Research explores financial assistance for organizations during pandemic

Person using black calculator

New research by Schulich School of Business Professor Gregory Saxton, at York University, suggests that non-profit organizations were more likely to apply for U.S. government aid during pandemic lockdowns – and use that aid to maintain staffing levels – when those organizations had pre-existing, long-term financial obligations to donors.

Gregory Saxton closeup portrait
Gregory Saxton

To help small businesses cover payroll costs and keep employees on the job throughout the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, the U.S. federal government created the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) in April of 2020. The program issued almost 12 million loans worth nearly $800 billion, and these loans were forgivable if the business kept payroll at pre-pandemic levels.

The program had the potential to be especially beneficial to non-profit organizations; however, not all eligible non-profits participated and not all received loan forgiveness. Saxton’s research sought to shine light on why businesses decided to apply, and what motivated certain businesses to meet the requisites for loan forgiveness.

To examine what motivated non-profits’ participation in the program, Saxton, a professor of accounting, and his co-authors – Paul Wong, from the University of California-Davis; and Daniel Neely, at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee – analyzed data from over 100,000 non-profits that applied for PPP loans. The results of their study were recently published in Management Science in their article, “Nonprofit Organizations’ Financial Obligations and the Paycheck Protection Program.”

The authors found that only 38 per cent of eligible non-profit organizations participated in the PPP, substantially lower than for-profit businesses.

They also found that non-profits with long-term debt obligations and donor-restricted net assets were more likely to apply for and receive PPP loans. In effect, an organization’s financial obligations – such as debt or promises to donors to use resources in a specific manner – played an important role in determining PPP participation and the characteristics of the loans obtained. Notably, not only did pre-existing financial obligations make organizations more likely to participate in the program, but financial obligations led participating organizations to receive larger loans, relative to payroll costs, and increased the likelihood that their loans were ultimately forgiven.

This study furthers understanding of the PPP by examining the financial characteristics of participating businesses. At a practical level, the study informs policymakers in designing business-focused economic relief programs to maximize societal benefit during economic downturns.

Overall, the study suggests that the PPP played a crucial role in supporting both employment and critical services during the COVID-19 pandemic. “The PPP helped to keep non-profits afloat during a very difficult time,” Saxton said. “It’s clear that the program was particularly beneficial for non-profits with pre-existing financial obligations.”

York collaborates on international post-pandemic recovery research

A young woman dons a mask to protect against the novel coronavirus FEATURED image for York library story
A young woman dons a mask to protect against the novel coronavirus FEATURED image for York library story

York University Associate Professor Claudia Chaufan will collaborate with a group of interdisciplinary researchers to investigate post-pandemic recovery and best practices for future global emergencies with a grant from the New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF).

Claudia Chaufan
Claudia Chaufan

The $500,000 award was announced as part of the Government of Canada’s NFRF’s 2022 Special Calls stream, which aims to support emerging research as needed.

Chaufan, from the Faculty of Health, is a co-principal investigator on an interdisciplinary team of six researchers from across Canada, along with: Claus Rinner, Toronto Metropolitan University (principal investigator); and co-investigators Candice Chow, McMasters University; J. Christian Rangel, University of Ottawa; Elaine Wiersma, Lakehead University; and Wang, Yiwen, University of Toronto. The project is led by Toronto Metropolitan University.

The project’s team consists of researchers from across the globe, including co-applicant Andrea Valente of York’s Faculty of Education, as well as Canadian experts in governance, healthcare, law, media and communications, and international collaborators from Jamaica, Western Europe, Israel, Kenya and Uganda who specialize in behavioural sciences, economics, epidemiology and philosophy.

The research aims to examine the social and economic inequities amplified by COVID-19 on an international scale. Together, the researchers will look at how social cohesion and inclusivity can be strengthened through community engagement in decision-making with respect to future emergencies. They will also explore how governments can improve communication and build trust with communities.

According to the research team, this research contributes to achieving four United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs): UN SDG 3 Good Health and Wellbeing, by assessing to what extent a holistic view of public health informed the pandemic response; UN SDG 10 Reduced Inequalities, by assessing the impact of pandemic responses on social and health equity; UN SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities, by identifying vulnerable communities, even in high-income countries; and UN SDG 16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, by examining to what extent the policy development process was transparent and able to ensure inclusivity and accountability.

