PhD Student Kate Leslie

Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship awarded to Bloomberg doctoral student

4 September 2012

Honoured with the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS) the most prestigious graduate award in the country, PhD candidate Kathleen (Kate) Leslie finds herself among an exclusive group of world-class doctoral students. Kate’s work will continue to encompass the challenges in health professions and the shift in power from government to regulators in making policy changes.

“How we regulate health professions comes down to how we are protecting patients and creating accountability,” said Leslie. “We also have to consider existing and developing relationships between the government and regulators.”

Nominees for the Vanier CGS are awarded based on demonstrations of academic excellence, research potential and leadership via personal achievement, involvement in academic life, volunteerism and civic engagement. Divided amongst three agencies, only 156 total candidates from all disciplines were selected from across Canada.

“Our government’s investment in graduate students is helping build a culture of innovation and achievement, which strengthens our economy and reinforces Canada as the destination of choice for cutting-edge research,” said Kellie Leitch, parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and the Minister of Labour, on behalf of the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology).

Leslie’s dissertation on health policy challenges looks at Ontario, Australia and the United Kingdom, and analyzes the changing landscape between governments and regulators in these Commonwealth countries. A qualitative case study will help create a detailed picture of the evolving regulatory landscape in Ontario. Additionally, a descriptive study of the other jurisdictions will allow for some comparison and contrasts to be drawn, and will situate Ontario’s experience more globally.

In Ontario, legislative amendments to the Regulated Health Professions Act and other legal changes have created new powers and duties for the regulators in the province, and demonstrate regulatory policy change. Under the guidance of supervisor Dean Sioban Nelson, Leslie’s research will examine what powers and duties have been delegated to the regulators, what powers and duties remain with the government, and how this has changed in the past decade. Consequently, policy makers and regulators across the country will be watching Ontario closely to see if the new accountability and governance mechanisms will be able to sustain the confidence of both the public and the professions. The study will provide analysis and insight into the key factors and forces behind Ontario’s experience for policy makers in other jurisdictions as regulation evolves across the country.

“The recipients of these Vanier scholarships will be at the forefront of discoveries that will benefit Canadians and the world,” said Alain Beaudet, president of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). “For the next three years, their funding will enable them to advance knowledge in health sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities and natural sciences. Their contributions will help enhance Canada’s stature as a global centre of excellence in research, innovation and higher education.”

Launched in 2008, the Vanier CGS established Canada as a global centre of excellence in research and higher learning. The scholarship strengthened the government’s ability to achieve their goals and improve Canada’s long-term competitiveness. The award honours distinguished Canadian soldier and diplomat Major-General The Right Honourable Georges Philias Vanier (1888-1967), who served as a governor general of Canada from 1959 to 1967. This year, 156 Vanier scholars from 29 universities were announced, including graduate students from the United States, Europe, Asia and Africa who are studying in Canada.