Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 80.45
Liaison Tori Grant
Submission Date Dec. 13, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Calgary
EN-14: Participation in Public Policy

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Megan Wibberley
Manager, Operational Sustainability and Reporting
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the municipal/local level?:
Yes

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 Urban Alliance is a research partnership between the City of Calgary and the University of Calgary, created in 2007 to encourage the transfer of research between the university and city.
The purpose of the alliance is to find the best solutions to complex problems facing Calgary, fostering world-class multi-disciplinary research and innovation, developing highly qualified personnel, and realizing the city’s and the university’s long-term priorities.
The mission of Urban Alliance is to seek out and implement solutions to pressing municipal issues through high-quality research. By leveraging the direct connections to the City of Calgary made through the Urban Alliance, the University of Calgary is able to better advocate for sustainability issues, influence public policies, actively participate in campaigns and serve as an agent for change at a local level.

The following is advocacy work made possible through the Urban Alliance:

1) To advocate for solutions to the affordable housing issues in Calgary, a professor in the Faculty of Environmental Design at the University of Calgary organized a three-day conference and panel discussion, bringing together more than 250 planners, scholars, and policy leaders. Conference contributions were organized around four themes explored in researcher/practitioner panels: policy design for effective implementation evidence-based practices, mobilization of resources; and planning strategies for the future.

https://www.ucalgary.ca/utoday/issue/2018-11-22/experts-explore-solutions-calgarys-below-average-share-affordable-housing
https://www.ucalgary.ca/utoday/issue/2018-11-22/four-cities-check-notes-field
https://evds.ucalgary.ca/news/design-explorations-housing-exhibition
https://www.ucalgary.ca/cities/affordable-housing

2) As a result of research that took place following the 2013 Calgary flood, Geoscience faculty members at the University of Calgary are advocating for the City of Calgary and insurance companies to recognize groundwater flooding as a hazard and to pay for a groundwater monitoring network in Calgary. This would better enable the municipal government to gather data needed to identify the risk zone for groundwater flooding on hazard maps. https://www.ucalgary.ca/utoday/issue/2018-06-19/groundwater-flooding-not-sewer-backup-blamed-damaging-homes-along-elbow-river-2013

3) An associate professor in the Faculty of Nursing is exploring the newcomer experience to Calgary and how it’s shaping their daily lives and impacting their health and well-being. An online interactive Emphatic Cultural Mapping (ECM) tool was developed using data from Statistics Canada, the Calgary Police Service and the City of Calgary. The goal of the tool is to advocate for better transportation networks in Calgary by explaining current walkability and mobility barriers to health and urban policy-makers.
https://www.ucalgary.ca/utoday/issue/2015-09-08/nursing-researcher-explores-link-between-health-and-transportation
https://www.ucalgary.ca/utoday/issue/2018-05-03/nursing-researchers-storytelling-tool-brings-together-small-stories-and-big-data

4) A faculty member and a graduate student in the University of Calgary’s Schulich School of Engineering completed The Economics of Low Carbon Development: Calgary, Canada, a case-study advocating for Calgary to transition to a low-carbon economy. The report examined the economics of Calgary switching to a more energy efficient, lower carbon development path. The findings of the case study were presented at the City of Calgary’s Climate Symposium in March 2018.
https://www.ucalgary.ca/utoday/issue/2018-04-06/low-carbon-plan-comes-economic-upside
http://climate.leeds.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Calgary-Exec-Sum-draft-4_Web.pdf


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level?:
Yes

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:

The University of Calgary’s Rothney Astrophysical Observatory (RAO) is home to one of the three largest telescopes in Canada. The observatory is used for student research, learning and is open to community members. One of the primary objectives of the RAO is to develop resources for the mitigation of light pollution. The RAO is the Southern Alberta Representative for the International Dark Sky Association. The RAO partners with the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada to lobby government and successfully influence legislation towards reducing light pollution in Southern Alberta. This advocacy includes ensuring that light pollution policies comply with the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America Guidelines (IES) standards. The RAO has also partnered with the Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Area (ASCCA) on dark-sky focussed curriculum programming. Mitigating the challenges of light pollution is important to astronomical research but also to humans, animals, birds, and insects due to negative biological and ecological impacts. Finally, the RAO partners with the Municipal District of Foothills for the Dark Sky Initiative bylaw.

Recent examples of Provincial Government advocacy include:

•2019 - RAO calls on citizens to make brightness observations of the night-time sky over their homes. The goal of this program is to collect enough data about the skies over Albertan municipalities to gain perspective on how much the nighttime sky is brightening and the subsequent increase in unnecessary energy consumption. Once the data is gathered and analyzed, the RAO contacts the City of Calgary and the Government of Alberta with their findings to advocate for any necessary policy change. https://www.ucalgary.ca/rao/citizen_scientist2018

•2018 – The Executive Director of the ASCCA met with Transport Minister of the provincial government in March 2018. The lighting concerns of provincial infrastructure development were discussed and light abatement solutions suggested.

