The Government of Canada is proposing amendments to the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) and the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act that would exclude public postsecondary institutions from declaring insolvency. The issue was addressed in the fall economic statement, which referenced Laurentian University’s insolvency and related concerns. “These amendments will reduce the risk of negative consequences in possible corporate restructuring at public post-secondary educational institutions, such as reduced programming,” read the statement. The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations welcomed the news. “Canadians across the country know how valuable our world-class public university system is, and we know that these reforms will help protect our public universities and help them thrive,” said OCUFA President Nigmendra Narain.
Crandall University has terminated a faculty member after concluding a six-month investigation regarding anonymous social media posts accusing an employee or employees of inappropriate behaviour. The law firm Pink Larkin embarked on an independent investigation in April, which included interviews with community members and a review of documents such as correspondence, emails, and social media posts. The firm’s findings were presented to the Board this week; Crandall terminated the employment of Dr John G Stackhouse Jr after hearing the results. ”We cannot and will not tolerate behaviour from its administration, faculty, or staff that in any way violates the University’s mission and identity,” said former Crandall Board Chair Sheila Cummings, current Crandall board chair Douglas Schofield, and Crandall president Dr Bruce Fawcett.
Université de Saint-Boniface has unveiled its renovated chemistry laboratories, which include the new Laboratoire de recherche Fondation Richardson. The revitalized facility consists of three distinct spaces: a teaching laboratory, a research laboratory, and a preparatory and storage room. The spaces were designed to maximize efficiency and user safety, and feature modern equipment including speakers, televisions, and individual ventilation systems. The laboratories are also suitable for people with reduced mobility to use, thus contributing to the labs’ accessibility aims. The $4M lab renovation project is supported by funding from the Government of Canada, Richardson Foundation, National Bank of Canada, and other donors.
In Québec, the Parti Québécois recently tabled a motion intended to close a “loophole” in Bill 101 that would make vocational training centres and adult education centres subject to the provisions of the Charter of the French Language. The motion follows a report from Le Devoir, which found that 140,000 new Quebecers have completed professional training in English over the last 20 years. Le Devoir described this as being in contradiction with the spirit of the province’s French language charter. Government of Québec Minister of the French language Jean-François Roberge reportedly asked his ministry for an analysis of the situation, saying that he “finds what’s happening at the moment very, very, very worrying.” City News reports that the CAQ refused to debate the motion.
The Government of Ontario announced that it has added 121 training positions to the Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner Program this year. These additional spaces will contribute to ON’s goal to make it easier and faster for people to connect to primary care, especially in Northern and rural areas. These additional training spots have been allocated to: Lakehead University, Laurentian University, McMaster University, Queen’s University, Toronto Metropolitan University, University of Toronto, University of Windsor, Western University, and York University.
Thompson Rivers University has unveiled its newest student residence building, named Sk?elepéllcw (or Coyote Den) in recognition of the traditional territories of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc. The new building in the East Village features 80 rooms and 148 student beds, as well as common study areas and kitchen spaces. This construction is the first of three new buildings planned for East Village that aim to address the critical need for student housing options. “Secure and affordable housing is an important part of what enables students to succeed in their studies,” said TRU President Brett Fairbairn. “Not only does this new housing enhance the student experience, it also shows TRU is continuing to do our part to address BC’s and Canada’s housing shortages.”
Two recent polls illuminate how Quebecers view the province’s planned tuition changes, reports the Montreal Gazette. One survey of 1,000 Quebecers found that the more information Quebecers gain about the planned tuition changes, the less they support the idea. 44% of respondents did not think doubling out-of-province tuition would effectively protect the French language, while 30% said it would and the rest were unsure. 53% agreed that the plan “is driven more by politics than by an effective measure to protect the French language.” A separate survey of 1,253 Quebecer found that 63% of respondents thought that QC should consider the English universities’ proposal.
“If 2023 was higher ed’s year of reckoning, 2024 is poised to emerge as the year when we finally test the potential of groundbreaking innovations,” writes Scott Pulsipher (Western Governors University) for the evoLLLution. Reflecting on the last year in postsecondary education, Pulsipher proposes five questions for academic leadership for 2024 that interrogate if institutions will embrace change or stick to the status quo. He asks if the shift to online education will accelerate; whether institutions will harness the potential of emerging technologies; if AI could drive a resurgence in liberal education; whether non-degree pathways could re-imagine the degree; and how income driven repayment plans might impact US postsecondary education. The author concludes that with a commitment to progress, there is reason to be hopeful going into 2024.
The professional disciplinary hearing for former University of Manitoba Law Dean Jonathan Black-Branch is continuing in the Law Society of Manitoba this week. In the case, which is focused on allegations of misspent university funds, several lawyers are contesting the hospitality expenses filed by Black-Branch that name them as guests at meals. A total of 141 receipts from the Manitoba Club were filed as hospitality expenses for entertaining at least one guest for school-related business: Four of the lawyers listed as guests refuted most or all of the claims that they ate with Black-Branch on the receipts they are named on. Lawyer Ronald Coke stated that he visited the Club on about six occasions with Black-Branch, “not 45” as was submitted on the receipts. UManitoba states that “a number of measures” were implemented to “strengthen internal controls” beginning in 2021.
Mohawk College has announced that it will suspend its three-year Applied Music Advanced Diploma program and cancel the Legal stream of its Office Administration Diploma program. Regarding the Applied Music program, Mohawk said that it would no longer be “financially possible to offer the depth and quality of courses required to provide the high-quality training that has made the […] program so successful.” The college added that its Office Admin – Legal stream has experienced declining enrolment for several years; the other streams of the administration program (Executive, General, and Health Care) will not be affected. Mohawk clarified that these two program announcements will not result in the loss of any full-time faculty positions at this time.