Master's Projects (Master of Public Administration; Master of Arts in Dispute Resolution; Master of Community Development)

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Information on Master's Projects on the Schools website http://www.uvic.ca/hsd/publicadmin/graduate/current-students/project-thesis/index.php

Digital copies of many MPA Master’s Projects are available here. Printed copies of additional Master’s Projects are available from the School of Public Administration library. Please contact the School of Public Administration for further information (padm@uvic.ca).

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    Exploring the Transition to a Community Health Centre Model of Primary Care: A Case Study on the Experiences of Physicians in the Kootenay Boundary
    (2024) Jackson, Leah; Astrid, Brousselle
    Executive Summary Introduction Timely access to primary health care services is reflective of an effective health care system, yet many people in British Columbia (B.C.) lack access to a family physician. At a time when people are living longer and there is growing recognition of the need to address the social determinants of health, patient needs are becoming increasingly complex and requiring the support of multidisciplinary teams. This situation is leading communities to explore alternative ways of organizing primary health care to meet the diverse needs of both patients and providers. The success of primary care reform to date has been impacted by both a shortage of family physicians and the barriers inherent in practicing as teams within a physician-owned clinic supported by a Fee-For-Service (FFS) compensation model. In the Kootenay Boundary region of B.C., the development of a network of Community Health Centers (CHCs) is being explored to address the issues referenced above. This vision involves transitioning existing physician-owned primary care clinics into a not-for-profit model. As such, the purpose of this research project is to better understand the enablers and barriers for transitioning primary care models based on the experience of physicians, Kootenay Boundary Division of Family Practice (KBDoFP) staff, and community members. Methodology and Methods A case study research design was conducted to identify and analyze the success factors, barriers and resistances experienced by doctors when/for exploring a change of their existing privately owned and operated primary care model into a CHC model. This project was based on qualitative data collected through interviews and focus groups with family physicians, community members, and the KBDoFP staff. Data from these interviews and focus groups, in addition to documents in the document review, were interpreted and coded through thematic and process data analysis approaches. Key Findings The results of the interviews and focus groups led to four main themes that appeared important for physicians when exploring a primary care model change process: support from trusted professional associations, stage of career, personal values, and government support. These 5 factors were interdependent and could be viewed as an enabler or a barrier to changing primary care models depending on the individual or context. The key enablers to transitioning to a non-profit model of care were change management support from trusted professional associations, perceived attractiveness of the CHC model for recruitment, the potential of the CHC to overcome challenges with retirement planning and clinic ownership, guaranteed level of remuneration, limitations to team-based care in the current model (in terms of space, remuneration, organization), and personal values around equity between patients and meeting community needs. The key barriers transitioning to a non-profit model of care were a lack of clear vision of what the transition and/or new model would look like, uncertainty about if the proposed model would deal with business investments/patient panels for those looking to retire, the announcement of Longitudinal Family Physician (LFP) payment model adding complexity/uncertainty to change process and remuneration, low capacity for change from physicians, lack of space for team-based care within existing clinic spaces, values around physician autonomy, personal work satisfaction, and loyalty to physician colleagues who may not be interested in transitioning models of primary care. Recommendations This research project identified six recommendations for communities, physicians, and policy makers attempting to transition physician-owned primary care clinics into Community Health Centres. ● First, it’s recommended that a detailed CHC service plan based on other communities' proposals/models is developed as soon as possible, then incorporate physician and community feedback. Even in the absence of Ministry of Health funding for implementing that service plan, it would help to assess physicians’ willingness and interest in transitioning to a CHC model should that funding arise in the future. ● Second, conduct a feasibility study and/or environmental scan of the state of existing primary care services to avoid destabilizing existing primary care services. Awareness of and attention to the concerns and needs of the entire medical community is critical for facilitating broad support for any change initiative. ● Third, develop and propose adequate contract payment model options for physicians working in CHCs that are both comparable to existing compensation models and conducive to team-based care to overcome financial barriers to change. ● Fourth, ensure physicians who are exploring a practice model change are aware of and in value-alignment with practicing in collaborative team-based, community governed organizational structure. Efforts to recruit physicians at an earlier stage of their career may reduce barriers to developing work patterns consistent with a community-based model. ● Fifth, develop a plan that can take over the patient panel of a retiring physician clinic owner and utilize their clinic space, Electronic Medical Records (EMR), equipment, etc. If the existing clinic space is not large enough nor designed for the CHC model, provide additional funding for renovations or space improvements. ● Lastly, it is recommended that the BC Ministry of Health clarifies their definition of a CHC and sets specific targets for their development like that of PCNs and UPCCs. It’s also recommended that the provincial government create a grant program to support CHC feasibility studies and business planning as a separate yet integral part of the PCNs. Once proven feasible, funding for change management, team roles, and space improvements would help facilitate the transition from physician-owned clinics to not-for-profit CHCs for physicians wanting that practice option.
