Social Innovation Exchange Project Archive

Main Content


Generating Success for Farm to School Programs

Faculty: Gary Hoyer

Summary: This project is a collaboration between George Brown College, Sustain Ontario, Ontario Edible Education Network and Farm to Cafeteria Canada to provide support to all stakeholders who work to build and improve Farm to School programs. The project will determine best practices, fidelity features and provide concrete examples that will entice stakeholders to implement or expand Farm to School programs. This research will be conducted in George Brown College’s Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism. George Brown, in partnership with Sustain Ontario (SO) and Farm to Cafeteria Canada, will determine best practices, fidelity features and provide concrete examples that will entice stakeholders to implement or expand Farm to School programs.

Partner Organizations: Sustain Ontario, Ontario Edible Education Network; and Farm to Cafeteria Canada

Adaptive Clothing for Persons Living with Hemiparesis

Faculty: Milan Shahani

Summary: The project is a collaboration between George Brown College and the University of Toronto to explore wellness through innovative technology, allowing stroke survivors with hemiplegia to reintegrate into society. Commonly caused by stroke, hemiparesis is weakness (or complete paralysis in its most severe form) of the entire left or right side of the body. The project will undertake the research, design, and development of prototypes for a line of adaptive clothing, which will include outerwear, innerwear and lingerie.

Partner Organization: University of Toronto

Early Childhood Cognitive Sensitivity Training Study

Faculty: Zeenat Janmohamed

Summary: This project is an innovative collaboration between George Brown College, the City of Toronto’s Children’s Services Division and the Atkinson Centre at the University of Toronto. The research will respond to current challenges in delivering consistent, effective cognitively sensitive care in Early Childhood Education (ECE) contexts in the City of Toronto. The goal of the study is to develop and test an innovative model of professional learning developed by educators at George Brown College to improve the cognitive sensitivity skills of ECE.

Partner Organizations: University of Toronto and the City of Toronto Children’s Services Division

From Margins to Centre through Education Integrating Victims of Torture and Political Oppression

Faculty: Jaswant Kaur Bajwa

Summary: This 2-year project to establish innovative outreach for people seeking to integrate into Canadian society following experiences of torture and war. It is a community-based participatory action study to determine the specific needs, barriers, and expectations of victims of torture pursuing higher education; the creation of a workshop and course curriculum that addresses the higher education needs and goals of victims of torture; and the pilot implementation and evaluation of an educational program designed to address the needs of victims of torture.

Partner Organizations: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH); the Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture (CCVT)

Improving Health Numeracy in Health Science Students and Professionals through an Online Instrument

Faculty: Taras Gula

Summary: This is a collaborative project between George Brown College and McMaster University utilizing an action research approach to conceptualize health numeracy and to act on that conceptualization by translating it into learning content for an online learning instrument to be developed. The research to be conducted in the Centre for Health and Community Services has the ultimate goal to improve numeracy for health sciences students and professionals.

Partner Organization: McMaster University


Literacy Uplift

Faculty: Przemyslaw Pawluk

Summary: This is a collaborative project between George Brown College, Teaching English as a Second Language Toronto, Literacy Nipissing and Development Made Simple to build upon the potential of mobile learning to promote and support literacy training. The research to be conducted in the Centre for Arts, Design and Information Technology will develop a set of design principles for an effective mobile learning literacy solution that will address low literacy skills among Canadian adult first and second language English learners, and equip them with the language and digital literacy skills needed to thrive in Canadian communities and workplaces. Based on these principles, a prototype of an effective mobile learning solution will be produced.

Partner Organizations: Teaching English as a Second Language Toronto, Literacy Nipissing, and Development Made Simple.


Partnership for Applied Research to Support the Development and Evaluation of the Post-Secondary Students with Disabilities Network (PSDNET)

Faculty: Charles Anyinam

Summary: The Post-secondary Students with Disabilities Network (PSDNet) is a partnership-based, applied research program to promote the empowerment and personal development of post-secondary education (PSE) students with disabilities across Ontario primarily via the creation of an evidence-based, Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) compliant website that uniquely mobilizes the potential of online and mobile social media technology.

Partner Organizations: The National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS); Nipissing University; the University of Ontario Institute of Ontario.


Co-Designing Online Tools for Engagement and Holistic Crisis Planning with Diverse Youth Groups in the Region of Peel

Faculty: Elise Hodson

Summary: This 3-year project aims to increase understanding of the potential for new interactive technologies, social networks and modes of communication to support crisis planning for marginalized youth and their support networks, resulting in an interactive, client-centred crisis planning tool designed for web and mobile platforms.

Partner Organizations: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH); CoDesign; the Peel Service Collaborative (PSC); Loughborough University/Design School in the UK

Supporting Young People: a Response to Sex Trafficking in Ontario

Faculty: Melissa Teles (Project Director); Heather Finch (Research Coordinator)

Summary: This project is an innovative, community–based participatory project, which will develop, pilot and assess a practice framework and training tools. The framework will reflect and expand current research and service provision for youth impacted by Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation (HTSE) in Ontario. It will create an unprecedented professional development opportunity for Child and Youth Care Practitioners (CYCP) and contribute to the betterment of the lives of youth impacted by HTSE. This research will be conducted in George Brown College’s School of Social and Community Services in partnership with the Ontario Association of Child and Youth Care (OACYC), Covenant House and Ryerson University.

