Top Ten

May 4, 2021

Laurentian gets protection until end of August, permission to cut ties, begins Phase 2

Laurentian University has been given the go ahead by Justice Geoffrey Morawetz of Ontario Superior Court to operate while protected from creditors until August 31st, and to cut ties with three federated universities. CBC reports that cutting its agreement with the University of Sudbury, Thorneloe University, and Huntington University will allow the university to qualify for a $10M loan. Thorneloe and USudbury told CBC that there is “no cost to Laurentian to maintain ties with them.” USudbury expressed extreme disappointment with the court’s decision in a statement, and The Sudbury Star reports that Thorneloe intends to appeal the decision to terminate the agreement. CBC (1) | CBC (2) | The Sudbury Star | USudbury (ON)

BC releases COVID-19 Return-to-Campus Primer

The Government of British Columbia has released a COVID-19 Return-to-Campus Primer to help postsecondary institutions prepare to have students return to in-person learning in the Fall. The primer provides assumptions for planning for the fall semester, as well as information on general campus planning, educational activities, and student supports. The primer is intended to provide high-level guidance to institutions before BC releases the revised Go-Forward Guidelines for B.C.’s Post-secondary Sector. BC | BC (Primer) (BC)

ON extends one-year tuition freeze

The Government of Ontario has announced that it will be extending its one-year tuition freeze. Tuition will be frozen for students from the province for an additional year, while institutions will be allowed to raise tuition for out-of-province students by 3%. “It is critical to the economic recovery of Ontario that today's students, and tomorrow's leaders, innovators and workers can obtain the skills they need to succeed in a highly competitive global economy,” said Ross Romano, ON Minister of Colleges and Universities. “The extended tuition freeze will ensure Ontarians have affordable access to our first-class postsecondary education system and will provide financial relief to our families.” ON | The Star (ON)

USask expects returning students to be vaccinated, faculty association calls for requirement

The University of Saskatchewan has made a statement that it is expecting those coming back to campus in the fall to be vaccinated against COVID-19, though it will not make vaccines mandatory. The USask faculty association has passed a motion supporting vaccine requirements for those coming back to class in September, noting that it protects those returning to the potentially crowded campus environment. “All of us interact daily with people working and living in the city, so making sure all of our campus community is vaccinated will certainly, I believe, help stop the spread outside of campus,” said USask Faculty Association chair Allison Muri. CBC (1) | CBC (2) (SK)

Canada, ON discussing suspending entry of international students to province

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has stated that the federal government will be working with the Government of Ontario to formalize a request from ON Premier Doug Ford to suspend the arrival of international students to the province. Ford reportedly raised the topic during a conference call between the Prime Minster and provincial and territorial leaders. “Because, at this time, Ontario is the only province requesting this, we’re happy to work more narrowly with them,” said Trudeau. CIC News reports that the premier's office later stated that they did not make a formal request to halt international students from entering the province. The Canadian Federation of Students issued a statement condemning the request, calling it an “unfounded attack that targets innocent students from being able to continue their studies.” CIC News | Globe and Mail | CFS (ON)

Supporting SDGs should be accompanied by ongoing, critical conversations: Opinion

Several institutions have committed to supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), writes UBC Assistant Professor Sharon Stein, but an uncritical adoption of these goals may obscure the way these goals can potentially contribute to other social issues. Stein encourages institutions to engage in ongoing, critical conversations around the pursuit of SDGs and describes the importance of hearing Indigenous voices, “centering” the rights of nature, and balancing economic growth and ecological sustainability. “Universities should commit to pluralize and democratize their approaches to sustainability and development by ensuring that critical and alternative perspectives are not only welcomed but actually inform and shape institutional policies and practices,” writes Stein. University Affairs (National)

UCalgary’s Simpson Centre receives $1.17M for Carbon Program

The University of Calgary’s Simpson Centre for Agricultural and Food Innovation and Public Education at the School of Public Policy has announced that it will be receiving $1.17M over two years from the Government of Alberta. The funding will support the Simpson Centre’s Carbon Program, which aims to establish a baseline of carbon emissions for AB’s agriculture industry and to provide recommendations for reducing these emissions. “One of the grand challenges of the next decade is to design a sustainable trajectory of carbon emissions, globally and locally,” said Simpson Centre director Dr Guillaume Lhermie. “We need to design sound agriculture policies to achieve this goal, and a key step is to better measure where we are starting from.” UCalgary (AB)

U of T initiative expands to three international partners

The University of Toronto has announced that the research initiative Reach Alliance has expanded to three international partners: the University of Oxford, University College London, and Tecnológico de Monterrey. The initiative allows undergraduate and graduate students, mentored by faculty members, to investigate how “organizations are delivering services to vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations around the globe.” “We have much to learn from our colleagues at the University of Oxford, Tecnológico de Monterrey and University College London,” said Joseph Wong, U of T’s vice-president, international, and Reach Alliance founder. “This appetite for collaboration will guide us as we continue to scale the Reach Alliance around the world.” U of T (ON)

AB postsecondary students face tight job market for summer 2021

CBC reports that postsecondary students in Alberta are frustrated and concerned about facing another summer of un- or underemployment. The Calgary Herald says that students are struggling to find work during the pandemic and are facing tuition hikes at the same time, and CBC reports that recent graduates are worried about being required to repay their student loans while jobless or unemployed. The articles call on AB to restore the Summer Temporary Employment Program to help students find employment through supports for employers. CBC | Calgary Herald (AB)

URegina, Lambton join MyCreds

The University of Regina and Lambton College have joined the MyCreds digital credential wallet developed by the Association of Registrars of the Universities and Colleges of Canada (ARUCC). Students from these institutions will be able to access tamper-proof and legally valid digital versions of their credentials. Students will be able to securely share their transcripts, credentials, and confirmation of graduation with people across the world, and the certified versions will have a blue-ribbon symbol to show that they are authentic. “The U of R also recognizes the value provided to our graduates in the issuance of a paper parchment and this will continue with the added benefits of a digital credential they may access free of charge,” said URegina registrar James D’Arcy. Regina Leader Post | MyCreds (URegina) | MyCred (Lambton) (SK | ON)