Lethbridge College and the University of Lethbridge will be establishing new centres on their campuses, thanks to federal funding related to the launch of a new PrairiesCan service location in the Lethbridge area. The college will receive over $2M to establish an agriculture innovation centre that will support small- and medium-sized businesses that focus on agricultural technologies and agri-food products. ULethbridge will receive over $1.4M to establish a centre of expertise for commercial health management and monitoring application development, as well as over $868K to establish a work-integrated learning centre to support Indigenous students.
The investigation into allegations of harassment against two Thompson Rivers University senior administrators, one of whom is no longer employed by TRU, has been concluded. Two independent investigators examined 55 allegations made by eight individuals and compiled a report based on their findings. Vernon Morning Star reports that one administrator was cleared, while 10 allegations against the other were substantiated. “We are satisfied with the thoroughness of the report,” said TRU board chair Marilyn McLean. “I believe we are in a better place as a result of the courageous complainants that came forward.”
Skilled Trades Ontario (STO) has updated its training and curriculum standards for apprentices and skilled trades workers in order to improve labour mobility and training standards. The updates include new standards for the horticultural technician, arborist, and utility arborist trades and plans to align the program standards for the three heavy equipment operator trades with provincial and territorial Red Seal Standards. STO has also released a digital portal for apprentices where they can complete applications, pay fees, and track their progress online. “The recently updated training and curriculum standards will undoubtedly strengthen students’ skills, enhance their employment options and ultimately set them up for even greater success,” said Centennial College President Dr Craig Stephenson.
Universities, colleges, and cégeps across Canada will be receiving $1M in funding for mental health initiatives from Bell Let’s Talk. The organization stated that it will provide grants to 10 postsecondary institutions to support initiatives that are aligned with the National Standard of Canada for Mental Health and Well-Being for Post-Secondary Students or the Québec Action Plan on Student Mental Health for Higher Education. The institutions receiving funding include the University of Manitoba, the University of Ottawa, and the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières. Over 200 institutions will be participating in the Bell Let’s Talk Campus Campaign.
The First Nations Technical Institute has received a temporary hangar from KF Aerospace to house planes used for its aerospace program. The announcement was shared in a Skies Mag article that details the community and industry response to the loss of FNTI’s hangar and equipment in a structural fire early last year. The temporary hangar will enable the school’s program to increase daytime training flights and reduce the amount of time lost to decontaminating the aircraft. “The loss of our hangar, AMO, dispatch, and planes in February  was devastating for FNTI and our aviation students,” said FNTI President Suzanne Brant. “We are fortunate to have resilient staff who pivoted to provide students with training options, ensuring minimal program interruption. The aviation industry stepped up and offered much-needed contributions toward maintaining uninterrupted pilot training, and providing temporary solutions until our hangar could be rebuilt.”
Two universities have recently received warnings from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in Canada that they must improve to maintain their certification for particular programs. At the Université de Montréal, La Presse reports that the Royal College has indicated that the psychiatry department must improve student supervision levels and make the work environment safer by Spring 2024. University of British Columbia’s ophthalmology program, which CTV News states is the only program of its kind in BC, has received a “notice of intent to withdraw accreditation” designation from the Royal College. UBC Postgraduate Medical Education Associate Dean Dr Ravi Sidhu stated that the “faculty and the university are taking this matter very seriously and have been working to improve the program in order to maintain accreditation.” Approximately one-fifth of Royal College assessments and reviews reportedly require follow-up.
McMaster University, Sault College, and Brock University have launched new programs. McMaster has launched a graduate diploma in community and public health that it says is the first of its kind in Canada. The program will train students to analyze and develop solution for community health challenges in preparation for a career in public health. Sault has launched six micro-credentials through partnerships with organizations such as Woundpedia, NOSM University, and the Seven Generations Education Institute. The programs will provide students with the opportunity to pursue skin and wound care professional development, fostering important Northern-based knowledge and skills. Brock has launched a Digital Marketing micro-credential for students that includes the opportunity for students to use live simulation tools or use the e-commerce Shopify platform.
The Government of Canada has recently made significant investments in labs at the University of Prince Edward Island and the University of New Brunswick. UPEI’s Atlantic Veterinary College will be receiving $1.5M from the Public Health Agency of Canada to enhance its COVID-19 wastewater testing capacity. The project will increase monitoring and ensure that testing can be completed in the region. UNB has received over $1M in funds and in-kind contributions from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and Kognitiv Spark for its Spatial Computing Education, Training & Research Laboratory (SPECTRAL). The lab will provide support for small and medium-sized businesses in the aerospace industry by providing access to research and development, educational programs, a pipeline of qualified personnel, and more.
British Columbia Institute of Technology Interim President Paul McCullough has penned an editorial for the Vancouver Sun highlighting how postsecondary institutions are offering flexible learning to address British Columbia’s skills gap. McCullough writes that as employers are struggling to find and keep skilled workers due to the pandemic and inflation, job seekers are re-evaluating their career paths and rethinking how they want to invest in postsecondary. With employees now seen as the number one stakeholder in organizations and businesses, it has become essential for employers, governments, and job trainers to more closely collaborate in support of employee talent development. McCullough discusses the recent trend in launching flexible learning options that allow people to up-skill and re-skill quickly, concluding that these kinds of pathways can help to reduce barriers to education and more efficiently train workers to meet labour needs.
Bishop’s University has announced that it has received VÉLOSYMPATHIQUE Bronze certification from Vélo Québec. The certification recognizes the efforts that the university has made towards promoting cycling as a transportation option and actively developing a cycling culture on campus. To foster this culture, Bishop’s has undertaken initiatives such as providing educational activities on bike safety, hosting maintenance clinics, and offering an “active transportation” package to those who primarily travel by bike from May to October. “Bishop’s University is remarkably dynamic; its initiatives toward cycling education and promotion are second to none on larger campuses,” said Vélo Québec President Jean-François Rheault. “It is committed to its community, working closely with all members, and adopting astute solutions that complement public transportation.”