The Government of Quebec has proposed an exemption for Indigenous students for Bill 96 that would eliminate the written French exam graduation requirement for cégeps. To be eligible, students must be studying at an English cégep; have lived or currently live in an Indigenous community; and have studied for at least one year of elementary or high school in English, an Indigenous language, or both. CBC reports that the announcement comes less than a month after a court challenge against Bill 96 was filed by two First Nations groups. The change will take effect in the next two weeks.
British Columbia’s Labour Relations Board has ruled that over 55% of graduate research assistants at the University of British Columbia have signed union cards to join CUPE 2278, report CBC and The Tyee. Though the cards signify that graduate RAs are ready to join CUPE 2278, the process was halted by an objection submitted by UBC to the BC Labour Relations Board (LRB). This objection asserts that the RAs are not employees in the traditional sense and that their compensation is in the form of scholarships rather than wages. CBC reports that it is unclear how long it will take for the LRB to resolve the objection. PhD candidate and campaign organizer Erica Mildner said that the union drive is necessary to address cost of living increases and challenges faced by international students paying mandatory Medical Service Plan premiums. Others told the Tyee and CBC that RAs often work multiple jobs, do not receive wage increases like teaching assistants, and are more vulnerable to academic repercussions.
The Université de Montréal and its two affiliated schools–Polytechnique Montréal and HEC Montréal–recently announced the establishment of the Institut multidisciplinaire en cybersécurité et cyberrésilience (IMC2). The new institute will engage in cutting-edge cybersecurity research, training, and policy recommendations. IMC2 will also support the public by helping individuals and small and midsize enterprises respond to cybersecurity incidents. The institute will be made up of a multidisciplinary team consisting of 44 professors, their research teams, and students from fields such as information technology, criminology, and business.
In a recent editorial for the Chronicle of Higher Ed, Daniel Golden and Kunal Purohit discuss a “new admissions ploy” where high school students’ parents pay to help their children become published authors of journal articles to support their university applications. In the US context, the authors explain that the practice stems from the desire to make a student’s application stand out when SAT and ACT test scores are increasingly made optional or dropped and grade inflation is prevalent. “I think it was important,” said one student who was admitted to a top US university after paying $550 USD to publish a manuscript in time for their application. “I didn’t have much leadership in school so [I] needed other ways to get better extracurriculars.” The authors discuss the impact of this on research journals, the postsecondary sector, and on students’ perspectives on how research is conducted.
A new program offered by the Saint John Newcomers Centre will help international students find jobs after they graduate. The Study and Succeed in New Brunswick program will bridge the gap between international students and employers by matching skill sets to placements. Students will begin the program while they are still in the classroom and will receive academic guidance, career development resources, mentorship, and practical training opportunities. Employers will be able to access cultural sensitivity training and immigration information. The program is funded by approximately $500K over three years from federal and provincial agencies. Managing director of the centre Mohamed Bagha said that he hopes the program will address the findings of a New Brunswick Multicultural Council study, which revealed that 81% of international students would like to stay in the province but only 25% are able to find suitable jobs.
Brandon University has received a sacred Eagle Staff (migizii mitik) to use during ceremonies and celebrations such as Convocation. The Eagle Staff was handcrafted out of tamarack, deer leather, and river otter fur by former student William Mousseau, an Anishanaabek artisan from Ebb and Flow First Nation. It features a traditional medicine wheel with a style that is inclusive of other Indigenous traditions; a bald eagle feather for each faculty at BrandonU; a medicine bag filled with tobacco, sage, and cedar and sweet grass; and other elements of spiritual significance. BrandonU has also announced that it will embed mandatory Indigenous courses into its curriculum. Starting this Fall semester, all undergraduate students will be required to complete at least three credit hours of Indigenous content before graduation.
Western University has unveiled a new mentorship program—the Western Research Scholars Academy—that pairs researchers with top leaders in the field to support their professional development. The academy aims to provide a welcoming space for networking and skills development. The core objectives of the program include building interdisciplinary and international connections and deepening equity, diversity, inclusion, and decolonization in research. “We know academia can be quite isolating,” said Scholars Academy program coordinator Samantha Albanese. “This program is in response to feedback from researchers showing they needed help in expanding their communities and reaching the next stage of their academic careers.”
Vancouver Community College has launched an online platform for reporting sexual violence on campus. Over the last few months, VCC’s Safety & Security department and a campus working group have collaborated with Respect, Education, Empower Survivors (REES) to build a user-friendly and secure online reporting option. “VCC is committed to supporting those impacted by sexual violence,” said VCC President Ajay Patel. “Bringing the REES anonymous reporting platform to our college will reduce barriers to disclosing [and] reporting sexual violence on campus and will provide important information about the services and supports available on campus and the broader community.”
In a recent opinion piece for The Hamilton Spectator, Vanessa Silva e Silva, Karyn Taplay, and Amina Silva (assistant professors at Brock University) discuss the role of internationally educated nurses in solving Canada’s nursing crisis. Silva e Silva, Tarplay, and Silva write that internationally educated nurses (IENs) could play a key role in reducing the nursing shortage, as they often have strong clinical and educational backgrounds. The authors write that an effective way to address the shortage involves recruiting IENs to work both in academia and in front-line nursing positions. Silva e Silva, Taplay, and Silva discuss how having IEN faculty members at Brock University has benefitted the nursing program.
An international student has lost more than $6K after falling victim to an employment scam. According to Castanet, a scammer posed as a Richmond-based company called the Fairchild Group and offered the student a remote job as a data entry operator. The student was then asked to purchase work equipment at a total cost of $6,481–paid for via e-transfer–for which the student would supposedly be reimbursed. The scam became apparent when the reimbursement cheques bounced. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) followed up saying that this student was not the only victim to the fake-Fairchild-job scam. BBC subsequently urged students to be wary of job offers that do not require an interview and of businesses that ask for upfront payments.