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Policy Engagement


The APDR project supported significant outreach and dissemination activities at regional, national and international levels, allowing project members to engage in a wide range of policy outreach and proposal activities with relevant officials and organizations.

Principal Investigator – Dr. Pitman B. Potter

  • Policy briefing to Privy Council Office, invited ministers and deputy ministers on policies for coordinating trade and human rights engagement in Asia, November 2011;
  • Chaired the national task force on human rights in Asia as part of Asia Pacific Foundation National Conversation on Asia: “Advancing Canada’s Engagement with Asia on Human Rights: Integrating Business and Human Rights” – generated policy proposals for federal government, https://www.asiapacific.ca/sites/default/files/filefield/human_rights_taskforce_v3.pdf
  • Designed the China Links program on transparency and government accountability for Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) supports implementation by municipal officials in China and Canada. (China Links – April 2012; QG100 Network – September 2012; China Law Links – September 2013);
  • Invited briefing to Ambassador Andrew Bennett (Office of Religious Freedom) on conditions of religious freedom in China, May 16, 2013;
  • Invited presentation on integration of business and human rights policy to Department of Foreign Affairs, September 24-25, 2013;
  • Invited presentation on China’s Politics and Economy to Mayor Gregor Robertson, City of Vancouver, October 30, 2013;
  • Invited briefing on Tibet-China Relations to Sikyong (Prime Minister) of Tibet, Dr. Lobsang Sangay, Tibet Government in Exile, February 26, 2014;
  • Invited presentation on Security and Development to Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, March 6, 2014.
  • https://sencanada.ca/en/Content/SEN/Committee/412/AEFA/07mn-51256-e;
  • Briefing to Minister of International Trade Chrystia Freeland on Trans-Pacific Partnership, January 12, 2016;
  • Individual witness at the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade – Eleventh and Twelfth meeting on: Study on Security Conditions and Economic Development in the Asia Pacific Region: The Implications for Canadian Policy and Interests in the Region and other Related Matters – March 5-6, 2014. The human rights, rule of law and the perspectives that have been put before the committee was extremely helpful in the Senate’s recommendations on the policies that they think the government should pursue.
  • Briefing to Assistant Deputy Minister Ms. Kristen Hillman (Global Affairs Canada) on Canada-China Free Trade Agreement April 7, 2016;
  • Briefing on Canada’s Engagement in Asia to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, April 24, 2018. https://www.ourcommons.ca/DocumentViewer/en/42-1/FAAE/meeting-94/minutes.


Country Research Teams (CRT)/Thematic Volumes:

Canada CRT/Labour Volume: Policy proposals on labour rights, gender equality rights, and corporate social responsibility submitted to federal and provincial governments. Examples include:

(a)     Les Jacobs

  • Worked with the Ontario Human Rights Commission to develop a new competing human rights policy. Co-Editor (with Lorne Foster and Shaheen Azmi), Canadian Diversity, Volume X: Balancing Competing Human Rights Claims (Ottawa: Government of Canada, November, 2010). Digital version available
  • Les Jacobs serves as a Member, Consumer Interest Research Expert Advisory Group, facilitated by Industry Canada (2014-Present), Involvement in NGO and government policy development in consumer and privacy problems for ordinary Canadians;
  • Les Jacobs a briefing to the Ontario Minister of Economic Development and Growth on NAFTA and the Ontario/US trade relationship on December 16, 2016;
  • Presentation on “Protecting Privacy Rights: Access to Justice Issues in a Global Digital Economy” Pathways to Privacy (P2P): Privacy for Everyone Symposium (Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada/Industry Canada) Ottawa, May 2, 2012.

