Federation news

Canadian researchers examine impacts of remote learning and rapid changes to education

This past year, policymakers and educators have scrambled to put online learning and radically altered classroom learning protocols in place. How have parents, students, and educators been impacted by these changes? What lessons can we find to guide long-term adaptations for a safe school year? Social science and humanities researchers across the country are seeking answers to these questions and more.

Professor Emma Duerden, the scientific lead of the Developing Brain research program at the University of Western Ontario, is an expert in child cognitive development. Since COVID-19, her research team has pivoted to studying optimal online learning methods for primary school children in Ontario and the impacts of changing school environments on parents’ stress and children’s behaviour.

The first phase of the project investigated children’s shifting behaviours and screen time use during the pandemic. By surveying parents, the researchers have learned that:


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Layerings of risk: researchers document the experiences of racialized communities during COVID-19

While cases of COVID-19 continue to mount around the world, many communities face an additional, more insidious threat: "the virus of racism." Researchers across Canada have been examining the nature of race-based discrimination and its impacts, particularly on East Asian communities in Canada, throughout the pandemic.

Based in academic fields as diverse as administrative studies, sociology, social work, and English and cultural studies, scholars are working alongside Chinese diaspora communities to discover how to best support their physical and mental health, and sense of belonging, during this pandemic and in public health crises to come.

Tracking the experiences of East Asian seniors

Dr. Christine Ann Walsh, Professor of Social Work at the University of Calgary, alongside graduate researchers Qianyun Wang and Jacky Ka Kei Liu sought to learn about the specific experiences of older immigrants within Alberta's Chinese diaspora community....

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When pandemics and discrimination collide: researchers track the impacts of COVID-19 on Chinese Canadians and learn from their community capacity   

The scale of the coronavirus pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for Canada's public health system. Yet, in diverse areas from education to seniors' care, from housing affordability to gender inequality, it has become clear that many problems facing Canadians today are not altogether new. If you look closely at our most acute social issues, you can see fault lines that have existed within our communities for generations and that have only deepened in the context of a pandemic.    

According to Dr. Cary Wu, Assistant Professor within the Department of Sociology at York University, this sentiment appears to ring particularly true for Canada's East...

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Canadian researchers examine the effects of COVID-19 within the disability community

Everyone has stories about how their life has been altered due to COVID-19 and related containment measures, but it is also clear that the direst effects of dealing with the pandemic have not been distributed equally. Some argue that the disability community has been largely overlooked in the design of COVID-19 precautions and has been left with few resources to mitigate negative impacts. Researchers across the country are working with community partners to better understand the impacts of the pandemic on people with disabilities.

At the University of Alberta, Professor Michelle Maroto, in collaboration with Professor David Pettinicchio at the University of Toronto, is studying the social and economic effects of COVID-19 among people with disabilities, chronic illnesses, and other underlying health conditions.

Preliminary findings from a nationwide survey demonstrate that people with disabilities and chronic health conditions are not only very worried about getting...

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How do people assess the credibility of COVID-19 related information? Personal beliefs a strong influence

Guest post by Jaigris Hodson, Associate Professor, College of Interdisciplinary Studies, Royal Roads University, Christiani Thompson-Wagner, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Linguistics, University of Saskatchewan and Darren Reid, Ph.D. student, Department of History, University College London  

Understanding an Infodemic
Misinformation related to COVID-19 has been declared an infodemic since it has the capacity to cause almost as much damage to people’s health as the disease itself. Since misinformation is often spread on social media platforms, it is important that public health communicators understand how and why people share COVID-19 related information online, and what decisions they make that could inadvertently lead to misinformation spread. In an effort to understand some of the...

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Canadian researchers analyse the spread of Covid-19 misinformation online

As local and global information about COVID-19 continues to shift rapidly, social science and humanities researchers are investigating the nature of misinformation and conspiracy theories, methods of transmission for false information, and the impact of fake news on our behaviours and psychological well-being. 

A multidisciplinary team from the Université de Sherbrooke (UdeS), along with international partners, are compiling a macro-analysis of responses to COVID-19 related information from a broad range of sources and platforms. 

Canadian survey results compiled as part of the project show the pervasiveness of misinformation online.  

  • 38.4% believe that their government is hiding important information about COVID-19 
  • 15.0% believe that the pharmaceutical industry is involved in spreading COVID-19 
  • 52.7% of respondents were aware that they had been exposed to news about COVID-19 that proved to be false 

"From these...

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Exposure risks and mounting anxieties: researchers examine Covid-19’s impacts on workers

A certain level of risk is inherent to all work environments, but COVID-19 has created an entirely new kind of threat. How are these risks distributed across the workforce? Are certain groups unfairly burdened by their risk of infection or the negative impacts of containment measures? Canadian researchers are carefully examining the pandemic's implications for today's workforce.  

At the Institut national de la recherche scientifique, Professor Xavier St-Denis is examining the sociodemographic determinants of occupational risks of exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace.  Driven by significant gaps...

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Forging community connections to improve food systems


During COVID-19, researchers across Canada have been developing projects at an unprecedented pace in order to support policy makers, public health officials, and the public at large, while health risks remain and the economic and social recovery looms ahead. Many innovative projects are relying on deep community connections and networks to learn from challenges and responses at the grassroots level.   

Highlighting grassroots food initiatives 

Within the Culinaria Research Centre, a hub for food studies at the University of Toronto, Professor Jayeeta Sharma and her research team have built a wide and ever-growing network of community partners to understand...

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Le français vue de chaque côté : une conversation entre deux membres de notre équipe de communication à l’occasion de la journée internationale de la Francophonie

Pour encourager chacun à réfléchir à son lien avec la langue française, nous avons demandé à deux de nos collaboratrices bilingues de parler de leur expérience: l'une dont la langue maternelle est le français, l'autre qui parle le français comme langue seconde. Bonne journée internationale de la Francophonie !

Géraldine Gautier: Née et élevée à Paris, je me suis établie au Canada il y a 21 ans. Quand je repense aux facteurs qui m’ont conduits à vivre ici, il y en a eu beaucoup. Sans doute l’un marquant a été d’abord mon environnement familial porté sur d’autres cultures et langues étrangères. J’habite Ottawa depuis 1999 mais j’ai fait une parenthèse de 5 ans dans la région de Toronto. Une chance car grâce à cette dernière expérience, j’ai vraiment réalisé que le bilinguisme et la Francophonie ne...

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What does International Women's Day mean to you? Federation staff perspectives.

Lily Polowin, Communications Coordinator at the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

The Federation currently has 18 staff members, 14 of which are women. Being part of a team of strong women inspires me daily, and so this International Women’s Day, I wanted to probe my colleagues to see what empowering thoughts were blooming within. I asked staff if they’d be interested in answering this question: What does International Women’s Day mean to you? Here are the answers I received. Enjoy, and Happy International Women’s Day!

Lamis El-Zein, Executive Assistant:

International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate girls and women all over the word, and to honour those who...

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