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    My Reconciliation Journey
    (2024-02-16) Skobel, Tara; Thiessen, Susanne; Lepore, Walter
    It is a well-known fact that Indigenous people are treated horribly, and I would like to see the systems change globally to create safer countries for Indigenous, Black, and People of Colour (IBPOC). At some point, systems need to change, and people will realize that we need to do better because how the systems are set up now violates fundamental human rights. I believe we can create a system that allows Indigenous people to have their rights and freedoms upheld and where self-determination is the way of life for all Indigenous people across Canada. I also believe that all Indigenous people should have clean drinking water. It is disgusting that so many Indigenous people are without clean drinking water. I stand in solidarity with Every Child Matters, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirited (MMIWG2S), and #LandBack movements. I hope this report provokes feelings and inspiration to make positive changes for Indigenous people. I also hope non-Indigenous people feel inspired to take practical and actionable steps to start their journey of Reconcilaition. I dream of facilitating Your Reconciliation Journey workshop series across BC and Canada.
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    Speaking Across Barriers: How Parents in a Canadian Public School System Learn About Their Children's Diversity Education
    (2023-12-22) Renken-Sebastian, Trisha L.; Lindquist, E.
    Strategic planning in public education in British Columbia is considered by the Ministry of Education and Childcare to be an idea tool for learning about how a given school district plans to help its students become educated citizens. The second strategic plan for Sooke Schools District 62 (SD62) places an emphasis on ensuring that students understand and become competent with issues regarding inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA). However, this mixed methods capstone project revealed the communications barriers which are preventing some parents, guardians, and caregivers from being able to fully support IDEA becoming a more integral part of their children’s education. The findings of this capstone project recommend that to alleviate this issue, some implementation activities can be undertaken in the next school year and others may become strategic plan objectives for the forthcoming strategic plan. Further research may be able to divine other types of implementation activities which may also support IDEA-related strategic objectives in other school districts in Canada and around the world.
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    Interest-Holder Analysis of the Association of Service Providers for Employability and Career Training
    (2023-12-22) Morris-Reade, Janet; Cunningham, J. Barton
    This article presents a thorough interest-holder analysis of ASPECT, a prominent employment service organization with 33 years of experience in advocacy, professional development, and leadership. Faced with challenges such as declining membership and operational deficits since 2008, attributed to contract changes, ASPECT conducted this research to inform its strategic, business, and operational planning. The methodology involved a literature review on stakeholder theory and the Balanced Scorecard framework, coupled with one-on-one virtual interviews with 13 sector leaders representing diverse agencies across urban, rural, and remote areas of British Columbia. Key findings indicate that ASPECT enjoys a positive reputation among its members, government representatives, and other sector entities. Despite meeting many needs, there are opportunities to strengthen its position by refining advocacy efforts, expanding professional development offerings, and fostering member connections. The analysis identifies four central themes—advocacy, learning, connecting, and building—that transcend perspectives, highlighting areas for improvement. The article suggests recommendations to address identified gaps, including the establishment of a centralized hub for member updates, conducting issues-focused surveys, seeking external funding for professional development, and expanding networking services through additional staff, targeted virtual meetings, and regional events.
