Trish Altass is a mother, community-based researcher and Green Party Shadow Critic for Workforce and Advanced Learning. Her research has involved exploring lived experiences and collaborating with government departments, community organizations and vulnerable populations. Throughout her career, Altass has been dedicated to work that supports the development of a more equitable society where everyone can live healthy, well and strong within their communities and families.
As a member of the PEI Working Group for a Livable Income, and former chair of the Research, Policy and Evaluation Working Group of the Guelph and Wellington Task Force for Poverty Elimination, Trish Altass has been a strong advocate for policy development based on the social determinants of health and the need for a basic income guarantee to eliminate poverty. She was also a founding member of the Community Engaged Scholarship Institute at the University of Guelph, focused on building community-university partnerships, community engagement and social innovation.
Through her research, Trish Altass has explored topics such as the paid and unpaid work experiences of women who identify as low income or facing economic hardship, facilitators and barriers to accessing addictions treatment programs and labour force transitions. She has also helped train and worked with community researchers who self-identified as living in poverty.
Altass has been a senior research associate at the Young Lives Research Laboratory housed at UPEI, where she was part of an interdisciplinary research team evaluating the scale-up of social and emotional learning programs in Atlantic Canada. Supporting children and youth to understand and engage more effectively in the research process has been at the core of this work.
As a contributor to the Digital Economy Research Team at UPEI, Altass has co-authored book chapters and peer-reviewed publications that consider how education systems can best prepare youth for work and life in the knowledge-based creative economy. Part of this work has involved the development of an innovative approach to English Language Arts that brings to the forefront the creative, critical, collaborative and multiliteracies skills needed to communicate effectively in the digital era. Currently, Altass is teaching ‘Community Engaged Learning’ at Mount Allison University, where her students facilitate collaborative project-based learning activities with students in grades 5-8.
In addition to her research and community work, Altass has been a union leader, serving as women’s council chair and local president of the teaching assistant and sessional faculty union at the University of Guelph, CUPE 3913. During her time as a union executive member, she led the local’s bargaining team and helped ensure that members’ rights were protected and upheld.
Before starting her career as a researcher, Altass earned a diploma in Child and Youth Work and was a front line worker in residential care programs for youth. Trish Altass was born in Eastern PEI, and after many years living away, she has spent the past five years living in Summerside with her partner and son.
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