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285 Research products, page 1 of 29

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  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Williams, Loriann;
    Country: Canada

    Maternal consumption of alcohol during pregnancy can induce a range of behavioral and cognitive deficits in offspring, which are collectively termed Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). There are significant delays in motor development and sensory-motor skills in children with FASD, but the underlying neurobiological mechanisms of these deficits are poorly understood. The goal of this research project is to test the hypothesis that the Kinesiological Instrument for Normal and Altered Reaching Movements (KINARM) will serve as an effective tool for identifying and measuring specific, neurologically-based motor deficits in children with FASD. These deficits were revealed through investigation of multi-joint upper limb movements during the performance of sensory-motor tasks. Children (31 FASD; 83 controls, aged 5 to 18 years, male and female) performed: (1) a visually-guided reaching task with fingertip feedback only; and children (31 FASD; 49 controls, aged 5 to 18 years, male and female) performed: (2) an arm position-matching task in the absence of visual feedback. Children with FASD differed significantly from controls in many reaching task outcome measures, specifically those related to the initial motor response and corrective responses. In particular, large effect sizes were observed for outcome measures related to the first (initial) movement (corresponding to feedforward control; e.g., direction error; distance error), as well as for those measures related to corrective responses (corresponding to feedback control; e.g., difference between minimum and maximum hand speeds; number of speed peaks during movement). In the position-matching task, children with FASD constricted the spatial workspace of the subject-controlled arm relative to the robot-controlled arm, in the horizontal axis. There was also observed a systematic shift between the subject- and robot-controlled arms in the XY end position, resulting in significant error. Additionally, children with FASD exhibited significantly increased trial-to-trial variability for final hand position of the subject-controlled arm, over all targets, and for which large effect sizes were observed. The results suggest that children with FASD have difficulty integrating sensory information into planned motor movements. The KINARM is a promising research tool that may be used to assess motor control deficits in children affected by prenatal exposure to alcohol.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Landry, David Bryce;
    Publisher: Wiley Online Library
    Country: Canada

    This dissertation aims to test and evaluate new applications of non-invasive remote sensing and geophysical technologies at three archaeological sites (LdFa-1; LeDx-42; and LbDt-1) located in the interior region of southern Baffin Island, Nunavut. LdFa-1 and LeDx-42 are both Paleo-Inuit occupation sites, while LbDt-1 is one of only two known chert quarry sites in this region. Methods used at these three Paleo-Inuit sites include terrestrial laser scanning, radar imaging, electromagnetic resistivity and conductivity mapping, and magnetic susceptibility mapping. The methods are examined for both their effectiveness in archaeological fieldwork, and their investigative value on lower relief hunter-gatherer sites. The results of these tests are presented through four original research manuscripts. Developing and integrating a non-invasive multi-method approach to site investigation in the Arctic facilitates efficient in-field data acquisition and allows for less reliance on wide-scale excavation and extended field seasons. Because weather can be an unpredictable factor on site accessibility in the deep interior regions, entire field seasons can, and have been derailed despite best planning efforts and sufficient funding. As such, it is vital that these technologies enable us to collect valuable data within a limited amount of time. Remote sensing and geophysical survey data were collected, processed, analysed, and interpreted in both field and lab settings throughout this project. Because the motivations of this project are heavily methodological in nature, the analytical approach of this dissertation focuses on the ways to integrate these methods and interpretations within pre-established archaeological frameworks. The results of this study demonstrate that non-invasive, multi-method investigation of Arctic hunter-gatherer sites is an effective approach to derive detailed archaeological data without the need for wide-scale excavation. With these data, I was able to more clearly interpret and understand Paleo-Inuit toolstone use and transport patterns beginning at a quarry and then extending across southern Baffin Island’s interior and coastal regions. The combined subsurface imaging and surveys proved to be the most effective way to locate, identify, and investigate anthropogenic features in these complex Arctic environments, and ultimately the resulting information they acquired has enhanced our overall understanding of Paleo-Inuit lifeways in this region.

