Jayne Malenfant

Study program:
PhD Education
Current affiliation:
McGill University

Jayne Malenfant (education, McGill University) analyzes the barriers faced by precariously housed youth at school and in the labour market to promote innovative and equitable participation in the future global economy.


Canada's Youth Homelessness Crisis: Considering Education within a Human Rights Response

Malenfant’s research contributes to a growing body of knowledge on approaches to learning that encourage innovative and equitable participation in the future global economy, though is unique in its specific focus on how to effectively prepare Canada’s precariously housed youth for these shifts. Youth who are or have experienced homelessness are less likely to graduate high school or enrol in post-secondary studies, making them extraordinarily vulnerable to employment precarity. Her project will provide an empirical investigation – conducted from the embodied standpoints of precariously housed youth – of the policy and institutional factors which enable/constrain their educational participation. This research seeks to address young people’s fundamental human rights to housing, education and work through an analysis of the systemic and structural barriers youth face across these intersecting domains.

Jayne Malenfant is carrying out her PhD at McGill University in the department of Integrated Studies in Education. Born in Kapuskasing, Ontario, and having bounced all over Canada throughout her life, she is currently a resident of Montréal, Québec. 

Malenfant's previous research focused on anarchist youth living in rural Canada, with an emphasis on their autonomy and activism outside of traditional political realms. This research took place in the Social Anthropology department at York University, and was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Joseph Bombardier Canadian Graduate Scholarship. Her doctoral research focuses on educational access for young people experiencing housing precarity and poverty, and aims to make concrete shifts in how youth perspectives and experiences shape institutional interventions. 

Throughout her academic career and personal life Jayne has held a commitment to open and fair work (whether scholarship or activism), which attempts to break down traditional hierarchies. She continues to carry out research which is participatory and community-based at its core, with an explicit focus on research which supports action in the everyday lives of people. Drawing on her own experiences, as well as the experiences of those she works with, she aims to continue work which directly improves the supports and opportunities for precariously housed youth, and young people more broadly.

  • October 17, 2019
    According to Statistics Canada, more than 3.4 million Canadians were living below the poverty line in 2016. To mark the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, Jayne Malenfant had an important message for the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation community at the May 2019 retreat.
  • April 8, 2019
    This article was authored by Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation 2018 Scholar Jayne Malenfant With the support of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, I was able to facilitate two unique workshops that tackled questions of how we can approach participatory work, navigate community-academic partnerships and, ultimately, how lived experience – and particularly the experiences of young people – can be meaningfully integrated into our research.
  • June 21, 2018
    The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation appoints fifteen doctoral scholars across the country Outstanding students in the social sciences and humanities see their careers taking off.