26/04/2017

New Report Shows Record-Level Student Debt as Significant Part of Canada's Debt Crisis

A new report released today by the Canadian Federation of Students reveals that government underfunding of post-secondary education is fueling the household debt crisis in Canada. The Political Economy of Student Debt shows that student debt today is a significant proportion of Canadian families' household debt, which has reached 171% of disposable income and exceeded the size of the Canadian economy at $1.6 trillion.

"Saddling students, graduates and their families with massive amounts of debt is slowing down the economy," said Bilan Arte, National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. "Young people are being forced to delay life milestones and saving for their families' future in order to make payments on their student loans."

The high tuition, high debt status quo discriminates against students unable to pay the cost of education up-front. Today, a student who takes out a $30,000 loan from the Canada Student Loans Program will pay an additional $10,318 over 10 years in interest. Students from low-income families continue to be disproportionately affected by the high cost of college and university and end up paying more for their education than their classmates from wealthier families. The report also shows that the impact of student debt is gendered, as a clear majority of Canada Student Loans recipients and users of the Repayment Assistance Program are women.

"Canada's economy is increasingly leveraged by debt-saddled students and young people to the benefit of the wealthy few and at the expense of the many," said Arte. "Access to student debt is not access to education. Canada's student movement will continue to demand fundamental change and universal access to public post-secondary education."

24/04/2017

7,000 Students to Receive CPR and Defibrillator Training Every Year

 The Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation and partners are launching ACT's High School CPR and Defibrillator Training Program in 28 high schools in the Halton Region. This initiative will see more than 7,000 students empowered by their teachers with essential lifesaving skills every year.

The ACT Foundation is the charitable organization that is establishing CPR and defibrillator training programs in high schools throughout Ontario and across Canada. Mannequins and defibrillator training units are donated to schools and high school teachers are trained as instructors to train all students prior to graduation.

ACT is working in partnership with health partners, AstraZeneca Canada, Sanofi Canada, and Amgen Canada, and provincial partners, the Government of Ontario and Hydro One, and many community partners to bring this program to the Halton Region high schools.

"Each year, approximately 7,000 Ontarians will experience cardiac arrest either at home or in public. When used in conjunction with CPR in the first few minutes after a cardiac arrest, defibrillation can dramatically improve cardiac arrest survival rates by more than 50 per cent. Providing youth with the tools and confidence to intervene in a life-saving scenario is an important investment that will benefit us all. I am proud of the ACT Foundation and our government for their commitment to improving the cardiac safety of communities across the province," says Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport and MPP for Burlington.

This initiative will see high schools receive training equipment as a result of the Skills4Life Fundraising Campaign which has received the support of many community partners and service clubs. These include lead community partners, AstraZeneca Canada, Amgen Canada, and Boehringer Ingelheim Canada Ltd. Community partners are: Bayer, Halton Hills Hydro Inc., Kiwanis Club of Oakville Inc., Oakville Lions Club, Rotary Club of Acton, Rotary Club of Burlington Central, Rotary Club of Burlington Lakeshore, Rotary Club of Burlington North, Rotary Club of Oakville Trafalgar, and Takeda Canada Inc.

"As a founding partner of the ACT Foundation, it's very exciting to see the launch of this program come to fruition," says Ed Dybka, President, AstraZeneca Canada. "At AstraZeneca, we're proud to contribute to our local communities and I'm inspired to stand beside the many other Halton organizations that have played a part in making this day possible. I also thank the Government of Ontario for their support and the ACT Foundation for their leadership and commitment to this life-saving cause."

Thanks to our partners in the Halton Region:

28 high schools to implement the program

7,000 students to be trained in CPR and how to use a defibrillator each year by teachers

More than 700 CPR mannequins to be donated to schools

More than 85 defibrillator training units to be donated to schools

With eight in 10 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occurring at home or in public places, empowering youth with CPR training as part of their high school education will help increase citizen CPR response rates over the long term.

"We are thrilled with the support of our partners," says Sandra Clarke, the ACT Foundation's Executive Director. "Thanks to them, we are able to bring this lifesaving program to 28 Halton Region high schools, ensuring all youth will be trained. Students will bring their lifesaving skills to current and future families, building stronger communities and saving lives. See link to many rescue stories."

To date, the ACT Foundation has set up the CPR Program in more than 1,750 high schools nation-wide, empowering more than 3.6 million youth to save lives.

About the ACT Foundation

The ACT Foundation is the national charitable organization that is establishing the free CPR and AED program in Canadian high schools. The program is built on ACT's award-winning community-based model of partnerships and support, whereby ACT finds local partners who donate the mannequins and AED training units that schools need to set up the program. High school teachers then teach CPR and how to use a defibrillator to their students as a regular part of the curriculum, reaching all youth prior to graduation. ACT's partners committed to bringing the program to Ontario are provincial partners, the Government of Ontario and Hydro One, and national health partners, AstraZeneca Canada, Sanofi Canada, and Amgen Canada.

21/04/2017

George Brown College: School of Fashion Studies to Showcase Graduating Students @ Threads 2017

George Brown College's School of Fashion Studies is excited to announce THREADS 2017 will be held at the hub for arts, community, and the environment, Artscape Wychwood Barns on Tuesday April 25th! THREADS 2017 is our year-end multi-event fashion presentation: a fashion show, a portfolio presentation, a networking event, and an awards ceremony.

FASHION FUSION is our fashion show. It embodies the energy and diversity of George Brown College. We believe in a fashion industry which values people, those who design and those who make our clothes. In an age of interconnectivity, consumerism and fast fashion tragedies, we remember deliberately every day that we can create a revolutionary path for fashion to bring change for the better. It is about discussions with open minds, raising awareness about the true cost of fashion, and the convergence of ideas. FASHION FUSION highlights the future of fashion as defined by our many diverse designers. Our up-and-coming graduating fashion designers will show the world that change is possible, and that it is our responsibility to involve everyone to create a more sustainable future for the world of fashion.

STUDIO is our student portfolio presentation at THREADS, showcasing the creativity of our graduates from the School of Fashion Studies at George Brown College. Portfolio presentations include designer garments and collections, hand-rendered fashion illustrations, computer-aided design projects, storyboards, video footage and photography, and so much more! Come see the diversity in our fashion student portfolio multi-media visual displays at STUDIO, as our graduates present their achievements to industry.

FASHIONWORKS is our annual networking event. Hosted by the THREADS 2017 Planning Committee in honour of our graduating class, we invite industry to enjoy an afternoon of engaging with our GBC School of Fashion Studies' graduates. Greet, meet, eat and mingle! Network with outstanding fashion industry partners, faculty, alumni and graduates to create connections and opportunities.

The AWARDS ceremony at THREADS gives George Brown College School of Fashion Studies the opportunity to acknowledge the outstanding achievements of our talented and hardworking fashion students and graduates. By invitation, industry partners, friends and family of the award recipients are invited to attend the AWARDS presentation ceremony to share in the celebration of their accomplishments. Supported by our industry partners, graduates and students are recognized for their stellar contributions in fashion design, management and business. The AWARDS ceremony at the end of the evening celebrates our fashion graduates' and students' successes.

In addition to our two FASHION FUSION fashion shows at 2:30pm | 6:30pm, mix and mingle at FASHIONWORKS at 3:30pm. View fashion graduate work at STUDIO portfolio presentations. And during opening remarks at 2:00pm | 6:00pm, hear our honoured guest speakers Flaws of Couture fashion and beauty blogger Sashagai Ruddock http://urbanologymag.com/putting-pretty-big-girl-bed/, and celebrity stylist and speaker Janielle McKoy http://www.janiellemckoy.com express their views on fashion today. All of this will be captured by fashion photographer/videographer Shayne Gray and his team https://www.shaynegray.com.

Produced for and by our fashion graduates, the THREADS 2017 Committee is committed to welcoming all our guests to our exciting and dynamic year-end fashion event. Celebrating diversity and sustainable practices, we will provide a memorable and inclusive experience, make connections, and raise our profile as we seek to make a distinctive mark in our change-intensive fashion industry. Join us at THREADS 2017!

Highlights include:

Lesley Hampton is a graduate of Fashion Techniques and Design.
"In collaboration with be body aware - Find out what the world is saying about this inspiring collaboration and how we are breaking the norms in the fashion industry by bringing diversity to the runway and media"
https://www.lesleyhampton.com/presseditorials/
https://www.lesleyhampton.com/fw17-vfw/
https://www.lesleyhampton.com/fw17-twfw/

Iris Alibali is a graduate of Fashion Techniques and Design.
"THE REMIX-CANADA 2017 COMPETITION First prize winner - Best all-over design Iris Alibali - George Brown College, Toronto"
http://www.furfashions.com/remix_canada_finalists_2017.aspx
https://www.wearefur.com/tag/iris-alibali/

Alexia Panakos is a graduate of Fashion Techniques and Design, Fashion Business and International Fashion Management Post-Graduate programs.
"Alexia is currently participating in a case study with company she started in 2014, Ghost Girl Goods"
https://www.ghostgirlgoods.com
https://www.ghostgirlgoods.com/about

Students and Teachers Recognized for Their Work in Tackling the Challenge of Climate Change

 Learning for a Sustainable Future (LSF), of which 3M Canada is a Platinum Sponsor, celebrated 25 years of working "to promote, through education, the knowledge, skills, perspectives and practices essential to a sustainable future" at a Gala Dinner in Toronto on April 20, where Ontario Minister of Education the Honourable Mitzie Hunter and 3M Canada President Mojdeh Poul were keynote speakers. The dinner also paid tribute to the memory of LSF's long-time Board Chair Dr. David V.J. Bell, who died earlier this year from pancreatic cancer, with all proceeds from the evening going towards continuing Dr. Bell's legacy of empowering children to save the world.

In keeping with that legacy and LSF's mission, the Gala Dinner focused on the need to foster learning experiences for teachers and students that address the complexity of climate change and which adopt a forward-thinking, action focused approach. LSF supports a more comprehensive educational approach to inform and prepare students to take on the challenge of creating a low-carbon future.

E. L. Crossley Secondary School in Fonthill, Ontario was recognized at the dinner as the 2016 winner of the LSF-RBC Our Canada Project Award, which acknowledges students who envision a more sustainable Canada and undertake action plans to make a difference in their schools and communities. The school received first prize for its week-long VegFest in advance of Earth Day 2016 that raised awareness of the positive impact on the planet of adopting a plant-based diet. St. Benedict Catholic Elementary School in Milton, Ontario was also honoured as the winner of the 2016 Jack Layton Award for Youth Action in Sustainability after the school researched environmental issues and produced a song to raise money to incorporate an outdoor classroom where students will be able to learn in an environment that cuts down on energy use and where they can practise their stewardship of the Earth.

"3M Canada is proud to support students and teachers through our sponsorship of LSF," said Mojdeh Poul. "Today's young people are the custodians of our planet, and it's essential they have all the skills they need to solve the problems confronting our world and build a truly sustainable future."

Poul noted that sustainability is one of 3M's core values that influences everything the company does, including its 3Mgives program which helps build sustainable communities through innovative giving to education, communities and the environment.

About Learning for a Sustainable Future

Learning for a Sustainable Future (LSF) is a registered Canadian charity that has worked for 25 years with business, governments, school boards, universities, educators, youth and communities across Canada to advance education policies and practices and to create engaged, responsible citizens for the 21st Century. For information, visit www.LSF-LST.ca.

About 3M

At 3M, we apply science in collaborative ways to improve lives daily. With $30 billion in sales, our 90,000 employees connect with customers all around the world. Established in 1951, 3M Canada was one of the first international subsidiaries opened by 3M with the head office and original manufacturing site in London, Ontario where approximately 800 of the company's 1,800 employees work. Learn more about 3M's creative solutions to the world's problems at www.3M.ca or on Twitter @3M_Canada.

19/04/2017

Research reveals 83 per cent of college graduates secure employment within six months

As Ontario's college system celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, new research confirms college education continues to be an effective and swift route to employment.

The provincial Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) released today show 83 per cent of Ontario's most recent college graduates found employment within six months of graduation.

"Colleges are experts at helping people find rewarding careers," said Linda Franklin, the president and CEO of Colleges Ontario. "Our graduates' professional and technical expertise will be even more important in the years ahead as new technology and automation create a heightened demand for a more highly qualified workforce."

Other KPI results released today also show strong support for the quality of programs provided to students:

More than 91 per cent of employers were either satisfied or very satisfied with the graduates they hired.
Seventy-eight per cent of college graduates were satisfied or very satisfied with the quality of their education.
About 77 per cent of students were satisfied or very satisfied with the quality of their education.
The provincial government and the colleges have been gathering the annual data on college results since 1998. The most recent KPIs were gathered by two independent research firms in the period from March 2016 to February 2017.

Ontario's colleges offer about 900 programs that prepare people for a wide range of careers in everything from IT, paramedicine, aviation, advertising and the skilled trades to game development, biotechnology, 3D manufacturing and much more. The range of credentials has grown over the years to include certificate, diploma, degree, graduate certificate, joint-degree and apprenticeship programs.

"Colleges work closely with business and industry leaders to ensure our programs are at the forefront of new innovations and advancements in the economy," Franklin said. "College graduates will continue to fuel Ontario's economy and long-term prosperity."

10,000 new student opportunities by end of 2020: Toronto Financial Services Alliance launches ambitious pilot to help young Canadians jump-start their careers

Toronto region's financial services employers are increasing their investment in young Canadians through a ground-breaking, sector-wide initiative to create 10,000 new work-integrated learning opportunities for post-secondary students by the end of 2020. Named ASPIRE, the pilot program has been designed by the Toronto Financial Services Alliance (TFSA), with the help of 10 financial services employers and 7 Ontario colleges and universities. ASPIRE's complementary goals are to improve students' transition from school to the workplace and grow the pipeline of in-demand skills needed in the sector.

ASPIRE was announced today at a launch event in Toronto's financial district, hosted for senior business and education leaders.

"As the financial services sector continues to reinvent itself in response to dramatic technological disruption, our employer members are telling us that there is an increasing number of new positions waiting to be filled", explains Janet Ecker, President and CEO of TFSA. "At the same time, our academic members tell us that bright, highly-skilled graduates are finding it hard to find jobs. It's our job to help bridge the gap. ASPIRE can do that by giving students opportunities to become more work-ready through actual hands-on experience."

To support the creation of new work-integrated learning opportunities in the sector - from internships and co-ops, to capstone projects, incubators and accelerators - ASPIRE will include several components rolling out over the next few months:

Targeted marketing and promotional activities to help employers attract a broader base of students developing in-demand skills, to the sector;
Best practice guidelines and resources to engage and support staff hiring and managing students, to improve the student experience;
Business skills training to enhance students' "work-readiness";
Facilitated networking opportunities during employer-hosted events to share innovative projects/collaborations taking place in the sector, as well as emerging trends and future opportunities; and
Regular employer/academic forums to continue the partnership and dialogue to support student and employer outcomes related to work-integrated learning.
ASPIRE employers recognize the mutual benefit to students and organizations, offered by work-integrated learning:

Dave McKay, President and CEO, RBC states: "Our sector has led the charge for work-integrated learning for many years. And this initiative will see an acceleration in our support at a time when young people need access to experiential learning more than ever. Work-integrated learning improves the value of education and it increases innovation. Above all, it is a huge social leveler, building networks and providing access to students from all backgrounds to the world of work."

"Blending higher education and practical work experience prepares the next generation and accelerates career growth. Students are exposed to new ideas and job opportunities and companies gain new thinking and talent" adds Mona Malone, Chief Talent & Learning Officer at BMO Financial Group.

Michelle Clarke, Vice President, Organizational Effectiveness, Human Resources at OMERS agrees: "Attracting and developing students is an excellent way for OMERS to bring talent into the pensions industry. We are proud to partner on ASPIRE to provide students a broader experience and exposure within the financial services community."

ASPIRE was designed with the input and guidance of a committed multi-stakeholder working group including:

10 employers: Aviva Canada, BMO, CIBC, Intact Financial Corporation, OMERS, RBC, Scotiabank, Sun Life Financial, TD Bank Group, and TMX Group;
7 post-secondary institutions: George Brown College, Northeastern University (Toronto campus), Queen's University, Ryerson University, Seneca College, University of Toronto, and University of Waterloo; and
3 levels of government: Federal (Employment and Social Development Canada), Provincial (Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development, which is contributing to the project as well), and Municipal (Toronto Employment and Social Services).
Part of the bigger picture

ASPIRE is the first of several work-integrated learning sector pilots initiated across the country by the Business/Higher Education Roundtable to fulfil its commitment to making work-integrated learning a fundamental part of the Canadian undergraduate experience, as a means of improving school-to-work transitions for young Canadians, and their employers.

About Toronto Financial Services Alliance:

The Toronto Financial Services Alliance is a public/private organization whose mandate is to enhance and promote the long-term competitiveness of Toronto as a top ten international financial services centre. Its membership encompasses core financial services companies - banks, brokerages, investment fund managers, insurance companies, pensions – as well as partner sectors - accounting, law and education. Established in 2001, TFSA is a collaboration involving three levels of government, the financial services industry and academia. For more information, please check our website at www.tfsa.ca.

About the Business/Higher Education Roundtable:

Launched in 2015 by the Business Council of Canada, the Business/Higher Education Roundtable represents some of Canada's largest companies and leading post-secondary institutions. Composed of leaders from the private sector, universities, colleges and polytechnics, BHER works to support young Canadians as they transition from education to the workplace, strengthen research collaboration between industry and institutions, and help Canadian employers as they adapt to the economy of the future. His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Canada's Governor General, serves as BHER's Honorary Patron. Learn more at bher.ca.

Ryerson University and Joe Fresh Welcome Three Canadian Fashion Startups to the Joe Fresh Centre for Fashion Innovation

The Joe Fresh Centre for Fashion Innovation, in partnership with Ryerson University, today announced three new Canadian fashion-inspired startups will join the Centre.

"We are pleased to welcome our fourth cohort of entrepreneurs, Authentic or Not, Nudnik and Omi Woods, to the Joe Fresh Centre for Fashion Innovation," said Ian Freedman, President, Joe Fresh. "Their unique talent and business propositions will be a great addition to the Centre, and we hope they will benefit meaningfully from the Centre's network of support. We look forward to supporting them in their entrepreneurial pursuits in the year ahead."

"The fourth cohort of innovators showcases not only tech innovation with Authentic or Not's hardware plus Software as a Service business model, but also the product and social innovations of both Nudnik and Omi Woods," said Robert Ott, Co-chair of the Joe Fresh Centre for Fashion Innovation. "Together with Joe Fresh, we are working with fashion innovators to provide them with guidance to navigate the Canadian and global entrepreneurial landscapes."

The three new Joe Fresh Centre for Fashion Innovators include:

Nudnik
Nudnik, founded by twin sisters Alexandra and Lindsay Larusso, is a unisex kids clothing line (3 months - 3 years) that not only combats the growing global waste problem, but actively seeks to help solve it. With a combined twenty years in the waste management industry, each garment is sourced from upcycled fabrics, hand silk-screened, and cut and sewn locally in Toronto. www.nudniktoronto.com

Authentic or Not
Authentic or Not, founded by Ahmer Beg, is a fashion technology company that has created a patented microchip that can be seamlessly embedded into products. With the use of a smartphone customers can hover over such merchandise to confirm product authenticity and receive a customized digital experience instantaneously. www.AuthenticOrNot.com

Omi Woods
Omi Woods, founded by Ashley Alexis McFarlane, is a special occasion clothing line that explores and reimagines traditional African prints into timeless silhouettes. The brand embraces ethical low pact production practices, including eco-friendly dyes and zero waste. Omi Woods designers were recently featured in InStyle, Vanity Fair, Essence and E! News. www.omiwoods.com

Exclusive benefits for the Joe Fresh Innovators include:

Access to collective startup funding up to $50,000 at the end of the program
Mentorship with Joe Fresh executives, Ryerson academics, and industry advisors
Networking opportunities with Ryerson Futures, DMZ and Fashion Zone companies
Access to the DMZ and Fashion Zone at Ryerson University
Eligible marketing and promotion expenses up to $5,000 per innovator
Academic Zone Learning credit from Ryerson University following completion of the program
Unique showcasing opportunities
Dedicated office space in The Joe Fresh Centre  

18/04/2017

The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity and LRN Announce Student Winners of the Prize in Ethics Essay Contest

 The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity and its partner in the Prize in Ethics Essay Contest, LRN, announced today that Micah Latty, Class of 2017, from Bethel University, is the first place winner of the 2016 Elie Wiesel Foundation Prize in Ethics Essay Contest.

Latty, a philosophy and computer science major, considered the role of silence in a divisive America in his winning essay, "Welcoming Silence." As Latty writes: "We live in a culture filled with tensions and conflicts, old and new. In order for us to have any hope of flourishing together, we must learn to exercise hospitality toward one another, allowing those who are 'other' to be other in our presence. Fundamental to this practice of hospitality in the face of division and distrust is the simple willingness to allow for silences -- welcoming silences, in which the voice of the other can dwell in all its irreducible strangeness."

Other winning students include: Dana Kiel of the University of Denver, Luiza Lodder of Pennsylvania State University, Devon Flanagan of Boston University and Eliah Medina of University of Houston-Clear Lake. The winning essays can be found on the Foundation's website: http://www.eliewieselfoundation.org/2016prizewinners.aspx.

The Prize in Ethics Essay Contest is an annual competition that challenges college students to submit essays on the urgent and complex ethical issues that confront us in the modern world. The Prize was founded in 1989 by Professor Elie and Marion Wiesel, and since, thousands of young people have written essays for consideration. Professor Wiesel, who passed away in 2016, personally judged this year's contest and hand-selected the winners. The Elie Wiesel Foundation and LRN are continuing the Prize in Ethics in his memory.

"The 2016 winners of the Prize in Ethics exemplify Professor Wiesel's indelible exhortation 'to think higher and feel deeper.' We couldn't be more proud of the students, their winning essays and their commitment to considering the ethical implications in their own lives, asking deep questions about the world around them and taking stands on issues that matter to them but affect all of us," said Dov Seidman, CEO of LRN.

About The Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics Essay Contest

The Elie Wiesel Foundation Prize in Ethics Essay Contest encourages students to write thought-provoking personal essays that raise questions, single out issues and offer rational arguments for ethical action. The contest is open to undergraduate full-time Juniors and Seniors who are registered at accredited four-year colleges or universities in the United States. All submissions to the essay contest are judged anonymously. Winning essays present intensely personal stories, originality, imagination, and clear articulation and convey genuine grappling with an ethical dilemma. For suggested essay topics and more information, visit http://www.eliewieselfoundation.org/prizeinethics.aspx

About The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity

Elie Wiesel and his wife, Marion, established The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity soon after he was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize for Peace. The Foundation's mission, rooted in the memory of the Holocaust, is to combat indifference, intolerance and injustice through international dialogue and youth-focused programs that promote acceptance, understanding and equality. For more information: www.eliewieselfoundation.org, "like" us on Facebook, or follow @eliewieselfdn on Twitter.

14/04/2017

Scotiabank and CJFE announce winner of 2017-2018 Journalism Fellowship at Massey College

 Scotiabank, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) and Massey College at the University of Toronto, are pleased to announce that Silvia Regina Rosa of Brazil has been awarded the 2017-18 Scotiabank/CJFE Journalism Fellowship at Massey College. Rosa is the sixth Latin American journalist to be awarded the fellowship for a mid-career journalist. Previous winners have come from El Salvador, Mexico, Venezuela and Uruguay.

In addition to enjoying a vibrant campus community provided by Massey College, previous fellows have toured, spoken at, and written for Canadian media outlets such as The Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star, participated in panel discussions through the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs, partnered with local NGOs and think tanks, joined campus sports teams and committees, and have organized seminars held at Massey College.

"Our partnership in hosting the Scotiabank/CJFE Fellowship continues to be a very important one," said Massey College Master Hugh Segal. "Experienced journalists from Latin America and the Caribbean bring their rich experience to Massey College and U of T and at the same time benefit greatly from their courses and by living with bright young scholars in a setting that exudes a love of learning, along with the fun that goes with it."

"This fellowship is an opportunity for journalists to explore new perspectives and environments, while building expertise and relationships that they can bring home and continue to use in their careers," said CJFE Executive Director Tom Henheffer. "We are thrilled to welcome Silvia Regina Rosa."

Silvia Rosa works as a reporter and assistant editor for Valor Econômico, Brazil's main financial newspaper, where she has revealed cases of abuse of power by the private sector, such as the fraud involving the Brazilian bank BVA. She also works for the real-time news service Valor Pro, where she is responsible for covering the foreign exchange and fixed income markets. Her work demonstrates a strong commitment to freedom of expression and transparency, and has been recognized through a number of awards, including the Abecip prize, for an article about the housing bubble in Sao Paulo.

"It is a privilege to be chosen for this fellowship," said Rosa. "we have seen abuses of power by both authorities and the private sector threatening the freedom of speech, and I think Canada's liberal government has a lot of to contribute towards strengthening democracy in the Americas. "This fellowship will provide me with a broader vision of the right to free expression, and allow me to apply my knowledge to reinforce freedom of speech and the press in Brazil."

Rosa will arrive in Canada in September to join an outstanding group of Canadian and international journalists as part of the 2017-18 William Southam Journalism Fellows.

Survey: Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook in dead heat for student use 

Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook are in a statistical deadhead when it comes to college and high school students and the social media networks they use, but Snapchat and Instagram jump to a solid lead when it comes to how often they use them.

According to an online survey of 333 college and high school students conducted by SCG, a Parsippany, NJ-based advertising and public relations agency, about 95 percent of students say they use the three major social media platforms, but 88 percent say they use Instagram and Snapchat often, versus 81 percent for Facebook. Twitter trails on all fronts with only 66.6 percent reporting use and fewer than 50 percent using it often. Students report lower usage of Tumblr, YouTube, and Pinterest.

Snapchat wins the battle for daily use, with 78 percent saying they use the service daily, as compared to 76 percent for Instagram, and 66 percent for Facebook. Seventy-one percent say they use Snapchat more than six times per day, and 51 percent says they are on Snapchat more than 11 times per day.

To access the full white paper on the results, click here.

"Students – mostly GenZ – are spending about 11 hours per day in front of up to five different screens. So it should be of no surprise that they are not married to just one platform," said Michael Cherenson, SCG's executive vice president for public relations. "Marketers and brands must be agnostic when it comes to platform. This means being open to use of several social media networks, often in unique ways."

When it comes to Snapchat, respondents say they are most interested in keeping in touch with friends (89.5 percent) and sharing and creating videos, images and stories (56.8 percent). A whopping 49.2 percent say they return to Snapchat daily simply to maintain a Snapchat streak.

"More than half of Snapchat users say they would feel disconnected from friends if not for Snapchat, which speaks volumes about the relationship students have with the platform and their peer networks," Cherenson said. "Almost 25 percent indicated Snapchat is essential to their relationships."

Almost 90 percent of Snapchat users say they enjoy the GeoFilters, while 85 percent say they like the Snapchat Lenses. Students report little to no interest in ads that appear in stories.

There also is a high degree of interest in content, including "Real Stories or day-in-the-life," "Behind-scenes videos," and How-To videos. When asked about what brands or companies use Snapchat well, Cosmo, Buzzfeed and the Kardashians were cited most frequently.

"Brands would be wise to use the platform for storytelling, providing new and interesting perspectives, and for engaging in a thoughtful, interesting and meaningful way with students," said Cherenson. "Cookie cutter content will be pushed aside quickly."

13/04/2017

Students Benefit from Stable Funding - Allows Boards to Deliver Education Programs and Services

The Ontario Public School Boards' Association (OPSBA) views the 2017-2018 Grants for Student Needs (GSN) announcement as evidence of the provincial government's commitment to the value and importance of a strong publicly funded education system.

OPSBA is actively engaged in the annual GSN process and submitted a brief to the Ministry of Education and the pre-budget consultations in January 2017. The brief outlined pressing funding pressures facing school boards and offered recommendations based on the advice of school trustees, educators, and school business officials in a number of key areas including Rural and Remote boards, Special Education, School Facility Operations and Renewal Grants, Student Transportation, Indigenous Education, and school board flexibility to meet local needs among many others.

"OPSBA remains committed to advocating for sustainable funding that reflects our shared focus on positive learning environments for students. The province's funding announcement today is a step in the right direction," said OPSBA President Laurie French. "Our member boards continually balance a variety of ongoing challenges including budget area reductions, pupil accommodation pressures and reduced local flexibility against their core responsibility of enabling student achievement and well-being."

The announcement commits $879 million in additional funds bringing the total GSN funding for 2017-2018 to just over $23 billion. The additional funding is allocated in part to support the nine successfully negotiated collective agreements, which provide for sector stability and positive learning environments for students, as well as funds for school boards to support their delivery of education programs and services.

Today's announcement of increased funds to support Special Education, Indigenous student achievement, school infrastructure, and student transportation is welcomed.

Many boards have been confronting pressure to address excess capacity and programming needs through pupil accommodation reviews with the phase out of top-up funding under the Ministry's School Board Efficiencies and Modernization Strategy (SBEM) and growing student transportation costs. These remain ongoing issues affecting school boards, students, and parents across the province. OPSBA and its members will be actively involved in the government's upcoming consultations on Student Transportation and Rural and Remote Education Review.

OPSBA will continue to review the entirety of today's GSN announcement, including impacts to boards contained within the Education Program Other (EPO) funding.

OPSBA is committed to working with the Ontario government and our provincial education partners and believes that strong and equitable education funding is a foundational factor in setting the conditions that promote and sustain student achievement and well-being.

Pregnant Canadian Concordia student blocked from leaving Gaza

For over four months, Bissan Eid, a 24 year old Concordia graduate student has been prevented from leaving the Palestinian territory of Gaza. She is in urgent need of support from the Canadian government to secure an exit visa from the Israeli government.

In June 2016, Bissan, a Canadian citizen since 2005, travelled to Gaza to get married and to visit her aging grandparents. When she tried to travel back to Canada, she was prevented from leaving due to the slow processing of her exit visa by the Israeli authorities, who seldom prioritize the applications of Palestinians from Gaza who hold other passports.

Beyond the difficulties of living in Gaza, her inability to return to Canada is detrimental for two reasons. First, she is pregnant and expected to give birth in May. She is having a difficult pregnancy and is in need of medical attention in Canada. Further, she wants to be surrounded by friends and family for her child's birth. Second, after successfully completing a bachelor's degree in science and civil engineering from Concordia in 2015, Bissan is pursuing a masters in civil engineering at the same university. She has already completed one year of studies in her program but was unable to enroll in the winter semester as she is blocked from leaving Gaza.

"Bissan is risking her life now in Gaza, she must to come back to her country, Canada, as soon as possible to live the normal life she deserves and has the right to live, like all Canadian citizens," outlines Hadi Eid, Bissan's father.

The Canadian government must take an active role in supporting Bissan's efforts to secure an exit permit from Gaza, so that she can return to Canada via Jordan. The Canadian government needs to make immediate steps with both Israeli and Jordanian authorities to secure this exit permit.

Canada's Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made very public pronouncements about diversity being Canada's "strength" and the fundamental humanity of all Canadians despite origin or religious background. We are calling on the Liberal government and Trudeau to take action in Bissan's case so that she may receive the support she urgently needs.

12/04/2017

Lucky Class from Lethbridge, Alberta, Wins "Canada's Coolest School Trip!"

Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Catherine McKenna, announced that the grade 8 class of Lethbridge Christian School won the Canada's Coolest School Trip. A total of 69 classes participated in the video competition and students from this grade 8 class are the winners of the trip of a lifetime to visit Parks Canada's treasured places in magnificent Nova Scotia.

McKenna said, "Thank you to all the students and teachers who put the time and effort into creating these fantastic videos and congratulations to the winning class. Our Government has made admission to Canada's national parks, national historic sites, and national marine conservations areas free in 2017. As the Minister responsible for Parks Canada, I encourage all Canadians, including youth, to explore Canada's remarkable gateways to nature, adventure, conservation, science and learning in 2017 for Canada's 150th anniversary of Confederation."

The winning class will embark on a five-day, all expenses-paid trip to Parks Canada places in Nova Scotia from June 5-9, 2017, including a visit to Canada's first national historic site, Fort Anne, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of national historic sites in Canada. The winning class will explore the beautiful landscape of Nova Scotia and experience Mi'kmaq culture in Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site, take part in a spooky ghost tour at Halifax Citadel National Historic Site, uncover the tragic and powerful Acadian history at Grand-Pré National Historic Site and UNESCO World Heritage site, and so much more!

As part of this initiative, other prizes include five runner-up local Parks Canada field trips and five honourable mention prize packages. The runner-up prizes were awarded to classes at the following schools: Kateri School (Trout Lake, AB), The Bobs-Annette Street P.S. (Toronto, ON), Cummer Valley Middle School (Toronto, ON), Garrison Road Middle School (Fort Erie, ON), Mitchell District H.S. (Mitchell, ON). These classes have won an action-packed field trip to a local Parks Canada place or to a special natural or historic place near them.

CIBC signs on as anchor tenant at state-of-the-art urban campus coming to Toronto

CIBC (TSX:CM) (NYSE: CM) announced today that it has agreed to become the anchor tenant of Bay Park Centre, a new urban campus at 81 and 141 Bay Street, Toronto, that will be developed and jointly managed by Ivanhoé Cambridge and Hines, with construction starting this spring. The world-class complex will serve as CIBC's headquarters and a campus for approximately 15,000 of the bank's Toronto-area employees.

"This agreement is a bold step forward for CIBC as we mark 150 years of serving our clients in Canada and around the world," says Kevin Patterson, Senior Executive Vice-President, Technology & Operations, who is responsible for corporate real estate strategy at CIBC. "Our new home will foster a collaborative environment that will help us drive innovation, simplify our bank and strengthen our client-focused culture as we build the bank of the future. It will also reinforce Toronto's position as a global financial capital and is an investment in this city as a place to work, live and explore."

Bay Park Centre will comprise state-of-the-art facilities on a 2.9 million square foot campus in Toronto's financial district, across from Union Station and the Air Canada Centre. CIBC will lease up to 1.75 million square feet total office space in two connected buildings. The first is scheduled to be completed in 2020 and the second in 2023. Over that period, CIBC team members from various business units and support functions will move into Bay Park Centre from other locations across the Greater Toronto Area. CIBC will continue to have a presence in other offices across the city following completion of those moves.

The campus will also feature a strong retail banking presence, with a new banking centre serving thousands of residents and businesses in the area.

"This move will optimize CIBC's real estate footprint to meet the future needs of our workforce and our clients. We see it as a differentiator that will improve productivity, attract and retain the best talent, and enhance client experience," adds Sandy Sharman, Executive Vice-President and Chief Human Resources Officer at CIBC. "Our new headquarters will push the conventional perceptions of work to establish an innovative, engaged, flexible, and healthy workplace."

Bay Park Centre is a joint project by global real estate leaders Ivanhoé Cambridge and Hines, with design by architects WilkinsonEyre and Adamson Associates.

Under the related lease agreement, CIBC will have exclusive naming rights and Ivanhoé Cambridge and Hines will officially rebrand Bay Park Centre under a new CIBC name in the coming months.

"This development exemplifies the very best in excellence and innovation, and will enable CIBC to continue setting standards among forward-thinking companies on the global stage," says Daniel Fournier, Chairman and CEO of Ivanhoé Cambridge. "We look forward to working together to develop and deliver a dynamic environment for CIBC employees and clients. The project's strategic location at the confluence of all major transit channels in the heart of downtown Toronto will set the site apart as the pre-eminent office complex in the city."

C. Kevin Shannahan, Hines Canada CEO, added, "It is our sincere privilege to work in concert with CIBC and Ivanhoé Cambridge, our joint venture partner, developing this timeless headquarter complex in the heart of Toronto. The design addresses the extensive needs of tower occupants, while benefiting the community with a one-acre park elevated above the rail lines. Our mission is to contribute vibrant, technically and socially advanced architecture befitting the world-class city of Toronto for decades to come."

More than 4,000 construction-related jobs are expected to be created over the course of Bay Park Centre's development, according to Ivanhoé Cambridge and Hines.

Development Highlights – Environmental Sustainability, Health & Wellness:

Engineered to LEED Platinum and Delos WELL specifications and exceeding mechanical, electrical and security expectations; awarded Wired Pre-Certified Platinum designation – the highest international standard in office internet connectivity, including a distributed antenna system for seamless and reliable cellular coverage.
Bay Park Centre is designed to connect to downtown Toronto and beyond via all modes of transportation, while a series of pedestrian-friendly pathways—above, below, and at ground level—will connect the complex to downtown Toronto's PATH network, businesses and amenities.
The site will also feature a one-acre elevated park linking the buildings to each other and serving as an inspirational urban outdoor space for CIBC employees, clients and the public.
Today's announcement builds on investments that CIBC is making to modernize select banking centres across the country with a focus on advice for clients.

CIBC's advisors on the transaction were Blackwood Partners. Cushman & Wakefield advised Ivanhoé Cambridge and Hines.

Terms of the lease agreement have not been disclosed. While the agreement will require various investments over the term of lease, CIBC does not expect these investments, or lease commitments within the agreement, to affect CIBC's ability to achieve its publicly stated financial targets.

CAJ and King's College partner on data journalism training

The University of King's College School of Journalism and the Canadian Association of Journalists are teaming up once again to provide Canada's top training in data journalism.

King's is an official sponsor of the CAJ's national conference in Ottawa, April 28 and 29 and CAJ members are eligible for 10 per cent off the early bird and regular rates for the 2017 King's summer schools in data journalism and coding for journalists, in June in Halifax.

#CAJ17 will feature two days of presentations and hands-on training in data techniques, headlined by the Globe and Mail's Robyn Doolittle and Michael Pereira, who will give the inside scoop on their blockbuster data story Unfounded. Their work has prompted a third of the nation's police forces to rethink how they handle sexual assault allegations.

King's professor Fred Vallance-Jones has been leading data sessions at the CAJ for more than 20 years and this year will join CBC producer and Kings' adjunct professor, David McKie, for a two-hour introductory workshop Friday. This year's CAJ data program also features King's MJ grad Valérie Ouellet, now a senior data journalist at the CBC, Jasmine Sohal of Esri Canada, and representatives of Cometdocs.com. CAJ members who attend the data sessions will get a free account for the CometDocs PDF extraction platform.

"It is so important that as many journalists as possible master data skills," said CAJ President Nick Taylor-Vaisey. "That's why we have arranged a full two days of hands-on sessions."

And the training doesn't end there. Since 2008, the King's Summer Schools in Data Journalism have provided working journalists and students with the best intensive data training available in Canada. In the basic school, participants learn how to obtain, analyze and visualize data, to find and tell great stories. The coding school introduces computer programming for journalists, how to scrape data using computer programming, and building simple bots.

This year's data schools start June 19, and CAJ members are eligible for 10 per cent off the early bird and regular rates for both.

"The CAJ has been such a strong supporter of data journalism and King's has become such a centre of training in this, that this seems like a natural partnership," said Tim Currie, director of the journalism school. "We look forward to seeing many CAJ members in June."

With the special CAJ discount, the rate for a week of exceptional training is as little as $427.50. This year the best rate applies to those recently displaced from the news industry, as well as active freelancers, those who work at smaller outlets, and students. Rates for other journalists are as low as $540, with the CAJ member discount included.

You can find out more about the data schools, and King's master's program in data and investigative journalism at kingsjournalism.com/data. Or you can email kingsdata@ukings.ca. Complete details on #CAJ17 are available at caj.ca.

11/04/2017

CHC Student Housing Announces Formation of Special Committee

CHC Student Housing Corp. announces its board of directors has initiated a process to identify, examine and consider strategic and financial alternatives potentially available to the Company with a view to enhancing shareholder value. Such alternatives may include, but are not limited to, a sale of the Company or all or a portion of its assets, a merger or other business combination, a recapitalization or any combination thereof. The board of directors has established a special committee comprised of Gordon Pridham and Ronald Schwarz, each an independent director of the Company, to oversee the process. The board of directors and management are committed to acting in the best interests of the Company and its stakeholders.

While the Company has initiated this process, there is no certainty that any alternative or transaction will be undertaken or pursued. The Company has not set a definitive schedule to complete its evaluation and no decision on any particular alternative or transaction has been reached at this time. The Company does not intend to disclose ongoing developments with respect to this process, but in accordance with its continuous disclosure obligations, will disclose material developments if, as and when they occur.

About CHC Student Housing Corp.

CHC Student Housing Corp. is an owner and operator of student housing properties which is focused on high quality properties in close proximity to universities in primary and well understood secondary markets in Canada.

New Report Details Extensive Harms of Denying Transgender Students Access to School Facilities

DENVER, CO--(Marketwired - April 11, 2017) - As politicians in states like Texas and North Carolina fight to restrict transgender students' access to bathrooms, the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) and GLSEN, in partnership with the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and the National Education Association (NEA) have released a new report Separation and Stigma: Transgender Youth & School Facilities (http://lgbtmap.org/policy-and-issue-analysis/transgender-youth-school) showing how profoundly harmful and unnecessary policies that exclude transgender students from school facilities that match their gender can be on these children.

MAP, GLSEN, NCTE and the NEA sent the report and an open letter (https://www.glsen.org/blog/besty-devos-it%E2%80%99s-your-job-protect-all-students-%E2%80%94-and-includes-transgender-students) to U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, highlighting the hundreds of local school districts across the country, as well as 13 states and the District of Columbia, that have proven they can successfully implement laws and policies protecting transgender students from discrimination while still meeting the needs of all students.

"Having inclusive school policies does nothing to diminish schools' legal obligation to ensure safe education facilities and to act if a student behaves inappropriately or tries to invade someone's privacy. If any student attempts to abuse an inclusive policy, schools can and will take action. And schools can also offer privacy options for any student who simply feels uncomfortable," said Ineke Mushovic, Executive Director of MAP. "On the surface, the argument is about bathrooms, but at a deeper level, it is about whether or not transgender students will be included in our public education system. Put simply, if transgender students cannot safely access a bathroom, they cannot safely attend school."

Learning from local success, in 2014, the Obama administration issued official guidance clarifying that transgender students are protected from discrimination based on Title IX's prohibition on sex discrimination. However, the Trump administration recently rescinded that guidance, signaling that transgender students cannot count on their federal government for support or protection. The administration's action also caused the U.S. Supreme Court to withdraw its decision to hear arguments in the case of Gavin Grimm, in which the Court would have considered whether Title IX's prohibition on sex discrimination protects transgender students.

And, with the new administration rescinding its previous guidance, more states are considering discriminatory laws. Seventeen states have introduced legislation that seeks to limit school districts' ability to provide access to school restrooms and locker rooms for transgender students. Although the text of the bills varies from state to state, these bills are generally designed to ensure transgender students are relegated to separate facilities, or facilities that align with the sex on their birth certificate. Bills like these tie the hands of local school administrators and make school environments even more difficult and dangerous for already-vulnerable transgender students.

GLSEN's 2015 National School Climate Survey (http://www.glsen.org/nscs) provides a chilling snapshot of the experiences of transgender students in school. As reviewed in this report, three quarters (75%) of transgender students felt unsafe at school because of their gender expression; half reported being unable to use the name or pronoun that matched their identity; and 70% reported avoiding bathrooms, which can lead to significant health problems.

"As adults argue about whether to allow transgender students to use facilities that match the gender they live every day, it is transgender students who pay a heavy personal price," said Dr. Eliza Byard, Executive Director of GLSEN. "We have a responsibility to ensure all students have a fair chance to succeed in school and to be protected from discrimination and bullying. And school administrators around the country have proven they can meet the needs of all students when politicians don't stand in their way."

Founded in 2006, the Movement Advancement Project is an independent think tank that provides rigorous research, insight and analysis that help speed equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. www.lgbtmap.org

GLSEN champions safe and affirming schools for all students. We envision a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression. Each year, GLSEN programs and resources reach tens of thousands of K-12 schools across the United States, and our network of chapters brings GLSEN's expertise to their local communities. GLSEN's progress and impact have won support for our work at all levels of education in the United States and sparked an international movement to ensure equality for LGBTQ students and respect for all in schools. For more information on GLSEN's policy advocacy, student leadership initiatives, public education, research and educator training programs, please visit glsen.org.

Koskie Minsky LLP has commenced a class proceeding against the Province of Ontario in respect of the lengthy waitlists for developmental services in Ontario

The statement of claim alleges that the issue of waitlists for desperately needed services has been a repeatedly identified issue for years, which Ontario has continued to ignore and failed to act upon in any reasonable manner. The claim alleges, among other things, that Ontario has been negligent, breached fiduciary duties, and breached duties it owes to the class members under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, by virtue of these waitlists, some of which can last for years at a time as a result of the broken system.

The proposed class includes all persons in Ontario who were approved for developmental services through a Developmental Services Ontario office and subsequently placed on a waitlist, since July 1, 2011. The essential services denied to the class by virtue of the lengthy waitlists impact their most basic daily needs. The claim alleges the wait times are often indeterminate and will last for years, placing families in a perpetual state of crisis.

Marc Leroux as the litigation guardian of his daughter is the proposed representative plaintiff.

Kirk Baert, a partner at Koskie Minsky, has stated "This case concerns an issue that has plagued adults with developmental disabilities in Ontario for years. Multiple independent agencies have said change must be implemented time and time again but there has been none. The class members are in need of services to live their life and it is time they get what they have been promised and what they need and deserve. This case can finally effect real social change in this area".

06/04/2017

Students and survivors across Quebec call for ongoing and improved collaboration on sexual violence

Full open letter available here: https://aveq-nous.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Open-Letter-Sexual-Violence-Consultations.pdf

Today, ten student and survivor-focused groups released a statement advocating for a survivor-centric response by the province to sexual violence. As groups which had been both included or excluded from of the Ministry of Education and Post-Secondary Education's consultation on sexual violence, they offered reflections and critiques on the process thus far, as well as pragmatic next steps for the development of meaningful legislation to address the issue.

They expressed appreciation for the indication of good faith by many actors who participated, but also noted several areas for future improvement. Despite concrete suggestions being provided in advance, there was very little accommodation available to support participation by survivors, and the lack of bi-directional translation rendered the events inaccessible to many, particularly members of anglophone universities.

Lana Gailbraith, Sustainability Coordinator of the Concordia Student Union (CSU), notes "We were not invited until the very last minute, and then were allotted only one seat for participation. How can these consultations tackle a complex topic like sexual violence on campuses if they are not doing their due diligence in terms of inviting those who are the most targeted -- students and survivors."