  • Closed Access
    Authors: 
    Midwood, Jonathan D.;
    Country: Canada
  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Setoodeh, Peyman;
    Country: Canada

    Cooperative teleoperation combines two traditional areas of robotics, i.e. teleoperation and collaborative manipulation. Cooperative telerobotic systems consist of multiple pairs of master I slave robotic manipulators operating in a shared environment. Due to dynamic interaction among slave manipulators as well as communication latency, control of such systems is particularly challenging and the application of standard teleoperation controller may result in instability. In this thesis a multilateral control framework is proposed for cooperative teleoperation systems that allows for transmission of position and force information between all master and slave robots rather than merely between corresponding units. Two different control approaches are introduced that establish kinematic correspondence among masters and slaves. The operators are presented with a virtual intervening tool in order to collaboratively interact with the environment. Models of operators, master and slave robots, tool, and environment are incorporated in the design. A multilateral adaptive nonlinear control architecture is proposed. Performance and stability of cooperative teleoperation systems are addressed under dynamic interactions between slave robots in the presence of model uncertainty. The robustness of the controller with respect to communication latency is also analyzed. Simulation and experimental studies demonstrate that the proposed approach is highly effective in all phases of a teleoperation task, i.e. in free motion and in contact with both flexible and rigid environments. The second approach involves finite-dimensional state-space models that incorporate the delay for free motion/ soft contact as well as rigid contact modes of operation. Local dynamic linearization control laws are employed to linearize robotic manipulators' dynamics. Model-based discrete-time Linear Quadratic Gaussian (LQG) controllers are proposed that can deliver a stable transparent response for each phase of operation. The robustness of these controllers with respect to parameter uncertainty is examined via the Nyquist analysis. Simulation results demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed approach. Thesis Master of Applied Science (MASc)

  • Other research product . Other ORP type . 2015
    Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Bartholomew, Maria J.; Howes, John D.;
    Country: Canada

    Lesson 1: (p.1-11) The History of Canadian Hockey and its Reflection of Canadian Nationalism and Identity. (Students will develop an understanding of the relationship between monumental historical hockey events and the greater Nationalistic representation reflected at the time: politics, culture, war, public image, etc. In addition, students will review the consequences for excessive nationalism through hockey and how it reflects a challenge of identity for those who don't connect with hockey. ) Lesson 2: (p.12- 39) The Canadian History of Immigration Policies (Students will develop an understanding of the hardships immigrants have faced in Canadian policy, and still face today. The lesson will guide students in creating connections between past political policies and how they have evolved over time.) Lesson 3: (p.40-47) Canada and the Over-Exploitation of Resources (Students will reflect on the current environmental crisis of the Albertan tar-sands. In addition, students should compare this contemporary issue with the history of excessive resource exploitations of the timber industries and will develop skills in understanding a limited resource industry.) Lesson 4: (p.48- 63The Alberta Pipeline: A Link to Exploring First Nations Treaties and Land Rights- Past and Present. (Students will learn about the proposed Albertan Pipeline and its link to First Nations Peoples. This will provide a point of departure for discussing historic treaties, the Indian Act, and other current comprehensive and specific land claim issues arising in Canada. Students will consider the ethical dimension of appropriation of First Nations land and will explore the consequences of that past in relation to the proposed Albertan pipeline of today.) Lesson 5: (p. 64-91) Exploring the Changing Gender and Parental Roles as Represented in the Media since World War I (Students will gain an understanding of modern day gender/parental roles by exploring the continuity and change as represented in media sources since WWI.) Lesson 6: (p. 92-105) Understanding Canada’s Military Involvement against ISIS through Exploring Canada’s Past Military Roles. (Students will explore Canada’s combat and peacekeeping heritage since WW1 and will examine the current state of the Canadian military and how it has responded to budget cuts over the years. This historical perspective will give students a better understanding of the role Canada is currently able to play in international conflicts and students will engage in a debate over the future direction of Canada’s military.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Stefanuk, Michael;
    Country: Canada

    The phenology and productivity of temperate forests has changed across eastern North America in recent decades. However, these changes have varied spatially and temporally. And, while climate change has been an important cause of these changes in forest growth, the precise influence of climate remains unclear. This thesis presents the results of research which 1) tested for forest growth trends that could indicate that forest growth has changed in response to environmental stressors; and 2) assessed climate-growth relationships for different forest growth processes (phenology and productivity). Analysis was conducted at a regional scale within the Algonquin-to-Adirondacks (A2A) corridor, and at a sub-regional scale within the four geoclimatologically distinct ecoregions of A2A (Algonquin Highlands, Frontenac Arch, St. Lawrence Lowlands & Adirondack Mountains). We conducted two studies using different, but complimentary, methodologies. In the first study we used dendrochronology to study the growth of sugar maple (Acer saccharum) over a century (1912-2011). We found that sugar maple ring-widths declined recently in the Algonquin Highlands (- 46 mm2/year, 1993-2011) and Adirondack Mountains (- 33 mm2/year, 1991-2011), but that climate-growth relationships with temperature, precipitation and the SPEI drought index were limited (response function coefficients of ± 0.3). In the second study we used remote-sensing to study forest landscapes (i.e., pixels) over 26 years (1989-2014). We found that statistically significant (p 80 %), and accumulated heating (> 4 0C) and chilling (< 20 0C) temperatures were the most important climatic variables for driving forest growth. Understanding climate-growth relationships for temperate forests in A2A will improve understandings of how forests have already responded to climate change, and will contribute to our capacity to predict how they may respond to future climate change.

