April 9

Top 5 Papers 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.


An Epidemic of Incompetence: Tracing the Roots of the Canadian Opiod Crisis
By Anees Bahji, Queen's University 

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Abstract
In Canada and the United States, the rising number of apparent opioid-related deaths have given to the aptly-named opioid epidemic. Despite the criticism physicians have received for their role in opioid overprescribing, physicians may very well be in the position to vanquish the opioid epidemic. While the importance of Addictions training in psychiatry and other
disciplines has been recognized in Canada at a national level, training resources are scarce and difficult to implement, even when delivered in online formats. Many have speculated that the delivery of high-quality Addictions training has been hampered by multiple roadblocks endemic to the Canadian medical education system, particularly stigma towards individuals with substance use disorders. In this narrative review, the foundations and approaches to Addictions training and education in a Canadian context are critically examined and potential solutions for existing limitations in the context of the Canadian opioid crisis are presented.



Nation-to-Nation in the Information Age: In Data we Trust
By Aleisha White & Jules Bagshaw, Carleton University

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Summary
As it currently stands Indigenous data is not sovereign. Government data, statistics, analysis, and archival information are currently stored under a myriad of governmental departments and agencies, with data pertaining to Indigenous-specific communities even further dispersed. Canada’s colonial legacy has contributed to a history of misuse of Indigenous data. This has reinforced disappointment and distrust in Canadian government departments and agencies within Indigenous communities.2 The current push for Open Data has transformed and democratized access to information for outside actors. In a period of renewed nation-to-nation building, there is growing concern as to how the Open Data movement may impact the attainment of Indigenous data sovereignty, as it includes information specific to Indigenous peoples. The intention of this proposal is to mitigate concern over Open Data and its potential infringement on data sovereignty. A recommendation moving forward is piloting a data trust.

 

Modernizing Social Science Training: Data Science and the Social Sciences
By Etienne Gagnon, McGill University 

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Summary
Canadian social science departments are failing to provide their students with the required skills to succeed in the current academic and professional job market. Graduates from Social Science fields have the potential to play a key role in the Canadian economy, political life and public service. Social science graduates’ vast knowledge and analytical skills give them the potential to contribute positively to almost any organization, in the public or private sector. At the same time, they are often plagued by a lack of practical skills in quantitative data analysis that makes it hard for them to apply their knowledge to its’ full potential. Over 25% of social science bachelors’ degree holders are considered to be overqualified for their position1 [Statistics Canada, 2017a] and their earnings are under the Canadian median for University graduates [Statistics Canada, 2017b].
Data Science training offers a perfect solution to this problem. Data science is an interdisciplinary field that centers around the gathering and proper analysis of data, using techniques from statistics and computer science. It can give social science students a practical skillset highly relevant to both their scholarship and to future positions in public service or the private sector. Inspired by a similar Japanese initiative, this essay develops a policy proposition to develop a coherent national strategy aiming to enhance data science formation in social science departments.


Giving voice to the People: Use of citizen juries in shaping governance of digital health data in Canada
By Crystal Chan, University of Saskatchewan

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Abstract
There has been a push towards digitalization of the Canadian health system to improve service accessibility, quality, and efficiency. Advocates for a digital health information network (HIN) believe that it will help shift the emerging health system be more patient-centred. Trust is paramount when establishing a functional HIN, but average Canadians are excluded from the ongoing discussions. Citizen juries provide a transparent participatory process in which ordinary citizens are given an explicit opportunity to voice their opinions and be informed of the current issues. This policy brief recommends the use of citizen juries in shaping governance of digital health data.

 

Reconciliating the Indigenous Doctor Shortage Gap: Social Change through a Collaborative Community Empowered Network
By Alvin Meledath, Vancouver Island University

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Abstract
Chronic diseases like diabetes are significantly more common among Aboriginal communities, and they have a substantially shorter life expectancy than the general population. Suicide rates among Inuit youth are among the highest in the world: 11 times the national average (Jeremy Petch, 2013). Hence, given the health situation of the indigenous community, there is a growing need for focused attention for the indigenous community with regards to healthcare access and support without discrimination. Therefore, recruitment of Aboriginal doctors has become the top priority and goal for most Canadian medical schools as it would improve the cultural diversity in the schools and help communities receive more safe and culturally appropriate care.

