York-led paper uncovers gap in health promotion research

research graphic

A team of researchers from York University and Ontario Tech University have published a paper in the journal Health Promotion International (HPI) that analyzes how contributors to the journal conceptualize unions, unionization and collective agreements as promoting health.

The paper, published Oct. 7, finds that the health-promoting possibilities of unionization and working under collective agreements are a neglected area among HPI contributors.

The research team – York graduate students Jessica Muller, Faisal A. Mohamed, Mary Catherine Masciangelo, Morris Komakech, Anum Rafiq and Azeezah Jafry, along with York Professor Dennis Raphael and Ontario Tech University Associate Professor Toba Bryant – explored reasons for this by drawing on an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development report.

Dennis Raphael
Dennis Raphael

The report looks at the importance of collective bargaining and was used to identify areas for health promotion research and action.

Researchers considered 2,443 articles published in HPI since its inception and found that only 87 (3.6 per cent) mention unions, unionization, collective agreements or collective bargaining, with most saying little about their role in promoting health.

Further, the study shows that 20 articles make cursory references to unions, or refer to them as providing support and engagement opportunities for individuals, while 45 depict unions or union members as involved in a health promotion program or activity carried out by the authors or by government agencies.

The study shows that only 33 articles explicitly mention unions, unionization or collective agreements as potentially health promoting, which represents just 1.3 per cent of total HPI content since 1986.

With these findings, the paper suggests the journal can support the promotion of health research and action, and raise awareness, by:

  • encouraging engagement with this article through HPI-invited commentaries;
  • addressing the issue through special issues with a focus on union and labour influences on health and health-related public policy, as well as industrial relations and health; and
  • creating an ongoing section dedicated to industrial relations.

Unionization and working under collective agreements appear to provide many health benefits, said Raphael. The benefits include improving the quality and equitable distribution of the social determinants of health of income through wages and benefits (Western and Rosenfeld, 2011), enhanced job security (Hagedorn et al., 2016) and better working conditions (Zoorob, 2018).

As well, enhanced wages and benefits achieved through unionization positively affect additional social determinants of early child development, food and housing security, and reduce social exclusion.

“Considering the growing influence of the corporate sector upon public policy in Canada and the declining numbers of Canadians belong to unions, refocusing on the health-promoting effects of unionization and working under collective agreements seems especially timely,” said Raphael.

To read the full study. “A bibliometric analysis of Health Promotion International content regarding unions, unionization and collective agreements,” visit this link.

Schulich Executive Education Centre and Scale AI form training partnership

A handshake, this is a featured image for YFile

Scale AI, an Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada Supercluster, will fund eligible Schulich Executive Education Centre (SEEC) participants who enrol in the Masters Certificate in Analytics for Leaders program with a total grant of approximately $200,000 in the first year.

This is Scale AI’s first partnership with SEEC, a unit of the Schulich School of Business at York University, and the funding amount is expected to grow in subsequent years.

SEEC’s Masters Certificate in Analytics for Leaders aims to provide participants with up-to-date learning in the areas of data, digital transformation and artificial intelligence (AI). Scale AI is working to cement Canada’s foothold in the AI industry and train tens of thousands of professionals for the future, with a mission to accelerate the integration of AI across all Canadian organizations, large and small.

“Partnering with Scale AI further enables the Schulich Executive Education Centre to offer career-transforming programs to professionals who need to acquire or enhance their digital, data and artificial intelligence acumen,” said Rami Mayer, executive director of the Schulich Executive Education Centre. “Scale AI’s mission in advancing AI capability across Canada aligns with our own vision to offer cutting-edge training from coast to coast, in rural and urban areas – in essence, to all communities. With their financial support and our programs, we believe hundreds of Canadians can fast track their AI training, advance their career and have a positive impact on the Canadian economy.”

Rami Mayer
Rami Mayer

This partnership will provide education and financial support from Canada’s top-ranked business school to help hundreds of Canadian professionals develop artificial and digital intelligence skills.

Julien Billot, CEO of Scale AI, said, “Imagining and developing AI solutions to business problems is not enough. It is critical to have skilled professionals in the field to implement and give effect to these solutions on a daily basis. Enabling the development of a specialized workforce is therefore a key element of our industrial strategy whose goal is to help address current labour shortages, meet the needs of businesses and give Canadians access to interesting and well-paying jobs.”