The team’s research methods will include case studies, critical document analysis, discourse analysis and visualization, as well as oral histories and creative work to investigate operational consideration of the social determinants of health and value-based governance.

The project’s findings will help inform future policy on disaster management.

For more, visit

York Circle Lecture explores pandemic’s impact on health care

The pandemic has brought to the fore inequities in health care, labour, mental health access and global health

Two York University researchers will share their expertise during the May 6 instalment of the York Circle Lecture series, which will explore how health care has been impacted by the pandemic.

Jennifer Steeves
Jennifer Steeves

The in-person Lunch & Lecture event, hosted by York University’s Division of Advancement, Alumni and Friends, welcomes Jennifer Steeves, academic Chair for the 2022-23 lecture series and associate vice-president research, to host and moderate this event. Steeves is set to lead poignant discussions with York University expert faculty members as they deliver keynotes on an array of topics related to this season’s overarching theme: “The Pandemic: COVID’s Impact on Canada’s health care system.”

The Saturday session will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and features topics that examine virtual reality and its practical applications in medicine and therapy, as well as managing obesity through COVID-19 lockdowns and beyond.

The speakers and their presentations:

Lora Appel, assistant professor at York’s School of Health Policy & Management, Faculty of Health
“Not just virtual, but virtuous reality: Therapeutic uses of VR for people with cognitive, sensory and mobility impairments”

Virtual reality technology is increasingly being relied upon as a valuable tool in healthcare, for skills training as well as screening, diagnostic and therapeutic applications. The pandemic has emphasized and called attention to the unmet needs of our growing aging population; at the same time, it ensured that digital and virtual care are here to stay. This talk presents some of the emerging research in therapeutic VR interventions across the spectrum of care from acute to community settings.

Jennifer Kuk, associate professor at York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science, Faculty of Health
“Obesity management during COVID and beyond – how to tip the scales in your favour”

The COVID-19 pandemic presented many challenges to our health. For some of us, this period was also associated with rapid weight gain, while others were more successful at managing their weight. Learn about the science behind why weight loss is so hard, and strategies that may help tip the scales in your favour.

To sign up for the May 6 event, and upcoming York Circle events, click here.

First launched in 2009, the York Circle events series has remained a platform for demonstrating the ideas and research generated by dedicated members of the York community. Presenters from each of the University’s Faculties are invited to speak on topics ranging from gender issues, brain function, mental health, international aid, sports injuries, financial policy and many more evolving subjects. To see summaries of past lectures, and bios on the speakers who delivered them, click here.

Research calls for governance of wildlife trade in pandemic treaty

Black woman typing on a laptop

Researchers from York University’s Faculty of Health have co-authored a study investigating the governance of pandemic prevention in the context of wildlife trade.

Published in The Lancet Planetary Health, the research considers the current institutional landscape for pandemic prevention and how prevention of zoonotic spillovers from the wildlife trade for human consumption should be incorporated into a pandemic treaty.

Raphael Aguiar
Raphael Aguiar
Adrian Viens
Adrian Viens
Mary Wiktorowicz

Professors Mary Wiktorowicz and A.M. Viens, along with doctoral candidate Raphael Aguiar, collaborated on the research with colleagues from the University of Washington. The researchers argue that a pandemic treaty should be “explicit about zoonotic spillover prevention and focus on improving coordination across four policy domains, namely public health, biodiversity conservation, food security, and trade.”

A pandemic treaty, they say, should include four interacting goals in relation to prevention of zoonotic spillovers from the wildlife trade for human consumption: risk understanding; risk assessment; risk reduction; and enabling funding.

Ideas about preventative actions for pandemics have been advanced during COVID-19, but researchers say more consideration on how these actions can be operationalized, with respect to wildlife trade for human consumption, is needed.

“To date, pandemic governance has mostly focused on outbreak surveillance, containment, and response rather than on avoiding zoonotic spillovers in the first place,” the study states. “However, given the acceleration of globalization, a paradigm shift towards prevention of zoonotic spillovers is warranted as containment of outbreaks becomes unfeasible.”