Furthermore, they expressed concern that the government depended too heavily on education institutions' upper administration in conducting campus consultations and recommending participants for the government's reflection days. As a result, many important voices were underrepresented throughout the process, including those of young people, survivors, people of colour and Indigenous people.

"Recognizing that Concordia students, especially survivors, are best positioned to make recommendations on how to prevent and respond to sexual violence, both at the university level and to inform creation of legislation, we partnered with the CSU to host our own consultation on campus. We were disappointed to not have seen those same efforts from the university administration," says Stacey Gomez, Action Coordinator at the Centre for Gender Advocacy.

The groups collectively called for meaningful and ongoing consultation to be conducted throughout the creation of legislation, and for this legislation to include mandatory sexual violence policies, accountability mechanisms, and a commitment to equitably distribute resources in a way that especially supports existing community groups and regional post-secondary institutions.

"When it comes to the complex issue of sexual violence, we must not only be learning and working together on improving, but also holding each other accountable to a higher standard. Above all, we must never forget to centre the needs and experiences of survivors." affirmed Kristen Perry, anglophone spokesperson for the Association for the Voice of Education of Quebec (AVEQ).

$10,000 Donation from Just Energy Foundation Secures Breakfast for 10,000 Students in Ontario

 The Just Energy Foundation has partnered with Breakfast Club of Canada to help alleviate hunger for Ontario school children. The donation enables the Club to provide a breakfast to a child in need, for as little as $1 per day. The investment further translates to 10,000 morning meals for Ontario kids at risk of going without the most important meal of the day.

The physical, emotional and societal benefits of a regular nutritious breakfast are compelling. Research shows that children who eat breakfast are healthier, have fewer physical problems, and demonstrate improved cooperation, discipline, interpersonal skills and academic performance. An investment of $1 in the early years can save three to nine times that amount in future health care spending.

"Every child deserves to start the day with the nourishment they need to learn and thrive" said Jason Herod, Executive Vice President at Just Energy, and Foundation representative. "With one in 5 Canadian children at risk of starting class on an empty stomach, we're glad to partner with Breakfast Club of Canada to help fulfill this basic need and provide children with an equal chance to succeed."

"We thank Just Energy for the support they are providing to the children and youth of Breakfast Club in Ontario. Partnerships such as this allow the Club to reach more Canadian children every school morning," says Paul Lethbridge, Director of Business Development for Breakfast Club of Canada.

Last year, the Breakfast Club of Canada provided nutritious breakfasts to over 167,000 vulnerable children and youth in 1,455 schools across Canada. Funding from the Club goes towards updating equipment, program tools, nutrition training, and leadership camps. The camps are an opportunity for students to strengthen their self-esteem and their confidence to set goals, dream big and create change in their own schools.

With a presence in every province, the Club joins forces with corporate partners, communities and local agencies in their work to drive positive social change that starts with healthy food for students, through to individual empowerment for volunteers and young leaders, and the mobilization of communities.

About Just Energy Foundation:

The Just Energy Foundation was established in 2013 by Just Energy Group Inc. to help registered Canadian and U.S. charitable organizations secure the resources required to promote the health and well-being of communities in need. Funded entirely by Just Energy, the Foundation invests in local programs that work to enhance the quality of life in Just Energy's operating markets towards building stronger and supportive communities. Visit justenergyfoundation.com to learn more.

About Breakfast Club of Canada:

For 22 years, Breakfast Club of Canada has been nourishing children's potential by making sure as many of them as possible have access to a healthy morning meal before school, in an environment that allows their self-esteem to grow and flourish. But the Club is much more than a breakfast program: we take a broader approach that promotes the core values of engagement, enrichment and empowerment, and we team up with communities and local partners to develop solutions adapted to their specific needs. Operating from coast to coast, the Breakfast Club of Canada helps feed more than 163,000 students every day in 1,455 schools.

05/04/2017

10 schools share $250,000 in new technology from Staples Canada for their environmental projects

 Staples Canada reveals today the names of 10 schools that have each won $25,000 in new technology as part of an annual contest that recognizes inspiring projects Canadian schools implement in support of the environment. The winners – five elementary and five secondary schools – were chosen from among more than 700 applications submitted in the Staples Superpower your School Contest, organized in partnership with Earth Day Canada.

2017 Staples Superpower your School Contest winners:

Atlantic Canada

Elementary: École Mgr. Francois-Bourgeois from Shédiac, New Brunswick
Secondary: Caledonia Regional High School from Hillsborough, New Brunswick
Ontario

Elementary: Charles C. McLean Public School from Gore Bay, Ontario
Secondary: Leamington District Secondary School from Leamington, Ontario
Quebec

Elementary: Morin Heights Elementary School from Morin Heights, Quebec
Secondary: École secondaire de l'Odyssée from Valcourt, Quebec
Western Canada

Elementary: Woodlands School from Woodlands, Manitoba
Secondary: Churchill Community High School from La Ronge, Saskatchewan
British Columbia and Yukon

Elementary: Sen Pok Chin from Oliver, British Columbia
Secondary: Stelly's Secondary from Saanichton, British Columbia
"Schools are doing absolutely amazing things across the country," said Mary Sagat, president of Staples Canada. "Our team of judges was thoroughly impressed by the creativity of applicants. We're excited to see how the new technology will help further their programs and we encourage every school in Canada to prepare their projects for the 2018 contest."

"From micro-hatcheries to dronography, the projects we read about in this year's submissions were truly innovative and went far beyond traditional stewardship activities," said Deb Doncaster, president of Earth Day Canada. "All of the winning schools should feel incredibly proud of their accomplishments."

To learn about the winning projects, visit www.staples.ca/PowerEco.

Join the Conversation
Follow @StaplesCanada on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and join the conversation using #PowerEco.

About Staples Canada/Bureau en Gros
Staples Canada/Bureau en Gros makes it easy to make more happen with more products and more ways to shop. Through its world-class retail, online and delivery capabilities, Staples lets customers shop however and whenever they want, whether it's in-store, online, on mobile devices, or through the company's innovative buy online, pick up in store option. Staples offers more products than ever, such as technology, facilities and breakroom supplies, furniture, safety supplies, medical supplies, and Copy and Print services. Consistently ranked as one of Canada's top ten companies in Marketing Magazine's Marketing/Leger Corporate Reputation Survey, Staples/Bureau en Gros is dedicated to offering customers the highest level of service. Staples Canada/Bureau en Gros also is invested in a number of corporate giving programs that actively support environmental, educational and entrepreneurial initiatives in Canadian communities from coast to coast. Visit www.staples.ca for more information, or visit us on Facebook and Twitter.

About Earth Day Canada
Earth Day Canada (EDC), a national environmental charity founded in 1990, provides Canadians with the practical knowledge and tools they need to lessen their impact on the environment. In 2004, it was recognized as the top environmental education organization in North America for its innovative year-round programs and educational resources by the Washington-based North American Association for Environmental Education. In 2008, it was chosen as Canada's "Outstanding Non-profit Organization" by the Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication. EDC regularly partners with thousands of organizations in all parts of Canada. To donate to Earth Day Canada, please visit www.earthday.ca/donate.

03/04/2017

New $50-million investment into Ontario's colleges will strengthen programs for students

The Ontario government's announcement today of $50 million in one-time capital grants for Ontario's colleges will strengthen the quality of post-secondary programs provided to students.

"This is a huge investment in the future success of college students throughout the province," said Linda Franklin, the president and CEO of Colleges Ontario. "It reinforces the pivotal role that colleges will play in producing a more qualified and highly skilled workforce in this new age of accelerating automation."

Advanced Education and Skills Development Minister Deb Matthews announced today the government is providing a $48-million, one-time capital grant to support projects that provide students with high-quality learning environments and tools. The funding may be used to purchase or renew instructional equipment and technology, or to modernize existing campuses, including classrooms and laboratories.

The minister also announced a one-time capital grant of $2 million to support the Northern Colleges Collaborative Programming project. This funding is for the purchase of equipment or software that supports the delivery of collaborative programming.

"The funding announced today will ensure colleges remain at the leading-edge of new innovations and technological breakthroughs," said Fred Gibbons, the president of Northern College and chair of Colleges Ontario. "It will help more students acquire the professional and technical qualifications to pursue rewarding careers."

The announcement today came at the start of Colleges Week in Ontario. The minister made the announcement to help commemorate Ontario's celebration this year of the 50th anniversary of the province's colleges.

"Ontario's colleges have grown and evolved in phenomenal ways," said Don Lovisa, the president of Durham College and chair of the college sector's 50th anniversary task force. "This new funding will help us build on that great legacy and ensure Ontario remains at the forefront of career-focused post-secondary education."

 Education System Must Change to Meet the Needs of Students with Autism

On April 4, 2017, at 10:00 am, the Ontario Autism Coalition (the "OAC") will hold a news conference at the Queen's Park Media Studio to release an important report on Autism and Education. Entitled "New Horizons," the report lists more than 64 recommendations on how to improve outcomes for students with autism in Ontario's schools.

The OAC's top five recommendations call upon the Ministry of Education to:

Increase and improve training in special education for teacher candidates;
Revise PPM 140 and enforce its application;
Reform education funding with a focus on a needs-based approach to special education funding and more accountability for money transferred to school boards;
Allocate funding to hire more EA's and to deliver more extensive training in Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) for all those who work with autistic students; and
Establish a Demonstration School and/or a Provincial School for students with autism.
Students with autism and their parents will attend, and their patience is running out. Despite government efforts, too many educators still do not have adequate training about autism, which affects 1 in every 68 children. PPM 140, an 11-year-old document that opened the door for ABA teaching techniques to be used in schools, has failed to deliver on its initial promise. Despite huge investments in special education, autistic students are frequently denied the EA support they need. The lead author of the report, OAC Vice-President Laura Kirby-McIntosh says, "As a mother of two autistic students and as a teacher myself, putting together this report made it clear to me that if we want better outcomes for all exceptional students, then parents, teachers, EA's, ABA professionals and clinicians must work together. But the government must take a leadership role. Autistic students need evidence-based interventions, and the system must become more accountable."

The OAC will deliver the report to the Hon. Mitzie Hunter, Minister of Education in a meeting on April 5th. The time for awareness is long past. The time for action, especially during International Autism Awareness month, has come.

31/03/2017

eCampusOntario is pleased to announce its support for the National Survey of Online and Distance Education in Canadian Post-Secondary Education

 eCampusOntario, along with its Canadian consortium counterparts: BCcampus, Campus Manitoba, Contact North and eCampusAlberta have committed financial and in-kind resources to help launch this important project.

Lead researcher, Dr. Tony Bates is passionate about this project and is "excited to be leading an effort to capture comprehensive Canadian data on online learning and distance education."

Currently there are no current national data on how many students are taking online courses, or what proportion of courses in Canadian universities or colleges are online.

In the USA, the Babson Survey Research Group, WCET and the Federal Department of Education have been surveying institutions and collecting this kind of data for more than 10 years. These annual surveys have recorded rapid growth in online learning and identified policies and directions being taken by universities and colleges in the United States. Institutional planners, state higher education officials and the media have made heavy use of the annual survey reports.

The Canadian Survey is being launched with support from Dr. Jeff Seaman, from the Babson Survey Research Group, and Russell Poulin, from WCET. The survey will be launched in late April, 2017 and will focus initially on credit courses and programs in public funded post-secondary institutions. Independent Canadian researchers will conduct the research. As well as Dr. Bates, Jeff Seaman and Russell Poulin, the team includes Dr. Ross Paul (universities), Brian Desbiens (colleges) and Denis Mayer (francophone institutions).

Dr. Tricia Donovan is serving on the research team and she indicated that she believes that "It is critical that we try to capture this data across Canada, as it can provide an important snapshot of the growing participation in online learning and distance education country-wide."

The results will be made available to and owned by Canadian colleges and universities. Only aggregated data will be made publicly available. The results of the survey will also be publicly available for the 27th ICDE World Congress on Online Learning in Toronto, October 17 -19, 2017.

30/03/2017

Rogers partners with Toronto District School Board to deliver Canada's fastest Internet[1] to local students 

 In Today, Rogers Communications announced a new three-year pilot program at 20 Toronto District School Board (TDSB) locations to bring students Rogers Ignite Gigabit Internet, the company's fastest available speed, with unlimited data. This pilot program will deliver top Internet speeds up to 55 times faster than those currently in these TDSB locations, allowing students access to leading digital programs and classroom technologies.

"Today's classrooms are more technology driven than ever," said Dirk Woessner, President, Consumer Business Unit, Rogers Communications. "With our Gigabit speeds, students will have the connectivity to access the best online resources and tools to prepare them for today's digital economy. Like our Connected for Success Program, this is another way we're helping bridge the digital divide."

An Ontario Ministry of Education report [2] looked at the importance of accelerating digital literacy. More than 70 per cent of Ontario schools do not have the recommended minimum bandwidth capacity of 1Mbps per student to support new classroom technologies, and 90 per cent of schools have outdated and inefficient network setups.

"To help our students thrive in school and the global community, equipping them with the best tools – including the fastest Internet available today – is essential to meet the needs of our students as global learners," added Peter Singh, Chief Technology Officer, Toronto District School Board. "This Gigabit pilot will make a meaningful difference in how students access, engage with and learn through technology."

For this pilot the TDSB identified locations most urgently in need of an upgrade. With the capacity for multiple simultaneous users, and freedom from data caps and slow downloads, the pilot enables the TDSB to provide innovative programming in schools, language centres, and employment programs helping:

Students access online resources like virtual museums and science labs, research tools, or Google Classroom.

Students connect with targeted learning tools like audio books and apps to improve English literacy, fluency and numeracy.

Students of all ages learn about future school or career opportunities at colleges, universities, apprenticeships, or employment using tools like video conferencing.
About Rogers Ignite Internet and DOCSIS 3.1

Rogers is recognized as Canada's fastest internet based on Ookla's analysis of Speedtest data.[1]

For the school, home, or small business, speed matters and Rogers Ignite Gigabit Internet is our best internet yet. At 1 Gigabit per second, it takes about 30 seconds to download a 3 GB HD video or data file whereas the same file would take about 9 minutes at a speed of 50 Mbps.

After enabling Ignite Gigabit Internet for its entire service area last year, Rogers continues to stay ahead of growing demands for speed and data capacity. Rogers is the first cable company in the world to deploy DOCSIS 3.1 cable network technology across its footprint. DOCSIS 3.1 enables more consistently fast performance for an even more robust Gigabit service and lays the foundation for new IP technologies.

Connected for Success Program
Rogers' Connected for Success program provides affordable high-speed internet access to Canadians living in rent-subsidized non-profit housing. For additional details, please visit www.about.rogers.com

NPower Canada Hosted its First York Region Cohort Graduation Ceremony

44 youth graduated from NPower Canada's Information Technology (IT) Workforce Development Program last night at the 105 Gibson Centre.

Since 2014, NPower Canada has launched more than 200 low-income 18-29-year old youth into meaningful careers in IT by providing free technical and professional training, paid internships, job placement and post-hire supports. More than 85 per cent of alumni to date were employed and/or in postsecondary education within six months of program completion.

In 2016, NPower Canada expanded to the York Region opening a second program delivery site at the 105 Gibson Centre. The Centre is a Christian faith-based centre in Markham devoted to making positive change through a wide range of social services. 105 Gibson's emphasis on youth services and dedication to serving all members of the community regardless of their ethnicity, religion, gender and background provided an ideal foundation for a partnership with NPower Canada. The first NPower Canada cohort launched in September 2016.

"NPower came to the 105 Gibson Centre just at the perfect time while we have been looking for ways to help local youths with something professional and career related. Their technical professionalism as well as a professional team with diverse skills is highly recognized," said Jonathan Chan, General Director, 105 Gibson Centre. "They also bring in students with multiethnic background, which is proudly a uniqueness of Markham, and of Canada!"

Graduates of NPower Canada's first York Region cohort have begun their IT careers at more than 15 different organizations in roles including Application Technical Support, Data Integrity Agent, IT Field Service Technician, QA Technician, Technical Support Representative and more.

"We would like to thank all of the funders, referral partners, employers and supporters who made it possible for us to expand into the York Region and for making the first cohort such a success," said Julia Blackburn, Executive Director, NPower Canada. "Specifically, we want to recognize the significant support of United Way Toronto and York Region which provided the lead gift to launch this new NPower Canada site. Congratulations to all of our graduates."

"United Way's Career Navigator is one important piece of our Youth Success Strategy, and it's all about connecting young people to education and training,and all necessary supports that will help will help them secure good, stable jobs," said Daniele Zanotti, CEO, United Way. "We're so grateful to partner with and support organizations like NPower Canada that have expertise in the IT sector, one of five sectors Career Navigator is targeting because of its potential in the job market."

In addition to the site in Markham, NPower Canada also runs classes at Ryerson University and the MLSE Launchpad in downtown Toronto.

28/03/2017

Introducing RBC Future Launch: RBC's largest-ever commitment to help young Canadians prepare for the future of work

 In an era of unprecedented economic and technological change, RBC is today unveiling its largest-ever commitment to Canada's future. RBC Future Launch is a 10-year, $500-million initiative to help young people gain access and opportunity to the skills, job experience and career networks needed for the future world of work.

"Tomorrow's prosperity will depend on today's young people and their ability to take on a future that's equally inspiring and unnerving," said Dave McKay, RBC president and CEO. "We're sitting at an intersection of history, as a massive generational shift and unprecedented technological revolution come together. And we need to ensure young Canadians are prepared to help take us forward."

Future Launch is a core part of RBC's celebration of Canada 150, and is the result of two years of conversations with young Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

"Young people - Canada's future - have the confidence, optimism and inspiration to reimagine the way our country works," McKay said. "They just need access to the capabilities and connections to make the 21st century, and their place in it, all it should be."

Working together with young people, RBC will bring community leaders, industry experts, governments, educators and employers to help design solutions and harness resources for young Canadians to chart a more prosperous and inclusive future.

Over 10 years, RBC Future Launch will invest in areas that help young people learn skills, experience jobs, share knowledge and build resilience. The initiative will address the following critical gaps:

A lack of relevant experience. Too many young Canadians miss critical early opportunities because they're stuck in a cycle of "no experience, no job." According to the consulting firm McKinsey & Co., 83 per cent of educators believe youth are prepared for the workforce, but only 34 per cent of employers and 44 per cent of young people agree. RBC will continue to help educators and employers develop quality work-integrated learning programs to build a more dynamic bridge between school and work.
A lack of relevant skills. Increasingly, young people entering the workforce require a complex set of technical, entrepreneurial and social skills that cannot be attained solely through a formal education. A 2016 report from the World Economic Forum states that by 2020, more than a third of the desired core skill-sets of most occupations will be different from today — if that job still exists. RBC will help ensure young Canadians gain the skills, from critical thinking to coding to creative design, that will help them integrate into the workplace of today, and be more competitive for the jobs of tomorrow.
A lack of knowledge networks. Young people are at a disadvantage in the job market if they don't have an opportunity to learn from others and discover the realities of jobs they're considering. Many have told RBC that there isn't enough information on the spectrum of jobs that are available. From social networks to mentoring programs, RBC will harness the vast knowledge and goodwill of Canadians in guiding young people to the opportunities that exist and will exist, across Canada.
A lack of future readiness. Many young Canadians know their future will be defined by disruption. A new report, Future-proof: Preparing young Canadians for the future of work, by the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship, found that 42 per cent of the Canadian labour force is at a high risk of being affected by automation in the next 10 to 20 years. Young Canadians are okay with that: they want to be the disruptors and make the future workforce more creative and productive. RBC will help to create opportunities, through our education system, workplaces and communities at large to help young Canadians retool, rethink and rebuild as the age of disruption takes hold.
By helping young people unlock their potential and launch their careers, RBC can assist them with building a stronger future for themselves, and a more prosperous Canada for all. RBC created The Launching Careers Playbook, an interactive, digital resource focused on enabling young people to reach their full potential through three distinct modules: I am starting my career; I manage interns and I create internship programs. The Playbook shares the design principles, practices, and learnings captured from the RBC Career Launch Program over three years, as well as the research and feedback RBC has received from young people and their managers.

More information on RBC Future Launch can be found at www.rbc.com/futurelaunch.

Budget 2017 makes lifelong learning for a changing job market more affordable

Budget 2017 is the next step in the Government's long-term plan to create jobs and strengthen the middle class. Canada is home to a well-educated and highly skilled workforce, but as the demands of the workplace change, so too must the education and skills workers bring to their jobs. The changes in the economy - both here at home and around the world - present incredible opportunities for the middle class and those working hard to join it.

Today in Toronto, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, announced Budget 2017 measures that will create opportunities for lifelong learning, so that the next job is also a better job. She said, "Budget 2017 continues our plan to strengthen the middle class – the heart of Canada's economy. In a job market that's changing fast, lifelong learning matters. That's why we're helping people of all ages develop the skills they'll need to find and keep good, well-paying jobs."

Currently, unemployed workers taking self-funded training may become ineligible for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits if they are not available to accept work that becomes available. However, without EI benefits, many unemployed Canadians can't afford to pay the bills and support their families while also pursuing the training they need to improve their skills and find new work.

Budget 2017 will help unemployed adults go back to school while remaining eligible for the EI benefits they need to support themselves and their families. This means greater security for Canadian families when they need help the most and more flexibility to find better jobs through a combination of job search and training while unemployed.

In a spirit of renewed collaboration with the provinces and territories, the Government of Canada is also working with its counterparts, as well as the private sector, educational institutions, and not-for-profits, on a new organization that will:

apply evidence to identify the skills sought and required by Canadian employers;
explore new and innovative approaches to skills development; and
share information and analysis to help inform future evidence-based skills investments and programming.
Details on this new organization will be determined in the coming months.

As part of Canada's Innovation and Skills plan, Budget 2017 also proposes further measures encouraging lifelong learning by expanding eligibility for post-secondary supports and working with provinces and territories to reform Labour Market Transfer Agreements, which will ensure that more Canadians get the assistance they need to find and keep good jobs in the new economy, and build better lives for themselves and their families.

22/03/2017

Survey: Teens' Spring Break Plans? Do Nothing, According to New Junior Achievement Survey

For previous generations, Spring Break meant a chance for teens to get away from home. Road trips to the beach, rivers or mountains were staples of the Spring Break "experience." So much so that this annual ritual became the topic of countless movies and songs.

Today's teens are significantly less adventurous, according to a new survey by Junior Achievement (JA) and ORC International. Of the 500 U.S. teens between the ages of 13 and 17 who participated in the survey, most (39%) plan to spend a week watching TV and playing video games, while nearly as many (33%) plan to stay home relaxing, doing nothing. Only one-in-three (32%) plan to go on vacation, less than one-in-five plan to spend the time studying (14%) or working (13%), and one-in-ten plan to volunteer (8%) or do something else (6%). One-in-ten (8%) aren't sure what they will be doing this Spring Break. Teens had the option of selecting more than one option, which accounts for the totals being more than 100 percent.

"Spring Break used to be a 'rite of passage,' but that's changed considerably over the years," said Jack E. Kosakowski, president and CEO of Junior Achievement USA. "Even if families are strapped for money, it's not a bad idea to get the kids away from the television and computer screens during this Spring Break season by going to local parks, trails, seeing family and friends, and the like. Technology is great, but spring offers an opportunity to take a 'break' from it, as well."

JA also asked these teens where they would go on vacation if money wasn't a worry or factor. One-in-three (34%) would visit a great city like New York, Paris or Beijing, one-in-five (17%) would hop on a cruise, one-in-seven (13%) would pack their swimsuits and head to the beach, and less than one-in-ten (6%) would visit a national park or someplace else. If given the option, one-in-ten (12%) would still choose to stay home.

Junior Achievement is the nation's largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to categorize needs and wants, own their economic success, plan for their futures, and make smart academic and economic choices. Junior Achievement's programs-in the core content areas of work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy-ignite the spark in young people to experience and realize the opportunities and realities of work and life in the 21st century.

This report presents the findings of an Opinion Research Corporation's Youth CARAVAN survey conducted among a sample of 500 13-17 year olds. Respondents for this survey are selected from among those who have volunteered to participate in online surveys and polls. Because the sample is based on those who initially self-selected for participation, no estimates of sampling error are calculated.

VIA Rail popular with students over march break

Last Sunday was the final day of the Ontario and Quebec March break period, which lasted four weeks (Thursday, February 16 to Sunday, March 19, 2017). During this time, VIA Rail welcomed approximately 353,000 people to its Québec City – Windsor corridor trains.

Taking advantage of additional departures offered since last November, the majority of passengers (close to 53,000) travelled between Toronto and Ottawa. Friday, February 17 was most popular day for travel with some 18,000 people taking the train. The last week, travel plans for those who made the smart choice to take the train were not affected by the major snowstorm that struck southern Québec and Ontario. On Tuesday, March 14, and Wednesday, March 15, VIA Rail transported an average of 12,000 passengers per day to destinations in the Québec City – Windsor corridor, during a time of the year when there is usually a daily average of 8,600 passengers.

"Our strong performance over March break reflects the ongoing efforts to implement initiatives that facilitate our customers' travels, and offer a schedule that matches theirs," said the President and Chief Executive Officer of VIA Rail, Yves Desjardins-Siciliano. "These changes, which were inspired by our customer-centric strategy, are the driving force behind our successes for the last few months."

The train is popular with young travellers
Among travellers, many students sought to avoid traffic jams and opted instead to travel in the comfort of the train during their reading week. A more than 30% increase in travel among semester pass holders was seen compared to the same period last year. The Corridor trains also welcomed more children, and children's ticket sales increased more than 10% over the last three weeks (February 27 to March 19, 2017) compared to the three March break weeks last year.

"Whether it's to travel home from university, or to explore a new destination, VIA Rail allows everyone to travel efficiently and stress-free all while reducing their carbon footprint. The train is also a great place to do school work, study for an exam, or simply relax," added Mr. Desjardins-Siciliano.

A large turnout over Family Day
Over the Family Day long weekend (Thursday, February 16 to Wednesday, February 21), VIA Rail transported 74,000 people on its Québec City – Windsor Corridor trains, an increase of 7.5% in ridership compared to the same period in 2016. Several trains had an occupancy rate of more than 85% over the long weekend.

20/03/2017

Post-Secondary Students in Atlantic Canada Recognized for their Efforts to Build a Greener Canada

Students from Nova Scotia Community College – Waterfront Campus came up with a unique way to help the 3.8 million Canadians that have a mobility disability and the high aboriginal unemployment rate. Their social enterprise, Rampage, employs First Nations community members to manufacture portable accessibility ramps using recycled end-of-life tires.

In Newfoundland, students from Memorial University of Newfoundland identified a need for fresh, affordable produce and food security in Northern Canada. Their solution was Project Sucseed. Working with expert botanists and engineers, they designed a hydroponic system that enables people in northern communities a sustainable way to grow their own produce. In addition to providing systems to northern communities at a subsidized rate, the team has also established 13 food sharing cooperatives.

Enactus Nova Scotia Community College – Waterfront Campus and Enactus Memorial University of Newfoundland have been named 2017 Scotiabank EcoLiving Green Challenge Regional Champions. The teams were picked by Canada's largest experiential learning platform, Enactus Canada, and program supporter Scotiabank.

"We are continually inspired by the creativity and commitment our students exhibit towards environmental education and awareness," said Nicole Almond, President of Enactus Canada. "They are a perfect example of how socially-conscious student leaders can and will build a greener Canada."

Currently in its start-up phase, Rampage, for every ramp built, will divert seven tires from landfills and save $160 per ramp using recycled rubber.

Through Project Sucseed, Enactus Memorial has improved over 3,000 lives, diverted over 240,000 lbs of waste from Canadian landfills and conserved more than 2,000,000 litres of water.

"Young people are our future leaders and we are amazed by the talent we have seen from this year's winners of the Scotiabank EcoLiving Green Challenge," said Craig Thompson, Senior Vice President, Atlantic Region at Scotiabank. "Thank you to all the students who took part in the competition for your dedication to help make our world a little greener. We look forward to seeing how much they will achieve in Canada and internationally."

The Scotiabank EcoLiving Green Challenge empowers post-secondary students to develop and deliver projects that teach viable solutions to relevant environmental issues. Since 2010, 6,518 students have helped conserve 24,405,251 litres of water, diverted 168,653,116 pounds of waste and introduced 3,322 organizations to green business practices.

On March 17, student teams demonstrated the impact of their environmental initiatives to panels of business executives as part of the Enactus Canada Regional Exposition – Atlantic Canada, held in Halifax.

Enactus Nova Scotia Community College – Waterfront Campus and Enactus Memorial University of Newfoundland will now move on to the national level of competition taking place May 9-11 at the 2017 Enactus Canada National Exposition, taking place in Vancouver.

ABOUT ENACTUS CANADA: Enactus Canada, the country's largest post-secondary experiential learning platform, is shaping entrepreneurial leaders who are passionate about advancing the economic, social and environmental health of Canada. Guided by academic advisors and business experts, more than 2,734 entrepreneurial post-secondary students led 280 community empowerment projects and business ventures last year in communities coast to coast. As a global network of 36 countries, Enactus uses the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and shape a better, more sustainable world. For more information, visit enactus.ca.

Canada's Largest Online Mathematics Contest Expands Across Canada

For the first time, Netmath's Can You Math Challenge, organized by Scolab, is now available for students across Canada. Currently available for French students in Quebec and Ontario, the fourth edition will be accessible in both languages for students in Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and New Brunswick. The contest officially kicks off today, with the opening of the free online training camp on the Netmath platform.

Scolab, the organization behind the Netmath platform, created this initiative to unify both French and English students under a mathematics banner. Targeting 100,000 students aged 9 to 16 across Canada; the Netmath's Can You Math Challenge will take place from May 1 to 5. During a 30-minute test that can be taken during regular class hours, students must correctly answer a number of math questions related to their level. Those who accumulate the highest score up to 250 points are awarded the winning title for themselves, potentially their class and school.

March 20 to April 28, students will be able to maximize their success rate by practicing on the Netmath platform, free of charge. Badges, banners and certificates will be awarded to the best students, classes and schools, which will be unveiled the week of May 8, 2017.

"We are very happy to open the contest to all Canadian students in both languages," states Carl Malartre, president and co-founder of Scolab. "This will allow the Netmath's Can You Math Challenge to reach more than 100,000 students this year. Past editions were great successes…and this year again, we're very excited to head one of the country's most important educational events!"

In 2016 over 5,000 teachers enrolled over 91,000 students from 1,645 participating schools. To participate, teachers have to register their class online now at www.canyoumath.ca. Follow the conversation on social by using the hashtag #CYM2017.

16/03/2017

Eligible educators: you can now claim your school supplies!

The Government of Canada values the contribution teachers make providing young Canadians with the education and skills they need to join a strong middle class.

There is a new refundable tax credit for 2016 and beyond: the Eligible Educator School Supply Tax Credit. If you are an eligible educator you can now claim a 15% refundable tax credit on up to $1,000 of supply purchases per year.

Who is eligible?

You can only claim this tax credit if you are a teacher or early childhood educator employed at an elementary or secondary school or a regulated child care facility:

You must have a teacher's certificate that is valid in the province or territory where you are employed; or

You must have a certificate or diploma in early childhood education that is recognized in the province or territory where you are employed.
What kinds of teaching supplies are eligible?

For your supplies to be eligible for this credit, they must be:

purchased in the taxation year by an eligible educator;

used in a school or in a regulated child care facility for teaching or helping students learn;


not reimbursable and not subject to an allowance or other form of assistance (unless the reimbursement, allowance or assistance is included in the income of the teacher or educator and not deductible); and


not deducted or used in calculating a deduction from any person's income for any taxation year.

Some examples of eligible supplies include:
construction paper;
flashcards;
items for science experiments;
art supplies;
various writing materials
games and puzzles;
books for the classroom; and
educational support software.

If you claim this tax credit, the CRA may ask you to provide a certification from your employer attesting to the eligible supplies expense. You should request the certification from your employer in a timely manner and keep it in your files, along with your receipts, in case the CRA requests it.

For more information, go to our website, or consult the Department of Finance Canada's Budget 2016 documents.

14/03/2017

100 eco-conscious schools are announced as finalists in the Superpower your School Contest

 One hundred environmentally conscious Canadian schools are one step closer to winning $25,000 in technology. Today, Staples Canada announced the regional finalists for its 2017 Superpower your School Contest, which recognizes elementary and secondary schools that are helping the environment by implementing innovative eco-programs.

The 100 schools will now advance to a second round of judging where 10 schools from five different regions will be selected to receive $25,000 each towards the purchase of new technology from Staples Canada. The list of 100 finalists can be found at Staples.ca/PowerEco. Final 10 winning schools announced April 22.

"Our judges were blown away by the quality and scale of some of the eco programs that these schools are implementing," said Mary Sagat, president of Staples Canada. "Their passion for making a difference is inspiring. We thank all of the schools who entered the contest and congratulate the 100 finalists for their outstanding commitment to doing their part to improve the environment."

Now in its seventh consecutive year, the contest is held in collaboration with Earth Day Canada and saw more than 700 entries from publicly funded elementary and secondary schools across Canada.

"It's been amazing to see the level of innovation and creative thinking happening in our schools," said Deb Doncaster, president of Earth Day Canada. "The next generation of environmental leaders are very dedicated to the cause, and they're ready to take action now."

Join the Conversation
Follow @StaplesCanada on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and join the conversation using #PowerEco.

About Staples Canada/Bureau en Gros
Staples Canada/Bureau en Gros makes it easy to make more happen with more products and more ways to shop. Through its world-class retail, online and delivery capabilities, Staples lets customers shop however and whenever they want, whether it's in-store, online, on mobile devices, or through the company's innovative buy online, pick up in store option. Staples offers more products than ever, such as technology, facilities and breakroom supplies, furniture, safety supplies, medical supplies, and Copy and Print services. Consistently ranked as one of Canada's top ten companies in Marketing Magazine's Marketing/Leger Corporate Reputation Survey, Staples/Bureau en Gros is dedicated to offering customers the highest level of service. Staples Canada/Bureau en Gros also is invested in a number of corporate giving programs that actively support environmental, educational and entrepreneurial initiatives in Canadian communities from coast to coast. Visit www.staples.ca for more information, or visit us on Facebook and Twitter.

About Earth Day Canada
Earth Day Canada (EDC), a national environmental charity founded in 1990, provides Canadians with the practical knowledge and tools they need to lessen their impact on the environment. In 2004, it was recognized as the top environmental education organization in North America for its innovative year-round programs and educational resources by the Washington-based North American Association for Environmental Education. In 2008, it was chosen as Canada's "Outstanding Non-profit Organization" by the Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication. EDC regularly partners with thousands of organizations in all parts of Canada. To donate to Earth Day Canada, please visit www.earthday.ca/donate.

UTSC Students Starve as University Refuses to Take Action on Labour Disputes

Students from the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus are bearing the brunt of Aramark's lack of action in addressing the concerns of the cafeteria workers. This has led to closure of food vendors and reduced hours of operation of food services on campus, which has left many students without adequate access to food. This has further contributed to the current food insecurity faced by post-secondary students. A recent report, from Meal Exchange called Hungry from Knowledge, showed that 40% of post-secondary students experienced some degree of food insecurity over the past year.

Over the past several weeks, cafeteria workers at UTSC have been on strike calling for living wages and decent health and retirement benefits. Aramark, a subcontractor that runs the majority of food service operations at UTSC, currently pays unfair wages and provides substandard benefits in comparison with their St. George counterparts. While Aramark workers at UTSC generally earn about $11.50 per hour, St. George workers could expect wages between $18-20 per hour.

Recently, Aramark workers at York University have seen a victory and reached an agreement for $15 minimum wage for all workers within a year. In addition to equal health benefits for part-time workers. Unfortunately, workers at the Scarborough Campus continue to be treated as second-class.

"The strike needs urgent attention of the authorities considering the winter weather conditions further restrict food options of the residence students," said Nikita Roy, a residence student at UTSC. "The residence students have purchased meal plans based on the understanding that there will be food options available without any interruptions, and if the university can't provide that, students should be compensated."

"Recent statements from the University Administration have stressed that the University is not involved in the labour dispute. However, when students go hungry because they have failed to take a stance, it is the University's problem," said Thomas Wood, Vice President of Academics and University Affairs. "U of T has a responsibility to mediate an equitable resolution that ensures that workers have living wage and students have access to adequate food services."

The Scarborough Campus Students' Union represents over 13,000 full-time and part-time undergraduate students at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus.

10/03/2017

For persons with disabilities in Canada, education is not always an open door: CHRC report

People with disabilities in Canada are facing overwhelming barriers and challenges within our schools, says Canada's human rights watchdog in a new study released today. In a report, entitled "Left Out: The treatment of persons with disabilities in Canada's education system," the Canadian Human Rights Commission finds that persons with disabilities in Canada are not receiving the quality education they need to later thrive and succeed in the workforce.

Discrimination and the exclusion of persons with disabilities in employment has long been recognized as some of the most prevalent human rights issues in Canada. But what makes an already bad situation worse is that for persons with disabilities the odds are often already against them because of the barriers they face in school.

"Education is supposed to open doors for people, not shut them out," said Chief Commissioner, Marie-Claude Landry. "How can we expect persons with disabilities to thrive and succeed in our workforce if we don't first give them the quality of education they are entitled to?"

The Commission's report highlights barriers and key issues facing students with disabilities, including a lack of disability accommodation and support, a lack of services and funding, as well as widespread bullying and exclusion. For people with disabilities living in remote areas or on First Nations reserves, the situation is even worse. They face the same barriers but with additional ones including a lack of special education and ineffective dispute resolution mechanisms.

"In my recent travels to the Northwest Territories and the Yukon, I have seen firsthand the reality students with disabilities are facing," said Chief Commissioner Landry. "In remote northern communities, a person with a disability may not even have the option to attend school. The support is simply not there. We can and must do better for this and future generations of Canadians with disabilities, both in remote communities and in our cities too."


According to the 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability:

Bullying: More than one quarter of persons with disabilities report being bullied at school because of their disability.
Exclusion: 35% of persons with disabilities in Canada report being avoided or excluded at school because of their disability.
Taking fewer courses: 37% of persons with disabilities in Canada report taking fewer courses because of their disability.
Quitting: 11% of students with disabilities report ending their education early because of their disability.

Government Partners with Martin Family Initiative to Support Innovative Teaching Focused on Early Literacy in First Nations Schools

- Closing the gap in the education outcomes of First Nations children living on reserve is critical to improving their quality of life and contributes to stronger communities for the shared success of all Canadians. The Government of Canada believes there should be nothing preventing an Indigenous child from having the same hopes and aspirations as any other child in Canada and the opportunities to achieve them.

Today, the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, congratulated the students of the six First Nations schools that have joined the Martin Family Initiative's Model School Literacy Project for the 2016-17 school year. They are:

Standing Stone School, of the Oneida Nation of the Thames First Nation in Ontario,
Maupeltueway Kin'matno'kuom, of the Membertou First Nation in Nova Scotia,
Waywayseecappo Community School of the Waywayseecappo First Nation in Manitoba,
Keethanow Elementary School, of the Stanley Mission Cree Nation, Lac La Ronge First Nation in Saskatchewan,
Napi's Playground Elementary School, of the Piikani Nation in Alberta,
Ermineskin Elementary and Kindergarten Schools of the Ermineskin Tribe in Alberta
The Model School Literacy project undertook a rigorous evaluation that demonstrated the extraordinary gains in early literacy of the First Nations children in its two pilot schools. Between 2010 and 2015 the percentage of Grade three children who met or exceeded the standard in reading on the Ontario provincial assessment rose from 13% to 81%. Following the success demonstrated at Hillside School in Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation and Walpole Island Elementary School in Walpole Island First Nation from September 2009 to June 2014, Budget 2016 invested $30 million over five years to support the growth of the model school network to 20 schools by 2020.

This funding will support ongoing targeted training of teachers and education assistants from Kindergarten to Grade 3, as well as the schools' administration. Six schools will be added every two years, beginning with the schools referred to today and including the two pilot project schools. The initiative uses an innovative approach, providing and making use of technology such as video conferencing in the schools, to connect the schools to each other and to outside resources, and to enhance teaching and learning in First Nations communities without the barrier of travel costs.

02/03/2017

A New Way for Students to Improve Their Innovation Skills is Launched; Is It Really Possible to Improve the Way You Solve Problems? Asks CCI Innovate

Studies show that despite a worldwide demand for creativity and creative thinking, today's students are not prepared to enter a workplace that requires inventive thinking.

As businesses continue to adapt to the ever-increasing, globally competitive world, so too do the requirements for students to develop their innovation skills and problem solving abilities. CCI Innovate has today launched a student version of the powerful Basadur Profile tool currently used by over 531 leading business organizations around the world. This scientifically proven profile is now available to provide students with an understanding of how they think and how they solve problems. In addition, it helps them to understand how others around them think.

The profile has been designed to help an individual student, team or work-group understand how to increase their creativity and innovation.

The terms "creative" or "innovative" are often used to describe people who are adventurous and full of ideas. How often do we say the same thing about ourselves? The CCI Innovate profile is now a powerful new tool to assist parents, guidance counsellors and students as they consider future educational options and career choices. The profile offers both secondary and post secondary students instant results as well as helpful ways for them to understand their creative potential.

CCI Innovate has made this profile available to students on line at www.cci-innovate.com.

"I was so impressed with the business version of the profile and its innovative 8 step problem solving process that I was determined to offer the benefits of this tool to as many students as possible. Applying the concepts and results from this tool makes so much sense for students who are continuously immersed in situations that require creative and innovative thinking. The profile is fast and easy to complete and provides you with instant and clear results." Ted Hodge CEO, CCI Innovate 

DAREarts Uses Creativity to Empower Rexdale Kids

DAREarts, a Canadian charity that empowers at-risk kids using the arts, presents its Winter Showcase, presenting performances by over 130 children, grades 4 through 8, from 13 Rexdale area schools. With the theme "Promenade Through Time," the Showcase features visual art, fashion, drama, dance, music and film, created by the youths with arts professionals, that time-travels from the Renaissance to hip hop. Highlights include Juno-nominated musician Glenn Marais alongside Grade 8 students and David Wall, blues artist and Jazz.FM91's Director of Community Outreach and Education, alongside Grade 7 students. Participating schools are: Albion Heights JMS, Beaumonde Heights JMS, Boys Leadership Academy, Chalkfarm JS, Claireville JS, Cookstown Central PS, Elmbank JMA, The Elms JMS, Greenholme JMS, Humberwood Downs JMA, Melody Village JS, Smithfield MS and West Humber JMS.

This event is critical at a time when many of our young people face difficult choices. Bullying, peer pressure, youth violence and delinquency are just a few of the harsh, daily realities. With a severe lack of leadership opportunities or creative outlets, kids often become targets of negative influences. DAREarts closes the opportunity gap by giving these kids artistic, learning and personal development opportunities throughout the year.

DAREarts operates nationally and is centred around the power of the arts and the DARE principles of Discipline, Action, Responsibility and Excellence. DAREarts' Toronto program works with 9 to 14 year olds from schools in high-priority neighbourhoods, empowering them to become leaders. Select schools choose two students from Grades 4 to 8 who are in need of leadership opportunities. DAREarts Lead Teacher, Laura MacKinnon, and a team of arts professionals take the children to many arts venues across Toronto, including the AGO, the Aga Khan Museum, DAIS, Ballet Jorgen, the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, and the Toronto School of Art, where they explore cultures and create themselves. After each DAREarts Day, the student 'delegates' are tasked with going back to their home schools to peer teach their classmates what they have learned, becoming sharers of knowledge and cultures in the process. The annual Winter Showcase is a celebration of all they have learned in the program, and a testament to their potential as future leaders.

"I'm so proud of what these children have achieved in building their confidence and courage to be leaders," says DAREarts founder Marilyn Field. "Their inner discipline, talent and creativity is proof that, with the right opportunity, our kids can achieve anything."

Established 21 years ago, DAREarts has reached over 200,000 kids, giving many the necessary skills to avoid the pitfalls of drugs, guns and gangs and, instead, take up the arms of paint brushes, voices, instruments and acting. DAREarts thanks national supporter Northbridge Insurance and lead supporters Anne Livingston, Scotiabank, TD Bank Group, and the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario. Local Education Partners include The Toronto District School Board (TDSB).

When: Thursday, March 2, 2017
7:00 p.m. Opening Remarks from DAREarts Founder Marilyn Field and visiting dignitaries
7:10 p.m. Showcase presentation
8:00 p.m. Reception
Where: North Albion Collegiate Institute (NACI), 2580 Kipling Avenue, Etobicoke, ON

Northern Ontario youth learning vital job skills to eliminate barriers to employment

A total of 48 Northern Ontario youth, more than half of whom are expected to be young women facing employment barriers and Indigenous youth, will learn critical skills and knowledge to prepare them for the transition to the job market or to return to school, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, announced today.

Hajdu said, "Young people in Northern Ontario are facing employment barriers and want to build their own future in the workforce and contribute to their communities at the same time. Skills Link projects like Young Adults in Action help at-risk youth get the training and skills they need. These skills help them to enter the workforce, strengthen our middle class and keep our economy growing."

Minister Hajdu, Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay–Superior North, made the announcement in Geraldton at MTW Employment Services. Established in 1999 with a mandate to provide local residents with bilingual assistance for employment and training needs, MTW Employment Services will receive more than $647,000 under the Skills Link program. Since its inception, the Skills Link program has helped over 296,000 youth develop skills and gain experience to find a job or return to school.

The project, Young Adults in Action, will help youth in Geraldton and Longlac develop a wide range of job readiness skills, teach them team work, and organization and communication skills. The program will run for 134 weeks and will bring in eight participants through six intake periods until October 2019. Participants will attend classroom sessions where they will acquire industry standard training and receive certification in Workplace Hazardous Materials Information Systems, Smart Serve, safe food handling and first aid. They will also take part in a 16-week, full-time paid work placement to help them achieve their planned career goals.


01/03/2017

Fed Up with Kids Who Won't Put Their Devices Down, Teacher Develops New Approach to Revolutionize How Kids Read 

​Getting kids to pay attention has always been a challenge for teachers. But this is even more true today when most students own multiple devices that entertain, offer them instant gratification, and divert their attention from traditional book learning. Teacher and illustrator Red Rohl believes he has found the answer to engaging, inspiring and exciting students, thereby creating a classroom of energetic learners. He calls it sketchnote inspired art and this purposeful form of doodling is the basis for his new book series, Heavy Sketches.