“The Masters Certificate in Analytics for Leaders is focused on addressing a current skill and knowledge gap in AI,” said Murat Kristal, program director of the Centre of Excellence in Analytics at the Schulich Executive Education Centre and professor in the Schulich School of Business. “We feel that a partnership with a Supercluster such as a Scale AI will truly accelerate upskilling in areas of artificial intelligence.”

Interested participants can begin the application process by visiting the program website. To be eligible, participants need to be employed in Canada by an organization with a registered office in Canada. Participants will need to supply a written attestation to the Schulich Executive Education Centre confirming they have not received nor expect to receive any other government financial assistance related to the tuition cost of the training program.

For more information on the Schulich Executive Education Centre, visit its website.

For more information on Scale AI, visit its website.

Canadian Jewish Literary Awards celebrate six works


The Canadian Jewish Literary Awards will celebrate six outstanding Jewish-themed works this year, with an online presentation ceremony on Oct. 17.

Now in its seventh year, the awards program recognizes Jewish writing in fiction, biography, Jewish thought and culture, poetry, history, books for children and youth, Yiddish, scholarship and Holocaust categories.

The awards ceremony will be presented on Zoom on Oct. 17 at 2 p.m. and will be simultaneously broadcast (and available for later viewing) on the Canadian Jewish Literary Awards YouTube channel. The winning authors will speak about their books and answer questions submitted by the audience. Those attending on Zoom will be able to participate in the Q-and-A portion of the event.

In past years, the celebratory event has been held at the Tribute Communities Recital Hall at York University, attracting audiences and authors from around the world. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s presentation ceremony will be delivered in a virtual format.

This year’s winners:

  • Fiction: Gary Barwin for Nothing the Same, Everything Haunted: The Ballad of Motl the Cowboy (Random House Canada)
  • Biography: Menachem Kaiser for Plunder: A Memoir of Family Property and Nazi Treasure (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • Poetry: Lisa Richter for Nautilus and Bone (Frontenac House)
  • Children and Youth: Sigal Samuel for Osnat and Her Dove (Levine Querido)
  • Scholarship Rebecca Clifford for Survivors: Children’s Lives After the Holocaust (Yale University Press)
  • Holocaust: Judy Batalion for The Light of Days: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler’s Ghettos (William Morrow)

The Canadian Jewish Literary Awards recognize the finest books with Jewish themes and subjects by Canadian authors in a variety of genres. The awards program enriches and promotes Canadian Jewish writing and culture, enabling a better understanding of our collective past, our shared present and the world of the future. The Canadian Jewish Literary Awards do more than reward winning authors with a cash prize and a moment in the spotlight. They build pride, not only in the individuals being honoured, but in the creative achievements that reflect Jewish themes and ideas.

The event is supported by the Israel and Golda Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies at York University.

For more on the awards, visit cjlawards.ca. To register for the event, visit this link.

OsgoodePD introduces entrance awards to support internationally trained students

osgoode entrance

Osgoode Professional Development (OsgoodePD) is introducing two entrance awards – the OsgoodePD International Entrance Award of Excellence and the OsgoodePD International Entrance Award of Merit – to support internationally trained lawyers in their pursuit of legal education in Canada by joining Osgoode Hall Law School at York University.

“A diverse student body is an integral part of professional graduate programs. Since class discussion is a central feature of our interactive, seminar-style classes, a diversity of student experience creates a basis for rich discussions of knowledge about the law from around the world,” says Meghan Thomas, director of international and professional graduate programs at OsgoodePD. “These awards have been established to encourage more international applicants to consider Canada and OsgoodePD as an option for graduate legal study.

“We aim to build an inclusive, welcoming community for international students – one that offers a wide range of courses, as well as individualized support to help students achieve their goals. OsgoodePD has an unwavering commitment to community, academic excellence and student services.”

As part of one of the largest law schools in Canada, OsgoodePD offers more than 100 courses across 17 specializations, taught by some of the country’s top legal practitioners, academics and internationally recognized subject experts. Programs at OsgoodePD are designed to bridge theory and practice for legal professionals.

“Through one-on-one advising and skills-based workshops, students have access to subject matter experts who are passionate about supporting students’ goals and helping them identify new opportunities,” Thomas says.

Applications for Fall 2022 are open now, and the deadline for awards applications is Jan. 15, 2022. Winners for the inaugural awards will be announced in April 2022.

