Top Ten

January 29, 2018

ON first to get “Skills Boost” program enabling EI claimants to return to PSE

Ontario is the first province that will be able to take advantage of the “Skills Boost” program that provides federal incentives to encourage adult students to return to postsecondary education. The program enables would-be students who are currently collecting Employment Insurance to return to school without needing to give up EI. More grants have also been made available to mature students. “Ontario has been the first province to work with us to change their intake processes so that we can move forward as quickly as possible,” said Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour Patty Hajdu. “What we're hoping is that this policy intervention will allow people to improve their skills, get that better-paying job, but also start to address those labour shortages that we're starting to see across the country.” CBC |Windsor Star

CASA calls on federal government to extend repayment assistance plan to new parents

The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) has issued a statement calling on the federal government to extend student loan protection under the Repayment Assistance Plan to students and graduates on parental leave. CASA points out that “the standard amount of time it takes to pay off a student loan is 9.5 years, bringing most people into their thirties,” and argues that “it is clear that many people go on parental leave at some point while paying back their student loans.” To help new parents whose loan payments overlap with raising a family, CASA proposes creating a dedicated parental leave stream that automatically applies to those who take a parental leave from their studies or work. CASA

How universities can prepare workers for the coming technological tsunami

“The change in the workplace is of such magnitude that many have likened it to a tsunami,” writes McGill University Principal Suzanne Fortier. Fortier highlights the many forces affecting the workplace, including job automation and increasingly quick technological shifts, and the distinct challenges that this presents to leaders in the higher education sector. “Ultimately, it will be individuals who need to take control of their own educations in order to shape their career paths and discover new horizons of learning,” concludes Fortier. “They know that their education will never stop – and it excites them. In fact, it should excite all of us.” Globe and Mail

Trent launches first mental health, addiction nursing program in ON

Trent University has launched its Mental Health and Addiction Nursing graduate diploma program, the first of its kind in Ontario. The part-time program will prepare registered nurses for the field of mental health and addiction. “As our health care system continues to evolve, we require highly-skilled mental health professionals who can work to improve access to existing programs, and create new and innovative strategies,” said Kirsten Woodend, dean of the Trent/Fleming School of Nursing. “Graduates of this new program will be prepared to take on these roles, and to advance nursing practice in their communities.” Trent |Peterborough Examiner

SNP, Western partner to deliver graduate level education program

Six Nations Polytechnic and Western University are partnering on the delivery of a new Master of Professional Education program that will help educators learn advanced skills while working in their own community. “Many of our learners are very active in the community, so this helps to make the learning opportunity more successful,” said SNP President Rebecca Jamieson. “The more we can do to help our educators acquire the advanced skills that a Master of Professional Education can offer, the better for the community.” The program is focused on Indigenous knowledge practices and the historical context of Indigenous education in Canada, and is intended for those who wish to advance into leadership roles in education. CBC

COTR launches two-year diploma program in Invermere to meet industry needs

The College of the Rockies has launched the first two-year diploma co-op program to be offered in Invermere, British Columbia. “During consultation, we heard overwhelmingly that employers are challenged by labour shortages as well as high turnover, particularly in the tourism and hospitality sector,” says Leah Bradish, Director, Regional Campuses at COTR. “The Hospitality Management diploma program will provide essential skilled workers for the region, while giving students the education and work experience they need to succeed.” The program includes a 500-hour paid co-op work placement and courses in areas such as Hospitality HR and Law, marketing, business communications, and industry-specific training. COTR

UMontréal sells two lots of land for $ 43.5M

The Université de Montréal has sold two lots of land near its campus for $43.5M to developer MonDev. MonDev co-chair Michael Owen explained that the plans for the land include 700 to 800 rental units, some of which will be for students, as well as commercial spaces and green spaces. UdeM’s press secretary Julie Cordeau-Gazaille explained that the institution chose to sell the lands to allow a developer to do the residential development, which is outside the scope of UdeM’s mission. The profits of the sale will reportedly be used to finance the construction of UdeM’s new MIL campus, which will include three university pavilions. Journal de Montréal

Georgian Students' Association formally opens student space after renovations

Georgian College Students’ Association has formally unveiled the renovated student space at Georgian College this week. “This was driven by students and for students and we are very proud of the work that was done here,” said Georgian President MaryLynn West-Moynes. The renovations include an updated cafeteria, a prayer/meditation room, and a new GCSA office/lounge that will operate as a ‘one-stop shop for students’ who need to buy bus passes, obtain information about insurance, and purchase event tickets. “For us, Georgian is a home away from home and we need a campus that is comfortable and convenient for all students,” said GCSA President Scott Mason. “It’s an honour to be part of this.” The upgrades were funded by the GCSA, who in 2015 announced a $7.2M gift to upgrade student services at Georgian’s seven campuses.

Orillia Matters | Georgian 

UNB aquatic centre talks reach impasse

Negotiations between the University of New Brunswick and the City of Fredericton to establish a new aquatic centre have reportedly come to an impasse after the city rejected a shared funding proposal from UNB. The city has announced that it will investigate options with other partners. UNB stated in a release that the inability to reach an agreement meant that it would be decommissioning Lady Beaverbrook Gym, which houses the Sir Max Aitken Pool and sees 80%of its users come from the greater Fredericton community. “Despite our desire to see a new pool built on our Fredericton campus, we will move ahead with the capital priorities that best align with and support our academic mission,” said UNB Vice-President Academic George MacLean. “This has always been, and will continue to be, at the core of our decisions.” CBC | UNB

OPSEU launches charter challenge over back-to-work legislation ending college strike

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union has launched a charter challenge of back-to-work legislation that was introduced by the Liberal government to end a five-week strike last year, saying that it violated worker’s rights. “The union’s rights and freedoms have been denied,” said Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “OPSEU has the right to freely negotiate a collective agreement with the College Employer Council.” Minister of Advanced Education Mitzie Hunter said that she was unable to comment on the carter challenge while it was considered by the courts, but added that “everyone’s focus has to be about the students and their learning and the outcomes for them.” Globe and Mail | Ottawa Citizen