Rohl says, "In the classroom, students have various learning styles and if they aren't tuned in, they are bored, disengaged, and apathetic. This causes them to miss educational opportunities and fall behind in the required curriculum. That discord is what started me on my mission to make a difference."

This form of sketchnoting, he observes, works especially well for students who are visual learners and those who learn by hands-on activities, which typically fade after middle school ends. Surprising as it may seem, Rohl says students who doodle may be paying more attention than those who don't. Teachers can use this cross-curricular approach to help students pick up math, social studies, science, and writing skills in the classroom. It is even finding its way into the corporate world where adults are using the form of visual note taking to remember key points made in business meetings.

The Heavy Sketches series, which came out in January, is an Amazon bestseller in the categories of cartoons, anthologies and manga. It features 30-years' worth of original illustrations combined with facts, fiction and other educational content.

Credentials: A lifelong illustrator, Red Rohl has 20 years of experience teaching at-risk students; he often incorporates his drawings into the lessons he teaches. He is currently traveling the U.S., visiting schools to promote his art and literacy program, Red's Reading Revolution. He posts a biweekly cartoon blog for kids covering timely topics and important historical figures on his website.

27/02/2017

Apprenticeship for Leaders: New Scouts Canada Program, The Canadian Path, Empowers Youth to Call the Shots

In today's modern world, young people have more power, influence and affect on their environment than any previous generation – so its not surprising that one of Canada's most established youth organizations, Scouts Canada, is recognizing this change by introducing a new youth-led Scouting program called The Canadian Path. As part of a five-year revitalization of Scouts Canada's programming, The Canadian Path enhances the best of Scouting and places a greater focus on empowering youth to plan, organize and lead activities throughout the year.

"Education research has shown that learning is most successful when children and youth drive the process," said Dr. Judith Newman, education consultant for The Canadian Path and former Dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba. "The Canadian Path's learner-centric approach fosters an environment that gives youth control of their learning and inspires them to figure out things for themselves with the help and guidance of volunteers, providing greater opportunity for individual and team growth."

The Canadian Path was developed by hundreds of individuals across Canada with a broad range of backgrounds and professions including educators, social workers, outdoor educators, spiritual leaders, project managers, youth members and adult volunteers. Scouts Canada consulted thousands of members throughout the process, surveying youth members to determine what they most wanted to get out of their program, and travelled across Canada to test out programming with different Scout groups to garner their feedback.

Although adult volunteers are still actively involved in helping to support and guide local groups, Scouts aged five to 26 are taking on more responsibility and a hands-on approach to choose, plan and run their own activities and adventures.

"By putting the Scouting Movement in the hands of Scouts, we're able to challenge young people in new ways by encouraging critical thinking, and provide them with a greater sense of personal progression, engagement, fulfillment and accomplishment," said Doug Reid, project lead for The Canadian Path. "Through this process, Scouting becomes a leadership apprenticeship, providing youth with tools, knowledge and skills to be strong leaders in every part of their lives."

The Canadian Path was developed in consultation with different Scouting programs around the world, including Scouting Ireland's successful new One Programme, on which many of the principles of The Canadian Path are based. Scouting has always been about helping youth grow and develop, and The Canadian Path sustains this tradition with a progressive awards scheme that recognizes youth for their continued growth and development in key areas of tangible skills and knowledge.

To learn more about The Canadian Path, visit http://www.scoutinglife.ca/canadianpath/.

As part of Scouts Canada's ongoing program revitalization, in 2013, Scouts Canada launched new science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programming with the support of the Imperial Oil Foundation and ExxonMobil Canada to foster curiosity and practical skills in STEM subjects and nurture future Canadian scientists, engineers and mathematicians, to help meet the growing demand from companies and academic institutions.

Best Buy Canada awards secondary schools across Canada with funding for new tech

Best Buy Canada is proud to announce the 16 secondary schools, selected from more than 220 applicants, to receive funding of up to $10,000 each for tech-based curriculums through the Best Buy School Tech Grant program. The recipient schools will use these grants to give students access to the latest in technology to help keep students motivated and inspired as they move towards post-secondary education.

"Exposure to technology has become essential for today's youth but there is still a huge need for upgraded or increased technology in classrooms." said Karen Arsenault, Community Relations Manager, Best Buy Canada. "In reviewing the applications, it was inspiring to see the passion of the teachers and principals who illustrated how much this technology will impact their students by providing diverse and innovative learning opportunities and, in some cases, simply leveling the playing field."

The 16 schools receiving a Best Buy School Tech Grant are:

General Grants:

Frank Hurt Secondary - Surrey, BC
Braided Journeys Program, Edmonton Catholic School District - Edmonton, AB
École Secondaire Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School - Red Deer, AB
Kyle Composite School - Kyle, SK
Elmwood High School - Winnipeg, MB
Holy Cross Secondary School - St. Catharines, ON
Ridgemont High School - Ottawa, ON
The Dr. G.W. Williams Secondary School - Aurora, ON
Vezina Secondary School - Attawapiskat, ON
Ecole secondaire Gérard-Filion - Longueuil, QC
St. Malachy's Memorial High School - Saint John, NB
STEM Grants:

Burnaby South Secondary School - Burnaby, BC
Alpha II Alternative School - Toronto, ON
Ridgetown District High School - Ridgetown, ON
Ecole Marguerite-De Lajemmerais - Montréal, QC
Richmond Regional High School - Richmond, QC
General Tech Grants are designed to help improve or integrate technology in classrooms to advance student learning. This could include new technologies including libraries, special needs classrooms, literacy programs and more. STEM Tech Grants are for schools looking to enhance technology in programs pertaining to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, which includes robotics clubs, math programs, computer coding and digital media courses.

All 16 schools will receive their funding in the coming weeks and celebrations will happen at the School Tech Grant recipient schools with the support of local Best Buy teams.

Best Buy Canada focuses its community investment on connecting youth with technology to inspire, motivate and empower their education. Through this mission, Best Buy has provided more than 140 Canadian schools with grants to purchase the technology, in addition to offering post-secondary scholarships and supporting youth with hands on tech learning opportunities.

In the coming months, Best Buy School Tech Grants will offer elementary schools with the opportunity to apply for funding for new technology. Educators interested in being notified when grants are next available can email schoolgrants@bestbuycanada.ca.

For more information about Best Buy's community investments, visit www.BestBuy.ca/Community.

Students Oppose Government of Ontario's Attack on Apprenticeships and Skilled Trades, Health and Safety Rules

The Canadian Federation of Students - Ontario is speaking out against Bill 70, "budget measures omnibus legislation" proposed by the Wynne government. Students are outraged that this omnibus bill is being rushed through Queen's Park given how it will impact apprenticeships for skilled trades, and health and safety inspections in workplaces.

Schedule 17 of Bill 70 strips away regulatory powers currently held by the Ontario College of Trades, who set and oversee standards around which jobs require compulsory trades workers. Under Bill 70, the Minister of Labour will be empowered to interpret these regulations, which experts fear will undermine the number of qualified journeypersons on the job. Students seeking to be skilled trades apprentices do not want to be exploited as cheap labour, which will happen if the number of qualified journeypersons diminishes. Students want skilled trades apprenticeships that lead to well-paying jobs, and look to the College of Trades to ensure such options are available.

Schedule 16 of Bill 70 amends Ontario's Occupational Health and Safety Act and will exempt some employers from unsolicited workplace inspections by Ministry of Labour (MOL) investigators. If Bill 70 is passed, investigators will only be dispatched if a complaint is lodged, setting a dangerous precedent, particularly for young workers. Given research on workplace injuries and fatalities, in Canada two workers die every day on the job, often from situations that could have been prevented with greater attention to health and safety. We need more MOL investigators on the job, not less.

"I'm concerned that the public doesn't know what's at stake, especially for young workers in skilled trades," said Rajean Hoilett, Chairperson for the Canadian Federation of Students - Ontario. "Young workers want good employment after putting in up to 10,000 hours in an apprenticeship program, and they want to be protected on the job. Bill 70 is a step in the wrong direction."

Students support the Progressive Certified Trades Coalition (PCTC), an alliance of union and employer groups, who is demanding Schedules 16 and 17 be pulled immediately from Bill 70. "We call on the Wynne Government to follow this advice, and not rush decisions that will impact the future employment for skilled trades workers," says Gayle McFadden, National Executive Representative of the Canadian Federation of Students- Ontario.

The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario unites more than 350,000 college and university students in all regions of the province.

16/02/2017

York Region School Trustee Nancy Elgie steps down, calls for healing, learning & restorative process to begin


​ York Region School Trustee Nancy Elgie today released a video statement announcing her intention to step down to allow a process of healing, learning and restoration to begin on the board and in the community. Here is an abridged version of her statement:

"17 years ago, I was honoured to be elected as the school trustee for Georgina, and to apply my 40 years of experience as an educational psychologist to try to help strengthen our school system. It was also a chance to build on the public work of my late husband, Bob Elgie, a pioneer of Ontario's Human Rights Code. As a trustee, I have always tried to make a difference, particularly for our most vulnerable children.

Last November, I made a terrible mistake. In a private conversation with Trustee Loralea Carruthers, I was trying to refer to a parent who had been at the board meeting; but I did not know her name, only that she had been featured in media stories about children being called a hurtful racist word. In trying to explain that, the words came horribly wrong. I was mortified. I apologized immediately to Trustee Carruthers and explained what I meant. She accepted my apology and said she understood I had misspoken in using that offensive word.

I later learned that someone had heard my remark, but not the apology, and filed a complaint. That led to an investigation, about which I could not speak with anyone until it was done – not the parent involved, my colleagues, or the media.

After the investigation, I immediately apologized to the parent involved, and to my colleagues. Today, I reiterate that heartfelt apology. I know how hurtful that word is – even if used inadvertently – and I am truly sorry for the pain my words have caused.

People have asked how I could have said that terrible word. I have agonized over this. As you may have read, I had a bad fall and suffered a head injury before this incident. A specialist later confirmed that I'd had a concussion, and that I was experiencing some of the common symptoms, including mixing up my words.

But I have come to realize that while my head injury may help explain what I said – why I mixed up my words – it doesn't excuse it. I used a hurtful word – one that is directly at odds with my values, with the things my husband and I fought for, and with how I've lived my life and brought up my children.

How can I help to heal the harm?

As I said after the investigator's report, I want to do what is right, to promote healing and recovery for the board and in the community.

I have followed the public debate, and listened to all who have contacted me, with a range of different views. Some have questioned why I did not resign immediately. It was never about protecting my position; I am 82 years old, and had no intention to run again.

My main concern was the lesson that would be passed on to our students if the consequences for my infraction were totally punitive, with no attempt to also be restorative. A restorative approach, which evolved from the practices of First Nations peoples, has been an integral part of how our board handles student discipline.

The Board policy I breached had no remedy. That isn't right. So I wanted to try to model the approach our Board takes to student discipline: to lead by example. We teach students that if you break a rule and cause harm, there are consequences. But we also teach that if it was unintended, and you apologize and take responsibility, those are mitigating factors. Typically there is a sanction, but also a process for learning and restoration that includes the person responsible for the harm.

So I proposed this same approach for me: a suspension, followed by a process for dialogue and restoration. I wanted this to be a teachable moment for all of us.

It has become obvious, however, that the repercussions of my behaviour that evening have brought undeserved distress to many people, including the parent involved.

So I have decided that the best thing I can do to serve the people of Georgina, and the board, is to step down. I hope that this will allow Trustees to move forward and focus on the many important issues they face. And that it will enable a process of healing and restoration to begin. I am quite willing to be involved in that process, if it would be helpful, though it will not be as a trustee.

People come and go, but institutions prevail, and continue to enrich our communities. The YRDSB is one such institution, made up of dedicated, loving, competent staff at all levels, who I know will continue to enrich and inspire the children for whose education they share a responsibility.

To the people of Georgina, its families and their children, it has been an honour to have served as your trustee for the past 17 years.

Fraser Institute News Release: Fastest improving secondary schools in Ontario found outside the GTA, according to annual ranking

​Secondary schools in all corners of Ontario are showing signs of improvement, but far too many schools aren't improving at all, or worse, have declined in their overall ratings, according to the Fraser Institute's annual ranking of Ontario secondary schools released today.

"From northern Ontario to the southwest, urban and rural, schools with high levels of special needs students or schools in ethnically diverse communities, there are examples across the province of schools serving students with very different needs that are improving year after year," said Peter Cowley, director of School Performance Studies at the Fraser Institute.

This year's Report Card on Ontario's Secondary Schools ranks 740 anglophone and francophone public and Catholic schools (as well as a small number of independent and First Nations schools) based on seven academic indicators from results of annual provincewide math and literacy tests.
Of the 10 fastest improving secondary schools in Ontario, none are in Toronto or even the Greater Toronto Area.

Marie-Rivier, a French Catholic high school in Kingston, is the fastest improving, followed by West Ferris Secondary School in North Bay, Sacre-Coeur in Sudbury, and St. Thomas Aquinas in Lindsey.

Looking at the 15 schools in the Toronto-area that are improving, nearly half had household incomes well below the provincial average of $74,700 in 2012/13, the last school year for which this statistic was calculated.

C.W. Jeffreys near Jane and Finch in Toronto was the fastest improving school in the GTA. Blessed Mother Teresa in Scarborough's Malvern neighbourhood was 2nd fastest. James Cardinal McGuigan, also in the Jane and Finch area, was the 7th fastest improving school in the GTA.

While 59 schools across the province showed improvement in their overall ratings over the past five years, 51 showed declining scores.

"All too often we hear excuses that schools can't improve their students' performance because of the communities they serve, but there are success stories across Ontario where teachers with students that face challenges every day nonetheless find ways to help their students improve," Cowley said.

For the complete results on all ranked schools, and to easily compare the performance of different schools, visit www.compareschoolrankings.org.

In addition, teacher Isaac Ozah of Jean Vanier Catholic Secondary School earned the Gerd Reisenecker Memorial Teacher of the Year Award, named for the former Centennial College professor and TADA member.

The 18th annual Toronto Automotive Technology Competition received outstanding support from the industry. Sponsors included: TADA, the Canadian International AutoShow, Volkswagen Canada and Toronto-area VW dealers, General Motors Canada, Snap-On Tools, Consulab, Canadian Tire, Prona Tools, Electude-Argo, Nelson Education, Pearson Education, TecMate and Centennial College.

16/02/2017

Inspire the hearts and minds of Canada's next generation of engineers with the Canadian premiere of DREAM BIG: ENGINEERING OUR WORLD opening February 17, 2017 at the Ontario Science Centre

Celebrate the human ingenuity behind engineering marvels when MacGillivray Freeman Film's DREAM BIG: Engineering Our World makes its Canadian premiere at the Ontario Science Centre on February 17, 2017. Narrated by Academy Award® winner Jeff Bridges, this immersive IMAX® film offers an exciting new perspective on what it means to be an engineer.

From the Great Wall of China and the world's tallest buildings to underwater robots, solar cars and smart, sustainable cities, DREAM BIG showcases engineering marvels big and small. With its inspiring human stories—including a young woman engineer building bridges in undeveloped countries and an underprivileged high school robotics team that succeeds against all odds—DREAM BIG reveals the compassion and creativity that drive engineers to create better lives for people and a more sustainable future for us all.

DREAM BIG is the first giant screen project of its kind to promote the educational STEM movement (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

"Dream Big showcases the innovative ways engineers are shaping the world of tomorrow,‎" says Catherine Paisley, Vice President of Science Education and Experience, Ontario Science Centre. "This inspiring film shows how engineers apply the principles of science and mathematics to develop solutions to everyday problems."

"Parents and teachers are looking for ways to turn kids on to science and engineering," shares Director Greg MacGillivray, a two-time Academy Award nominee and chairman of MacGillivray Freeman Films. "With DREAM BIG, we wanted to bring something new to that effort with an entertaining, visually spectacular film full of stirring human stories that reveal the impact engineers have on our society. We hope it energizes kids of all ages, especially girls, to think about engineering as a meaningful way to help others and leave a positive mark on the world."

MacGillivray Freeman Films and its partners at the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and Bechtel Corporation have produced educational materials to go with the film and are providing funding for programs at museums and science centres such as Engineering Festivals and Girls Night Out. Some of the targeted programming is meant to introduce middle and high-school girls to dynamic women engineer role models to encourage their interest in engineering careers. Also available are 50 hands-on engineering activities, educational videos, lesson plans for grades K-12 and other engineering-themed events. These educational components are hosted on the educational website www.DiscoverE.org/dreambig.

The family-friendly film has a run time of 40 minutes. For ticket and show time information, please visit www.OntarioScienceCentre.ca. Tickets are $9. For more information about the film, please visit www.dreambigfilm.com.

St. Brother Andre Catholic High School students win big in TADA skills competition

r Two automotive technician students from St. Brother Andre Catholic High School in Markham, Ontario, prevailed over 18 other Toronto-area high school teams to win a high-octane skills competition at the Canadian International AutoShow today.

Ryan Gullage and Michael Lamanna performed a number of timed technical tasks and worked on a new Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen that had been rigged with a no-start condition by automotive instructors from Centennial College. The Toronto college operates Canada's largest transportation technology training centre.

By finishing first, the pair will be representing Canada at the National Automotive Technology Competition in New York City in April. In addition to the all-expenses-paid trip, Gullage and Lamanna received tools and equipment from sponsors.

Scarborough's Jean Vanier Catholic Secondary School finished second, thanks to the efforts of students Marc Balagot and Ashton Sawh, while Hayden Bruce and Justin McCollow from Adam Scott Collegiate and Vocational Institute in Peterborough earned third place. The automotive labs of all three schools will receive a vehicle from General Motors Canada for training purposes.

In addition, teacher Isaac Ozah of Jean Vanier Catholic Secondary School earned the Gerd Reisenecker Memorial Teacher of the Year Award, named for the former Centennial College professor and TADA member.

The 18th annual Toronto Automotive Technology Competition received outstanding support from the industry. Sponsors included: TADA, the Canadian International AutoShow, Volkswagen Canada and Toronto-area VW dealers, General Motors Canada, Snap-On Tools, Consulab, Canadian Tire, Prona Tools, Electude-Argo, Nelson Education, Pearson Education, TecMate and Centennial College.

15/02/2017

Selfless 16™ launches partnership with The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award, Ontario

Selfless 16™, a Toronto-based inspirational youth movement organization focused on empowering youth to give back through selfless acts of charity, proudly announces its partnership with The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award, Ontario.

The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award aims to inspire and promote lifelong improvement for young Canadians by encouraging personal development and achievement, making the organization a natural partner for Selfless 16.

Founded in 2016 by Soheila Mosun, a grade 11 student at Appleby College and Cornell University Summer College Ambassador, Selfless 16 has quickly captured the attention of youth and educators. Armed with the desire to drive awareness for community causes and to encourage self-reflection amongst her peers, Soheila started and grew Selfless 16 to inspire and encourage young adults to give back to their community through a milestone event in their lives, their sixteenth birthday. By replacing the colloquial "Sweet 16" birthday party with a Selfless 16 celebration, a focus is placed on bringing together youth, their friends, and families to celebrate their coming-of-age, all while raising awareness and funds for charitable causes that support local and global communities.

"We are very excited about our partnership with the Duke of Ed," said Mosun. "This collaboration will help expand Selfless 16 to youth across Canada, allowing us to reach, inspire, and empower a broader audience and to make a bigger impact. We look forward to empowering a new wave of dynamic young leaders to mobilize further positive change locally and globally."

Mosun is also the proud recipient of the Duke of Edinburgh's Silver Level Award and has her sights on securing the Gold Level Award, the program's highest level of achievement.

"We believe that not all learning happens in the classroom and our aim is to help equip young Canadians for success in life," said Jeff Needham, Executive Director, The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award, Ontario. "Partnering with Selfless 16 encourages new youth to participate in our program and provides existing participants an exciting new offering that encourages members to work towards their Bronze, Silver and Gold Award Levels in a new way."

Selfless 16 continues to drive impact and will grow through the influence of its Youth Ambassadors. The organization will be recruiting for new ambassadors to join the movement and is encouraging anyone who is interested in learning more to get in touch at Selfless16.com. A major celebration to recognize the progress of the Selfless 16 movement, the hard work of the Selfless 16 team and generous contributions from the organization's supporters is scheduled to take place on August 16, 2017.

To learn more about Selfless 16, please visit and follow the links below:

www.Selfless16.com | https://www.facebook.com/Selfless16TM | https://twitter.com/selfless16tm | https://www.instagram.com/selfless16tm.

About Selfless 16™:

Founded in 2016, Selfless 16 is an inspirational youth movement that empowers and mobilizes young adults to create change. For more information, visit Selfless16.com and follow on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @Selfless16tm.

About The Duke of Edinburgh International Award, Ontario:

The Duke of Ed believes that not all learning happens in the classroom and its aim is to help equip young Canadians aged 14-24 for success in life. By recognizing all of the amazing things young people can do and learn outside the boundaries of formal education, the Award empowers them to discover hidden talents, develop untapped leadership potential, make a difference in their community and explore the wonders of the great outdoors. For more information, visit dukeofed.org and follow on Twitter and Facebook @dukeofedontario.

Métis Nation - Saskatchewan urges provincial government to approve Northern Teacher Education Program (NORTEP) Council recommendation

Saskatchewan is urging the Saskatchewan Minister of Advanced Education and the Provincial Government to approve the recommendation from the Northern Teacher Education Program (NORTEP) Council on a post-secondary successor to assume responsibility for this teacher training program starting August 1, 2017.

A timely decision is required if a new delivery agent is to be in place August 1, 2017, as there's much work to be done in advance. Some of the important tasks that lie ahead include staffing, recruitment, class scheduling and the transfer of assets to the new service provider.

Saskatchewan's Minister of Advanced Education, Bronwyn Eyre, is on record indicating that she would respect the recommendation from the joint committee comprised of Ministry staff and representatives from NORTEP. This committee reviewed and evaluated proposals from six organizations. As a result, a successor was selected and a recommendation was provided to the Minister in mid-December 2016.

There were six agencies that provided written submissions and presentations to the joint committee. The agencies were: University of Saskatchewan, University of Regina, Northlands College, First Nations University of Canada, Northern Lights School Division and the Gabriel Dumont Institute.

The joint committee unanimously chose the Gabriel Dumont Institute (GDI) as the agency best-suited to ensure the continuation of Northern University training in La Ronge. Over its 36-year history, GDI has trained over 1,200 teachers and helped thousands of other graduates in basic education and skills training programming. The Institute has affiliation agreements with both provincial universities and has extensive experience offering programming to Northern communities.

The Métis Nation is extremely concerned that any further delays in making a decision may have a detrimental impact on Northern University programming and the success of Northern Métis students. We encourage the Minister to honour her commitments and confirm the recommendation of a new delivery agent based on the work of the joint committee and the agreed-upon process. The Métis Nation also urges the Minister to ensure that adequate resources are made available for the new delivery agent to fully meet the needs of Northern University students.

14/02/2017

 This Valentine's Day, Students, Staff and Faculty are Loving $15 and Fairness

​This Valentine's Day, students, staff and faculty will be joining forces to call on the Ontario government and local campus administrations to show workers some love. The events are part of a provincial outreach blitz taking place on more than 10 post-secondary campuses across Ontario.

"Whether it's students working in low-wage, precarious employment, contract faculty or food services workers standing up for decent wages and working conditions, we all have a stake in changing the laws that protect workers," says Alia Karim, a Fight for $15 and Fairness campaigner at York University. "All workers deserve at least $15 an hour, paid sick days, fair scheduling, respect at work and so much more."

Gayle McFadden, Ontario National Executive Representative for the Canadian Federation of Students says: "Too many students are forced to work part-time in low wage jobs with few benefits while continuing to study full-time. Wages are simply too low for students to earn enough money to offset rising tuition fees. We need this provincial government to improve wages and working conditions in 2017 – students don't have time to wait until after the next election for decent work and wages."

"We should expect our public institutions to be leaders in providing decent work," says Janice Folk-Dawson, a maintenance worker at the University of Guelph and chairperson of CUPE Ontario's University Workers' Coordinating Committee. "Unfortunately, by contracting out decent, unionized jobs to third party service providers who pay substandard wages, campus administrations are quite consciously creating more precarious employment. Cleaners and food services workers are particularly vulnerable to this kind of cheap labour strategy."

"Some administrations are paying so little to these third party service providers that the contracted companies cannot pay decent wages even if they wanted to," says Mina Rajabi, president of the York University Graduate Students' Association, who has been supporting campus food service workers (members of Unite Here Local 75) who are bargaining with Aramark for decent wages and working conditions. "These food service workers, many of whom are women, workers of colour or newcomers, earn on average less than $12.50 per hour. It's scandalous. And it explains why so many are joining forces to demand the York administration intervene to ensure these workers have decent wages."

Meanwhile, contract faculty continue to face job insecurity, inadequate wages and all too often lack access to benefits. "Working contract to contract, and being paid less than your colleagues for the same work, is inequitable and it can be demoralizing," says Fran Cachon, a contract faculty member at the University of Windsor and chair of OCUFA's (Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations) Contract Faculty and Faculty Complement Committee. "The working conditions of professors are the learning conditions for students. When we invest in workplace fairness, we invest in high-quality university education."


About the NATO Association of Canada

Founded in 1966, the NATO Association of Canada is a charitable, non-profit, non-governmental organization. The NAOC is mandated with promoting peace, prosperity and security by facilitating conferences, publications, research and policy events to establish broader understanding of the importance of security issues addressed by the NATO Alliance.

For more information, visit www.NATOassociation.ca

13/02/2017

The Bishop Strachan School Announces New Head of School

 The Bishop Strachan School (BSS) today announced the appointment of Judith Carlisle as Head of School, succeeding outgoing Head, Deryn Lavell. Ms. Carlisle joins BSS from Oxford High School, an independent day school for girls in the UK, with nearly 900 students spanning the ages of 4-18 years. Oxford High School is one of the top-performing independent schools in Britain.

Among her many accomplishments as Head, Ms. Carlisle is perhaps most widely known for a bold initiative called, "Goodbye Little Miss Perfect," the goal of which has been to teach students to make the distinction between high standards and "unhelpful perfectionism.'' She is also respected for her work in pioneering research-based, inquiry-oriented education for girls.

Her illustrious career includes six years as Head of Dover Grammar School for Girls in the UK, where she guided the school to record-breaking A-level results and an International School Award. For the previous 14 years, Judith held progressive leadership roles at King Edward VII School and Whitley Abbey School.

"I am thrilled and honoured to be entrusted with the leadership of such a highly regarded school as BSS," said Ms. Carlisle. "The school's mastery of inquiry-based learning and emphasis on educating girls to be leaders is renowned throughout the international education community. My own focus, beliefs and values are entirely aligned with the BSS Culture of Powerful Learning."

The appointment of Ms. Carlisle is the result of a rigorous international search conducted under the leadership of the BSS Search Committee, chaired by Tony Gaffney, with input from a Faculty Advisory Committee, and contributions from the entire BSS community. The search was guided by Heather Ring of Caldwell Partners.

"The BSS Board is thrilled with the result of this search," said Cindy Tripp, Chair of the BSS Board of Governors. "BSS is a unique and academically exceptional school, having evolved over 150 years with a reputation for empowering girls to be leaders. We required a very particular mix of skill, experience, personality and energy, all of which Ms. Carlisle possesses."

Founded in 1867, BSS is Canada's oldest independent day and boarding school for girls, celebrating its 150th anniversary alongside Canada in 2017. Within a uniquely challenging, active and supportive environment, 900 girls in JK to Grade 12, from Toronto and all over the world, explore their potential and find their voice. Students aspire to the highest academic standards and develop the character and diverse skills required to thrive in today's marketplace.

Robert Baines named President and Chief Executive Officer of the NATO Association of Canada

- Today, the NATO Association of Canada (NAOC) is announcing its newly elected President and Chief Executive Officer, Robert Baines, CD, MA. Mr. Baines is succeeding the NAOC's long-serving president, Ms. Julie Lindhout, effective March 10, 2017.

In an increasingly complex and uncertain world, the NATO Association educates Canadians about the vital role of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Canada's international engagement. The NAOC ensures that peace, prosperity and security are not taken for granted by Canadians.

Discussing his new role, Mr. Baines stated, "I look forward to expanding the excellent legacy built by Julie Lindhout and all those who have enabled the NATO Association to become a respected national organization. The current international climate requires the NAOC to make sure Canadians realize security is not a naturally occurring phenomenon: we have to work for it. The NATO Association will be elevating NATO's profile in Canada and explaining how international security touches all Canadians."

Mr. Baines has been Corporate Development Officer of the NAOC since 2010 and Executive Director of the Canada-Albania Business Council. He has a BA in Philosophy from Trinity College, University of Toronto and an MA in History from York University. Mr. Baines is active on multiple youth boards for Canada's leading arts organizations and serves as Vice President of the St. George's Society of Toronto. Most significantly, Mr. Baines has extensive experience working with NATO issues and the Canadian defence establishment. He is a member of the Canadian Armed Forces Reserve and has received the Canadian Forces Decoration.

NATO Association Chair, Hon. Hugh Segal, OC, OOnt, underlined "Robert's military experience, his long time association with NATO and the Atlantic Council, his energy, vision, and commitment to the ideals of NATO, and his strong sense of creative leadership and inclusion make him a superb choice to advance a new generation's perspective and engagement in support of the values and principles of the Atlantic alliance."

In praise of the NAOC's retiring president, Mr. Segal remarked how Ms. Lindhout, "has symbolized the tireless and selfless spirit of service and commitment that has kept the NATO Association of Canada a dynamic force for public education on security matters and challenges. Her focus on young people, outreach to the community and the whole NATO family marks her remarkable period of engaged service as one of vision and steadfast diligence."

About the NATO Association of Canada

Founded in 1966, the NATO Association of Canada is a charitable, non-profit, non-governmental organization. The NAOC is mandated with promoting peace, prosperity and security by facilitating conferences, publications, research and policy events to establish broader understanding of the importance of security issues addressed by the NATO Alliance.

For more information, visit www.NATOassociation.ca

10/02/2017

Cafeteria workers at University of Toronto Scarborough Campus on open-ended strike to end 'poverty-wage jobs'

Cafeteria workers working for Aramark at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus (UTSC) launched an open-ended strike Thursday, an escalation in their fight to end what they describe as 'poverty-wage jobs' on the university campus. These workers, members of UNITE HERE Local 75, have been bargaining a new collective agreement for several months.

As the provincial government considers a number of measures to address so-called precarious work - low-wage jobs with little job security - members of the UTSC community are calling on the school to make a commitment to good jobs, so no worker on campus earns a wage that keeps them in poverty.

"If the province wants to address precarious work, we think they should start in their own backyard," says UNITE HERE Local 75 President Lis Pimentel.

"The university administration is hiding behind the food service sub-contractor that they hired," says Jemilie Adajar, a food service supervisor working for Aramark at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus. "But they need to step in and solve this. U of T has the money, but it feels like they're ignoring our situation, the same way they ignore the Scarborough Campus in general."

Campus cafeteria workers at University of Toronto's downtown St. George Campus are employed directly by the university rather than by a sub-contractor, and earn a living wage with good health and retirement benefits. University of Toronto Scarborough Campus cafeteria workers, on the other hand, earn only $11.50 per hour with sub-standard benefits. Yet Tim Hortons and Starbucks workers, for example, on the St. George campus and the Scarborough campus do the exact same job.

An open-ended strike could also occur at York University Campus as early as next week, where Local 75 members working for Aramark are also in contract negotiations, according to the union.

Campus and Community Radio Stations Join Canada's Premier Radio Broadcasters in Radioplayer Canada Launch

 Canada's National Campus and Community Radio Association (NCRA/ANREC) has joined a growing consortium of premier radio broadcasters representing more than 400 stations who have come together to launch the Radioplayer Canada app and desktop streaming player technology in Canada.

Announced earlier this fall, Radioplayer Canada's free app will give radio listeners access to nearly every style of music, news, talk, and entertainment content on any connected device, at any time of day, from anywhere. This now includes many of Canada's vibrant campus and essential community stations.

"The opportunity to display the amazing talents of close to 10,000 broadcaster/contributors in the campus and community sector is so important for the radio sector, let alone the non-profit portion of the Canadian market," said Barry Rooke, Executive Director, NCRA/ANREC. "We are thrilled to work with our partners across the industry to facilitate discovery of all types of radio, and that's what Radioplayer Canada does. It gives listeners the chance to find something new to fall in love with."

Radioplayer Canada will allow Canadians immediate access to their favourite English and French entertainment, news, sports, and talk radio stations - all in one place.

"Community and campus stations are a vital part of any country's radio sector," says Michael Hill, Managing Director, Radioplayer Worldwide. "They're training-grounds for industry innovators, which is why it's great that Radioplayer Canada has decided to support them with this initiative. It's inclusive, collaborative, and egalitarian – values which are at the heart of both Canada, and Radioplayer."

Listeners will be able to access live and past radio broadcasts across the country through Radioplayer Canada's browser-player, and on connected devices through the iOS or Android app, including integrations with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Chromecast, and smartwatches.

Radioplayer Canada brings campus and community stations together with those of Bayshore Broadcasting, Blackburn Radio, Blackgold Radio, Byrnes Communications, CAB-K Broadcasting, Central Ontario Broadcasting, Clear Sky Radio, Cogeco Media, Corus Entertainment, Durham Radio, Fabmar Communications, Golden West Broadcasting, Harvard Broadcasting, Larche Communications, Newcap Radio, Jim Pattison Broadcast Group, Rogers Media, Rawlco Radio, RNC Media, Saskatoon Media Group, Vista Radio, and Westman Communications Group, among others. For additional business opportunities, please visit www.radioplayer.ca.

09/02/2017

Workers Locked Out at Ontario Government School for Deaf Children

Security guards at an Ontario government school for deaf children have been locked out of their jobs, becoming the latest group of vulnerable workers victimized by the proliferation of low-wage, precarious contract jobs across the province.

Security guards at Sir James Whitney School for the Deaf – owned and operated by the Ontario government – were locked out Wednesday after resisting employer demands to accept poor wages, benefits and working conditions, including a demand to work up to 60 hours a week without overtime pay.

"This case is particularly objectionable because the Ontario government is complicit in the shoddy treatment of these workers," said Marty Warren, Ontario Director of the United Steelworkers (USW), which represents the security guards.

"The Ontario government owns and operates this school. Rather than acting as a responsible, decent employer, the government has opted for two levels of contracted-out services to private companies, directly creating more vulnerable, low-wage, precarious workers," Warren said.

The Ontario government awarded a private contract to a U.S.-based corporation, CBRE Group, to manage the Sir James Whitney School for the Deaf property. CBRE, in turn, contracted out security services at the school to another private company, the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires.

The seven security guards at the school have been trying to negotiate their first collective agreement after joining the USW in late 2015. They have met with considerable resistance in their attempt to secure a fair union contract with improvements in wages, benefits and working conditions.

The security guards earn less than $13 an hour and are required to pay up to $1,300 a year for basic benefits. They requested at the bargaining table to join a union-sponsored benefit plan that would save money for the employer and employees' alike, but the proposal was rejected by the Commissionaires.

The workers were locked out of their jobs by the Commissionaires after the company insisted on a schedule forcing employees to work up to 60 hours a week without overtime pay. The union has filed an application for first contract arbitration at the Ontario Labour Relations Board, seeking the OLRB's assistance with achieving a fair agreement.

"The Ontario government should be ensuring that workers in this province can build a decent life for themselves and their families," Warren said.

"Instead, the government is offloading its responsibilities and playing a direct role in creating more low-wage, vulnerable, contract jobs," Warren said. "And the Corps of Commissionaires, whose role it is to help former members of the Canadian Forces and the RCMP, is acting like the stingiest, profit-driven private operator."

Toronto's OCAD University goes global

OCAD University (OCAD U) is launching a trailblazing international initiative, bent on elevating Canada's prominence in the global communities of art and culture. The Jack Weinbaum Family Foundation Global Experience Project (GEP) will bring four leading international artists to Toronto for a significant residency at OCAD U over the next five years. The GEP will connect selected students with the visiting artists and notable scholars, on campus and abroad.

"We are thrilled beyond words to realize the launch of the Jack Weinbaum Family Foundation Global Experience Project," said Dr. Sara Diamond, President and Vice-Chancellor, OCAD University. "The opportunity to interact closely with ground-breaking international artists will shape the learning experience for OCAD U students in a way that no classroom ever could, and heighten international awareness of Toronto as a vibrant contemporary art community."

For GEP's inaugural year, OCAD U is hosting the renowned Isaac Julien as its artist-in-residence. A London-based filmmaker and video installation artist, Julien is working with five students who have access to the behind-the-scenes installation of his current show at the Royal Ontario Museum (Isaac Julien: Other Destinies, now on until April 23, 2017) and will participate in events involving the artist and his work, including the upcoming Images Festival, which will screen Who Killed Colin Roach? and Territories.

As part of his residency, which extends until the end of March, Julien will engage with students and the arts community through lectures, screenings and discussions. In May, GEP students will travel to London, England to spend time with Julien in his studio and learn about his process. The students will continue to develop their own projects with Julien's feedback and critical perspective on their work, while immersed in London's arts community.

About The Jack Weinbaum Family Foundation Global Experience Project

In residence at OCAD University for a period of five to six weeks, each year's visiting artist will commit to open studio hours where students can engage informally with the resident. The artist will collaborate in faculty-led classes, conduct public presentations, create art and engage with the broader community through exhibition and/or artistic research.

While visiting the resident artist's home community abroad, students and faculty will have the opportunity to engage with the local art community and gain exposure to a broader, international artistic network. Depending upon the resident artist's medium of choice, the students' work abroad could take various forms: as in-situ art projects, gallery and studio assistance, entrepreneurial activity, research projects, community projects, artist visits and more.

Global Experience Project students will be selected through a rigorous process of faculty review based upon portfolio, grades and a formal proposal.

Introducing this year's GEP students: Yuling Chen, Aylan Couchie, leaf jerlefia, Aaron Moore, Justyna Werbel.

"These young artists are being given a chance to build a diverse international network that will continue to influence their development long after they leave OCAD University," said Carol Weinbaum of the Jack Weinbaum Family Foundation. "We are very honoured to play a part in the development of Canada's next generation of emerging artists."

"The Jack Weinbaum Family Foundation has been a supporter of OCAD University for nearly 15 years," said Diamond. "We are extremely grateful for its longstanding commitment to OCAD U and continued investment in the Canadian art landscape."

You can find more on GEP on the OCAD U website and please follow us on social:

Facebook (Global Experience Project)
Twitter (GlobalXProject)
Instagram (@globalxproject)

Four Ontario Universities Make it to the Finals of the 8th Annual Local Research Challenge

CFA Society Toronto and CFA Society Ottawa have selected four Ontario university teams as finalists for the annual local CFA Institute Research Challenge, a global equity research competition among student teams from elite business and finance programs.

The CFA Institute Research Challenge is a competition between university-sponsored teams that research a designated publicly traded company, prepare a written report on that selected company, and then present their findings to a panel of judges. The competition has three levels: local, regional, and global. Winners at the local level advance to compete against teams within their geographic region at the regional level. Winning teams at the regional level advance to compete at the global level. One team is designated the ultimate winning team, or champion, at the global level.

"We would like to extend congratulations to student teams from Queen's, Ryerson, UofT Mississauga, and Waterloo, for being amongst the four finalists out of the original group of 13 that are contending for the 8th Annual Local Research Challenge championship." said Sue Lemon, CFA, CEO of CFA Society Toronto.

The local level of the Research Challenge provides students with the unique opportunity to develop and present an equity research report on Canada's own supermarket chain and compete on a global basis. Students learn from leading industry experts and their peers from the world's top business schools.

"The Society promotes the value of practical learning through the support of student focused initiatives. This competition promotes best practices, research skills, analysis, report writing, and presentation skills. By participating in the CFA Institute Research Challenge students gain an understanding and perspective of the "real world" challenges involved when analyzing actual companies and competing with each other to produce the best equity research report. Under the guidance and mentorship of Society volunteers, we aim to help the next generation of financial professionals develop the skills required to be successful in the practice." added Sue.

08/02/2017

York University helps employers quickly respond to one of Canada's largest talent shortages

 With access to more data than ever before, businesses are facing a serious shortage of big data experts and predictive analysts who know how to properly analyze it. York University's School of Continuing Studies is pioneering a unique solution to this challenge.

York University has launched two new certificates, the Certificate in Big Data Analytics and the Certificate in Advanced Data Science and Predictive Analytics that will prepare graduates to enter this growing job market in just six months.

"Employers tell us that there is, and will continue to be, a significant shortage of qualified data analytics professionals. Our Certificates will quickly produce graduates with comprehensive expertise in the field without requiring working students to be out of the office," says Tracey Taylor-O'Reilly, York University's assistant vice-president, continuing studies.

Representing one of the largest talent shortages in Canada, big data opportunities are exploding in every sector from marketing to financial services to professional sports. The Greater Toronto Area is at the epi-centre of this talent gap. Employers frequently report that they cannot find qualified candidates and are heavily investing in re-training their workforce. In 2016, more than 60% of Canadian executives reportedly planned to add professionals trained in big data analysis and business intelligence to their teams. Researchers estimate that 150,000 data analytics professionals are needed to fill roles in Canada. The demand will continue to grow with open access to data sets, the introduction of new big data software applications, and the increased applicability of big data to new market segments.

Together, the Certificates provide a comprehensive education in contemporary data analytics through online coursework and bi-weekly evening computer labs using the leading software applications with which many employers require familiarity.

The Certificate in Big Data Analytics provides a foundational overview of the field, focusing on how to use the data to identify opportunities and solutions to organizational challenges. This Certificate will benefit those who are new to the field along with specialists in other fields (such as marketing, insurance, finance, human resources, and policy) who want to confidently leverage big data to excel in their sector.

The Certificate in Advanced Data Science and Predictive Analytics will build on foundational knowledge to prepare graduates to take on Data Analyst or Business Analyst roles and to pursue the Certified Analytics Professional (CAP®) designation, the premier global professional certification for analytics practitioners.

"Today more than ever, analytics play a crucial role in creating a positive customer experience," says Roland Merbis, Director of Customer Insights & Analytics at Scotiabank. "As a member of the program's advisory council, I look forward to working with York University to help establish an analytics program that will set students up for success and close the skills gap for employers."

The School of Continuing Studies at York University offers professional education certificates, English academic preparation and a degree pathway for mature, working students.

06/02/2017

Insight Academy of Canada Celebrates Grand Opening, Offers International Opportunity for Students Seeking Ontario High School Credits

Today marked the official opening of Insight Academy of Canada, an onsite and online high school offering courses from Grade 9 to 12. The opening ceremony was held at the school's physical campus in Scarborough and attended by students, teachers, staff, and community members. Scarborough-Agincourt MP Arnold Chan's Constituency Office Manager, Hilla Master, also attended to present a congratulatory scroll.

"We are opening this school so that more students can have access to teachers and courses who meet Ontario's high standards" said Jerry Yang, Principal and Co-Founder at Insight Academy of Canada. "Our Canadian school system is one of the best in the world, and students both locally and internationally deserve the opportunity to benefit from this system."

The new school offers onsite courses from the Scarborough location, including a full-time program directed at international students who are new to Canada. Student services in this program aim to create a smooth transition for young newcomers by setting up residential accommodations, assisting students while adjusting to the new culture, and providing language support as needed.

Online courses are also offered by Insight Academy of Canada as an alternative to the traditional classroom. "The way young people are earning their education is changing" said Yang, "online courses create a new option for students who would not otherwise have access to a traditional high school in Canada." Yang added that the school has started outreach to international students who want to get a head start before making the move to Canada.

For local students in and around the GTA, the school is offering a flexible way to complete high school on a course-by-course basis, as well as a non-profit Olympiad Math Program as an affordable option for extracurricular competitive math training.

Students Take Call for Free Post-Secondary Education to Parliament Hill

 Students from across Canada are in Ottawa this week meeting with Members of Parliament and Senators to present a plan that would see tuition fees eliminated for all students.

"We must move towards a system of universally accessible post-secondary education so that everyone in this country has an equal opportunity to succeed," said Bilan Arte, National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. "Years of reliance on individual savings schemes and other patchwork solutions have not addressed a system failure."

Students will present MPs and Senators with three proposals to transform public post-secondary education in Canada:

Eliminate tuition fees for all skilled trades and apprenticeship, college and university students, including international students, by restoring federal public transfers for post-secondary education;

Fulfill Indigenous peoples' right to education by funding all First Nations, Métis and Inuit learners through the Post-Secondary Student Support Program (PSSSP);

and

Strengthen Canada's research capacity by increasing graduate student funding.
Students' recommendations would bring Canada on par with many other countries around the world that provide universal access to post-secondary education. The proposals also address commitments that have been unfulfilled by the Liberals. In the 2016 federal budget, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau broke his promise to Indigenous learners by failing to invest in the PSSSP. An estimated 10,000 Indigenous students continue to wait for funding to pursue a post-secondary education.

"A pattern of broken promises is emerging from a federal government that campaigned on real change," said Arte. "Students will not settle for the status quo. We are seeking justice and fairness for some of the most marginalized communities on our campuses and we expect the federal government to do more than pay lip service to Indigenous and international students."

Students' lobby document, titled From Piecemeal Reform to Universal Access, can be downloaded here.

The Canadian Federation of Students is the oldest and largest national student organization in Canada, representing over 650,000 college, undergraduate and graduate students across the country.

January 30, 2017

Colleges seek urgent meeting with Premier Wynne on $1.9-billion funding shortfall

Ontario's 24 colleges are seeking an urgent meeting with Premier Kathleen Wynne to address the funding crisis that has colleges facing what could be a cumulative $1.9-billion shortfall by 2024-25.

"The chronic underfunding of college education has reached the breaking point," said Fred Gibbons, the president of Northern College and chair of Colleges Ontario. "High-quality programs that are critical to helping people pursue rewarding careers are in jeopardy as the government continues to ignore the escalating cost pressures at colleges."

Since 2007-08, the provincial funding for colleges' operating costs – in real dollars – has decreased each year. Colleges have suffered an accumulated shortfall – adjusted for inflation – of about $900 million over the past 10 years.

A new report by PwC Canada, commissioned by Colleges Ontario, indicates that if no actions are taken to change current trends of revenues and expenses, colleges could face an annual operating deficit that will exceed $400 million a year by 2024-25 and a cumulative shortfall of more than $1.9 billion by that time.