(b)     Les Jacobs and Lorne Foster

  • Final Report on the Canada-China Forum on Industrial Relations and Labour Rights, Beijing, China, May 2011. Report submitted to the International Trade and Labour Program, HRSDC, December 2011;


China CRT/Good Governance Volume: The China partner for the APDR project is the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (SASS). SASS is the primary policy advising think tank for the Shanghai municipal government and as such is involved in policy advising on a daily basis. APDR projects conceived and implemented through SASS are selected in large part because they are of policy interest to the government. SASS colleagues are involved in regular policy briefings in connection with their specific research activities. Prominent examples of policy advising by the China CRT include:

  • Policy proposals on housing policy and expropriation regulations (SASS) provided to Shanghai government resulted in reforms to existing regulations and procedures;
  • Dang Pengfei – Policy proposals on labour policy and regulation submitted to central government;
  • He Weidong – report “Start from Green Exhibition to Promote Optional Environmental Protection Administration Means” submitted to Environmental Protection Ministry of China;
  • Gu Xiaorong – Policy proposals on protection of financial consumers accepted as central government key research project with impacts on central government policy and regulation;
  • Sarah Biddulph – Advice to Supreme Court of Victoria on jurisdiction of Chinese courts (Bronwyn Gardiner – 20-23 July 2016);
  • Sarah Biddulph – Part of Asian Law Centre preparing written information on structure and jurisdiction of the Chinese courts to Supreme Court of Victoria sent 14 September 2016;
  • Sarah Biddulph – Asian Law Centre policy paper A Brief Introduction to the Chinese Judicial System and Court Hierarchy ALC Policy paper Wang Yifan, Sarah Biddulph and Andrew Godwin (2017).
  • Sarah Biddulph – Correspondence and response to queries from the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre;
  • Pitman Potter and CRT chair Sarah Biddulph are routinely invited to brief government agencies on policy matters such as administrative detention, criminal law reform, and domestic violence (Biddulph) and transparency and accountable governance, minority and religion policy, rule of law and judicial reform;
  • Ljiljan Biukovic – “Between a Rock and A Hard Place: Canada’s Trade and Investment Policy Choices from NAFTA to CETA,” Canada-Europe Transatlantic Dialogue Conference Proceedings “Canada and Europe: Converging or Diverging Responses to International and Domestic Challenges?”; on-line policy briefs series, (Ottawa: Carleton University, March 10, 2016) 6 pages.


India CRT/Development Volume: “Economic Policy for Inclusive Development” Ministry of Finance and the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, India December 2010. Presentations by India CRT on food security. Policy proposals resulted in revisions to draft legislation on food security in India. Examples include:

(a) Ashwini Kulkarni

  • Briefings to the Government of India on the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA);
  • Service on the NREGA Working Group – The committee report for improving NREGA has been prepared and submitted to the Planning Commission for consideration for the next Five year Plan;
  • Briefings to Government of Maharashtra (GoM) state on implementation of NREGA in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. This led a very close association with GoM and created space to actively participate in improving the implementation procedures and delivery mechanism of this programme. Currently she is involved in a multi faceted way to suggest changes in record keeping, training of local administrators and such;
  • Member of Committee of Revision of Operational Guidelines of NREGA. Operational guidelines were last made in 2008. This document provides all the rules, regulations and procedures for implementing the scheme for the State Government. It also outlines the data to be collected, collated for monitoring. This is in process. This group could be influenced to add a special chapter on how to incorporate Nomadic tribes as labourers using UID since Nomadic tribes do not have a single habitat and hence do not belong to any particular Gram Panchayat. Nomadic Tribes were missing out on the opportunity to participate in this Scheme;
  • Initiated a network of Civil Society Organizations working on NREGA in Maharshtra. The second meeting was purposefully held at Mumbai and the Minister and the Principal Secretary attended. This served as a platform for policy discussion and demanding necessary changes for improvement; actively involved with the NREGA consortium, which is a network of organizations across 11 States working on improving the NREGA implementation. State Consultation of this consortium was held in Orissa, and a study has been undertaken in UP. This has led to drought mitigation and water and soil conservation measures. A two-day national consultation was held and attended by Ministers and the bureaucracy of Government of Maharashtra. This has led to some changes in implementation related to Planning of Works of NREGA;
  • Closely working with the Government of Maharashtra, Principal Secretary to improve the mechanisms especially getting a Call Centre approved, putting an Ombudsman in every district;
  • Government of Maharashtra wanted a study of assets built under National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. The Principal Secretary approached Pragati Abhiyan to discuss. So a survey of asset utility has been conducted in collaboration with Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research and with support from Agriculture colleges across all the districts of the State;
  • An in-depth study of Andhra Pradesh and visits to Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Bihar, Orissa serving on Working Group of Planning Commission and Guidelines committee (2013);
  • Invited to be a member of Technical Committee to give recommendations to Government of Maharashtra. As part of the Social Audit panel, prepared the basic Manual, training plan and a design for conducting Social Audit of NREGA in Maharashtra.


