Graduate Theses & Dissertations

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Long-term Financial Sustainability of China's Urban Basic Pension System
Population aging has become a worldwide concern since the nineteenth century. The decrease in birth rate and the increase in life expectancy will make China’s population age rapidly. If the growth rate of the number of workers is less than that of the number of retirees, in the long run, there will be fewer workers per retiree. This will apply great pressure to China’s public pension system in the next several decades. This is a global problem known as the “pension crisis”. In this thesis, a long-term vision for China’s urban pension system is presented. Based on the mathematical models and the projections for demographic variables, economic variables and pension scheme variables, we test how the changes in key variables affect the balances of the pension fund in the next 27 years. This thesis applies methods of deterministic and stochastic modeling as well as sensitivity analysis to the problem. Using sensitivity analysis, we find that the pension fund balance is highly sensitive to the changes in retirement age compared with other key variables. Monte Carlo simulations are also used to find the possible distributions of the pension fund balance by the end of the projection period. Finally, according to my analysis, several changes in retirement age are recommended in order to maintain the sustainability of China’s urban basic pension scheme. Author Keywords: China, demographic changes, Monte Carlo simulation, pension fund, sensitivity tests, sustainability
Family Experiences in Nature
Children may be spending less time outdoors in nature than in previous generations, with one potential reason being parents in their role as ‘gatekeepers’ to the outdoors. This study investigated how families are spending their time during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how parents may influence children’s outdoor nature experiences. Parents (N = 121) from across Canada completed measures related to their family’s activities as well as their own connection with nature, attitudes about nature, and childhood nature contact. Results suggest that having easy access to nature, a greater connection with nature, believing in the importance of outdoor experiences, and doing outdoor activities in childhood may be associated with more current family time outside in nature. By understanding the reasons behind parental decisions regarding where and how families spend time outside, strategies can be developed to help parents increase their children’s nature time in the future. Author Keywords: children, family, nature, nature-relatedness, outdoors, parents
Through the eyes of the Ontario farmer
Dairy goat farming has become increasingly popular in recent years in Ontario. This qualitative study done by semi-structured interviews, examines the why and the wherefore of the opinions held by dairy goat farmers in Ontario in regards to sustainable agriculture. It was found that these farmers feel that sustainable agriculture is important. These farmers believed their farms to be sustainable and have implemented sustainable farming practices that reflect these interests. Their primary interest is to maintain their farmland for the use of future generations as well as maintaining the economic and environmental sustainability of their farms. There is currently a lack of scientific information available for dairy goat farmers in Ontario. Challenges presented by the participants should be researched so as to better serve this budding industry which may become one of the most sustainable livestock industries in Ontario. Author Keywords: agriculture, dairy goat, farmer opinion, farming, sustainability, sustainable agriculture
maskihkîyâtayôhkêwina; mashkikiiwaadizookewin
maskihkîyâtayôhkêwina- mashkikiiwaadizookewin: Cree and Anishnaabe Narrative Medicine in the Renewal of Ancestral Literature Jud Sojourn This work represents an experiment in developing Cree and Anishnaabe nation-specific approaches to understanding Cree and Anishnaabe texts. The binding premise that guides this work has to do with narrative medicine, the concept that narrative arts, whether ancestral storytelling or current poetry have medicine, or the ability to heal and empower individuals and communities. As âtayôhkêwin in Cree and aadizookewin in Anishnaabemowin refer to ancestral traditional narratives, and while maskihkiy in Cree, and mashkiki in Anishnaabemowin refer to medicine, maskihkîyâtayôhkêwina and mashkikiiwaadizookewin mean simply `narrative medicine' in Cree and Anishnaabemowin respectively. After establishing a formative sense for what narrative medicine is, this work continues by looking at the bilingual Ojibwa Texts (1917, 1919) transcribed by William Jones in 1903-1905 on the north shore of Lake Superior and in northern Minnesota Anishnaabe communities, those spoken by Anishnaabe community members Gaagigebinesiikwe, Gaagigebinesii, Midaasookanzh, Maajiigaaboo, and Waasaagooneshkang. Then