Top Ten

April 24, 2020

Federal government announces $9B aid package for students

The federal government has announced a $9B aid package for qualifying students to help them financially weather the next few months. The benefit will pay students a minimum of $1,250 per month from May-August. Students who earn up to $1K per month will still be eligible for the benefit and will be able to volunteer in critical service sectors and receive additional funds. The government has also pledged to invest an additional $75M in the Post-Secondary Student Support Program, Métis Education Strategy, and Inuit Education Strategy and as well as a further $291M through the Canada Granting Agency for student researcher extensions. The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations have released a statement indicating that they are “pleased” with the student aid package. The Canadian Federation of Students questioned why students are not receiving the same amount of money as those that qualify for the CERB benefit and noted that international students are left out of this benefit package. National Post | CASA | ACAE | CFS | FCÉÉ  | APTN (National)

UofGuelph, BCIT launch sustainability initiatives on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day

The University of Guelph and the British Columbia Institute of Technology have both announced sustainability initiatives that coincide with 50th anniversary of Earth Day. UofGuelph’s Board of Governors voted to divest from fossil fuel companies in its endowment portfolio. “Finding and supporting ways to live and work sustainably is fundamental to improving life – U of G’s core mission,” explained UofGuelph Board of Governors Chair Shauneen Bruder. Meanwhile, BCIT has launched Sustainability Vision, an outline of the schools’ path for continued integration of sustainability through institutional policies, practices, and culture. UofGuelph | BCIT (ON, BC)

Federal government to temporarily ease work restrictions for international students

The federal government has announced a temporary rule change that will allow international students to help health-care facilities and other workplaces that are under pressure from the pandemic. Specifically, the government will remove the restriction that allows international students to work a maximum of 20 hours per week while classes are in session, provided they are working in an essential service or function, such as health care, critical infrastructure, or the supply of food or other critical goods. “Immigrants, temporary foreign workers and international students are making important contributions as frontline workers in health care and other essential service sectors,” said Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Marco E L Mendicino. “We know and value their efforts and sacrifices to keep Canadians healthy and ensure the delivery of critical goods and services.” CA | The Star (National)

RDC enters public-private partnership with ILAC to deliver three programs

Red Deer College has entered into a public-private partnership with the International Language Academic of Canada (ILAC) to enable the organization to offer three programs at the college. ILAC —an organization that recently acquired Candian Tourism College and Sterling College—describes the agreement as its first public-private partnership and also marks the introduction of the ILAC Higher Education division. The agreement will see RDC deliver two-year diplomas in Software Development and Network Administration and a post-graduate certificate in Health Management and Practice. “We are pleased to join forces with Sterling College and ILAC on our first PPP,” said RDC President Peter Nunoda. “We have no doubt that our partner in this venture, Sterling College, is an exemplar of the best that private post-secondary can offer the student – flexibility with academic integrity.” ILAC (AB)

Universities continue to launch online spring/summer courses, discuss fall plans

Universities across Canada are beginning to release details regarding what the impending spring/summer and fall terms might look like due to the pandemic. The Université du Québec à Rimouski and the University of Regina have joined several other Canadian institutions in moving Spring/Summer classes online—with URegina reporting an 8% enrolment increase from this time last year. With regard to the fall term, Memorial University, URegina, and the University of Saskatchewan have indicated they are still planning for September. Brock University has confirmed that the fall 2020 academic term will take place and is taking guidance from health official and the province about how courses will be delivered. Similarly, Carelton University president Benoit-Antoine Bacon stated that “while it is too early to speculate about what September will look like exactly,” the school is considering smaller or online classes as part of a delivery plan. UQAR | Global News | MUN | Brock | Ottawa Citizen (QC, SK, NL, ON)

Centennial partners with Diamond Aircraft to explore educational, research-based opportunities

Centennial College has signed a memorandum of understanding with Diamond Aircraft Industries to facilitate their collaboration on education and research. Potential collaborative activities between the two organizations could include program and curriculum development; technical training; staff, faculty, and student placements; research and innovation opportunities; donations of equipment or services in kind; and international engagement. "As a start, work is underway in creating work co-op, placement and capstone opportunities with Diamond Aircraft for students in select Centennial programs," said Centennial Associate Vice President, Partnerships, Pathways and Internationalization Rahim Karim. "We are reviewing programming and graduate needs for Diamond to build their talent pipeline." Newswire (ON)

VCC building certified through Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification program

Vancouver Community College’s Building B at the Broadway campus has been officially certified through the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification (RHFAC) program. The RHFAC program aims to improve the accessibility of the constructed environments for people with vision, hearing, and mobility disabilities, and the certification recognizes meaningful access to the building for people of all abilities. The program rates areas such as accessible routes to the main entrances, accessible outdoor parking lots, proximity to transit, wayfinding, and emergency systems. “This achievement is a proud accomplishment for VCC and speaks to our values of being accessible and inclusive for everyone,” said VCC president Ajay Patel. VCC (BC)

Lambton’s Massage Therapy program receives preliminary accreditation

Lambton College has announced that their Massage Therapy program has been granted Preliminary Accreditation from The Canadian Massage Therapy Council for Accreditation (CMTCA). “This is a process that helps guide our program towards continued excellence and gives our students confidence in the quality of the education they will receive at Lambton,” says Lambton Dean, School of Health, Community Services & Creative Design Silvana Macdonald. “This is an amazing achievement for our Massage Therapy program and speaks volumes about the quality of the training we provide and the unique features of the coursework and facilities our students are exposed to.” Lambton notes that this is only the first step in the process, as the college will next undergo a site evaluation to verify compliance with the standards prior to receiving final accreditation. Lambton (ON)

Warning signs that an institution is in a downward financial spiral: Opinion

“Clearly, many people have a picture of the kind of institution that might be in trouble right now: small, underendowed, rurally situated colleges with substantial tuition discounting and a high reliance on international students,” write Scott Carlson and James F Galbally Jr. In this piece, the authors describe the financial warning signs that could indicate an institution is or will be in trouble: failure to assess institutional cost of operation; heavy reliance on a range of third-party contracts; uncertainty around when the institution will hit its inflection point; a heavy dependence on a line of credit in the summer; and the liquidation of parts of a school’s endowments. The authors note that no single characteristic or action indicates that an institution is at risk, but that several warning signs should prompt the campus community to act proactively by engaging in aggressive examination and cutting of costs, and communicating with external and internal stakeholders. Chronicle of Higher Ed (International)

Aurora student residence becomes temporary warming centre site

An Aurora College student residence is the new temporary home of the Inuvik Emergency Warming Centre during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Warming Centre’s current building is not able to meet physical distancing requirements for its approximately 21 residents, so the move to the new building will allow residents to stay in the building during the night and the day, providing them with needed provisions so that they do not have go into town. With this move, “we can ensure these individuals have a safe place to be," explain David Maguire, a spokesperson for the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority. CBC (NT)