Top Ten

September 6, 2012

Job action at UVic

Picketing staff members greeted thousands of students returning to classes at the University of Victoria this week. Wednesday was the first day CUPE 917 and CUPE 951 took job action. The 2 unions represent some 1,500 non-teaching staff such as tradespeople, food service staff, childcare workers, and office and library staff, and have both been without contracts since March 31, 2010. On Wednesday morning CUPE 917 members began picketing outside the Saunders Building, which houses UVic facilities management. CUPE 951 members did not picket, but the union instituted an overtime ban and work-to-rule policies. CUPE 951's president says there are no plans for a full strike during September, but notes the unions will not share information about when and where labour action will take place. UVic has expressed disappointment with the job action. The institution said Tuesday that the unions had yet to respond with a counter offer to UVic's settlement offer made nearly 2 and half months ago. Victoria Times-Colonist | Saanich News | UVic News Release

New Quebec government won't necessarily resolve tuition conflict

The narrow election of a new Parti Québécois government signals a potential turning point in the Quebec student movement, but the issue of a tuition increase is far from resolved as the PQ must cooperate informally with opposition parties to pass legislation given its minority status. Premier-elect Pauline Marois said Wednesday she intends to use a cabinet decree to rescind the tuition increase, but made no mention of her election-campaign proposal of possibly indexing tuition fees to the cost of living. With the PQ pledging to eliminate the fee increases and Bill 78, students leaders vow to maintain pressure on the new government to keep its promises. Without the tuition increases, universities stand to lose $332 million in revenue they would have received over 7 years. Some university leaders expressed hope that compromises could be made to offset growing financial pressures on a university system dependent on a provincial government that controls tuition rates and annual grants to institutions. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access) | Montreal Gazette

Human rights tribunal deems uWindsor law grad "vexatious"

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has declared a University of Windsor law graduate a "vexatious litigant" after she lost a fourth complaint against the university for including her failed first year on her official transcript. "I find that the University is now in need of protection from any future similar applications by the applicant," writes the tribunal's vice-chairwoman in her decision. "I find that the applicant's conduct is particularly vexing given her familiarity with the law and legal process." In 1999-2000, in her first year in law at uWindsor, the claimant failed 2 courses and was told she would no longer be able to continue her studies. In 2002, uWindsor granted the claimant's permission to continue on medical grounds. The woman graduated in 2005, but when she realized uWindsor included her first-year failed marks on her official transcript, she filed a human rights complaint against the school and 3 professors. Her complaint was dismissed for being untimely. Windsor Star | Legal Feeds

uAlberta establishes Alberta Land Institute with $4.9-million gift

Calgary philanthropist David Bissett has donated $4.9 million to the University of Alberta to create the Alberta Land Institute and support research into land use and land-use policies. Thanks to this gift, the institute has already conducted some significant baseline research, and has been able to develop immediate research priorities for further exploration and the identification of solutions to Alberta's key land-use challenges. The institute will be housed at uAlberta's north campus in Edmonton. uAlberta News

SAIT celebrates opening of Trades and Technology Complex

On Wednesday Alberta Premier Alison Redford helped officially open SAIT Polytechnic's Trades and Technology Complex. The $400-million complex has the potential capacity for an additional 8,100 full- and part-time students annually, focusing on the high-demand sectors of energy, construction, and manufacturing and automation. The province's $300-million contribution to support the complex is the highest financial support for any college or polytechnic in Alberta. SAIT News

Rotman completes expansion

With the opening of its $92-million expansion, the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management embarks on a new era this month that will enable it to continue to expand its programs and faculty and boost its international profile. The 9-storey expansion contains 7 new 70-seat classrooms, a state-of-the-art 500-seat Event Hall, faculty and staff offices, a ground floor café, 4 outdoor spaces, more than 60 new study rooms, and 790 full-size lockers for students. The expansion also provides a new home to several of Rotman's research and education centres. The project was announced in 2007 with a $50-million investment from the Ontario government and an additional $10-million in other government funding. The expansion is the centrepiece of Rotman's $200-million fundraising campaign. uToronto News

Enrolment grows at Douglas College

More than 11,000 students -- up approximately 6% from last year and nearly 17% from 2009 -- are expected to walk through the doors of Douglas College's New Westminster and Coquitlam campuses for the start of classes this week. The fall's cohort will include approximately 1,000 international students, about 10% more than last year. The number of international student enrolled at the institution has more than doubled since 2007. Douglas College News

UBC enrols more BC students

The University of British Columbia is welcoming more BC students on its campuses than ever before. The Vancouver campus will serve 6,324 new first-year students, of which close to 3,800 are from BC secondary schools, up 4%. The incoming class is the first to benefit from UBC's personalized enrolment services model, dubbed the "Names not Numbers" project. Each incoming student is assigned to a single "enrolment services professional" who will help guide them through registration, student financial support and more, throughout their entire UBC career. Overall enrolment at the Vancouver campus is projected to be 48,768, remaining at the same level as last year. The Okanagan campus welcomes 1,933 new first-year students, including 1,249 from BC high schools. Overall enrolment has risen to 8,307, up from 7,932 last year. The total number of new international first-year students at the Vancouver campus is 1,271, and at the Okanagan campus the number is 187. UBC News Release

Study pegs cost of university education at nearly $80,000

According to a study from, the total cost of a 4-year university degree in Canada is $78,817 if a student is not living at home, and $35,435 if living at home. The study lists the cost of a 2-year college diploma as $30,107 if a student is not living at home, and $11,360 if living at home. These figures include average tuition cost, total expenses, and interest on graduate debt. The study says it takes 14 years for the average university student to pay off their education debt, with the total cost of debt (including interest) being $33,887. It takes 6 years for the average college student to pay off their debt, with the total cost of debt (including interest) being $11,784. RateSupermarket .ca

UOIT creates 10th anniversary microsite

On Tuesday the University of Ontario Institute of Technology kicked off a year of celebration leading up to its tenth anniversary on September 4, 2013. The institution has developed a microsite to mark the milestone. Visitors to the site will be greeted by a timeline, where users can click on selected stories about the institution from the past decade. The site also showcases UOIT's new logo, which shows the number 10 imposed on a shield. UOIT News | UOIT 10th Anniversary Microsite