Top Ten

April 6, 2020

BC invests $3.5M in aid for domestic postsecondary students

The Government of British Columbia has announced a one-time investment of $3.5M in emergency financial assistance for postsecondary students. The funding will support domestic students in the province who are experiencing an unexpected financial emergency that may affect their ability to finish their studies and handle expenses. The emergency assistance is non-repayable and can be used for costs such as living expenses, food, travel, or portable computers. “Students who attend one of B.C.’s 25 public post-secondary institutions can access these funds by contacting their school’s financial aid office, which will assist with the application process,” explains a statement from the Government of British Columbia. “Each post-secondary institution will determine the specific amount a student can receive based on their individual needs.” BC (BC)

McGill joins 39 international institutions in launch International Universities Climate Alliance

McGill University has joined 39 other universities across 18 countries to form a global network on climate change. The International Universities Climate Alliance aims to create a “new voice” capable of engaging not just in national-level policy regarding climate change, but also international negotiations. Matthew England of the University of New South Wales Sydney said that the decision to launch the group during the COVID-19 pandemic was a “tricky” one. “We will solve COVID, and we can also solve climate change with enough of a coordinated effort,” he stated. England also explained that he expects another 10 or so institutions to join the group. Inside Higher Ed | IUCA (International, QC)

Student visa fraud targeting new immigrants to Canada

Edmonton police state that scammers posing as immigration attorneys have been targeting prospective international students. CTV News highlights the experience of a Palestine resident travelling to study at Dalhousie University who was approached by a fraudulent attorney who charged the resident thousands of dollars for a study permit and registration at a Canadian school. CANADIM confirmed that the receipt issued for the permit was not issued by their organization and that the attorney did not work for them. The police stated that they received 17 reports of scams in the Edmonton area in 2019, with 16 victims reporting an overall loss of over $730K. CTV News (AB)

Okanagan, Lillooet Tribal Council partner to offer specialized training for office administration

Okanagan College and the Lillooet Tribal Council – Community Adult Learning Centre recently partnered to offer the Introduction to Office Administration training program to unemployed and underemployed members from Lillooet. The fast-track program is designed to build the essential office skills necessary to help meet a local need for office administrators. The program included St’at’imc cultural workshops featuring traditional First Nations teachers, strategy workshops on success and conflict management, and other essential skills tutorials. The program was offered with free tuition, books, and supplies; and Okanagan provided the curriculum and learning resources while the community centre provided onsite support throughout. Okanagan (BC)

Individualization, accommodation, consideration for students not limited to pandemic: Opinion

“With classrooms closed and university professors figuring out how to teach online, this seems like a challenging time for educators,” writes Concordia University part-time faculty member Kathryn Gasse. “But it could be an opportunity to reflect on what being an ‘educator’ truly means.” Gasse reflects on the difference between how institutions and their students experience higher education, both generally and during a crisis such as the current pandemic. The author concludes by noting that a particular level of individualization, accommodation, and consideration for students was “sorely needed before the virus … and will need to be maintained once the curve flattens.” The Province (QC, National)

Internationally trained doctors call for permission to join fight against COVID-19

Internationally trained doctors are calling for permission to help treat COVID-19 patients, given that retired doctors and nurses are being called back to work. “As a doctor, you feel it’s your moral imperative to help in a health-care situation when something like this happens,” said Ayesha Badiuzzaman, a researcher with a medical degree from Bahrain. “And there’s thousands of us across Canada who want to help.” Shafi Bhuiyan, who founded a program at Ryerson University’s Chang School of Continuing Education that prepares internationally trained doctors for non-licensed work in Canada’s health sector, added that it is time to bring all the medical professionals into the fold. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia has announced that it is looking to amend its bylaws to allow internationally trained doctors to work “under the direction and supervision of attending physicians” provided they meet select criteria. Ontario has recently announced that some internationally trained doctors will be able to apply for a 30-day provincial license to help in the fight against COVID-19. Medicine Hat News | CBC (ON, National)

Students question Bill that gives MB more control over tuition, student fees

Student leaders in Manitoba are leery of Bill 41, which will enable the Government of Manitoba to increase or decrease tuition and student fees set by a board. "What I’m worried about is what happened last year in the province of Ontario with the Student Choice Initiative,” said University of Winnipeg Students’ Association President Meagan Malcolm, who described the initiative as “an attempt to wipe out student unions." A MB spokesperson cited Bill 41 as a move to provide "greater financial certainty" to the province’s postsecondary education system. Winnipeg Free Press (MB)

Four tips for preparing for virtual interviews

“Virtual interviews are an important step in the evaluation and interviewing process,” explains Bertin M Louis Jr. According to the author, candidates who are well prepared for virtual interviews are more likely to be invited for a campus interview. To ensure a successful virtual interview, Louis offers four recommendations: over-prepare for the interview; review all documents; research existing programs and courses; and study the foundational documents of the institution. Inside Higher Ed (International)

SMU expands free virtual business coaching sessions

Saint Mary’s University’s Entrepreneurship Centre has expanded its consulting services to offer more virtual one-on-one business coaching sessions at no cost to participants. SMU offers free online strategy sessions to help Atlantic Canadian entrepreneurs identify potential solutions to problems that have arisen amid COVID-19. The university added that it will be extending these services through a partnership with SMU alumna Shannon Bryne Susko. “We help CEOs and leadership teams overcome obstacles and grow,” said Susko. “We know that businesses are facing significant challenges as a result of COVID-19, and we are here to help you.” SMU (NS)

Zoom-bombing continues to be an issue despite many users following recommended precautions

“Zoom-bombing” is becoming more frequent in Canada as unidentified persons disrupt private online meetings and classrooms with offensive language and imagery. The FBI recently issued a warning to users about the disruptions, along with recommendations such as issuing a password, employing a ‘waiting room’ for online functions, and not sharing invitation links on social media platforms. However, there are reports that people who have taken such precautions still experienced unsettling disruptions. What is more, CBC reports that people of marginalized groups “appear to be the main targets” of Zoom-bombing, prompting some to argue that these incidents should be investigated as hate crimes. CBC (National)