Jan 22

Top 5 Videos from the Fifth Annual National Student Paper Competition

Top 5 Submissions from the Fifth Annual Student Paper Competition

The finalists (Top 5) and Grand Prize Winner(s) are selected through a formal adjudication process by a series of judges panels comprised of academics and public servants.

This year, the Top 5 participate in a public voting contest to decide the Public Choice Award Winner. In addition to writing their papers, they were asked to prepare short videos and the public is invited to vote for their favourite. The author(s) of the paper with the most votes win(s) the Public Choice Award.

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BEYOND BITCOIN: Using Blockchain to Increase Efficiency and Data Reliability in the Additions to Reserve and Reserve Creation Process
By Liz Amorim and Cheice Sorbie, Carleton University 

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This briefing note proposes blockchain technology as a possible solution to address the inefficiencies present in the Additions to Reserve (ATR) / Reserve Creation process. The ATR process created through the 2016 ATR / Reserve Creation Policy Directive is inefficient and unable to guarantee that ATR or Reserve Creation land submissions move at the speed of business. Blockchain presents an opportunity to significantly expedite the ATR process by reducing the number of steps and the potential administrative errors within submission packages, facilitating an almost immediate exchange of information between parties, and ensuring that all parties involved in the ATR process are accountable to a high standard of accuracy and transparency.

Paying Now: Recommendations for the Development of Canada’s National Autism Strategy
By Connor Hasegawa, Simon Fraser University 

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A decade ago, the Senate published Pay Now or Pay Later: Autism Families in Crisis, a report which examined the state of funding for Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) treatment across the country. The report identified major issues with Canada’s current approach to the treatment of ASD, and concluded with a recommendation for the federal government to work with the provinces and territories to establish a comprehensive National ASD Strategy. The consequences of not paying for services and interventions, the report argued, would be paying more for welfare, social services and institutional care in the future. Despite these warnings, the lack of a national strategy to address ASD continues. This essay outlines the reasons why the need for national ASD strategy has only grown over the past decade, and concludes with recommendations for policies that should be at the core of Canada’s ASD strategy. These recommendations include targeted funding for the provinces, a catastrophic therapy insurance program, supporting the housing needs of individuals with ASD, and partnering with Indigenous peoples to ensure services are delivered in a culturally appropriate manner.


Redefining the Road to Reconciliation: Considerations for Renewing Indigenous-Crown Relationship through the Post-Secondary Student Support Program (PSSSP)
By Justine Mallou, Simon Fraser University 

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The Post-Secondary Student Support Program, funded by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada since 1977, aims to improve the employability of eligible First Nation and Inuit students by providing funding to access post-secondary education and skills development opportunities. While the Government of Canada takes a step toward a renewed fiscal relationship by committing to lift the 2% cap on annual funding increase to First Nation programs and services, the government’s role in addressing the need to access post-secondary education programs for Indigenous peoples can be strengthened. This essay underlines the barriers to accessing post-secondary education, proposes key considerations that respond to the existing barriers, and concludes with forward-thinking steps to support the renewal of an Indigenous-Crown relationship through education.

Crowdsourced Communications: My idea to help ensure that the public service will be ready to meet the needs of the future
By Alexander Shadeed, Concordia University 

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Alex Shadeed’s paper proposes an innovate approach to communicating key findings from select public sector reports and civic education material: crowdsourced communications. By way of a contest series led by Canadian Heritage, Canadian post-secondary students would be challenged to publicize the core message of a public sector document by creating communications products such as podcasts, video interviews, and infographics. The incentive for participation would be a cash prize and public recognition of the student who demonstrates the most creativity, skill, and epistemic accuracy in their product. The contest exemplifies how students and government agencies can work together towards improving the federal public service and positively influencing Canada’s future. Students are given an opportunity to contribute to democratic governance in a way which stands apart from traditional avenues for civic engagement, while government agencies benefit from having a group of motivated citizens actively promote their material.


No Place to Be: Confronting Inadequate Housing and Health Disparity for Indigenous Canadians
By Sarah van Houten, University of Saskatchewan 

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In order to meet the challenge presented by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and close the gaps in health outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians, policy makers need to acknowledge the significant relationships between health and adequate housing.  This is especially important given that Indigenous Canadians have higher rates of homelessness and shelter-cost-to-income-ratios as compared to non-Indigenous Canadians.  The strong connection between Indigenous concepts of health and home make the need for improved housing conditions for Indigenous peoples even more imperative.  Housing co-operatives are an under-explored possibility with the potential to align with Indigenous world-views and support cultural values by honouring the traditional roles of women and acknowledging extended kinship ties.  Co-operative principles such as democracy, autonomy and concern for community are highly compatible with Indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination and any new housing strategy ought to explore housing co-operatives for their potential to meet the needs of Indigenous Canadians.