The Tri-council—Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)–are providing 18M in funding over the next five years to Technology Access Centres across the country. TACs operated by Camosun College, College of the North Atlantic, Durham College, George Brown College, Lambton College, Northwestern Polytechnic, RRC Polytechnic, and Sheridan College each received $1.75M; TACs operated by Cégep Edouard-Montpetit, Cégep de Saint-Laurent, Cégep de Thetford, Cégep de Trois-Rivieres, Cégep de Victoriaville, Cégep de la Gaspésie et des Îles, and Collège d’Alma each received $500K.
Summer camps are well underway on several campuses in Canada. Cambrian College, College Boreal, and Laurentian University have partnered on an “Electrifying the Future” camp where students will learn about their education and career options in automotive and manufacturing mobility industries. York University is introducing a new Pharmaceutical Chemistry research course to its Spark Lab courses—week-long sessions for Grade 9 to 12 students interested in science—that uses virtual reality. The University of Winnipeg’s Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre will be hosting over 200 Grade 1 to 8 students at its Indigenous STEAM Summer Camp. Vancouver Island University will be hosting a free summer camp for Indigenous youth that was organized by the ‘su’luqw’a’ Community Cousins Indigenous student mentorship program.
The Government of Saskatchewan is investing $2.5M into construction-related training across the province. This funding will enable the expansion of more than 200 additional pre-apprenticeship training seats in trades such as electrical, carpentry, plumbing, welding, and more. Seats will be increased at Dumont Technical Institute, the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies, and the province’s regional colleges—Carlton Trail College, Great Plains College, Lakeland College, Northlands College, North West College, Southeast College, and Suncrest College. “Investments to boost the number of training seats for skilled trades are crucial in Saskatchewan, particularly for Southeast College, given the significant number of infrastructure projects underway in the southeast region,” said Southeast President Vicky Roy.
Faced with growing financial pressures, Queen’s University has announced that a series of measures will be implemented across the university in order to reduce expenditures. “Starting now gives us all an opportunity to work together and find effective and innovative solutions to help return the university to a balanced budget position by 2025/26,” said Queen’s VP Finance and Administration Donna Janiec. The university’s operating budget deficit is projected to be $62.8M this year. Queen’s is undertaking measures that include a reduction in budget allocations to all faculties, a hiring freeze and 1.5% reduction on allocations for all units in 2024/25 and 2025/26, and an expectation that shared services will balance their budgets in each of the next two years.
The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP), a national group representing Indigenous people living off-reserve, has filed a lawsuit against the federal government over the exclusion of Indigenous peoples without status under the Indian Act from postsecondary funding. CFNR reports that the lawsuit names the Minister of Indigenous Services and Attorney General and alleges that they “violated section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by effectively impeding access to post-secondary education.” CAP states that over half of the over-1.6-million Indigenous people in Canada do not have status under the Indian Act, and a previous CAP-filed lawsuit reportedly found that non-status Indigenous people are more likely to be exposed to discrimination.
Portage College has launched a Computer Programming and Information Technology Certificate program. The program’s curriculum covers computer networking, systems analysis, and in-demand programming languages. Students will study in small, collaborative classes and receive personalized support throughout their courses. “With our growing economy across Alberta, we are hearing and seeing a consistent need for IT professionals across all sectors,” stated Donald Moore, Dean of Education, Arts & Culture, University Studies, Trades & Technology, Continuing Education, and Marketing at Portage. “Alberta is becoming more connected now than ever before, and IT professionals are critical to supporting and expanding our economic growth.”
A team led by Lianne Tomfohr-Madsen of the University of British Columbia has received $1.1M from the Government of Canada in support of sleep health research. The funding will enable the addition of a third team to the Canadian Sleep Research Consortium and provide additional support for the consortium’s research efforts. “We know that proper sleep is essential to good health, yet the conditions for safe, quality, and restful sleep simply aren’t accessible to everyone,” said Canada Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos. “Dr Tomfohr-Madsen’s research team will help us to deliver sleep-health resources where they are most urgently needed, including among Indigenous communities to improve better health outcomes for all.”
University College of the North and Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) have partnered to launch a new program and increase access to driver training in northern Manitoba. The region currently has a disproportionately high traffic fatality rate, and so the program is intended to help create safer roads. The UCN Class 5 Adult Driver Training Program will feature in-class and in-car training and will use adaptable cohorts to respond to the fact that learners may join the program at different stages of the licensing process. “Improving access to driver training is one of the best ways to develop and grow the workforce in northern Manitoba,” said UCN Associate VP, Community & Industry Solutions Jamie Grant.
McGill University and the Université du Québec à Montréal are embarking on a research collaboration that will examine the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in promoting dairy cattle welfare. The project will be led by researchers Elsa Vasseur (McGill) and Abdoulaye Baniré Diallo (UQAM), the inaugural holders of a $5M research chair focused on animal welfare and artificial intelligence. The research will focus on the use of AI and the Internet of Things (IoT) to detect changes in cow welfare before any visible signs appear. Following a brief pilot project on two farms, the researchers will create a network of over 100 farms in Quebec and Ontario that will serve as a digital living lab.
The Nipissing University Student Union has launched a North Bay-themed colouring book in order to raise funds for its food bank. “We wanted to capture all the landmarks that make North Bay a second home to our students while raising money for a worthy cause,” said Sarah McGowan, Director of Communications at NUSU. “Our food bank usage has increased drastically, and we are hoping this fundraiser will help us continue to support our fellow Lakers.” The book features North Bay landmarks like the North Bay Museum, Lake Nipissing, and Duchesnay Falls. Proceeds from the book’s sales will go directly toward stocking the student food bank and providing access to nutritious meals.