While colleges have worked to manage funding shortfalls through greater efficiencies, the sector is at the breaking point. The government's recent announcement that tuition fees at Ontario's colleges will remain among the lowest in Canada worsens the fiscal squeeze.

College representatives will be meeting with Advanced Education and Skills Development Minister Deb Matthews in February to discuss the issue. The colleges are also seeking an urgent meeting with the premier.

The underfunding of college education is particularly puzzling at a time when the economy is being transformed by accelerating technological advancements. Without a change in direction, Ontario won't have a highly skilled workforce and the economy will continue to sputter.

"The ongoing neglect of college education makes no sense," Gibbons said. "If the ability of Ontario's colleges is any further impaired from being able to offer high quality programs and services, growing numbers of Ontarians won't be able to find meaningful and well-paying employment in an already difficult economy.

"As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the college system this year, we are looking to work with the government to ensure this issue is addressed in the 2017 Ontario Budget," Gibbons said. "The budget must commit to improvements that ensure college education can be sustained for the next 50 years."

The full PwC report can be found on the Colleges Ontario website.

27/01/2017

Smith School of Business Demonstrates High Financial Ethical Standards

On 19 January 2017, CFA Society Toronto was pleased to congratulate the students from Queen's University Smith School of Business at the 2017 Canadian Ethics Challenge: Local Competition. This year's local champions, Lekan Akindele, Adam Prokop, Carter Smith and Weixuan Xue, demonstrated their ability to expertly negotiate ethical dilemmas in a real-life investment scenario and presented their case to a panel of seasoned investment professionals.

"We'd like to say that it is an amazing feeling to represent Smith School of Business and to bring home our first local win. It has been quite the journey from our first meeting in October 2016, but it was well worth it and we all look forward to representing Smith School of Business at the national level. We'd like to thank everyone who has supported us throughout our preparation, especially Dr. Sean Cleary, CFA who has gone above and beyond to help us perform our best." said team member, Carter Smith.

The Ethics Challenge is designed to increase students' awareness of the ethical dilemmas they may encounter as future investment management practitioners. Student teams are given an ethics case to study and evaluate. Each team then presents its analysis and recommendations, to a panel of judges, selected by the host CFA Society. Following a question and answer period with each team, the judges then select a winner. Their decision is based on the quality of the team's understanding of the ethical issues involved, quality of their analysis, presentation, and responses to the judges questions.

Kevin Veenstra, CFA, Assistant Professor of Accounting at McMaster University commented, "As a researcher, educator and former practitioner, it is clear to me that ethical practice equals stronger long-term return on investment. If we look at cases of investment industry fraud over the past 20 years, there are two recurring predictors of problems. The first is poor tone from the senior management level and second is lower level employees who succumbed to the pressure of questionable organizational norms. While ethics training and competitions like these are not a panacea for eradicating all unethical behaviour in the investment industry, it is an important preventative step in educating future investment professionals about how to recognize and deal with ethical issues before they become a problem. I am very pleased by this and other CFA Society Toronto initiatives designed to educate local university students about the importance of ethics."

This year's competing teams include students from Queen's University Smith School of Business, University of Ottawa's Telfer School of Management, University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management, and York University's Schulich School of Business.

"CFA Society Toronto held the first Ethics Challenge on 9 January 2014, where three teams from local CFA Institute Program Partner Universities participated. With the overwhelming success of this initaitive, we are proud to see its evolution into a nationwide competition in 2017; with local Ethics Challenges occurring across Canada and a local winning team advancing to the 2017 Canadian Ethics Challenge held here in Toronto on 1 June 2017." Sue Lemon, CFA, CEO, CFA Society Toronto.

About CFA Society Toronto
CFA Society Toronto supports the professional and business development of over 9,000 CFA® charterholders in Toronto, making it the largest society of CFA charterholders, globally. We provide members with a local perspective on a global designation, including: educational programs, sponsored events, job postings, quarterly newsletters, a comprehensive affinity program and networking opportunities. A not-for-profit organization, CFA Society Toronto is affiliated with CFA Institute, the global body that administers the Chartered Financial Analyst® curriculum and sets voluntary, ethics-based performance-reporting standards for the investment industry. CFA Society Toronto's members are leaders in ethics in the financial community. For more information, please refer to www.cfatoronto.ca

Radical cuts to teaching, support positions will hurt college students

Radical proposals in a leaked PricewaterhouseCooper report, including slashing thousands of faculty and support staff jobs, will hurt college students, says the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), which represents more than 20,000 college workers.

The chair of OPSEU's College Academic Division, RM Kennedy, said the report's authors ignored the most important reason for colleges' dire financial situation: severe underfunding.

"This report fails to give sufficient attention to the fact that Ontario's colleges receive the lowest per-student funding of any province," said Kennedy. "While the report suggests several combinations of solutions, it buries the simple fact that the shortfall could be closed by a mere 2.1-per-cent annual increase in provincial funding.

"We have one of the strongest provincial economies across the country, and yet the government is failing to use this opportunity to invest in our future success. Instead, while per-student tuition revenue is up 56 per cent over the last six years, provincial funding is down 10 per cent over the same period."

Marilou Martin, chair of OPSEU's College Support Division, suggested that the authors' focus on the perspective of executives led to biased results.

"Had the authors bothered to ask staff, we would have recommended a number of ways to improve services and control costs at the same time," said Martin. "These include reducing the incredible growth in administration positions, which are up 77 per cent since 2002-03, and ending expensive legal attempts to prevent part-time workers from unionizing."

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said the report represents a missed opportunity to involve staff, faculty and students in improving Ontario colleges.

"Our members know what works and what doesn't work," said Thomas. "These colleges are simply too important to Ontario's economy to mess around with. They need predictable, stable, year-over-year increases in funding, and those funds need to go to the front lines so students and communities see real results."

Scientists and Students Tackle Omics at NASA Workshop

 As Houston gears up for the Super Bowl, scientists and students are tackling Omics during the 2017 NASA Human Research Program (HRP) Investigators' Workshop in Galveston, Texas this week. Kicking off the week, astronaut, molecular biologist and Human Health and Performance Deputy Director Kate Rubins, Ph.D., awarded prizes to 10 art students at Mosbacher Odyssey Academy in Galveston on Tuesday for their artistic portrayal of Omics, a challenging topic for any age. Rubins sequenced DNA in space for the first time last year. On Wednesday, The Sports Gene author David Epstein and Twins Study investigator Chris Mason, Ph.D., hosted a session about the "Omics of Sports and Space." Epstein also provided the keynote address during the HRP awards banquet Wednesday evening. On Thursday, Twins Study investigators are presenting their preliminary results to attendees.

Omics is a rapidly evolving field of study that integrates multiple biological disciplines and focuses on measurements of a diverse array of biomolecules. It combines genomics (genes), transcriptomics (RNA transcripts), proteomics (proteins), epigenomics (modifications to DNA and its packing), metabolomics (metabolites) and microbiomics (microbial DNA) enabling researchers to observe more molecular activity in the human body than ever before. Long duration spaceflight, including to Mars, will take humans into uncharted territory by traveling approximately three years from Earth's protective magnetic field. NASA will use this research to understand deep space risks to protect future crews. The Twins Study uses Omics as a 21st Century toolset to help achieve that goal.

In the Twins Study, ten principal investigators are evaluating the effects of long-duration spaceflight on two identical twins, Scott and Mark Kelly, because they share almost identical DNA. By examining identical genomes, researchers can focus on the modifications to DNA and other biomolecules resulting from stressors. The analyses were conducted before, during and after Scott's year-long journey aboard the International Space Station. Mark, a retired astronaut, served as the on-ground, non-flying comparison subject. The Twins Study investigations are part of NASA's evaluation of genetic techniques to understand the effects of weightlessness, radiation, and other spaceflight factors on the health and performance of astronauts in deep space.

Though Scott Kelly landed in March 2016, the investigators only recently began analyzing pre-flight, in-flight and post-flight samples, at the same time, in order to minimize variability in sample handling. This approach helps clarify the differences between the two astronauts and increases confidence in the data and findings.

Investigators are integrating the preliminary data and will release an official summary of the Twins Study findings later in 2017. They are continuing their discussions and data-sharing, while adhering to the data confidentiality protocols required for such sensitive topics. They are mapping out integrated analytical approaches to take advantage of each investigator's unique capabilities.

Graham Scott, Ph.D., vice president, chief scientist and associate director of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute, said, "This workshop is a prime opportunity for Twins Study investigators to present their initial findings, confirm or challenge their initial interpretations, and to understand their specific findings in the context of related results. It's also opening doors for other researchers and students to better understand and engage in Omics research."

The Investigators' Workshop continues to grow each year uniting renowned researchers from around the world. The 2017 event highlights the initial results for the One-Year Mission and Twins Study research investigations, and gave local students an opportunity to participate in the Omics art competition. The conference provides a variety of specialty sessions to attendees and spurs future collaborations. Scientists and students are scoring multiple touchdowns in this Super Bowl of Omics.

NASA's Human Research Program enables space exploration by reducing the risks to human health and performance through a focused program of basic, applied, and operational research. This leads to the development and delivery of: human health, performance, and habitability standards; countermeasures and risk mitigation solutions; and advanced habitability and medical support technologies.

January 25, 2017

$20-Million Fund Will Support Innovation at Ontario's Colleges

The new $20-million Colleges Applied Research and Development Fund (CARDF) announced by Premier Kathleen Wynne will promote new economic growth, the Ontario Centres of Excellence and Colleges Ontario said today.

"College-based applied research projects continue to develop innovations that help businesses throughout the province grow and create new, high-quality jobs," said Linda Franklin, the President and CEO of Colleges Ontario. "This fund will strengthen Ontario's competitiveness in key sectors."

The fund was officially launched today at an announcement at Conestoga College. It is part of the Ontario government's Business Growth Initiative and will be coordinated through a partnership between the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), Colleges Ontario and the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science (MRIS).

"As Premier, it is my job to make sure that students in Ontario are prepared for today's economy and job market. By increasing access to experiential learning opportunities, where students can solve real-world challenges, we are giving them the tools they need to thrive in the workforce," said Kathleen Wynne, the Premier of Ontario.

"Applied research and development has a broad economic benefit in Canada and Ontario. It is vital we invest in applied research to create opportunities for students and industry to work collaboratively. This will help our innovation economy thrive and compete in the global race," said Reza Moridi, the Minister of Research, Innovation and Science.

"This new fund will encourage public-private partnership between colleges and Ontario businesses that will drive innovation, research and development. It will also provide unique experiential learning opportunities for college students that will allow them to build the skills they need for the jobs of today and tomorrow," said Deb Matthews, the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development.

With a proven and measurable record of successful program delivery as well as bridging the gap between industry and post-secondary institutions to promote the collaboration and commercialization of breakthrough research, OCE has been entrusted by the government with delivering the Colleges Applied R&D Fund (CARDF) in partnership with Colleges Ontario.

The objectives of the Colleges Applied R&D Fund are to:

Drive increased industry/post-secondary collaborations while creating an efficient marketplace for industry to access innovation, productivity and commercialization services from colleges;
Provide experiential learning opportunities for college students;
Better align colleges with the needs of companies and strategic sectors; and
Enable the development of new products, services and processes, facilitate productivity improvements, and help generate new revenues and high-value jobs for Ontario.
The Colleges Applied R&D Fund is comprised of three college-specific streams:

College Strategic Sector/Cluster/Technology Platform Projects;
College Voucher for Technology Adoption (VTA); and
College Voucher for Innovation and Productivity (VIP)
"The Colleges Applied R&D Fund is a great addition to Ontario's innovation ecosystem, and one that will directly support experiential learning for college students while connecting them to the needs of the industries and economies of the future," says Dr. Tom Corr, OCE's President and CEO. "Aligning college-based expertise with the challenges facing Ontario companies will help Ontario generate high-value jobs and support its competitiveness around the globe."

19/01/2017

Students Prosper from STEM Education

Education is particularly critical for today's students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, as the number of jobs with an emphasis in STEM is expected to grow significantly over the next 10 years, according to the National Science and Math Initiative.

With the right funding, schools across the country are putting an emphasis on STEM education and looking for new ways to make a difference in the lives of their students and their communities. For Rochelle Middle School in Rochelle, Illinois, a $25,000 grant from the America's Farmers Grow Rural Education program, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, enabled the school to enhance its science curriculum by exposing students to STEM-related career opportunities and preparing students for the workforce. The program included the purchase of a 3D printer to introduce students to the technology and bring their designs and ideas to life.

Shortly after the program began, the students learned about a local farmer who lost his arm in an accident while working in the field and they began working on a program to use the 3D printer to build a fully-functioning prosthesis for him.

Other Americas Farmers Grow Rural Education grants have helped schools expand their science curriculum by building greenhouses, continuing a remote-operated-vehicle science program, developing a livestock learning laboratory on a high school campus and others.

"STEM education is a vital foundation for the future of students and communities," said Al Mitchell, Monsanto Fund president. "With the support of local farmers, we are proud to provide resources to engage and excite students in their STEM educations, and help them understand practical applications of their studies."

Since starting the program, Rochelle Middle School's parents and teachers have noticed a change in students, as they seem more engaged and excited to learn. Many even stay after school for an independent study course with their science teacher.

"The grant helped enhance our STEM offering to students and show them what their futures could hold," said Vic Worthington, Rochelle Middle School science instructor. "In middle school, it's easy for these students to go to school each day, but not understand the full picture of possibilities of their futures. Through this program, schools are able to put possibilities in front of students they couldn't have previously dreamed of."

The Grow Rural Education program is seeking nominations from farmers through April 1, 2017, to help provide rural public schools with funding for STEM projects. Since the program began partnering with farmers in 2011, more than $11 million has been awarded to help rural schools in need. To learn more about the program or how farmers can nominate a school near them, visit GrowRuralEducation.com.

University of Guelph workers overwhelmingly endorse strike action

 Members of Local 1334 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 1334) which represents trades, maintenance and service workers at the University of Guelph, have voted overwhelmingly in favour of taking strike action in a vote completed yesterday.

93% voted in favour of authorizing the union to take strike action if they cannot reach an agreement with the university administration. The major bargaining issues are job security and the proposed contracting out of cleaning services for three buildings on campus.

"The administration has shown nothing but disrespect to these hard-working women and men," says Janice Folk-Dawn, President of CUPE 1334, "we are trying to negotiate a contract that provides good and stable jobs at the University of Guelph, and they have responded by threatening to contract out services on campus, replacing good jobs with low-wage, precarious work."

The desire to contract out cleaning services comes after the university significantly reduced its cleaning budget in 2015.

Deliberately leaving service positions vacant and a reduction in cleaning frequency by the administration has resulted in the University of Guelph facilities being given a grade of "unkempt neglect" for cleanliness by an independent review.

"It goes to show the University of Guelph's disregard for the learning environment of its students," Folk-Dawson said, "they would rather cut services that affect the facilities in which students work and attend class, while attempting to transition their workforce from trained professionals with stable, long-term jobs, to a rotating cast of temporary and low-wage workers."
The union and the university are scheduled to meet again on February 16 and 17 with the assistance of a provincially-appointed mediator.

"The university was once named a top employer in Canada, but now Guelph is on the path from "top employer" to low-wage employer. We hope that they can come to their senses and negotiate a contract that strengthens the university community," Folk-Dawson added, "but if they don't, our members have demonstrated that they are prepared to fight for good jobs on campus."

Technology Startup University Beyond releases Survey Results from 600 Gen-Z students across the US; Announces new Insights Division

With inauguration day upon us, pundits have begun to decode how the different voter segments feel about the results. This week, the college focused tech start up University Beyond, which matches employers to college talent, activated its nascent Insights division, UBI, alongside its partner Shine Scout, Inc., to survey college students across the country about what they were feeling, post-election.

The results came in rapidly and fiercely focused from students across the United States. These newly minted first time voters -- Gen Z, as they are called, stood true to their growing reputation as inclusive, intelligent, even-tempered, thoughtful and hardworking. Politely, but unflinchingly, they spoke of being left out by this election.

In fact, close to 70% of those asked felt that their generation "wasn't heard". This newest generation, also known as 'The Plurals' for their diversity of race and religion, were quick to point out the America belongs to all people, regardless of their race, culture or sexual choices. In their own words to the incoming president, "Take another look at the way you treat other people -- women, girls, people of color, lgbt people, muslims -- and remember that they are people you are now responsible for. We are not the other, we are your country, and you must respect us." They sense a deep threat to the rights of women, and the safety of minorities, as well as the specter of war. When selecting from a list of post-election issues, close to 60% of students checked these as their top concerns. But their cries of foul are by no means shrill, or passive.

Rather:

Over 60% cite the desire to 'do something positive"

40% electing to express this by joining with their peers to make sure this never happens again.

31% look to protest peacefully

31% look to become activists

When asked about their specific hopes and fears, they haltingly look forward to a time of increased financial prosperity and a regaining of economic strength. This is strongly overshadowed, however, by a fear of war, and the sense that we, as a nation, have begun a rapid descent into civil unrest and racial bigotry. They are very frightened. However, they have shown themselves, since birth, to be steady and thoughtful -- and we see this in their view of the future: it is murky and uncertain, but they are willing to wait and see what happens. They are on watch, however, and are determined and ready to step in and make things right. Consistent with their reputation as a solution focused, hard working group, they are not setting themselves up as victims, or throwing blame at anyone. They are willing and able to take on the worst scenario and want to have a part in creating a better future

Methodology - Qualtrics software was used, with a combination of multiple choice and open ended responses. Over 600 students people replied to the survey covering all US states. (With the exception of Hawaii, Alaska and Montana.).
13/1/2017
Steps Toward Reconciliation Through Resiliency: Students Meet and Share in Lessons Learned from Indigenous Teachings
 Hundreds of participants, with student representation from 20 Alberta and B.C. schools will gather on Stoney/Nakoda traditional land to discover how lessons from Indigenous teachings can contribute to a healthy school community.

"Young people are not just the leaders of tomorrow — they have a great untapped potential for responsible leadership today." - Brendtro, Brokenleg and Van Brockern

Students, teachers and health professionals will explore resilience as a path to healthy school communities, and leave with philosophical foundations and practical tools that positively support resilience in youth. Participants are part of the movement to inspire wellness as a priority in schools, recognizing that healthy students are better learners.

What you'll see during the workshop:

Students engaged in outdoor traditional games, participating in sharing circles, Elder reflections, active sessions, a historical blanket exercise and more
Aboriginal youth speaking about the impact of mentorship in their lived experience
Strength-based approaches to supporting First Nations health in Alberta school communities
The workshop is hosted by Ever Active Schools in conjunction with the 8th annual school health conference, Shaping the Future. Ever Active Schools is a government of Alberta cross-ministerial initiative that assists schools in creating and sustaining healthy, active school communities.
Studica Announces Health Program that Meets Ontario's Sexual Education Standards
 Studica Limited Canada, a Canadian retailer for academic software and technology products, announces the availability of a comprehensive health program that meets the standards of Ontario's sexual education curriculum. Available immediately, the RealCare Program incorporates simulators and curriculum that Canadian educators can use to teach a variety of topics mandated by the province, including the stages of development, STIs, pregnancy and healthy choices.

"We understand how demanding it can be for educators to seek out new resources to implement to meet Ontario's sex ed curriculum standards," said Ana Gonzalez, Studica's Business Development Manager. "For this reason, we at Studica Limited Canada have taken the steps to ensure that our health program and products meet the province's new standards so that we can assist educators in this transition."

Developed by Studica's partner and creator of the RealCare Program, Realityworks , Inc., the RealCare Program uses experiential learning tools like the RealCare Baby infant simulator, the RealCare Pregnancy Profile Simulator, the RealCare Shaken Baby Simulator and others, as well as curriculum, to help educators address a variety of topics regarding relationships, sexuality and family planning, from self-esteem, relationships and reproductive systems to conception, prenatal development, the birthing process and the responsibilities of parenting.

"With this program, educators can use powerful simulation experiences and real-world decision-making experiences to address anatomy and physiology, adolescent development, pregnancy, STIs, HIV, relationships, personal safety and more - all in a way that aligns to and supports Ontario's curriculum," said Derek Murphy, Studica Limited Canada Manager.

For more information about the RealCare Program, including standard alignment details, visit www.studica.com.
Harris Institute Ranked Best for 5th Year
 Toronto's Harris Institute ranked best private school in the 2017 'Media Arts Education Report' for a 5th consecutive year. Report author Jim Lamarche says, "Harris Institute is the best school of its kind in Canada. Highly Recommended."

In its ninth year, the Report included in its top 10 schools, Ryerson University's School of Media, OCAD University, the Ontario Institute of Audio Recording Technology (OIART), Metalworks Institute and Seneca College.

With over 100,000 visitors from around the world, Lamarche's Media Arts Education Report Card remains the quintessential source of information on post-secondary media arts education in Canada.

Harris Institute is the only school outside of the US in Billboard Magazine's most recent "Top 11 Schools". It was previously featured in Mix Magazine's "Audio Education's Finest' and Billboard's "Schools That Rock".

Harris graduates won or were nominated for 197 awards in the past two years, including Grammy, Emmy, Oscar, Juno and Canadian Screen Awards. The school's Arts Management Program is the only college program in North America to achieve seven 0% Student Loan Default Rates and it's Audio Production Program achieved a third 0% Default Rate in 2016.

Harris Institute and the University of the West of Scotland (top 5% in the 2016 'Times Worldwide Higher Education Rankings') have pioneered accelerated post-secondary education. Since 2005, 124 Harris graduates have earned BA and B.Sc. degrees on full scholarships in Scotland. The partnership was expanded in 2016 to offer Harris graduates who complete both the Audio Production and Arts Management Programs (double major in 20 months) direct entry into Master's Degree programs at UWS in Sound Production, Songwriting or Music Industry at their Glasgow and new London, England campuses. Students earn two college diplomas from Harris and an MA from UWS in less than 3 years.
Fluent College Student Survey Reveals Rising, Falling Trends among Gen Z; New Behaviors Reflect Social and Economic Realities
As the first generation of true digital natives, Generation Z is solidifying a number of consumer trends initiated by their Millennial predecessors, with seamless adoption of new technologies and expectations of immediacy ever more the rule than the exception. At the same time, according to leading college marketing and insights agency Fluent, this generation is coming of age during more global economic and political uncertainty than any other generation has faced in a century, making them more cautious and disciplined than they might first seem. The agency released results from its second annual survey of 500+ U.S. college students this week.

"There are huge creative opportunities in reaching Gen Z if you appreciate the tightrope they walk," says Fluent EVP Michael Carey. "Our digital capabilities provide instant gratification on so many fronts. Yet the world is surprisingly similar to that of their great-grandparents, who were shaped by the Depression and the World Wars. Given that Gen Z represents a quarter of the U.S. population, and is even more significant worldwide, it is critical to understand what this mindset will mean on several fronts as today's college students mature as consumers and into the workforce."

The Winners & Losers with Gen Z: Gen Z increasingly works harder and shops smarter, and brands keyed into college student interests and preferences are already enjoying a boost, while others may need to rethink strategies heading into 2017.

More Work, Less Play...Station. The stereotypic past-time of students is on the decline, with the number of students saying they do not play video/online games rising from 38% to 44% over the previous year, and the number using gaming apps dropping from 63% to 53%. At the same time, not only do 75% of respondents work, but the number with part-time jobs increased slightly, rising from 55% to 59%, while those working at internships, which tend to be unpaid, dipped from 24% to 21%. Students are working more hours per week at whatever job they do hold, as well, and 15% work full-time.

Cash No Longer King. The number of students walking around cash-free continued to rise, up to nearly one of five at any given time. And while 40% used to carry $20 or less, now 50% carry smaller amounts. Those with credit cards, especially multiple cards, rose, while checking and savings accounts decreased year-over-year. And Venmo replaced PayPal as the primary method for electronic payment, moving from 34% of payers to 65%.

Brick-and-Mortar Holds Its Own, Amazon Rules Online. Some 54% prefer in-store over online shopping, down from 62% last year. When Gen Zs shop online, 62% cite Amazon as their top choice. Wherever they shop, 75% of students use coupons; 95% seek to pay less than full-price at least some of the time, with 43% refusing to pay full-price at least three-quarters of the time. Interestingly, 55% say an ad on social media has influenced a purchasing decision, up from 42%.

Cable Falls, Amazon Prime Rises. In only 18 months, use of general cable as a programming source dropped from 42% of students to 25% of students. Netflix continues to lead the pack, used by 71% of students. Rocketing into second place from a bare mention last year, Amazon Prime is used by 36% of students. iTunes as a source dropped from 12% to 9% of students.

Digital Killed the Radio Star. Music streaming on Spotify in particular continues to rise, increasing from 40% of students in 2015 to 50% in 2016. As a source for new music, radio's influence dropped from 49% of students discovering music there, down to 31%. The three top sources for getting introduced to new tunes are friends (56%), social media (49%) and YouTube (48%).

The Food Network Effect? The number of students who never cook for themselves is dropping, from 19% last year to 13% this year. The number who are cooking at least 3 to 4 meals a week rose, from 26% to 32%. When they choose take-out, the top apps are Yelp/Eat24, which is used by 32% of students, up from 25% last year, and GrubHub, at 14%.

Screen Wars: David Beats Goliath. Small screens are personal theaters. In 2015, 42% of students cited mobile device use of 1-5 hours per day. Now 40% of students cite use of 6-10 hours per day, up from 35% last year. Students also increasingly think they are on their devices too much, with two-thirds believing that to be true. Laptop use is declining for viewing content as mobile devices enjoy slight but steady increases.

Economic and Convenient Wins in
Transportation

Car ownership slid slightly from 57% to 54%. Most still own or lease a car, usually used, and leases of used cars was the category that saw the greatest shift, going from less than 1% of students last year to 4.4% this year.
Ride sharing has increased as ownership decreases, with 78% having used Uber (up from 57%), and Lyft use increasing from 25% to 46% of students.

Driving is best, but... If students have to get to a destination within 30 minutes, those with cars would drive, a fifth of students overall would walk, 13% would first turn to public transportation, and about the same number would first turn to ride sharing.

No Such Thing as Downtime

Living the digital life. When students head back to their rooms, they head to social media. Most check in with friends (83%), or news (41%). After that, they work on career networking and event organization.

Facebook leads for social sharing, but Snapchat gaining. Facebook is used regularly by 36% of students, down from 38%. However, it still leads the pack, over Instagram (23%, down from 28%) and Snapchat, which rose from a few percentage points to 19%.

Respected news sources still rule, Buzzfeed gaining. CNN is the dominant news source among college students with 18% saying it's the best app for news, followed by the New York Times, which rose slightly from 16% to 17%. Students citing Buzzfeed as a news source rose from 11% to 13%.

Fewer Entrepreneur Wannabes. More Company Men/Women.

When students graduate, some 50% want to work for a mid-sized company with between 51 and 500 employees. Those seeking to work for smaller companies declined slightly, as did those who are considering starting their own businesses. It could be that even though students want a workplace that feels more personal, they are also risk-averse, so mid-size employers are ideal!

Most expect starting salaries between $50,000 and $60,000.

The 2016 Fluent Annual Survey was conducted October 17 - November 17, 2016 and drew 501 completed responses from college students representing all regions of the country. The 2015 Fluent Annual Survey was conducted in May 2015, and drew 507 completed responses from students nationwide.

ABOUT FLUENT

Specializing in "translating brands for the college world," Fluent is a dedicated college marketing agency that works with clients who want to understand and engage College Market Consumers (CMCs) nationwide, both on- and off-campus. Fluent's exclusive partnership with the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) provides clients insider access to a network of nearly 1,000 colleges and universities. Fluent's capabilities include campus activities and programs, College Market Consumer insights, digital and social media strategy and activations, and experiential programs. Clients have included major brands such as Coffeemate, Microsoft, Vera Bradley, Uniqlo, Kellogg's, Macy's, Keurig, Zipcar, Kotex, Dove and L'Oreal. For more information, visit: www.fluentgrp.com.
"Working Harder in School" and "Better Managing Money" Among Teens' Top New Year's Resolutions, According to Junior Achievement USA Survey
December 27, 2016) - With 2017 nearly upon us, it's time to make New Year's resolutions! Some teens have already gotten a jumpstart. According to a survey of 500 U.S. teens, conducted by Junior Achievement USA and ORC International, more than 1 in 4 teens (27%) who are planning to make a New Year's resolution consider working harder in school a top priority in 2017. The survey of 13-to-17-year-olds revealed that 1 in 5 teens (18%) want to make saving money/learning to better manage money their New Year's resolution.

"Many see the New Year as a fresh start. It's encouraging that many teens see improving academic performance and better understanding money among the top resolutions for the coming year," said Jack E. Kosakowski, president and CEO of Junior Achievement USA. "It's very important that teens are wanting to take these steps and seeking the resources to do so."

Other top New Year's resolutions included losing weight/being more fit (23%), eating healthier (11%), and appreciating family/friends more (11%). Ten percent weren't sure.

Junior Achievement is the nation's largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to categorize needs and wants, own their economic success, plan for their futures, and make smart academic and economic choices. Junior Achievement's programs-in the core content areas of work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy-ignite the spark in young people to experience and realize the opportunities and realities of work and life in the 21st century.

Methodology

This report presents the findings of an Opinion Research Corporation's Youth CARAVAN survey conducted among a sample of 500 13-17 year olds. Respondents for this survey are selected from among those who have volunteered to participate in online surveys and polls. Because the sample is based on those who initially self-selected for participation, no estimates of sampling error are calculated.
Current and Future Neuroscience Research Under Threat by Federal and Provincial Governments and University Administration at Carleton University
Carleton University senior administration has decided to unilaterally evict the Department of Neuroscience from their current building to make way for a new building project resulting from federal Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Funding announced in April 2016. On November 11, 2016, graduate students in the department were notified that their labs must be vacated by March 1, 2017 to meet timelines for the new building project. This eviction was unanticipated, poorly planned, and unreasonable, particularly in light of a second move slated for later in the year.

"All attempts to engage the administration in collaborative talks to find a mutually agreeable solution for a single move have been ignored or flatly denied," said Natalie Prowse, a graduate student in the department. "If this eviction proceeds, it will effectively bring most of the department's critical research studies in Parkinson's disease, stroke, neurodegeneration, depression, anxiety, chronic pain, regeneration, obesity and eating disorders to a complete stop."

On November 30th, Carleton University administration announced that they had unilaterally signed an agreement with the University of Ottawa to provide temporary space to the department. Due to the size and duration of occupancy, this facility will be unsuitable for much of the research currently being undertaken by the department. Additionally, this agreement contained no provision for wet lab space access, and provides less than half the animal care facility space that is currently in use.

"The current situation means that students attempting to obtain a research education will be seriously affected," said undergraduate student Greg Owens. "Many students will not obtain lab training promised and may have to be granted extensions in order to complete their degrees – meaning additional unexpected tuition and living expenses."

Students and staff in the Department of Neuroscience are actively working to pressure the senior University administration, the federal government and provincial agencies to work together to obtain an extension and hold off the eviction. Over 2,000 signatures have been collected on a petition that will be sent to provincial and federal officials requesting their intervention.

For a more detailed backgrounder, please visit: saveCUneuro.ca
Niagara College risks censure over Saudi campuses
In a letter this week to the president of Niagara College, the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) says the college will face censure if it fails to resolve concerns over its Saudi Arabian campuses.

Censure is the most serious sanction that can be applied by CAUT, and has not been used since 2006. Imposing it would mean that Canadian academics would be asked not to accept positions at Niagara, not to speak at or participate in conferences held at the college, and not to accept any honours or distinctions from the college.

The college shouldn't take the threat of censure lightly, the chair of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)'s College Academic Division says.

"This threatens Niagara College's reputation, both at home and abroad," said RM Kennedy. "With these campuses, Niagara is supporting the kind of enforced segregation that has been rejected around the world. Separating individuals based on discriminatory thinking is simply unacceptable.

"When will the administration recognize that this type of engagement does nothing to help Saudi Arabian citizens, and simply supports the discriminatory system at work in that country?" added Kennedy.

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas argued that public dollars from Ontarians shouldn't be funding a system that is so fundamentally at odds with Ontario values.

"It's ridiculous – women can't even attend classes without the permission of a male guardian," said Thomas. "This is a regime that doesn't reflect what we believe in, and our publicly-funded colleges shouldn't be propping it up.

"Ontarians have invested over the years to build up a college system we can be proud of, one with a reputation for freedom of thought, excellence of education, and equality of access. Why are we undermining that through ventures like this?"
Ontario Student Results on International PISA Test Stay Strong in Science and Reading, Decline in Math Stabilizes
 Results from the 2015 administration of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), released today, reveal that Ontario students are generally performing well in science, reading and math, with results similar to those of the 2012 assessment.

Fifteen-year-old students from 72 education systems (jurisdictions) from around the world, including all 10 Canadian provinces, participated. Ontario student achievement matched the Canadian average in science and reading, but was just below the national average in math.

Quick Facts

  • The average Ontario science score was 524 in 2015, compared to 527 in 2012.
  • Students from six jurisdictions (Singapore, Alberta, British Columbia, Japan, Quebec and Estonia) had science results that were statistically higher than Ontario's.1
  • Ontario students matched the Canadian average for both the test overall and all the science subskills evaluated.
  • As in all Canadian provinces, no gender differences in overall science were observed in Ontario.
  • Students in Ontario's English-language school system achieved higher science scores (526) than students in the French-language school system (486).
  • The average Ontario reading score was 527 in 2015, compared to 528 in 2012.
  • In 2015, no jurisdictions had results statistically higher than Ontario's.
  • Ontario students' reading achievement matched the Canadian average.
  • As in all Canadian provinces, girls in Ontario performed significantly better (542) than boys (512) on the reading assessment.
  • Students in Ontario's English-language school system achieved higher reading scores (529) than students in the French-language school system (476).
  • After a decline in math between 2003 and 2012, the performance of Ontario students remained stable over the 2012 to 2015 period.
  • In 2015, students from 11 jurisdictions (Singapore, Hong Kong‒China, Quebec, Macao‒China, Chinese Taipei, Japan, BSJG‒China,2 Korea, Switzerland, Estonia and Canada) performed better than Ontario's in math.
  • Among Canadian provinces, only Quebec had results statistically higher than Ontario's. Ontario students performed just below the Canadian students' average, and they are still among the top 25% of participating jurisdictions.
  • In Ontario, as well as in Canada overall and in four other provinces, boys performed significantly better (514) than girls (505) in mathematics.
  • Students in Ontario's English- and French-language school systems achieved the same in mathematics.
Student Leaders Take On Queen's Park, Inspiring Change
Student leaders representing over 140,000 undergraduates from across Ontario travelled to Queen's Park last week to meet with Deputy Premier Deb Matthews, MPPs, ministers, party critics, and political staff. Representatives from the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) sat in almost fifty meetings asking for mandatory training in sexual violence prevention for all university community members, fair and affordable tuition regulations for domestic and international students, and improved data collection and reporting across the entire sector.

Student advocates are asking that training in sexual violence prevention become standard for all members of university communities, and suggest that a unit within the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development be created to monitor and guide the quality of this training.

"We are proposing amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act as well as for the inclusion of bystander intervention training in Smart Serve certification programs," says OUSA President, Jamie Cleary. "We are also pushing for the collection of data regarding the usage, quality, and effectiveness of services for students who have experienced sexual violence."

Additionally, students are calling for more affordable tuition for both domestic and international students, the elimination of flat-fee billing, the creation of flexible tuition payment plans, an increase in the tuition set-aside (TSA), and for any increases to tuition to be indexed to no more than Ontario's consumer price index (CPI).

"While a fully-funded tuition freeze would be ideal, if tuition increases are going to continue, we're asking to restrict them to CPI, that the burden of tuition is eased through flexible tuition payment plans, and that the TSA fund be increased to better account for the financial need of increasing numbers of undergraduate students," says Cleary. "To ensure stability and predictability, we are also advocating for regulated international student tuition."

In addition to sexual violence prevention and tuition topics, student representatives are lobbying for the government to mandate the collection and publication of key sector information in a centralized and accessible location so students and their families can review valuable information regarding campus services, facilities, employment outcomes, and the student experience when making the decision to attend university. Jamie Cleary, President of OUSA, argues that this will allow the province to ensure accountability and transparency among universities.

"We are supporting the Pathways to Post-Secondary Excellence Act, a private member's Bill addressing this access to post-secondary information in the form of a centralized online tool," says Cleary.

About the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA)

OUSA represents the interests of over 140,000 professional and undergraduate, full- and part-time university students at eight member associations across Ontario.
Award program for Canada's local environmental heroes expands to include teachers
Earth Day Canada is launching this year's Hometown Heroes Award Program and is asking for nominations to help find Canada's leaders in sustainability. For the first time ever, a teacher will be recognized for the outstanding work he or she does within a school to help connect students with nature and inspire future generations of environmental stewards.

The program, now in its 13th year, is made possible through the support of Mill Street Brewery, the RBC Foundation and UFile Tax Software. It recognizes and celebrates local leaders who foster meaningful, long-term community awareness and action to lessen our impact on the planet. The categories for 2017 include: Youth, Individual, Group, Small Business and Teacher.

Youth Hometown Heroes Award – $5,000 cash prize that can be donated to a local environmental group or cause, or be put toward post-secondary studies in the form of a scholarship

Individual Hometown Heroes Award – $5,000 cash prize to donate to a local environmental group or cause

Teacher Hometown Heroes Award – $5,000 cash prize to support a teacher's environmental work at school

Group Hometown Heroes Award – $5,000 cash prize to support the group's work

Small Business Hometown Heroes Award – $5,000 cash prize that must be used by the business to make an operational change that results in the business lessening their environmental impact, and permission from Earth Day Canada to use the award and EDC logo for one year to help market and promote the business and/or an approved product

The Hometown Heroes Award winners will be celebrated by Earth Day Canada and its partners at an awards ceremony in Toronto.

"So many people in Canada are striving to make this planet healthier," said Deb Doncaster, President of Earth Day Canada, "but their efforts often go unrecognized. Our program celebrates these contributions while ensuring much-needed funds go directly to supporting local communities and the environment."

The nomination deadline is February 28, 2017.

For more information, please visit earthday.ca/hometown or email heroes@earthday.ca.

About the Hometown Heroes Award Program
Earth Day Canada's (EDC) Hometown Heroes Award Program has become one of Canada's most prestigious environmental awards. Established in 2004, the program recognizes and celebrates environmental leaders, groups and small businesses fostering meaningful, long-term community awareness and action. Local heroes, working at a grassroots level and often with very limited resources, can make an enormous difference to the health of our planet – they deserve our recognition. Learn more at earthday.ca/hometown.
Brantford Police Service recognized for contributions to school safety
Today, CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO) is pleased to award Constable Andrea Cooper the prestigious CAA School Safety Patrol Program Achievement Award at the Brantford Police Headquarters.

The annual award is given to a police service which lends exceptional support to the CAA School Safety Patrol (SSP) program, designed to help ensure the safety of children on Ontario's roads -- an important role shared by traffic safety advocates, police partners and community leaders.

"I am so honoured to be the recipient of this award. The School Safety Patrol Program allows kids to be actively involved in keeping other kids safe, and I have seen firsthand how proud patrollers can be when they wear their vests on duty. I couldn't be more proud of the patrollers and their teacher supervisors in Brantford," said Constable Andrea Cooper.

Constable Andrea Cooper has served with Brantford Police for 29 years and has been the police service's School Safety Officer since September 2013. She oversees over 600 patrollers from 34 schools, and assists with training additional patrollers from surrounding areas.

"I am proud of Constable Andrea Cooper and her commitment to keeping school children safe. The energy and passion she brings to the CAA School Safety Patrol Program is what makes it a fun experience for the patrollers. She is an outstanding ambassador of youth safety education programs and the Brantford Police Service," said Chief Geoff Nelson, Brantford Police Service.

"Constable Andrea Cooper is a true leader and an exceptional role model committed to the safety of students," said Tracy Nickleford, Community Relations Manager, CAA SCO.

Brantford Police have participated in the CAA School Safety Patrol program for over 50 years, with over 1,100 safety patrollers trained at their Children's Safety Village in September 2016.

Across Ontario, approximately 800 schools participate in the School Safety Patrol program, while CAA SCO partners with over 55 police services to deliver the program. Since the program's inception, there have been more than 80 documented cases of patrollers saving others from serious injury.

As a leader and advocate for road safety and mobility, CAA South Central Ontario is a not-for-profit auto club which represents the interests of 2 million members. For over a century, CAA has collaborated with communities, police services and governments to help keep drivers and their families safe while travelling on our roads.
Fraser Institute rankings spotlight Ontario elementary schools succeeding in math despite declining scores provincewide
Despite overall declining math scores in Ontario, some schools have maintained high levels of student success, according to the Fraser Institute's ranking of Ontario elementary schools released today.

This year's Report Card on Ontario's Elementary Schools ranks 2,900 anglophone and francophone public and Catholic schools (and a small number of independent schools) based on nine academic indicators from results of annual provincewide reading, writing and math tests.

"What our rankings show is that some schools -- no matter where they're located or the needs of their students -- are still able to achieve high math scores, despite the worrying provincial trend," said Peter Cowley, director of School Performance Studies at the Fraser Institute.

According to the Report Card, the 25 English-language schools with the best four-year average math scores include 15 public schools, six independent schools and four Catholic schools. R. L. Beattie Public School in Sudbury leads the high performers.

One of the highest ranked schools in the province is Laggan Public School in the small farming community of Dalkeith in Eastern Ontario. Laggan, which tied for first in the overall ranking, also achieved one of the highest average scores in math.

And Our Lady of Victory in Ottawa also performed well above average in math even though more than 60 per cent of the students have special needs.

"Successful schools like these are doing something right, and they can lead the way by sharing their best practices with lower performing schools serving similar students and communities," Cowley said.
For the complete results on all ranked schools, and to easily compare the performance of different schools, visit www.compareschoolrankings.org.
Scotiabank funds new design thinking research studio at OCAD University
 Thanks to a $1 million gift from Scotiabank, OCAD University will develop a new initiative to foster the leading thinkers, designers and creative professionals needed to drive the national economic engine.

The Scotiabank Design Thinking Research Studio will allow the university to create a Design Thinking educational curriculum model and generate research, workshops, executive education and an annual open public forum.
"This collaboration is a tremendous opportunity for our students to engage in experiential learning to prepare for careers in this connected world," said Dr. Sara Diamond, President and Vice-Chancellor, OCAD University. "Design Thinking is about empathizing with, listening to and observing people to identify and solve problems and improve their experiences. We are excited to exchange ideas with Scotiabank and learn from each other."

"A few years ago, banking wasn't associated with design, but today it's at the very heart of how Scotiabank looks to solve problems and interact with our customers. Design Thinking is about ensuring that we fundamentally understand the challenges that our customers face and then designing innovative solutions to meet their needs. It's about putting our customers first," said Michael Zerbs, Executive Vice President and Co-Head Information Technology, Enterprise Technology. "The Scotiabank Design Thinking Research Studio at OCAD University will give students the chance to work on real customer products and solutions in digital banking, and ultimately prepare them for future opportunities. Scotiabank's collaboration with OCAD U is one way we are supporting the next generation of talent in the digital age."

Scotiabank's commitment is part of the university's Ignite Imagination campaign, which will ensure students and faculty continue to have the ability to leverage the power of art, design and digital innovation to change the world for the better.

About OCAD University (OCAD U)

OCAD University (www.ocadu.ca) is Canada's university of the imagination. The university, founded in 1876, is dedicated to art, design and digital media education, practice and research, and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines.
Bullying, barriers, exclusion often part of the curriculum for students with disabilities
 One in ten students with disabilities will choose to end their education early because of their disability. This is just one of the findings shared by the Canadian Human Rights Commission for the International Day for Persons with Disabilities, December 3. This finding is part of a soon-to-be-released national study on Canadian high school, college and university students with disabilities.

"In a knowledge-based economy, where education is paramount, it is shocking that still today so many students with disabilities end their education because of the sheer difficulty they experience in getting an education," said Chief Commissioner, Marie-Claude Landry. "How can our society support all students in realizing their full potential when getting an education is a daily battle against social exclusion, avoidance and bullying?"

The study also found that students with disabilities are sometimes denied the institutional support, funding, programs and infrastructure required to access and benefit from the same quality of education as their fellow students. Students with disabilities report taking fewer courses or quitting school altogether because of their disability.

"On the International Day for Persons with Disabilities, it is so important that we recognize these challenges and the remarkable accomplishments of all students with disabilities, who, every day, go above and beyond to access the education that so many of us take for granted," added the Chief Commissioner. "We have a responsibility to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to learn in a safe and inclusive environment – anything less deserves a failing grade."

The Commission's report is a compilation of data, including consultations with expert organizations, including provincial and territorial human rights commissions, from across Canada. It will be released in 2017.

Quick Facts

Bullying - 27% of Canadian high school, college and university students with a disability are being bullied because of their disability.

Exclusion - 35% of students with disabilities in Canada report being avoided or excluded at school because of their disability.

Taking fewer courses - 37% of students with disabilities in Canada are taking fewer courses because of their disability.

Quitting - 11% of students with disabilities are choosing to end their education early because of their disability.
College and university students condemn Ontario passing of anti-BDS motion
College and university students across Ontario are condemning the Ontario Legislature's vote in favour of private members bill presented before the Ontario Legislature today by MPP Gila Martow.

Members of the Ontario Liberal government and the Ontario Progressive Conservative caucus voted unanimously in favour of Motion 36, which called on the legislature to "reject" the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement making claims that the movement is "hateful, hostile, prejudice, racist and intolerant".

"By passing this motion members of the Ontario legislature have vilified Palestinian solidarity activists, who are challenging the state of Israel's continued violations of international law," said a representative from Students for Justice in Palestine at UOIT/DC. "For student organizers at UOIT/DC this motion mischaracterizes our pursuit of justice and human rights."

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) is a non-violent global campaign led by Palestinians that is increasing social, economic and political pressure on the state of Israel until it complies with international law. The movement is directly opposed to anti-Semitism and does not work to target any individuals. Rather, the movement applies pressure to any institution or corporation complicit in the ongoing illegal occupation of Palestine and the violent oppression of Palestinian people.

"Students at York have taken a stance in support of BDS recognizing that youth and students in occupied territories like Palestine should have their human rights protected" said Rawan Habib, Vice President Campaigns of the York Federation of Students. "Our campuses are spaces where we should engage in activism work on this issue, and blocking this is an attempt to censure activists doing BDS work."

