Students across Canada are calling for urgent action to address the rental crunch as they face cramped living conditions, soaring rents, and a lack of options. CBC spoke to students who are being charged $650 or more for crowded and/or deteriorating housing. “There were no other options,” said student Alexandra Mussar, who searched six months for housing. “It was either that or I was couch surfing for the next year.” Economist Mike Moffatt explained that provincial funding cuts have pushed postsecondary institutions to increase enrolment substantially, and international students pose a particularly appealing market due to high tuition profit margins and a lack of study permits. “There’s no one silver bullet to fixing the housing crisis,” said Moffatt. “It’s a big, hairy complicated problem and it’s going to require a lot of co-ordination and working together.”
Housing shortages and full residences have pushed institutions across Québec to search for new options for their students well in advance of September. Le Devoir reports that over 1,500 students are on waiting lists for residences across the province already. At Université de Sherbrooke, the university residences’ 700 rooms have reportedly already been filled and the wait list for the Fall term is growing steadily. Cégep de Gaspé has a waiting list of over 75 names for its residence, and with the surrounding region sporting a housing vacancy rate of less than 1%, there are few off-campus options available. Cégep de Victoriaville directeur Denis Deschamps explained that students are staying in residence longer as a result of the housing crisis, meaning that spots are also not opening up.
The Government of Canada and Government of Manitoba have announced a $30M investment in MB’s child-care sector. $24M will be dedicated to the development and expansion of early childhood educator (ECE) and child-care assistant training programs at Assiniboine Community College ($11.4M), Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology ($1.6M), Red River College Polytechnic ($2.8M), University College of the North ($5.5M), and Université de Saint-Boniface ($3.4M). The investment is expected to create nearly 1,000 seats over the next three years. $6M will be invested towards the ECE Tuition Reimbursement initiative, which reimburses eligible applicants for their studies.
The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) have awarded $9.4M to 29 research projects focused on small modular reactors. The funding—which will be provided over three years—will be used to address research challenges and knowledge gaps such as how to manage risks and cybersecurity for SMRs in remote locations, how to protect the environment around SMRs, and what implications there are for humans working with SMRs. “The international community is watching Canada as we embark on the regulation of SMRs,” said CNSC President Rumina Velshi. “Through collaborative efforts such as this, we are laying the vital groundwork for a safer, cleaner, and more sustainable energy future.”
Adult learners pose “almost infinite potential” for enrolment, assert Suzanne Buglione and Felice Billups of the US-based Johnson & Wales University, but they tend to be an invisible student population. Buglione and Billups provide a broad look at the demographics of adult learners before discussing the needs and wants of today’s adult learners. In particular, the authors note that adult learners tend to want co-constructed learning where they are involved in the planning and evaluation and strongly benefit from active learning strategies and problem-centered learning systems. They are also interested in programs with relevant and applicable content that can be “actioned” in their lives and work.
In response to a local public school division’s decision to remove books on sexual health and gender identity, Brandon University let its position be known with a media statement that was comprised of a single word: Don’t. “The community conversation was so loud, everybody was talking about it,” said BrandonU Director of Marketing and Communications Grant Hamilton. “We knew that if we didn’t say something, our silence would be a statement on its own.” University Affairs reports that the release quickly gained traction online, amassing hundreds of largely positive responses, and became the rallying cry of those opposed to the the book ban at a school division meeting in late May. BrandonU’s library also partnered with the BU Queer committee and other partners to put together a display of banned and challenged books.
Four buildings were damaged at North Island College’s Comox Valley campus after a fire broke out overnight. One classroom and three small buildings have been closed until further notice due to fire damage. No injuries were reported and the fire is now under investigation. “Any time an unexpected event happens to our community, it has the potential to be disruptive,” said NIC Vice President, Finance & College Services Colin Fowler. “We are working to support those whose used the affected spaces and ensuring that all community members are supported.”
Academics who are looking to leave the academy must be willing to embrace change if they want to be a viable candidate in the job market, writes William Pannapacker, a professor emeritus at the US-based Hope College. As Pannapacker reflects on his own career trajectory, he writes that those within the academy are often accustomed to working irregular hours, flexible deadlines, and being the resident expert. The author writes that academics have many valuable, transferrable skills, but they must give up some of these expectations when looking for a job outside the academy, a process that “may very likely shake the foundations of your being.” Pannapacker encourages other academics to learn from his mistakes as they pursue their own job searches.
Laurentian University has partnered with the Rick Hansen Foundation to offer the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification (RHFAC) Training program throughout the next year. The program will cover accessibility in the built environment and how to identify potential barriers for those with a vision, hearing, or mobility disability. It will also introduce participants to Universal Design principles, legislation, and accessibility standards and prepare them for the RHFAC Professional Exam. “This partnership allows us to contribute to creating a more inclusive society by equipping professionals with the necessary knowledge and skills to enhance accessibility in the built environment,” said Laurentian Manager of Micro-Credentials and Non-Credit Programming Christina Sckopke.
Parkland College recently celebrated the grand opening of its Campus Food Forest in Yorkton. The food forest includes 30 fruit trees and shrubs that will produce a variety of fruit including apples, pears, sour cherries, haskaps, and saskatoon berries. The project will provide shade and make the campus more visually appealing, while also feeding the local community, as everyone—including students facing food insecurity—will be able to pick and eat the fruit. “By planting trees and shrubs that produce fruit, nuts, seeds, berries, and pods, this will help reconnect people back to their local sources and build community,” explained the college.