Top Ten

March 11, 2021

Contact North BC to create 20 local learning centres

Contact North BC has announced the creation of 20 local learning centres in northern British Columbia to provide on-site support to students who live in remote areas. The provincial government has provided $1.5M of funding for the project. Students will be able to take any BC public college or university course that is offered online while receiving face-to-face and online supports from the centres. NationTalk explains that Indigenous students will especially benefit from the program as it will increase access to programs and academic options while allowing students to remain within their communities. “First Nations education leaders in our region have requested that we provide more academic options to their students, while allowing them to remain in their home communities,” said Justin Kohlman, president of Coast Mountain College. “This program gives every student in one of these communities the opportunity to take any online offering in the province while knowing they will have quality technology and local staff to support them.” NationTalk (BC)

UWaterloo bringing self-driving shuttle bus to campus

The University of Waterloo expects to have a self-driving shuttle bus – reportedly the first for an academic institution in Canada – on campus by this September. CTV News states that the eight-seat bus can navigate the university’s Ring Road route on its own, successfully stopping at intersections and avoiding obstacles. The “WATonoBUS” was developed by a team led by UWaterloo Professor Amir Khajeapour over the past four years, and the university states that the project has cost over $1M. The vehicle is now in its final phase of testing, and the university states that the bus could be operating by the time students return to campus for in-person classes. Khajeapour stated that several municipalities are interested in the project and the underlying technology. UWaterloo | CTV News (ON)

Canada needs to support scientific talent, careers: Opinion

To avoid discouraged graduates searching for opportunities outside of Canada, the country will need to support Canadian careers in technology. Canadian Nobel laureates Donna Strickland, Michael Houghton, and Arthur McDonald provide examples of how Canada’s students have pursued careers in other countries because of a lack of Canadian opportunities. Strickland explained that students who are pursuing further education may become discouraged because they do not know what opportunities are available after they graduate. Houghton adds that “we have to make a career in biotechnology, in biomedicine, more available. […] And Canada has the intellect to do that, it has the basic science repositories to do that – we have to convert it into translation and industry.” Times Higher Ed (National)

Mohawk pilots correctional officer training program through partnership with ON

Mohawk College has announced that it will be starting a pilot program to train correctional officer recruits through a partnership with the Government of Ontario. The 18-month program will train participants in a variety of topics such as human rights, de-escalation, mental health, and anti-racism issues. Students will also participate in hands-on skills-based training at the Correctional Services Recruitment and Training Centre in Hamilton. “We are eager to support the Correctional Services Recruitment and Training Centre to provide new recruits across the province with foundational skills training that will assist them in dealing with sensitive and complex situations in their work,” said Mohawk VP, Academic Alison Horton. Mohawk (ON)

MUN, UVic collaborate to create underwater Holyrood observatory

Memorial University’s Fisheries and Marine Institute and the University of Victoria’s Ocean Networks Canada have installed a $750K underwater ocean observatory in Conception Bay. The Holyrood observatory monitors waves, currents, water temperature, salinity, and underwater sounds, and sends scientific information to the Marine Institute through a fibre-optic cable. The Institute will be able to monitor marine life year around to establish a baseline of the ecosystem. “The Holyrood observatory will greatly extend our ability to obtain long-term, time-series data by allowing constant monitoring, even under ice,” said Dr Katleen Robert, Canada Research Chair in Ocean Mapping at the Marine Institute’s School of Ocean Technology. “Its camera will provide year-round, high-resolution observations of an Atlantic Canada subtidal benthic community.” MUN (NL | BC)

QC reverses decision to suspend refugee student programming

The Government of Quebec has reversed a decision to suspend programming that allowed refugee students to study in QC. The program is managed by the World University Service of Canada in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and was part of a broader suspension due to concerns about the possibility of fraud in some collective sponsorship programs. A QC ministry of immigration spokesperson stated that these concerns were not related to this student program. Several QC CEGEPS and universities participate in the program, which welcomes, finances, and sponsors young refugee students who are coming to Canada to attend postsecondary education. “It is a program by and for young people. Young people here are organizing themselves to find accommodation and finance young refugees moving here,” said Rafaëlle Sinave, a teacher at Cégep du Vieux Montréal. “It feels good to see that things can move.” CBC (QC)

Sault aviation program acquires $1M aircraft

Sault College has announced that it has expanded its Aviation Program’s fleet of aircraft with the acquisition of a twin engine Piper Seminole valued at over $1M. The new aircraft will allow students to learn using state-of-the-art technology and to complete their required flying hours. The plane will also support Sault in graduating its current students and in expanding its program to meet demand. “I’m very happy that we got a third Seminole to increase our capabilities with the students,” said Sault Aviation Program chief flight instructor Brandon Bodenhurst. “We lost a lot of flying time due to COVID.” CTV News | SooToday (ON)

Niagara CFWI launches Beverage Business Management graduate certificate

Niagara College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute (CFWI) has launched a Beverage Business Management graduate certificate program. Students in the one-year program will cover a variety of topics, including sensory evaluation of beer, wine, and spirits; the legal and regulatory environment; and employee and financial sustainability. Students will also complete a capstone research/thesis project. “As home to Canada’s first commercial teaching winery, first teaching brewery and first teaching distillery, we are excited to build on our established production-based programs in wine, brewing and distilling, and unveil our first expanded offering from all three beverage sectors poised to break new ground across the country,” said Niagara CFWI Dean Craig Youdale. Niagara (ON)

Montreal couple pledge $1M for COVID-19 research over 8 years

Suzanne Legge and Jeff Orr, a couple from Montreal, have pledged to donate $1M for COVID-19 research over the next 8 years. McGill University’s Interdisciplinary Initiative in Infection and Immunity (M14) will receive the funding this year, which will support projects such as non-invasive gargle test asymptomatic testing in essential workers. The work aims to find asymptomatic essential workers and, if successful, to show that it would be beneficial on a larger scale. “Being part of supporting this kind of research is going to... have an impact on the community, but it’s going to then become self-fulfilling,” said Orr. “The better the research gets, the more people will want to support it.” CTV News (QC)

Institutions across Canada manage COVID-19 outbreaks

Postsecondary institutions across Canada are reporting COVID-19 outbreaks. Cégep de Matane is experiencing an outbreak in which three students and one teacher contracted COVID-19. Samples will be tested for variants. North Island College has reported that some students were exposed to COVID-19 between March 2 and 3, but that exposures were “contained to a small group of students” and contact tracing has been completed. Cambrian College has reported a COVID-19 case in a member of the campus community who had been on campus within the past 14 days. 102 people have now tested positive for COVID-19 in connection to the Ontario Police College outbreak in Aylmer. 33 of the cases at the facility are currently active. Journal de Montréal (Matane) | Global News (OPC) | CTV News (NIC) | (Cambrian) (National)