(b) Milind Murugkar

  • Presentations on Food Security and Food Subsidies to the ministers and politicians in the state of Maharashtra (Minister for PDS and Civil Supplies, Mr. Anil Deshmukh; Minister for Irrigation, Mr. Ajit Pawar; Minister for Rural Development, Mr. Jayant Patil; Ms. Supriya Sule, Member of Parliament, Loksabha, April 2010;
  • Spoke at Farmers’ rallies and participated in public debates on the most effective ways to deliver food subsidy (2013).


(c) Milind Murugkar and Bharat Ramaswami

  • Presentation on ‘Breaking the stalemate on the food security bill’ to Rahul Gandhi, Member of Parliament and General Secretary of Indian National Congress (Feb. 2011).


(d) Ashok Kotwal and Bharat Ramaswami

  • Played a role in organizing an open letter by 45 economists around the world to Ms. Sonia Gandhi (President of the ruling Congress party and the Chair of National Advisory Council) urging changes in the draft of the National Food Security Bill so that States that wished to experiment with alternate systems for delivering food subsidy (e.g., cash transfers) would be allowed to do so and also to improve the flawed targeting system. The draft was subsequently modified though not completely to the author’s satisfaction;
  • Co-signed another open letter (published simultaneously in Economic Times and the Hindu on March 12, 2012) to the Prime Minister also signed by a group of 36 economists urging further modifications of the National Food Security Bill to improve the targeting system.


(e) Wilima Wadhwa

  • In collaboration with UNICEF and UNESCO, launched the report of a study on teaching and learning in rural India. Banerji, R., Bhattachrjea S., and Wadhwa, W. 2011. “Inside Primary Schools: A Study of Teaching and Learning in Rural India.” (Report) – ASER Centre launches Inside Primary Schools: A Study of Teaching and Learning in Rural India – ASER Centre, http://indiacurrentaffairs.org/aser-centre-launches-inside-primary-schools-a-study-of-teaching-and-learning-in-rural-india/. The findings of Inside Primary Schools study have been presented at a number of national, state and international venues, including to a meeting of all Education Secretaries, Directors of SCERTs (State Council of Educational Research and Training) and SPDs (State Project Director, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan); and another to all state Education Ministers.


(f) Nisha Malhotra

  • Invited by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (CIDA) to participate in the Asian Regional Consultation and brain storming for social and economic development programs. (Jakarta, Indonesia, February 20-21, 2014).


(g) Bharat Ramaswami

  • “Cash Transfers” – Talk to Parliamentarians, PRS Legislative Research (Dec. 2012);
  • Invited by the Finance Minister (Government of India) for Pre-budget consultations with Experts (2013).


Indonesia CRT/Poverty/Inequality Volume: APDR members are active in policy advising through their academic/university positions. Policy proposals on balancing trade policy and health rights submitted to central and local governments.