focus then turns to the bilingual Plains Cree Texts (1934) transcribed by Leonard Bloomfield at the Sweet Grass Reserve in Saskatchewan and spoken by Cree community members nâhnamiskwêkâpaw, sâkêwêw, cicikwayaw, kâ-kîsikaw pîhtokêw , nakwêsis, mimikwâs, and kâ-wîhkaskosahk. The themes that emerge from looking at these texts when combined with an appreciation for the poetics of the Cree and Anishnaabe languages provide the foundation for looking at newer poetry including the work of Cree poet Skydancer Louise Bernice Halfe, centering on the contemporary epic prayer-poem The Crooked Good (2007) and the works of Anishnaabe poet Marie Annharte Baker, focusing on Exercises in Lip Pointing (2003). Each poet emerged as having an understanding her own role in her respective nation as renewing the narrative practices of previous generations. Understandings of the shape or signature of each of the four works' unique kind of narrative medicine come from looking at themes that run throughout. In each of the four works the maskihkîyâtayôhkêwina - mashkikiiwaadizookewin, the narrative medicine they express occurs through or results in mamaandaawiziwin in Anishnaabemowin or mamâhtâwisiwin, in Cree - the embodied experience of expansive relationality. Keywords: Cree, Anishnaabe, nêhiyawêwin, Anishnaabemowin, narrative medicine, traditional stories, poetics, poetry, literary criticism, literary nationalism, Indigenous, indigenist. Author Keywords: Anishnaabe, Anishnaabemowin, Cree, Indigenous, nêhiyawêwin, Poetics
Modelling Depressive Symptoms in Emerging Adulthood
Depression during the transition into adulthood is a growing mental health concern, with overwhelming evidence linking the developmental risk for depressive symptoms with maternal depression. In addition, there is a lack of research on the protective role of socioemotional competencies in this context. This study examines independent and joint effects of maternal depression and trait emotional intelligence (TEI) on the longitudinal trajectory of depressive symptoms during emerging adulthood. A series of latent growth models was applied to three biennial cycles of data from a nationally representative sample (N=933) from the Canadian National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth. We assessed the trajectory of self-reported depressive symptoms from age 20 to 24 years, as well as whether it was moderated by maternal depression at age 10 to 11 and TEI at age 20, separately by gender. The results indicated that mean levels of depression declined during the emerging adulthood in females, but remained relatively stable in males. Maternal depressive symptoms significantly positively predicted depressive symptoms across the entire emerging adulthood in females, but only at age 20-21 for males. In addition, likelihood of developing depressive symptoms was attenuated by higher global TEI in both females and males, and additionally by higher interpersonal skills in males. Our findings suggest that interventions for depressive symptoms in emerging adulthood should consider development of socioemotional competencies. Author Keywords: Depression, Depressive Symptoms, Emerging Adulthood, Intergenerational Risk, Longitudinal, Trait Emotional Intelligence
Influence of Canopy Water Partitioning on the Isotopic Signature of Plant Water in a Mixed Northern Forest
This study seeks to clarify the way in which the differing canopy characteristics among tree species influence the partitioning of precipitation, and therefore the source of water available for plant water uptake, in the Plastic Lake catchment near Dorset, ON. Three dominant tree species were compared: red oak (Quercus rubra), eastern white pine (Pinus strobus), and eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis). Above-canopy precipitation, throughfall, stemflow, and soil water content were monitored weekly from June 2016 until October 2016 and the 18O and 2H isotopic signatures of each were analyzed. Plant water and bulk soil water samples were also collected from five trees of each species at five stages of the growing season to compare the isotopic signature of xylem water to that of their surrounding soils. Both plant water and bulk soil water displayed evidence of isotopic fractionation; however, plant water was more depleted in δ2H and δ18O than bulk soil water. Water interacting with the tree canopies as throughfall and stemflow did not display significant evidence of isotopic fractionation. This suggests that the vegetation could have accessed an isotopically distinct source of water stored within the soil or that an unknown isotopic fractionation process occurred throughout this study. Author Keywords:
Why not give up? A study on the role of resourcefulness in goal pursuit