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    Motivations and Barriers to Recreation Participation in Canada: Recommendations for the Sector
    (2023-12-14) Slawuta, Stephen; Siemens, Dr. Lynne
    Recreation provide Canadians with numerous direct and indirect benefits. Providing these opportunities and services (e.g. facilities and programs) represents a significant cost to local and regional governments and achieving the greatest return on investment occurs when as many residents are as active (benefitting) as possible. Better understanding what motivates and limits or prevents participation can help ensure facilities and programming are most effective. This project reviewed previous literature and analyzed survey data from 54 different jurisdictions across Canada to comprehensively explore motivators and barriers, contrasting differences based on service area (community or region) population. Notably, lack of time and facility hours appear to be key barriers along with affordability. Numerous social and inter-personal motivators drive participation and seem to differ based on the size of community in which individuals reside. The project culminated in six recommendations for the sector.
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    Systems-mapping Alberta's writing community: the Writers' Guild of Alberta's role in collaborative community development
    (2023-08-29) Duley, Nicole; Speers, Kimberly
    This Master’s Project examines the Writers’ Guild of Alberta’s (WGA) current role and interorganizational relationships and maps and analyses the system that underpins the writing community in Alberta. Through the documentation and analysis of the writing system, the findings are designed to help inform decisions made by the WGA Board of Directors about the role the WGA could play in fostering a vibrant writing community. The research question of this master's project is "What role should be assumed by the WGA to collaborate effectively within the writing community?" By utilizing a systems design methodology supported by a stakeholder analysis, the relationships between organizations in Alberta's writing community were explored to answer the research question. Key informant interviews were used to collect information from key stakeholders within the writing community. Findings indicated similarities across different art service organizations operating within the Alberta writing community including purpose, audience, and financial structures. While participants stated there were common goals across organizations, common goals were difficult to consistently articulate. While some system archetypes were identified, participants felt that the Alberta writing community was thriving and there is a desire to improve interorganizational collaboration. This master's project yielded four recommendations for the WGA including shifting more towards advocacy and connectivity within the larger community, undertaking collaborative interorganizational planning, exploring a community-wide needs assessment, and continuing to celebrate and recognize writers in Alberta.
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    From crisis to adaptation: Assessing disaster preparedness and response strategies among Toronto nonprofit organizations during COVID-19
    (2023-05-15) Larkins, Cora; Speers, Kimberly
    Framed by social capital theory and the social constructionist theory of disasters, this master’s research project examines the factors influencing the ability of social service nonprofit organizations in Toronto to endure and effectively address disasters. The study explores the crucial role played by these organizations in disaster preparedness and response efforts, highlighting their community engagement expertise, grassroots networks, local knowledge, and adaptability. By utilizing a mixed-methods approach that includes an online survey and key informant interviews, the study gathers insights and recommendations on the disaster preparedness and response strategies of social service nonprofits in Toronto. The research aims to identify the factors that contribute to the resilience of these organizations in the face of disasters and gain an understanding of the current state of disaster preparation and planning in community-based organizations in Toronto. It seeks to provide practical recommendations for improving disaster preparedness and response strategies in the nonprofit sector, emphasizing the significance of social actions, effective communication, collaboration, and resource allocation. This study recognizes disasters as social phenomena shaped by social structures, processes, and practices, emphasizing the intersection between hazards, vulnerable populations, and social context. It underscores the importance of strengthening social networks, addressing structural social inequalities, and promoting collective action to enhance community resilience. The findings of this research study shed light on the valuable role played by nonprofit organizations in disaster preparedness and response efforts, stressing the need for policy changes, additional funding, and collective efforts to strengthen community resilience in the face of disasters. With a comprehensive whole-of-society approach, leveraging the expertise and networks of nonprofit organizations, this study advocates for an enhanced understanding of the factors that contribute to the ability of social service nonprofits to endure and effectively address disasters in Toronto.
