Policy Holes, Fixes and Tools – April 4th, 2018

Good morning PPGR enthusiasts!

One of the biggest hopes for public policy is that it may serve as a great equalizer of sorts. The potential benefactors of government action are diverse and many, and so are the tools of the policy trade. Even so, gaps between our current policy efforts and their stated goals of equity remain. This week’s Brief explores some areas of opportunity for progressive policy making, as well as the intricacies and challenges of adjusting our policy instruments around these issues.

This week’s Morning Brief was prepared by Katerina Stamadianos. Sign up here to receive the Morning Brief directly to your inbox.

Policy Holes, Fixes and Tools 
  •  One in eight households in Canada are food insecure – this means that a significant number of Canadians face inadequate access to food due to financial constraints and significant barriers to food bank use. In response to this problem, three savvy SPPG students developed a strategic approach to decreasing barriers to food bank use: ‘Uber Eats Social’. Read on to learn about their innovative proposal. [Sahota/PPGR]
  • Is the Canadian workforce an inclusive one? In this helpful explainer, Antona Christus-Ranjan delves into four areas of weakness where Canadian policymakers can work to promote a workforce that “recognizes, values, and fully leverages the diversity of the work environment”. Click the link to see how Canada can improve labor-relations in the areas of gender, racial discrimination, sexual diversity, and disability. [Christus-Ranjan/PPGR]
  • On April 1st, Ontario enacted ‘equal pay for equal work’ protections. The legislation is meant to ensure that employees with the same tasks and responsibilities are paid the same hourly wage, a policy change that straightforwardly targets the pay disparity between men and women. While some may welcome the legislation, others question whether it can do anything to alter deeply-engrained behavioural and cultural norms. [Wells/The Star]
  • Contemporary policy conversations tend to surround the question of how emerging technologies should be used and regulated. The area of “predictive policing” encompasses one such development, wherein technology and algorithms can contribute both positively and negatively to the state of policing in Canada. On the one hand, using technology to predict crime may reduce the number of crimes being committed, while on the other, certain groups could find themselves subject to “a high-tech version of racial profiling.” This fascinating piece from John Lorinc discusses this tension between innovation and equity. [Lorinc/The Walrus]
That’s it for us this week! The next edition of the Brief will be making its way to your inboxes on April 11th, 2018.

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