According to Raphael, “A risk-based approach to wildlife trade and its interconnected threats can be used to situate the governance of pandemic prevention in relation to their shared causal pathways. This approach enables more efficient coordination of responses.”

Trade-offs must be carefully balanced to meet multiple objectives, says Wiktorowicz. For instance, while bans on all wildlife trade could reduce health risks, they may undermine access to food for some local and indigenous populations around the world and alter incentives for sustainable land use.

“Pandemic prevention at source needs to be based on a better understanding of how interaction with wildlife increases health risks to humans along the entire trade chain, so that overregulation does not occur,” says Wiktorowicz.

The researchers note that containment of zoonotic outbreaks and prevention of spillovers into pandemics could become more difficult to manage with increased globalization and urbanization, and this calls for an international institutional arrangement that accounts specifically for these possibilities.

“The current pandemic treaty negotiations present an opportunity for a multilateral approach, to address deep prevention,” adds Viens.

Read the full study “Global governance for pandemic prevention and the wildlife trade.”

Wiktorowicz and co-author Eduardo Gallo Cajiao (University of Washington) will present the paper in a seminar at the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research on April 26 at 1 p.m. See the event listing online for more information and details on how to attend.

Award for research on cardiac rehabilitation during COVID-19

a stethescope and a heart

A paper co-authored by York University researchers that investigates how COVID-19 impacted the delivery of cardiac rehabilitation (CR) worldwide has earned the Best Global Heart Journal Paper Award for 2023 from the World Heart Federation.

The award, which recognizes work that advances heart health and fights cardiovascular disease, will be presented at the World Heart Summit, May 19 to 21, to the team of researchers that includes York University Faculty of Health Adjunct Professor Gabriela Lima de Melo Ghisi (lead author), Professor Sherry Grace (senior author) and Adjunct Professor Susan Marzolini.

Sherry Grace
Sherry Grace

The team – including researchers from University Health Network, Shanghai Xinhua Hospital, Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Nursing, NYU Langone Health, Sydney Nursing School, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, University of Saskatchewan, University Centre Shrewsbury and Sir H. N. Reliance Foundation Hospital – studied the impacts of COVID-19 on cardiac rehabilitation around the world, with a focus on closures and the associated effects on patients and providers.

Taking a cross-sectional approach, the team surveyed 1062 cardiac rehabilitation programs from 70 different countries, and found the pandemic resulted in the temporary closure of roughly 75 per cent of programs. As well, the programs that continued to run were found to offer less comprehensive care, changed to virtual delivery, and stopped accepting new patients.

“Given the estimated number of CR programs globally, these results suggest approximately 4,400 CR programs globally have ceased or temporarily stopped service delivery. Those that remain open are implementing new technologies to ensure their patients receive CR safely, despite the challenges,” reads the paper, titled “Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Cardiac Rehabilitation Delivery around the World” published in the Global Heart journal.

The paper concludes that alternative cardiac rehabilitation delivery models are necessary to ensure safe, accessible heart rehab care.

“This work all began from a Faculty of Health Minor Research Grant for the first Global Audit in 2016. We had really laid the groundwork of our international network of cardiac rehab, and so were poised to assess the impacts of COVID-19 as soon as the pandemic hit,” says Grace. “We are proud to contribute to York’s leadership in global health, and plan to repeat the audit again soon with the pandemic waning in many regions of the globe. We hope to see that programs have re-opened and virtual rehab delivery is reimbursed.”

York-led study finds most COVID-19 border closures ineffective

Closed boom barrier with stop sign against the Canadian flag. Restricted entry or certain ban in Canada. 3D rendering

A research team from the Global Strategy Lab (GSL) at York University looked at border closures implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic and concluded that many were ineffective, illegal and even when they did work, were so disruptive that in the future they should only be used when absolutely necessary.

Mathieu Poirier
Mathieu Poirier

The new study, among the first to evaluate the effectiveness of border closures initially put in place three years ago to slow the spread of the then novel coronavirus, found that targeted closures did little to curb the crisis, and, if evaluated based on what we know now, would likely be considered illegal under international law. The most extreme shutdowns, on the other hand, were temporarily effective but came at a great cost. Border closures should be used as a means of last resort and decisions around closures would be most effective if co-ordinated globally by the World Health Organization, says the paper’s lead author Mathieu Poirier.

