Committing Sociology (SOC 4485F/G)

Committing Sociology is an experiential learning course that introduces students to Public Sociology. Students develop research projects that answer real-world problems to encourage social change. These projects were created by the class of Fall 2021. The course will be offered again in the 2024-25 academic year.

Gambling Disorders

Nicole Rodriguez

Our Purpose and the Problem

My study is helping amplify the voices of those with gambling disorders who need help but do not know how to ask for it. The loose gambling laws set in place in Ontario are enabling and facilitating the forming of gambling disorders amongst Ontarians. My objective is to have more restrictive gambling laws in order to protect Ontarians and those who gambling disorders affect.


Collection of data and information from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, review of datasets and surveys collected by the government, and analysis of personal stories told as anonymous sources found online.

Results/Final Conclusions

Findings conclude that gambling laws in Ontario are part of the reason that many Ontarians suffer from gambling disorders. If some of these laws were tightened, there would be a lesser chance of developing a gambling disorder, and a lack of availability to gamble in the first place.

Recommendations for tightening laws
  • Casinos not open 24 hours a day
  • Fewer slot machines/electronic gaming machines
  • Cap the spending limit at each game

The Indigenous Water Crisis

Trista Montgomery and Mackenzie Sewell

The Indigenous water crisis is the social problem we've chosen to address. Many First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities in Canada, particularly on reserves, are affected by this issue. Inadequate access to clean and safe water is the issue. The right to water is recognized as a core human right by the United Nations. This means that everyone should have access to water that is safe, readily available, plentiful, and inexpensive. Yet, this right is denied to Indigenous people across the country. The water in these communities is frequently polluted and improperly treated. This makes it unsafe for consumption, and pure water is difficult to come by and expensive. Water is very sacred in these communities so when it is tainted, their bond is jeopardized. Our objective is to get all water advisories on reserves lifted. A drinking water advisory is meant to notify communities that their water is unsafe to consume. "Boil water," "do not drink," and "do not use" are the three types of warnings. The federal government, specifically Indigenous Services Canada, is responsible to change this. The root cause of the water crisis is colonialism, which was made possible with the enactment of the Indian Act 1867. The federal government gained control of practically every area of Indigenous People's life as a result of this and to this day are still in control. They oversee all services and infrastructure, including water, on these reserves! The Federal Government is now using the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act to control Indigenous water supplies. Many of the components of the act need to be modified in order to successfully accomplish lifting all water advisories. We, as European colonizers, are to blame. It is our job to act and bring about societal change. To demonstrate effective application of the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act, we designed a story map to showcase our results and suggestions.

The NAFI (Not Asking For It) Project

Hannah Walsh, Brandon Clarke, Harley Smyth, and Casey Bradley

Our Purpose and the Problem

Our study examines the importance of amplifying student voices in regard to student safety on King’s University College campus. The objective of our research study is to promote student feelings of safety through influencing policy change, education, and preventative measures surrounding sexual and gender-based violence on campus.


Our research team conducted semi-structured qualitative interviews anonymously with faculty and students of the Department of Sociology within King’s University College via Zoom.

Results/Final Conclusions

Our study concludes that King’s must explore new initiatives to promote students’ safety to ensure all students feel safe on campus. Further, our study also highlights that we need to investigate broader structural inequalities that influence rape culture.

Student Suppression: How King’s University College Inhibits Student Activism

Daniel French

Student activism is largely restricted on the King’s University College (KUC) campus in part due to the outdated policies governing the posting of posters, which require that any student who wishes to hang a poster receive a stamp from the Dean of Students. Meanwhile, ratified campus clubs must receive a stamp by the King’s University College Student Council (KUCSC) to hang a poster. The purpose of this research is to identify the optimal method of governing posters that accounts for students' needs, followed by the creation of new policy to be implemented in the KUCSC constitution. This was accomplished by interviewing a variety of researchers in the field of activism who provided policy recommendations and insight on how these changes will affect students. Based on this research, we have concluded that the KUCSC should allow clubs to hang posters across campus without obtaining a stamp, while students should have access to various bulletin boards on campus that they may hang posters on without obtaining a stamp. These policy changes should be implemented in the KUCSC constitution, replacing existing policies governing poster and club promotion policies. Implementing these changes should enhance the student experience by enabling students to speak about concerns on campus, fostering a heightened student experience for both current and future students.

Unaffordable Childcare in Ontario

Chantel Van Bommel and Sophia Isaac

We seek to address the social problem of unaffordable childcare in Ontario. Our objective is to create inclusive, affordable, publicly funded, quality childcare. Ontario is currently one of few provinces left to sign Canada’s National Childcare Framework, which proposed funding for the next 5 years to make childcare more affordable for low-income families. We created a policy brief which encompasses evidence-based research of childcare frameworks implemented in other countries and the benefits they had on the economy and individual social status. This policy brief is to be used in negotiations with the federal government by the Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce. It is crucial Ontario signs Canada’s National Childcare Framework to create affordable childcare and prevent low-income families from falling into poverty. Furthermore, more children will have access to quality education and the economy will subsequently thrive with the increase in parents returning to work.

We Request a Greater BIPOC Representation in OUA Football

Jalen Jackson

There is a weak representation of Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) head coaches in Ontario University Athletics (OUA) football, which is negatively affecting the players and preventing the game from expanding. The research for this policy brief included consulting with members from Black Canadian Coaches Association (BCCA) and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BBI) Task Force. Additionally, examining recent reports by the conference helped to gather evidence and contribute to developing recommendations for the Bernie Custis rule, a policy under consideration by the OUA that would make it mandatory to interview BIPOC candidates for vacant head coaching positions. To address the lack of representation, the OUA Board needs to implement the Bernie Custis rule and enforce measures if the policy is not followed by institutions. A rule that should be added to the policy is that OUA universities must interview at least two BIPOC members suggested on the BCCA showcase of candidates if there is a vacant head coaching position in the institution. If universities fail to follow this rule, they must pay a $5,000 fine to the OUA conference. The organizations and OUA conference want to help BIPOC assistant coaches get the opportunity to interview for head coaching jobs. To accomplish this goal, we must implement the Bernie Custis rule to encourage universities to hire BIPOC head coaches.

Youth Experiencing Homelessness

Nick Saccoia & Cam Wells

There is no denying that youth experiencing homelessness in Ontario is a social problem on the rise. On any given night, well over six thousand Canadian youth find themselves without a safe place to sleep. This displacement is typically a result of extenuating factors that the youth have no control over. Family poverty, homophobia/transphobia from the home, as well as abusive relationships are examples of factors that can result in displacement. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, as well as the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, are the current policy makers with the power to impact youth experiencing homelessness in Ontario. Overall, the current policies in place provide few viable options for youth experiencing homelessness. As a result, struggling youth will typically choose to live on the street due to the lack of other options. 

Our team is proposing that the policy makers seriously consider altering the current social housing policies in place. We recommend that the policy makers implement Housing First policies that have achieved success in countries such as Norway, Finland and Denmark. Housing First is a housing strategy that prioritizes permanent housing to all people experiencing homelessness. Once housed, potential necessary supports such as mental health and substance abuse services will be provided. In order to successfully overcome the status quo of youth experiencing homelessness in Ontario, the current policies must be changed. A transition to Housing First policies is the next logical step that must be taken in order to see real societal change and a shift away from the status quo.