Top Ten

March 19, 2019

QC students stage walkout over unpaid internships

Following through on an ultimatum issued last November, a coalition of nearly 40,000 Quebec students launched a five-day strike against unpaid internships this Monday. CBC reports that the coalition’s membership decided in November that if the government did not implement a compensation program for all internships by the Winter of 2019, the students would launch a general strike. The coalition has planned a number of activities throughout the week, including visits to schools, health facilities, and community organizations. In November, QC Education Minister Jean-François Roberge said that his office was working on a solution, and called the students’ ultimatum “premature.” CBC (QC)

Charges stayed for former UManitoba prof

A sexual assault charge against former University of Manitoba music professor Steve Kirbyhas been stayed by the Crown attorney, reports CBC. The charges involved a student who told police that she was sexually assaulted “on multiple occasions” by Kirby between September 2014 and January 2017. Kirby parted ways with the university after an internal investigation found that he made inappropriate sexual comments and contact with a female student. The Winnipeg Free Press states that the prosecutor says the decision to have the criminal charge stayed was “made with the alleged victim in mind.” Winnipeg Free Press (Subscription Required) | CBC (MB)

URegina braces for potential strike at end of semester

A potential strike by the University of Regina Faculty association has students and faculty concerned about the end of the semester. According to CBC, the URFA has a strike mandate with job action possible after March 28th, while final exams begin on April 15th. The URegina Students Union is calling on the school’s administration and faculty association to consider the impact that job action could have on students, noting that a “strike or lockout will jeopardize the future education of several students,” including international students whose study permits are set to expire on May 1st. URegina administration and the faculty association are set to resume talks on March 25th and 26th with a mediator, CBC adds. Global News | CBC (SK)

$2M project aims to spark new thinking on climate change

Robin Cox, a professor at Royal Roads University, is heading Resilience by Design, a $2M project that helps professionals think about climate change in the context of their jobs. TheVictoria Times Colonist reports that the initiative will produce several courses that can be taken online or in-person. “We are already locked into a certain amount of climate change,” said Cox. “It’s already occurring and will continue to occur. Decisions need to be based on what is currently happening and what is predicted will happen.” In addition to several universities throughout British Columbia, the initiative’s partners include Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC, College of Applied Biology, and BC Institute of Agrologists, among others. Victoria Times Colonist (BC)

Waterloo police “very disappointed” in Ezra street partiers

The Waterloo Region Recordreports that a record number of people attended an unsanctioned St Patrick’s Day party in Waterloo this past weekend. David McMurray, VP of Student Affairs at Wilfrid Laurier University, estimated that 30,000 people jammed Ezra Street this year, a number that nearly doubles WLU’s full-time enrolment of 17,000. Ashley Dietrich, Public Information Officer with the Waterloo Regional Police, told the Record that one officer was injured in a fall. Paramedics received 41 calls by 3PM, with 18 people taken to hospital, the Record adds. McMurray told CBC that the university continues to work with a task force on a long-term strategy to deal with the annual party. CBC | Hamilton Spectator (Waterloo Region Record) (ON)

UBCO unveils new housing plan

The University of British Columbia Okanagan has unveiled a $70M plan for two new student residences. A UBCO release states that the university currently has space for 1,680 students, which is enough to meet the current demand, but regional growth has compelled administrators to build for the near-future. “Ultimately, we’d like to be in a position of being able to offer on-campus housing to about 25 per cent of our student population, which is a very high benchmark when compared to other Canadian universities,” said Rob Einarson, UBCO’s VP of Finance and Operations. Director of Business Operations Shannon Dunn added that the new residences will help alleviate a regional housing crunch, with Kelowna’s vacancy rate currently at 0.2%. UBCO (BC)

Durham targets Whitby as “ground zero” for training

Durham College has started to secure funding for an expansion of its Whitby campus, which is said to have experienced a 130% increase in its student population over the last ten years. The expansion plan focuses on opportunities for new partnerships with industry and an expanded industrial skilled trades training centre while positioning the college and city as “ground zero” for post-secondary and apprenticeship training. “The fact of the matter is the college has outgrown the current space at the Whitby campus, which is affecting its ability to meet current demand from students and employers throughout the region,” said Durham President Don Lovisa. “We are extremely excited about what this expansion can mean for DC, the broader community and skilled trades in general.” Durham (ON)

Haskayne at UCalgary receives $5M for building project

Calgary businessman Rob Peters has donated $5M to the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business. According to a UCalgary release, the gift supports a $90M project that includes renovations to an existing facility and a new building for the School. A gathering space will be named after Peters. “My hope is that this space will offer the students a break from the intense schedule of their studies,” said Peters. “Surrounded by a welcoming, sophisticated and comfortable décor, this space will encourage students, faculty and staff to stop, make time to connect, support, refresh and refocus before returning to their studies.” UCalgary (AB)

BrandonU assesses future of science building

Brandon University is considering upgrades worth up to $40M for its science building. The Brandon Sun reports that Prairie Architects presented a range of options for the John R Brodie Science Centre, from minor upgrades to a complete overhaul. A number of problems are said to plague the 135,000 square-foot facility. Students and faculty have complained about the lack of natural light and gathering places, while the building itself has serious structural and safety problems that include asbestos, no sprinkler system, and deteriorating cast-iron plumbing. Lindsay Oster of Premium Architects told the Board that $20M could fund a “modest” refresh, while $40M would essentially involve gutting and reconfiguring the aging facility’s interior. Brandon Sun (MB)

$1.5M from Vard propels marine research at UBC

The University of British Columbia has received $1.5M from Vard Marine Inc and Vard Electro Canada Inc. A UBC release states that the money, to be distributed over five years, will support education and research in marine safety and innovation related to energy, propulsion systems, shipboard communications and sensors, software systems, cybersecurity, high-performance computing, and human factors. “The need for qualified personnel, especially in the electrical marine area is immediate and could not happen soon enough,” said Robert Louie, Managing Director of Vard Electro Canada Inc. “Along with Vard Marine, we are committed to supporting the UBC initiative and the growth of the industry.” UBC (BC)