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    Neighbourliness Builds Community Resilience: Neighbourhood Networks in Edmonton During the COVID-19 Pandemic
    (2023-04-24) Harvey, Anne; Speers, Kimberly
    Research shows that the place-based nature of neighbourhood networks makes them viable places to build social capital and community resilience. Neighbourliness is key to people’s resilience and readiness to cope with and adapt to difficult situations. This community-based research project applied a qualitative methodological approach to explore how involvement in neighbourhood networks affected people in Edmonton, Alberta during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through a literature review and a narrative analysis of semi-structured interviews with key informants from three different neighbourhoods, the project tested the hypothesis that involvement in neighbourhood networks in Edmonton during the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to increased neighbourliness and social capital, which led to benefits that increased community resilience, disaster preparedness and quality of life. The research included a look at Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) as an enabler of neighbourhood networks, and specifically highlighted the Abundant Community Edmonton approach within the social landscape of Edmonton community leagues. The findings were organized into six themes: Involvement in Neighbourhood Networks; Belonging and Connection; Neighbourliness and Reciprocity; Responsibility and Purpose; Safety and Security; and Supporting Processes and Resources. The findings and recommendations put forward are intended for individuals and groups seeking to start, join or support place-based community development initiatives such as neighbourhood networks.
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    How Service Canada can improve service delivery to urban Indigenous Peoples: Literature Review and Recommendations
    (2023-04-14) Piette, Vincent; Lapper, Robert
    The purpose of this project is to examine research on effective urban Indigenous service delivery and leverage what is known about current practices to better inform Service Canada’s service delivery models when designing and implementing them. The terms “effective” or “efficient” when pertaining to service delivery in this report seeks to include not just the Western idea of what those terms mean (namely, producing a desired or intended result, and achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense, respectively), but also include what Indigenous communities and individuals might want to experience in a service delivery sphere, which may be at odds with the Western worldview.
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    Mapping Food Citizenship Within Edmonton’s Local Food System
    (2023-02-07) Penney, Claire; Speers, Dr. Kimberly
    This master’s project analyzes how COVID-19 has affected food citizenship within Edmonton’s local food system by identifying Edmonton food citizenship stakeholders and groups affected by the pandemic. Further, it evaluates COVID-19-instigated trends, initiatives, and events in international, North American, Canadian and Edmonton’s local food systems.
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    Community Engagement to Develop a Volunteer Framework for Independent Action
    (2023-01-10) Barnett, Lindsay; Siemens, Lynne
    This report explores concepts of independent volunteerism through a case study of the Save BC Wolves (SBCW) Community. Consisting of more than 3,000 members, SBCW is opposed to the controversial BC wolf cull policy where wolves are culled from helicopters to conserve caribou herds. Host organization Pacific Wild aims to leverage this community to pressure provincial decision makers to identify alternative conservation solutions. Data from a survey and focus group was interpreted using grounded theory, surfacing key learnings to guide the development of a self-mobilized volunteer function within SBCW. While there is minimal comfort among members to initiate volunteer activities, there is a strong interest in additional learning opportunities and active involvement. A set of recommendations to further build capacity for self-mobilized volunteerism conclude the report, including developing a volunteer program vision; an onboarding program supported by an ongoing learning program; an internal communications strategy; a clear process to identify and action volunteer activities, and an internal leadership cohort among those most engaged.
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    The Cost of a Free Lunch: Transforming Food Aid Fundraising Towards Leveraging Systems Change
    (2022-12-02) Barrie, Emily; Kimberly, Speers
    This project explores opportunities to support systemic change through the unique lens of fundraising, focusing specifically on donor relations practices, power imbalances, and the impact language has on the charitable food aid system. The primary purpose of this research study is to provide a set of recommendations for charitable food aid organizations to transform donor relations practices with the overall goal of building relationships that are geared towards leveraging long-term change within the food security system. Food insecurity is a complex problem that continues to persist despite decades of food aid, with the demand continuing to rapidly increase due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and record high inflation rates. Addressing the immediate need of hunger relief are charitable food programs that operate on a continuous need for funding, which results in a significant ongoing organizational investment in fundraising activities. Funding is crucial to sustain food program operations and continue to address the immediate need, however the demand for funding creates a cyclical and transactional relationship between charities and donors. This project explores the unintended consequences of the cycle of fundraising within the context of charitable food aid, and identifies opportunities within fundraising to promote donor relationships that are focused on affecting long-term systemic change. This project completed the following research deliverables: i) literature review, ii) current state system map analysis, iii) web-based survey with food aid fundraising professionals working at food aid charities based in the Greater Toronto Area, iiii) development of actionable recommendations for fundraisers working in food aid to implement in their practice. The literature review highlighted multiple topics relevant to this research, which informed the selection of systems theory as the conceptual framework for this project. This research draws from both Gap Analysis and Promising Practices methodologies, as well as some principles from Community Engaged Research. The current state system map analysis was conducted utilizing systems mapping within systems theory to understand the role of fundraising within the status quo of the system, and identify where change is feasible within the cycle of fundraising. The web-based survey was thematically analyzed and deductively coded to capture fundraiser perspectives on this topic and support the development of recommendations as the final project deliverable, based on the findings from both the system map and the survey. This research demonstrates that the opportunity for transformation within food aid fundraising exists, and provides recommendations for fundraising professionals for real world application.
