Labour negotiations on and around several Canadian campuses have appeared in the news recently. NOSM University reached a tentative agreement with OPSEU Local 677, averting a possible strike. The agreement—which OPSEU says has “significant improvements and no concessions”—is subject to ratification and must also be approved by the board. Thompson Rivers University also reached a tentative agreement with the TRU Open Learning Faculty Association, which represents approximately 290 TRU faculty members. Québec public sector workers from four unions—represented by the Front commun—held a one-day strike on Monday over contract negotiations. Cégeps across Quebec were closed until noon, and representatives from the four unions stated that there will be a three-day strike later this month if a deal is not reached.
The Canadore College Foundation has received a $2M gift from the Joyce Family Foundation, which Canadore says is the largest gift in the college’s history. The endowed funds will establish the Joyce Family Foundation Bright Futures Bursaries program, which will support up to 20 students from Northern Ontario each year. “These resources, will enable even more students to pursue higher education, providing them with the tools and support system they need to excel in their chosen fields and make impactful contributions to our communities,” said Canadore President George Burton.
In a meeting with the Government of Quebec Premier François Legault yesterday, Bishop’s University, Concordia University, and McGill University made what the Montreal Gazette calls a “historic proposal.” The three universities committed to “being an ally in terms of francicizing” the anglophone student population. Details were not immediately disclosed, but Concordia President Graham Carr told the Gazette that the proposal includes initiatives to help anglophone students “learn French or improve the French they already have” and better prepare them for work placements and professions in Quebec. La Presse states that, in exchange for QC forgoing the tuition fee changes, the universities would commit to helping at least 40% of anglophone undergraduate students reach an intermediate French comprehension level by graduation.
The University of Victoria recently celebrated the launch of its Office of the Vice-President Indigenous (OVPI), unveilings its name, logo, and website. The centre has two names: ÁTOL ÁUTW̱ (shared by J,SIṈTEN, Dr John Elliott) and Etalew̓txʷ (provided by Seniemten, Dr Elmer George). These names mean “Centre of respect for the rights of one another and all beings” in SENĆOŦEN and Lək̓ʷəŋən, respectively. The logo was designed by Qwul’thilum, Dylan Thomas and depicts the image of a salmon to represent water, an eagle for air, human for land, and an ancestor moon signifying the spirit world. The new OVPI website provides a central hub for information pertaining to Indigenous initiatives, events, and resources at UVic.
Diploma mills have launched a new category of service that has been dubbed Life Experience Degree Offerings (LEDOs), reports Wagdy Sawahel of University World News. Drawing on the findings of a recent study published in the International Journal for Educational Integrity, Sawahel explains that LEDOs are a type of service that offers qualifications and credentials based on the submission of a resume or CV alone. The service, which Sawahel calls a “misuse of the principle of accreditation of prior learning,” is particularly appealing to purchasers in an era of rising higher education costs and employer demand for higher ed credentials. Sarah Eaton (University of Calgary) and Jamie Carmichael (UCalgary) commented that fraudulent degrees and credentials “are a serious threat” to higher education and noted that many working in “either admission or registrarial services did not feel confident detecting fake degrees.” Eaton and Carmichael encouraged institutions and government bodies to work together to curtail degree mills.
George Brown College’s Housing Task Force has released its initial research findings pertaining to the college’s position in Toronto’s housing crisis. The report finds that George Brown’s location in downtown Toronto–once a strategic advantage of the institution–could “become a vulnerability due to the housing crisis.” The report states that many students and staff are struggling to find affordable housing near campus, often paying high prices for unsafe living conditions, working multiple jobs to pay the rent, and/or commuting lengthy distances to get to the institution. The task force’s next steps include engaging partners–including government and other postsecondary institutions–to influence policy direction and collaborating in the areas of housing affordability, funding, and development.
The University of Prince Edward Island Interim President Dr Greg Keefe has released a statement on the nine settlements that included non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) regarding allegations of harassment, discrimination, or sexual harassment. UPEI entered into 30 settlement agreements with NDAs from 2012-2021. While most of the agreements were related to employment contract disputes, nine included allegations of harassment or discrimination: Three involved faculty members and were associated with costs of over $332K; while six involved complaints against the university or a specific administrator, costing over $344K. Keefe stated that the university has not entered any settlement agreements with NDAs since he became interim president and that the university has reviewed its policies and practices.
Brock University has launched a new PhD program in Applied Behaviour Analysis (ADA), which the university says will be the first of its kind in Ontario. The new program will offer a comprehensive training in behaviour analysis and will include experiential education opportunities through a clinic hosted by the department. “Ontario does not currently have a lot of doctoral-level trained behaviour analysts, but this program will inject new, qualified researchers into the system,” says Brock Associate Professor Kimberley Zonneveld. “Meeting that need through the training offered in this program will raise the bar on behaviour analysis services across the province.”
The University of Alberta and Vortex Energy have partnered on a research project that explores how hydrogen energy storage could be implemented at the Robin River Salt Project in Newfoundland and Labrador. The two-year agreement will see Vortex Energy providing UAlberta with funding and samples from the Robin River Salt Project, and UAlberta completing laboratory testing and analysis focused on the design and implementation of trialing hydrogen storage in domal salt. Students will also work with Vortex on the project. “There is a lot of interest in Alberta to use hydrogen with natural gas as a heating source for buildings,” said UAlberta Professor Hassan Dehghanpour, who noted that there is currently a lack of facilities for hydrogen storage.
A cardiologist from McMaster University is under review for comments posted to social media regarding a pro-Palestine protest. Dr Eva Lonn commented on an article on LinkedIn about a pro-Palestinian protest, calling for the protest attendees to be deported. Her post was reportedly flagged and Lonn subsequently issued a public apology on LinkedIn and X. Global News reports that the statement is the latest of several controversial statements made by Lonn over the last few years. A statement from a McMaster University spokesperson said that the issue is “being reviewed by the university in alignment with university policies and will be addressed promptly and according to these policies.”