Top Ten

August 6, 2019

Four Canadian law schools part of new federal IP initiative

The federal government is looking to bolster intellectual property protections and strategies within the country with the announcement of three new initiatives at the University of Waterloo last week. The Waterloo Region Record reports that the initiatives will aim to invest more money into IP expansion, help companies commercialize their IP, and help companies enhance or develop IP legal expertise. The third of these initiatives will see law schools at the University of Ottawa, the University of Windsor, York University, and the Université de Montréal gain access to IP legal clinic grants to make pro bono or low-cost IP legal services more accessible to Canadian businesses and innovators. Waterloo Region Record (National)

Indigenous-led initiative at YorkU to equip youth with skills training with support of new funding

An initiative designed by York University students to connect and support Indigenous youth will receive new funding from the federal government under the Canada Service Corps program. YorkU reports that the Indigenous Friends Association will use the investment to equip 120 First Nations, Inuit, Métis, and non-Indigenous youth with the skills and training required to reduce employment and education gaps in technology. The project will be led and implemented by the Indigenous community of York in partnership with YWCA Canada and Digital Justice Lab. Local partnerships have been developed in Ontario with Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation, Elephant Thoughts, Mikinaak, and in Saskatchewan with the YWCA Regina, North Central Hacker Dojo, West Flat Citizens Group. YorkU (ON)

New law says special constables working on campus cannot call themselves police

Special constables working on post-secondary campuses in Ontario will no longer be allowed to refer to themselves as police, according to a new provision in the province’s Comprehensive Ontario Police Services (COPS) Act. The Toronto Star reports that while the change aims to clear up confusion, universities are already pushing back for a number of reasons that include the cost associated with removing the name from logos, uniforms, and cars, as well as the international recognizability of the term “police.” The new bill says special constables who call themselves police can be fined $5K for a first offence, and the penalty for employers who break the law is $10K. Waterloo Region Record (ON)

CapU’s new Lonsdale campus looks to shape future of Vancouver’s North Shore

This fall, Capilano University will open a new 11,500-square-foot campus that will accommodate up to 400 students. Located in the Shipyards development near Vancouver’s Lonsdale Quay, the new campus will reportedly allow CapU to deliver academic programming—including continuing studies and executive education—currently offered at its main campus on Purcell Way or dispersed across the North Shore and Vancouver. CapU president Paul Dangerfield said that one objective is to attract more mature students to a wide range of offerings, including public-administration programs for municipal governments, as well as legal and paralegal studies. Georgia Straight (BC)

Okanagan launches new tourism management program at Revelstoke

Okanagan College has announced the launch of a Tourism Management Diploma program at its Revelstoke centre. Okanagan states that the program will cover accounting, financial management, marketing, and other related courses. Students will be able to ladder the program into Okanagan’s Bachelor of Business Administration degree. “Management studies are so valuable, because it creates an understanding of what a manager role involves, but also the importance of those small tasks and actions, the little things, that can impact the overall operation,” said Revelstoke Instructor and local business owner Carolyn Gibson. “The tourism management piece is understanding that your actions impact somebody’s experience.” Okanagan (BC)

“Risk to Academia” document encourages US universities to combat espionage by China

In the United States, a document drafted by the FBI encourages universities and other research facilities to combat economic and scientific espionage by China. Tom Blackwell writes that the document “recommends a level of alertness that seems almost a throwback to Cold War days.” In Canada, the National Post reports that the RCMP has produced no such document and has no country-specific enforcement programs, while the Canadian Security Intelligence Service has acknowledged the existence of an economic espionage problem without mentioning any countries. “CSIS routinely engages with a variety of stakeholders, including in the private sector and universities, to advise them of potential threats,” explained CSIS Spokeswoman Tahera Mufti. National Post (International)

Queen’s ordered to pay $25K for handling of philosophy professor’s office relocation

A professor in the Philosophy department at Queen’s University has won $25K in damages after an arbitrator with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal ruled that the university improperly handled the relocation of her office away from the rest of the department. Professor Adèle Mercier was told in November of 2013 that she could no longer enter the building in which her office was located, due to cross-complaints of harassment between Mercier and two secretaries in the department. Arbitrator Kevin Burkett ruled that although it was “not unreasonable” for the university to separate Mercier from the secretaries, “the University’s treatment of Professor Mercier in connection with the investigation/relocation was not only unfair, unreasonable and unprecedented but, in [his] view, deliberate and, therefore, egregious.” Queen’s (ON)

Western campus media prepares for impact of new legislation on student fees

The editorial team at the student-run Western Gazette at Western University is preparing for several budgetary scenarios that could unfold this fall when it sees the impact of new government legislation that will make previously mandatory student fees voluntary. Both the Gazette and Western’s campus radio station will be impacted by the change. “The explanation given for this is the money will be spent better” by students themselves, said Gazette editor-in-chief Martin Allen, who adds that the situation created for campus media “is like a direct referendum every single year.” Allen notes that depending on what happens in the fall, the Gazette’s web and print publications, which are supported by 20 editorial staff, 100 volunteers, and 60 interns, could shrink to a website with a single employee. Western (ON)

The unintended consequences of employer-driven access to higher ed: Cox

While several large employers in the US have been praised for offering higher-education benefits for their employees, this trend is threatening to replicate “one of the greatest failures of public policy in US history,” writes Geoffrey M Cox. The author notes that the arrangements might be driven by good intentions, but argues that in the long term, they might tie post-secondary access to employment in a way similar to what has occurred, with drastic consequences, for US healthcare. The net impact of such a change, the author concludes, would be a shrinking of access rather than an expansion. Chronicle of Higher Education (International)

UoGuelph receives $1.8M from ON for soil, water quality research

The University of Guelph has received a $1.8M investment from the Government of Ontario to support research investigating ways to enhance soil health and water quality. The funds will go towards research on attracting wild bees, using tools to track soil health, off-season crop growth, and the barriers preventing farmers from adopting best soil-health practices. “As Canada’s food university, the University of Guelph is committed to research that enhances the production of safe and healthy food while protecting the environment,” said UoGuelph Vice President of Research Malcolm Campbell. “With this government support, University of Guelph researchers will make world-class discoveries that help Ontario farmers nourish Canadians and preserve our natural environment.” UoGuelph (ON)