"Motion 36 is quite obviously an attempt to silence activists, many of which are students, who are standing up against the countless documented accounts of human rights violations committed by the state of Israel against Palestinian people" said Rajean Hoilett, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. "It is disappointing to see the government move to silence human rights activism, but regardless of the vote today students will continue to fight to ensure that our tuition fees do not fund Israeli war crimes and the occupation of Palestine."

The Canadian Federation of Students–Ontario unites more than 350,000 college and university students in all regions of the province.
Legal Aid articling students vote to unionize with Society of Energy Professionals
Articling students employed by Legal Aid Ontario have voted to unionize with The Society of Energy Professionals. LAO articling students become the second group of legal professionals to join The Society following the October vote of LAO staff lawyers.

"The Society is delighted to welcome articling students to our ranks," said Society president Scott Travers. "I am looking forward to negotiating a first collective agreement with Legal Aid Ontario that is a true win-win."

Articling students are also excited to have representation in the workplace that understands their professional obligations and can help them achieve better working conditions.

"Articling students face unique challenges at this pivotal time beginning their legal career," said former articling student Garrett Zehr, who was a leader within the campaign to organize articling students into The Society and is now a Legal Aid Ontario staff lawyer. "Joining the union will give LAO articling students a collective voice and create a healthier balance of power with the employer. These are the reasons why we are excited to join the Society as members."

Voting occurred throughout the week of May 24, 2016 while the ballots were counted on November 30, 2016. Of the 33 ballots counted, 88% voted in favour of joining The Society. The number of articling students currently employed by LAO is approximately 30.

While The Society traditionally represented professionals in the energy sector, it is affiliated to the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers. The IFPTE represents a broad range of professionals including lawyers and judges. With that experience, professionals outside the energy sector are now looking more closely at joining The Society because of the increasingly precarious nature of professional work.

"Collective bargaining offers professionals a democratic process to raise concerns and find solutions that improve their working conditions," said Society President Travers. "Professionals face a long road to establish themselves in their fields. They deserve to be treated with decency and respect at every point along the way."

"That is why The Society will continue to bring the opportunities that come with collective bargaining to professionals in all sectors."

The Society of Energy Professionals represents 8,000 professionals in the public, private and regulatory sectors, including engineers, lawyers and accountants.
Calling all Ecovators! The Staples Superpower your School Contest is Now Accepting Entries
 Ten environmentally conscious schools across the country will each earn $25,000 worth of new technology from Staples Canada as part of the retailer's Superpower your School Contest. Schools are invited to enter the contest at Staples.ca/PowerEco and share their eco initiatives for a chance to win. The Superpower your School Contest starts December 1, 2016 and runs until January 31, 2017.

"From growing their own food to banning plastic water bottles and even making their own organic lip balm, students and teachers across the country are innovating to make a difference on our environment," said Mary Sagat, president of Staples Canada. "We call these students and teachers 'ecovators' and what better way to reward them than with access to the latest tech to enhance their education programs."

The contest, previously known as the Staples Canada Recycle for Education Computer Lab Contest, is now in its seventh year and has awarded 70 environmentally conscious schools the latest technology to empower students to learn and nurture their passion for the environment.

To help schools prepare their entries, Staples has assembled a series of resources, including:

Excerpts from the 2016 winning school entries
A step-by-step entry guide
A set of frequently asked questions
The contest is held in collaboration with Earth Day Canada, a national charity that works directly with thousands of schools to provide environmental resources and support.

"We're thrilled to be working again with Staples Canada to inspire innovative approaches to stewardship and reward the creative initiatives taking place in schools across Canada," said Deb Doncaster, president of Earth Day Canada. "We're eager to help ensure the contest reaches as many schools as possible, and provide support throughout the judging process."

Staples Helps Schools Make a Difference

Staples is committed to helping schools make a difference by offering several easy recycling programs:

Canada School Recycling Program: Every year 300 million ink cartridges end up in North American landfills. Staples Canada encourages schools across the country to participate in this program by signing up to receive a free ink cartridge collection bin. For details and to register for a free ink bin visit www.canadaschoolrecycling.ca

Battery Recycling: Staples Canada partners with Call2Recycle to offer a used battery (rechargeable and single use) recycling program in all Staples stores. Schools are invited to collect batteries, hold collection events and encourage all students to bring in used household batteries to reduce the amount of electronic waste in landfills. Drop off the batteries collected at any Staples store.

Writing Instruments: Staples stores nationwide have partnered with TerraCycle® to collect and recycle used writing instruments. Schools are encouraged to bring in used writing instruments to any Staples store and help provide a second life to these writing instruments by turning them into upcycled and recycled products such as park benches, waste bins and more.

Electronics Recycling: In an effort to divert eight-million pounds of electronic waste from landfill sites annually, Staples has partnered with eCycle Solutions to offer an electronics drop-off program. Recyclable items accepted include PDAs, cell phones, computers, computer parts and more. To view a complete list of collection sites and accepted recyclable hardware, visit www.staples.ca/environment
Join the Conversation

Follow Staples Canada on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and join the conversation using #PowerEco.
McMaster TAs and RAs negotiate to improve working conditions on campus
2500 Teaching Assistants (TAs) and Research Assistants (RAs) who do the bulk of the frontline instruction, grading, student consultation and research support at McMaster University, are working avoid a strike by negotiating with the university administration to addresses poverty wages, precarious work and outsourcing on campus.

The members of Local 3906 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 3906) have been without a contract since August 31. They are returning to the bargaining table on December 1 and 2 with the assistance of a provincially appointed conciliator in the hopes of reaching a deal.

"We are striving to reach a deal that addresses the financial hardships experienced by our members," said President of CUPE 3906, Sarah Wahab. "Our members are precarious workers and many of them live under conditions of poverty. The goal for this round of bargaining is to not only address these issues, but to begin the long process of remedying them."

A recent strike vote taken by the membership has given the local the approval to take strike action if the two sides cannot reach an agreement on these core issues.

"We are looking forward to getting back to the table with a focused package built around the most important remaining issues, as identified by our members," Wahab said, "These are job security, working conditions, wages and outsourcing." Students currently face unpredictable hiring practices that leave them unsure of their jobs every semester, workload issues based on the number of classes taught during a semester, reductions in the number of guaranteed hours and wage increases that get eaten away by inflation and the rising cost of tuition.

McMaster University was recently named a top employer in the Hamilton-Niagara Region but academic workers fail to see things that way. "What we are fighting for, job security, working conditions, living wages, these should not be issues at a top employer," Wahab added. "Our hope is that through negotiations we can get the university to earn this reputation."
University of Ottawa library on the chopping block: rally to stop the cuts! #SaveUOLibrary2016
The University of Ottawa is planning to cut almost $2 million from the library budget of 2016-2017.

The proposed cuts are a source of serious worry for students, faculty, librarians, university staff, members of the Senate, and members of the University Board of Governors. In the context of rising tuition fees, library cuts are a hard blow to students who rely on library materials to complete assignments, as well as to faculty who require up to date research materials to teach and conduct research.

The proposed cuts not only undermine the primary mission of the university as an educational institution, but fail to resolve broader challenges of balancing budget shortfalls without compromising the quality of education.

The announcement of these cuts is taking place within the broader context of the commercialisation of knowledge and increased pricing that affects all academic institutions. In particular, Canadian universities are threatened by price-gouging of major publishing houses.

The cuts of up to $2 million represent less than 3% of the administration's billion dollar budget. Historically, university budgets have fluctuated up to 3% in accordance with the University's needs. A petition of over 3500 signatures is calling on the university administration to reverse the cuts. The Faculty of Social Sciences and the Faculty of Science as well as the Senate of the university have passed motions to reverse the cuts.

Members from seven campus based unions representing students, faculty, librarians and staff will be protesting the cuts and calling on the administration to make the right decision and reverse these cuts, which will compromise the quality of education and have a negative impact on our ability to maintain research excellence at the University of Ottawa.

Budget are about priorities. In searching for solutions, the university administration must prioritize the quality of education and our ability to pursue research in the public interest.

Student, staff and faculty associations on campus are organizing a rally to stop the cuts on Wednesday, November 30, noon, in front of Morisset Library.

Supported by APUO, GSAÉD, CUPE 2626, APTPUO, SFUO, SSUO, SEIU local 2.
Reversal on school closures a big win for communities: OPSEU
SUDBURY, ON, Nov. 25, 2016 /CNW/ - A decision yesterday to abandon plans to close several schools in the Sudbury area is a decisive victory for the community groups that fought to keep them open, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) said today.

"The announcement that the school board will keep eight schools open in our communities is a testament to the tenacity of parents, trustees, grassroots groups and organized labour," said Felicia Fahey, an OPSEU Executive Board Member. "In the face of this wall of resistance, it's not surprising that the Rainbow District School Board backed off on a plan that would have devastated communities and the families who rely on a strong, local public education system.

"OPSEU was extremely proud to lend our support to the efforts of so many groups and individuals."

Under the school board's revised plan, some of the schools that faced closure will be merged under one roof inside two schools, still planned for construction. Students from elementary schools that had been targeted for closure will move into existing secondary schools in the area.

The victory to keep schools open in the Sudbury area followed months of campaigning by a host of community and labour groups, and public figures. Many travelled to Toronto this week to protest outside the legislature at Queen's Park. They were joined there by dozens of residents from other parts of Ontario where local school boards have threatened to shutter schools.

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas, who spoke at this week's rally, paid tribute to those in the Sudbury area who fought against the closures. He called them an inspiration to others around the province who face similar battles.

"We are seeing a rising spirit of activism right across this province, and there's no better example of that than what we witnessed yesterday," he said. "Whether northern Ontarians are fighting school and hospital closings, high electricity rates, or to keep Hydro One in public hands, you can always count on these folks to fight the good fight for the public good."
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visits Liberian school, transformed through Canada-funded play-based learning project
 During his first official visit to Africa, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took a break from official government duties to join a group of 11- and 12-year-old students at Monrovia's Slip Way Public School. The Prime Minister visited the school to see the progress made through the "Play for the Advancement of Quality Education" (PAQE) program —a two-year play-based learning program funded by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada. PAQE, implemented in partnership with Canadian-based not-for-profit, Right To Play, aims to improve children's access to quality education, with particular focus on girls.

Joined by Right To Play International CEO, Kevin Frey, Canadian Ambassador to Côte d'Ivoire, Patricia McCullagh, and long-time Right To Play Athlete Ambassador, Olympian Adam van Koeverden, the Prime Minister joined students in a mathematical game designed to teach children the concept of "sets".

Prime Minister Trudeau said he was inspired by what he saw. "It's great to see the kind of energy and action you put into your learning. It's so important that you engage and that you be active participants in what you're learning, and Right To Play is showing you that learning is fun and it's about empowerment and energy. Go out and get that knowledge."

Implemented in 40 schools across Liberia, including Slip Way, PAQE reaches more than half of the 21,000 children and youth engaged in Right To Play programs in Liberia. Through PAQE, Right To Play provides ongoing training and support to 278 teachers and community coaches, who conduct play-based educational programs in both formal school and informal community educational environments.

Right To Play CEO, Kevin Frey said, "We are so proud of our work in Liberia and it is a true honour to have Prime Minister Trudeau here to witness the powerful impact that play can have in quality education. Our relationship with the Government of Canada represents more than 10 years of creating positive impact in children's lives through play. I look forward to an ongoing productive relationship to unlock the power and possibility in every child through play."

Watch Prime Minister Trudeau's visit to Slip Way Public School in Monrovia on Right To Play Canada's Facebook page: www.facebook.com/RightToPlayCan

For more information, follow @RightToPlayCAN and visit www.righttoplay.ca

About Right To Play

Right To Play is a global organization committed to improving the lives of children and youth affected by conflict, disease and poverty. Established in 2000, Right To Play has pioneered a unique play-based approach to learning and development which focuses on quality education, life skills, health, gender equality, child protection and building peaceful communities. With programming in over 20 countries, Right To Play transforms the lives of more than one million children each week, both inside and outside of the classroom. In addition to our work with children, Right To Play advocates with parents, local communities, and governments to advance the fundamental rights of all children.

Right To Play is headquartered in Toronto, Canada and has operations in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Our programs are facilitated by more than 600 international staff and 14,900 local volunteer Coaches. Programming in Canada includes the enhancement of education in priority schools and the Promoting Life-skills in Aboriginal Youth (PLAY) program, which is partnered with 57 First Nations communities and urban Aboriginal organizations across Ontario and Manitoba.
Royal Roads University's New "Don't Stop" Campaign Taps Marketplace Realities and Puts Lifelong Learning First
 Royal Roads University (RRU) has launched a new campaign that encourages students to become lifelong learners – a concept RRU strongly heralds as key to life and career success, and one that is particularly relevant given today's workplace realities. Focusing on the value of learning how to learn, the "Don't Stop" campaign aims to inspire everyone to keep moving forward in all aspects of their lives, whether through a formal education, in the workplace, or even an inspiring encounter.

"With today's quickly evolving career landscape, students need to develop a mindset that allows them to adapt and change very quickly – they need to become life-learners," said Catherine Riggins, Associate Vice President with Victoria's Royal Roads University. "Our new 'Don't Stop' campaign is rooted in RRU's strong desire to equip today's students for a lifetime of learning – a lifetime where they don't stop learning, succeeding, and contributing to the world around them."

Working with Will Creative, RRU's four week "Don't Stop" campaign makes clever use of print, digital, and out-of-home media – including transforming a transit shelter in Vancouver into a community book share, showing the ability to grow and inspire change in oneself can be as simple as opening up a book. The signage explains: "Don't stop finding inspiration. Take a book or leave a book. Or both." (Click here to watch the inspiring video.)

Another execution at the Vancouver International Airport saw a "Don't Stop" mural created with over 1,400 sticky notes. People were asked to share the things that they hope to keep doing throughout their lives – highlighting the importance of lifelong commitment to personal, professional, and community growth. (Click here to watch the mural video.)

To further the "Don't Stop" message, the stories of eight accomplished alumni are featured throughout the campaign – these are alumni who continue to better themselves and impact the world in exceptional ways.

"Students are in need of fluid knowledge that can adapt and change into the future, as they pursue multiple career paths throughout their lives," said Lisa Lebedovich, Creative Director at Will Creative. "This is what Royal Roads offers, and what our campaign builds on: encouraging people to continually question, discover, evolve and explore, as they keep pushing forward in all areas of their lives."

The "Don't Stop" campaign's message was underpinned by RRU's Career Confidence Survey – a national poll of more than 1,000 employed Canadians (conducted by Ipsos). Notably, the survey confirmed 87 per cent of Canadian agree that life-learning is crucial to career success, further bolstering the campaign's relevance.

Veritas provided PR support to the campaign, with Cossette Media acting as the media buying agency.

"As an academic institution, we recognize that learning can come from anywhere — such as a book found at a transit stop. The key is learning how to be a life-learner…and then don't stop," said Riggins. "We feel our experiential and collaborative approach to education uniquely sets up students for a lifetime of success, no matter what stage of life they are in. With the 'Don't Stop' campaign, we're encouraging individuals to keep moving forward in their career, and in life."

ABOUT WILL
Will is a creative agency that focuses on the development and amplification of brands through a strong strategic sense of purpose and emotional connection. Launched in Oct 2014, Will employs 17 full time staff in their Vancouver office, and works across most major industries. Clients include: Nature's Path Foods, Royal Roads University, lululemon, B.A. Robinson, HSBC Canada Sevens, Canada Games Council, Freestyle Canada, Hootsuite, BCLC, WCLC, Ivanhoe Cambridge, Wilson School of Design at KPU, Thompson Rivers University, Live Nation, BrandLive, Eminence, Onni and Trust Hospitality.

ABOUT ROYAL ROADS UNIVERSITY
Royal Roads University is like no other in Canada. The campus is unparalleled: situated amidst old-growth forest on a 227-hectare ocean-side parkland, it has a 100-year-old castle as its centerpiece. In contrast, the university's 21st-Century programs are dedicated to providing first-class graduate education to professionals, and to offering intensive undergraduate degree completion programs in professional fields. For more information on the University - including degrees, admissions, the campus, research projects, news and our alumni, please visit: www.royalroads.ca.
CUPE 3903 publicly withdraws from the Sexual Assault Policy Working Group and urges the York University Board of Governors to reject the draft policy for failing to support survivors of sexual violence.

The CUPE 3903 executive committee, Trans Feminist Action Caucus (TFAC), and the Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) were excluded from meaningful consultation. As a result, this policy does not reflect the needs of CUPE 3903 members or the broader York community.

"This policy was drafted behind closed doors, in a working group led by York's VP Finance," states Annelies Cooper, member of the JHSC. "Since September, York has been directing survivors to a Sexual Violence Response Office that has no budget or dedicated staff attached to it."

CUPE 3903 has demanded involvement in the policy's development for over a year. On September 30th, York allowed CUPE 3903 to join the York Sexual Assault Policy Working Group. Upon joining, CUPE 3903 was disappointed to discover the policy was near completion and did not reflect previous discussions between CUPE 3903 and York. It was clear from the tone of the working group that criticism was not welcome, and that long standing issues such as confidentiality of and support offered to survivors would not be addressed. As York University is committed to pushing through a policy that we fundamentally cannot support, CUPE 3903 has no choice but to publicly withdraw from the Working Group.

"A shared concern is that the secrecy behind this policy development process stunts open and meaningful consultation, which will undoubtedly result in a problematic sexual assault policy, contrary to the interests of community members", says Nicole Leach, TFAC Co-Chair.

Ontario's Bill 132 requires Ontario universities to introduce sexual assault policies by January 1st. The bill stipulates the policy be developed in consultation with the community. These consultations are undermined by the fact that they are based on an interim document, not the most recent draft, and are taking place just weeks prior being presented to the Board of Governors.

CUPE 3903 represents contract faculty, teaching assistants, graduate assistants, and part-time librarians and archivists at York University.


York's Secretive Sexual Assault Policy Does Not Support Survivors
 

Nature and Technology: Connecting Students for Wetland Conservation
Today, students and teachers from New Brunswick to British Columbia will talk wetlands and the actions they're taking to conserve them.

They'll tell stories of constructing boardwalks, banding owls and ducks at night, wading through cold swamps in hip waders, building nest boxes, planting and restoring wetlands, and most importantly, learning and sharing their experiences in their schools and their communities.

Young people and educators representing 24 schools engaged in Ducks Unlimited Canada's (DUC) Wetland Centres of Excellence (WCE) program will connect via video and in some cases join in-person at sites in Ontario and New Brunswick. This networking session will include representatives from the internationally renowned Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre in Manitoba, Tantramar Wetlands Centre in New Brunswick, CEMH Côte-de-Beaupré in Quebec and other sites across Canada.

Wrapped around the videoconference will be a wetland workshop at Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) for nearly 60 Ontario students. They will begin the day with a hands-on "meet and greet" with live animals that inhabit wetlands, and then present their stories to the rest of the country by video. Finally, they will journey through Carolinian forest to visit Cootes Paradise Marsh, a site recognized as nationally significant for birds, reptiles, amphibians and other wildlife.

Today Ducks Unlimited Canada will also take the opportunity to recognize RBG as its newest Wetland Centre of Excellence partner.

According to Merebeth Switzer, DUC's national manager of education, "each WCE is unique, and each is having amazing impacts on wetland conservation. We are delighted that RBG, with the strong role it plays in conservation and education, can help us to further these efforts."

"Royal Botanical Gardens has always worked with DUC and other partners to move our conservation efforts forward. We have also seen the impact that our programs have on students, especially when they are involved in stewardship projects that make a difference in their community. We look forward to connecting more children and youth to wetlands through hands-on learning and leadership development opportunities," says Barb McKean, head of education, RBG.

"This year we expect more than 750 WCE students to engage in wetland studies and conservation projects," adds Switzer. "Many will also mentor over 5,000 younger students by taking them on field trips to local wetlands."

Wildlife Habitat Canada is a program partner that helped fund today's videoconference. "We're happy to help DUC to strengthen this network and connect the teachers and students to share their experiences and learn from each other," says Cameron Mack, executive director, WHC.

Because when it comes to wetlands, these students don't just talk the talk. They walk the walk. And that means an encouraging future for Canadian wetland conservation.

Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is the leader in wetland conservation. A registered charity, DUC partners with government, industry, non-profit organizations and landowners to conserve wetlands that are critical to waterfowl, wildlife and the environment.

Wildlife Habitat Canada (WHC) is a national, not-for-profit, non-governmental, charitable conservation organization whose objectives are to: provide funding for wildlife conservation programs in Canada; conserve, restore and enhance wildlife habitat; foster coordination and leadership in the conservation community; and, promote the conservation contributions of waterfowl hunters and encourage participation in waterfowl hunting.

Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) is a living museum, which serves local, regional and global communities while developing and promoting public understanding of the relationship between the plant world, humanity and the rest of nature.

About Ducks Unlimited Canada's Wetland Centres of Excellence:
The Wetland Centres of Excellence (WCE)/Centres d'excellence des milieux humides (CEMH) program is based on DUC's experience in 2003 with the restoration of a 36-acre wetland in conjunction with students at Tantramar Regional High School in Sackville, N.B. DUC recognized the combining education, conservation and community partnerships in conserving Canada's wetlands and chose to pursue it as part of its overall education efforts. Since then, DUC has raised funds and provided support and recognition across Canada to selected schools with similar programs. There are now nearly 30 schools involved in WCEs nationally in every province except Alberta. Several more are planned or under development. 
Elementary Students To Participate in World's Largest Book Reading
World Teacher Aid (WTA) today announced its intention to break the Guinness World Record for "Largest Audience at a Book Reading by a Single Author" in May 2017. The organization will need over 5400 people in attendance to break the record, and is calling on elementary school teachers and parents across Ontario for support.

Teachers can register their classes in WTA's Write to Give program, where their students will learn how the power of collaborative storytelling can change the world. At the end of the program, students will celebrate their accomplishments with a world record attempt at First Ontario Centre in Hamilton, Ontario.

"Attempting this record is a perfect way to celebrate Write to Give," says WTA founder Amy McLaren. "As a elementary school teacher, I believe the best way to teach children how to positively affect those less fortunate is through active learning. Write to Give teaches participating children the core constructs of storytelling and gives them an incredible sense of pride to see their words and illustrations come to life in the form of published books."

Enrollment runs now until December 31st at www.writetogive.com.

How it Works:
Founded in 2010 as part of Canadian charity World Teacher Aid, Write to Give teaches children how the power of collaborative storytelling can change the world. Working with four other classrooms, children write, illustrate and publish their own books. Proceeds are used to fund the World Teacher Aid Kenyan school initiative. Today, more than 118 books have been produced and the Write to Give program has grown to involve more than 12,000 students from around the world. Participating countries include Canada, USA, Japan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, England and the Cayman Islands

About World Teacher Aid:
World Teacher Aid is the brainchild of dedicated fundraisers Amy and Stu McLaren who, while traveling in Africa in 2009, identified an opportunity to give the gift of education to displaced and impoverished children in Kenya. Working closely with the Kenyan NGO, Volunteer International Community Development Africa, the husband and wife team has raised over $1.6 million to date resulting in the construction of 8 schools (5 primary and 3 high schools) and providing education for more than 3,000 students.
Class Is In Session For Education Savings Week
Heritage Education Funds has been helping Canadian children afford a post-secondary education for 50 years and counting, so we know a thing or two about saving money. This year, in honour of National Education Savings Week, we've made it our mid-term assignment to raise awareness of the very real costs involved with sending a child to school, and the very real ways Canadians can absorb those costs without being crushed by post-graduate debt.

Speaking of real costs, things aren't getting any cheaper. "The overall expense of putting a child through college or university is the highest it's ever been," says Heritage President & CEO Jason Maguire. "As a parent of three post-secondary-bound children, I'm extremely grateful for Education Savings Week, because it allows us to engage our children to discuss what's really important for them: their future and higher education."

If you're a new parent – and if current trends continue – you can expect to be paying upwards of six figures for your child to get a four-year degree once he or she graduates high school. That's an intimidating figure, but it's not out of reach, provided you start saving early and you contribute often. That's where we come in; we're stepping up to the podium to teach you about saving and managing your money the Heritage way.

Throughout the week, we'll be providing a host of valuable tips and articles via our Facebook page, our blog and other channels We also cordially invite you to join us for our #SavingWithHeritage Twitter Party on Thursday, November 24th at 8PM EST, where we'll be sharing tips and information to make saving for your child's education easier – there's over $700 in prizes to be won! Just click here to RSVP.

You want your child to have a bright academic future. Education Savings Week is your chance to hit the books, learn from the experts and make sure that happens. We'll help you get there!
MPs go back-to-school for National Child Day
​ In the run up to National Child Day in Canada, Members of Parliament have been heading back to school to hear from students on the issues that matter most to them. UNICEF Canada's "Bring Your MP to School Day" empowers young people by bringing parliamentarians to them and giving them the chance to be heard.

Over the past weeks, 62 MPs visited more than 100 schools across the country to speak to their youngest constituents. From coast to coast to coast, Canadian students got the chance to voice their opinions to their MPs on everything from climate change to hospitals and schools to the conflicts in Syria and Nigeria.

"They may not be old enough to vote yet, but the voices of Canada's children are important to MPs, and to all of us," said David Morley, President and CEO of UNICEF Canada. "Not only do they make up a quarter of the country's population, but they will be the leaders of tomorrow. 'Bring Your MP to School Day' is a great way to engage and expose them to today's decision-making process, so that they can contribute to it both now and in the future. When we listen to children and put their best interests first, everybody wins."

Today is also Universal Children's Day, and this year, it marks the 25th anniversary of Canada's ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

"Under the CRC, children have the right to express their views and be heard on the issues that affect them," said Morley. "And today isn't just about respecting our obligations under the CRC; it's about creating a better world for children everywhere, and that begins by listening to them."

Participating MPs expressed appreciation online at the chance to interact with the students.

"I had the pleasure of being asked many insightful and well-researched questions from students," tweeted Marwan Tabbara, MP for Kitchener South-Hespeler.

"They truly are the young leaders of today!" tweeted Marc Serré, MP for Nickel Belt.

Outside of school, UNICEF Canada encourages youth across the country to join the online conversation and share their ideas for creating the world they want. By visiting Twitter and following the hashtag #timetobeheard, Canadian youth can continue to speak up, not only to MPs, but to the world.

To learn more about National Child Day, Universal Children's Day or UNICEF Canada's "Bring Your MP to School Day," and to view the list of participating MPs, visit www.unicef.ca/ncd.

UNICEF Canada's "Bring Your MP to School Day" lets students speak up on the issues that matter most
Global Survey Reveals Children Value Education Despite Major Obstacles to Learning
 Children around the world consider education a priority, despite less than ideal circumstances for learning. According to a survey by ChildFund Alliance of more than 6,200 children aged 10 to 12 from 41 countries, including Canada, 98 percent of respondents say education is important to them. However, the findings also show that learning isn't as accessible or safe as it should be. More than one-third of children polled, including 27 percent from Canada, say they feel unsafe at school either sometimes or all the time. They also say that more and better schools are needed.

Grown-up Concerns; Childlike Optimism
"The Small Voices, Big Dreams survey reveals that many of the children polled believe their education is in need of improvement," said Meg Gardinier, Secretary General of ChildFund Alliance. "They are worried about issues ranging from unsafe facilities, disaster protocols and lock-downs, to weapons, drugs and bullying in schools. These are not issues children should have to contemplate. School should be about learning, not about fears for their personal safety."

Jim Carrie, Vice President, Global Operations for Christian Children's Fund of Canada (CCFC), the Canadian member organization of ChildFund Alliance, said, "it's worrying that one in four Canadian children don't always feel safe at school. Now, it's up to all of us to listen to their voices and take action."

Through an Omnibus survey conducted by CCFC, 80 percent of Canadian adults said every child experiences being bullied in their school career. Seventy-six percent said schools need to do more to ensure the safety of children, and 60 percent are concerned about children's safety while they are at school.

The good news is that despite these concerns, children who participated in Small Voices, Big Dreams said they love to learn. "Learning new things" is the number one response from 47 percent of those polled when asked what they like most about school. This is followed by "working with teachers" (29 percent) and "being with friends" (26 percent). And, at this young age, children know that education is the key to their future. Almost half of all respondents (45 percent) say education can help them get a better job, while nearly a quarter are confident it will make them a better person. Others believe school will prepare them to care for their parents (17 percent) or help improve their homeland (17 percent).

Children Want to Be Safe at School
When asked what it means to be safe at school, children identified a range of factors. These include high quality facilities, feeling free from violence or abuse, having strong security measures in place, and learning from teachers that students trust and respect. However, 34 percent of those polled say their school is never or only sometimes safe. Surprisingly, these figures do not vary between developing or developed countries. When asked about solutions, 43 percent of all respondents say they would feel safe at school if security measures existed to keep students protected from harm.

"The fact that so many do not feel safe at school is of great concern, as safety is a prerequisite for learning," said Meg Gardinier. "The world's leaders recognized the importance of safe, meaningful education when they adopted the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goal #4 in September 2015: 'Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.'"

A High Premium on Quality Facilities and Teachers
ChildFund Alliance asked children what they would do to improve education if they were the leader of their country. Almost half (47 percent) would build and renovate school facilities and create high quality learning environments, while 24 percent would focus on the quality of teaching by hiring more staff, paying them well and providing additional training.

For children in some countries, providing greater financial support to schools and students is a top priority.

Work Vs. School
Many of the children polled for Small Voices, Big Dreams feel torn between family and school obligations. A bigger concern in the developing than in developed countries, it is nonetheless restricting childhood activities around the world.

One-quarter of all respondents (26 percent) say they have missed school to help family with work. In developing countries, the number climbs to 31 percent, versus 8 percent in developed.
  Despite Challenges, Encouraging Progress
"We are encouraged that almost all children recognize the importance of education," said Meg Gardinier. "While achieving inclusive and equitable quality education for all seems ambitious, there has been much progress. The number of children and young people not attending school has almost halved since the turn of the century and in most countries there are now as many girls as boys in primary school.


About the Small Voices, Big Dreams Survey
The Small Voices, Big Dreams survey was conducted by ChildFund Alliance member organizations in May 2016. In developing countries, member organizations' staff conducted one-on-one interviews with children in their local language. In some countries, children completed an online survey. In developing countries, participants are from program communities where ChildFund member organizations have sustainable development programs, and in developed countries, children were selected at random.

All non-English responses were translated by ChildFund Alliance member organizations. While every effort has been made to preserve the authenticity of the children's quotes presented in this report, minor editing may have occurred in translation.

The survey was conducted in 41 countries with children aged 10 to 12. This included 31 developing nations in Africa, Asia and the Americas, as well as 10 developed countries. A total of 6,226 children were surveyed — 3,658 children in developing countries and 2,568 children in developed nations.

Two of the five questions were open-ended, meaning the children were not given a list of answers to choose from. The remaining questions provided children with multiple-choice responses. All translated responses were provided to GfK Roper for analysis.

Responses from each country have been weighted to provide an equal voice to all children participating in the Small Voices, Big Dreams 2016 survey.
 "ChildFund Alliance is committed to doing all we can to provide children around the world with a safe, quality education."
Rick Hansen Foundation announces first Barrier Buster grant recipient
The Rick Hansen Foundation announced Vincent Massey Collegiate as the first recipient of an Access4All Barrier Buster grant at a special Canada 150 Countdown celebration yesterday that also marked "46 Days to Go" to Canada's 150th birthday.

One of the very first applicants for the Foundation's Access4All Canada 150 Signature Initiative, Vincent Massey Collegiate staff, students, and community supporters were presented with a cheque for $30,000 from Rick Hansen himself to help break down barriers in the school's built environment.

Vincent Massey Collegiate (ICVMC) is located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and has 1,300 students, including a number with physical disabilities (four use wheelchairs, two with visual disabilities, and two with hearing disabilities). The Barrier Buster grant will be used to make its main entrance more accessible by improving the slope and materials of the front ramp, widening the front door area, and installing electric push button doors.

As the main access point into the school, this update will have a significant impact on students with permanent disabilities, students with temporary injuries, staff and visitors at every mobility level to easily access the building to attend events, presentations, and meetings.

Says Principal Tony Carvey: "In over 50 years, no one in a wheelchair has been able to independently enter the main doors of Vincent Massey Collegiate. We will change that with our Access4All Project."

The school has already undertaken multiple projects designed to make ICVMC fully accessible. To date, they've installed a brand-new elevator, redesigned the life skills student area to accommodate students with severe mobility challenges, and renovated the student centre. In addition to the update of the main entrance, future accessibility projects at the school include the renovation of a multi-level library and a redesign of the school's graphics lab.

Each of these improvements focuses on creating equal access for all, and combined, will create a fully inclusive and accessible environment for learning and sharing for all Vincent Massey Collegiate students.
"With generous support from the Government of Canada, I'm pleased to announce Vincent Massey Collegiate as the first -- of many -- Barrier Buster grant recipients. The staff and students at VMC fully embrace the values of access and inclusion, and this project will make a positive and lasting difference for the entire school community." said Rick Hansen, CEO of the Rick Hansen Foundation.

For more information about the Access4All program and for announcements about future Barrier Buster grant recipients across Canada, visit rickhansen.com/access4all.

About The Rick Hansen Foundation

The Rick Hansen Foundation was established in 1988, following the completion of Rick Hansen's Man In Motion World Tour. For over 30 years, the Foundation has worked to break down barriers for people with disabilities by changing attitudes, creating accessible spaces and inspiring an inclusive society.

About the Access4All Program

To celebrate Canada's 150th birthday and the 30th anniversary of the Rick Hansen Man In Motion World Tour, The Rick Hansen Foundation launched the Access4All Canada 150 Signature Initiative to inspire and empower Canadian youth and community leaders to break down barriers in the built environment. With funding support from the Government of Canada, the Foundation is granting $1.7 million to schools and community groups to help complete "Barrier Buster Projects" to remove physical barriers in public spaces and create awareness about accessibility in their communities.

About the Canada 150 Countdown Celebration Events

Since August 4th, the Government of Canada, in collaboration with various partners, has been counting down the last 150 days of 2016 by revealing surprises throughout the country. The grand finale is on December 31, 2016 with the 'Canada 150 Kick Off' in 19 urban centres across Canada. All Canadians are invited to join in and show their community spirit in person or through social media.
Short timeline and government statements undermining students' faith in tuition fee consultations
Today, the Ministry of Advance Education and Skills Development (MAESD) is holding a stakeholder consultation to discuss college and university tuition fee frameworks. Given that the consultations were only announced two weeks ago and the government has signaled it's intention to have new frameworks by the end of 2016, students are questioning whether or not their contributions are truly valued in this consultation process.

"Students in Ontario are already paying the highest tuition fees in the country. A tuition fee framework consultation could have given us an opportunity to reverse this trend, but instead, we are left increasingly with the feeling that this consultation is just checking off a box," said Rajean Hoilett, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. "A new tuition fee framework has wide ranging consequences for students across Ontario, and yet the government has allocated two hours for consultation with students."

Tuition fees are regulated on a provincial level through a framework set out by MAESD. In 2013, the Ministry introduced a four-year tuition fee framework. Under this framework, tuition fees have been allowed to increase by three per cent for most programs and five per cent for graduate and professional programs. International student tuition fees under this framework are deregulated, resulting in international students being charged three to four times more for the same education.

Students are calling on the Ministry of Advance Education and Skills Development to:

Hold public consultations across Ontario on the tuition fee framework that target both students and the broader public.

Provide substantive options that include a zero percent increase in tuition fees for all domestic and international students, with the intention of eventually eliminating fees altogether.

Regulate international student tuition fees and professional program fees.

End the $750 Ontario International Student Recovery Fee.

Restore post-residency fees for graduate students.

"Last week, Minister Deb Matthews told student journalists that we could expect tuition fee increases in the new framework. Given that statement, it's not surprising that students fear this consultation process is simply a hollow gesture," said Gayle McFadden, Ontario National Executive Representative for the Federation. "While we are coming to the table today to share our ideas, criticisms and suggestions on a new tuition fee framework, we are deeply concerned that the short timeline and statements from the Minister mean the government won't value our contributions."

The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario unites more than 350,000 college and university students in all regions of the province.

Improving safety in school and community safety zones
 Municipalities across Ontario may soon have additional road safety tools available to them in ‎school and community safety zones, if proposed legislation by the provincial government is passed. The proposed legislation would enable municipalities to utilize technology on municipal roads to help address safety issues in these zones.

"Municipalities and our road safety partners have strongly advocated for tougher measures to stop dangerous drivers and better protect pedestrians. These measures would strengthen road safety in school zones and help municipalities keep their communities safe", said the Hon. Steven Del Duca, Ontario's Minister of Transportation.

For nearly 90 years, CAA has advocated for school zone safety in Ontario. The CAA School Safety Patrol program is a joint effort between CAA, the police, school boards, teachers, parents and more than 20,000 dedicated student volunteers. Those involved give their time to ensure their peers remain safe at road crossings and on school buses throughout Ontario. Currently, over 800 schools in Ontario participate in the CAA School Safety Patrol program and CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO) partners with over 55 police services to deliver the program.

"The safety of all road users is a critical factor for CAA. As a provider of one of the longest standing school zone safety programs, the CAA School Safety Patrol program, CAA is pleased that these additional measures will become part of the toolkit to help municipalities and law enforcement across the province. By introducing these options, there is continued focus on making Ontario's municipal roads even safer, with particular emphasis on children and communities", said Elliott Silverstein, Government Relations Manager, CAA SCO.

CAA SCO reminds drivers to stay alert in school and community safety zones by:

Avoiding use of your phone or activities that may take your attention away from the road.

Always checking for children on the sidewalk, driveway and behind your vehicle before backing up.

Slowing down and paying extra attention in residential areas and school zones.

Being ready to stop at all times as children may dart out between parked vehicles.

Coming to a complete stop for school buses when red lights are flashing.

If you fail to do so, you could face a fine of up to $2,000 and six demerit points.

For more information on CAA's School Safety Patrol program, visit www.caaschoolsafetypatrol.com.

Connecting Students from the Greater Toronto Region with our Forests
In partnership with the Municipality of York Region, Forests Ontario hosted local schools for its first Forestry Connects program in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). The Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship and Education Centre provided the ideal location to unite 35 urban students with nature. Students participated in several hands on workshops including orienteering, forest inventory and tree seed collection. Since 2010, Forests Ontario's Forestry Connects program has provided more than 300 high school students with the opportunity to receive a behind-the-scenes look at the role that forestry plays in communities across the province.
​  "The forests of York Region are an important backbone of this community. Aside from providing valuable recreational places, the forests are also managed to provide a wide variety of other benefits including wood products, biodiversity and education," explains Ian Buchanan, Natural Heritage and Forestry Manager, York Region. "The fact that this program is taking place at the Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship and Education Centre also gives the students a first-hand look at a building that is inspired by the forest. This building, which was submitted for LEED certification, was built with sustainably sourced wood and uses solar energy – much like a tree."

Forestry Connects provides an important opportunity for students to learn about the variety of careers in forestry – from forestry professionals, machine operators, and even biologists. Everyone within Ontario's world leading forestry sector plays an important role in ensuring that our natural resources are managed in a sustainably by balancing social, environmental, and economic objectives. More importantly, the Forestry Connects program provides students with the opportunity to network with those working in these careers to ask about their education and career paths, and leave inspired. It also challenges students to learn beyond the classroom and ask questions they may not ask in a traditional learning environment.

"This is our first time bringing the Forestry Connects program to the GTA, where due to the urban setting people tend to be disconnected from the social and economic importance of Ontario's forestry sector," said Rob Keen, RFP, Forests Ontario CEO. "Connecting students to the forestry sector allows them to see that under sustainable forestry practices, tree removal ensures that wildlife habitat, forest structure, and biodiversity are maintained. Covering more than 70 million hectares, Ontario's forests play an important role in building healthy communities across the province, including York Region."

Students were also introduced to the new TD Tree Bee website (treebee.ca) that provides a great way for kids to get excited about our forests, and the perfect opportunity for families, schools and members of the community to spend time learning together outdoors. The TD Tree Bee website can also be used to build local competitions that challenge students to learn more about their local tree species. On November 23, in partnership with the Regional Municipality of York, local grade 4-6 classes will have the opportunity to demonstrate their tree ID skills at the York Region Tree Bee competition.

Forests Ontario would like to extend our thanks to the members of the forestry community in York Region including the Regional Municipality of York, Silv-econ Ltd., and the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority. This program is also proudly supported by Ontario Wood.

We would also like to thank the schools that participated in the program including Pierre Elliott Trudeau High School from Markham, Humberview Secondary School from Bolton, and William Lyon Mackenzie Collegiate Institute from North York.

About Forests Ontario
Forests Ontario is the voice for our forests. Working to promote a future of healthy forests sustaining healthy people, Forests Ontario is committed to the re-greening of Ontario through tree planting efforts on rural lands and in urban areas, as well as the renewal and stewardship of Ontario's forests through restoration, education and awareness. Visit www.forestsontario.ca or follow us @Forests_Ontario.

About Ontario Wood
Similar to Foodland Ontario, Ontario Wood is a way to connect with a local wood producer. Whether your choice is made based on quality and price, whether it's about supporting local producers and local communities, whether it's about what's best for the environment, or whether it's simply because you love the natural beauty of wood products – Ontario Wood can meet your needs. Visit www.ontario.ca/wood.

Global Launch of Robo Garden
METI today announces the global launch of RoboGarden, a web-based app that teaches teens and tweens computer coding literacy.

Learn by Doing
RoboGarden is a learn-by-doing, game-style environment. It gives students a fun, step-by-step way to learn the building blocks of programming from the basics to advanced concepts. It teaches the computer languages that professionals use to author software, smart phone apps and robotic control systems.

  A Head Start for High Paying Jobs
"RoboGarden gives today's students a head start and a significant advantage for their careers. In a substantial and ever growing number of jobs, programming skills are just as important as skating is to hockey players and asking questions is to journalists," remarks Dr. Mohamed Elhabiby, President of RoboGarden Inc.

By progressing through all levels of RoboGarden, students will have the coding skills they need to build their own apps and even take on freelance programming assignments.

For Independent Learning or School Courses
RoboGarden lets students progress through lessons at their own pace. And it empowers parents and teachers, who don't have a technical background, to guide children through their coding lessons. Now every school with an Internet connection can offer beginner to advanced RoboGarden coding courses.

Fostering Community-wide Innovation
"We believe that RoboGarden will create bright new opportunities for individuals and entire communities. Coding literacy is an essential driver of success in the digital economy. Cities with a critical mass of programmers have a distinct advantage," says Dr. Elhabiby.

Special Launch Pricing
RoboGarden is available on a subscription basis at the special launch price of $1.99 US for the first month. For more information visit www.robogarden.ca.

About RoboGarden & METI
RoboGarden Inc. is a spinoff of METI (Micro Engineering Tech. Inc.), an international, award-winning, product development and consulting firm that operates in a wide range of technical sectors. RoboGarden was born out of METI's in-house program for training employees in advanced computer languages. METI's headquarters are in Calgary, Canada.

AMI announces winners of 2016 AMI Robert Pearson Memorial Scholarship
Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) announced today the winners of its 2016 AMI Robert Pearson Memorial Scholarship program. The program, which launched in 2012, is open to Canadian students enrolled in a diploma or degree program at a Canadian post-secondary school. Two scholarships valued at $5,000 each are awarded annually to students with a disability, one in English and one in French.

The winners of the 2016 AMI Robert Pearson Memorial Scholarship are Sean Heaslip of Vancouver, British Columbia and Valérie Poisson from Montreal, Quebec. Sean is in year one of a Doctoral program in Counseling Psychology at the University of British Columbia while Valérie is pursuing her Masters in Voice Performance at the University of Ottawa.

"I am so grateful to AMI for their support of both myself and the broader community they serve," explains Sean Heaslip, 2016 AMI Robert Pearson Memorial Scholarship recipient. "AMI has been a key partner in one of my main leisure activities through their support of our annual Canadian Blind Hockey Tournament. Now, through their support of disability related research, and in my case, a researcher with a visual impairment, AMI continues to cement its legacy as a socially conscious force for positive change."

AMI partnered, once again, with NEADS (National Educational Association of Disabled Students) to administer the program. Since its founding in 1986, NEADS has had the mandate to support full access to education and employment for post-secondary students and graduates with disabilities across Canada.

Information and eligibility requirements for the 2017 AMI Scholarship program will be posted on the AMI websites in the new year. Visit www.AMI.ca/scholarship and www.AMItele.ca/bourse-ami-tele for complete details.

School bus strike averted
Unifor, the union representing school bus drivers at the Toronto and York public and Catholic school boards reached a tentative agreement with First Student bus company, averting a strike or lockout.

"This contract should give comfort to parents in the GTA who have already faced enough this year," said Unifor Local 4268 President Deb Montgomery. "These were very difficult negotiations but our bargaining committee remained committed to stay at the table until a deal was achieved."

The new three-year tentative agreement was reached following all-night negotiations, almost six hours after the strike deadline of Thursday at 12:01 a.m.

"I'm proud of what our bargaining committee has achieved,"said Unifor Assistant to the National Secretary-Treasurer Jenny Ahn. "This new agreement will help make these jobs viable for current drivers along with making it easier to retain good quality drivers in the GTA."

The tentative agreement is supported by the Bargaining Committee for the union, represented by Local 4268, and viewed as a fair and reasonable settlement. Details of the collective agreement will be released upon ratification, which will take place over the next few days.

"Our drivers want to be behind the wheel, helping children get their school day started, and helping to transport them home safely at the end of the day," Montgomery said. "We're happy that First Student bus company came back to the table with an open mind and that a fair deal was reached."

Unifor continues to call on the Ontario government to amend the province's Request For Proposals (RFP) process for handing out school bus contracts, which the union maintains has directly led to many of the systemic problems in the industry.

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 workers, including 22,000 in road transportation. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union merged.

Thousands Take Action, Demand Free Education Now!
Thousands of students and supporters are taking part in rallies and actions in cities across the country as part of the Canadian Federation of Students' campaign for free education.

"Today students are taking action because we know that education is a right," said Bilan Arte, national chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students, "We have a vision of post-secondary education where our colleges and universities are fully funded, where all campus workers are paid fairly, and where students can focus on learning without the burden of student debt. Our vision of post-secondary education is one without tuition fees."