Ebrahim Ghafar-Zadeh and Saghi Forouhi

Postdoctoral Fellow Saghi Forouhi and Assistant Professlor Ebrahim Ghafar-Zadeh

Associate Professor Ebrahim Ghafar-Zadeh and postdoctoral Fellow Saghi Forouhi have published a book titled Emerging CMOS Capacitive Sensors for Biomedical Applications: A Multidisciplinary Approach

Free tuition gives kinesiology student fresh start

Ravenne Rivera

By Ashley Goodfellow Craig, YFile deputy editor

For York University student Ravenne Rivera, starting her first year for the second time has had its advantages.

The undergraduate student, enrolled in the Faculty of Health’s Kinesiology and Health Science program, had embarked on her post-secondary journey in the fall of 2020, but her studies were deferred when she encountered challenges with OSAP funding for the winter term. She worked with the University to sort it out, and her enrolment was deferred to fall of 2021.

Ravenne Rivera
Ravenne Rivera

For Rivera, this meant pursing her first year of studies a second time – but it also allowed her to re-enter York’s First Year for Free Contest, which offers students a chance to win free tuition.

“It was just pure shock,” she said about learning she had won. “It was amazing and it was something I didn’t ever expect.”

The win, she said, gives her financial security and will allow her to focus on her post-secondary studies and her dream of one day working in the medical field. It also boosts her motivation to succeed.

“It definitely motivates me a little bit more. I was already motivated for first year … but knowing that the tuition is free, it is a bit of a relief,” she said, adding that she can put all of her focus on doing well in school. “It means a lot to me, it means a lot to my future.”

Studying at university has been a dream of Rivera’s since she was a young girl. It was a path, she said, she always knew she wanted. Intent on studying kinesiology and with dreams of eventually becoming a surgeon, she said York University was her top choice for post-secondary studies.

“I knew York has a really good kinesiology program – I’ve been reading about it since Grade 9, and it’s always ranked as one of the top programs – so my mind was already set [on York] from the beginning,” she said.

As for her experience at York so far, she said it’s been very positive.

“It’s a gateway to new opportunities and new lessons learned,” she said.

Spray days pest control treatments scheduled for Oct. 15 to 17

Photo by Egor Kamelev from Pexels

Pest control spray days at the Keele and Glendon campuses will begin Friday, Oct. 15 at 5 p.m. and end Sunday, Oct. 17 at 5 p.m.

Work is undertaken using accepted practices and approved materials. Professional PCO Services holds an Eco Green Ergonomic Extermination certificate from the Ministry of the Environment. A work permit/notification has been submitted and approved by York University’s Health, Safety & Employee Well-Being office.

For further information, contact Tim Haagsma, manager of grounds, fleet and waste management, Facilities Services, at ext. 20303 or thaagsma@fbo.yorku.ca; or Tom Watt, director of Food Services, Ancillary Services, at ext. 55517 or watttm@yorku.ca.

Focus on collaboration and mentorship at Dr. Eric Jackman Health Scholars Learning Forum

LaMarsh Centre for Child & Youth Research

Two keynote speakers will discuss the power of collaboration on Oct. 18 when the LaMarsh Centre for Child & Youth Research at York University presents the 2021 Dr. Eric Jackman Health Scholars Learning Forum.

Running from 3 to 5:30 p.m., the event aims to explore the impact of collaboration and mentorship and will also feature presentations from research teams at York University.

Keynote speakers will present on “The Power of Knowledge Translation for Community Change” and speak on their knowledge mobilization expertise and efforts. The keynote speakers are:

  • Keiko Shikako, Canada Research Chair in Childhood Disability: Participation and Knowledge Translation; co-lead, Knowledge Translation Program, CHILD-BRIGHT; and
  • Connie Putterman, family engagement in research co-ordinator at CAMH; co-lead, Knowledge and Translation Program, CHILD-BRIGHT.

The Dr. Eric Jackman Health Scholars Award is designed to support student research teams that will be funded to carry out community-engaged research alongside a LaMarsh faculty member and community partner. Teams are meant to foster a situation where both scholars receive mentorship from the faculty member, and the undergraduate scholar receives mentorship from the graduate scholar.

Teams will present an update of their project at this event, where the scholars, faculty member and community partner will speak to the impact of collaboration and mentorship.

Jackman is the founding Chair of the Psychology Foundation of Canada and heads the Jackman Foundation with an interest in child development.

To register for this virtual event, visit this page. To learn more about the research teams and their presentations, visit the event page.

