Top Ten

October 12, 2022

USask GIFS receives $2.5M for biomanufacturing sector, agri-food hub

The University of Saskatchewan’s Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) has received $2.5M in funding to support the biomanufacturing sector and create an agri-food hub. The funding, which comes from PrairiesCan’s Regional Innovation Ecosystems program, will support the development of a biomanufacturing facility focused on advancing sustainable agriculture and food innovations that will improve Canada’s biomanufacturing capacity. It will also support an agri-food hub, attract foreign investments, provide training in the field, and create jobs in Saskatchewan. “This facility at GIFS will become the engineering biology focal point for agriculture in Canada and strengthen USask’s profile for delivering advancements in agri-food and biotechnology needed to ensure global food security,” said USask VP Research Dr Baljit Singh. Newswire (SK)

UAlberta launches Glycomics Institute of Alberta to educate, connect biomedical community

University of Alberta Glycoscientist Lara Mahal has launched the Glycomics Institute of Alberta at the university. Glycomics are an understudied area of science, Mahal explained, but they play “a critical role in every major disease.” The institute will focus on building connections between the field’s experts and among researchers; providing education such as workshops for students and researchers; and offering resources through its website, including access to databases and research videos. “We want to educate the larger biomedical community about the importance of sugars, which has really been undervalued,” said Mahal. “It’s about communication, collaboration and education — those are really our main mandates.” UAlberta (AB)

Universities call on Canada to fulfill student mental health funding promise

Universities Canada has called for the Government of Canada to fulfill its 2021 election commitment and establish a $500M student health fund over four years. They are calling for funding to support the provision of mental health care for students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization pointed to the findings of a recent report from the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations and the Mental Health Commission of Canada, which showed how students were some of the worst affected by the pandemic. “The 2020 and 2021 cohort of students have faced challenges like never before, and they deserve access to timely and effective mental health care before they graduate," said Universities Canada President Paul Davidson. Universities Canada (National)

Durham, organizations break ground on land for new urban farm project

Durham College, the Barrett Family Foundation, Invest Durham, and Durham Region have broken ground on new land that will be the site of The Barrett Centre of Innovation in Sustainable Urban Agriculture (The Barrett Centre). The land is currently reserved for future water infrastructure, but the college will use it as a temporary urban farm site until it is needed. The Barrett Centre aims to become a hub for research, education, and training in urban agriculture practices, and will work to address issues such as food insecurity, climate change, food supply and access, and land regeneration. The centre is supported by a $5M donation from The Barrett Family Foundation. Durham (ON)

International students, advocates praise temporary stop on 20-hour work week, call for more changes

International students and advocates from Manitoba, Ontario, and Alberta are praising the temporary cancellation of the 20-hour work limit while calling on the federal government to do more, reports CBC. With living costs going up, students stated that the policy would help them make ends meet and gain more job experience during their studies. They also stated that the change would enable them to take part in job and leadership opportunities that require more than 20 hours of work per week. However, students have also called on the government to make the policy permanent and called for improvements to the immigration system such as counting hours worked while attending a postsecondary institution. An immigration lawyer also raised concerns about whether students would have time to work full-time and attend school full-time. CBC (ON) | CBC (MB) | CBC (AB) (National)

Practical nurses stay in MB after graduation: Frison

In response to a question posed about the pathways of nurses who are trained in Manitoba, Assiniboine Community College President Mark Frison has penned a letter to the editor in the Brandon Sun. Reflecting on a graduate follow-up survey conducted at ACC, Frison writes that 96% of ACC’s practical nursing graduates are still in the province four years after graduation. The college educates 90% of practical nursing students in MB, he writes, and ACC additionally offers its programs in a variety of communities across the province where labour supply is often strained. Frison also referenced the ongoing provincial government investments and funding decisions related to nursing, and expressed hope for the next phase of program expansion. Brandon Sun (Sub. Req.) (MB)

AB announces new supports for ECE development, increased enrolment capacity for free orientation course

The Government of Alberta has announced several new measures focused on increasing the number of certified early childhood educators (ECEs) in the province. The enrolment capacity of a free level 1 child-care orientation course has been increased from 4,000 to 10,000 spaces. Any Albertan is eligible to enrol in the course, regardless of if they are currently working in a childcare program or not. AB also announced initiatives such as the development of a new competency-based approach to certification, continued work with Advanced Education on creating more in-person and virtual spaces in postsecondary programs, and modernization of level 1 ECE orientation course content. AB (AB)

Niagara revamps culinary, hospitality, and tourism programming

In an article for Niagara This Week, Niagara College shared the changes it is making to its culinary, hospitality, and tourism programs. The college has brought the hospitality and tourism programs under one roof, and has begun letting culinary students lead pop-up lunches and other events so that they have more control over how they apply and practice their skills. There is also a move away from the Canada Food and Wine Institute (CFWI) brand, reports Niagara This Week, as hospitality is brought “back into the fold.” “In the back of our minds, we always knew that we would eventually outgrow the (CFWI) brand, but we think it’s positive and I think it’s just a natural evolution,” said program dean Craig Youdale. Niagara will reflect on and assess the success of these changes in the winter. Niagara This Week (ON)

SMU announces Esports Arena, teams

Saint Mary’s University has launched an Esports Arena, as well as teams that will compete against other postsecondary institutions in four esports: Rocket League, Apex Legends, Valorant, and League of Legends. To support the new teams, SMU has also hired a coach, who will provide players with feedback on where they can improve, and a general manager, who will focus on scheduling and tournaments. The Esports Arena is located in a converted computer lab that will be used by both casual and competitive players. “I think [esports are] something that's going to be debated likely over the next couple of years," said general manager Ben Jackson. "But it's something that does require a lot of brain power. It does require co-ordination between you and your teammates and in that way, I think it's very much a sport." CBC (NS)

KPU releases recommendations of Task Force on Anti-Racism, announces plans to implement actions

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has released the recommendations of its Task Force on Anti-Racism. The final report included 64 recommendations, which KPU will use as a guide to inform its transformation. The university has established an office of anti-racism, which will streamline anti-racism work and provide support, consultation, and guidance to leadership, and has announced its intent to establish a committee to oversee the implementation of the task force recommendations within the next two to three years. KPU (Release) | KPU | KPU (Report) (BC)