and inclusion. Policy professionals can…

The Challenges of Confronting Racial Inequity

By: Hugh Ragan This summer’s Black Lives Matter protests led to the most widespread and profound consciousness-raising that I have experienced in my lifetime. The killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd drew attention to injustices experienced by African Americans and racial minorities but also prompted fundamental questions about justice that transcend race. Four points,…

Addressing Dark Trends in Child Sex Trafficking and Exploitation in Canada

By: Julia Gonsalves Unpacking Equity is a collaboration between the Public Policy and Governance Review and the Equity, Diversity and Public Policy Initiative (EDPP) at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. This series aims to explain equity-related policy issues and break down complicated topics involving equity, diversity and inclusion. Policy professionals can…

Criminalization vs. Public Health: The Legacy of Canada’s Racially Biased Drug Laws

By: Jenny Zhang Unpacking Equity is a collaboration between the Public Policy and Governance Review and the Equity, Diversity and Public Policy Initiative (EDPP) at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. This series aims to explain equity-related policy issues and break down complicated topics involving equity, diversity and inclusion. Policy professionals can…

In Conversation with Josh Hjartarson

By Alyssa Bishop and Alexandrea Johnston On October 16th, the Consulting Careers Initiative (CCI) hosted an in-depth discussion with Josh Hjartarson about the private consulting industry’s role as a policy actor in Canada. Dr. Hjartarson is a Partner and the National Leader for Human Services at Deloitte Canada, one of the country’s largest consulting firms….

Federal Prisons and COVID-19: The Call for Decarceration

By: Danielle Foppiano The Equity, Diversity and Public Policy Initiative (EDPP) is a graduate student-led organization at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. We aim to explore the principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion in the design, implementation, and evaluation of public policy. We promote the adoption of an…

The Government of Canada’s Current Fiscal Deficit Doesn’t Matter

By: Noah Clarke In Canada, the economic impact of the pandemic quickly made itself known. In March and April alone, more than three million Canadians lost their jobs as travel and non-essential services were shut down to limit the spread of the virus. The unemployment rate quickly soared to 13 per cent. Now, those that…

Perhaps too early to start celebrating: Fairness and Equity in the Distribution of a COVID-19 Vaccine

By: Sonja Perisic The world was roaring with the recent week’s announcement that Moderna, an American pharmaceutical company, has developed a vaccine more than 94% effective in preventing COVID-19. Canada has already secured up to 358 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from a wide range of different manufacturers and has signed six contracts for tens of millions more vaccine doses with pharmaceutical giants, such as AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer….

The Pandemic Spoke Loud and Clear – it is Time to Care About our Most Vulnerable

By: Anastasia Volkov There is little doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic impacted all of our lives. However, several snapshots released by Statistics Canada in late August report a disproportionate impact on individuals with disabilities. Unfortunately, the disability community frequently does not receive the attention it deserves. Yet, nearly 25 per cent of Canadians over the…

Current Competition Law Only One, Dull Tool to Rein In Google and Big Tech

By: Hugh Ragan Last month, the U.S. Justice Department launched a lawsuit against Google accusing the company of illegally protecting the cornerstone of its empire: search and advertising. This demonstration of government resolve is welcomed by many Americans who are wary of the threats that Google, and other Big Tech behemoths, pose by harnessing mountains…

A Fine Kettle of Disputed Fish: An Explanation of the Mi’kmaq Fishery Dispute

By: Rachel May The very foundations of the true Canadian archetype are of a polite and apologetic people, of populations with different backgrounds living together peacefully in a rich and beautiful land with abundant resources.  On those lines, the recent images of violent disputes erupting along our picturesque Nova Scotian coast, with scenes of destructive…

SRO Programs in Ontario’s Public Schools

Unpacking Equity is a collaboration between the Public Policy and Governance Review and the Equity, Diversity and Public Policy Initiative (EDPP) at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. This series aims to explain equity-related policy issues and break down complicated topics involving equity, diversity and inclusion. Policy professionals can gain a better…