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    Recommendations for a Formalized Gladue Reporting System in BC
    (2022-09-14) Dohm, Harlan; Lapper, Robert
    While the MAG and BCFNJC have strategies and action plans defined for Gladue reports, there remain barriers to the logistical and operational implementation of a report ordering process. The purpose of this Master’s project is to provide some insight and clarity into what a more efficient and effective future state should be for BC’s Gladue report program.
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    The Promise and Potential of a Community Response Network in Greater Victoria
    (2022-07-19) Hart, Hope; Krawchenko, Tamara
    This capstone project for the Victoria-based organization, Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria researches assesses and recommends the viability of a Community Response Network (CRN) in the Greater Victoria region. Community Response Networks convene diverse groups to provide wraparound support, advocacy and service provision for vulnerable individuals and populations. This project focuses on collaboration, community development, and crisis response within the non-profit and social services field. The research goal identifies whether the CRN model will be effective in the Greater Victoria region for collaboration, advocacy, and response to community needs. The capstone completed three significant deliverables: i) a literature review, ii) a needs assessment, and iii) recommendations for the client’s first stages of implementation if a CRN is deemed an asset to the community. The literature review demonstrates the breadth of research and resources on community collectives and response networks. The types of sources discovered are three-fold in their themes and focus: i) community-based sources, ii) academic and formal analysis, and iii) periphery themes and topics that support the functioning of a Community Response Network. The needs assessment uses a descriptive research approach by asking questions about the need or capacity for a CRN model among stakeholders in the community. The project works to elaborate on the theoretical aspects of community work while gathering qualitative data through interviews with local non-profit and organizational leaders in the region. The third deliverable of options to consider takes the compounding findings and research to analyze the leading practices for a Greater Victoria CRN and provide recommendations for the next actionable steps. The methodology and principles of Community Based Research are used when connecting with community organizations. Thematic analysis and other methods translate the qualitative data into a needs assessment and recommendations for the Community Social Planning Council’s future planning and application use.
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    The Criminalization of Homelessness in British Columbia: The BC Safe Streets Act
    (2022-07-07) Lamb, Courtney; Siemens, Lynne
    The BC Safe Streets Act (BCSSA) criminalizes certain types of panhandling activities, including aggressive solicitation and captive audience solicitation. Given that panhandling is primarily a trade of people experiencing homelessness and extreme poverty, the primary objective of this project was to determine whether the costs of the BCSSA outweigh its benefits. This question was answered through a mixed-methods approach, utilizing qualitative data from a jurisdictional scan and literature review and quantitative data gathered through Freedom of Information requests (FOIs) to police departments across BC, as well as ICBC. The primary positive outcomes stemming from the BCSSA and similar legislation were related to reductions in problematic panhandling activity over temporally and geographically limited contexts. The negative outcomes stemming from the BCSSA and similar legislation were poor physical, social, and economic outcomes for those criminalized under the regime, significant debt burden placed on economically vulnerable populations, exacerbation of stigmatization leading to deeper entrenchment in homelessness and poverty, community rejection of support- and service-oriented policies, and a lack of evidence of long-term effectiveness. Ultimately, the most important recommendation that emerged from this research was that the Attorney General and Minister responsible for Housing should immediately repeal the BCSSA and instead address panhandling through evidence-based policies that address its root causes - poverty and homelessness.