•2018 – The Director of the RAO served as a consultant in the development of The Municipal District of Foothills light pollution bylaw, dubbed the Dark Sky Initiative (DSI) in 2009. In 2018, RAO arranged for the financial support needed for an educational extension of the DSI, called Dark Sky Country. As a result of this initiative, physical road signs are now erected all over, and an informative webpage is hosted on the RAO website.
https://www.mdfoothills.com/residents/planning/environment/dark_sky_initiative.html
https://darkskycountry.ca
https://ucalgary.ca/rao/dark_sky_country

•Ongoing - RAO presents at public forums on infrastructure and development involving the Government of Alberta. These meetings have involved discussions about the associated light pollution with upcoming development projects such as the new residential community planned for southwest Calgary, the Inter-Municipality Development Plan, and the Southwest Calgary Ring Road.

The advocacy work done through Rothney Astrophysical Observatory initiative is imperative as it helps conserve energy, reduce glare, safeguard wildlife and maintain views of the night sky and stars for residents of nearby communities and the RAO. As a result of the RAO’s engagement with public policy, The City of Calgary and the Government of Alberta have taken the RAO’s recommendations into consideration when incorporating light pollution policies into their projects.


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the national level?:
Yes

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:

The University of Calgary Public Interest Law Clinic (PILC) was founded in 2015. The clinic unites the mandates of the pre-existing Environmental Law Clinic and Constitutional Law Clinic. The PILC’s objective is to promote systemic change by:
-Involving law students directly in public interest issues through legal research, writing and advocacy
-Working with other organizations and individuals to advocate for systemic change in public law matters, including issues that affect the disadvantaged and the environment
-Advocating for law reform through legislative proposals and impact litigation
-Strengthening access to justice through pro bono legal research and advocacy

This pro-bono clinic exclusively works on projects that address systemic legal issues pertaining to access to justice, human rights, equality, public health law, and environmental law. Services offered by the Clinic include legal advice, legal representation, and publications. The PILC also works with individuals and organizations on public interest law reform projects. PILC services are provided by second and third year law students at the University of Calgary who are taking the PILC class. These students are supervised by law professors and the clinic’s Executive Director. Most recently, the PILC has worked on the following cases:
•Supporting impact litigation to modify the way Alberta Environment and Environmental Appeals Board interpret and apply their governing legislation
•Drafting materials for a Federal Court action to protect the endangered Westslope Cutthroat Trout
•Proposing amendments to federal animal welfare regulations to better align laws with industry practice and international animal welfare standards
•Advocating for the court to recognize that, oil and gas companies should be held accountable for ensuring that their abandoned oil wells are cleaned up on farmers’ land; and
•Supporting a human rights commission complainant who wants health law to apply fairly to transgender patients.

https://www.ucalgary.ca/pilc/about-us/pilc-media
https://www.lawnow.org/public-interest-law-clinic-at-the-university-of-calgary/
https://www.ucalgary.ca/pilc/faq
https://alberta.ctvnews.ca/fight-over-abandoned-oil-wells-heads-to-the-supreme-court-1.3770805
https://www.ucalgary.ca/pilc/faq
https://law.ucalgary.ca/research/natural-resources-energy-environmental-law


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the international level?:
Yes

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:

Since 1976, the University of Calgary has been home to the Arctic Institute of North America (AINA). AINA is Canada’s first and longest-lived Arctic Research Institute. AINA has been a Permanent Non-State Observer at the Arctic Council for 15 years and contributes to the Council’s many initiatives, including most recently the 2018 Arctic Observing Summit. The AINA works in partnership with northern and Indigenous organizations, researchers, governmental and non-governmental institutions and all others interested in Arctic issues. The mandate of AINA is to advance the study of the North American Arctic through the natural and social sciences, the arts and humanities and to acquire information on physical, environmental and social conditions in the North.

AINA strives to meet its mandate by:
-Actively participating in campaigns aiming to change public policy to advocate for the mitigation of climate change, preservation of biodiversity of Arctic species and languages
-Endorsing public policies that advance sustainability by sharing research from disciplines such as glaciology, geomorphology, geology, biology, botany, zoology, hydrology, limnology, climatology, physiology, anthropology and archaeology
-Supporting legislation advocating for the preservation of the Arctic
-Providing infrastructure in support of research and education at the Kluane Lake Research Station in Yukon
-Participating in international conferences and workshops with organizations from Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, The Russian Federation, Sweden and the USA
Recent examples of advocacy and engagement with public policy and legislators:
-Arctic Council- Sustainable Development Working Group in Finland (September 2017)
-The Canadian Consortium for Arctic Data Interoperability (December 2017)
-ArcticNet Annual Science Meeting (December 2017)
-Arctic Council, Sustainable Development Working Group meeting in Finland (March 2018)
-POLAR Board Meeting (March 2018)
-Arctic Observing Summit in Switzerland (June 2018)
-POLAR 2018 in Switzerland (June 2018)
-T-MOSAiC (Terrestrial Multidisciplinary distributed Observatories for the Study of Arctic Connections) Executive Committee meeting in Portugal (September 2018)
-2018 CAFF Arctic Biodiversity Congress 2018 in Finland (October 2018)
Arctic Council Arctic Environment Ministers Meeting in Finland (October 2018)

https://arctic.ucalgary.ca/


A brief description of other political positions the institution has taken during the previous three years (if applicable):
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A brief description of political donations the institution made during the previous three years (if applicable):
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The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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