Top Ten

December 4, 2009

Canadian youth facing brunt of economic downturn

No group in Canada has been displaced more by the recession than youth, whose unemployment rate reached nearly 16% last month, according to new Statistics Canada figures. Full-time employment among 15- to 24-year-olds dropped 15.6% in November. The situation is especially acute among recent university graduates, say youth employment counsellors. The number of people seeking help at Toronto-based Youth Employment Services is up 40% this year, and most of that surge is from recent graduates. Many young people are moving back in with their parents, but those without safety nets are turning to homeless shelters, welfare, crime, or transient work. The situation is not limited to Canada -- the OECD stated in September that it is "very concerned" about the rapid rise in youth unemployment in its member nations. Labour Force Survey | Globe and Mail

UWO awarded $19 million from Ontario Research Fund

The University of Western Ontario announced Friday it has received $19 million from the Ontario Research Fund for a dozen research projects. Nearly half of the funding is going towards the Wind Engineering, Energy and Environment (WindEEE) Dome, which is used to perform experiments involving the interaction of wind and the environment. The funding for UWO is part of a broader $268-million Ontario-wide investment that will support 214 projects and over 3,300 researchers in 14 cities. Western News

uAlberta grad students want say in how increased tuition is spent

Graduate students at the University of Alberta want a joint panel to decide how millions of dollars generated from proposed tuition increases would be spent. The university is contemplating a series of tuition hikes it calls market modifiers, which affect mostly professional faculties where local tuition is lower than national averages. One student representative says the new revenue should go towards relieving overcrowding, while another says students would like more training and support for supervisors. Edmonton Journal

uManitoba has nearly $2-billion impact on provincial economy, report finds

According to a new study from the University of Manitoba, over $1.8 billion in province-wide economic activity is stimulated by the institution. The report found that 19,315 jobs have been or will be created in the province by uManitoba, resulting in $745 million in labour force income alone. Taxes generated by the school produce $286 million in annual revenue, and value-added impact from spin-off companies and other business expenditures totals close to $1.1 billion. This year, operating, research, and capital expenditures amounted to $725 million. Every year, uManitoba receives over 183,000 out-of-town visitors, who contribute more than $102 million to the province's economy. Out-of-town students contribute over $130 million in spending. uManitoba News | Read the full report

uVic scientist believes climate-change discreditors responsible for on-campus break-ins

University of Victoria scientist Andrew Weaver says an alleged series of attempted security breaches at the institution in the run-up to this week's climate-change summit in Copenhagen is evidence of a larger effort to discredit climate science. Weaver, a member of the Nobel Prize-winning International Panel on Climate Change, says there have been a number of attempted breaches in recent months, including 2 successful break-ins at his uVic office in which a dead computer was taken and papers were rummaged through. A uVic spokeswoman says that at the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis -- an Environment Canada facility located on campus -- there have been attempts to hack into scientists' computers, and incidents in which people posed as network technicians to try to gain access to offices and data. National Post | Victoria Times-Colonist

FNUC's chief financial officer fired

Murray Westerlund, the chief financial officer of First Nations University of Canada, has been fired, the CBC reported Friday. However, FNUC's president says the school and Westerlund had mutually agreed to part ways. Westerlund joined FNUC in 2005 with a mandate to sort out the school's finances. At the time, FNUC was accused of lacking financial controls. The CFO's apparent sudden departure is raising questions about the state of FNUC. Student advocates told the CBC that there is a sense of turmoil within senior administration. A year ago the Canadian Association of University Teachers censured the institution for ongoing failure to address serious governance issues. Saskatchewan's PSE minister says the province does not know why Westerlund was fired, but is trying to find out. CBC

Nunavut's education system puts high school grads at disadvantage, says MLA

A Nunavut MLA says the territory's education system does not always prepare high school graduates for college and university, and that some find they need upgrading in order to meet PSE admission requirements in southern Canada. While Nunavut's education minister says the territory is working on introducing its own standardized tests, the MLA says he wants something done now about what he calls Nunavut's lagging education standards. CBC

UCAN launches YouTube contest

BC-based University Canada West has launched a contest in which high school students have the chance to earn $5,000 towards their education by producing a video response to the institution's latest YouTube video. Applicants must record a video that describes the value of learning in a multicultural environment like UCAN, and the videos must incorporate the school's logo. The award will go to the video that generates the most views on YouTube. UCAN News Release

Home-educated Canadians become model citizens, report finds

A new study by the Canadian Centre for Home Education finds that home-educated adults excel in all measures of adult life. Home-schooled adults who took part in the study were more likely than the comparable Canadian population to have obtained an undergraduate degree, be civically engaged, value their religious beliefs, have multiple income sources, report income from self-employment, and report high satisfaction with life. Over half of respondents perceived they were "very well" prepared for both future education and life. Positive aspects attributed to home-schooling include rich relationships, schedule flexibility, and development of independence. Some negative aspects respondents identified include social prejudice, curricular limitations, and difficulty adapting to classroom settings. Home School Legal Defence Association News Release | Read the full report

Report uncovers new response gaps in Virginia Tech shooting

According to a revised state report detailing new fumbles in response to the Virginia Tech shooting, some university officials warned their own families about 90 minutes before a campus-wide alert was issued. The updated report states one student survived several hours after being shot without anyone notifying her family until she had died, and some buildings were locked down before everyone on campus was notified of the shooting. Virginia's governor calls the findings that some school officials contacted their own families before an alert was issued "inexcusable." The governor is considering whether legislation requiring immediate notification procedures might be submitted to the General Assembly before he leaves office next month. Associated Press | Read the updated report