Today's actions are part of a broader campaign launched in June 2016 for free post-secondary education for all students, including graduate students and international students and marks the first time since 2012 students have organized a national Day of Action. Students are calling on both federal and provincial governments to immediately take steps to eliminate tuition fees, address mounting student debt and increase funding for Indigenous students through the Post-Secondary Student Support Program (PSSSP).

Decades of underfunding have resulted in significant tuition fee increases, with few exceptions, across the country. Today, undergraduate students pay an average of $6,373 while graduate students pay an average of $6,703. International students pay much higher fees, often up to 3.7 times that of domestic students. International undergraduate students pay an average of $23,589 while international graduate students pay an average of $15,009. Underfunding has also led to larger class sizes, a reliance on contract instructors, and a shift to corporate funding.

"Our government and university and college administrators can no longer ignore the crisis in education– we simply won't let them," said Arte. "The historic coalition of students, workers, and communities will continue to push Canada forward until we win free education for all students."

The Canadian Federation of Students is Canada's oldest and largest students' union, uniting more than 650,000 college and university students in the demand for high-quality, public, post-secondary education.

Students submit over 40,000 petition signatures to Queen's Park calling for free education for all, action on student debt
 Students and allies are delivering over 40,000 petition signatures to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario today as part of the Fight the Fees campaign calling for free post-secondary education, increased funding for colleges and universities and immediate action to address Ontario's student debt crisis through non-repayable grants and elimination of interest on current student loans. The delivery is on the heels of a National Day of Action taking place tomorrow, November 2.

"The response by students and community members to these demands has been nothing short of extraordinary," said Rajean Hoilet, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students Ontario, "These petitions should make clear to everyone in Queen's Park that students and their families need bold action now to address the financial burdens associated with attending post-secondary education and enhance quality learning at our colleges and universities."

The petitions call for a reduction and elimination of tuition fees for all students including international and part-time students, conversion of Ontario student loans into non-repayable grants and the elimination of interest on current Ontario student loans. Students are also concerned that the positive effects of the new Ontario Student Grant could be eroded by rising student costs. Additionally, part-time students, professional studies students and international students are left out of these new changes.

"While changes to OSAP are a step in the right direction, we know there are many more financial barriers to education that go beyond tuition fees. Additionally, these new changes leave many students behind," said Gayle McFadden, Ontario National Executive Representative for the Federation. "It's a false dichotomy to say we can either have no tuition fees or targeted grants to help the most vulnerable students. Eliminating tuition fees for all removes one financial barrier; non-repayable grants and elimination of interest can help remove others."

The Canadian Federation of Students–Ontario unites more than 350,000 college and university students in all regions of the province.

Schools Play Key Role in Promoting Healthy Active Living Among Canadian Children
Almost one-third of Canadian children and youth are overweight or obese, while only nine per cent of those aged five to 17 meet the guideline of 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day at least six days a week.

A new report produced by The Conference Board of Canada's Canadian Alliance for Sustainable Health Care finds that schools, particularly elementary and high schools, are ideal locations to help children and youth change their behaviour about physical activity.

"Physical inactivity and sedentary behaviour are major contributors to chronic disease and Canadian children are spending an increasing amount of time sitting, whether in the classroom or in front of a screen at home," said Thy Dinh, Director, Health Economics, The Conference Board of Canada. "Our report shows that schools play an important role in helping children form healthy and active living habits at an early age."

The report, Moving Ahead: School-Based Interventions to Reduce Physical Inactivity and Sedentary Behaviour, finds that additions or changes to the physical education curriculum were the most effective at increasing physical activity among children and youth, and provides recommendations on how schools can help them change their behaviour.

Recommendations for schools to implement include the following:

Physical education curriculum: Physical education policies differ greatly across Canada with only some provinces and territories setting daily requirements. Integrating physical activity into the curriculum, including new teaching methods (e.g., tactical gameplay) has demonstrated effectiveness in increasing daily physical activity.
Classroom activity breaks: Taking activity breaks either between or within lessons is proven to have a high impact on increasing physical activity. This low cost, low burden intervention does not increase teacher preparation time or decrease time spent on core subject curriculum.
Active commuting to school: Walking or cycling to and from school can increase children's physical activity levels. This cost-effective activity can be implemented with varying resource levels; however, it tends to be more effective among older children in neighbourhoods within a safe walking distance to school.
Modified playgrounds: Making changes to the playground infrastructure and increasing the availability of non-fixed equipment has been found to significantly increase physical activity at recess periods. However, modified playground requirements, while effective in the short term, may be costly or lose their novelty in the long term.
Screen time: As part of a larger effort to reduce sedentary behaviour, initiatives aimed at reducing screen time could be integrated into school curriculum.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for this issue and initiatives should take into account capacity, resources, and demographics of individual school environments and encourage the active involvement of parents or caregivers.

The Conference Board of Canada's Canadian Alliance for Sustainable Health Care (CASHC) research series Moving Ahead: Healthy Active Living in Canada will comprise several research briefings that aim to identify cost-effective, scalable and sustainable interventions to promote and improve healthy active living. The goal of this work is to fill the gaps in knowledge and practice, and to engage government, employers, and all Canadians in working toward a culture of healthy active living.

Federal, provincial, and territorial governments (excluding Quebec) want to hear from parents, professionals, businesses, NGOs, and other Canadians, as they embark on a process to develop a physical activity framework. Please complete the online survey by November 11, 2016, and share with others who would like to have a voice in the consultation process.

Join Thy Dinh as she discusses school-based physical activity and sedentary behaviour interventions that are cost-effective and could be scaled across Canada in a webinar on December 8, 2016 titled Stopping Sedentary School Kids: Getting Kids to Move More and Sit Less.    

Canada Student Loan borrowers get additional loan repayment relief
Strengthening Canada's middle class and helping those working hard to join it means supporting students as they transition to jobs.

As of November 1, no single Canadian will have to repay their Canada Student Loan until she or he is earning at least $25,000 per year.

The Honourable MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour said, "The future prosperity of our country depends on young Canadians getting the education and training needed to succeed in the job market. As a result of this new measure, students will be better positioned to transition into the workforce after graduation."

Borrowers who are having difficulty making their monthly Canada Student Loan payments can apply for help through the Repayment Assistance Plan. Depending on their financial situation—such as their income and family size—borrowers can get approved for a reduced monthly payment on their Canada Student Loan, or for no monthly payment at all.

With these enhancements, borrowers in need will be getting more financial relief so they can focus on finding the right job to start a career, without the management of loans becoming an overwhelming burden.

This relief is in addition to increased supports for students through the Canada Student Grants. As of August 1, the Government is providing more money. Canada Student Grant amounts have been increased by 50 percent:

From $2,000 to $3,000 per year for full-time students from low-income families;
From $800 to $1,200 per year for students from middle-income families; and
From $1,200 to $1,800 per year for part-time students from low-income families.  

Canadian Immigration Lawyer Looks at How Foreign Students Can Transition to Canadian Citizens
Sas & Ing, an Immigration Law Centre located in Vancouver, provides advice and assistance to people seeking temporary entry and permanent residence in Canada. Their latest article, filled with tips for visiting students who hope to gain permanent residency, was recently featured in the Asian Pacific Post. For more information, go to: http://asianpacificpost.com/article/7622-study-canada-become-citizen.html

With over 120,000 students visiting Canada each year, individual goals are often as diverse as the students themselves. While some come for life experience, travel, or language skills, there are those who hope to eventually call Canada their home. However, as a Canadian Visa Lawyer, Catherine Sas advises that this takes consideration and planning.

Not all schools are equal. It is important to know whether a program of study will entitle the student to obtain a postgraduate work permit after graduation. In order to qualify for a study permit, the school needs to be a Designated Learning Institution (DLI). This means most private language schools and colleges don't apply.

Students hoping to work and live in Canada must familiarize themselves with the post-graduate work permit process. Obtaining work experience after graduation is essential for eligibility to become a permanent resident under Canada's Express Entry system. It's generally best to enroll in a bachelor's degree or college diploma, which entitles students to work for 3 years post graduation.

The article also contains other helpful advice, such as studying English or French in advance to meet the minimum language proficiency standards at Canadian colleges and universities. Additionally, it advises that visiting students are now entitled to work 20 hours per week while attending school-a great way to build language skills and learn about Canadian society.

Although studying in Canada no longer provides automatic eligibility to apply for permanent residency, this is still a great way to obtain work experience, build language skills, and learn about Canadian culture, all of which are beneficial when applying for permanent residence down the road.
Magellan announces successful launch of student space experiments
​Magellan Aerospace ("Magellan") is pleased to announce the successful launch, and return to earth, of three Canadian student space microgravity science experiments aboard Mission 8 of the U.S. - based Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP). The experiments were delivered to the International Space Station (ISS) by the SpaceX CRS-9 mission. The SSEP is a unique, immersive program that gives students the ability to design and propose real microgravity experiments to fly in low earth orbit in the ISS. Two of the three participating Canadian school communities were sponsored by Magellan:

University of Toronto Schools (UTS), Toronto, Ontario
Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario

Magellan's national SSEP partnership serves to increase the opportunity for Canadian communities to participate in the SSEP. The program utilizes the funding provided by the company to bridge funding shortfalls for student communities that would otherwise be unable to participate. The company has been a supporter of the SSEP since it expanded into Canada in 2012. Since that time Magellan-sponsored school communities have engaged over 1,225 Canadian secondary school students in microgravity science experiment design and resulted in more than 270 fight experiment proposals submitted to the SSEP.

Two new Canadian school communities were recently accepted aboard the program for Mission 11 – Coquitlam School District (43), in Coquitlam, British Columbia, and Ecole Stonewall Centennial School in Stonewall, Manitoba. The Mission 11 flight experiments to ISS will be selected by December 15, 2016, with a projected launch as the SSEP America payload of experiments (named for the Apollo 17 Command Module) in late spring 2017. The Mission 11 communities are projected to engage 1,250 students in microgravity experiment design and result in 240 flight experiment proposals.

"SSEP was designed to inspire and engage the next generation of scientists and engineers through authentic, immersive experiences in research", says Dr. Jeff Goldstein, the progam's creator and director. "In Canada, thousands of students are participating in SSEP as a direct result of Magellan's support, which is nothing short of an investment in our future."

"Magellan's national sponsoring partnership for the SSEP in Canada is an excellent fit for our company," said Ms. Laura Podaima, Director, Corporate Communications and Marketing Services for Magellan Aerospace. "Magellan strongly supports academic partnerships and youth engagement, and we recognize the importance of STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] education as the foundation for the next generation of Canadian engineers and innovators. But best of all, the students are excited to participate and have the opportunity to send their science into space, and they make us very proud of their accomplishments."

National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) SSEP website: http://ncesse.org

Tackling the achievement gap through music education at Dixon Hall Music School
 For far too many young people from low-income neighbourhoods in Toronto, income inequality and the resulting achievement gap negatively impact their chances for success. Dixon Hall Music School is committed to addressing this gap by providing high-quality music education to kids in Regent Park.

Studies agree: music education is one of the best ways to put kids on a path to success, and enable them to achieve their fullest potential. Learning music positively impacts language development—children who study music tend to have a larger vocabulary and more advanced reading skills than their peers who do not participate in music lessons. Children who study a musical instrument are also more likely to excel in all of their studies; to work better in teams; to have enhanced critical thinking skills; and to stay in school and pursue further education. Students who participate in high-quality music programs consistently score higher on reading and spelling tests.

For 38 years, Dixon Hall Music School has offered a world-class musical education to children in Regent Park and surrounding neighbourhoods, and has positively impacted the lives of thousands of young people. Dixon Hall's is a one-of-a kind school that provides students with high-quality musical education, along with opportunities to grow, to develop, and to achieve their fullest potential, in music and in life. (More info at www.dixonhall.org/musicschool)

The Music School teaches more than 300 children and youth a week, ages 3 to 22, and offers instruction for 21 different instruments. And students are doing more than just learning to play an instrument; increasingly, students are creating their own music: learning to write, record, and produce. Last year, 100% of Music School students who graduated high school went on to pursue post-secondary education.

"We believe that every child, regardless of their family's financial circumstances, should have the chance to learn music," said Neil Hetherington, CEO of Dixon Hall. "We see the difference music can make in the lives of young people, and we want to give the gift of music to all children and youth in the Regent Park community."

On Thursday, December 1, Dixon Hall Music School will host its annual fundraising gala, Music for Life, at the Daniels Spectrum (585 Dundas St. East). Presented by the Slaight Family Foundation and RBC, Music for Life is an evening of dinner and entertainment in support of the Music School. This year's event will feature performances by current and former students, along with Juno-award winning singer-songwriter Tomi Swick. (More at www.dixonhall.org/musicforlife)

Proceeds from Music for Life will ensure that Dixon Hall Music School can continue to offer music lessons at rates that community members can afford. The Music School currently offers private lessons for only $4, instruments to rent for as low as $5 a month, free music and arts camps, and free tickets for students to attend cultural events.
Students' Call for Free Education Receives Unprecedented Support
     With just one week until the Canadian Federation of Students' (CFS) November 2 national day of action for free education, students are announcing the support of 83 labour unions, civil society organizations and community groups.

"Students have been there for us on the picket lines and in our campaigns to defend public services," said Hassan Yussuff, President of the Canadian Labour Congress. "This historic cooperation demonstrates the urgent need for action, and our success will showcase the strength of our movements' unity. I will be there on November 2 to demand free education now. It's long overdue."

"As students, we are motivated and lifted up by the support of so many community organizations, civil society groups and labour partners," said Bilan Arte, CFS National Chairperson. "After decades of damage to post-secondary education in Canada, our time has come."

Combined, the CFS, unions, and community groups represent over 4 million students, workers and people who are calling for the elimination of tuition fees and universal access to public, post-secondary education in Canada.

"Sky-rocketing tuition fees continue to strangle the next generation and families with life-long debt. It's time to put tax dollars to work for public post-secondary education," said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. "By taking action and uniting for one clear priority - free education now - students and workers can improve the lives of working people and families right across the country."

"This is about envisioning a better world, and building it together," said Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians. "I stand with students to build a Canada that upholds human rights, invests in strong public services and ensures equal opportunity for all people."

In Germany, the broad-based 'Alliance Against Tuition Fees', comprised of hundreds of students' unions, trade unions, and political parties, won the elimination of tuition fees for all students.

To date, the CFS national Day of Action has been endorsed by:

ACORN Canada
Administrative and Supervisory Personnel Association (ASPA) (University of Saskatchewan)
Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1505
Association of Allied Health Professionals
Black Lives Matter - Toronto
Broadbent Institute
Canadian Association of University Teachers
Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions
Canadian Intern Association
Canadian Labour Congress
Canadian Media Guild / Communications Workers of America
Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union
Canadian Teachers Federation
Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW)
CUPW – Nova Scotia
Canadian Youth Climate Coalition
Corner Brook and District Labour Council
Council of Canadians
Council of Canadians: Winnipeg Chapter
Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)
CUPE 856
CUPE 1281
CUPE 1870
CUPE 3287
CUPE 3905
CUPE 3908
CUPE 3909
CUPE 3912
CUPE Manitoba
CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador
CUPE Nova Scotia
CUPE Ontario
Dalhousie Faculty Association
Edmonton District Labour Council
Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario
Fight for 15$ and Fairness (Ontario)
Fredericton and District Labour Council
Fossil Free Canada
Guelph Faculty Association
Halifax-Dartmouth & District Labour Council
International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group
Manitoba Federation of Labour
Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union
Manitoba Organization of Faculty Associations
Memorial University if Newfoundland Faculty Association
National Union of Public and General Employees
New Brunswick Federation of Labour
Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees
Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour
Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers' Association
Nova Scotia Federation of Labour
NSGEU Local 8
Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association
Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations
Ontario Federation of Labour
Ontario Public Service Employees Union
Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation
Ottawa and District Labour Council
Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC)
PSAC 901
PSAC 60550 – Union of Graduate Student Workers
PSAC Atlantic
PSAC Prairie Region
Regina and District Labour Council
Saskatchewan Federation of Labour
St. John's District Labour Council
Toronto and York Region Labour Council
UFCW Canada
UFCW Local 832
University of New Brunswick Union of Graduate Student Workers
UNIFOR
UNIFOR Prairie Council
United Campus Labour Council
Unite Here! Canada
United Steelworkers of Canada
University of Guelph Faculty Association
University of Toronto Faculty Association
University of Western Ontario Faculty Association
Windsor University Faculty Association
Winnipeg Labour Council
Workers Action Centre
Workers United Canada Council
Young Communist League

On November 2, 2016 over 35 marches, rallies and actions calling for free education are taking place in communities across country. Visit cfs-fcee.ca for a full list for actions.

The Canadian Federation of Students is Canada's largest students organization, representing more that 650,000 college and university students across the country in the demand for high-quality, publically funded post-secondary education.
RBC celebrates 150 years of Canada by inspiring young Canadians to #Make150Count
To celebrate Canada's remarkable past and looking to its bright future, RBC will launch its Canada 150 initiative by giving thousands of young Canadians $150 with one simple request: use the money to help communities prosper. Through #Make150Count, RBC will celebrate these extraordinary acts of kindness that are generated across Canada.

"We're celebrating Canada's 150th anniversary by showcasing the people who will lead and shape our country's future," says Mary DePaoli, chief brand and communications officer, RBC. "Our Canada 150 initiative will bring to life the power and ideas of young people and how they build prosperity in communities across our great nation."

RBC employees will select young people within their communities to participate in the program. In addition, young Canadians between the ages of 16-25 can be part of RBC's national movement by sharing how they would make $150 count through Twitter or Instagram using #Make150Count for a chance to be selected.

To kick-off the program, RBC employees used 300,000 Post-it Notes to create large scale portraits that depict some of the young Canadians who have already used their $150 to #Make150Count. The vivid images of these young community leaders are front-and-centre on the windows of RBC's offices in Halifax, Toronto, and Vancouver.

Among the young Canadians featured in the portraits, acts of good include an art project to demonstrate the value of positive thinking for Canadian women, buying supplies for children who are living in a shelter for homeless families, and making care packages for people living on the street. For more information visit rbc.com/make150count.

The Post-it Notes come from sustainably managed forests, backed by 3M's paper sourcing policy. In addition, t‎hese Post-it Notes are made with plant-based adhesive (67% of the adhesive content) and are made with paper that is 30% post-consumer recycled material. To reduce waste, the notes will be reused by RBC employees in various offices once the portraits are removed.

The portraits are in place in the offices at the following locations:
Toronto: 155 Wellington Street West
Vancouver: 1025 West Georgia Street
Halifax: 1871 Hollis Street
Centennial College marks its 50th anniversary today with - what else? - cake!
Centennial College opened its doors to a ramshackle, renovated former factory on Warden Avenue on October 17, 1966 – exactly 50 years ago today. With the guidance of then-Education Minister William Davis, the Township of Scarborough made a home for the province's first College of Applied Arts and Technology. There are 24 public colleges across Ontario today.

It took four months to transform the plant into the first college campus, but the work wasn't quite done. Professors had to contend with power outages and shout over the din of jackhammers and drills. Centennial came into being noisily.

Despite the humble setting, 514 students enrolled in 16 new programs in business, technology, public relations, journalism, social services and early childhood education — the disciplines of the emerging service-based economy. For students for whom neither university nor the trades offered a good fit, Centennial College provided a welcome new path to a career.

To mark Centennial's milestone, college staff are serving cake, coffee and tea to students at its four campuses today to celebrate 50 years of teaching excellence and working with the community and industry partners to ensure graduates have the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. Tonight, the TORONTO sign at City Hall is turning Centennial green to mark the occasion.

To thank the community, Centennial released its students, faculty and staff to "Paint the Town Green" on September 27. Thousands of volunteers fanned out across the city to lend a hand in 11 major Toronto parks with a variety of "green" initiatives such as planting trees, spreading mulch, recycling trash, painting fixtures and beautifying public areas. Centennial's partner schools in China, South Korea, India, Turkey, Panama, Brazil and other countries did the same.

Centennial College has grown over the years: 20,200 full-time students (including 6,800 international students) and 20,000 part-time learners are enrolled in 250 programs and 1,000 part-time courses, including joint-degree and bachelor programs with partner universities and colleges. The 2016 Key Performance Indicators survey reveals Centennial has the highest student and employer satisfaction rates among the six public colleges serving the GTA.
First Centennial taxi training course rolls out today
 Centennial College rolled out its taxi driver training program today – workshops that give new drivers valuable lessons in customer service, cultural sensitivity, disabilities awareness and mapping, as well as a day of defensive driving training in a vehicle.

Beck Taxi is the only Toronto brokerage to make this training mandatory for any driver licensed since May 4, 2016, when the City of Toronto cancelled its own training.

"At Beck, we know that Torontonians depend on us for safe, convenient rides – we were never comfortable with the idea of no training for drivers," said Kristine Hubbard, Operations Manager at Beck. "We aren't experts in training itself, but we know what's important when it comes to customer service, and driver and customer safety. Our experience and Centennial's ability to translate that into an efficient and effective training course is the perfect marriage."

For the first time, new taxi drivers will be required to take a six-hour training session in a vehicle as part of their course. Delivered by Canadian Pro Drivers, a Centennial College training partner, drivers will receive defensive driving instruction and tips to keep their passengers and vehicle safe. The training course is already viewed favourably by some insurance providers.

"We're excited to be getting this program off the ground," said Barry O'Brien, Dean of the Business School at Centennial College. "New drivers can come to Centennial for quick, effective training to prepare them for the realities and responsibilities of providing a vital transportation service to Torontonians and tourists. We believe our program will continue to support professionalism and best practices in the taxi industry."

As of today, Centennial will be offering the 25-hour course on a weekly basis and will continue to do so as demand requires.

"I commend Centennial College and Beck for taking the initiative and creating a hands-on driver training course," said Toronto City Councillor Glenn De Baeremaker. "Our city, our residents and our visitors rely on taxi drivers every day – especially during tough weather conditions, or during transit disruptions. With a course like this one, we can feel assured that drivers will have access to training that will keep them and their riders safe."

For more information about Centennial's new taxi driver training program, call 416-289-5000, ext. 7086 or 7105.
Suzy Basile: First Atikamekw PhD Graduate
ROUYN-NORANDA, QC, Oct. 14, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - Suzy Basile, a PhD student in Environmental Sciences at Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT), successfully defended her doctoral dissertation on "The role and place of Atikamekw women in the governance of land and natural resources" on October 13. In addition to being the first Aboriginal student to receive a PhD from UQAT, Suzy Basile is the first member of the Atikamekw nation to be awarded this degree. The ceremony took place at the First Peoples Pavilion on the UQAT Val-d'Or campus.

Of the many challenges associated with governance of land and natural resources, the role and place of Aboriginal women remain the least recognized. The doctoral dissertation of this PhD candidate aimed at identifying the role of Atikamekw women on the land, their place in local and territorial governance, their perceptions related to the state of the land, and their concerns regarding knowledge transmission. A thematic analysis of 32 interviews revealed that Atikamekw women have a deep attachment to their land, have had to adapt quickly to lifestyle changes, are insisting in transmitting and perpetuating knowledge, play an active role in local and territorial decision-making, and value political leadership in women. "Atikamekw women know about the lifestyle of their ancestors and the role that women used to play, a role both predominant and essential to the spatial organization of traditional land activities. Atikamekw women value education and historically have played an instrumental role in its development", says Suzy Basile.

This research shows the importance of making room for women in governance and decision-making, reducing cultural and territorial insecurity through knowledge transmission and land protection, and valuing knowledge on land management in order to build and maintain a stronger connection with the land.

Suzy Basile: A model of excellence rewarded by Fondation de l'UQAT
To highlight the outstanding achievement of this inspiring student, the Fondation de l'UQAT is pleased to award Suzy Basile a $6,000 scholarship from the Aboriginal Forestry Fund. "Jury members acknowledged the high quality of Suzy's dissertation and the rigour of her work. She is a remarkable source of inspiration for Aboriginal students enrolled at UQAT or considering to undertake postgraduate studies", says professor Hugo Asselin, holder of the Canada Research Chair in Aboriginal Forestry and Director of the UQAT School of Indigenous Studies. Mrs. Basile will pursue her career at UQAT as a newly appointed professor at the School of Indigenous Studies.

Suzy Basile's doctoral dissertation, entitled "The role and place of Atikamekw women in the governance of land and natural resources", was supervised by professor Hugo Asselin (UQAT) and professor Thibault Martin (UQO - Université du Québec en Outaouais).
It's Time to Think Big: Students Make the Case for Free Tuition in New Paper
OTTAWA, Oct. 13, 2016 /CNW/ - The case for free tuition is made clear through a paper released today by the Canadian Federation of Students. Time to Think Big: The Case for Free Tuition in Canada is a call-to-action to save Canada's underfunded and inaccessible post-secondary education (PSE) sector.

"Free tuition is not some millennial pipe dream, it follows generations of activism and growing momentum in Canada and around the world," said Bilan Arte, National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students, "Today, because of high tuition fees, students, especially Indigenous, racialised, queer and trans students and students with disabilities are prevented from accessing public education. My student movement demands universal access."

The paper makes the case for free tuition through four arguments

Our post-secondary education system is broken
We must learn from our history
We need fundamental change
Free tuition is possible
"From Ontario and New Brunswick to the United States, Chile and Germany, there is movement towards free tuition because students, graduates and our families have demanded a leap forward," continued Arte. "On November 2nd, 2016, join Canada's student movement as we take to the streets to call for fundamental change and universal access to education."

The Canadian Federation of Students is organizing a Day of Action on November 2nd, 2016 with events in 15 cities and counting. Students are calling for universal access to public post-secondary education, education justice for all learners, and public education for the public good.

Download Time to Think Big: The Case for Free Tuition at cfs-fcee.ca

The Canadian Federation of Students is the oldest and largest national student organization in Canada, representing over 650,000 college, undergraduate and graduate students across the country.
New website "Lingo121" helps language learners find private tutors in cities across Canada
TORONTO, Oct. 12, 2016 /CNW/ - A new website opened to the public this week called "Lingo121" (www.lingo121.com). The site helps language learners find private tutors in cities across Canada, and joins a growing number of "peer-to-peer" websites like AirBnB that aim to make accessing services better, cheaper, and more convenient.

Language learners will find Lingo121 easy to use: they enter the language they're studying, and their city; the site then returns a list of matching tutors. The learner can browse tutor profiles to read about teaching philosophy, specialties etc., as well as reviews from past students. They can then book and pay for tutoring sessions all inside the site.

Lingo121 focuses on "real-world" tutoring sessions, not online. CEO Jeff Myers explains, "Online is convenient of course, but research shows that in-person teaching has better outcomes, especially for language learning; so we wanted to start with that." As for the one-to-one model, he adds, "A private tutor can really accelerate a person's language acquisition; the pace of learning is so much faster when there's individualized attention."

Tutors set their own hourly rates, which start as low as $20/hr. The site currently boasts 100+ tutors in 15 Canadian cities covering 20 languages, but recruitment is ongoing; interested tutors can apply directly from the main page.

Myers says he got the idea from personal experience: "I wish something like this had existed when I was finding tutors. It's much more convenient to have everything in one place, not to mention the peace of mind knowing someone has vetted the tutor".

Myers, who has a PhD in Adult Education from the University of Toronto (UofT), says the project got its start through a collaboration at the University, confirming UofT's status as one of the most productive startup incubators in the country.
Ontario colleges are leading the fight to tackle climate change: Report
TORONTO, Oct. 12, 2016 /CNW/ - Ontario's colleges are playing a leading role in Canada's efforts to tackle climate change, says a new report released today.

The report, Moving to Net Zero: Colleges Leading the Way, highlights the 24 colleges' achievements in everything from leading-edge research that promotes energy efficiency to the development of programs that prepare increasing numbers of graduates for careers in areas such as renewable energy and sustainable building construction.

"We're at the forefront of the efforts to produce a cleaner economy," said Linda Franklin, the president and CEO of Colleges Ontario. "Our colleges will play an even greater role in the years ahead as the country works to fulfil its international commitments to reduce emissions."

The report released today documents achievements in five areas: research, community leadership, college programs, transportation and campus upgrades. The examples in the report confirm that all 24 colleges are playing an active part in the effort to reduce the province's carbon footprint.

The findings in the report include:

Throughout the province, colleges offer more than 300 programs that prepare graduates to work in sectors that directly impact emissions reductions, conservation and renewable energy.

In 2015-16, more than 20,000 students were enrolled in programs that prepare them for careers that address climate change. That represents an increase of more than 20 per cent over the past five years.

Millions of dollars have been invested in retrofit programs and other upgrades at campuses across the province. The retrofitting projects have included weatherization initiatives, energy and greenhouse gas audits, the installation of wind turbines and solar panels, and the integration of new designs that include green roofs and pollinator gardens.

"It's clear that colleges will play a prominent role in the implementation of Ontario's Climate Change Action Plan," Franklin said. "As we continue to implement new programs and curriculum and make improvements to our campuses, colleges will help Ontario make the move to a net-zero economy."
The Suzanne Rogers Fashion Institute at Ryerson University launches on October 11, 2016
TORONTO, Oct. 11, 2016 /CNW/ - Ryerson University is pleased to announce the launch of The Suzanne Rogers Fashion Institute (SRFI), a dynamic fellowship program designed and dedicated to educate, support, promote and advocate for new Canadian talent in fashion craftsmanship and design.

With international partnerships with leading schools and by supporting the development of emerging young design talent nationally and internationally, the SRFI fellowship is unique in the Canadian fashion landscape attracting potential fellows early in their academic and fashion careers. Undergraduates from third and fourth year along with recent graduates will undergo a competitive selection process to become fellows of the new institute. Over five years, these elite fellows will receive support through a variety of opportunities aimed at realizing the promise of their full potential as exceptional Canadian fashion design students.

"Supporting and fostering emerging talent in the Canadian fashion realm has always been a tremendous passion of mine," says Suzanne Rogers, benefactor of The Suzanne Rogers Fashion Institute. "The calibre of student talent at Ryerson University is incredible, and this institute works to develop, support and nurture their skills in an exclusive and innovative way and showcase them nationally and internationally."
Made possible through a $1 million gift from The Edward and Suzanne Rogers Foundation to the Faculty of Communication and Design, the SRFI will bridge the transition from fashion education to practice. Through master classes and exclusive mentorship opportunities, the SRFI will significantly strengthen and enhance the Canadian fashion industry.

"The SRFI model is unique for students from the beginning of the fellowship, until the end," explains Robert Ott, Associate Professor, in the School of Fashion, Ryerson University. "This program establishes invaluable learning opportunities for Canada's emerging and up-and-coming designers to apprentice and continue their studies abroad, building on the school's reputation and growing partnerships with international fashion institutions."

The SRFI program will include:

Master classes led by national and international fashion experts
Exclusive mentorship by the school's Distinguished Designer-in- Residence Funding to support active participation in national and international competitions


Fellows of the SRFI will be eligible to apply for:

Undergraduate student awards
Paid work placements or internships
Graduate student awards for international study
Funding to support active participation in international fashion weeks and other opportunities


"This very special gift from the Rogers family builds on their legacy of generosity and commitment to our students," says Charles Falzon, Dean of FCAD (Faculty of Communication and Design), Ryerson University. "Within Canada's ever -changing fashion landscape, The Suzanne Rogers Fashion Institute is helping to elevate student potential for creative innovation, empowering the next generation of designers to pursue and achieve their boldest ambitions."

This most recent gift from The Edward and Suzanne Rogers Foundation extends the Rogers family's place among Ryerson's most generous supporters, contributing more than $34 million to the university over the years.

For more information, please visit www.srfi.ca

The Suzanne Rogers Fashion Institute (SRFI) at Ryerson University is a new program dedicated to supporting emerging Canadian fashion designers nationally and internationally. Serving third- and fourth-year Ryerson fashion design students and recent graduates, the institute educates and provides mentorship, awards and international opportunities to new talent in fashion craftsmanship. For more information, visit www.srfi.ca

Ryerson University is Canada's leader in innovative, career-oriented education. Urban, culturally diverse and inclusive, the university is home to more than 41,500 students, including 2,400 master's and PhD students, 3,200 faculty and staff, and nearly 170,000 alumni worldwide. For more information, visit www.ryerson.ca​

Calling all grade 12 students! RBC announces more scholarships than ever for RBC Black History Month Student Essay Competition
TORONTO, Oct. 11, 2016 /CNW/ - As part of the celebrations for the upcoming Black History Month, the Royal Bank of Canada today announced a call for submissions for the 2017 RBC Black History Month Student Essay Competition. Now in its eight year, RBC has increased the number of available scholarships from 25 to 30 for eligible students, including three top prizes of $5,000, $2,500 and $1,500.

The competition, open to grade 12 students who are applying to post-secondary school for the 2017/18 academic year, asks students to share what young people can learn from the achievements and contributions of black Canadians over the past 150 years to help shape the future for generations to come.

The competition, which has added an additional five scholarships from last year, celebrates the past, present and future contributions of black Canadians and also helps to offset the climbing costs of post-secondary education in Canada.

"Reading the unique positions taken by the students in their submissions each year is always both empowering and enlightening," said Kim Mason, Regional President, Greater Toronto. "This year will be especially interesting as the question ties into Canada 150, which we will be celebrating as one nation in 2017."

The contest will be judged by a jury from across Canada, and the winners will be announced on February 3, 2017. Essays should be 750 or less and must be submitted by December 9, 2017. Full details can be found online at www.rbc.com/essay.

Winners will be celebrated during Black History Month, when all Canadians are invited to participate in festivities across the country.
Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on World Teachers' Day
OTTAWA, Oct. 5, 2016 /CNW/ - The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on World Teachers' Day:

"World Teachers' Day is a special day to honour the teachers who have played an essential role in our lives.

"The theme of this year's World Teachers' Day – Valuing teachers, improving their status – is an important one. Teachers have the awesome responsibility and the humbling opportunity of building the society of tomorrow through the students they teach every day in their classrooms.

"Enriching and educating the next generation of Canadians is no small task. It requires a lot of generosity, compassion, and hard work. Day in and day out, teachers seek new ways of engaging with students and explaining tough concepts, taking the time to understand students' needs while empowering them to satisfy their own curiosity.

"The Government of Canada is committed to providing teachers with the tools necessary to help students succeed. That is why we are undertaking a broad range of initiatives in this area, including: helping teachers and early childhood educators recover some out-of-pocket expenses for classroom supplies through a new school supply tax credit; investing in schools on First Nations reserves and in infrastructure projects at Canadian universities and colleges; providing learning opportunities for displaced children in the Middle East; and promoting cooperation in education with countries such as Mexico through Canada's International Education Strategy.


"I am exceptionally proud of having been a teacher. Regardless of whatever other job titles I hold over the course of my life, I will first and foremost be a teacher. That is why I was particularly delighted to present this year's Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence and Excellence in Early Childhood Education.

"In fact, today is also the beginning of the nomination period for the Prime Minister's Awards. Between now and January 9, 2017, I encourage all Canadians to recognize our tremendous educators and their contributions to the future of Canada by nominating them for the #PMAwards.

"On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I thank teachers in Canada and around the globe. You are inspirational leaders who change lives, and build a better world, every day."

Gore Mutual Shares Memento Bricks from Lincoln Public School
CAMBRIDGE, ON, Oct. 3, 2016 /CNW/ - In a touching ceremony that included local community members and former students of the now-closed Lincoln Public School, Gore Mutual Insurance Company gave away memorial bricks on October 3, in honour of the school's 65-year legacy of educating children in the Galt area of Cambridge.

Lincoln Public School closed its doors in June, 2013. In 2015, Gore Mutual purchased the school property, which is adjacent to the company's head office. Gore Mutual's grounds are renowned in Cambridge for their beauty and historical significance, and the company is committed to maintaining the school grounds to the same standard.

"We care deeply about our community members, and take great pride in the beauty of our grounds," said Heidi Sevcik, President and CEO of Gore Mutual. "It also means a great deal to us to keep our neighbourhood safe. With those things in mind, we knew that removing the building was the right thing to do."

  Approximately 300 bricks from the school were kept aside during the deconstruction and made available to Galt area residents and former students at the ceremony, allowing them to keep a piece of local history. A number of bricks had commemorative plaques added to them as a special remembrance. As the old building was taken down, its metal was salvaged, and its remaining bricks and concrete were turned into gravel that can be used in other construction projects.

"It was extremely important to us to be environment-friendly in our disposal of the school's building materials," added Sevcik. "And of course, we were also respectful of the mementos that remained inside the old school."

Team banners that still hung from the gym rafters were given to the local school board for preservation. The basketball backboards were donated to another local school, and the flagpole went to a community centre for children.

While Lincoln Public School's proud history has come to a close, its memory will live on through donated mementos, recycled construction materials, memorial bricks and—most importantly—in the hearts of its former students.

Government of Canada invests in the country's most promising young researchersl
 The Government of Canada values the role that young researchers play in producing the knowledge, discoveries and innovations that help build a strong, healthy middle class. That is why the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, and the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, announced 166 new Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship recipients and 70 new Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship recipients. These awards, which are Canada's most prestigious awards for doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows, demonstrate the government's $34.7 million commitment to attracting and retaining the best young doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows in Canada and from around the world. The specialties of these researchers span health sciences, natural sciences and engineering, and social sciences and humanities.

"I'm proud to support the world's most promising young research talent in Canada, so that our country remains a leader in discovery and applied research. I congratulate the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholars and Banting Postdoctoral Fellows and wish them continued success with their research that will benefit the health of all Canadians," said Philpott.

The extraordinary research being conducted by the following three researchers illustrates the range of disciplines being supported:


Vanier Scholar Yasmine Hajar at the University of Ottawa is examining how electricity can speed up the movement of chemicals that react with methane gas, which could then lead to the development of low-cost fuel for vehicles and a reduction of air pollution.

Vanier Scholar Erin Hetherington at the University of Calgary is studying which social support systems best help women avoid postpartum depression after they have given birth.

Banting Postdoctoral Fellow Julien Lefort-Favreau at Université de Sherbrooke will research how, since 1959, editors of various publications in France helped intellectuals communicate political thoughts that led to significant social change for the country's citizens.


​Both the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships program and the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships programs are funded through the three federal research granting agencies: the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships and Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships

The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships and Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships are Canada's most prestigious awards for doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows, respectively, working in the health sciences, natural sciences and engineering, and social sciences and humanities. Through these programs, the Government of Canada strengthens the ability of Canadian universities to attract and retain world-class research talent and supports the development of the research leaders of tomorrow.

Today's announcement represents a Government of Canada investment of $34.7 million:

166 Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships for $24.9 million over three years (Scholarship provides $50,000 per year for up to three years)
70 Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships for $9.8 million over two years (Fellowship provides $70,000 a year for up to two years)
Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships

The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships (Vanier CGS), launched in 2008 by the Government of Canada and named after Governor General Major-General Georges P. Vanier, is a program to attract and retain world-class doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows in Canada. Additionally, the program aims to establish Canada as a global centre of excellence in research and higher learning. The Vanier CGS program also helps build and strengthen relationships and partnerships with international researchers. Vanier Scholars demonstrate leadership skills and a high standard of scholarly achievement in graduate studies in the social sciences and/or humanities, natural sciences and/or engineering, and health.

Vanier Scholars receive $50,000 a year for up to three years of research. Including today's recipients, a total of 1,000 scholarships have been awarded since the inception of the program. The program supports up to 500 students annually who are pursuing doctoral degrees at Canadian universities. Many Vanier Scholars remain in Canada and pursue professional careers. This, in turn, fosters innovation and creates jobs in the future.

Examples of 2015-16 Vanier scholars include:

Myriam Drouin, from Laval University, is trying to create chemical bonds in proteins that cannot be destroyed by natural enzymes in the human body, which could then lead to the development of stronger pharmaceutical medication. (NSERC)

Ina Filkobski, at McGill University, will examine how young adults use peacebuilding initiatives from various organizations in society to resolve their conflicts. (SSHRC)

Masoud Mohammadalizadeh Shabestary at the University of Alberta will study how Canada's electricity sector can blend common power generation and transmission with clean energy resources (such as wind, solar, and geothermal) in efficient and cost effective ways. (NSERC)

Perri Tutelman, at Dalhousie University, will study how chronic pain among children can also have an emotional impact on both mothers and fathers, so that new intervention and prevention programs can be developed to help families. (CIHR)

Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships

The Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships (Banting PDF) program is named after Dr. Frederick Banting, Nobel Prize winner for the discovery of insulin. The program was created by the Government of Canada in 2010 as a way to strengthen Canada's ability to attract and retain world-class post-doctoral talent, develop their leadership potential and position them for success as the research leaders of tomorrow. The program will also help these researchers positively contribute to Canada's economic, social and research-based growth through a research-intensive career.

The Banting PDF program is unique in its emphasis on the synergy between applicants and research institutions. Therefore, all applicants have to apply in close collaboration with the university or other eligible research institution with which they hold fellowship. Research institutions hosting these applicants must demonstrate their commitment to the applicant's success through institutional research priorities, a supportive research environment and professional development opportunities.

Banting Fellows receive $70,000 a year for up to two years of research. Including today's recipients, a total of 280 fellowships have been awarded since the program's creation. The program supports 140 post-doctoral researchers annually who work at Canadian universities and leading international research institutions. This helps develop research leaders who will positively contribute to Canada's economic, social and research based growth.

Examples of 2015-16 Banting postdoctoral fellows include:

Adalberto Loyola-Sanchez, at the University of Calgary, will analyze how researchers can help Indigenous peoples in Canada and Mexico avoid arthritis-related problems through community-based programs that are respectful of Indigenous traditions and ways of knowing. (CIHR)

Rita Orji, at the University of Waterloo, will study whether her design of personalized persuasive games can help adolescents avoid risky sex and drugs/alcohol use and promote healthy behaviours. (NSERC)

Gordon Pennycook, at Yale University, will analyze how people's conflicting thoughts (such as greed vs. generosity) can be resolved if they understand the benefits of positive actions in their everyday lives (e.g.: cooperation at work, school, and home). (SSHRC)

Shea Balish, from University of Toronto, will be developing a new digital tool that measures whether emotion can motivate youth to participate in sports. (SSHRC)

High school entrepreneurship competition returns for fifth year
TORONTO, Sept. 30, 2016 /CNW/ - Today, the Government of Ontario and Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) launched the fifth year of the Young Entrepreneurs, Make Your Pitch competition, an event which helps foster high school entrepreneurs.

Since being introduced in 2013, hundreds of Ontario high school students have pitched their business ideas to experts and the public through the competition.

Each year, the competition has been a catalyst for high school students to begin thinking as entrepreneurs and consider a possible new career path in entrepreneurship. For example, finalist Kailyn Seo did not ever consider entrepreneurship until she entered, and ultimately won, the Young Entrepreneurs, Make Your Pitch competition as a Grade 11 student last spring.

"In just a few months, the experience has introduced me to a world I never considered," said Seo. "I never thought I'd be the CEO of my own company, yet here I am." The business Seo founded with the help of Make Your Pitch is Bookshopop, a creative and interactive alternative to greeting cards.

Young Entrepreneurs, Make Your Pitch challenges high school students to pitch their business idea in a two-minute video. The videos are evaluated by judges from the business community with the public able to vote for the best pitch online. Twenty finalists will present their ideas to a judging panel at OCE's Discovery conference in Toronto on May 15 - 16, 2017, where they will also receive coaching from a number of Ontario business leaders.

The competition is part of the Government of Ontario's $565-million Youth Jobs Strategy. "Ontario has some of the most innovative, hardworking young entrepreneurs," commented Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development and Growth. "The Make Your Pitch competition aims to showcase young Ontarians' world-class business acumen."

"A robust workforce and strong entrepreneurship are two pillars of a thriving Ontario economy," added OCE President and CEO Dr. Tom Corr. "At OCE, we see every day that young people have the ability to change the province and the world through their business ideas. This competition is their opportunity to shape the future."

Six winners will be selected and presented with reserved entry into Ontario's Summer Company program, an award that includes business training, mentoring, and a grant of up to $3,000 to help start and run their own summer businesses.

The video submission period ends on March 29, 2017. Finalists will be announced April 24, 2017.

About Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Inc. (http://www.oce-ontario.org/)

Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) drives the commercialization of cutting-edge research to build the economy of tomorrow and secure Ontario's global competitiveness. OCE fosters the training and development of the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs and is a key partner with Ontario's industry, universities, colleges, research hospitals, domestic and foreign investors, and government ministries. A champion of leading-edge technologies, best practices, innovation, entrepreneurship and research, OCE invests in such areas as advanced health, information and communications technology, digital media, advanced materials and manufacturing, agri-food, aerospace, transportation, energy, and the environment including water and mining. OCE is a key partner in delivering Ontario's Innovation Agenda as a member of the province's Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE), which helps Ontario-based entrepreneurs and industry rapidly grow their company and create jobs. Learn more at www.onebusiness.ca
Students Pleased with Premier's Instructions to Minister
      TORONTO, Sept. 26, 2016 /CNW/ - The Premier's mandate letter to the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD) offers encouragement to students and signals that the government is ready to move forward on a number of issues that students have been raising.

Members of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) are especially excited by the instruction to create a permanent student advisory council to the Minister that will allow students to share their priorities and provide advice on a variety of topics. "OUSA looks forward to helping make this body a constructive and effective platform for student voices," said OUSA President, Jamie Cleary.

The letter also tasks MAESD with continuing the Highly Skilled Workforce Strategy, a set of recommendations that OUSA students helped develop through consultations with the Premier's Expert Panel last year. Ensuring that all university students have access to experiential learning opportunities and providing workplace transition support for underrepresented groups will be particularly beneficial.

The call to establish a central data system for employment and other labour market information is another success for OUSA students. "The need for centralized, accessible, and publicly available data throughout the sector is an issue that we've been raising," said Cleary. "Better information is needed to inform government and student decisions, and it's encouraging to see the Ministry moving in that direction on employment outcomes."

Other promising initiatives discussed in the letter include improving mental health service on campus, additional support for Indigenous students, and continuing to facilitate student choice and mobility through the Ontario Council for Articulation and Transfer.

OUSA is enthusiastic about the momentum its lobbying efforts have had and the extent to which student priorities are reflected in this letter. OUSA members look forward to staying engaged and lending assistance as these recommendations are implemented.