Research-based exhibit on vaccination features panel discussions with York experts

A photo with a black backgroud that features two vials of COVID-19 vaccine and a syringe

York University faculty members and graduate students will participate in an exciting series of panel discussions running this fall as part of <Immune Nations>, an evidence-based exhibition about the constructive role that art can play in public discourse around life-saving vaccines.

<Immune Nations> is the first multi-year research-based exhibition to specifically address the issue of vaccination from a collaborative, interdisciplinary perspective, attentive to the arts and its many roles for advocacy and political intervention. The outcome of a multi-year project that was developed prior to the pandemic (2014-17) and co-led by Natalie Loveless (University of Alberta) with Steven Hoffman (York University) and Sean Caulfield (University of Alberta), the exhibition explores complex issues related to the use and distribution of vaccines in the world today and the capacity of artistic research to solicit complex forms of affective engagement when dealing with difficult and divisive social and political topics such as vaccination.

Steven Hoffman
Steven Hoffman

Hosted at the McMaster Museum of Art, the exhibition presents features collaborative art and research projects, including original work alongside new work produced in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The panel discussions feature York’s ​Steven Hoffman, Dahdaleh Distinguished Chair in Global Governance and Legal Epidemiology, professor and director of the Global Strategy Lab; Alison Humphrey, Vanier Scholar and PhD candidate; and Caitlin Fisher, professor and director of the Immersive Storytelling Lab.

The discussions will be hosted on Zoom, and include an audience Q-and-A. All panels are free and open to the public.

Ensuring Equitable Access: Life-Saving Vaccines during COVID-19 and Beyond

Thursday, Oct. 14, 12 to 1:30 p.m.

This panel will explore the global deployment and lack of access to life-saving vaccines.

Moderator: ​Steven Hoffman, director, Global Strategy Lab

Annemarie Hou, appointed executive director, United Nations Office for Partnerships;
Alison Humphrey, Vanier Scholar and PhD candidate, York University;
Lauren Paremoer, senior lecturer, University of Cape Town; and
John-Arne Røttingen, ambassador for global health, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway.

To learn more about the panellists and to register, click here.

Research-Creation and Global Crisis: Interdisciplinarity, Creativity and Collaboration

Thursday, Nov. 25, 12 to 1:30 p.m.

This panel investigates the role of research-creation in tackling pressing social and global problems.

Moderator: Natalie Loveless, associate professor of contemporary art and theory, University of Alberta

Ted Hewitt, president of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada;
Charu Kaushic, scientific director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Infection and Immunity, and professor in the Department of Medicine, McMaster University;
Caitlin Fisher, director of the Immersive Storytelling Lab and Professor of Cinema and Media Arts, York University;
Patrick Mahon, artist, curator and visual arts professor, Western University; and
​Kim TallBear, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience and Environment, and professor of Native Studies, University of Alberta.

To learn more about the panellists and to register, click here.

Vaccine Confidence, Fear and Misinformation in an Age of COVID

Thursday, Dec. 9, 12 to 1:30 p.m.

A panel exploring the impact of misinformation on vaccination as well as ways of countering the negative impacts of misinformation in relation to public health.

Moderator: Sean Caulfield, Professor, University of Alberta

Timothy Caulfield, Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy, University of Alberta;
Rachelle Viader Knowles, head of international for arts and humanities, Manchester Metropolitan University;
Dr. David Price, professor and Chair of the Department of Family Medicine, McMaster University; and
Theresa Tam, chief public health officer of Canada.

To learn more about the panellists and to register, click here.

Brain food: McLaughlin Lunch Talk Series serves up four events for October

McLaughlin College invites the York University community to come and listen to interesting speakers as they share their knowledge on a variety of topics during the popular Lunch Talk Series. The long-running series continues this year in a virtual format via Zoom.

Students who attend six or more Lunch Talks throughout the year will receive a Certificate of Participation, while those who attend 10 or more will receive a Certificate of Honour.

There are four events scheduled for October:

Distant States are as Responsible for the Refugees as the Neighbours – Oct. 6, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

Presented by Boldizsar Nagy, associate professor at the Central European University, this event explores the argument that countries next to the home countries of the refugees have the duty to take up the refugees, and more distant states may refuse their admission. This talk will show that this is a morally false position that cannot be justified, so neither the “first country of asylum” nor the “safe third country” rule is morally tenable. Naturally, it is not denied that practical reasons may militate in favour of protecting refugees close to their home, but no normative claim can be based on them.

