Congratulations to the Master of Public Policy and Administration (MPPA) students who were the recipient and runner-up of the Ian MacDonald Memorial Essay Prize. This prize recognizes the best of the single-authored student essays submitted as part of term-work for courses in the MPPA, MPNL or MA-SEP.  Receiving this prize is evidence of strong analysis and writing skills, as well as hard work.

Dora Chan, MPPADora Chan, MPPA

Dora Chan is the 2021 winner for the essay, “Permanently Temporary? Status of Migrant Agricultural Workers in Canada” written for PADM 5121, nominated by Prof. Alexandra Mallett.

ABSTRACT: The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the important role that migrant workers play in Canada’s multi-billion-dollar food economy, but at the same time, the pandemic has also shone a light on the vulnerabilities that migrant workers face. This paper investigates the historical origins, economic context, and policy design of the agricultural programs under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, and evaluates what have been considered successes and failures of managed migration and recent reforms. Using Peter Hall’s (1993) framework for policy change, this paper argues that migrant workers’ rights have thus far been addressed in a piecemeal fashion through first and second order policy reforms to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, but to truly ensure migrant worker protections, a third-order paradigmatic change is required which addresses the structural design of the program. The current Canadian immigration policy paradigm privileges skilled migrant workers and values them with paths to permanent residence and eventually citizenship, while essential “lower-skilled,” largely racialized migrant workers continue to face exploitation due to their temporary status, with few pathways to permanent residence. The paper explores what a third-order paradigmatic change to offer pathways to permanent residence for migrant agricultural workers might look like, as well as implications for the Canadian economy and migrant-sending countries.

Matthew Blackshaw, MPPAMatthew Blackshaw, MPPA

Matthew Blackshaw is the runner-up this year for the essay, ““And how would we pay for that?”: Requisite policy instruments of a universal basic income,” written for PADM 5121, nominated by PhD in Public Policy graduate and adjunct professor Mary Bartram.