Top Ten

August 27, 2009

McMaster support staff could begin striking next week

Support workers at McMaster University will be in a position to strike on September 4. The university has requested the Ontario labour ministry enforce a supervised vote of its final offer to the employees' union, which, if sanctioned, would take place Wednesday or Thursday. Canadian Auto Workers Local 555, which represents the support staff, is recommending its members reject the offer. A McMaster spokeswoman disagrees with the union's suggestion that a strike could disrupt classes, as unlike the situation at York University, there are no teaching assistants involved in this labour dispute. Strike action could shorten office hours and create longer wait times for services. McMaster Daily News | Hamilton Spectator

2 BC private career colleges accused of misusing VCC trademark

In a news release issued Wednesday, Vancouver Community College states that BC's Private Career Training Institutions Agency is accusing 2 of its members of predatory advertising. The schools have allegedly been misusing VCC's licensed trademark. PCTIA bylaws disallow members from using competitors' names, logos, or trademarks to steer Internet browsers in their direction. The community college had previously contacted Vancouver Career College about it misappropriating the VCC trademark. VCC News Release

Fired Camosun ombudsman takes college to human rights tribunal

Gary Insley, recently terminated from his position as Camosun College's student ombudsman, is taking his dismissal to the BC Human Rights Tribunal. Insley was terminated a month after returning from a 16-month medical leave. Dismissed without warning, Insley was told the ombudsman's office is "moving in a different direction." A Camosun official says the ombudsman position has been filled on an interim basis and there are no plans to abolish it. Victoria Times-Colonist

Provincial funding cuts affect uAlberta disability help centre

When the Alberta government decided last December not to renew an annual $2.5-million provincewide grant for exam accommodations, the University of Alberta's student disability help centre lost nearly a fifth of its funding. The centre's remaining staff are facing long hours of unpaid overtime in an effort to keep direct assistance for students from slipping. An Alberta Advanced Education spokeswoman says the funding could not be sustained given the state of the economy. Edmonton Journal

uLaval receives over $4 million for stadium upgrades

Yesterday the federal government announced $4.5 million for upgrades at Université Laval's Sports and Physical Education Pavilion. The project will involve adding 2,100 seats, installing a modern scoreboard, replacing the stadium's artificial turf, and equipping 3 natural-surface fields with synthetic liners. The stadium will be hosting the Vanier Cup games this year and in 2010. Office of the PM News Release | Backgrounder

Ottawa, PEI invest in Holland College Georgetown campus expansion

The federal and PEI governments announced over $2 million yesterday for the expansion and renovation of Holland College's Georgetown campus in order to accommodate increased demand for metal fabrication and welding training. The project involves introducing a new Iron Worker program at the Georgetown campus and relocating the Commercial Diving program to the Marine Training Centre in Summerside, which will maximize space and allow more students to attend programs at both campuses. Holland College News Release

Facebook agrees to make changes to privacy policy

Facebook announced Thursday that it will comply with recommendations outlined in a report by Canada's privacy commissioner. The social network will introduce a new permissions model in which third-party applications must specify what categories of information they wish to access, and users will be able to control what type of information an app is allowed to access. Facebook will make it clear to its users that they have the option to either deactivate or delete their account. Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada News Release | Facebook News Release | CanWest News Service

Carleton introduces new state-of-the-art alert system

Yesterday Carleton University launched its new Emergency Notification System, which it calls the most comprehensive of its kind on a university campus in the country. The system can issue a PC desktop alert delivering an on-screen message as it locks thousands of on-campus computers, mass e-mail notifications, and text messages to individuals who have voluntarily provided their cellphone number. The university is investing $350,000 in the project. Carleton recently settled a lawsuit with a student assaulted on campus 2 years ago who accused the school of failing to provide adequate safety measures. Carleton News Release

York express bus lane delayed

A new express lane for buses en route to York University, originally scheduled to be open at the start of the 2009-10 academic year, is now expected to be ready by November at the earliest. The $38-million York University Busway was held up by delays in environmental assessments and funding approvals. A plan to offer integrated transit service to York is also being pushed back to January. A new subway line is scheduled to reach the university in 2015. Toronto Star | CBC

"University of the People" to launch next month

First announced in January, "University of the People" -- billed as the "first non-profit, tuition-free online university" -- kicks off in September with 178 students ranging in age from 16 to 61. The students, coming from 49 countries, will study business administration and computer science. Although fees are waived for now, an education at the university could cost between $400 and $4,000 overall in the future, and the charges would cover exam fees. While the school's founder hopes its social-network atmosphere will encourage students to stick with it, he does anticipate a high dropout rate. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access) | University of the People