Top Ten

September 5, 2019

AB should link institutional funding to performance rather than enrolment: provincial panel

A panel headed by former Saskatchewan finance minister Janice MacKinnon has recommended that Alberta move away from funding K-12 and post-secondary institutions based on enrolments and toward a more performance-based model. The Edmonton Journal reports that panel has also advised AB to lift the current university tuition freeze, work with institutions to set an overall direction for the province’s post-secondary system, and assess the continued viability of some institutions. Further, the panel recommended that the province’s institutions become less reliant on government funding and pursue other sources of revenue, noting the greater dependence on tuition fees in provinces such as Ontario and British Columbia. Edmonton Journal | Saskatoon Star Phoenix | National Post (AB)

StatCan reviews tuition fees for degree programs in 2019/2020

Statistics Canada has released an analysis of tuition fees for degree programs in 2019/2020. The study found that Canadian undergraduate and graduate students will pay either the same tuition fees as in 2018/2019 or higher, except for Ontario, where tuition fees will be lower. International fees were up 7.6% for undergraduate studies and 4.4% for graduate studies. Overall, the highest average undergraduate tuition fees were found in four professional degree programs: dentistry, medicine, law, and optometry. The most expensive graduate program was the Master of Business Administration. StatCan notes that the true cost paid for a degree program varies depending on the grants and financial assistance that each individual student receives. StatCan (National)

Ryerson DMZ accelerator to provide fellowship, business support to Black tech entrepreneurs

A new fellowship program based at Ryerson University’s DMZ technology accelerator will help Black entrepreneurs access the networks, resources, and mentors that are essential to growing a successful tech business. The Toronto Star reports that the Black Innovation Fellowship will begin with a cohort of 10 to 25 companies. The Star notes that the program is being supported by founding partners such as Shopify, BMO Financial Group, and the Canada Women’s Foundation. “Our hope is that in three to five years, once this program runs with several companies, there’ll be no need for this,” said Isaac Olowolafe Jr., a real estate developer who donated $200K to spearhead the project. “It will just be normal to see a fully diverse incubator, fully diverse VC firms and fully diverse startup companies.” Toronto Star (ON)

UPEI reaches out to university staff, local inn to address housing crisis

The University of Prince Edward Island has told CBC that its 440 residence spaces are all occupied and that the low vacancy rate in its surrounding area has created a housing crisis. Chelsea Almeida, UPEI’s off-campus housing co-ordinator, reports that approximately 100 students still need housing. According to Almeida, off-campus housing is typically priced beyond students’ means or is too far from campus. To address the issue, UPEI is working with the Dutch Inn, Cornwall as a temporary solution. The university is also asking staff to consider housing students themselves. Almeida notes that she has “never seen students have this much trouble trying to find housing.” CBC (PEI)

AB “short-changed” by Canada Summer Jobs funding allocation: study

A study commissioned by the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies finds that Alberta received less funding from the Canada Summer Jobs program compared to the national average from 2016 to 2018. The study’s authors analyzed data from Statistics Canada and Employment and Social Development Canada to reveal regional disparities in the disbursement of $200M in subsidies. The research found that during the study period, Alberta averaged $540 per unemployed student and 163 subsidized jobs per 1,000 unemployed students. These figures were lower than the federal average of $812 per unemployed student and 276 subsidized jobs. Study co-author David Murrell notes that “Employment Canada... [is] not quite aware of the problems students have in Alberta... the hard times in terms of job opportunities.” Calgary Herald (AB)

Niagara opens Marotta Family Innovation Complex

Niagara College has formally opened the Marotta Family Innovation Complex at its Niagara-on-the Lake Campus. The four-storey, $18.25M complex is described as “the centrepiece of a $34M investment in the agri-food sector” and includes new research areas that expand the College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute Innovation Centre (CFWI IC) and classrooms, in addition to the fitness centre and gymnasium that opened in last Fall. “The strong support for this new complex is a testament to the power of a Niagara College education, not only in the high-quality experiential learning we offer to our students,” said Niagara President Dan Patterson, “but in the strong role we play in our communities, helping small- and medium-sized enterprises innovate, which, in turn, generates jobs and stimulates the economy.” Niagara (ON)

UNB education program centres Wabanaki cultural knowledge

35 students will be the first to participate in the new four-year Wabankai Bachelor of Education program at the University of New Brunswick. The program, run by David Perley and Imelda Perley, looks to facilitate students’ understanding of Indigenous cultures and enable them to teach this knowledge to others. The program will take place in an open concept building near Magaguadavic Lake, 60 kilometers from UNB. Students will be taught histories and given pedagogical tools that incorporate cultural aspects of Wabanaki culture, like using coloured ribbons to represent emotions or encouraging children and youth to connect with the land. Imelda Perley describes the program as a “revival of how we learned on the land, before we were put into classrooms.” CBC (NB)

USask program hands patents over to students to launch entrepreneurs

Through its Summer Entrepreneurs program, the University of Saskatchewan this year gave students access to its existing patents to determine whether they had market potential. The students were able to choose a patented technology and work on it over the summer to try and develop a business case. If a business case was successfully developed, students were essentially given the technology to create a startup. “We manage about 200 technologies and sometimes it's just very hard to license the technology and to make the technology available to existing businesses," explained Innovation Enterprise Managing Director Johannes Dyring, who said he hoped to scale up the program in the coming years. "We have a huge upside potential here.” CBC (SK)

UBC launches nano suites to curb housing shortage, high rental costs

A group of students arriving at the University of British Columbia this month is the first to live in the school’s new “nano suites.” UBC has created the spaces to help control the cost of living while making up for a shortage of rentals in the Vancouver housing market. CBC reports that the 140-square-foot apartments have a small kitchen, a bathroom, and a Murphy bed that turns into a desk. Andrew Parr, managing director at UBC's student housing and hospitality services, said that the units have been very well-received thus far, yet notes that even though UBC has added 4,000 student beds in the past eight years at a cost of $500M, there are still 6,000 students on the wait list for campus housing. CBC | Vancouver Sun (BC)

George Brown deepens relationship with university in Northern India with pathway agreement

George Brown College has built upon a decade-long relationship with Northern India’s Chitkara University through an agreement that will see eligible students from Chitkara receive advanced standing into the third year of George Brown’s Honours Bachelor of Commerce—Culinary Management program. “We share a commitment to preparing students for a diverse and global workplace,” said George Brown President Anne Sado, who travelled to India to sign the agreement. “We are also united by our sense of responsibility to industry, as we strive to deliver exceptional graduates who will become tomorrow’s industry leaders.” George Brown (ON)