Nagy teaches international law and refugee law. He studied law and later philosphy at the Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE) in Budapest, and has acted as a practising international lawyer on several occasions, including the Gabčikovo-Nagymaros Project Case at the International Court of Justice. For more on his background, visit this page.

Register for the event here.

Fast-track Removals from the U.S.: Violations of Due Process and Non-Refoulement Obligations at the Southern Border – Oct. 7, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

In recent years, the majority of those deported from the United States each year are sent back to their home countries through summary procedures. Bypassing the immigration court system, these summary removals are improperly punitive, deny due process and violate fundamental non-refoulement obligations under U.S. and international law. This talk, presented by Sabrineh Ardalan, a clinical professor of law, will will provide an overview of recent policy changes that have led to an increase in fast-track removals, the legal framework for these removals and case studies that highlight the impact of these summary procedures on asylum seekers.

Ardalan is the the director of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program. At the clinic, Ardalan supervises and trains law students working on applications for asylum and other humanitarian protections, as well as appellate litigation and policy advocacy. She has authored briefs submitted to the Board of Immigration Appeals as well as to the federal district courts, circuit courts of appeal and the U.S. Supreme Court on cutting-edge issues in U.S. asylum law.

Register for the event here.

The New EU Migration and Asylum Pact: Daylight at the End of the Tunnel or a Dead End? – Oct. 14, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

On Sept. 23, 2020, the European Commission proposed the New Pact on Migration and Asylum, which is supposed to reform the existing European Union (EU) migration and asylum framework. However, the future of the Migration Pact is far from certain – considering the current stage of negotiations among EU member states, it is questionable whether the legislative proposals put forward by the European Commission will ever be adopted and, if so, what their final versions will look like. The aim of this talk, presented by Iris Goldner Lang, is to address the challenges the increasing number of migrants and refugees and the COVID-19 outbreak have had on the EU migration and asylum policies, and to discuss whether the Migration Pact can respond to these challenges by ensuring efficient and human rights-compliant practices. Special attention will be drawn to the most important novelties proposed by the Migration Pact, the challenges of their implementation and the importance of solidarity among EU member states.

Lang is a Jean Monnet Professor of EU Law at the University of Zagreb. She is the holder of the UNESCO Chair on Free Movement of Persons, Migration and Inter-Cultural Dialogue and an academic co-ordinator of the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence “EU’s Global Leadership in the Rule of Law.” She has held visiting positions at University College London and at Harvard Law School, where she was a John Harvey Gregory Visiting Professor of Law and World Organization and a Fulbright Visiting Researcher.

Register for the event here.

The 2021 Canadian Election: The Election No One Wanted – Oct. 18, 12:30 to 2 p.m.

When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called a snap federal election in the midst of the pandemic in the hopes of winning a majority, the five-week summer election campaign ended with virtually the same results as the last election in 2019. The outcome was another Liberal minority government, which prompted commentators to say, “All this for that?” There were many disappointments during this “pandemic election,” including the fact that it was the most expensive election in Canadian history and it had the lowest turnout on record.

McLaughlin College has assembled a panel of experts to offer their analysis of the 2021 federal election results and to share their thoughts and reflections on what this general election will mean for Canada, both in the short- and long-term.

Moderator: James C. Simeon is head of McLaughlin College and associate professor in the School of Public Policy and Administration (SPPA), York University. He is a former director of SPPA. His principal areas of research include public international law, especially, international refugee law, and public policy and administration.


Sylvia Bashevkin is a professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto. Some of her scholarly distinctions include fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Political Science Association Prize in International Relations. Title of the talk: Do unnecessary elections invite trouble for governing parties?

Robert Drummond is University Professor Emeritus, Department of Politics and School of Public Policy and Administration, York University. His key areas of expertise are politics and government, public policy, Ontario politics, public politics in an aging society, political parties and elections, pensions and retirement policy, and labour policy.

Denis Pilon is an associate professor in the Department of Politics at York University. He is the author of Wrestling with Democracy: Voting Systems as Politics in the Twentieth Century West and The Politics of Voting: Reforming Canada’s Electoral System.

Frederick Fletcher is University Professor Emeritus, Communication Studies and Politics, at York University. His research and teaching have focused on the media and politics, with special attention to elections and electoral democracy. His recent research deals with coverage of Indigenous issues in mainstream newspapers and the challenges faced by traditional media in the digital era. Title of the talk: Campaign 2021: News media narratives and images

Register for the event here.