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    Arts-based Evaluation of the Communities ChooseWell Program
    (2022-06-26) Hurlbut, Karyn; Brousselle, Astrid
    The ChooseWell Program has been active for ten years in Alberta and provides supports and resources to Champions to influence active living, healthy eating, and quality of life at a local level. Communities ChooseWell is a preventative capacity-building program in Alberta offered by the Alberta Parks and Recreation Association (ARPA). It has been funded continuously since 2011 through Alberta Health which provided an opportunity to explore the long-term changes the program influenced from the perspective of long-term ChooseWell Champions. The organization – the client - was interested in learning more about the long-term impacts the program has had in communities across Alberta. Evaluation question What changes, if any, has Communities ChooseWell fostered in your community through the past 10 years? In this evaluation, an arts-based approach – specifically visual arts - was used to gain an understanding of the impact the ChooseWell Program has had according to the Champion’s experience. The intention of using an arts-based approach was to give participants an opportunity to explore the ChooseWell program in a fun and engaging way. There were three steps to the evaluation: 1. Individual reflection and painting – this included filling out the community context questionnaire (Appendix D) and reflecting on the years they have been a ChooseWell Champion and writing down key words and phrases that arose. Then the Champions designed and painted their artwork. 2. Quilt design session – Participants joined the evaluator for a facilitated session to share their artwork with each other and collaboratively design the quilt. This empowered participants by having them make decisions collectively about how the final quilt would look. 3. Quilt – The evaluator took the participants ideas and created a quilt design and ultimately the final quilt. We observed a convergence between the findings and the logic model and theory of change. The main impacts are: • Changes in mindsets about health and wellness in the community • The term shift was used instead of the word change which indicates that the changes were gradual and continuous throughout the ten years with the program. • Changes in the Champions, they became community leaders and there was increased Champion capacity. ChooseWell has developed community leaders and supported them in making change at the local level. This evaluation demonstrates that this process led to diverse, long-term, and impactful changes in varied community settings. The ChooseWell Champions are central to the changes that are discussed in this report. These committed and engaged individuals have been part of the ChooseWell Program for ten years or more. They have become catalysts for change in their community. This arts-based evaluation has illuminated changes the ChooseWell program has fostered in communities across Alberta. This approach allowed us to explore varied long-term impacts of the ChooseWell program in different contexts. The creative process allowed for an open approach not predetermining the nature of potential impacts. This gave space to identify what matters the most (the most important impacts) according to the ChooseWell Champions. The difficulty of using this approach is that it may not be a preferred means of expression for some participants. The participants in this evaluation spoke about feeling intimidated when physically creating the artwork. The vulnerability expressed by participants was also an indicator that they felt a sense of trust. It actually helped create a shared experience when one participant expressed how vulnerable they felt, others were quick to agree and empathize with each other about the process. Through using an arts-based approach it provided an opportunity for participants to be engaged in the evaluation process and specifically the analysis phase. It created a space for different ways of knowing and being able to create and share multiple meanings.
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    Exploring Experiences and Job Satisfaction of App-Based Food Delivery Personnel In Edmonton
    (2022-04-12) Adegbuyi, Tokunbo; Cunnigham, Barton
    The prevalence of platform-mediated work within the "gig economy" has grown steadily since the late 2000's, garnering both support from investors and customers, and criticism from regulators. Concerns surrounding equitable pay and worker misclassification within the gig economy have become increasingly publicized, particularly at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. To develop an understanding of the motivations, lived experiences, and job satisfaction rates of app-based workers, the researcher conducted semi-structured interviews with 20 food delivery drivers in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. By blending job satisfaction frameworks and factors like economic security, autonomy, and person-job fit, the researcher derived 4 distinct 'archetypes' of drivers, each motivated by different factors to engage with the gig economy. Across all 4 archetypes, self-determination and economic security were found to be leading determinants of overall job satisfaction.
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    Spirometry in Yukon: Options for improved service delivery
    (2022-02-28) Walton, River; Warburton, Rebecca
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