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Jennifer Lai

Jennifer Lai

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Jennifer Lai

YorkU alum Jennifer Lai


Research and Policy Analyst
Regional Municipality of York

Tell prospective students a bit about the work you do.

I work as a Research and Policy Analyst in the Strategies and Partnerships Branch of the Community and Health Services Department at York Region. In my role, I support the Social Policy and Accessibility Unit through social policy research, data analysis and partnership development. The goal of the Social Policy and Accessibility Unit is to make programs and services more responsive, inclusive and accessible to the diverse needs of residents. My Unit and I do this by providing strategic advice and support for social policy, planning and research within the Department, the Corporation, the community, and through inter-governmental initiatives. My Unit and I work closely with internal and external stakeholders to enhance collaborative opportunities that promote community health and wellbeing. During my time at York Region, I have supported the Inclusion Charter for York Region initiative, the Multi-Year Accessibility Plan, the annual Accessibility Status Report, the York Region Accessibility Advisory Committee and various other projects that support York Region's compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (2005). More recently, my research has helped inform decision making on anti-Black racism initiatives within the organization.

Tell prospective students a bit about how your studies at York helped you to get where you are today.

The Master of Public Policy, Administration and Law (MPPAL) program provided me with many skills that I have used in my day to day work. Notably, my understanding of quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis has helped me understand and synthesize the research of others and conduct my own research. Being able to demonstrate a concrete understanding of the pros and cons of different research approaches strengthens my ability to critique research and make informed policy recommendations to senior leaders.

Prior to my completion of the MPPAL program, I was a summer student at York Region. My enrollment and subsequent completion of the MPPAL program at York University made me a much more competitive applicant for a full-time position at York Region. I am sure I would not be where I am without the knowledge and support of MPPAL teachers and alumni.