Top Ten

September 4, 2009

Student unemployment reaches 16% in August

According to new Statistics Canada figures, last month's unemployment rate for students aged 15 to 24 rose 5% from August 2008 to 16.4%, the highest August level since comparable data became available in 1977. The average unemployment rate for this summer was 19.2%, the second highest rate since 1977. The average number of hours worked during the summer by students was 23.4 hours a week, the lowest in 32 years. Last month, employment was down 9.5% among students compared to August 2008, the fastest year-over-year rate of decline for August since 1983. Statistics Canada

New uMontréal campus part of $120-million Outremont rail yard redevelopment

Last Thursday, the federal and Quebec governments announced a $120-million plan to decontaminate and revitalize the Outremont rail yards in Montreal, giving the Université de Montréal space to expand without putting any more pressure on its main campus in Mount Royal. uMontréal purchased the rail yards in 2006 after the Tormon terminal was dismantled. The university expects to occupy approximately two-thirds of the 300,000-square-metre area with cutting-edge scientific facilities for students and researchers. uMontréal rector Luc Vinet hopes the cleanup of the site will be completed by 2012, allowing construction of the campus to start in 2014. Infrastructure Canada News Release | uMontréal News Release | Montreal Gazette | CTV

$13 million for academic building at Lakehead Orillia campus

The federal government announced last Friday $13 million from the Knowledge Infrastructure Program for the construction of a new multi-use academic building at Lakehead University's Orillia campus. The facility will allow the university to offer more academic programs in the arts and sciences, environmental studies, business administration, and social work. Industry Canada News Release

Postscript:  Sep 9, 2009
Elizabeth Church reports in Monday's Globe and Mail that the Ontario government is not matching the $13 million Ottawa announced last Friday for Lakehead University's Orillia campus. Instead, the 50% matching funds are coming from local levels of government and Lakehead. Industry Minister Tony Clement says the federal government had "a difference of opinion with the province on this one project," and he still hopes Ontario "will see fit to add its resources in the future." Support from the province is "far from assured," Church writes. A report from Courtyard Group advises Ontario not to support moves by a university to establish a satellite campus "far from its home base" because of what it calls governance challenges. Although the report does not mention Lakehead by name, the university's president says the reference was a clear shot at the Orillia campus, and he calls the governance concerns a "red herring." Globe and Mail | Read the consultant's report

$8 million for St. Clair healthplex in Chatham

Last week the federal government announced $7.7 million from the Community Adjustment Fund for the proposed healthplex at St. Clair College's Thames campus in Chatham Ontario. The recreational facility, slated to open in 2010, will feature fitness centres, running tracks, and classroom space. The college's Windsor campus also received $5 million from the Community Adjustment Fund for its journalism program. Chatham Daily News

Enrolment boom at Lakeland College

Alberta-based Lakeland College anticipates enrolment to increase by as much as 25% this year due to a rise in the number of returning students, as well as a jump in applications for university transfer, business, academic upgrading, pre-employment trades, and child and youth care programs. The college expects some 550 students to register at its Lloydminster campus, and nearly 700 students at the Vermilion campus. These figures do not include programs starting in late August or online programming. Lakeland College News Release

York issuing illegal parking tickets, says Toronto city councillor

A Toronto politician warns that the city may take York University to court if it continues to issue parking tickets, a practice the councillor says is illegal as only the city can distribute fines. The university stands by its policy to hand out parking fines on its own property. One of York's ways of forcing payment is to withhold transcripts from students who have not paid their tickets. In July, the University of British Columbia appealed a court decision that found it was unlawfully issuing parking fines. CBC

Sauder opens residence for MBA students

Last Wednesday, the Robert H. Lee Graduate School at the UBC's Sauder School of Business opened MBA House, one of the first residences of its kind in Canada dedicated to MBA students. The $12-million facility features 81 furnished single and double suites with kitchens, a library, a café, and lounge and common areas for study, events, and networking. The project was inspired by Harvard University's McArthur Hall, a graduate business student residence named after UBC alumnus and former Harvard Business School dean John McArthur. Sauder News Release

House donated to UNB to be used as president's residence

University of New Brunswick alumni Julia MacLauchlan and Warren McKenzie have donated Somerville House, a historic home on Fredericton's Waterloo Row and named after UNB's first president, to the university as the new residence for the school's president. Having had ties to UNB since 1845, Somerville House was purchased by the couple in 2003, and was fully restored to be true to its origins. The donors have established a capital renewal fund for the property to ease maintenance costs for UNB. The school plans to sell the president's current residence and use proceeds from that sale to contribute to the fund. Homes have recently been donated to Wilfrid Laurier University and UOIT. UNB News Release

MacEwan hoping for university designation this month

Now that Mount Royal is a university, Grant MacEwan College hopes it will be awarded university status this month to become Edmonton's second university. As late as last year, the school's president denied interest in MacEwan becoming a university, but after consulting with student leaders, faculty, staff, and the board of governors, "there was resounding support to move forward." As in the case of Mount Royal, the university designation would not change MacEwan's mandate; it would continue to offer certificates and diplomas on top of the bachelor programs already available. Edmonton Journal

Former Quebec premier demands French-only CÉGEP education for immigrant children

Former Quebec premier Bernard Landy believes the province should impose French-only college education on the children of immigrants. Landry says it's time to apply Bill 101, launched in 1977 with the goal of protecting the French language in Quebec, to the province's CÉGEPs to ensure immigrant youth are fully integrated as francophones. Among its restrictions, Bill 101 limits access to English-language elementary and secondary schools for immigrants and their children. The former premier was reacting to reports that for the first time there were more allophones (residents whose mother tongue or home language is neither French nor English) than francophones in Montreal schools last year. Canadian Press