The Global Strategy Lab will host a presentation of the paper at 9 a.m. on March 17, the three-year anniversary date of Ontario declaring a provincial emergency and the day after Canada barred entry to non-residents. Poirier, along with co-authors York Professor Susan Rogers Van Katwyk and GSL data analyist Gigi Lin will present, in discussion with Kelley Lee, professor of public health with Simon Fraser University and Canada Research Chair Tier I in Global Health Governance.

The one-hour webinar will present research findings by the authors and provide an opportunity for questions from the audience. Those interested in attending the event, titled “Three Years Later: A Look Back At The Impact Of Border Closures On COVID-19,” can register here.

“People just assumed at the time that these measures were effective, but that’s not necessarily the case,” says Poirier, Faculty of Health social epidemiology professor and York Research Chair in Global Health Equity and co-director of GSL. “Our study shows, using real-world data, that for most countries, in most situations, border closures are not going to be the best approach.”

The research was published this week in PLOS Global Public Health. Poirier and his GSL co-authors – which also includes York Professor and GSL Director Steven Hoffman – looked at available information from 166 countries and evaluated whether border closures curbed spread both domestically and internationally.

Total border closures – defined as barring non-essential travel from all other countries and implemented by the vast majority of countries in March 2020 – did temporarily slow COVID-19 transmission globally. However, the wave of targeted border closures a month earlier aimed at travellers from hotspots did not slow down the global pandemic. On a national level, targeted closures did work in some situations, but the most effective were implemented early and were so extensive that they approached a total closure. Border closures can also divert resources away from other pandemic measures and reduce global co-operation when it is most needed during a pandemic crisis.

Border closures have a huge effect on people’s lives and the economy when compared to other measures such as quarantines, restricting public gatherings and test-and-tracing approaches. But if other less disruptive measures are not possible, then applying border closures early is key. Poirier acknowledges that deciding how early is not a straightforward process.

“If you’re not making those difficult decisions early on, then that decision-making process might already be too late, but if you are the first country to implement a closure, that’s likely going to be very unpopular.”

This challenge is further complicated by the lack of reliable real-time information available to decision-makers.

“Some countries may not be reporting what they know, and many more countries aren’t testing or don’t have the infrastructure to actually know what’s happening on the ground in the first place,” he adds, noting data is not solely an issue in autocratic regimes. “With these fast-moving pandemic threats, it’s probably best to assume that we don’t know what’s happening.”

Under the International Health Regulations, restrictions should not be more stringent than necessary and methods like border closures should only be implemented if supported by science.

“Looking back, most countries’ border closures were likely illegal, but that science was not available to decision makers at the time,” Poirier concludes. “This research suggests closures may have a role to play in future pandemics but should be implemented with strong caution and in co-operation with other countries.”

Learn more at News @ York.

Doris Anderson Award honours for two York University grads

Award stock image banner from pexels

The awards, which commemorate the trailblazing legacy of Chatelaine magazine editor Doris Anderson, celebrate Canadians who exemplify the grit and ingenuity, two characteristics often used to describe Anderson.

The iconic Canadian magazine announced the awards earlier this month. York grad Birgit Uwaila Umaigba (MEd ’18, BScN ’16) leads the list of recipients of the award, and Osgoode Hall Law School grad Michelle O’Bonsawin (LLM ’14) received an honorable mention.

The two York grads were named among a 2022 cohort that includes such luminaries as Canadian politician Anita Anand and Olympian Marie-Philip Poulin.

Birgit Uwaila Umaigba

Birgit Uwaila Umaigba. Image by @ amybrathwaite (
Birgit Uwaila Umaigba. Image by @ amybrathwaite (

Umaigba was named a Doris Anderson Award recipient for elevating the voices of Canadian nurses on the front lines of pandemic care. Umaigba has a masters of education and a bachelor of science in nursing from York University.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Umaigba was on the front line highlighting to the media the stories and struggles of Canadian nurses. A clinical instructor and professor at Centennial College’s nursing program, Umaigba has an intimate understanding of the issues Canada’s nursing sector faces.

