Faculty Research Projects

The BC Insulator Union's Campaign to Promote Climate Literacy in Construction: Documenting Its Efforts to "Green" the Industry's Culture

John Calvert, Associate Professor, Health Sciences, SFU

The role of the labour movement in contributing to Canada’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy use has not been the subject of scholarly attention in much of the climate change literature in recent years. Unions have largely been ignored as the academic literature and popular media have focused on the role of climate scientists, environmental NGOs, governments, industry, and professionals in addressing Canada’s climate challenges. 

The focus of this research paper is to document the efforts of a small British Columbia (BC) based union, the BC Insulators, to reduce energy use and GHG emissions in the work performed by its members while attempting to foster climate literacy in the broader construction industry. 

Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change

Photo by Jusdevoyage on Unsplash

Paid sick leave finally on the agenda: Here’s why it matters

May 27, 2020

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives published on its Policy Note blog on the state of access to paid sick leave in BC & the importance of bringing in a legal entitlement to paid sick leave to expand access. 

The brief, co-authored by Kendra Strauss and Iglika Ivanova (Senior Economist and Public Interest Researcher (CCPA), shares some new data from their BC Employment Precarity survey.  

News link

How the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the vulnerabilities and long-term impacts of policies aimed at expanding the role of for-profit companies in BC's long-term care sector

Andrew Longhurst and Kendra Strauss’s research was covered in media.

Andrew Longhurst (PhD student, Department of Geography) and Kendra Strauss’s (Associate Professor and Director, Labour Studies Program, and Associate Member, Department of Geography) research brief published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives was covered widely in the media over the last week. The research brief discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the vulnerabilities and long-term impacts of policies aimed at expanding the role of for-profit companies in BC's long-term care sector, causing precarious working conditions, low pay, and staffing shortages.


Workers in the Aging City: "Eldercare labor markets in Vancouver and Shanghai"

Workers in the Aging City: Eldercare labour markets in Vancouver and Shanghai is a SSHRC-funded project led by Dr Feng Xu (Political Science, UVic) and Dr Kendra Strauss (The Labour Studies Program, SFU). The project, which runs from 2016-2020, will investigate policy on, and definitions of, paid eldercare work in two major urban labor markets with very different care regimes. It will also examine the recent evolution of labor markets for paid eldercare workers, and their relationship to urbanization and migration; and contribute to policy-relevant research on precarious employment, urban precarity, and the social dimensions of urban sustainability.

Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Climate Change/Work in a Warming World

Work in a Warming World was a CURA (SSHRC Community-University Research Alliance) project. The book by the same name was published in 2015 by McGill-Queens Press.

This CURA project is to ran from 2009 to 2014; the Labour Studies Program originally had two of its members, Stephen McBride and Marjorie Griffin Cohen as collaborators; they were joined by another member, John Calvert. Stephen McBride has since moved to McMaster U. 

All members of Steering Committee have done labour related research, some of it as part of Work in a Warming World, but mostly as part of their research areas.

Understanding Precarity in BC: A Multidimensional Approach

This project is a partnership between the SFU Labour Studies Program and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA). The aim is to explore the forms and impacts of precarious employment in BC, and to address knowledge gaps about precarity in the province. This project will help build the body of research on precarity, and address key knowledge gaps including dimensions of precarity in non-urban communities.

Making Ends Meet: Low Wage Work, Poverty and Healthy Communities in Vancouver

The Living Wage for Families Campaign is running a three-year project to better understand the experiences of those doing low-wage work, in partnership with Dr. Kendra Strauss, Director of the SFU Labour Studies Program and the SFU Morgan Centre for Labour Research. This project is possible due to financial support from the Vancouver Foundation. 

Past Projects

Decolonizing Labour Studies through Indigenous Literature

The Decolonizing Labour Studies through Indigenous Literature project is led by Dr. Kendra Strauss and funded by the ISTLD Decolonizing Teaching grant. From October 2018 - September 2019 this project will explore decolonizing approaches in Labour Studies by integrating Indigenous novels into the LBST 101 curriculum. This project aims to create "space for deep engagement with settler colonialism as an ongoing process that is integral to the Canadian economy, capitalism and labour markets. The goal is for students to gain knowledge and understanding, through Indigenous literature as storytelling, of settler colonialism as a system and as lived experience that has implications for both Indigenous peoples and settlers – and to utilize this understanding as a foundation for their analyses of labour, the economy and the labour movement."

For more information on our faculty and their research please visit our Faculty biographies.