Top Ten

May 6, 2021

AB vows to “take action to restrict” UAlberta’s collaboration with China

Robert Fife and Steven Chase of The Globe and Mail report that the Government of Alberta is pledging to take action to restrict the University of Alberta’s collaboration with China in fields such as science and technology. Fife and Chase wrote that UAlberta and China are engaging in “extensive scientific collaboration,” and have jointly set up companies to commercialize Canadian-developed technology. They argue that China could use collaboration in strategically important fields to steal Canadian intellectual property for its military, and that research conducted in Canada could be sent back to China. “I am deeply concerned about the potential theft of Canadian intellectual property and further concerned that research partnerships with the People’s Republic of China may be used by Chinese military and intelligence agencies,” said AB Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides. “More needs to be done to curb foreign state infiltration in our research and innovation centres, including our postsecondary institutions.” Globe and Mail (1) | Globe and Mail (2) (AB)

Laurentian financial situation to be examined by ON auditor general

Laurentian University’s financial situation will be examined by Ontario’s auditor general. CTV News reports that Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas introduced a motion to a standing committee on public accounts last week to have Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk conduct a complete review of the situation. The Ontario legislature has reportedly passed the motion. "The auditor general is an officer of the Legislature and being an officer means she comes with a ton of power," said Gélinas. "She has the right to enter a premises, whether she's welcome there or not; she has the right to have access to documents whether they are private or not; she has the right to ask questions and people have to answer." The article says that the Auditor General’s report will take months to complete, shorter than the years typical of an inquiry, and will be made public in order to provide the community with answers and insight. CTV News | CBC (ON)

Trainee doctors protest being pulled from front lines to complete certification exams

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons has reportedly ruled that trainee doctors must complete their final written and oral exams this spring, a decision that will reportedly pull trainee physicians from the front lines to complete their exams at hotels. The National Post reports that over 1,000 residents have signed a petition asking the college to reverse the decision, saying that the time taken off to prepare for and complete the exams will impact the quality of care that patients receive and that the exams could lead to COVID-19 outbreaks. Students and specialists are questioning the choice to hold the exams at this time, as students are evaluated throughout their programs and pass rates are at the mid-90%s and up for most specialties. National Post (National)

AB postsecondary institutions respond to new COVID-19 restrictions

The Government of Alberta has put new public health measures in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the province, which has required postsecondary institutions to pivot accordingly. Postsecondary institutions are required to move classes online for at least three weeks. The University of Lethbridge, the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, and Alberta University of the Arts have each announced the suspension of all in-person classes in order to shift to online learning. ULethbridge will have student work spaces available by appointment to ensure students have access to online learning. NAIT is encouraging students and instructors to stay home, and has asked other staff to check with supervisors to see if they can work from home. ULethbridge | AU Arts | NAIT (1) | NAIT (2) (AB)

AU’s PowerED, DWI partner to launch digital wellness micro-course

Athabasca University’s PowerED and the Digital Wellness Institute (DWI) have partnered to launch a digital wellness micro-course: Digital Wellness 101: Optimizing Your Time & Energy. The course is delivered online and on-demand, and is based on the DWI’s Digital Wellness Certificate program. Participants will learn about the concept of digital wellness, the digital flourishing network, and how to assess digital wellness. “Not enough people are familiar with the concept of digital wellness and the impact that an ‘always on’ environment can have on our overall health,” said Jessica Butts Scott, Director of PowerED. “By partnering with DWI, leaders in the digital wellness industry, we will be able to bring valuable information and tangible tools quickly to those who need it most.” AU (AB)