As a new mother, clinical instructor and master’s student, Umaigba decided to work as an agency nurse while she juggled the many demands in her life. Agency nurses work outside the facilities where they are employed and have no benefits, paid sick days or job security. During the pandemic, she became well known as she spoke out about the challenges that health-care workers and in particular, agency nurses, faced during the pandemic.

Through her advocacy, Umaigba has raised awareness about how racialized and poor communities have borne the brunt of the pandemic, the mental health struggles nurses face and the injustice of Ontario’s Bill 124.

Michelle O’Bonsawin

Michelle O'Bonsawin. Image courtesy of the Supreme Court of Canada
Michelle O’Bonsawin. Image courtesy of the Supreme Court of Canada

In 2022, O’Bonsawin became the first Indigenous justice named to the Supreme Court of Canada. A member of the Abenaki First Nation of Odanak, she’s a champion of using Gladue principles – a judicial approach that takes into consideration Indigenous oppression.

With a distinguished legal career that has spanned more than 20 years, O’Bonsawin is a highly respected jurist. She was first appointed to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Ottawa in 2017. Prior to her appointment, she was general counsel for the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group for eight years. In this role, she developed a thorough understanding of legal issues related to mental health and performed significant research regarding the use of Gladue principles in the forensic mental health system, appearing before various administrative tribunals and levels of courts, including the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, the Consent and Capacity Board, the Ontario Review Board, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, the Ontario Court of Justice, and the Ontario Court of Appeal.

She began her legal career with the legal services at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and was then counsel with Canada Post, specializing in labour and employment law, human rights, and privacy law. O’Bonsawin has taught Indigenous law at the University of Ottawa’s Common Law Program and was previously responsible for the Indigenous Relations Program at the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group. She is a frequent guest speaker on Gladue principles, Indigenous issues, as well as mental health, labour and privacy law.

More about the Doris Anderson Awards

In 2021, Chatelaine magazine renamed their annual Women of the Year honours to celebrate Doris Anderson, who began as the magazine’s senior editor in 1957. Over the course of her 20-year tenure as editor of the magazine, Anderson became well-known for her her tenacity, grit and determination. In her vision for Chatelaine, Anderson set out to create a women’s magazine that gave its readers information to re-imagine their lives, moving away from the “perfect, little hem-stitched housewife” that magazines during the 1950s were urging woman to be. Instead, Anderson published features on abortion, birth control and reproductive rights, equal pay, universal childcare and more, long before many of these topics were covered by other forms of media. Anderson died in 2007, the awards commemorate her enduring legacy.

Associate Professor Sarah Barrett earns 2022 Dean’s Research Impact Award

diverse group of people talking

Associate Professor Sarah Barrett is the recipient of the 2022 Faculty of Education Dean’s Research Impact Award (Established stream). Barrett was recently recognized and presented with the award at an internal Faculty event.

Sarah Barrett
Sarah Barrett

The Dean’s Research Impact Award is awarded annually to a tenure stream member of the Faculty of Education in the Emerging and Established scholar streams, whose sustained programs of research displayed significant impact, broadly defined and relative to their career stage. The award recognizes research excellence, leadership, and innovation including sustained and significant contributions to the field, exceptional research achievements and leadership in research.

“In nominating you for this award, your colleagues were inspired by the interdisciplinary nature of your work, spanning as it does cultural studies, feminist theory, science education, and teacher education,” said Dean Robert Savage. “They were particularly moved by your recent report, Emergency Distance Education during the COVID-19 Pandemic, highlighting that it is one of the first of its kind to offer a comprehensive analysis of teachers’ experiences at one of the most difficult times in the profession.”

As one of Barrett’s nomination letter writers commented, “the report amplified the voices of teachers whose frustrations, hopes, creative ideas and fears had not been adequately captured or mirrored back to them.” Another letter writer noted that Barrett’s approach to research generates “the hope of building something more,” while another Faculty colleague recognized the power of Barrett’s research to engage “what needs to be done to ensure socially just conditions of learning both during COVID-19 and re-imagine education in the coming years.”