April 9

Top 6-10 Papers from the Sixth Annual National Student Paper Competition


Top 6-10 Submissions from the Sixth Annual Student Paper Competition


Creating a comprehensive platform for food banks to address poverty-oriented data
By Milad Pirayegar Emrouzeh, University of New Brunswick

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Abstract
Canada is recognized for its high quality of life and outstanding standards of living, but “statistics show that nearly 4.9 million people are living below the poverty line and 1.2 million of these are children under the age of eighteen” (1). While national and provincial poverty-reduction projects have had a considerable effect on decreasing or controlling the poverty rate across the country, they have not significantly addressed the causes of poverty. It is not clear what are the roots and causes of poverty in the marginalized communities. The idea of smart City is a multi-dimensional concept, which includes several disciplines such as social, economic, and technological sciences. By using the indicators provided by the smart cities concept, it enables opportunities for city authorities and stakeholders to overcome social issues and enhance the quality of life, to improve economic conditions, and to provide better services. This paper aims to recommend a practical solution to address the roots and reasons of poverty based on smart city ideology.



An algorithm previously wrote this essay: Lessons for public consultations from Artificial Intelligence
By Gabe Senecal, Carleton University

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Abstract
In the digital age, we are overloaded by incomprehensible volumes of data like the characters of Borges’ 1944 short story La biblioteca de Babel (The Library of Babel).1 Borges’ characters are trapped in their massive library, which contains peculiar books. Every room, of which there are too many to explore in a lifetime, has the same number of shelves and volumes. The 410 pages of each book are filled with one unique permutation of letters and punctuation. Most combinations of characters do not result in words, let alone sentences or paragraphs, but since every combination exists every potential phrase is on the library’s shelves somewhere.2 Some trapped inhabitants search the volumes for the rare coherent fragment or paragraph, or even the meaning of their existence, which must be on the shelves—along with every false explanation. Shakespeare’s plays and the Harry Potter series are in the Library of Babel, but no human can read enough to find many coherent pages, let alone the information they seek. Inhabitants of the library have no alternative to tedious, directionless searching. Today, proactive governments can take advantage of access to more information than ever, but disorganized governments will flounder.

Cannabis: A plant with a potential worth investigating
By Reza Ghovaloo, Simon Fraser University 

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Summary
“Nothing will come of nothing.” This universal truth from Shakespeare’s play, King Lear, is an apt description of the need for cannabis research.


Five Eyes, 5G: Huawei and Telecoms Cybersecurity Procedures in Canada
By David Sparling, University of Saskatchewan

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Abstract
Within the next two years, the Government of Canada will regulate the construction of infrastructure to facilitate the transition to fifth-generation (5G) telecommunications networks. The evolution of Canada’s telecommunications networks will require a substantial increase in the number of cellular sites to realize the promise of faster downloads and an enhanced web of telecoms coverage. 1 This digital infrastructure project would be accelerated through the participation of Chinese megacorporation Huawei, an international telecoms leader that provides equipment at cheaper rates than competitors.2 However, including Huawei in the construction of 5G infrastructure could isolate Canada from allies in the influential Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network and expose Canada to potential cyber threats enabled by Huawei technology. 3 Considering the policy importance of 5G infrastructure integrity, the digital challenges posed by Chinese corporations like Huawei, and the importance of the Five Eyes network to Canadian security interests, the federal government should bar Huawei from Canada’s 5G networks until a revised screening procedure incorporating Five Eyes allies is established.

 

Meconium Testing to Detect Prenatal Alcohol Exposure: More Harm Than Good?
By Nicky Cairncross, Simon Fraser University

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Abstract
Meconium testing has been suggested as a novel approach to early identification and therefore intervention for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), a set of characteristics associated with prenatal alcohol exposure leading to life-long developmental health impacts. Meconium (newborns’ first stool) can been tested for specific biomarkers to establish whether a newborn has been exposed to alcohol in utero. One common biomarker is Fatty Acid Ethyl Esters (FAEEs), which are directly formed from metabolism of alcohol. This policy proposal presents a summary of findings to present the current advantages and limitations of meconium screening. Currently, there is a lack of research following up with children who test positive for FAEE to establish predictability of this screening tool. Given the stigma of admitting to prenatal alcohol use and the lack of evidence correlating positive FAEE screens with subsequent FASD diagnoses, meconium screening should be approached with caution. Policy recommendations to consider include 1) prohibiting the use of targeted meconium screening and 2) implementing mandated annual reporting on FASD prevalence to establish population level data.