Past research suggests that taking a process oriented approach, setting clear and concrete goals, and using both conscious planning and proactive coping are the best methods to be successful with goal pursuit. Also the literature has found that individuals scoring higher in general resourcefulness tend to be more successful at achieving goals than their less resourceful counterparts. My thesis looked at these goal pursuit behaviours under the lens of resourcefulness using a mixed methods approach. After completing Rosenbaum’s self-control scale (1980) assessing general resourcefulness, participants took part in a semi-structured interview asking them about a recent goal they had set and how they dealt with interfering obstacles. The hope was hearing differences about how highly and less resourceful people discuss their goals and setbacks would give a deeper understanding about the characteristics of success. The themes emerging from the interviews were: blame and excuses versus understanding and growth, internal versus external factors, living in the moment versus conscious planning and magical versus realistic thinking. In contrast to low-scoring participants, highly resourceful individuals grew from their setbacks, were internally driven, consciously planned, and thought realistically about their goals. Less resourceful individual, on the other hand blamed outside factors and made excuses, were only motivated externally, didn’t plan out their goals and believed their goals would just magically materialize over time. My discussion focuses on the ability to train lower resourceful individuals over longer interventions, and the applications of understanding and using resourcefulness as a lens in future studies. Author Keywords: Goal, Habits, Quitting, Resourcefulness, Self-Control, Success
Analysis and reactions of aqueous selenide and other reduced inorganic selenium compounds under anoxic conditions
Selenide is cited as a geochemically important selenium (Se) species, but it is unknown whether selenide is a stable aqueous ion in natural waters. The feasibility of using anoxic anion exchange chromatography (AEC) coupled to dynamic reaction cell-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry to separate aqueous selenide was investigated with the goal of quantifying this anion to determine its importance in reducing waters. It was possible to qualitatively identify selenide using AEC, but much of the aqueous selenide oxidises to Se0 faster than the separation procedure could be completed. AEC analyses of solutions containing polyselenides produced peaks for unidentified Se compounds, which have been assigned tentative structures Se2O22-, Se2O32-, and Se2O62- based on close matches in retention time to stable S compounds. The results of this work show that aqueous selenide can be qualitatively observed in synthetic solutions using AEC, but it is unknown whether these conditions are relevant to natural waters. Author Keywords: anoxic speciation, polyselenides, selenide, selenium geochemistry, selenium speciation, selenoselenate
Union Organizing in the Canadian Banking Industry, 1940–1980
In this dissertation, I examine union organizing in the Canadian banking industry between 1940 and 1980. By demonstrating that bank workers consistently sought to unionize throughout the twentieth century, I challenge claims that bank employees and other private sector white-collar workers have low rates of unionization because they are not interested in unions or suffer from false consciousness. This research also suggests, however, that many bank workers saw themselves as different from blue-collar industrial workers; the lived reality of bank work as precarious, poorly paid, and rife with gender inequality intersected with ideas about professionalism and aspirations of advancing up the career ladder. Banks, unions, and workers drew on these ideas and experiences in their arguments for and against unionization. I also look at why previous organizing efforts did not establish a strong union presence in the banking industry. Most of these attempts failed, I argue, due to several key issues, including the banks’ anti-union activity, federal and provincial labour board decisions, and labour movement disputes over ideology, jurisdiction, and strategy. The banks consistently opposed unionization and used a variety of tactics to thwart union organizing, both overtly and covertly. The state, in the form of labour legislation and labour boards, provided unions and workers with some means by which to compel the banks to recognize unions, negotiate contracts, and deal with employee grievances; however, state action and inaction more often worked to undermine union organizing. The attitudes and strategies of high-ranking labour movement officials also shaped the outcome of union drives in the banks. Between 1940 and 1980, the mostly male labour leadership repeatedly used top-down organizing strategies and appointed male organizers with no experience of bank work to oversee union drives in a sector with an increasingly feminized workforce; labour leaders’ inability or unwillingness to reflect on this approach and to support grassroots campaigns and alternative strategies hindered bank union organizing. I thus highlight the intersection of gender and class and reveal how these factors have historically shaped the labour movement bureaucracy, union organizing, and the relationship between labour and the state. Author Keywords: banks, gender, labour bureaucracy, trade unions, union organizing, white-collar workers
