Top Ten

April 21, 2022

AB invests in postsecondary enrolment growth, training programs to bolster workforce

The Government of Alberta has announced that it is making significant investments into workforce training over the next three years as part of its Alberta at Work program. The investments include $235M to fund enrolment growth at postsecondary institutions; increase seats in targeted areas such as health care and engineering; and create new micro-credentials, work-integrated learning opportunities, apprenticeship education, and student support. AB will also invest $41M into Training for Work programs to help those who are unemployed or underemployed develop job-ready skills, as well as $20M into the development of programs for those who have been unemployed for a long period of time. “By making more financial supports available, we are ensuring that post-secondary education stays accessible to everyone, especially at this critical time in our province,” said AB Minister of Advanced Education Demetrios Nicolaides. AB | CBC | Lethbridge News Now (AB)

YorkU studio receives renewed commitment of $3.12M from Cinespace Film Studios

York University’s Motion Media Studio has received a renewed commitment of $3.12M from Cinespace Film Studios. The funding will enhance and elevate the studio and provide students with more opportunities for hands-on learning, practical training, and experience with industry leaders. YorkU will use the funds to introduce state-of-the-art technology and give students access to resources in the areas of production process support, digital post-production process support, digital post-production equipment, and high-performance computing technology. “Cinespace’s generous new donation means that each student who has access to this studio will continue to have the opportunity to develop a creative voice, contribute to our collective cultural history, and affect positive change,” said YorkU President Rhonda Lenton. YorkU (ON)

BC partners with nursing organizations, invests $12M to help internationally-educated nurses get licensed

The Government of British Columbia has announced new initiatives to help internationally-educated nurses (IENs) become licensed and work in BC’s health-care system. The provincial government is collaborating with the British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM), the Nursing Community Assessment Service (NCAS), and Health Match BC (HMBC) to consolidate provincially-based assessment processes, offer bursaries of up to $16K to help with assessment and upgrading fees, and create new nurse navigator positions to help IENs navigate the assessment and licensing process. “Internationally educated nurses entering B.C.’s health workforce are committed to their skills and vocation,” said Mable Elmore, Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors’ Services and Long-Term Care. “It inspires our government to do everything it can to support them and the patients they care for." BC is providing more than $12M to support these initiatives. BC | CBC (BC)

SK, ON institutions extend mask mandates

Multiple postsecondary institutions in Saskatchewan and Ontario have extended their campus mask mandates in response to COVID-19 case counts. The University of Saskatchewan will be extending its mask mandates after reporting 418 positive cases across its campus community between April 1st to 13th. USask is asking anyone with flu-like symptoms to not come to campus, even if they have received a negative COVID-19 test. The University of Regina will continue to require masking in classrooms, labs, studio spaces, and the library until May 31st, and masks will be encouraged in other indoor spaces. The Ottawa Citizen reports that Brock University will be extending its mandatory masking beyond May 1st, a decision that was reportedly part of a settlement reached with the Brock faculty association, while Carleton University has extended its mask mandate until further notice. Queen’s University will continue to require masks for on-campus activities until the end of May. CBC | CTV News (USask) | Ottawa Citizen (Carleton, Brock) | CTV News (Queen’s) (SK | ON)

Niagara, NHBA skilled trades training partnership receives $1.2M grant

Niagara College and the Niagara Home Builders’ Association (NHBA) have received a $1.2M Skills Development Fund (SDF) grant to meet a labour demand in the residential construction industry. Ontario is projected to build 1.5 million homes in the next 10 years, and 1-in-5 jobs in the province are expected to be in the skilled trades by 2025. The Construction Skills training program will include hands-on instruction in Niagara’s School of Trades and an eight-week paid work placement, and learners will graduate with a Certificate of Completion. “This program will allow the NHBA and Niagara College to develop and train students with the skills they need in order to be job site ready to work their way into building a stable career,” said NHBA President Richard Lawrence, “while filling the void of the 100,000 workers our industry needs over the next decade.” Niagara (ON)

MacEwan launches Distinguished Visiting Artist in Country Music program

MacEwan has launched a Distinguished Visiting Artist in Country Music program that will provide students with an opportunity to learn more about country music. Renowned professionals will take the role as visiting artists for either short or long-term appointments. The program will include workshops, lectures, master classes, performances, and public presentations from the artists about topics such as performing and writing. “We’re going to give students an opportunity to learn all there is to learn about what I truly believe is one of the incredible genres in the world, and that’s country music,” said honorary campaign chair and country musician Brett Kissel. MacEwan says that the program is the first of its kind at a university in Canada. CTV News | MacEwan (AB)

McGill and partners embark on DECIDE-CV program to focus on AI screening for type 2 diabetes mellitus

A three-year partnership between the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, the McGill University Health Centre Foundation, Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd, HOP Tech, and MEDTEQ+ will introduce new ways of screening for type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). The DECIDE-CV program will focus on the development of AI-based technology that will identify T2DM in individuals 35 years of age and older before it causes additional health issues, such as cardiovascular or kidney-related events. "Many people have developed T2DM and don't know it until a major cardiovascular event occurs,” said Dr Abhinav Sharma, Chief of the DECIDE-CV clinic. “With increased monitoring, doctors can quickly tailor their approach in caring for each patient based on their needs and the information collected – ultimately, improving population-level screening for T2DM in Canada.” News Wire (QC)

Three tips for implementing Open Educational Resources in the classroom: Opinion

A new article in Contact North’s Stop-Improve-Start series discusses how educators can make better use of Open Educational Resources in the classroom. Educators are encouraged to stop looking for perfect resources that are an exact match to commercial resources, and to instead collaborate with other educators to find the right materials faster. Educators should improve the materials they use, consider the objective of having students use each piece of material, and use OER as a tool that helps students collaborate. Finally, Contact North recommends that educators start to replace resources that cost students money with free materials, begin to create OER resources that meet the needs of their courses, and ask students to create and share OERs. Contact North | Contact Nord (Editorial)

Professors call for Western to divest from fossil fuels

Professors at Western University have called on the institution to divest entirely from fossil fuels. A group of 150 professors have penned an open letter requesting that Western disclose its fossil fuel industry investments and divest. “Divestment...can send a direct financial signal by withdrawing some funds from that industry,” said Western Associate Professor Carol Hunsberger. “It also sends a broader message that the university is not content to profit from business as usual.” Western’s VP of Operations and Finance Lynn Logan has responded by explaining that the institution is committed to achieving net-zero by 2050 or sooner and strives to invest strategically for the greatest impact. CBC (ON)

Okanagan submits development permit application for form, character of new residence building

Okanagan College has submitted a development permit application to construct a 182-unit student housing building on its Kelowna campus. Castanet reports that the permit makes requests related to the form and character of the building, which would include 162 micro suites, six micro accessible units, four double, and 10 quad units, and 67 additional parking stalls. The buildings will also include a central multi-purpose space on each floor and club and play space on the ground floor. Outside of the building, Okanagan’s plans include new sidewalks for walkability and safety, as well as an outdoor amenity space that will be shared with the college’s Skaha residence to create a dedicated quad space between the residences. Castanet (BC)