About the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA)

OUSA represents the interests of over 140,000 professional and undergraduate, full- and part-time university students at eight member associations across Ontario.
Historic Maple Trees Honour Fallen WWI Soldiers at Toronto School
TORONTO, Sept. 24, 2016 /CNW/ - Today, at Lambton Park Community School in Toronto, six maple trees were recognized by Forests Ontario as part of the Heritage Tree Program. The maple trees are estimated to be more than 97 years old.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Lambton Park and these trees play an important role in the history of the school. The two Silver maples and four Norway maples were planted on November 11, 1919, the first Remembrance Day following World War I, to commemorate twelve soldiers from the school's neighbourhood who lost their lives in the First World War. Today, as alumni, teachers and the community gathered to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the school, Stephanie Prince of Forests Ontario presented a plaque and certificate to the school.

The trees were nominated by Bonita Nelson, the niece of two of the deceased soldiers. Bonita's family belongs to the Bernice Crescent Community in Lambton and she nominated the trees for heritage recognition.

Forests Ontario's Heritage Tree Program collects and tells the stories of Ontario's diverse and unique trees and brings awareness to the social, cultural, historical, and ecological value of trees. Trees are nominated for recognition based on distinctness in size, form, age, rarity, or their connection with historically significant events, individuals, or locations. More about the Heritage Tree Program can be read here. 
"Our trees are a part of the history of our nation and stand as biological monuments to the legacy of our country," said Rob Keen, CEO of Forests Ontario. "When these trees were originally planted, the community of Lambton was just taking shape. Our heritage trees demonstrate proven resistance to stressful urban growing conditions and perpetuating their seeds and genetic qualities will ensure we continue to meet canopy targets and fight climate change."

"It is amazing to celebrate Bonita's first Remembrance Day trees," commented Janet McKay, Executive Director, Local Enhancement & Appreciation of Forests. "The enduring role that trees play in building our communities and Toronto's history is a great reminder to everyone."

"Schools and school grounds are often the building blocks of our communities," said Chris Tonks, Ward 6 Trustee, Toronto District School Board. "These trees have stood guard over generations of students. They've contributed to the beauty of the area and have bared witness to the growth of Toronto. These century trees will continue to stand tall over the families, teachers and residents of the Bloor West community."

The six maples at the school were entered into the "heritage potential" category of LEAF's Great Toronto Tree Hunt, which ran in the spring of 2015.

Anyone interested in nominating a tree as part of the Heritage Tree Program should contact Forests Ontario or visit forestsontario.ca for more information.

About Forests Ontario
Forests Ontario is the voice for our forests. Working to promote a future of healthy forests sustaining healthy people, Forests Ontario is committed to the re-greening of Ontario through tree planting efforts on rural lands and in urban areas, as well as the renewal and stewardship of Ontario's forests through restoration, education and awareness. Visit www.forestsontario.ca or follow us @Forests_Ontario.

About LEAF
LEAF (Local Enhancement & Appreciation of Forests) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the protection and improvement of the urban forest. LEAF undertakes creative public awareness campaigns to raise awareness about the value of urban forests and engages citizens in stewardship through education and planting programs. Visit www.yourleaf.org or follow us @leaf.

George Brown's The George Is Now Open
Canada. Starting with 12 schools across seven provinces, the Nissan Kickoff Project has returned to surprise Canadian high schools with the specific support they need to play football, including financial funding, equipment, uniforms and motivational events. This year, the program will help nearly 1,200 students from 26 schools nationally in 24 cities and eight provinces coast-to-coast.

"We are excited to announce that for the third year in a row, the Nissan Kickoff Project will be working with high schools across the country to give young Canadians the chance to learn and grow through the power of sport," said Joni Paiva, president, Nissan Canada Inc. "Nissan is committed to improving the communities we work in, and together with the CFL, we are hopeful that we will be able to continue making a real difference."

The Nissan Kickoff Project assists high schools that have the passion for the game but are in need of resources to participate in football. Schools are then chosen in areas where Nissan dealers and, where possible, the CFL and its teams are able to take part at a crucial local level. For the program's third year, more than 25 Nissan dealerships and four CFL teams, including the B.C. Lions, Edmonton Eskimos, Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Hamilton Tiger-Cats, are expected to participate on varying levels.


This year's program began on September 2 and has visited 12 high schools so far, including Churchill High School in Winnipeg on Saturday, September 17. The Nissan Kickoff Project surprised the students at Churchill on their Homecoming Day with a pep rally and an amplified home game experience. In addition, the Nissan Kickoff Project donated $10,000 worth of new jerseys, cleats and helmets to hopefully make the football program more attractive to new and existing students. Looking ahead, teams from 14 additional high schools will be surprised with a variety of support throughout September and October as the football season gets underway.

"Churchill High School is extremely grateful for such a wonderful donation," said Kirkland Harper, head coach of the Churchill High School football team. "The experience provided by the Nissan Kickoff Project and the Nissan dealers was incredible. Our players, program, and school are better off for the future thanks to Nissan."

Nissan has been a proud sponsor of the CFL for 10 years and their involvement is integral to the success of the Nissan Kickoff Project. This year, the CFL will be providing a number of significant contributions including valuable insights, donations of training equipment and special player appearances. The CFL will help train and motivate the next generation of Canadian football players, as well as teach the importance of teamwork, cooperation, hard work and friendship. The Nissan Kickoff Project, in partnership with the CFL, is hopeful that this experience will provide a positive influence that rallies the communities and the students together.

"We are excited once again to bring football to more students across Canada through our partnership with Nissan," said Jeffrey L. Orridge, CFL Commissioner. "The Nissan Kickoff Project has been a resounding success and I can't wait to see what the program's third year will bring. Together with Nissan, we have been able to bring football to communities throughout the country and provide students with the opportunity to play the game of football and all that comes with being on a team and staying active."

To follow this year's journey on social media, please use #NissanKickoffProject.

Peel board to "pause" closure of elementary French, music rooms
 

Faced with a $2.8-million cut in funding from the province for the cleaning of schools, the Peel District School Board will find in-year savings in other areas to prevent the need for music and French classroom closures in elementary schools this year. The pause will provide time for the board to explore options to the closures and to mitigate the impact of the estimated further $2 million in facility operations cuts for the 2017-18 school year.

In an Extraordinary Meeting of the Board on Sept. 21, 2016, trustees directed administration to use in-year savings to provide cleaning services in a maximum of two non-funded permanent classrooms or three in very exceptional circumstances at schools which are below Ministry Rated Capacity. If not enough in-year savings are found, administration can use funds from the uncommitted Working Fund Reserve to make up the balance.

Notes Janet McDougald, chair of the Peel board, "We asked administration to review the possibility of finding a way to keep the rooms open while we explore a permanent solution. Offsetting a portion of the funding reduction provides needed breathing space while that process happens this year. That is what is best for our students."



"I want to be clear—the loss of ministry 'top up' funding was highlighted in the 2015 and 2016 budget processes. So, the review by administration of classroom space, and the potential closure of classrooms, flowed directly from the budget approved by this board. But we have, in our roles as trustees, heard the voices of our staff on the impact and the short timeline. We understand the concerns, as does administration, and so we found a solution together so we can pause the closure—not stop them—while we explore alternatives for next school year."

Says Tony Pontes, director of education, "I know how hard this process has been for our principals, vice-principals and school staff. Closing the music and French rooms was an action driven directly by a significant cut in provincial funding—not by our choice, not by what we want to do. Working with the board to find a temporary solution, and pausing the closure of elementary music and French rooms this year will come as a great relief to our schools. However, I want to stress that this is a one-year pause. Unless a permanent solution is found, we may have to close the classrooms next year."

Adds Chair McDougald, "The trustees will ask the province to re-visit the definition of a 'classroom' and therefore revisit the drastic reductions to our cleaning budget. Trustees will work with our unions and federations to help the province understand the vibrant programming delivered by our music and French teachers. Based on that work, we will need, as a board, to determine the impact as we go through the budget process this year for the 2017-18 school year."

Centennial College helps paint Canada yellow for student mental health with new Friendship Bench
 

Centennial College has joined a national program to paint Canada yellow for student mental health. The Toronto college is working with the Lucas Fiorella Friendship Bench and has launched the #YellowIsForHello mental health awareness program on campus with the unveiling of one of the organization's iconic yellow benches today.

With suicide now the second-leading cause of death among Canadians aged 15 to 34, developing a culture of openness around student mental health has never been more important. The #YellowIsForHello program will help Centennial College continue to foster an environment where students are free to talk and learn about mental health. That in turn increases awareness, reduces stigma, and will see more students who may be suffering in silence get the help they need before it's too late.

"We're delighted to include Centennial College among the 11 Canadian schools unveiling a Friendship Bench this fall," said Sam Fiorella, Managing Director of the Lucas Fiorella Friendship Bench. "By joining the #YellowIsForHello program, the college is making a powerful commitment to students that says we care about you, we care about your mental health."


"Raising awareness of the crisis in student mental health and having conversations about it is the first step towards helping people overcome their challenges," said Ann Buller, President of Centennial College. "Too many young people have become overwhelmed by today's stresses and don't know where to turn to for help. We want to ensure they know the college has resources to help."

"As a student counsellor, I see lots of students in my office who admit having trouble managing the responsibilities of school, family, work and relationships," said Centennial's Steven Ruhinda. "Fortunately, colleges are devoting more resources – time being a major one – to counsel students to cope with today's demands. Our Friendship Bench is a visual reminder that help is available on campus."

About The Lucas Fiorella Friendship Bench
The mandate of the Lucas Fiorella Friendship Bench is to connect students dealing with mental health issues, and who are unsure or unable to ask for help, with campus resources and other students willing to help or listen. The yellow benches being installed on high school and university campuses across Canada serve as a visual reminder of the importance of mental health awareness and conversations among students. Each bench features a URL where students can quickly access on-campus and local mental health and suicide-prevention services. Connect with The Friendship Bench on social media:

Thefriendshipbench.org
Twitter.com/yellowis4hello
Facebook.com/thefriendshipbench

More than 120,000 university hopefuls and parents to load up on info at the Ontario Universities' Fair this weekend
 

  It could be an intriguing program, a campus in a dream location, after-school sports and activities - or all of the above. Whatever high school students have on their minds as they pick a university, the Ontario Universities' Fair (OUF) has all the answers.

The OUF, the only fair featuring booths by all 21 Ontario universities, is the largest educational fair in Canada, attracting more than 120,000 students and parents each year.

"It really is the easiest way for young people to get a feel for what each university has to offer, and help them make the choice that's right for them," says Dave Wallace, Executive Director of the Ontario Universities' Application Centre, which runs the fair.

"There are 21 universities, thousands of programs and a whole host of extracurricular activities, residence options and internships to choose from. The fair brings all of those options under one roof, helping to make the choices for students a little less daunting."

The three-day fair begins Friday, Sept. 23 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and runs until Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Entry is free, and this year's new OUF Passport system will make collecting information from each university even easier.


Anyone who registers online at www.ouf.ca/passport will receive an OUF Passport barcode by email. When guests request information from a particular university, their barcode will be electronically scanned, and responses will be sent by email.

Even for students who know which university they want to attend, the OUF is a great place to ask a professor about what's taught in class, or to talk to current students about the campus culture in and outside the classroom.

OUF happens only once a year, but anyone unable to attend can get the information they are looking for as part of the University Information Program (UIP) at www.ouf.ca/uip that sees Ontario's universities travel to high schools across the province to speak with students directly.

Universities are also pleased to host prospective students on their campuses throughout the year

Quick Facts:

  • 377,500+ undergraduate students attended Ontario universities in 2014-15
  • 88,500+ high school students applied to an Ontario university last year
  • Almost 94 per cent of the last university graduates surveyed had a job two years after graduation
  • University graduates in full-time jobs two years after graduation earn an average $42,300

COU is the voice of Ontario's universities, promoting the value of education, research and innovation that leads to social, cultural and economic success.
George Brown's The George Is Now Open
George Brown College has entered new territory this year with its first, ultramodern student residence. In addition to being a hub of teaching and applied learning, George Brown College is now also home for 500 students at The George.

"This marks an important milestone in the history of our college," said Anne Sado, President of George Brown College. "The George integrates our mission to prepare students for success both inside and outside of the classroom; building career-ready graduates. It's also a testament to George Brown's ongoing investment and revitalization of Toronto's waterfront."

George Brown has a long history of building and revitalizing communities across Toronto, including opening its Waterfront Campus in 2012. Now, with the addition of its student residence, which initially housed American athletes' during the 2015 Pan Am & Parapan Am Games, the college is once again an anchor resident in a refreshed and remodeled neighbourhood.

"This is a perfect example of what a legacy project of the Pan Am Games looks like for the city. The Athletes Village has transformed from housing Pan Am athletes to now being the residence of the next generation of city leaders from George Brown College," said Mayor John Tory. "George Brown College has been an integral part of Toronto for many years and I congratulate the college on their first residence."


The George is located in the Canary District, close to the college's St. James and Waterfront campuses.

"I am delighted that George Brown College is continuing to enrich the experience of its students with the opening of The George in the riding of Toronto Centre," said The Honourable Glen Murray, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, and MPP for Toronto-Centre. "This residence builds upon the successful 2015 Pan Am Games and its legacy of positive community infrastructure for our city."

The George was constructed with sustainability in mind, targeting a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) gold certification. It was also designed to extend the learning experience for students, beyond the classroom.

"We are thrilled to add The George to our George Brown community," said Karen Thomson, Vice-President, Marketing, Student Life and Alumni at the college. "The residence experience is about more than a place to live. It's about creating a supportive space for students to socialize, study, collaborate and to develop essential soft-skills like teamwork, communication and problem-solving."

At The George, students not only have modern living spaces to call home, but they also have the opportunity to participate in programming designed to enhance their soft skills – those traits and attributes used when interacting with others. Group cooking classes, study sessions, sports nights, and various other activities will support the development of the soft skills employers value most, such as teamwork and communication skills. Fully accessible lounge spaces on each floor are also designed to facilitate collaboration with areas for group meals, fitness spaces, and study rooms featuring beautiful views of the city.

"It's really exciting to be one of the first to live at The George," said Lyla Daniel, second year nursing student at George Brown and a Resident Advisor. "The residence has created a strong community and support system already – people I can lean on while I'm living away from home. It also offers students new opportunities to engage with the college and feel comfortable living in such a large and vibrant city."

Those living at the residence enjoy fully furnished two-bedroom suites complete with a kitchenette and three-piece bathroom, floor to ceiling windows, Wi-Fi, and a flat screen TV with cable service.

For more information about The George visit www.georgebrown.ca/residence.

Post-secondary students can now access more easily the education they need to achieve the future they want

"Canada Student Grants help make higher education accessible for students who otherwise would not be able to attend post-secondary school. Allowing them to receive a quality education is what helps create our future leaders and a better tomorrow. As a student advocate, I can say that seeing improvements to the Canada Student Loan Program is a win, as we have been asking for increased public funding. I look forward to working with the Government of Canada to continue to make student assistance better."
– Roy Karam, Cape Breton University Student Union President
The Government's commitment to strengthening Canada's middle class and helping those working hard to join it means making post-secondary education more affordable for students.

Today, Rodger Cuzner, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour and Member of Parliament for Cape Breton–Canso, on behalf of the Honourable MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour and Dave Wilton, MLA for Cape Breton Centre, joined students at Cape Breton University to talk about the increases to Canada Student Grants and enhancements to the government's Repayment Assistance Plan.
The Parliamentary Secretary told students that, as of August 1, the Government is providing more money for over 11,000 students in Nova Scotia. Canada Student Grant amounts have been increased by 50 percent:

  • From $2,000 to $3,000 per year for full-time students from low-income families
  • From $800 to $1,200 per year for students from middle-income families
  • From $1,200 to $1,800 per year for part-time students from low-income families

As a result of these enhancements, when combined with provincial student grants, the average full-time undergraduate student from a low-income family in Nova Scotia could receive approximately $5,500 in grants.
The Parliamentary Secretary also highlighted that, beginning November 1, no single Canadian will be required to make any repayment on her education loans until she or he is earning at least $25,000, thanks to the Government easing rules for Canada'sRepayment Assistance Plan.

Thanks to these new measures, students are getting financial relief that will allow them greater access to post-secondary education, and the ability to start their careers not only with the skills they need, but with more money in their pockets.
 
Mentoring Takes Centre Stage During the Month of September
 As children across the province head back to school, parents turn their attention to the question of how to help a struggling child achieve success. For nearly one hundred years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has been making a positive difference in the lives of our nation's youth by developing and implementing a wide range of mentoring programs. Last year, Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland and Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver mentoring programs gave over 2,000 youth the confidence to achieve more. To highlight the impact of mentoring, the country is celebrating Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) Day on September 18th and BBBS Month throughout September.

Mentoring matters because 1.2 million of Canada's children live in poverty, and research demonstrates that Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring programs yield positive results in mental health, employment and civic engagement, factors that can help break the cycle of poverty. Of youth who were part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters one-to-one mentoring program, 63% had post-secondary education, 80% pursued healthy lifestyles and 98% felt they make good life choices as adults among other positive outcomes.

In support of BBBS Day, BC Place, the CN Tower, and Niagara Falls will light up in the charity's distinctive colour purple on September 18th. Plus, Mayor Gregor Robertson is making it official by proclaiming September 18th Big Brothers Big Sisters Day in Vancouver.

We've also launched a #MentoringMatters social media campaign that everyone can participate in, and local agencies are hosting countless events across the country.

"In our fast paced world, children need positive role models more than ever," says Valerie Lambert, Executive Director of Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver. "When our children are emotionally, socially and physically healthy, everyone in the community benefits. Having an additional caring adult in a child's life can curb issues like bullying and crime, so that children can grow into more resilient, more giving, and more compassionate adults."

ABOUT BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS OF CANADA

Since 1960, Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland has been enhancing the confidence, self-esteem and well-being of girls through supportive friendships with caring women. Big Sisters matches vulnerable girls between the ages of 7 and 17 with female volunteers in mentoring relationships and provides ongoing support to these matches. Big Sisters is proud to be a Community Partner of United Way of the Lower Mainland.

Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver is a registered charity and community-based organization, that has been supporting child and youth development through essential volunteer-led mentoring programs for over 50 years. Big Brothers matches vulnerable boys and girls with male and female volunteers in a wide range of one-to-one and group mentoring programs. Big Brothers proudly operates across the Lower Mainland and the Sea to Sky Corridor.


Follow the #MentoringMatters social media campaign on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and learn more about how you can support mentoring in your community, or become a mentor yourself, at bigsisters.bc.ca or bigbrothersvancouver.com.
"Mentorship has incredible outcomes," says Brenda Gershkovitch, Executive Director of Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland. "Research shows that participants in our mentorship programs have higher self-esteem, better health, stronger social networks, and are even more likely to become volunteers themselves."


School Bus Driver Shortages
 

 Everyone in the student transportation industry regrets the current situation of driver shortages. Drivers are the 'front line' and safely transport our students every day. Operators take pride in the industry's service and safety record of the last 50 years.

The driver shortage problem is just a symptom of a larger problem. The Ministry of Education has forced a flawed procurement system into the contracting of school bus services that has resulted in rates being critically depressed.
When rates are depressed to the level that they are, the results have been:

  • 35 companies (service providers) have been forced out of business
  • Companies have abandoned certain markets and/or turned contracts back in
  • Some companies, just to stay in business, have been forced to bid low on contracts and by doing so can't increase wages to where they should be
"Service providers are not opposed to competitive contracting, but governments must recognize the uniqueness of the school bus transportation business: the school bus is a single purpose vehicle and in many geographic areas there is only one buyer – a buyer monopoly – the school board's consortium. If you lose the contract you are out of business and your employees are out of work," states Frank Healey President of ISBOA.

The industry has warned the government of this outcome and offered solutions. Retired Justice Colin Campbell chaired a government appointed Independent Review Panel which made 29 recommendations to change the process – all industry supported.

The Ministry of Education will claim that they have increased rates by 2% per year. This 2% is not passed on to the contractors by the Boards and even if it was, it is not enough as costs, including government mandated fees, have increased significantly.

We regret that this flawed procurement process has caused companies to close, others to abandon certain markets, and drivers' wages not represent their value to student transportation safety.

The Independent School Bus Operators Association (ISBOA) represents over 100 independent companies, some third generation family operated, that continue to transport students safely to and from school every school day.

Latest university tuition fee numbers released by Statistics Canada show need for parents to plan ahead

 Parents saving with a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) for their child shouldn't worry about the latest data on tuition fees coming from Statistics Canada, not if they plan ahead.

"The numbers released by Statistics Canada today shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone paying attention to the increase in fees over the past decade and half," says Peter Lewis Vice President at CST Consultants Inc and the Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation, one of the largest distributors of Registered Education Savings Plans in Canada.

The annual rate of fee increase has remained steady between 3-4 per cent over the last 5 years. But if you take into account an annual rate of inflation of about 1.5 per cent (CPI Canada); the actual rate of fee increase stands realistically at 2 per cent after inflation.

"This year's data shows a 2.8% increase in tuition fees for full-time studies in an undergraduate program, so after inflation we're looking at more like a 1.3 per cent increase this year," says Lewis. "Since these numbers have remained steady, parents can actually readily plan for that increase."

Start saving for your child's college or post-secondary education early

Invest in a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) over other investment vehicles.

Talk to your child about their post-secondary education plans and set a budget accordingly. 

The earlier you start saving for your child's education, the more your savings can benefit from the power of compounding. If you start investing $210 every month for your new born, their RESP could be worth almost $30,000 more than if you start when your child is five. 
An RESP is a tax-sheltered way of investing for your child's education and where parents can take advantage of free money offered by the government by way of the Canada Education Savings Grant and the Canada Learning Bond. If your child is a Canadian resident under the age of 17, they are eligible for the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG), which matches 20 per cent of the first $2,500 you contribute to your child's RESP each year up to a lifetime maximum of $7,200. There are several other provincial grants you can apply for depending on your province of residence and eligibility. 
 Have regular conversations with your child about what they want to be when they grow up and what it will take to get there.  This includes the courses and grades they will need as well as how much it will cost them to get there.  Make it a shared responsibility and track your progress together.  Check out some of these cool careers of the future to spark the conversation.  

Don't rely on student loans for your child.

Leverage available tax credits and child care benefits.

For the average student who is a beneficiary of a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) the latest tuition fees shouldn't be a scary number. According to Employment and Social Development Canada, the average student withdrawal from an RESP was $8,025in 2014. That's enough to pay for the tuition fees listed in the latest Statistics Canada data.
 If you borrow an amount equal to the value of your RESP, your student loan repayments could be more than your RESP contributions. Borrowing doesn't just cost more in the long run, but it also puts the burden of debt on your child. 
Federal benefits and credits are there; use them. From the time you bring your bundle of joy home to the time they are ready to go to university, government can help you cover the cost of education if you save wisely.

Decade-long rank as most expensive province for higher education undermines Ontario's promising changes to financial assistance
 

Data released today by Statistics Canada today confirms that for the ninth consecutive year,Ontario students are paying the highest tuition fees in Canada. Average tuition fees in the province for 2016-17 will be $8,114 for domestic undergraduate students, up from $7,868 in 2015-16. For domestic graduate students, fees increased to $9,416, up from$9,175 last year. The data also shows that Ontario international student tuition fees increased more than any other province, jumping from $27,627 in 2015-16 to $29,761 this year.

"While these statistics are hardly surprising, they are more worrisome given the recent promising changes to student financial assistance in the province" said Rajean Hoilett, Chairperson for the Canadian Federation Students-Ontario. "Allowing further tuition fee increases, particularly without additional public funding, would erode the quality and accessibility of Ontario's colleges and universities."
The tuition fee data released by Statistics Canada today shows that undergraduate tuition fees have increased by 3.1 per cent, above the three per cent cap set by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development for most programs.

The 2016 provincial budget announced the Ontario Student Grant (OSG), a new needs-based grant that will provide non-repayable financial assistance to college and university students – some of whom will receive grants that exceed the costs of their tuition fees. The new program has the potential to increase access to higher education for thousands of students, particularly low-income students who have been chronically underrepresented in post-secondary institutions.

While the OSG will keep pace with tuition fee increases and inflation, the continued underfunding of post-secondary education overall by the province threatens to erode quality by continuing overreliance on part-time instructors, steady growth in average class sizes and crumbling infrastructure.
"If the province's commitment to access is not met with a commitment to quality, then students benefitting from new grants will find themselves in overcrowded classrooms with overworked instructors on campuses with underfunded support services," said Gayle McFadden, Ontario National Executive representative for the Federation. "Changes to student financial assistance were one step forward, we cannot allow rising tuition fees and chronic underfunding of higher education to take us two steps back."

The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario is the largest and oldest student organization in Ontario, representing more than 350,000 college and university students in all regions of the province.

Students Return to Classes With Vision of Universal Post-secondary Education in Canada

Student representatives are available to comment on the back-to-school reality of higher tuition fees. As students are returning to college and university campuses across the country, the Canadian Federation of Students is launching a national campaign calling to eliminate tuition fees in Canada.

Just the facts:

Government funding for post-secondary institutions makes up less than half of 'public' colleges and universities' operating budgets, falling from 54.2 percent in 2004-2005 to 48.9 percent in 2013-2014

Tuition fees have increased 137 percent in real dollars since 1991

It's projected that $2,800,000,000 in new loans will be issued in 2016-17 alone by the Canada Student Loans Program

CIBC now estimates that parents should save $100,000 to support one child through a four-year degree

On November 2nd, 2016 students in communities across Canada will be organizing a Day of Action to demand a new vision for post-secondary education.

The vision:
Universal Access. Regardless of who someone is, where they are from or the background they come from, everyone should be able to access higher education and skills training without the barrier of cost or the fear of incurring debt. 
Education Justice. Currently, Indigenous, racialized, queer and trans, people with disabilities, people raised in single-parent homes and people from low-income families are disproportionately being pushed out of colleges and universities. The education system must not further marginalize these communities. 
Public Education. Public education is a public good that society benefits from as a whole and it must be funded as such. Post-secondary education in Canada must be by the public, for the public. Colleges and universities must be not-for-profit and not tailored to private interests. 
School zones turning into Wild West as parents speed, ignore road signs and put kids at risk - new study
Speeding, ignoring road signs and hostility are just a few driving behaviours that BCAA's School Zone Safety survey reveals parents are doing every day. The problem is bad and getting worse according to 48 per cent of respondents to the survey conducted by Insights West for BCAA, made up of parents and guardians of elementary school aged children, along with principals and faculty from schools across B.C. The vast majority (68%) express deep concern for the safety of their kids.


Results include:

75% say they've seen 'near misses', when a child is almost struck by a car.

83% witness parents/guardians speeding in school zones.

80% witness parents/guardians ignoring traffic signs and road rules.

51% see hostile behavior from parents and guardians such as honking and using profanities.

82% witness distracted driving by parents and guardians.

88% see illegal parking by parents and guardians.

Parents and guardians are also making unsafe choices when it comes to school drop-off and pick-up. The school zone survey reveals many parents and guardians are dropping off and picking up their child in ways that put their kids at risk with 87 per cent seeing kids getting in and out of cars in undesignated areas such as double parked cars on the street.

The survey comments were rife with details about kids being dropped off outside of designated areas and running into oncoming traffic, kids darting out from in between cars and school buses and parents talking on cell phones and otherwise distracted. The assumption by both parents and school staff is that parents are rushed (75%) and running late (61%) with congestion in the school zone as another factor (71%).


​Other motorists are also driving unsafely through school zones. The top three unsafe motorist behaviours seen by respondents are: speeding (94%), distracted driving (90%) and ignoring traffic signs and road rules (90%).
Survey participants would like to see all drivers near schools to reduce their speed, change their driving attitude and follow the school rules. Pettipas couldn't agree more. "We understand that parents and guardians are busy and the survey wasn't intended to focus on anyone in particular. We appreciate the honesty of parents, guardians and school staff who participated," says Pettipas. "At least a problem has been highlighted which means we all can start working on solutions, starting with better driving behaviour by all drivers and safer choices by parents and guardians when it comes to dropping off and picking up their child."

BCAA emphasizes that all drivers follow the posted speed limit in school zones which is 30 km/hr. in most communities and recommends the following for parents and guardians:

Follow the school's drop-off and pick-up procedure which includes letting children in and out of the car at designated areas.
Teach children how to safely get in and out of the car, cross the street and walk or ride their bike to school.

Talk to your school and parent committee about ways to address congestion in your school zone. If the school already has drop-off and pick-up procedures in place meant to ease heavy traffic, follow those instructions.

Be patient and courteous to other parents and guardians, school staff, crossing guards and student safety patrollers. Reacting with extreme frustration may aggravate the situation and increase the risk of unsafe behaviours.

About the survey
Results are based on an online study conducted from August 29 to September 1, 2016, among a representative sample of 712 adults in British Columbia, including 301 who currently serve as principals, teachers or school staff at a British Columbia elementary school, and 411 parents or guardians who drop off and/or pick up a child from school. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error for the entire sample—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.7 percentage points.
"It's the Wild West in school zones during drop-off and pick-up times," says Shawn Pettipas, BCAA manager of community impact programs. "School zones can be frantic places with not everyone on their best driving behaviour. We commissioned the survey to see the extent of the problem but the results were more concerning than even we expected."
Wounded Warriors Canada Announces their 2016 Veterans' Child Scholars
 It's back to school and Wounded Warriors Canada is proud to announce their 2016 Veterans' Child Scholars (VCS). Through the generous support of the founding sponsors at The Bay Street Children's Foundation, CIBC Capital Markets, RBC, and ITG, today 8 students are headed to their respective college or universities having received this important hand up. The $40,000 VCS fund provides one year of full-time post secondary education to 8 children whose parent is a Canadian Armed Forces Veteran, serving or retired, affected by Operational Stress Injuries (OSI) – including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Wounded Warriors Canada is profoundly aware of the life changing impact that mental health injuries have on our military families and, specifically, the children. The Veterans' Child Scholarship represents Wounded Warriors Canada's first initiative directly focused on the children of our ill and injured Canadian Armed Forces members and Veterans.
The 2016 Wounded Warriors Canada Veterans' Child Scholars:

Calissa Daley: Acadia University
Kayla Wiems: Camoson College
Ashley Pelletier-Simard: Dalhousie University
Julia Beekhouse: Saint Mary's University
Katrina Hunter: University of Ottawa
Alisha Perreault: University of Ottawa
Mikayla Lively: Algonquin College
Alexander Jones: Queen's University

Phil Ralph, National Program Director of Wounded Warriors Canada, commented, "Each of the applications we received were deserving of this fund. Their heart wrenching stories of what life can be like growing up in a home with a parent, or parents, who suffer with an Operational Stress Injury was a reminder to us all about the need to ensure the entire military family is supported when program options are considered. We look forward to watching the students grow and prosper in this next chapter of their lives."

For more information on Wounded Warriors Canada and for complete details on the Veterans' Child Scholarship please visit: http://woundedwarriors.ca/how-we-help/vcs/     
 

A lesson in back to school safety

As students head back to the classroom, CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO) is releasing three new school safety videos to remind drivers of the importance of road safety during the school season.
The school safety reminder comes on the heels of a recent survey conducted for CAA SCO which shows 32 per cent of Ontarians admit to driving distracted and drivers with less than 10 years of experience are more likely to be distracted behind the wheel.

"Drivers need to pay extra attention in school zones and residential neighbourhoods, especially before and after school hours because students can be easily distracted by friends and electronic devices. Drivers should also always avoid talking or texting on their phone. Taking your eyes off the road, even for a second, can have dire consequences," said Elliott Silverstein, Government Relations Manager, CAA SCO.

"The Ontario Provincial Police continue to see inattentive related driving as a leading cause of death and injury on Provincial Highways. Countless more inattentive related collisions result in needless traffic congestion and inconvenience for thousands of motorists every day. The OPP's priority is public safety and we will continue to patrol the highways ensuring that all drivers have their complete attention on driving. We also encourage all passengers to speak up if they see their driver is distracted. Together we can make the roads safer. Put down the phone and focus on the road," said Chief Supt. Chuck Cox, Commander, Highway Safety Division, OPP.
CAA SCO is reminding drivers to stay alert and remember to:

Avoid talking or texting on your phone or activities that may take your attention away from the road.

Always check for children on the sidewalk, driveway and behind your vehicle before backing up.

Slow down and pay extra attention in residential areas and school zones.

Be ready to stop at all times as children may dart out between parked vehicles.

Come to a complete stop for school buses when red lights are flashing. If you fail to do so, you could face a fine of up to $2,000 and six demerit points.

The three school safety videos focus on driving your kids to school, sharing the road with school buses and walking to school.

Meanwhile, CAA School Safety Patrollers will be back in action helping their classmates get to and from school safely. There are 55 police services, 800 schools and approximately 20,000 elementary school students in Ontario involved in the CAA School Safety Patrol program.

The survey was conducted by an independent research firm. The margin of error for this study is 3.5 per cent. 
In ten countries with highest out-of-school rates, 40 per cent of children are not accessing basic education
In the top ten countries with the highest rates of children missing out on primary education, nearly two in every five children – 18 million – are out of school, UNICEF said today.

Liberia is home to the highest proportion of out-of-school children with nearly two-thirds of primary-aged children not accessing school. The second highest is South Sudan, where 59 per cent of children are missing out on their right to a primary education and one in three schools is closed due to conflict.

Afghanistan (46 per cent), Sudan (45 per cent), Niger (38 per cent) and Nigeria (34 per cent) also feature in the top ten countries with the highest primary out-of-school rates, painting a clear picture of how humanitarian emergencies and protracted crises are forcing children out of school.

The UNICEF data analysis, which comes as millions of children return to school this month, highlights the extent of an education crisis affecting countries already blighted by conflict, prolonged periods of drought, flash floods, earthquakes and high rates of extreme poverty.

UNICEF fears that without education, a generation of children living in countries affected by conflict, natural disasters and extreme poverty will grow up without the skills they need to contribute to their countries and economies, exacerbating the already desperate situation for millions of children and their families.


Education continues to be one of the least funded sectors in humanitarian appeals. In 2015, humanitarian agencies received only 31 per cent of their education funding needs, down from 66 per cent a decade ago. Despite a 126 per cent increase in education requirements since 2005, funding increased by just four per cent. Moreover, education systems equipped to cope with protracted crises cannot be built on the foundations of short-term – and unpredictable – appeals.

During the World Humanitarian Summit, held in May 2016, a new global funding platform, Education Cannot Wait, was launched to bridge the gap between humanitarian interventions during crises and long-term development afterwards, through predictable funding.

Though not one of the top ten countries with the highest rates of out-of-school children, Syria is home to 2.1 million school-age children (5-17) who are not in school. An additional 600,000 Syrian children living as refugees in the surrounding region are also out of school.

Recent, reliable data from countries including Somalia and Libya are not available either from administrative or survey sources partly due to the continuing conflicts. 
"For countries affected by conflict, school equips children with the knowledge and skills they need to rebuild their communities once the crisis is over, and in the short-term it provides them with the stability and structure required to cope with trauma. Schools can also protect children from the trauma and physical dangers around them. When children are not in school, they are at an increased danger of abuse, exploitation and recruitment into armed groups," said UNICEF Chief of Education Jo Bourne.


EQAO: Elementary school reading results continue to rise, while math results continue to fall. Half of all Grade 6 students did not meet the provincial math standard in 2016.
 

NEWS
Ontario's Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) has published the 2016 provincial-level results of the primary- and junior-division Assessments of Reading, Writing and Mathematics (written by students in Grades 3 and 6), and of the Grade 9 Assessment of Mathematics.

The percentage of students in Grades 3 and 6 who met the provincial reading standard has increased steadily over the past five years. This year, 72% of Grade 3 students and 81% of Grade 6 students met the provincial reading standard, an increase of six percentage points in each grade from the results five years ago.

The percentage of students in Grades 3 and 6 who met the provincial math standard has decreased steadily over the past five years. Half of all Grade 6 students did not meet the provincial math standard in 2016.

There has been a drop in writing achievement for students in Grade 3 and a steady increase for those in Grade 6. For the first time, 80% of Grade 6 students met the provincial writing standard.

After some fluctuations over the past few years, the 2016 achievement results for students in the Grade 9 academic and applied math courses are within one percentage point of those achieved by students in 2012.
QUICK FACTS
Of Grade 3 students, 72% (85 561) met the provincial reading standard on the primary-division assessment, compared to the 66% who did in 2012.

Of Grade 6 students, 81% (99 982) met the provincial reading standard on the junior-division assessment, compared to the 75% who did on the 2012 assessment. This is the first time over 80% of Grade 6 students have met the reading standard.

Of Grade 3 students, 63% (79 246) met the provincial math standard, compared to the 68% who did on the 2012 assessment.

Of Grade 6 students, 50% (61 894) met the provincial math standard, compared to the 58% who did on the 2012 assessment.

Of Grade 3 students, 74% (88 153) met the provincial writing standard, compared to the 76% who did on the 2012 assessment. Of Grade 6 students, 80% (98 781) met the provincial writing standard, up from 74% in 2012. This is the first time 80% of Grade 6 students met the provincial writing standard.

Of Grade 9 students enrolled in the academic math course, 83% (81 203) met the provincial math standard, compared to the 84% who did on the 2012 assessment. Of Grade 9 students enrolled in the applied math course, 45% (16 172) met the standard, compared to the 44% who did in 2012.

Provincial-level results on EQAO's primary-division, junior-division and Grade 9 assessments were not available for the English language school system in 2015. Due to teacher federation labour disruptions, a significant proportion of schools did not participate in the provincial assessments that school year. In 2016, elementary schools in the Toronto Catholic District School Board and secondary schools in the Trillium Lakelands District School Board did not participate in the assessments due to ongoing labour issues.
"EQAO results show that the years of effort and attention given to improving language instruction programs in Ontario's publicly funded school system have had a significant impact on student success. That kind of system-wide mobilization has been the model for what's needed to improve student achievement in math."
—Dave Cooke, Chair of the Board of Directors, EQAO
Most parents are "flying blind" on the real costs of post-secondary education: CIBC Poll
While eight out of 10 Canadian parents claim they have a good understanding of the costs associated with a post-secondary education, a new CIBC poll (TSX: CM) (NYSE: CM) finds that almost 75 per cent don't really seem to grasp the actual cost of tuition. What's more, almost 40 per cent admit they don't know what to budget for their children's non-tuition costs, such as books, accommodation and living expenses.

"Our poll finds that most parents are unaware of the real costs of their children's post-secondary education," says Kathleen Woodard, Senior Vice President, Retail and Business Banking, CIBC. "It's stressful when you don't know if you are on the right track or not. Have I saved too much, too little or just enough? Many parents think they know what to expect, but end up being surprised at the true cost. That makes it hard to budget and build a savings plan."

Key poll findings include:


"With parents not really knowing what the costs are, it's not surprising that so many students end up treating their parents like ATMs once they're in school," says Ms. Woodard.

As many parents underestimate (25 per cent) the yearly tuition cost as they overestimate it (22 per cent), with another 27 per cent admitting that they don't know the actual cost.
Only 20 per cent estimated the cost of tuition at between $6,000 to $9,999. That compares to an average of $6,191 in tuition for an undergraduate degree in Canada – ranging from as low as $2,660 in Newfoundland and Labrador to $7,868 in Ontario, the highest, according to the most-recent data from Statistics Canada.
37 per cent say they have no idea how much to budget for non-tuition expenses, such as books, supplies, telecom, groceries, and accommodation.
One in five (19 per cent) parents believe their children can get by on a monthly budget of less than $500. The mean estimate for non-tuition costs from the poll is $1,333 a month.
Despite this wide variety of views, the vast majority of parents – 81 per cent – say they have a good understanding of the overall cost of post-secondary education.
A CIBC poll in August 2015 found that more than half of post-secondary students tapped their parents for additional financial support while at school because they ran out of money.

Parents regret not saving earlier

The poll also finds that 39 per cent of parents with children enrolled or recently graduated say it cost them more than expected, while almost half (46 per cent) said in hindsight, they should have started saving earlier.

"When you're looking at a total cost over four years of at least $100,000 for one child who goes away to college or university, that's a major investment ahead," says Ms. Woodard. "It's important to prioritize financial obligations – be it saving for a child's education, paying down the mortgage, saving for retirement, going on a family vacation or buying a cottage – and that's where expert advice can really help from how to budget and find savings to investing your money prudently."

The best school supply is an RESP – but many parents lack basic knowledge

While 76 per cent of parents saving for their children's post-secondary school education have set up a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP), many lack fundamental knowledge about RESPs:


"It's never too late to start contributing to a RESP," says Ms. Woodard. "Even if you skip a year or five years of putting money into the RESP, there are opportunities to benefit from the government grant. It's certainly money that you don't want to leave on the table. That extra $500 grant per year might be the difference of whether your child works part-time during school or can focus solely on their studies."

53 per cent believe RESP contributions are tax deductible, which they are not.
45 per cent think money saved in an RESP can only be used for tuition; it can actually be used for any purpose, not limited to tuition, books and living expenses.
Nearly a third (31 per cent) are not aware they can catch up on claiming Canada Education Savings Grants in another year if they couldn't make the contribution in a previous year.
65 per cent mistakenly believe the last year to make a RESP contribution is the year your child turns 17. It's actually right up until the child turns 31 years old.
Here are five hacks for parents:

1. Start early
2. RESP contributions can be made until children reach age 31
3. Explore all government grants - Federal and various provincial governments have incentives for education savings that are administered through RESPs.
4. Set financial priorities & map out how to achieve them
5. Talk to a qualified expert - know the RESP rules, limits, over contribution penalties and map out an investing and withdrawal strategy.


The survey captured the views of parents either sending their children to post-secondary school for the first time this year or plan to in the future, or have children who are currently enrolled or have completed their matriculate education.
 Doors open at George Brown College's first student residence
     The very first students will move in to George Brown College's inaugural student residence, The George, on Saturday, Sept. 3.

As thousands of students head back-to-school, 500 George Brown students will be making history, becoming the first to live in the college's inaugural student residence. The facility, which previously housed American athletes during the 2015 Pan Am & Parapan Am Games, was transformed from a temporary athletes' village housing complex into a state-of-the-art student residence.

Students will have a unique downtown Toronto experience living in the modern facility with sweeping views of the city. Featuring fully furnished two-bedroom suites complete with a kitchenette, three-piece bathroom, floor to ceiling windows, Wi-Fi and a flat screen TV with cable service, The George promises the perfect setting to live and learn in Toronto.


Away-from-home recycling: Schools perceived as major players
 

A recent consumer research study conducted by the Carton Council of Canada found that extending Canadians' good recycling habits beyond the home is challenging for most. As kids prepare to head back to school, parents look for ways to streamline the routine and tackle the dreaded lunchbox preparation. It's therefore no surprise that juice boxes, for example, are one of parents' favourite items for an easy and healthy thirst quench. The more difficult part is ensuring that these beverage packaging end up in the recycling bin instead of the waste bin once our little ones have emptied them.

The research examined attitudes and behaviours pertaining to away-from-home recycling. In total, 59% of the 2,000 respondents said it was either "much more difficult" or "somewhat more difficult" for them to recycle when they're not at home.

Schools are perceived as critical in encouraging kids to participate in away-from-home recycling. Because most children eat lunch at school, this is where many empty milk and juice cartons end up. Also, because schools help instill values, beliefs and habits in young people, these institutions are ideally positioned to educate children about the benefits of recycling and how to do it.

The survey revealed that virtually everyone believes schools should be recycling kids' milk and juice cartons, even when the cartons are brought to school from home. In the opinion of 63% of respondents, schools should make recycling a priority. In the eyes of the remainder of respondents, schools should recycle if it is "feasible for them" to do so. Interestingly enough, the view of parents and non-parents on this question is the same.

In an effort to increase recycling in schools, the Canadian Beverage Containers Recycling Association (CBCRA) has worked to boost its Recycle Everywhere 101 Program in Manitoba. With support provided by the Carton Council of Canada CBCRA aims to have all schools in the province participating in the program by the end of the year. In addition to providing participating schools with recycling bins and supporting resources, the program features an educational component for students that focuses on the good habits and benefits of recycling.

With great and innovative initiatives like Recycle Everywhere 101, schools and communities can help grow access to recycling, even when one is away from home, so that it becomes part of everyone's everyday routine.
Heavy School Backpacks Linked to Lower School Grades 
Bob Prichard, President of Somax Performance Institute in Tiburon, CA, has found another, much more serious hazard with too heavy backpacks—less oxygen to a growing brain.

"This generation of teens and young adults has been lugging heavy backpacks back and forth to school every day of the school year. The only way you can carry loads that are up to 30% of your body weight is to massively tense up the muscles in your shoulders, chest and stomach. Overusing muscles like this creates microfibers, or mild scar tissue, in the connective tissue between the muscles. These microfibers tend to accumulate over time, restricting the normal expansion of the chest during breathing and reducing the amount of oxygen going to the brain 24/7. We call this 'Backpack Brain'."

Parents of kids who have attended Somax swim camps report that their kids not only swam much faster, but their grade point average improved up to a full letter grade after Somax released the microfibers restricting their breathing with their Microfiber Reduction program.

 A college golfer saw his C grades improve after his chest expansion increased at Somax from 2" to 4" and his vital capacity (maximum lung volume) increase from 3 liters to 4 liters. He then transferred to a harder school and graduated with 2 majors and 2 minors. He had carried a heavy backpack from age 6-18. His grade-school performance had been so poor that his family doctor put him on Ritalin.

A study by two psychologists found a reduction in depression and hostility in Somax clients, leading Prichard to believe that heavy school backpacks have contributed to the rise in depression in young adults. Golden Gate bridge suicides among young adults have increased five-fold since 2000.

An increase in brain performance from increased oxygen has been confirmed by experiments conducted in England where students were given pure oxygen during a test. The beneficial effect of increased oxygen on elderly brains has been confirmed by a Korean study.

A kit containing a tape measure and directions for parents can be ordered at www.somaxsports.com/breathing.​
Since the mid-90s, school children have been carrying heavy backpacks back and forth to school every day. Doctors and parents have expressed concerns that these heavy backpacks may be contributing to musculo-skeletal problems.
Canada's Teachers Witness the Reality of Hunger in the Classroom
When school bells ring out across the country to signal the start of another school year, Canadians are reminded of the power, potential and importance of education. What kids learn in school, both in the classroom and out, can determine just how bright their future will be. However, for the one in five Canadian children who start each school day running on empty, having missed out on breakfast because there isn't enough to eat at home, the promise of a new academic year is clouded by hunger. 1

The third annual Kellogg's Breakfasts for Better Days Survey of active Canadian school teachers reveals that not getting enough breakfast and going to school hungry is having a startling impact on students from coast-to-coast. Indeed, teachers reported that kids who regularly miss breakfast lose, on average, 132 minutes of learning time every day. That's four months per year or nearly five years of lost learning from Kindergarten through grade 12! 2

"As a teacher, it was impossible for me to remain unaffected by the struggle of students who consistently came to school without eating a nutritious breakfast in the morning," explains Paul Jones, Radio Voice of the Toronto Raptors and a former elementary school teacher and principal. "I would look out at my class and immediately recognize the signs of hunger. Students fighting to focus on the lesson. Falling asleep at their desk. Acting out. Stealing food. Bullying other students. And my experience isn't unique — many teachers I know tell the same story."

