Top Ten

March 9, 2021

ON invests in apprenticeships through new incentive program

The Government of Ontario has announced that it will be investing $47M in apprenticeships in 2021-22 through the new Achievement Incentive Program. The program will allow businesses to hire more apprentices, improve the quality of apprenticeship training, and help apprentices complete their certification and training. The support will help organizations and institutions who train apprentices to prepare apprentices for careers through high-quality training. ON will also invest $24M in helping those training apprentices to upgrade their equipment, facilities, and training materials. “Through these programs our government is supporting this important training pipeline, creating the next generation of our skilled workers and providing more young people with opportunity to get good jobs in their communities,” said Monte McNaughton, ON Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. Daily Commercial News | ON (ON)

MB amends the Apprenticeship and Certification Amendment Act

The Government of Manitoba has introduced new bills, two of which have distinct implications for apprenticeships in the province: The Apprenticeship and Certification Amendment Act (Bill 61) and The Reducing Red Tape and Improving Services Act (Bill 55). MB Economic Development Minister Ralph Eichler stated that the bills follow the recommendations of an auditor general’s report: “[w]e heard from businesses and high school and post-secondary apprenticeship programs that the program was just not working.” However, Global News and the Winnipeg Free Press report that the bills have had a mixed reception from the community, with organizations such as the Manitoba Federation of Labour criticizing the bills. Manitoba Building Trades CEO Sudhir Sandhu told both sources that, while the changes are much needed, their timing is cause for concern. Sandhu explains that the decision comes shortly after the province introduced changes to the apprentice to journeyperson ratio and apprentice supervision, which he said could impact the health and safety of apprentices, as well as their job security. Winnipeg Free Press | Global News (MB)

LSSO continues to push for student involvement in LSO governance

The Law Students’ Society of Ontario (LSSO) has announced that it will be continuing to engage with the Law Society of Ontario (LSO) to increase student involvement and consultation in the LSO’s decision-making processes. The Law Students’ Society of Ontario has been unsuccessful in two motions that would increase the involvement law students have in LSO decisions, but Law Times News reports that the proposals and dialogue have emphasized the importance of including student voices in LSO governance. “Across the board in governance, in the province of Ontario, in the country of Canada, boards of governors have figured out that a youth voice is a no-brainer,” said Bencher Julian Falconer. “Somehow… we, as a governing body, have yet to get it.” Law Times News (ON)

Postsecondary institutions should support students in documenting soft skills: Opinion

More emphasis should be placed on “soft skills” within postsecondary education, write Maurice Chang and Keith Monrose, Seneca International Executive Director. The authors explain that currently, students have no way to prove to potential employers that they have developed soft skills such as social perceptiveness, emotional intelligence, and critical thinking. The article explains that there is no accreditation framework for soft skills, and calls for a universal framework and common language. The authors also call for postsecondary institutions to formally measure and recognize soft skill development in students. “A national skills and experience strategy would provide a common catalogue from which post-secondary educators could build curricula; students would graduate with foundational skills and literacies that would be clearly articulated for employers to assess,” write the authors. The Star (National)

MSVU joins Women’s College Coalition

Mount Saint Vincent University has announced that it has joined the Women’s College Coalition (WCC). The membership will allow MSVU to access partnership opportunities on key events, enable the sharing of resources, and facilitate connection and knowledge sharing within leadership. “Fostering educational opportunity plays a critical role in the advancement of women which is, in turn, paramount to a successful society,” said MSVU President Dr Mary Bluechardt. “Through membership in the Women’s College Coalition, we are delighted to be uniting with leading institutions across the US and Canada that share in our commitment to the empowerment of women.” MSVU is reportedly the second Canadian institution to join the WCC after Brescia University College. MSVU | WCC (Members) (NS)

UWindsor community members call for creation of Black studies program

University of Windsor community members are calling for the creation of a Black studies program that focuses on the region’s history. Community members expressed their thoughts in an online panel discussion, in which some participants noted that UWindsor does not have any courses dedicated to local Black history or the Underground Railroad. “It’s important that a university like the University of Windsor, who sits in a very interesting geographical area, should at least speak to the people that have historically been here,” said Kaitlyn Ellsworth, a Black studies student on UWindsor’s Anti-Black Racism Task Force. CBC reports that students in the region are keen for these kinds of courses, with similar courses at St Clair College filling up and having wait lists. CBC (ON)

Portage, Alaxo partner on training, support, testing initiatives

Portage College and Alaxo Airway Stents have partnered on initiatives that include educational training, support programs, and clinical and sports enhancement testing. Portage and Alaxo will collaborate on developing sleep health courses and instructional programs to train Alaxo medical personnel and patients. The partnership will also provide work-integrated learning opportunities, create scholarships, and expand program development at the college. “This is a wonderful opportunity for our students, communities and province,” said Portage President Nancy Broadbent. “Portage College is proud to be supporting industry attraction to the St. Paul region for our much needed economic recovery and future sustainability.” Portage (AB)

NB universities make, consider plans for the Fall

New Brunswick universities are making plans for a flexible fall semester as a response to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. CBC reports that universities would like to have more students on campus, but that they are planning to be flexible in response to the future vaccination rollout and COVID-19 outbreaks. The article also highlights the experiences of students who are struggling with online learning, and who would like to know what to expect for the fall term. “Overall students are understanding but obviously are disappointed and are waiting to see what September's hybrid model will look like,” said UNB Student Union president Sean Mackenzie. CBC (NB)

ULethbridge, UWindsor, Queen’s plan online spring 2021 convocation celebrations

The University of Lethbridge, University of Windsor, and Queen’s University have recently shared their plans for virtual Spring 2021 convocation celebrations. UWindsor graduates will receive their degree in the mail, and the university will be creating a virtual celebration to recognize the achievements of graduating students. Queen’s stated that they will also be mailing degrees to graduates and that they will hold in-person ceremonies for students once it is safe to do so. ULethbridge will be celebrating convocation virtually with a celebration video, and each graduate will receive a package with ceremonial items from the university, such as their cap, tassel, and parchment. UWindsor | Queen’s | ULethbridge (ON | AB)

Challenges faced by international higher education export models

In a new article from University World News, Hans de Wit and Neil Kemp discuss changes in international higher education’s growth in the four leading English-speaking countries: Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. The authors discuss how the United Kingdom and Australia have focused on revenue production without sufficient investments through growing enrolment numbers of international students. Canada, on the other hand, has had success in growing international student numbers by aligning international education with immigration policy, while the US is trying to create a better environment for international students. Kemp and deWit close by explaining that higher education needs to work towards a sustainable and ethical business model. University World News (International)