a)     Rick Barichello

  • Invited presentation to meet with the Canadian Senate Standing Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, Ottawa, May 2015 on the subject of agricultural trade policy and farm incomes. Audience: Senate of Canada members of this standing committee;
  • Invited presentation, “How to Reduce Rural Poverty in Java: Farm Wage Rates and the integration of Rural and Urban Labor Markets”, to Symposium in Honor of Wally Huffman, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, August 2014. Audience: labour and agricultural economists from academic institutions, and US government policy economists with focus on labour market policies and human capital;
  • Invited presentation “How to Reduce Rural Poverty in Java” to the China Center for Agricultural Policy, Beijing, China, on June 1, 2015. Audience: members of the CCAP and invited economists interested in food and agricultural policy in Beijing;
  • Invited presentation, “Migration vs Agricultural Protection for Reducing Rural Poverty: the case of Indonesia”, to the IAMO (Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies) Forum 2016, Halle, Germany. Audience: economists from academic institutions and policy makers from Germany and the European Commission;
  • Invited presentation to the Myanmar Development Institute, Naypyidaw, Myanmar, July 2017, on analyzing agricultural trade policies to determine their effects on farm income and poverty. Audience: government economists, NGO agricultural policy specialists, all from Myanmar;
  • Selected Presentation, “Trade, Poverty and Income Distribution: The Indonesian Experience”, to the Annual Meeting of the International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium, Whistler, BC, July 2018. Audience: members of this international consortium, mostly agricultural and trade economists from government, the private sector, and academic institutions across the US, Europe, China, Canada, and other countries.


b) Arianto Patunru

  • Wrote a commentary article on Indonesia’s new president’s protectionist policies “Will Jokowi Move beyond Protectionism?”, East Asia Forum, December 2015;
  • Gave a presentation (with Hal Hill of the Australian National University) at the High Level Policy Dialogue with the Minister of Finance, Rep. of Indonesia. Topic: Assessing the Economic Policy Reform Packages of President Joko Widodo, March 2016;
  • Gave a presentation at the High Level Policy Dialogue with the Minister of Finance, Rep. of Indonesia. Topic: Tapping the Opportunity in Services Sector in Indonesia, April 2017;
  • Wrote a commentary article on the rise of proctectionism in Indonesia “Globalization, Protectionism, Populism under Jokowi”, Jakarta Post, 11 September 2017;
  • Gave a presentation at the High Level Policy Dialogue with the Minister of Finance, Rep. of Indonesia. Topic: Rising Economic Nationalism and Protectionism in Indonesia and their Ill-consequence to the Poor, March 2018;
  • Wrote (with Rainer Heufers) a commentary article on trade policy and its consequence to food security in Indonesia “Indonesia Hungers for Better Food Policy to Overturn Chronic Food Insecurity”, Australian Financial Review, 5 April 2018;
  • Series of presentations made directly to policy makers in Indonesia at the Ministries of Trade, Agriculture, and Social Affairs over the 2014-2018 period;
  • Op-ed articles published in two prominent Indonesian newspapers: Kompas, The Jakarta Post, as well as at the East Asia Forum, on the country’s trade policy and its effects on poverty and food security in Indonesia.


Japan CRT/Health Volume: APDR members are active in policy advising through their academic/university positions. Policy proposals on balancing trade policy and health rights submitted to central and local governments.

Yoshitaka Wada

  • Served as committee member for Ministry of Health concerning Universal Healthcare Scheme in global settings;
  • Presentations of some insights of the research findings at the social Security Council of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Labour;
  • Served for Medical malpractice investigation scheme;
  • Transfer of knowledge at Committee for Medical Accident Investigation System of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Labour in Japan.


Project Outreach:

  • Federal Government: DFAIT China Links program in Beijing. Regular briefings on research activities and progress to HQ in Ottawa and posts in Beijing, Delhi, Tokyo;
  • Provincial Government: Briefings to BC provincial government (P.B. Potter member of Premier’s Asia Pacific Trade Council);
  • Municipal Governments: DFAIT China Links program brought Canadian municipal officials together with Chinese counterparts for training and discussion of transparency and government accountability;
  • Human Rights, Trade, and Labour,” Policy Roundtable, Institute for Research on Public Policy, Ottawa, ON, May 5, 2016;
  • Human Rights, Trade, and Labour,” Policy Roundtable, Munk School, University of Toronto, May 3, 2016;
  • Human Rights, Trade, and Labour,” Policy Roundtable, Asia Pacific Foundation, Vancouver, BC, April 20, 2016;
  • NGOs: Asia Pacific Foundation, Canada China Business Council, North South Institute, Canadian Business Ethics Research Network, Pragati Abhiyan: Project partners involved in dissemination of key research activities and findings.

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