  • Other research product . Other ORP type . 2016
    Closed Access English
    Authors: 
    McCann, Cameron N.;
    Country: Canada
  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Liliana ALVAREZ;
    Country: Canada
  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    McMillan, Michelle;
    Country: Canada

    Background: The prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders among farmers is greater than non-farming populations. The burden on Canadian farmers is unknown, however. Research is required to determine the occurrence of these conditions and the work-related tasks that contribute to musculoskeletal pain in prevalent anatomical sites. Objectives: The objectives of the two studies comprising this thesis were to 1) describe the sample population of Saskatchewan farmers and the prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders, and, 2) explore the strength of associations between biomechanical exposures and work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Methods: Objective 1. Participants received a mail-out survey for the Saskatchewan Farm Injury Cohort. Study outcomes were self-reports of musculoskeletal disorders characterized by presence and severity of musculoskeletal pain in nine anatomical regions. Objective 2. A cross-sectional analysis of the experience of musculoskeletal pain in relation to four main biomechanical work exposures was performed. Relationships were determined by modeling the exposures separately using modified Poisson regression. Results: Objective 1. A strong majority of participants (82.2%) reported having musculoskeletal pain in at least one body part over the past year. The lower back was the anatomical site most frequently affected (57.7%), followed by the shoulders (44.0%). Objective 2. Results suggest that all biomechanical exposures had a dose-response effect on musculoskeletal outcomes. Shovel or pitchfork use was strongest for lower back pain, while working with arms above head was the greatest risk factor for shoulder pain. Conclusions: Objective 1. Our study suggests that Canadian farmers also experience musculoskeletal pain most frequently in the lower back and shoulders, similar to those in other regions and commodity types. It also found that all farm people are at risk for musculoskeletal disorders, highlighting the need to target all subgroups and commodity types equally. Objective 2. Strong associations between increased biomechanical exposures and pain in the lower back and shoulders support the evidence that these regions are susceptible to the physical exposures of farm work.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Bihun, Hannah;
    Country: Canada

    On the Canadian prairies, farmland is more than just an investment or a resource; access and control over farmland is deeply embedded in the history, culture, and identity of Canadian farmers. Land grabbing, the large-scale purchase of farmland by domestic or foreign investors, is a phenomenon on the rise worldwide and is best understood within the framework of financialization. Despite a lack of quantitative research on the topic, some of the effects of financialization in the agri-food sector are visible in Manitoba, including rising farmland prices and increasing farmland concentration, resulting in fewer and larger farms. My research investigates the dynamics of farmland ownership in four rural municipalities with high valued farmland in Manitoba. Although reliable information about farmland investment in Manitoba is limited, 39 semi-structured interviews with farmers, rural municipal officials and staff, and others involved in the agriculture industry, provide a baseline understanding of the current dimensions of farmland sales, farmer-landlord relationships, and the social and environmental implications of increasing farmland concentration. I draw on participants’ perceptions of investors to better understand how these kinds of purchases might impact rural landscapes. Furthermore, I find that farmers themselves have adopted financial logics as they make land purchases that are less rooted in the productive value of the land and increasingly motivated by the speculative value of the land. Thus, my research reveals the ways that the ‘good farmer’ framework is at work in Manitoba and is pushing farmers to make “non-economically rational” (as cited in Burton et al., 2020, p.2) decisions that are ultimately contributing to the deterioration of rural communities and environments. The thesis concludes by discussing two pathways for the future of agriculture in Manitoba: the first is that these trends will deepen and access to land and control over food production will be further extracted from the hands of local people. The second is a more hopeful possibility that farmers, civil society, and government might co-construct a different future in agriculture by redefining what it means to be a ‘good farmer’ and prioritizing community, collaboration, and profitable/viable farm businesses.

