The leaders of several Ontario postsecondary organizations have shared their opinions on the Government of Ontario’s recent $1.3B investment announcement. The Council of Ontario Universities expressed disappointment in the funding amount as a whole while welcoming the investments in student mental health and STEM. OCUFA was pleased with the continued tuition freeze for domestic students, but pointed out that the overall investment was less than half of the amount recommended by ON’s Blue-Ribbon panel. Colleges Ontario CEO Marketa Evans described the investment as a “welcome first step” before emphasizing that the colleges “expect further action from the province.” NDP colleges and universities critic Peggy Sattler noted that underfunding has stressed postsecondary institutions. “The response today is just half of what Ford’s panel of experts have said colleges and universities need in Ontario just to keep the doors open,” said Sattler.
The Government of Alberta has announced its intention to grow apprenticeship opportunities across the province. If its Budget 2024 passed, AB would invest an additional $24M annually over the next three years to create 3,200 apprenticeship seats across 11 postsecondary institutions. This investment would increase the total funding offered through the Apprenticeship Learning Grant to $78M for the 2024-25 academic year. “Investing in apprenticeship education will supply Albertans with in-demand skills, nurture homegrown talent and support our labour market with world-class skilled tradespeople who keep our economy moving,” said AB Minister of Advanced Education Rajan Sawhney.
University Affairs reports that the Dimensions pilot project has officially ended after its funding was not renewed by the Government of Canada last year. The project first launched in 2018 with the goal of promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) within Canadian postsecondary institutions and was jointly administered by the Tri-Council (CIHR, NSERC, and SSHRC). In their comments to University Affairs, some participating institutions stated that the pilot program was integral to kickstarting their EDI efforts; others were disappointed that the funding was not renewed. “This is not the time to stop, but rather to continue, and fix well-known, long-standing inequality,” said EDI advocate Dr Kirsty Duncan.
Last month, the University Transition Program for Gifted Students (UTP)–run by the Government of British Columbia, the Vancouver School Board, and the University of British Columbia–decided to halt enrolments for the September 2024-25 intake and conduct an external review of its operations. The program allows select BC students to fast-track their secondary school experience, enabling them to graduate in two years instead of five. UTP stated that the decision to pause admissions is largely due to mounting concerns surrounding the mental health of its students. However, CBC reports that some parents and alumni are apprehensive of the pause, believing that it might disrupt the curriculum for current students or lead to a permanent cessation of the program.
National Association of Career Colleges CEO Michael Sangster is calling for an end to “political mud-slinging,” as he argues that private colleges are not to be blamed for the affordability crisis or boom in international students. “Of the 599,355 international study permit applications approved or extended by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada […] in 2023,” writes Sangster, “just 4.4 per cent were for regulated career colleges who are members of the industry association I lead.” The author adds that leadership at many career colleges support the Government of Canada’s recent efforts to stabilize the international student program and welcome opportunities to collaborate with provinces on designing more innovative training solutions to fill critical labour gaps.
York University’s Lassonde School of Engineering and Schulich School of Business have partnered with the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) in China to launch a 3+1+1 program. Under this partnership, SUSTech College of Engineering students will complete their first three years of undergraduate studies in China, their fourth year at Lassonde, and a fifth year in their choice of one of four Schulich master’s programs. Upon graduation, students will have attained both a SUSTech Bachelor of Engineering and a Schulich master’s degree. “It offers mutual benefits not only for our students but also for our esteemed institutions, creating a unique platform for cross-cultural exchange and learning,” said YorkU Lassonde Dean Jane Goodyer.
Four researchers from the University of Alberta have published a study that discusses how UAlberta’s Rural Integrated Community Clerkship (ICC) program could help encourage family physicians to practice in rural communities. The researchers tracked medical graduates who graduated between 2009 and 2016 and found that those who completed the ICC program in their third year of medical school were more likely to go into rural or family practice than those who conducted their placement in an urban hospital. Program participation was a greater predictor of this outcome than whether the student had come from a rural community. Study co-author and UAlberta Professor Jill Konkin said that the program helps students become part of the community as they build relationships with patients, physician-teachers, and other healthcare workers. This in turn encourages them to consider working in a rural setting.
The University of Saskatchewan and IPB University in Indonesia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to facilitate new research collaboration and student learning opportunities. Over the next five years, the partners will explore research opportunities, academic program development, and potential student exchange and internship programs. “Our university’s international partnerships allow us to expand our reach and better position us to address the global challenges of today that will affect our collective futures,” said USask President Stoicheff.
Two colleges have launched programs as part of larger industry partnerships. Cégep de Trois-Rivières is offering an AEC program focused on industrial processes in green technology. The program follows a work-study model, in which students apply their learning directly in a company environment. Nouvelliste reports that the Government of Québec has invested nearly $600K into the program. Confederation College is working with CP Rail to relaunch its 12-week Railway Conductor Program, which follows Railway Alliance Canada standards and practices. Northern Ontario Business reports that the program was originally set to launch before the pandemic, but that it was delayed due to the need for hands-on training in small quarters.
An intervention program co-created by UCalgary Nursing Professor Dr Nicole Letourneau and Research Associate Dr Martha Hart is expanding to international audiences. The ATTACH (Attachment and Child Health) program, which was developed as an intervention tool for families affected by toxic stress in Canada, will soon be adopted in Brazil and will be adapted and tested for use in Denmark. According to Letourneau, the Denmark project has received $1M CAD for its implementation. “There has long been global interest and so we are very excited about this next phase to scale ATTACH internationally,” said Letourneau.