Partner Organizations: Ontario Association of Child and Youth Care (OACYC), Covenant House and Ryerson University

Toys or Tools? Using Tablet Computers for Open-Ended Literacy Learning

Faculty: Monica McGlynn-Stewart

Summary: This 3-year project addresses the complexity of literacy teaching in 21st Century early learning classrooms, drawing on three bodies of literature – literacy, digital technology, and teacher development—to allow educators to provide an innovative learning environment for their students while exploring digital technology applications that allow for active, creative, and open-ended literacy learning.

Partner Organizations: Peel District School Board

Design Thinking to Optimize Pre-Surgical Care (PEACE): Using Big Data for Holistic and Integrated Patient Care

Faculty: Ana Rita Morais

Summary: In Ontario, medical professionals perform approximately 350,000 complex surgeries per year requiring a preoperative assessment to evaluate patient health, coordinate care needs, and assess the risk of adverse events. With an ageing Canadian population, patients require more complex care putting immense pressure on clinics to perform full preoperative assessments in a timely manner. At Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre alone, over 700 patients are seen each month. The PEACE project will create an e-health platform for pre-surgical patient care in collaboration with healthcare professionals, interactive designers, patients and caregivers to support sustainable and progressive patient care.

Partner Organization: Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Designing and Implementing Environmental Inquiry Strategies in Urban Early Years Programs in Canada to Support the Healthy Development and Environmental Awareness

Principal Investigator: Dr. Monica McGlynn-Stewart

Summary: This project will explore the complexities of connecting young children to nature in urban areas and address the gap in knowledge on children’s active engagement in environmental inquiry and the training that early years educators receive. Changes, challenges, growth, and practices will be documented to develop a framework and identify the necessary resources for integrating environmental inquiry, including Indigenous perspectives on land-based learning to transform existing early years’ environmental inquiry programs. It will be made available to Canadian childcare centres, schools, and educator pre-service programs.

Partner Organizations: Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study Laboratory School at the University of Toronto, The Learning Enrichment Foundation, Toronto Early Learning and Child Care Services

Impact of a Canadian Newcomer's Country of Origin's Culture on AI and Robot-Enabled Canadian Workplace Culture

Principal Investigator: Dr. Robin Yap

Summary: The Canadian workplace is rapidly evolving with the introduction of new technologies to increase productivity. Concurrently, many workplaces are employing Canadian newcomers with a diverse set of backgrounds and experiences. For companies and organizations to thrive in the coming decade and beyond, they must be able to leverage new technology and the strengths of newcomer talent. However, the challenges lie in varying work ethics and work culture experience. This research will answer the question: What is the impact of a newcomer’s culture on Canadian workplace culture where artificial intelligence and robotics are installed?

Partner Organizations: CultureLink Settlement and Community Services, TELUS, TD Bank, XYZ Storage

Job Talks Access: Innovative National Surveys and Video Series of Workers with Disabilities

Principal Investigator: Dr. Jon Callegher

Summary: Job Talks Access will conduct two national surveys and create a video series to understand the underlying values, emotions and goals among persons with disabilities to support the development of employment support programs and toolkits for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind Foundation, the Career Foundation, and their partners. These resources will benefit employers, particularly those in the private sector who are less prepared to hire persons with disabilities. It also seeks to comprehend the underlying drivers related to job satisfaction, especially as the proportion of employees with disabilities increases as the workforce ages.

Partner Organizations: Canadian National Institute for the Blind Foundation, Q.I. Value Systems, The Career Foundation

Supporting Peer Work

Principal Investigator: Dr. Griffin Epstein

Summary: The transformative potential of the peer work service remains under-utilized and under-realized as peer workers in drop-in programs face structural and funding barriers to adequately perform their duties. The Supporting Peer Work project takes a community-based participatory research approach to improve service outcomes for members of Toronto’s marginalized communities by increasing the drop-in sector’s capacity to integrate relevant, equitable and sustainable peer work. The project will sustain and expand peer work by developing resources for drop-in Boards of Directors, managers and supervisors to create innovative training and employment opportunities for peer workers.

Partner Organizations: Working for Change

The Communal Lunch Project: Building Capacity in Programming to Support Student Well-Being

Principal Investigator: Jennifer Mitsche

Summary: The Communal Lunch Project addresses two issues disproportionately represented in the post-secondary student population: food insecurity and social isolation. In partnership with Meal Exchange and Joshna Maharaj and with support from George Brown College’s Peer Mentor + program, a weekly recipe is broken down and each student is asked to bring one ingredient. On the day of the lunch, students collectively build a healthy, inexpensive meal, interact and learn from their peers, and develop self-care strategies. The program will develop, pilot, and assess a communal lunch framework and training program to support post-secondary student well-being across Canada. It will also include a website that will address the challenges that students may face in the next year. The lunch project website will be a virtual table where students can meet and share resources, be guided to create meals using the ingredients they have in their homes, learn how to stock a pantry and plan meals, and participate in virtual community lunches.

Partner Organizations: Joshna Maharaj, Meal Exchange, Peer Mentor +