Advanced search in
Research products
arrow_drop_down
Searching FieldsTerms
Any field
arrow_drop_down
includes
arrow_drop_down
Include:
The following results are related to Canada. Are you interested to view more results? Visit OpenAIRE - Explore.
285 Research products, page 1 of 29
  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Williams, Loriann;
    Country: Canada

    Maternal consumption of alcohol during pregnancy can induce a range of behavioral and cognitive deficits in offspring, which are collectively termed Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). There are significant delays in motor development and sensory-motor skills in children with FASD, but the underlying neurobiological mechanisms of these deficits are poorly understood. The goal of this research project is to test the hypothesis that the Kinesiological Instrument for Normal and Altered Reaching Movements (KINARM) will serve as an effective tool for identifying and measuring specific, neurologically-based motor deficits in children with FASD. These deficits were revealed through investigation of multi-joint upper limb movements during the performance of sensory-motor tasks. Children (31 FASD; 83 controls, aged 5 to 18 years, male and female) performed: (1) a visually-guided reaching task with fingertip feedback only; and children (31 FASD; 49 controls, aged 5 to 18 years, male and female) performed: (2) an arm position-matching task in the absence of visual feedback. Children with FASD differed significantly from controls in many reaching task outcome measures, specifically those related to the initial motor response and corrective responses. In particular, large effect sizes were observed for outcome measures related to the first (initial) movement (corresponding to feedforward control; e.g., direction error; distance error), as well as for those measures related to corrective responses (corresponding to feedback control; e.g., difference between minimum and maximum hand speeds; number of speed peaks during movement). In the position-matching task, children with FASD constricted the spatial workspace of the subject-controlled arm relative to the robot-controlled arm, in the horizontal axis. There was also observed a systematic shift between the subject- and robot-controlled arms in the XY end position, resulting in significant error. Additionally, children with FASD exhibited significantly increased trial-to-trial variability for final hand position of the subject-controlled arm, over all targets, and for which large effect sizes were observed. The results suggest that children with FASD have difficulty integrating sensory information into planned motor movements. The KINARM is a promising research tool that may be used to assess motor control deficits in children affected by prenatal exposure to alcohol.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Landry, David Bryce;
    Publisher: Wiley Online Library
    Country: Canada

    This dissertation aims to test and evaluate new applications of non-invasive remote sensing and geophysical technologies at three archaeological sites (LdFa-1; LeDx-42; and LbDt-1) located in the interior region of southern Baffin Island, Nunavut. LdFa-1 and LeDx-42 are both Paleo-Inuit occupation sites, while LbDt-1 is one of only two known chert quarry sites in this region. Methods used at these three Paleo-Inuit sites include terrestrial laser scanning, radar imaging, electromagnetic resistivity and conductivity mapping, and magnetic susceptibility mapping. The methods are examined for both their effectiveness in archaeological fieldwork, and their investigative value on lower relief hunter-gatherer sites. The results of these tests are presented through four original research manuscripts. Developing and integrating a non-invasive multi-method approach to site investigation in the Arctic facilitates efficient in-field data acquisition and allows for less reliance on wide-scale excavation and extended field seasons. Because weather can be an unpredictable factor on site accessibility in the deep interior regions, entire field seasons can, and have been derailed despite best planning efforts and sufficient funding. As such, it is vital that these technologies enable us to collect valuable data within a limited amount of time. Remote sensing and geophysical survey data were collected, processed, analysed, and interpreted in both field and lab settings throughout this project. Because the motivations of this project are heavily methodological in nature, the analytical approach of this dissertation focuses on the ways to integrate these methods and interpretations within pre-established archaeological frameworks. The results of this study demonstrate that non-invasive, multi-method investigation of Arctic hunter-gatherer sites is an effective approach to derive detailed archaeological data without the need for wide-scale excavation. With these data, I was able to more clearly interpret and understand Paleo-Inuit toolstone use and transport patterns beginning at a quarry and then extending across southern Baffin Island’s interior and coastal regions. The combined subsurface imaging and surveys proved to be the most effective way to locate, identify, and investigate anthropogenic features in these complex Arctic environments, and ultimately the resulting information they acquired has enhanced our overall understanding of Paleo-Inuit lifeways in this region.

