LA&PS Internship Award 2018: Community Research Intern

Internship Role Profile

Position Title: Community Research Intern
Location of Internship:
  • Work conducted at various site locations in GTA
  • Including work space at York University - TD Community Engagement Centre 1 York Gate Blvd, North York, ON M3N 3A1
Reports to:
  • Dr. Wanda MacNevin: Worked in Jane-Finch community services for 40+ years (recently awarded an Honourary Doctor of Laws by York University)
  • Richard De Gaetano: Lived, worked and volunteered in Jane-Finch; worked 22 years in community social planning; long-time social justice activist
Work Term: Summer 2018 Internship
Start Date: May 7, 2017 (Start/end dates flexible, can be negotiated)
End Date: July 27, 2018
Duration 12 weeks (3 months, Full-time)
Student Award: $6000.00 ($2000.00 received monthly) Social Justice, Equity & Inclusion Award
Hours: 35 hours per week
Research Internship: Project Description
The Jane and Finch community has a long and fascinating history. Two activist leaders in the Jane-Finch community are developing, for a book publication, historical research and first- person stories of this area in northwest Toronto. Known more for the challenges faced by its diverse, multicultural, working-class population dealing with issues of marginalization, immigration, over policing, and multiple forms of discrimination, the people of this community have yet to see their stories of persistence, resilience, knowledge, and talents written. At the completion of this internship, the student will have gained an understanding of how poor planning and lack of social infrastructure impacts people in lower income communities and will have an enhanced appreciation for the strengths and abilities of lower income/working-class people. Researchers will be credited as contributors in any publications (print or digital) and in the final product.
Intern Responsibilities
This research project will focus on primary and secondary research that will operate from a social justice, equity, and inclusion framework. The lens will be a critical anti-oppression one to ensure the information gathered is evidence based and has the integrity of the real voices of people from this undervalued, but treasured community. The researcher will get an orientation to the Jane-Finch community, will have to be mostly self- directed while under the supervision of the authors, access various archives and libraries, and analyse and report their findings to the authors (who will have full copyrights).


Intern Research Job Tasks
There are three areas where the researcher can choose to define their work:

  1. Focus on planning and policy perspectives: includes Official Plans, District Plans, demographic profiles, Provincial Planning Act, provincial legislation and regulations, decisions of the City Council (North York, Toronto) and committees (including agencies, boards, and commissions), housing policies and developments, commercial development, environmental issues, and academic research dealing with any of these areas.
  2. Focus on health: includes history of the local hospital(s) and community responses, reports on statistics of live births, mental health, chronic diseases, health promotion, and government responses to these issues (e.g., North York Health, Toronto District Health Council, Toronto Public Health, local health organizations, Local Health Integration Network, etc.)
  3. Focus on media: includes local and external media coverage, impact on public and community perceptions, response by the community to media representation, attempts to develop counter media (e.g.,, newspapers, protests, boycotts, elections, positive media-oriented events, etc.)

This research project will also include:

  • Qualitative and quantitative research, analysis of government reports, document and prior academic research
  • Part of the research may include interviewing key informants (activists and leaders in the community), including the transcriptions and analysis of those interviews. These will be part of the basis for the book telling the stories of building the Jane-Finch community.
Qualifications, Skills & Experience
  • Interest in urban planning issues and local development
  • Understanding of, and comfort with, working with people in marginalized communities
  • Familiarity with the Jane-Finch community or similar communities would be an asset
  • Must be a self-starter and self-directed within goals and boundaries set by the authors
  • Comfort with investigating documents in government or institutional archives
  • Strong analytical stills
  • Strong writing skills
  • Commitment to social justice and able to work in an anti-oppression framework
Student Eligibility Criteria
  • 6.0 Grade Point Average, B or better
  • Open to all 3rd year students in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
  • 4th year students returning to academic studies in September 2018, upon completion of the summer internship work term may apply and be considered for this position
  • Must be enrolled in an Honours or Specialized Honours Degree
  • Must be a Canadian Citizen, Permanent Resident of Canada, or Indigenous Person to Canada