Paper Chase
"The Paper Chase: A Survey of Student Newspapers on Ontario Campuses in the 1960s" is a regional study of three University campuses in Ontario — the University of Toronto, Queen's University and Trent University — and examines each of these institutions’ respective student newspapers, The Varsity, The Queen's Journal, and The Arthur as a primary source analysis. In broader terms, this thesis looks to theoretically historicize the themes of "life," "love," and "liberty" on Ontario campuses in the 1960s. Its central question is whether Ontario's youth experienced a cultural revolution like that portrayed in popular memory of the period, which profoundly appears in other sixties cultural interpretations in Canada and the United States. By framing student life through student newspapers' gamut, this thesis calls into question the lionization of some cultural decade elements. It determines students were, in fact, in some ways much more conservative in their outlook than earlier literature or the popular memory of the period suggests. History has much to say about students who rebelled. This thesis focuses on those who did not. Author Keywords: Conservatism, Counterculture, Queen’s University, Sixties, Trent University, University of Toronto
Postclassic Maya Diet
Postclassic (AD 900-1500) Maya diet at Ka’kabish, Belize was examined using stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis of human bone collagen, and stable carbon isotope analysis of bone structural carbonate. Isotope data were compared to skeletal and dental indicators of diet and disease, and dietary differences among burials excavated from chultuns (B-2, C-1, C-2, and C-3) at Ka’kabish. Varying in dimensions, chultuns are characterized as multiple subterranean chambers carved into limestone bedrock, where re-entry was permitted through the removal of a capstone placed over a circular entrance. Due to poor preservation and commingling of human remains, diet and its relation to age, sex, and social status could not be explored. The general diet at Ka’kabish is consistent with the consumption of a diverse range of terrestrial plants and animals, in addition to marine resources. Relative to the other chultun burials, Chultun C-2 is an outlier, with a noticeably different diet, evidence for skeletal pathology, and absence of dental modifications. This study demonstrates a lack of significant dietary differences among Postclassic Maya sites in northern Belize, along with an apparent reliance on marine resources, further supporting the notion of a close association, and equal participation in a regional trading system with coastal sites that allowed for populations in this region to thrive during the Postclassic period. Author Keywords: Ancient Maya, Bioarchaeology, Ka'kabish, Osteology, Postclassic, Stable Isotopes
Assessing habitat suitability and connectivity for an endangered salamander complex
Habitat loss and fragmentation have significantly contributed to amphibian population declines, globally. Evaluating the state of remaining habitat patches can prove to be beneficial in identifying areas to prioritize in conservation efforts. Pelee Island, Ontario is home to a complex of salamanders including small-mouthed salamanders (Ambystoma texanum), blue-spotted salamanders (A. laterale) and unisexual Ambystoma (small-mouthed salamander dependent population). These populations have declined from intense landscape changes since the late 1800s, particularly from the historical drainage of wetlands. In this thesis, I evaluated the suitability and connectivity of habitat patches occupied by these salamanders to assess the size of, and dispersal capabilities between, remaining habitat patches. I found that there was a low amount of suitable terrestrial habitat available for this complex of salamanders, and existing habitat patches were small and isolated. Forested areas and non-breeding wetlands were considered to be suitable habitat when adjacent to existing breeding locations, suggesting that these habitats should be a focus for conservation efforts. Notably, intervention may be necessary to maintain this amphibian complex as many assemblages are isolated from one another and potential corridors currently consist of primarily unsuitable habitat. Given that much of the salamander complex is reliant on one species for reproduction, the long-term viability of this population of Ambystoma salamanders may rely on the enhancement of suitable habitat near current breeding sites by conservation organizations and local stakeholders. Ultimately, the approach used in this thesis emphasizes the value of evaluating habitat within a fragmented landscape to focus conservation efforts on imperilled species. Author Keywords: amphibians, connectivity, habitat suitability, landscape fragmentation, landscape resistance, unisexual

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Format: 2023/12/02