Top Ten

January 13, 2023

Canada, SK, industry partners announce $17.6M investment in crop research

Over $17M has been invested in crop research, thanks to recent funding from the Government of Canada and Government of Saskatchewan through Saskatchewan's Agriculture Development Fund (ADF), as well as supports from industry partners. The investment will support 49 research projects at institutions such as Saskatchewan Polytechnic, the University of Manitoba, University of Regina, and University of Saskatchewan, and provide funding for USask’s Crop Development Centre (CDC) operations over the next five years. “The renewed investment announced (Wednesday) reaffirms the provinces’ commitment to the CDC’s mission to improve the profitability of western Canadian producers and to our continued vision of being a world-class crop improvement organization,” said CDC director Curtis Pozniak. SK | Star Phoenix | SK (Backgrounder PDF) (SK)

HEQCO releases report advising on college, government, partners’ responsibilities toward international students

The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) has released a report discussing international students and the responsibility that college, private partners, and government have to support them. Authors Julia Colyar, Jackie Pichette, and Janice Deakin write that international student numbers have increased in response to government funding cuts, but that these students often require supports that go above and beyond those designed for domestic students. They assert that institutions must take responsibility for their international students’ well-being. The report recommends that Ontario colleges review international student academic admission requirements; collect and publish international student satisfaction data regarding supports and resources; and work with local community and municipal governments to address challenges such as housing, housing, and local employment. The report also offers recommendations for the provincial and federal governments. HEQCO (ON)

Olds partners with CBE to launch AgTech program

Olds College of Agriculture & Technology and the Calgary Board of Education have partnered on the launch of a dual-credit agriculture technology program for students in Grades 11 and 12. The program is focused on creating efficiencies in agriculture and addressing the growing labour shortage in the field. Students in the program will gain computer science skills and learn about robotics and 3D printing. “We see a real niche that’s going to need to be filled in the next few decades in food production, where we use technology to be more efficient around, and so that we can keep up with world population growth,” said Olds Werklund School of Agriculture Technology Dean Jay Steeves. “Agricultural technology can offer career opportunities in both urban and rural settings … from careers in farm settings to careers in downtown Calgary.” Calgary Herald (AB)

Opaskwayak Cree Nation builds affordable apartment building for students in Winnipeg

First Nations postsecondary students in Winnipeg will have more access to affordable living thanks to an apartment project led by Opaskwayak Cree Nation. Opaskwayak Cree Nation is building a seven storey, 69-unit apartment building near the University of Winnipeg for First Nations students, young families, and elders. Over 40% of the units will be offered at a discounted rate, which will help students focus on their studies and future careers. “This building not only allows our Cree Nation to start capitalizing within the real estate market, (but it will also) allow us a place in the city to house some of our own citizens who are leaving the north to begin their higher education journeys in the south,” said Opaskwayak Cree Nation Chief Sidney Ballantyne. Construction is expected to be complete by summer 2024. Global News (MB)

UWaterloo to lead consortium focused on secure 5G mobile networks

The University of Waterloo has announced that it will be leading a consortium that will focus on developing secure 5G mobile networks and improving Canada’s security and defense. The $1.5M network technology consortium will include industry and universities including the École de technologie supérieure in Montréal and University of Regina. The consortium will focus on deploying high performance, flexible, reliable, and secure 5G network slices and developing AI systems that can detect and respond to cyberattacks on 5G network slices as they happen. “Applications that range as widely as healthcare, public safety, emergency response and unmanned vehicles will benefit from these secure, responsive 5G network slices, positioning Canada as a leader in 5G and beyond mobile networks,” said UWaterloo Cheriton School of Computer Science Research Professor Dr Noura Limam. UWaterloo (ON)

Cyberattack hits Okanagan leading to network, website going offline

Okanagan College’s network and website went offline after the college was hit by a cyberattack on Monday morning. Okanagan shut down its network access and launched an investigation after their IT services team “interrupted a cyber-security incident.” The college’s network services, public website, and learning management site were all affected, as well as the college’s ability to send all-user emails. “We are working to determine whether any personal information has been compromised,” said Okanagan President Neil Fassina. “Although it is a priority for us to restore access to the network as soon as possible, we must do this in a safe and secure way.” The college further warned users to be wary of unusual emails claiming to be from the college. Castanet | Global News (BC)

UManitoba students, CFS at odds over referendum, vote to cut ties

The University of Manitoba Students’ Union (UMSU) and the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) are reportedly at odds about the legitimacy of a recent referendum during which the UMSU voted to cut ties with the CFS. The Winnipeg Free Press reports that there is an ongoing lawsuit between the two parties and that court documents demonstrate a disagreement over the regulations UMSU must follow to end the relationship. “Our student body is getting a really bad return on investment when it comes to this partnership,” said UMSU President Jaron Rykiss. “We find that our advocacy is better suited working through ... the Manitoba Alliance of Post-Secondary Students, as well as ... the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations.” Rykiss explained that MAPS is free and that CASA membership is significantly cheaper than the annual $415K fee charged by the CFS. Winnipeg Free Press (Acct. Req.) (MB)

McGill updates Sustainable Labs Guide to ensure more sustainable research operations

McGill University has launched an updated Sustainable Labs Guide to help its researchers and lab users implement greener practices in their work. The Guide provides about 75 suggestions across categories such as waste management, energy conservation, procurement, and animal research that researchers can implement. “This guide is the result of a collaborative effort between key stakeholders at McGill, including staff, students, and researchers,” said McGill Hazardous Waste Management unit manager Christian Bouchard. “We want to provide a tool for researchers where they can find several different ways to improve the sustainability of their lab with minimal effort, all in one place, and without distracting from the main goals of scientific research.” McGill | McGill (Guide) (QC)

Fanshawe launches welding apprenticeship program

Fanshawe College’s School of Applied Science and Technology is launching a welding apprenticeship program to help meet the need for skilled tradespeople in southwestern Ontario. The pilot program will provide 20 students with training in Fanshawe’s renovated 50-station welding lab, with the potential to ramp up to 50 or 60 students in future academic years. “We have heard loud and clear from industry partners in this region ... ‘We support (this program)’, and their support, by the way, is a factor in the (government’s) decision,” said Fanshawe Dean, Faculty of Science, Trades, and Technology Stephen Patterson. London Free Press | Blackburn News (ON)

Humanities must teach students how to manage differences, foster meaningful change: Opinion

The humanities should provide students with a skillset they can use to create a better world, writes University of Waterloo Professor Robert Danisch. In an editorial for The Conversation Danisch reflects on the issues that arise when workers have the skills to identify and call-out problems, but cannot constructively manage differences. The author writes that the humanities can teach students to generate meaningful change toward a better world by tackling challenges in new ways. “Carrying the burden of fostering change is no small task,” writes Danisch. “At times that burden has fallen disproportionately on those that are most vulnerable to power, but that’s precisely why we need the humanities now more than ever.” The Conversation (Editorial)