Policy Lab 2023: MPP Candidates Tackle Real-World Problems

Our Policy Lab provides an opportunity for our students to explore tangible problems put forward by our partner organizations.

Our MPP candidates are hard at work on the 2023 Policy Lab, a culminating part of the Master of Public Policy program and a chance for them to apply their skills and knowledge in real-world contexts. Tackling challenges posed to them by the Max Bell School’s extraordinary network of partner organizations across all sectors and with coaching from professors and experts alike, this year's nine teams are addressing pressing problems in diverse issue areas from trade policy and climate change to housing affordability.

Supply Management Regime | Competition Bureau 

group of students standing outside

From left to right, MPP candidates Jack Burnham, Anne Frumkin, Jimy Beltran, and Julian Lam.

Jack Burnham, Jimy Beltran, Julian Lam and, Anna Frumkin are working with Competition Bureau on Canada’s supply management regime for dairy with coach Luc Vallée. 

"The Policy Lab Challenge has helped us engage with a variety of stakeholders across the domestic and international dairy industry and deepened our understanding of the challenges faced by Canadian dairy farmers," the team said. "Looking forward, we hope that we will be able to share a series of robust policy solutions to promote the long-term health of the industry."

Climate Adaptation and Mitigation | Ghana Climate Innovation Center

Starting from back row from left to right, MPP candidates Gianna Formica, Isabel Diavolitsis, Vivian Allison, and Coreen Enos. 

Under the coaching of Nii Addy, Max Bell School students Vivian Allison, Gianna Formica, Isabel Diavolitsis and Coreen Enos are tackling a complicated challenge from the Ghana Climate Innovation Center surrounding climate adaptation and mitigation.  

"Our Policy Lab on Ghana has broadened our international horizons, strengthened our teamwork skills, and introduced us to the wicked problem that is climate adaptation work. At the end of our journey together, we aim to share actionable policy solutions to help improve the livelihoods of Ghanaians and help build resilience in the face of major environmental changes." 

Digital Privacy and Inclusion | Interac 

From left to right, MPP candidates Elisa Alloul, Caroline Wilson, Harshini Ramesh, and Imani Thomas. 

How do we best ensure digital inclusion and control of data? Caroline Wilson, Imani Thomas, Harshini Ramesh and Elisa Alloul are hard at work on this challenge posed by Interac with the help of coach Neil Bouwer. 

“Our Policy Lab has encouraged us to think critically about the intersection of law, politics, policy, and identities, and the associated challenges with creating well-rounded policy initiatives," said the team. "We seek to influence the narrative around policymaking for digital privacy in Canada and bring new and innovative ideas to the discourse.” 

Adequate Housing for Veterans | Canadian Human Rights Commission - Federal Housing Advocate 

From left to right, MPP candidates Anmol Gupta, Alison Clement, Sandrine Desforges, and Taylor Chase.  

Sandrine Desforges, Anmol Gupta, Taylor Chase and Alison Clement were tasked by the Canadian Human Rights Commission to address veteran homelessness at a national level and ensure the right to adequate housing for all veterans across Canada.

“To get an in-depth understanding of the complexities of this issue, we engaged with subject-matter experts such as government agencies, veteran-serving organizations, homelessness-serving organizations and equity-seeking groups, domestically and internationally," commented the team. "Working on this Policy Lab has allowed us to understand the power of collaboration, compassion, and commitment in addressing a real-world challenge that has real-life impacts on individuals experiencing housing insecurity. It is an honour to serve those who have served our nation.”

5G and Evolving Generations of Network | Ville de Montreal

From left to right, MPP candidates Germán Arango Ibarra, Dominique Garreaud, Fred-William Mireault, and Ben Hooker. 

Following the large-scale development of 5G and the evolving generations of network, Max Bell students Fred-William Mireault, Germán Arango Ibarra, Dominique Garreaud and Ben Hooker are helping the Ville de Montreal in creating and implementing best practices with guidance from coach John Stewart.

“5G is a promising technology with the potential to transform internet connectivity and service provision as we know it. However, 5G also raises legitimate concerns for infrastructure, risk management, and the role of municipalities wishing to prepare for the new wave of spectrum. Our team is hard at work as we seek to provide la Ville de Montréal with informed and insightful recommendations for the large-scale deployment of 5G technologies in the city.”

Conservation, Protection and Restoration of Natural Infrastructure in Canada | Intact Foundation 

From left to right, MPP candidates Ankitha Cheerakathil, Janmejay Sahoo, Prodpran Wangcherdchuwong, and Linda Bùi. 

How should the Federal Government accelerate the conservation, protection and restoration of natural infrastructure in Canada? Intact posed a challenge to MPP candidates Linda Bùi, Ankitha Cheerakathil, Prodpran Wangcherdchuwong and Janmejay Sahoo who have been researching ways to address this with help from coach Justin Leroux.

"Natural infrastructure is considered a solution for both climate adaptation and mitigation to improve community and ecosystem resilience. We are looking into ways to accelerate the action on natural infrastructure on a federal level."  

Social Policy Implication of Less-Cash Society | Bank of Canada

From left to right, MPP candidates Hayley Krieger, Megan Warsame, Sokhema Sreang, and Aftab Ahmed. 

MPPs Aftab Ahmed, Sokhema Sreang, Hayley Krieger, and Megan Warsame with coach Olivia Smith are tackling the social policy implication of a cashless (or less-cash) society for the Bank of Canada.

“We focused on several groups that experience systemic financial exclusion – unhoused populations, Indigenous Peoples, older people, and survivors of domestic abuse. It surprised us to find, through our research and stakeholder consultations, how far-reaching the impacts of less-cash is on these groups. Our solutions will aim to protect cash access, make financial services more accessible, and ensure these vulnerable groups do not get left behind in this transition to less-cash.”

Incentivizing Emissions Reductions and Energy Retrofits | Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

From the left to the right, MPP candidates Nicole Simineri, Simon Topp, and Abigail Jackson.

MPPs Nicole Simineri, Simon Topp, and Abigail Jackson are working with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and coach Leslie Fierro on steps the federal government can take to incentivize emission reductions while maintaining the affordability of Canada’s housing stock.

“Connecting with the people who are at the forefront of this important work, from stakeholders to policy experts to local organizations, has been an invaluable learning experience. We look forward to incorporating their perspectives, insights, and ideas into a comprehensive policy solution. Ultimately, we hope our suggestions play a part in achieving Canada’s goal of reaching net-zero by 2050.”

Promoting EDI Within Rural Communities | Canada Economic Development

From the left to the right, MPP candidates Tomo Newton, Asma Bouikni, Lin Frazer, and Rahma Aslam.

Canada Economic Development has posed a challenge to MPPs Tomo Newton, Asma Bouikni, Lin Frazer, and Rahma Aslam to identify regional economic development frameworks that prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion. The team is using these development frameworks to inform the revitalization strategies of two rural regions in Quebec.

"Traditional approaches to economic development are too often siloed from social policies, when the reality is that social policies that nurture inclusive communities are essential to flourishing and sustainable economies. Canada Economic Development team and our coach Pearl Eliadis have consistently encouraged us to think beyond the bounds of traditional policy solutions and provided endless support throughout this process. "

We're looking forward to these presentations and reports in July, which will be posted on our website.


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