  • Closed Access
    Authors: 
    Midwood, Jonathan D.;
    Country: Canada
  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Setoodeh, Peyman;
    Country: Canada

    Cooperative teleoperation combines two traditional areas of robotics, i.e. teleoperation and collaborative manipulation. Cooperative telerobotic systems consist of multiple pairs of master I slave robotic manipulators operating in a shared environment. Due to dynamic interaction among slave manipulators as well as communication latency, control of such systems is particularly challenging and the application of standard teleoperation controller may result in instability. In this thesis a multilateral control framework is proposed for cooperative teleoperation systems that allows for transmission of position and force information between all master and slave robots rather than merely between corresponding units. Two different control approaches are introduced that establish kinematic correspondence among masters and slaves. The operators are presented with a virtual intervening tool in order to collaboratively interact with the environment. Models of operators, master and slave robots, tool, and environment are incorporated in the design. A multilateral adaptive nonlinear control architecture is proposed. Performance and stability of cooperative teleoperation systems are addressed under dynamic interactions between slave robots in the presence of model uncertainty. The robustness of the controller with respect to communication latency is also analyzed. Simulation and experimental studies demonstrate that the proposed approach is highly effective in all phases of a teleoperation task, i.e. in free motion and in contact with both flexible and rigid environments. The second approach involves finite-dimensional state-space models that incorporate the delay for free motion/ soft contact as well as rigid contact modes of operation. Local dynamic linearization control laws are employed to linearize robotic manipulators' dynamics. Model-based discrete-time Linear Quadratic Gaussian (LQG) controllers are proposed that can deliver a stable transparent response for each phase of operation. The robustness of these controllers with respect to parameter uncertainty is examined via the Nyquist analysis. Simulation results demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed approach. Thesis Master of Applied Science (MASc)

  • Other research product . Other ORP type . 2015
    Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Bartholomew, Maria J.; Howes, John D.;
    Country: Canada

    Lesson 1: (p.1-11) The History of Canadian Hockey and its Reflection of Canadian Nationalism and Identity. (Students will develop an understanding of the relationship between monumental historical hockey events and the greater Nationalistic representation reflected at the time: politics, culture, war, public image, etc. In addition, students will review the consequences for excessive nationalism through hockey and how it reflects a challenge of identity for those who don't connect with hockey. ) Lesson 2: (p.12- 39) The Canadian History of Immigration Policies (Students will develop an understanding of the hardships immigrants have faced in Canadian policy, and still face today. The lesson will guide students in creating connections between past political policies and how they have evolved over time.) Lesson 3: (p.40-47) Canada and the Over-Exploitation of Resources (Students will reflect on the current environmental crisis of the Albertan tar-sands. In addition, students should compare this contemporary issue with the history of excessive resource exploitations of the timber industries and will develop skills in understanding a limited resource industry.) Lesson 4: (p.48- 63The Alberta Pipeline: A Link to Exploring First Nations Treaties and Land Rights- Past and Present. (Students will learn about the proposed Albertan Pipeline and its link to First Nations Peoples. This will provide a point of departure for discussing historic treaties, the Indian Act, and other current comprehensive and specific land claim issues arising in Canada. Students will consider the ethical dimension of appropriation of First Nations land and will explore the consequences of that past in relation to the proposed Albertan pipeline of today.) Lesson 5: (p. 64-91) Exploring the Changing Gender and Parental Roles as Represented in the Media since World War I (Students will gain an understanding of modern day gender/parental roles by exploring the continuity and change as represented in media sources since WWI.) Lesson 6: (p. 92-105) Understanding Canada’s Military Involvement against ISIS through Exploring Canada’s Past Military Roles. (Students will explore Canada’s combat and peacekeeping heritage since WW1 and will examine the current state of the Canadian military and how it has responded to budget cuts over the years. This historical perspective will give students a better understanding of the role Canada is currently able to play in international conflicts and students will engage in a debate over the future direction of Canada’s military.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Stefanuk, Michael;
    Country: Canada

    The phenology and productivity of temperate forests has changed across eastern North America in recent decades. However, these changes have varied spatially and temporally. And, while climate change has been an important cause of these changes in forest growth, the precise influence of climate remains unclear. This thesis presents the results of research which 1) tested for forest growth trends that could indicate that forest growth has changed in response to environmental stressors; and 2) assessed climate-growth relationships for different forest growth processes (phenology and productivity). Analysis was conducted at a regional scale within the Algonquin-to-Adirondacks (A2A) corridor, and at a sub-regional scale within the four geoclimatologically distinct ecoregions of A2A (Algonquin Highlands, Frontenac Arch, St. Lawrence Lowlands & Adirondack Mountains). We conducted two studies using different, but complimentary, methodologies. In the first study we used dendrochronology to study the growth of sugar maple (Acer saccharum) over a century (1912-2011). We found that sugar maple ring-widths declined recently in the Algonquin Highlands (- 46 mm2/year, 1993-2011) and Adirondack Mountains (- 33 mm2/year, 1991-2011), but that climate-growth relationships with temperature, precipitation and the SPEI drought index were limited (response function coefficients of ± 0.3). In the second study we used remote-sensing to study forest landscapes (i.e., pixels) over 26 years (1989-2014). We found that statistically significant (p 80 %), and accumulated heating (> 4 0C) and chilling (< 20 0C) temperatures were the most important climatic variables for driving forest growth. Understanding climate-growth relationships for temperate forests in A2A will improve understandings of how forests have already responded to climate change, and will contribute to our capacity to predict how they may respond to future climate change.

