|Submission Date||June 24, 2020|
University of Alberta
EN-14: Participation in Public Policy
|2.00 / 2.00||
Program Lead - Academic Programs and Initiatives
Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the municipal/local level?:
A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the municipal/local level, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:
The MetroLab Network is an international collaboration of 27 cities, 6 counties, and 34 universities focused on civic research and innovation. MetroLab aims to “cultivate partnerships between universities and local governments to drive research-informed, evidence-based policy and enable data and technology transformation.” Under the network, universities and the cities in which they reside enter a formal partnership in which the university is the city’s R&D department and the city is the test bed.
The University of Alberta and City of Edmonton joined the network in September of 2019. The University of Alberta President endorsed this partnership stating that “the partnership gives the university and the city the opportunity to bring their expertise to the world.” The Mayor of Edmonton affirmed that “[i]t’s a great opportunity to join a network of researchers to help create technological advancements that contribute to community and personal wellness.”.
Within the scope of driving evidence-based policy as part of MetroLab, the University of Alberta and the City of Edmonton are collaborating on three projects:
1. Alberta Cooperative Transportation Infrastructure and Vehicular Environment (ACTIVE-AURORA): The project will help governments understand how connected vehicle technology can best be applied to Canadian roads while providing the framework for harmonized regulations so the new technologies can be implemented throughout North America. Functioning as a comprehensive resource, ACTIVE-AURORA enables stakeholders in industry, government, and post-secondary institutions to support government agencies to establish standards and protocols related to Connected Vehicle technology by exploring its related policy and institutional issues.
2. Advancing Towards Smart Buildings (Sensor-Rich Built Environments): The City’s interest in Smart Buildings is motivated by the need to improve the planning, design, construction, and operations of its facilities. The City envisions the use of building information models (BIMs) as a means to support broad consultations with citizens about major construction projects, as well as to advance better design and constructions practices. Furthermore, using model-checking methods on BIMs, the City aims to advance the compliance of new projects with state-of-the-art design practices and improve the overall accessibility and quality of its buildings.
3. Project Automated Nursing Agent (Project Ana): It will use AI technology to assist independent Edmonton seniors with tasks such as managing phone calls and taking their medication. The application will be able to ask and answer questions while remotely reporting the patient’s state of health to caregivers.
Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level?:
A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:
HOUSING FOR HEALTH PROJECT
With the support of a grant by the Canadian federal government, Dr. Karen Lee has assembled an interdisciplinary Housing for Health team at the University of Alberta to work directly with two Alberta municipalities, a local real estate developer, and many other partners to improve housing developments and their surrounding neighbourhoods for health, in particular physical activity, healthy food and beverage access, social connection and inclusion, and healthy aging.
This project was launched with the support of UAlberta’s Vice-President (Research) in May of 2019 and it will benefit more than 4,000 residents in the two Alberta municipalities. Policy advocacy is part of this project.
To date, they have provided recommendations to two Alberta ministries to build healthy, sustainable communities and improve the sustainability of the built environment. They are as follows:
1. Recommendations to the Government of Alberta Ministry of Infrastructure regarding the development of the Alberta 20-year Strategic Capital Plan.
2. Recommendations to the Government of Alberta Ministry of Seniors and Housing for their Affordable Housing Review Panel.
The next piece of policy the project team is advancing is a set of Healthy Community Guidelines that are being developed with approximately 60 partners including multiple Alberta municipalities and provincial government ministries.
Looking forward, Dr. Lee is expecting additional guidelines, policies, and possibly municipal bylaws to come out of this work.
Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the national level?:
A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the national level, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:
Dr. David H. Turpin, the 13th president of the University of Alberta, is a member of both the Universities Canada Board of Directors and Research Advisory Committee. Founded in 1911, this association is a non-governmental, membership-based organization headquartered in Ottawa. It consists of 97 public and private not-for-profit Canadian universities, governed by a board of directors consisting of university presidents.
This membership organization provides university presidents with a unified voice for higher education, research and innovation. Universities Canada: advocates for Canadian universities at the federal level; provides a forum for university leaders to share ideas and address challenges in higher education; supports students by providing online information on university study and offering scholarships on behalf of private sector companies; and, fosters collaboration among universities and governments, the private sector, communities and international partners to help build a better world.
One of the priority work areas of Universities Canada is: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. Four key outcomes make up Universities Canada’s advocacy efforts in this area. Universities Canada is collaborating with member universities and stakeholders from the government, private and community sectors to achieve the following four outcomes through ten specific actions:
- Increased capacity at Canadian universities to integrate equity, diversity and inclusion in their teaching, research and governance.
- Increased availability of results from equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives to inform institutional practices and public policy development.
- Increased engagement in national public policy conversations to provide thought leadership on equity, diversity and inclusion.
- Increased federal support to advance equity, diversity and inclusion at Canadian universities.
U15 GROUP OF CANADIAN RESEARCH UNIVERSITIES
Dr. David H. Turpin, president of the University of Alberta, is the Vice-Chair of the U15 Executive Heads. The U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities was established in 1991 to advocate for research and development funding from provincial and federal governments. The three federal granting councils operated by the federal government are largely focused on environmental and social sustainability: the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the Canadian Institute for Health Research. Among various objectives, U15 works with federal policy makers to improve conditions for fundamental research and connects leading experts from all fields to those seeking expertise for public policy or news.
For example, in the 2020 Pre-budget Submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance (August 1, 2019), the U15 advocated for strategic decisions in Budget 2020. To ensure Canada prospers while mitigating and adapting to the impacts of climate change, the U15 recommended that Budget 2020 make strategic investments in:
- Discovering new, innovative low-carbon solutions, building on unique Canadian techno-logical capabilities, geography and vast natural resources.
- Training the next generation of workers and innovators for sustainable low carbon/clean tech jobs and businesses.
- Helping our clean tech SMEs develop innovative solutions for domestic and global markets and secure a foothold in these globally competitive and rapidly evolving markets.
Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the international level?:
A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the international level, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:
A brief description of other political positions the institution has taken during the previous three years (if applicable):
A brief description of political donations the institution made during the previous three years (if applicable):
The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
Government Relations Associate
Office of Government and Community Relations
Dr. Karen Lee
Director, Housing for Health
Associate Professor, Division of Preventative Medicine
Department of Medicine
Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry