media release

Conference challenges policy limits

April 23, 2014

Scott McLean, SFU Vancouver, 778.782.5151,
Olena Hankivsky, SFU Public Policy, 778.782.5182,

The limitations of current policy research and evaluation will be under a microscope beginning Thursday when Simon Fraser University’s Institute for Intersectionality Research and Policy (IIRP) hosts the Intersectionality Research, Policy and Practice: Influences, Interrogations and Innovations conference, from April 24-26.

The international conference is the first of its kind in scope. It has attracted more than 250 participants from government, community and academia from across Canada, the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Uganda, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.  

Intersectionality is an approach that identifies, accounts for, and evaluates a variety of intersectional social, political, and economic forces at every stage of policy making. The goal is to ensure that policies meet their stated objectives, advance equity and social justice, and make effective use of tax dollars.  

“Whether we are thinking about big picture issues—changing demographics, growing and persistent inequities, poverty, violence, educational reform, Indigenous rights—or local health and planning issues, like addiction and homelessness in Vancouver’s downtown eastside, governments are facing increasingly complex social, political and economic realities,” says Olena Hankivsky, a professor in SFU’s School of Public Policy.

“With limited tax dollars and increasingly complex populations, we can no longer afford to play guess-and-test with our policies. Research strategies and approaches need to evolve, and they need to do so quickly.”

Founded in 2005, the IIRP is at the forefront of intersectional scholarship in Canada. It provides scholars, policymakers, and service providers opportunities to collaborate with other organizations, centres, and institutes throughout Canada and internationally that are developing intersectionality as a framework for research and policy.

For more information on the conference, including schedule, please visit:

Simon Fraser University is consistently ranked among Canada's top comprehensive universities and is one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 125,000 alumni in 130 countries.


Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.

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