Media releases

  • Brock co-led group makes recommendations on opening Canada-U.S. border

    Media Release: 27 May 2020 – R0094

    Businesses, organizations, shoppers and vacationers are among those hoping the Canada-U.S. border will fully reopen soon.

    More than $2 billion in trade flows between the two countries every day, but COVID-19 restrictions have limited border passage to the provision of essential services, with no indication of when it will open up.

    When that does happen, it has to be done responsibly and creatively so that there’s a “seamless” flow of trade between the two countries, says a bi-national group co-led by Brock University’s Niagara Community Observatory (NCO).

    “We’re not pushing for the border to re-open: health comes first,” says NCO Director and Brock Political Science Associate Professor Charles Conteh.

    “All of our recommendations are framed within the context of ‘when it is safe to do so,’ ‘when it makes sense to do so,’ how we responsibly proceed, and how we can take a multi-phased approach tailored to specific regions,” says Conteh.

    The NCO, along with the University at Buffalo and the World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara led a workshop earlier this month to examine how current border restrictions are impacting industry in Canada and the U.S.

    Representatives from industry associations, economic development agencies, the public sector, corporations engaged in cross-border commerce, bridge operators, academia and the policy community gave input into strategies for reopening the border “in a responsible manner.”

    The resulting strategies are contained in a list of seven recommendations subsequently released by the Binational Prosperity Initiative, a partnership between the NCO and the University at Buffalo.

    Conteh says it’s important that officials from both countries take a “tailored approach” moving forward.

    “We have to move from a one-size-fits-all opening of the border from coast to coast to thinking in a more tailored way, because the Niagara-Buffalo region will have different needs and particularities than the Windsor-Detroit region, for example,” says Conteh.

    He also stresses that economic recovery campaigns urging people to “buy American” or “buy Canadian” not be too exclusionary.

    “Canada and the U.S. are in the same sandbox together and make stuff together,” says Conteh. “There is a complex value chain across different sectors of industry, so any ‘Buy American’ should have a Canadian exemption, which would be us saying essentially ‘Buy Canadian and American.’ Do not exclude Canada in any stimulus packages because our economic destinies are bound together.”

    The Binational Prosperity Initiative’s seven recommendations include:

    • Take a cross-border regional approach to reopening the border, which would rely on states, provinces and regional border operators to share information on plans, metrics and progress, reporting the same to federal officials who have jurisdiction over the border.
    • Canada and the U.S. should use one regulatory regime — the Regulatory Co-operation Council — to align COVID-19 regulations especially related to medical supplies, logistics and transportation.
    • When enacting economic stimulus packages, U.S. legislators should incorporate a Canadian exemption into “Buy American” legislation and Canadian legislators should incorporate a US exemption into “Buy Canadian” legislation.
    • To facilitate economic recovery in both the U.S. and Canada, the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) should become active on July 1, 2020.
    • The U.S. and Canada should invest in border technology such as touchless thermometres to ensure border crossers are COVID-free.
    • The U.S. and Canada should expand the marketing of NEXUS as a solution to touchless processing at the border.
    • Border operators, such as the Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority and Niagara Falls Bridge Commission should receive government assistance to maintain operations.

    The recommendations have now been sent to policy officials and politicians at the federal and provincial and state levels.

    For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

    * Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University or 905-347-1970

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    Categories: Media releases

  • Brock-led research team gets $2.5-million SSHRC grant to study policies impacting diverse Canadian families

    MEDIA RELEASE: 25 May 2020 – R0093

    Parents working from home while caring for children or struggling to support their families while facing a job loss are challenges that have become achingly familiar to many Canadians.

    COVID-19 has shone a spotlight on services and policies that support, or constrain, parents as they care for and provide for their families, an area Canada Research Chair in Gender, Work and Care Andrea Doucet has been researching for decades.

    With a $2.5-million grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Brock University professor will be heading an international team of researchers to study how childcare services, parental leave policies and employment policies impact diverse Canadian families.

    The seven-year research program, “What is the Best Policy Mix for Diverse Canadian Families with Young Children? Re-imagining Family Polices,” will explore four key questions:

    • How are current Canadian childcare, parental leave and employment policies structured, financed and delivered, and what can we learn from national and international research?
    • What impacts do Canadian policies have on how diverse families live, work and care for their children and what can we learn from their lived experiences?
    • What approaches and data are needed to measure the effectiveness and inclusiveness of these family policies?
    • What is the best policy mix for Canada’s diverse families with young children?

    “This partnership aims to create cutting edge and accessible knowledges about these three key family policies in Canada: childcare services, parental leave policies and employment policies,” said Doucet, Professor of Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies at Brock.

    The team will also develop innovative approaches to assess and measure “how these policies are designed for — and experienced by — diverse Canadian families,” including Indigenous, racialized, newcomer, single parent, LGBTQI2S and low-income families.

    “This research program was developed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Doucet said. “At that time, the development of inclusive care-work policies were deemed as urgent, in the midst of a socio-political epoch marked by ‘care crises’ and rising employment precarity, which have profoundly altered how people live, work and care for significant others, especially young children.”

    Doucet said the team’s project is even more relevant with the arrival of COVID-19.

    “The pandemic has revealed how intertwined our working and caring lives are; how important and ‘essential’ care services and care workers are,” she said. “Childcare has emerged as one of the critical issues to economic recovery in Canada and in many other countries.”

    Doucet notes that parental leave benefits, which are already marked by social class differences outside of Québec, may have to be re-envisioned in a post-pandemic world, which will be a focus for Doucet and team members with expertise in parental leave and employment policies.

    “Pre-pandemic, we acknowledged that there was a widening gap between families who had, and families who did not have, access to affordable childcare services, leave benefits and workplace supports,” she said.

    With Doucet as Principal Investigator, the research team is made up of 53 people (29 co-investigators and 24 collaborators), including Brock’s Kate Bezanson, Associate Professor of Sociology and Associate Dean of Social Sciences, as one of the co-investigators. It also includes 34 partners from Canadian universities, non-profit organizations, international organizations, government departments, unions and a private sector company.

    The team’s lead community partner is the Childcare Research and Resource Unit led by co-investigator Martha Friendly, “who has championed childcare for nearly a half century,” said Doucet. In addition to Doucet and Friendly, the co-founders of the partnership are Donna Lero (University of Guelph) and Susan Prentice (University of Manitoba).

    The interdisciplinary research team includes four of Doucet’s current or former postdoctoral fellows: Sadie Goddard-Durant and Sophie Mathieu (Brock), Lindsey McKay (Thompson Rivers University) and Eva Jewell (Ryerson University), as well as one former PhD student, Karen Foster (Dalhousie University). The project will train more than 70 undergraduate and graduate students and several postdoctoral fellows.

    “The project is the culmination of three years of research consultations building upon three decades of team research and advocacy on childcare, and a decade of collaboration on parental leave and employment policies,” said Brock University Vice-President, Research Tim Kenyon. “With Doucet’s leadership, this research will contribute to Canadian policies that will support Canadian families’ caring and working lives, ultimately resulting in a stronger and more just society.”

    The seven-year project is being funded by SSHRC’s Partnership Grant program which supports formal partnerships between academic researchers and a range of community, non-profit, public sector, and private sector partners.


    For more information or for assistance arranging interviews: 

    * Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University, 905-347-1970 

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    Categories: Media releases