  • Other research product . Other ORP type . 2016
    Closed Access English
    Authors: 
    McCann, Cameron N.;
    Country: Canada
  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Liliana ALVAREZ;
    Country: Canada
  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    McMillan, Michelle;
    Country: Canada

    Background: The prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders among farmers is greater than non-farming populations. The burden on Canadian farmers is unknown, however. Research is required to determine the occurrence of these conditions and the work-related tasks that contribute to musculoskeletal pain in prevalent anatomical sites. Objectives: The objectives of the two studies comprising this thesis were to 1) describe the sample population of Saskatchewan farmers and the prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders, and, 2) explore the strength of associations between biomechanical exposures and work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Methods: Objective 1. Participants received a mail-out survey for the Saskatchewan Farm Injury Cohort. Study outcomes were self-reports of musculoskeletal disorders characterized by presence and severity of musculoskeletal pain in nine anatomical regions. Objective 2. A cross-sectional analysis of the experience of musculoskeletal pain in relation to four main biomechanical work exposures was performed. Relationships were determined by modeling the exposures separately using modified Poisson regression. Results: Objective 1. A strong majority of participants (82.2%) reported having musculoskeletal pain in at least one body part over the past year. The lower back was the anatomical site most frequently affected (57.7%), followed by the shoulders (44.0%). Objective 2. Results suggest that all biomechanical exposures had a dose-response effect on musculoskeletal outcomes. Shovel or pitchfork use was strongest for lower back pain, while working with arms above head was the greatest risk factor for shoulder pain. Conclusions: Objective 1. Our study suggests that Canadian farmers also experience musculoskeletal pain most frequently in the lower back and shoulders, similar to those in other regions and commodity types. It also found that all farm people are at risk for musculoskeletal disorders, highlighting the need to target all subgroups and commodity types equally. Objective 2. Strong associations between increased biomechanical exposures and pain in the lower back and shoulders support the evidence that these regions are susceptible to the physical exposures of farm work.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Bihun, Hannah;
    Country: Canada

    On the Canadian prairies, farmland is more than just an investment or a resource; access and control over farmland is deeply embedded in the history, culture, and identity of Canadian farmers. Land grabbing, the large-scale purchase of farmland by domestic or foreign investors, is a phenomenon on the rise worldwide and is best understood within the framework of financialization. Despite a lack of quantitative research on the topic, some of the effects of financialization in the agri-food sector are visible in Manitoba, including rising farmland prices and increasing farmland concentration, resulting in fewer and larger farms. My research investigates the dynamics of farmland ownership in four rural municipalities with high valued farmland in Manitoba. Although reliable information about farmland investment in Manitoba is limited, 39 semi-structured interviews with farmers, rural municipal officials and staff, and others involved in the agriculture industry, provide a baseline understanding of the current dimensions of farmland sales, farmer-landlord relationships, and the social and environmental implications of increasing farmland concentration. I draw on participants’ perceptions of investors to better understand how these kinds of purchases might impact rural landscapes. Furthermore, I find that farmers themselves have adopted financial logics as they make land purchases that are less rooted in the productive value of the land and increasingly motivated by the speculative value of the land. Thus, my research reveals the ways that the ‘good farmer’ framework is at work in Manitoba and is pushing farmers to make “non-economically rational” (as cited in Burton et al., 2020, p.2) decisions that are ultimately contributing to the deterioration of rural communities and environments. The thesis concludes by discussing two pathways for the future of agriculture in Manitoba: the first is that these trends will deepen and access to land and control over food production will be further extracted from the hands of local people. The second is a more hopeful possibility that farmers, civil society, and government might co-construct a different future in agriculture by redefining what it means to be a ‘good farmer’ and prioritizing community, collaboration, and profitable/viable farm businesses.