Barrett’s research focuses on teachers’ experiences of how their values and beliefs influence their practice; the ethical aspects of environmental education; teaching science for social justice; science teacher education; and developing more inclusive high school science curricula. Her current research revolves around teachers’ experiences of teaching online during the COVID-19 pandemic. She has authored several articles on teachers’ experiences of their unions and workplaces, teacher education and teacher identity, and presented at several national and international conferences.

York Circle Lecture Series explores COVID’s impact on marginalized communities

A group of people wearing face masks

The 2022-2023 York Circle Lecture Series will resume on Jan. 29 at 10 a.m. with a virtual lecture that takes a deep dive into this year’s theme “The Pandemic: COVID’s Impact on Canada’s Health Care System.”

Professor Jennifer Steeves, the academic Chair for the 2022-23 lecture series, is the associate vice-president research (AVPR) and will moderate the event as some of York’s leading faculty members present on a variety of topics related to this year’s theme.

On Jan. 29, three speakers will share insights on the topic “Coping in Silence: COVID’s Impact on Marginalized Communities.” The event runs from 10 a.m. to noon.

The speakers and their presentations:

Michaela Hynie
Michaela Hynie

Michaela Hynie, professor at the Faculty of Health, Department of Psychology
“Resilience in the face of crisis—again: Sources of support and strength during COVID among Canadians with a recent history of forced displacement” 

Forcibly displaced people may be more affected by COVID than others, even when they have resettled in a new country. Hynie conducts research on communities experiencing social conflict, social exclusion, or forced displacement and migration and their access to health care. She will discuss the work she has done with recent newcomers to Canada and what we can learn about social policies and social networks and the impact on their well-being during a crisis in the face of limited resources and displacement. 

An image of Nazilla Khanlou
Nazilla Khanlou

Nazilla Khanlou, associate professor in the Faculty of Health, School of Nursing
“The Shadow Pandemic”: Gender-based violence during the COVID-19 pandemic”
Trigger warning: Some audience members may find certain aspects of the presentation on gender-based violence upsetting. This information is provided to describe the importance of the issue and its impacts.

Globally, violence against women has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic – UN Women has referred to this as the “Shadow Pandemic.” Khanlou’s research is based on mental health promotion among youth and women in multicultural and immigrant-receiving settings. She will draw from a project she led on the mental health impacts of gender-based violence on racialized women during the COVID-19 pandemic with a focus on implications for policy and practice, such as considering gender-based violence as a public health issue. 

Jonathan Weiss
Jonathan Weiss

Jonathan Weiss, professor in the Faculty of Health, Department of Psychology
“Coping and Resilience During the Pandemic for Families of Children with Developmental Disabilities”

Families of children with autism and other developmental disabilities faced unique challenges during the pandemic. Weiss’s research focuses on mental health in people with autism or intellectual disabilities, and their families, across the lifespan. His talk will examine the increased demand placed on caregivers and families of children with developmental disabilities as a result of COVID-19. He will explain the disproportionate negative mental health impacts these families face and the current lack of resources that are available to address their mental health needs.

Register for the event here.


Year in Review 2022: Top headlines at York University, September to December

the year 2022 writeen out

As a new year emerges, YFile takes a look back on 2022 to share with readers a snapshot of the year’s highlights. “Year in Review” will run as a three-part series and will feature a selection of top news stories published in YFile. Here are the stories and highlights for September to December, as chosen by YFile editors.


York receives $7.25M to use AI, big data in fight against infectious diseases
At a time when the risk of emerging or re-emerging infectious diseases (ERIDs) is increasing, an international team led by York University successfully competed to receive a $7.25-million grant from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) to help tackle the issue.

Nuit Blanche at York University - photo by William Meijer
An installation at the Nuit Blanche exhibit at York University

Nuit Blanche comes to York University’s Keele Campus
As part of the celebrated arts festival Nuit Blanche 2022, the Art Gallery of York University (AGYU) and York University presents Streams~Nuit Blanche, an evening of campus-wide exhibitions, art installations and events featuring 34 artists and showcasing 19 projects located around the central core of the Keele Campus.

Current student Katelyn Truong pictured with York University President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda Lenton in front of her selected artwork for the Markham Hoarding art installation
Current student Katelyn Truong pictured with York University President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda Lenton in front of her selected artwork for the Markham Hoarding art installation

YFile reaches 20-year milestone
York University’s source for faculty and staff news is celebrating its 20-year anniversary on Sept. 9. One of North America’s longest-running university newsletters, YFile is marking the date with a special issue.

Markham Campus art installation an expression of positive change
An art installation unveiled on Sept. 28 at York University’s Markham Campus highlights how amazing things happen when diverse communities work together to create positive change.


Kathleen Taylor
Kathleen Taylor

York University announces appointment of new chancellor
York University’s Board of Governors appointed Kathleen Taylor as York’s 14th chancellor to a three-year term, effective Jan. 1, 2023.  The appointment follows outgoing Chancellor Gregory Sorbara, who was first appointed in 2014 and is leaving the role after more than nine years of distinguished service to York.

World’s tiniest lecture hall presents big thinking on environmental threat
Lassonde School of Engineering Assistant Professor Shooka Karimpour reflects on her experience delivering a micro-lecture in the world’s tiniest lecture hall about our world’s growing problem of microplastics.

Announcing the 2022 Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowships for Black and Indigenous Scholars
York University has announced Sylvester Aboagye, Landing Badji, Leora Gansworth and Graeme Reed as this year’s recipients of the Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowships for Black and Indigenous Scholars.

Global Strategy Lab awarded $8.7M to create AMR Policy Accelerator
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the greatest threats humanity faces today. Decades of use, overuse and misuse of antimicrobials in animals and humans has led to the development of bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites that no longer respond to lifesaving antimicrobial medicines.


York researchers’ revamped AI tool makes water dramatically safer in refugee camps
A team of researchers from the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research and Lassonde School of Engineering have revamped their Safe Water Optimization Tool (SWOT) with multiple innovations that will help aid workers unlock potentially life-saving information from water-quality data regularly collected in humanitarian settings. 

The film poster for Beyond Extinction: Sinixt Resurgence
The film poster for Beyond Extinction: Sinixt Resurgence

York film professor’s documentary explores little-known struggle of the Sinixt people
Twenty-seven years in the making, School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design Film Professor Ali Kazimi’s documentary about an autonomous Indigenous people’s struggle to overturn their legal extinction is set to receive its international premiere.

Osgoode students make their mark at Supreme Court of Canada
It’s a rare experience – even for seasoned lawyers, but a select group of students at Osgoode Hall Law School can now add the Supreme Court of Canada to their resumes through their work on a case that was heard Nov. 29.

Five York PhD students receive Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship
The award is intended to support first-rate doctoral students who demonstrate both leadership skills and a high standard of scholarly achievement in the fields of social sciences, humanities, natural sciences, engineering and health. The selection criteria include academic excellence, research potential and leadership. 


Osgoode grads earn clerkships at Canada’s highest court and beyond
Two recent graduates from Osgoode Hall Law School, Barbara Brown and Jennah Khaled, will both serve Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) justices through their upcoming 2023-24 clerkships. Many of their classmates are headed to similarly prestigious positions.

Lassonde’s k2i academy introduces teacher resources for de-streaming Grade 9 science in Ontario
EIn 2022, the Ontario Ministry of Education released the new Grade 9 de-streamed science curriculum. The k2i academy at the Lassonde School of Engineering was selected by the Ontario Ministry of Education to develop classroom-ready resources to support teachers across Ontario. After months of work, the new resource is now available.

Mohamed Sesay
Mohamed Sesay, co-ordinator of the African Studies Program

Black scholars form new interdisciplinary research cluster
A group of professors affiliated in various ways with York University’s African Studies Program join forces to create a unique, interdisciplinary research cluster focusing on adaptive knowledge, response, recovery and resilience in transnational Black communities.

The engine behind human gut microbiome analysis and data science
As his career unfolds, biostatistician Kevin McGregor is becoming very familiar with the human gut microbiome. His work is particularly relevant given the human biome is a community of microorganisms that inhabit our bodies and appears to be linked to numerous health concerns, both physical and mental.

This concludes YFile‘s Year in Review 2022 series. To see part one, January to April, go here. To see part two, May to August, go here.