KELLOGG'S BREAKFASTS FOR BETTER DAYS SURVEY OF CANADIAN TEACHERS: RESULTS2
Echoing Mr. Jones' experience in the classroom, respondents to the Kellogg's survey agreed that hunger has a tangible impact on both academic performance and the behaviour of students. In fact:


93 per cent of teachers said that students who eat breakfast achieve better academic results than those who do not;
86 per cent responded that students who come to school hungry are more likely to engage in bullying than their peers;
Three-quarters reported that children who miss breakfast are more easily frustrated (77%), angered, annoyed or irritated (73%);
63 per cent confirmed that hungry students are more disruptive in class; and
Two-thirds of Canadian teachers observed that students who come to school without breakfast struggle to make friends.
"What every Canadian needs to take away from these survey results is that, when a child comes to school with an empty stomach, their hunger affects every student in the class," adds Jones. "The time that a teacher takes to care for a child who is acting out or bullying a peer simply because, through no fault of their own, they are hungry, is time they are not spending with the rest of the class."

The negative impacts of hunger in the classroom have led to 92 per cent of teachers surveyed admitting that they have personally helped a student who has arrived at school hungry and over half (54 per cent) have brought in extra food for students in need. 2

BETTER DAYS START WITH THE POWER OF BREAKFAST
Teachers, however, also recognize that they can't solve the problem alone and agree that school breakfast programs make a difference in the lives of students. Among teachers surveyed who are working in a school with a breakfast program, nearly all (98 per cent) said that it delivers positive results. And over two-thirds (69 per cent) of teachers in schools without a breakfast program thought that starting one would help students achieve their potential.

"At Kellogg, we believe in the power of breakfast to feed better days," says Lores Tomé, Director, Communications and Corporate Affairs, Kellogg Canada. "When children start the day off with a nutritious breakfast, we know they are better equipped to learn, succeed and surpass their goals. That's why we're so committed to shedding a light on the issue of hunger in the classroom, and why we have donated more than 3 million dollars and 30 million servings of cereal and snacks to national breakfast partners like Breakfasts Club Canada and Food Banks Canada."

To increase awareness of the reality of hunger in Canadian classrooms, Kellogg Canada is calling on Canadians to join in the conversation by sharing the #FeedingBetterDays Infographic and Reverse Hunger Online Video on social media using #FeedingBetterDays. And for those who want to do more to help, the company is once again making it as easy as buying a box of Kellogg's cereal. This fall, building on highly successful Breakfasts for Better Days programs in 2014 and 2015, with every box purchased the company will donate a portion of the proceeds to its breakfast partners across Canada to a maximum of $100,000.

Last February, as part of the company's global Breakfasts for Better Days global hunger initiative which began in 2013, Kellogg announced that it had surpassed its milestone to donate 1 billion servings globally by the end of 2016 — nearly a full year early. To date, approximately 1.4 billion servings of cereal and snacks have been provided to children and families in need around the world.

Learn more about the Kellogg's Breakfasts for Better Days initiative by visiting www.kelloggs.ca.

ABOUT KELLOGG CANADA INC.
Driven to enrich and delight the world through foods and brands that matter, Kellogg Canada is the leading producer of ready-to-eat cereal in Canada. Every day, our beloved brands nourish families so they can flourish and thrive. These include All-Bran*, Kellogg's Corn Flakes*, Corn Pops*, Eggo*, Froot Loops*, Kellogg's Frosted Flakes*, Kashi*, Kellogg's* Two Scoops* Raisin Bran, Mini-Wheats*, Nutri-Grain*, Pop-Tarts*, Pringles*, Rice Krispies*, Special K* and Vector*. Through our Breakfasts for Better Days™ global hunger initiative, we've provided more than 1.4 billion servings of cereal and snacks to children and families in need around the world. To learn more about our responsible business leadership, foods that delight and how we strive to make a difference in our communities around the world, visit www.kelloggcompany.com. To learn more about Kellogg Canada's efforts in these areas, please visit www.kelloggs.ca.

1. Let's Do This – Let's End Child Poverty for Good: Campaign 2000 Report Card on Child and Family Poverty in Canada. Campaign 2000. Toronto, Canada. 2015
*http://campaign2000.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Ontario2015Report.pdf

2. ABOUT THE KELLOGG'S BREAKFASTS FOR BETTER DAYS STUDY From July 18th to July 22nd, 2016 an online survey was conducted among 403 randomly selected Canadian elementary, middle and high school teachers who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.  

Pursuing post-secondary education passions now more accessible and affordable

Today, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, was at Humber College to announce increases to Canada Student Grants and changes to the Repayment Assistance Plan on behalf of the Honourable MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour.
 For generations, Canadian parents told their children a similar story: if you want a good job, stay in school. Young Canadians took this message to heart. Unfortunately, for too many Canadians rising costs have made post-secondary education less affordable. Fewer people are able to save enough for their education which prevents them from acquiring the learning and skills they need to get a good job and join the middle class. That's why the Government of Canada is making a significant change to student financial assistance that will help students returning to class this fall on campuses across the country.

"By providing significant financial assistance to students and investing in the spaces where students learn, our government is building a brighter future for all Canadians. When students, such as those attending Humber College, can afford their education, they will be able to gain the kind of education and experience they need to contribute to strengthening our economy and our community." 
– The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science

Quick Facts
Canada Student Loans and Grants
Budget 2016 provided the first significant increase to Canada Student Grants and the Repayment Assistance Plan income thresholds since 2009.
Increases to Canada Student Grants are expected to benefit 237,000 students from Ontario.
Over 9,000 students at Humber College received Canada Student Grants during the 2014-15 school year.
The increase to Canada Student Grants will provide assistance of $1.53 billion over five years.
The increase to the Repayment Assistance Plan eligibility thresholds will provide assistance of $131.4 million over five years.
According to Statistics Canada, over a 20-year period, students with a bachelor's degree will earn between $442,000 and $728,000 more than someone with only a high school diploma.
On August 1, in time for the 2016–17 school year, Canada Student Grant amounts increased by 50 percent; from $2,000 to $3,000per year for full-time students from low-income families; from $800 to $1,200 per year for students from middle-income families; and from $1,200 to $1,800 per year for part-time students from low-income families. These increases will help over 270,000 students inOntario alone. As a result of these enhancements, when combined with provincial student grants, the average full-time undergraduate student from a low-income family in Ontario could receive up to $6,000 in grants.

Additionally, beginning November 1, the Government of Canada will ease the rules on its Repayment Assistance Plan by ensuring that no single borrower will be required to make any repayment until he or she is earning at least $25,000 per year.

"I'm delighted that the federal government is moving ahead with its changes to Canada Student Grants to make college and university more affordable for Ontario students. These changes support Ontario's move forward with one of the most ambitious reforms of student financial assistance in North America, making tuition free for families with income below $50,000 and allowing students to graduate with less debt. When complete, over 150,000 students will receive more in grants than they need to pay tuition, providing them with money for other costs including books."
–The Honourable Deb Matthews, Deputy Premier, Ontario Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, Minister Responsible for Digital Government
 
Taken together, these enrichments will help Canada's students by relieving the high cost of a post-secondary education so they may equip themselves with education and skills they need to join a strong, healthy and vibrant middle class.

To complement the changes to Canada Student Grants, the Government of Canada is also making historic investments in the spaces where students learn, experiment and achieve through the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund. Today, Minister Duncan also announced more than $21 million for Humber College in support of two sustainable infrastructure projects that will enable students to create energy-efficient living environments and will retrofit buildings on campus so they use less energy. The Province of Ontario will contribute an additional $3.3 million and Humber College will add more than $39 million bringing the total investment to $64.55 million. In this way, the Strategic Investment Fund will jump-start a virtuous circle of discovery and innovation, creating the right conditions for long-term growth that will yield benefits for generations to come.

Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund
The targeted, short-term investments under the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund will promote economic activity across Canada and help Canada's universities and colleges develop highly skilled workers, act as engines of discovery, and collaborate on innovations that help Canadian companies compete and grow internationally.
The Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund supports the Government of Canada's climate change objectives by encouraging sustainable and green infrastructure projects.
 
Back-to-School on a Budget
The euphoria of back-to-school shopping has begun, and many Albertans will spend thousands of dollars and a countless amount of time in shopping malls across the province. With creative television commercials and many other diverse marketing tactics, big-box retailers have refined their arts in making sure every message captures the attention of consumers just like the holiday shopping season.

According to retailmenot.ca, Canadian parents will spend approximately $472 on their children for 2016 back-to-school season. With the state of Alberta’s economy and the uncertainty, Money Mentors advises Albertans to be prudent with their finances and stick to the budget when shopping for back-to-school. To avoid overspending and not put a dent in your finances, here are some ways students and parents can curtail their spending:

Check Current Inventory — As simple as this seems, there may be a surprising number of supplies already in your home from last year’s purchases. Your child may have also brought home unused school supplies from the previous school year. Make sure you check your closets and drawers for these supplies first.

Create a budget — Creating and sticking to a budget based on your current financial position and back-to-school needs will help you to remain in control of your overall finances. When creating your budget you need to consider your income, monthly financial responsibilities, savings, emergency funds and other incidental payments. Heading out shopping with a realistic budget will limit you from over spending when back-to-school shopping.

Only buy needs — You do not need the coolest or fastest laptop if you can’t afford it. At Money Mentors, we believe that the key to controlling spending and being in charge of your hard-earned money is about deciding on what to spend and on what not to spend.

Don’t pay full price — Shopping around gives the best bang for your buck and there are countless retailers offering great discounts. Compare the best deals in flyers, in-store discounts, and online. Keep in mind that you do not have to buy everything new. Used textbooks, resources from your local library, clothing from consignment stores and items from buy and sell websites such as Kijiji.ca are often as good as new.

Use cash — Pay with cash when shopping in stores and stay away from credit cards if possible. Generally speaking, cash limits you from being talked into buying the next level up item or adding features you do not need. Cash can limit your ability to over shop, and allows you to buy what you have budget for only. Additionally, using cash constantly prompts you about your spending and also protects you from impulse buying while shopping.

Buy in bulk with a friend — Per item cost is often much cheaper at warehouse stores such as Costco; however, you will often end up with more than you need and can quickly over spend. Buying teaming up with one or more friends to purchase necessary items together you can take advantage of warehouse prices without breaking your budget.

At Money Mentors, we counsel parents and students that you do not need the coolest gadgets or newest designer clothes to be a successful in school. What you need is a realistic budget and discipline, which will lead to wise financial decisions. Parents also have an opportunity to teach their children wise spending habits by adhering to these guidelines.

About Money Mentors
Money Mentors is the only Alberta-based, not-for-profit credit counselling agency. Through a number of services, we help families and individuals recover from financial crisis and move forward. From credit counselling and money coaching to retirement planning and community financial literacy, we are contributing to a healthier financial future for the entire province.
 

English Teachers, Students Left Reeling by School Closure

"The actions of this employer are a clear indication of why private language and career schools need to be regulated by the provincial government," said Van Steinburg. "The premier and her cabinet have failed to enforce any sort of industry standard. That failure means this group of teachers are out of work and hundreds of students are out thousands of dollars in tuition fees. Regulation is critical to protect other students and workers from a similar fate."

"While this has been an extremely disappointing turn of events for us, our members still hope to get a contract and return to work. The union is considering all available options to encourage the employer to re-open the school so we can get back to teaching our students," Fissel said.
Teachers at Vancouver English Centre showed up for mediation with their employer Friday, armed with proposals aimed at re-opening the school.

They were shocked to discover the employer had given up, and has decided to close the school.

The teachers, members of Education and Training Employees' Association Local 9 (ETEA-9) and the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators (FPSE), have been off the job for 25 days and were hopeful that today's session with mediator Mark Brown would resolve their dispute.

"The employer emailed the administrative staff early this morning advising that he was closing the school, but he has not yet notified the union. He didn't even tell the mediator," said Kim Fissel, chair of ETEA-9's bargaining committee. "We all showed up hoping we could reach a settlement and get the school open again, but the employer didn't come."

"These teachers showed up for mediation as a genuine show of good faith," said FPSE's Secretary-Treasurer Terri Van Steinburg. "Our members have been trying to reach a first collective agreement for 15 months. The school didn't even have the decency to send notice that they were cancelling mediation. It's devastating for our members."

The union has been striking for a fair first contract with a living wage for all 45 of its members. The parties were just one per cent apart in their most recent offers.


New guide to support teachers in creating an inclusive and compassionate classroom for Muslim students
The Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) is proud to help launch a new guide that will help Canadian teachers better understand and provide support to students living with the effects of geopolitical violence and Islamophobia.

Working in collaboration, the Islamic Social Services Association (ISSA), the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), and the CHRC set out to create a guide that will help Canadian teachers create safer and more inclusive spaces for Canadian Muslim students.

"For the sake of our children, we must all be intolerant of intolerance. The classroom should be a place where every child feels safe and understood," said Chief Commissioner, Marie-Claude Landry. "This guide invites the reader to step into the shoes of a Muslim child in Canada who may be grappling with various forms of trauma or rejection—a child who is simply looking for validation and a safe space in which to grow and learn."

Canada's human rights watchdog is following, with growing concern, the impact of Islamophobia on the most vulnerable in our communities— our children and youth. "This is not a Muslim issue—this is a Canadian issue," said Chief Commissioner Landry. "It is the responsibility of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and of every Canadian citizen, to help counter these negative messages, images and stereotypes. By working together we can help achieve full inclusion for every Muslim person in Canada."

The guide, entitled Helping Students Deal with Trauma Related to Geopolitical Violence and Islamophobia, is available in both English and French online as well as to order in print form.

The Commission joins ISSA and the NCCM in gratitude to The Canadian Red Cross for their financial support on this project that will help so many young Canadians.


Back to School - The Buses Are Back!
 

With a new school year quickly approaching, the Canada Safety Council would like to remind drivers to be extra cautious as school buses return to the roads.

Despite it being an annual occurrence, the return of school buses often brings about episodes of impatience, confusion regarding some of the rules of the road and a spike in fatalities and injuries among young pedestrians from September to November.

With this context in mind, here are a few tips to ensure that everyone, from you to the littlest bus rider to the driver getting them to school, is staying safe on the roads:

Leave yourself a bit of extra time to get wherever you’re going. Being in a rush is no excuse for disobeying the rules of the road and endangering the lives of others.

When a bus has its arm extended and flashing lights, stop. It’s the law. Do not proceed until the lights are turned off, as there may still be children coming or attempting to cross the street. In most cases, traffic in both directions must stop unless separated by a median.

Slow down in school zones. Be vigilant and careful in residential areas where children are present as well. Moving slowly and predictably can help children feel more at ease and make them less likely to try and rush.

Avoid doing manoeuvres like three-point turns and U-turns in school zones. Children are often unfamiliar or simply not expecting these, which can cause them to be in the wrong place at the wrong time as a result.

Always obey crossing guards and signage, especially as it relates to pedestrians and school zones.

Give cyclists a wide berth. Many jurisdictions require a minimum distance of one metre. Additionally, shoulder check before opening your door to ensure you don’t accidentally open it in a cyclist’s path.

If you’re able, choose public transportation or an active form of transportation. If you’re in a position to leave the car at home, the roads are made that much more safer for its more vulnerable users.

Additionally, for parents driving their children to school, be sure to never let your child out of the car when they’ll be getting off into traffic. Make sure they’re stepping out onto a sidewalk or away from the flow of traffic. Also, consider driving a block or so away from the school and walking with your child, in order to reduce congestion around the school area. This will also make the bus drivers’ jobs a bit easier.

The Canada Safety Council wishes you a happy fall and an eventless return to school. Let’s all do our part to keep the roads safe for everyone.

Paying College Tuition with a Credit Card Comes with a High Cost

 College students who pay their tuition bills with a credit card incur an average "convenience fee" of 2.62%, according to a new CreditCards.com report, which surveyed 300 of the largest U.S. public, private and community colleges. That can amount to $262 for every $10,000 of tuition.

Community colleges are the most fee-friendly. Out of the 100 largest community colleges surveyed, 97% accept credit cards for tuition payments and only 8% charge convenience fees. By contrast, 93% of public universities and 77% of private institutions that accept credit cards charge convenience fees.

Roger Williams University in Rhode Island has the highest convenience fee (3%), followed by St. Joseph's University in Pennsylvania and Miami University-Oxford in Ohio, which tied at 2.99%.

"If your college charges a high convenience fee, it's not worth paying your tuition with a credit card," said Matt Schulz, CreditCards.com senior industry analyst. "Especially if you have outstanding student loan debt, it's unnecessary to dig yourself more deeply into debt just to pay with plastic."

Eighty-five percent of the 300 colleges and universities that CreditCards.com surveyed accept credit cards for tuition payments under at least some circumstances. The most common restriction on card use is only accepting credit card tuition payments online. Other restrictions include limiting credit card payments to certain classes of students (such as graduate students) or not allowing students to use certain major credit card vendors.

For or more information:

http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/colleges-charge-card-fee-survey.php

81% of Ontario's Grade 10 students were successful on the provincial literacy test

Continued attention should be given to programs that support students with special education needs.
Ontario's Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) has published the results from the 2016 Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT), written by Grade 10 students in March.

81% of Ontario's Grade 10 students who participated fully on the OSSLT were successful on their first try.

Over the past five years, the overall success rate on the OSSLT has remained high but relatively unchanged, varying between 81% and 83%.

53% of all students with special education needs were successful on the test in 2016—a similar success rate to those in past years.

Of students with special education needs who were enrolled in the applied English course, 40% met the literacy expectations assessed by the test in Grade 10.
"This year's OSSLT results once again show that students with special education needs require specific attention and ongoing support for their literacy development. It's important for schools, boards and the Ministry of Education to look at the effectiveness of the programs and assistance they are putting in place to support students with special education needs."
—Bruce Rodrigues, CEO, EQAO
Of the 124 977 students who wrote the OSSLT for the first time in 2016,
81% were successful (101 232).
19% were unsuccessful (23 745).

The success rate on the OSSLT has remained high but relatively unchanged over the past five years.
2016—81%
2015—82%
2014—83%
2013—82%
2012—82%

Of the 21 952 students who were identified as having special education needs, 11 526 (53%) were successful on the test on their first try and 10 426 (47%) were unsuccessful.

Of the 11 597 students with special education needs enrolled in the applied English course, 4587 (40%) were successful on their first attempt on the OSSLT and 7010 (60%) were unsuccessful.

By comparison, of the 7998 students with special education needs enrolled in the academic English course, 6616 (83%) were successful and 1382 (17%) were unsuccessful. 

Before Packing to Head Back to School Check Out these CSA Group Safety Tips for Your Dorm Room

The first day of school is around the corner and CSA Group, a leading standards development organization, and global provider of testing and certification services, is offering some important safety tips for college and university students moving out on their own.

When heading out on your own for the first time it's tempting to bring the comforts of home with you. Your dorm room may not be designed for a gourmet kitchen, so before you arrive it's important to check with your school to see what appliances you can bring and what needs to stay at home. Following these tips for your electrical items can help to make sure they are used safely and help you avoid accidents and injuries.

CSA Group offers the following tips to make your dorm room or residence a safer home away from home:

  • Fully stocked: Some residences don't allow cooking devices or appliances to be used in your dorm room. Check the rules at your school to make sure the items you plan to have in your room are permitted.

  • Make your mark: Be careful when trying to save money shopping at discount stores. When a product or packaging doesn't include a brand identifier, trademark, or company address, it may be a counterfeit which can lead to serious safety issues. Brand-name companies want you to know whose product you're buying. Look for a certification mark on your electronics, to help ensure they've met applicable performance and safety standards.

  • Sound the alarm: Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless, lethal gas and a carbon monoxide detector could save your life. Make sure you have a working carbon monoxide alarm and smoke detector installed in your room. Check for a certification mark from a recognized organization, like CSA Group, to help ensure it's been tested to the applicable standards for safety and performance.

  • Note it: If you are using small appliances, like microwaves, coffee makers or hot plates in your dorm room, make sure you follow the manufacturer's instructions. Don't leave items unattended while in use and keep flammable materials away from cooking and heating devices.

  • Lighten the load: When you're short on outlets, it may be tempting to have your laptop, gaming system, sound system and microwave all plugged into one cord, but that can overload the circuit and potentially cause a fire. Make sure the extension cord is heavy enough for the intended load. If a cord or plug becomes hot when it is plugged in, it may be overloaded. Semi-permanent installations should not use extension cords.

  • Hot stuff: Space heaters are a great way to heat a chilly room, but are not meant to dry clothes, heat food or warm your bed. Misuse can lead to serious injuries, fatalities or fires. Place the heater where it cannot be knocked over, at least one metre from furniture and flammable materials such as curtains, bedding and paper. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions and look for a certification mark from an accredited organization, such as CSA Group.

Look it up: To confirm CSA Group certification of a product, compare the product's identification against the certification record in the Certified Product Listing. For more everyday consumer tips, safety tip videos and safety advice, please visit www.csagroup.org.
Success: provincial schools will remain open
Today, after months of consultation and the freezing of student enrolment, the Liberal government submitted to public pressure demanding that it keep open the province's Demonstration and Provincial Schools.

"Students with exceptionalities need and deserve tailored instruction," said Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) President Warren (Smokey) Thomas.

The Provincial and Demonstration schools serve English and French students with severe learning disabilities, and who are deaf or deafblind. In a Ministry-funded report, PGF consultants noted that the residence at French Provincial and Demonstration School Centre Jules-Léger, "makes an enormous difference" in enabling students to develop self-confidence, learn to manage their emotions, develop their autonomy, and learn to manage their time.

When the Liberal government announced in February that admissions would be stalled for a period of "consultations," parents and community groups believed this was a prelude to total closures. In response, there was a significant backlash among the public. In April, hundreds of parents and allies rallied outside the legislature, demanding the schools stay open. Premier Kathleen Wynne rejected their demands, citing the desire to broaden services for students across the province.

Critics argue the move was motivated more by the $100 million the Liberals stood to save in closing the schools.

"This is about equity," said Thomas. "The Liberals have been looking everywhere for ways to cut corners, but to target kids with disabilities is absurd. These schools are addressing systemic barriers so that all children have opportunities when they grow up. How can we deny any kid that basic right?"

"When will the Liberals learn how to do something right the first time? If they had consulted earlier on, they wouldn't have put all of these families and children through hell, nor wasted so much time and money on trying to close these schools. I'm just glad the wait is finally over, and that, together with parents and advocates, we've succeeded in convincing the government to keep these necessary schools open."

OPSEU represents residence counsellors and administrative staff at the Provincial and Demonstration schools.
Breaking the Bank: Back-to-School Spending Reaches Record High
Education isn't cheap – especially, when it comes to the annual back-to-school spending spree. A recent survey by savings destination site RetailMeNot.ca revealed that back-to-school shopping has become more stressful for parents than ever before, both mentally and financially. In fact, the vast majority of Canadians (92 per cent) agree that purchasing back-to-school items can be a financial burden on families, with 91 per cent believing that back-to-school shopping is becoming more expensive year after year. And they're not wrong! This year, Canadian parents are expecting to spend an average of $472 on their child for back-to-school shopping, $143 more than what they expected to spend last year ($329).

What's causing this increased spending? Well, it could the demands of kids themselves, with 73 per cent agreeing that kids today have lavish expectations when it comes to back-to-school shopping. Or, it could be the parents trying to meet those expectations, with four out of five (82 per cent) believing kids are becoming increasingly spoiled each year and 78 per cent of parents admitting they spend more on their child's wardrobe than their own.

"Just because parents are buying more than ever before, doesn't mean they should have to spend more," says Sara Skirboll, Retail Me Not, Inc. "Creating a budget and shopping list beforehand will keep you focused on what you actually need and searching for promo codes or online coupons will deliver instant savings. By engaging your kids in this process, back-to-school shopping can also become an easy lesson in savvy spending."

Similar to last year, the most popular back-to-school purchase continues to be clothing, with 80 per cent planning to buy new clothes for their kids. Over three-quarters of Canadians (76 per cent) agree Canadian parents feel pressured into buying designer or brand name attire in order for their kids to fit in, only adding to the cost. The most popular purchases for heading back to school, with expected average spends, are as follows:

Clothing – 80 per cent to purchase, spending $187
Shoes – 75 per cent to purchase, spending $92
School Supplies – 74 per cent to purchase, spending $95
Back Pack – 61 per cent to purchase, spending $47
Textbooks – 44 per cent to purchase, spending $328
Beauty/Grooming products – 20 per cent to purchase, spending $60

The older the kids, the higher the cost

Parents whose kids are graduating high school aren't off the hook yet. Seventy per cent of parents feel that shopping for university students is more expensive than shopping for elementary and high school students. Parents of university students reported spending a shocking $1,630 on back-to-school shopping, despite the fact that 64 per cent believe that those in post-secondary education should financially support themselves. The survey also reported that parents of elementary and high school students will spend a substantial $318 and $412 respectively, for their child's back-to-school needs.

Other survey findings include:

Smart spenders: Ninety per cent of Canadians parents plan to look for deals and discounts to save where they can during back-to-school shopping;

Daddy's angels: When it comes to back-to-school shopping, men have a tendency to spoil their kids, spending $110 more than their female counterparts ($523 and $413, respectively)

Can't teach an old dog new tricks: 86 per cent of parents stated that they mostly look in-store for back-to-school sales, versus the 49 per cent that said they check out online deals

National spending: Similar to last year, Quebec parents are still willing to dish out the most cash for the back-to-school season, planning to spend $53 more than the national average spend ($514)

About the survey:
From July 13th to July 14th, 2016 an online survey was conducted among 1,506 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to education, age, gender and region (and in Quebec, language) Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.
Students and Volunteers Campaign to Raise Awareness Ahead of the Holiday Long Weekend
 arrive alive DRIVE SOBER® is partnering with the TTC, GO-Transit and the OPP for its annual Transit Week that involves three days of awareness designed to keep our roads safe especially this holiday long weekend. Our goal for this campaign is to heighten Ontarians' awareness of the dangers and repercussions if they make the mistake of driving impaired. arrive alive DRIVE SOBER will share 15,000+ Arrive Alive Passports in insurance folders with transit riders; the passports feature information about the legal ramifications such as: loss of licence, fines and fees, total costs exceeding $22,500, criminal charges and more.

Activities begin on Tuesday, July 26th from 07:00 to 10:00 where travellers through the Whitby GO Station and the Union GO Station will receive materials with the most recent legislation regarding impaired driving and gentle reminders/strategies for getting home safe. On July 27th from 07:00 to 10:00, the campaign continues with arrive alive students and volunteers handing out more information at Yonge-Bloor Station. Finally, on July 29th from 07:00 to 10:00, volunteers will be stationed at Oakville Place Mall with messaging and reminders encouraging us all to plan ahead and drive sober this long weekend.

In addition to sharing materials with broadcasters, arrive alive DRIVE SOBER has been campaigning since early May, attending events including golf tournaments, high schools, safety days, Youth Day Toronto, conferences, and our own 22nd Annual Drive Straight Golf Tournament. This year the resources have included our new campaign, which can be found at arrivealive.org, which shares information about "the morning after" a night out drinking/drinking late.

We gratefully acknowledge our campaign sponsors and supporters, including the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario, The Beer Store, Smart Serve Ontario, and CAA SCO.

Visit www.arrivealive.org for more information.

Dalhousie and The Royal Team Up on Agricultural Education

About The Royal:
The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is the world's largest combined indoor agricultural and equestrian show. This year, The 94th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair runs November, 4-13, 2016 at Exhibition Place, Toronto. For more information, please visit www.royalfair.org

About Dalhousie University's Faculty of Agriculture:
Dalhousie's Faculty of Agriculture and the beautiful Agricultural Campus cultivates learning and research, focusing on improving and sustaining our environment for the health and well-being of our world. Visit www.dal.ca/agriculture.
Two pillars of the agricultural community have come together to support the ongoing education of Ontario youth and teachers in the science behind modern agriculture and career opportunities available in this growing industry.

Dalhousie University's Faculty of Agriculture, which has been educating students in the science of modern agriculture for more than a century, has been named the official Post-Secondary Education Partner of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto. Together, The Royal and Dalhousie will address educational pathways and career opportunities in agriculture and food with high school students, teachers and guidance counselors.

"We welcome the opportunity to challenge people's understanding of modern-day agriculture," explained Dr. David Gray, Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture and Principal, Dalhousie Agricultural Campus. "Agriculture is grounded in developing and sustaining life at a fundamental level, but also developing communities around our agricultural activities and responding to the health and wellbeing of such communities, locally, nationally and internationally," he added. "We look forward to partnering with The Royal on this endeavor."

"Agricultural education has been a cornerstone of The Royal's mandate for the past 94 years," said Charlie Johnstone, Chief Executive Officer of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. "With our Dalhousie partnership, we can take our focus on education to a whole new level and in the process, help our urban visitors better understand the opportunity that agriculture represents."

The Royal welcomes more than 300,000 visits annually, including more than 20,000 students and teachers - and thousands more parents and children.

Among many other educational-related initiatives scheduled for the 2016 Fair in November, Dalhousie's Faculty of Agriculture will be the presenting sponsor of a guidance counselor symposium, in association with the Ontario School Counsellors' Association. Dalhousie's Faculty of Agriculture will also host a series of fast-paced, activity-based learning seminars about food and agriculture during The Fair for high school teachers and their students.

Look for more details on royalfair.org this Fall.
Ontario team to compete at 2016 North American Envirothon in Peterborough
As the host of the 2016 North American Envirothon (NAE), Forests Ontario will proudly welcome more than 250 students on 52 teams from Canada and the United States to Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario from July 24th-29th. This year, the competition will focus on the theme of invasive species, an issue that is one of the greatest threats to biodiversity in the Canada and the US. The event is the culmination of local Envirothon programs, where students compete while studying the science and sustainability of our natural ecosystems. The team from University of Toronto Schools in Toronto, Ontario will be competing at NAE.

For over 30 years, the Envirothon has engaged high school students across North America. Every year more than 60,000 students, teachers and volunteers take part in this program, venturing to natural areas to work together and alongside mentors to address local environmental challenges by applying skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

2016 NAE Quick Facts:
• 260 students
• 150 visitors and advisors
• 52 provinces and states
• 7 provinces, 45 states
• Prizes: $30,000 USD [$15,000 for top team ($3,000 each), $10,000 2nd team ($2,000 each) and $5,000 3rd place ($1,000 each)]
During the NAE students will be led through workshops that focus on the science and sustainable management of soils, wildlife, forests, and aquatic ecosystems. Following workshops, students complete a series of challenges testing their skills in addressing environmental problems. Testing integrates exercises like soil and water analysis, habitat restoration, forest management, and wildlife tracking.

“The challenges of climate change, pollution, and invasive species transcend borders. By participating in the Envirothon program both countries are working together to teach our youth the value of managing our natural resources. Through this program, students start by learning in their home towns to understand the challenges facing international ecosystems and apply their knowledge to make a positive impact,” says Rich Duesterhaus of the National Conservation Foundation (NCF) based in Washington, D.C. and the coordinating organization of Envirothon across North America. “Our international program creates a rewarding and engaging experience that connects students to our environment from a young age. We’re inspiring them to continue this movement by becoming future leaders, innovators, and champions of our natural environment.”

Creating connections between students and mentors also builds student awareness of the wealth of careers in the field. The competition structure of the program allows students to be rewarded for learning about the natural environment and to engage with fellow environmental enthusiasts from different regions and backgrounds.
“The students joining us at Trent University have proven their skills and knowledge at the local level. The NAE is the chance for the best and brightest to challenge and learn from one another,” says Rob Keen, CEO of Forests Ontario. “Throughout the Envirothon program, from the local level up to the NAE, students are building a sense of community and empowerment, learning how their actions can shape the future and how they can work together to have a positive impact on our environment.”
More than 6,500 international students will celebrate Canada today
More than 6,500 international students from Asia, South America, the Middle-East, Europe, and many other countries will celebrate their chosen destination, Canada, during World Student Day (WSD) today. They will take a short break from their English or French studies to take part in sports and cultural activities, and to express their appreciation for Canada.

Celebrations will take place in: Halifax, NS; Glace Bay, NS; Charlottetown, PEI; Montreal, QC; Toronto, ON; Ottawa, ON; Winnipeg, MB; Calgary AB; Vancouver, BC; and Victoria, BC. Special guests will include:

MP Andy Filmore (Halifax);
Cape Breton Regional Municipality Mayor Cecil Clarke (Glace Bay);
Michael Forian, Assistant to Jacques Chagnon, MNA for Westmount-St-Louis (Montreal);
Richard Deschamps, City councillor (Montreal);
Han Dong, MPP, Trinity-Spadina, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development (Toronto);
Councillor Heather Deal, Deputy Mayor of Vancouver (Vancouver); and
Mayor Lisa Helps (Victoria).
"World Student Day is a unique opportunity for students and language education professionals to connect and celebrate their contribution to Canadian and international education and culture. The success of this event over the past two years has demonstrated how important this sector is to both Canadians and to the students who choose Canada as a study destination," says Gonzalo Peralta, Executive Director of Languages Canada.

This year's World Student Day event marks a major activity in a new communications campaign entitled I Choose Canada (hashtag #IChooseCanada). The main goal of the campaign is to highlight the importance of language education in Canada and advocate for policy changes that will support members and the sector. The I Choose Canada video is the central focus of the campaign launch and social media contest on Facebook (closing July 15th). Participants can watch and share the video on Facebook with the hashtag #IChooseCanada for a chance to win great prizes.

Fun activities, such as talent shows, potlucks, sports, music and cultural activities of interest to students and staff alike are on offer in each city. Celebrations are held by Languages Canada members and some events are ticketed.

About Languages Canada
Languages Canada is Canada's national language education association representing more than 225 private and public members that offer accredited English and French programs. Languages Canada's members hosted more than 134,000 international students who studied English or French in 2015. These students came from around the world (top five countries are Brazil, Japan, China, South Korea and Saudi Arabia) and contributed more than $1.5 billion to the Canadian economy in tuition, living and tourism expenses. Approximately 36% of these students continued on to post-secondary programs in Canadian colleges and universities upon completing their language studies.

Use the #IChooseCanada hashtag on Facebook and Twitter!
Twitter:@LangCanada
Facebook: facebook.com/WSDJEM/facebook.com/languagescanada
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/languages-canada
Website: languagescanada.ca

Differentiating Ontario's universities: Time to go bold

"As evidenced by its Strategic Mandate Agreements with the province's 24 colleges and 20 universities, and the release of its Differentiation Policy Framework, the Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development has clearly signaled its intention to position differentiation as a primary policy driver for the system," says HEQCO president and CEO Harvey Weingarten. "The time is now to boldly apply university differentiation across Ontario."
 Whether it's Algoma University's success in serving students traditionally under-represented in higher education, Guelph's strength in creating a positive student experience or the University of Toronto's role as an internationally ranked research powerhouse, when it comes to Ontario's 20 universities, there is a difference.

Strengthening those differences and supporting them through the province's postsecondary funding formula would be a bold move toward a more differentiated university system in Ontario, says a new report from the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO).

"In a differentiated system, institutions build on their areas of expertise, allowing each to make its optimal contribution," says Weingarten. "Ontario has the opportunity to show international leadership in building a postsecondary system that is more cohesive, more sustainable and of higher quality." 

Among key recommendations for government and universities:
  • Recognize and fund equity of access as a significant differentiating feature
  • Support the University of Toronto as Ontario's flagship institution
  • Build on the role of regional universities
  • Concentrate research expansion for greater impact
  • Seize the opportunity for a bold strategy with Strategic Mandate Agreements
  • Drive differentiation through funding
Why differentiation? "Because the alternative – trying to make all institutions to be all things to all people –offers less real choice to students, threatens rather than strengthens the unique contributions and qualities of each of our institutions and is simply not affordable for either students or taxpayers," says Weingarten.

The Differentiation of the Ontario University System: Where are we now and where should we go? follows on previous HEQCO research that identified four clusters of Ontario universities: the internationally competitive University of Toronto, six research-intensive universities (Guelph, McMaster, Ottawa, Queen's, Waterloo and Western), nine mostly undergraduate universities (Algoma, Brock, Lakehead, Laurentian, Laurier, Nipissing, OCADU, Trent and UOIT) and four "in-between" or regional institutions (Carleton, Ryerson, Windsor and York).

When the clusters are examined through the lenses of research intensity, equity of access, student demand, the learning environment and graduate outcomes, their distinctive natures and roles become evident – ranging from the mainly undergraduate institutions that emphasize teaching and learning to the research-intensive institutions that attract high-potential students and deliver strong graduate outcomes. The findings point to critical policies and practices that would lead to more equitable access and success for all students, higher quality outcomes and greater financial sustainability of the system and its institutions.

The Commissioner Calls on the Minister of Education to Act Quickly on the Lack of Access to French-Language Education

The French Language Services Commissioner of Ontario recommends that the Minister of Education provide Ontario's French-language school boards with additional resources and make regulatory changes to address the boards' enrolment growth and retention challenges in the Greater Toronto Area. This is one of the recommendations in a new follow-up report entitled When the most elementary becomes secondary: Homework Incomplete.
This study relates to an investigation conducted in June 2011, which still shows that the number of French-language schools in Toronto is disproportionately low for the size of the Francophone population. Since 2012, the Ministry has been investing in the construction of new schools and the purchase of existing properties. However, those investments were mainly directed at the elementary level, despite the lack of access to secondary education, particularly in the eastern part of Toronto.

The report also focuses on the substantive equivalence of educational experience, an issue that is well described in the Rose-des-Vents decision. That decision by the Supreme Court of Canada clearly demonstrated the obligation that governments and school boards have to honour the rights of their official language minority by providing the Francophone community with access to an educational experience that is substantively equivalent to that of the majority in the areas of instruction, educational outcomes, extracurricular activities, and student travel times between home and school.
QUICK FACTS

In Ontario, the Ministry of Education is responsible for elementary and secondary education and has an obligation, under section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, to ensure that the right to receive an education in French is protected.

The Commissioner recommends that the Minister of Education provide the school boards with greater support for construction projects or acquisitions of new secondary facilities to ensure access to French-language education in the Greater Toronto Area.

The Commissioner also calls on the Minister to use the Inclusive Definition of Francophone (IDF) in calculating school requirements so as to better reflect the diversity of its student population and make more accurate enrolment forecasts.
"Five years after the publication of my first report, the situation remains, unfortunately, almost unchanged for parents who are still not able to send their children to a secondary school that is within a reasonable distance," says Commissioner François Boileau. "The French language school boards are having difficulty retaining students between Grades 8 and 9, because many of them are switching to English-language schools since the educational experience is simply not equivalent to the experience offered to the majority. It significantly undermines the sustainability of the Franco-Ontarian community, especially in the Greater Toronto area," adds the Commissioner.

TO LEARN MORE, see our investigation report at flscontario.ca in the PUBLICATIONS section.

Canada's Top Young Scientists announced at the Canada-Wide Science Festival
The winners of the Canada-Wide Science Festival have been announced — with nearly $1 million in cash awards and scholarships having been awarded to the country's young scientists.

"Following days of presentations from 485 finalists hailing from 104 regional science fairs nationwide, we are proud to celebrate the impressive projects showcasing the hard work of Canada's top science, engineering, technology and math students," said Brad McCabe, executive director of Youth Science Canada, of which the Canada-Wide Science Festival is a program.

The 55th edition of the festival showcased youth from Grades 7 to 12, along with students from CEGEP in front of over 10,000 visitors at Montreal's McGill University. In partnership with The Educational Alliance for Science and Technology (EAST), the local host committee in Montreal, a festival highlight was astronaut Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian to walk in space, addressing participants as the keynote speaker.

Below are highlights from some of the top winners.

The Best in Fair recipient and Intermediate Platinum award went to:

Kayley Ting from Richmond Hill, Ont., for her project: Analysis of Electrodermal Activity to Quantify Stress Levels in Autism. The project established a method by which skin resistance readings can serve as early warning signs of a sensory meltdown in autism. Through monitoring electrodermal activity, Ting was better able to understand the severity and degrees of stress indicative of sensory overload. These findings can be applied to the development of a wearable device to assist individuals with autism.

The Senior Platinum award went to:

Katherine Teeter from Markdale, Ont., for her project: Synthetic Limpet Teeth for Improved Joint Performance. The construction of prosthetic implants by synthesizing the constituents of limpet teeth showed great potential as a viable alternative to current implants, according to Teeter's research. Combinations of chitin, goethite, chlorophyll extract, vitamin B12, and isopropanol were tested against existing prosthetic composites. The results: 581 physical, chemical, and biological stress tests concluded that synthetic limpet teeth prosthetic implants were more resilient and could reduce adverse health conditions associated with current prosthetics.

The Junior Platinum award went to:

Sophie Hoye Pacholek from Calgary, Alta., for her project: The Genius Genus: Aspen Adaptation. This project investigated if genetically identical clonal groups of naturally occurring aspen trees grew in a spatial pattern. When no definable pattern was observed in two mapped areas, an attempt to determine genetic relationships was initiated. DNA was extracted from catkin buds, PCR analysis was performed and the results showed that a subset of trees were not genetically related.

The finalists will display their projects one last time at the public viewing session on Friday May 20, 2015 at the Tomlinson Fieldhouse at McGill University from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Student by day, cabbie by night becomes successful businessman who donates $1 million



"Such a significant gift has the capacity of creating a branching effect. There will be future generations of business leaders who can be traced back to this donation," says Concordia's Vice-President, Advancement and External Relations, Bram Freedman.

In recognition of the major gift, the university is naming a bright, airy space in its Molson Building after the Concordia grad and his wife. Hardeep (Hardy) Singh Grewal and Patwant Kaur Grewal Atrium.

"The naming of spaces at the John Molson Building sets an aspirational goal," says JMSB interim dean Stéphane Brutus. "Many students come to Concordia with the hopes of achieving that kind of impact themselves."

"I know where I came from," says Grewal. "I'm proud to have my name attached to the school that was a building block for me."
It's an incredible story of success that's worthy of a Hollywood rags-to-riches screenplay. Concordia graduate Hardeep Grewal, BComm 83, went from having $7 in his pocket when he immigrated to Canada in the 1970s to becoming a present-day business magnate.

Grewal credits his Concordia experience as a key to his success. And, as thanks to his alma mater, he is donating $1 million to endow MBA scholarships at the university's John Molson School of Business (JMSB).

Before succeeding in the business world, Grewal's' circumstances were challenging. To make ends meet as a university student he pulled double duty: classes by day and driving a taxi by night.

"My father and mother were farmers in India — with only elementary school learning," says Grewal, who is originally from Punjab. "Their dream for my three siblings and me was to get an education."

Appreciation for a flexible education
Concordia's flexibility made it possible for Grewal to achieve his ambitions. As he says, "The university took me in. That's why I've always been loyal."


​Today, Grewal is an immensely successful businessman. As president and CEO of Los Angeles-based OhCal Foods, Grewal manages 2,100 Subway restaurant locations in California, Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland in the United States and in Ontario, Canada. He's one of the biggest franchise developers in North America.

"Many JMSB graduates do incredibly well," says Concordia President Alan Shepard. "One way they show appreciation is by supporting Concordia students, who are in turn equally successful and it keeps perpetuating."



Science Was Alive At Science Street Fair This Weekend

Photo Essay by Henry Postulart


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The University of Toronto's campus was the place to be for the next generation of scientists on Saturday during the Science Rendezvous. Covering five city blocks youngsters and the young at heart meet face to face with scientists, engineers, clubs, hobbyists, and researchers at the frontiers of innovation.

While the posters claimed that the event was for all ages it was clear quicly that the youngest generation was the targeted market. It was great to see the youngest generation getting excited about science with fun projects that piqued their interest. One of the booths showed kids that they really could walk on water! That was a huge hit.

"This is not your grandpa's science fair," said Science Rendezvous Executive Director Kelsey Miller. "We are blowing up fruit, sending balloons to space, and breaking world records."

There were so many attractions at the street fair it was almost impossible to take it all in. There was even two World Record attempts for largest DNA model ever built and longest non-Newtonian fluid dash.

This is Science Rendezvous' second year conducting a Canada-Wide Experiment. Eight participating sites will release high-altitude balloons into space to take a snapshot of Canada's atmospheric health. The results will be analyzed by researchers at the University of Regina and presented at festival event sites. Over 300 events took place across Canada to celebrate the exciting world of science.    

The Good Food Machine gets growing in Canadian classrooms

 LoyaltyOne announced today it is partnering with FoodShare Toronto and Global Teacher finalist Stephen Ritz of the educationally acclaimed Green Bronx Machine to launch the Good Food Machine, a new healthy food education program for children in Canadian communities.

The first of its kind in Canada, the program launches in Toronto this September and aims to transform the health and eating habits of students in primary and secondary schools through an ongoing curriculum of how to physically grow, cook and eat healthy food –all while in the classroom. The Good Food Machine builds on years of work FoodShare has established in Toronto schools and now expands the number of schools benefitting and grants greater access to resources and food literacy curriculum.

The Good Food Machine is based on the Green Bronx Machine, the first indoor edible classroom in NYC which grows enough food to feed 450 students. The greatest success of this US program is the measured impact it has on the children, with 40% daily attendance increased to 93%, 50% reduction in behavioural incidence and bullying and 100% of post-secondary graduates training or working wage jobs.

"For more than 20 years LoyaltyOne has been a strong supporter of community charities and we are now expanding our commitment by launching a program that will make a meaningful difference in the lives of Canadian kids," says Angela Simo Brown, Head of Social Impact Strategy & Innovation at LoyaltyOne. "Working with the invaluable expertise of FoodShare Toronto, who are already so involved in delivering healthy food and education, ensures the program will have the support it needs for success."

The goal is to introduce this program in phases with phase one launching in schools across Canada in September 2016. Phase two is currently in the planning stage and the markets will be announced accordingly. For phase one, LoyaltyOne will provide 10 Good Food Machine kits to selected priority schools within the Toronto area. Each kit will contain two aeroponic tower gardens, a mobile classroom kitchen, iMac computer, multi-media license to access Stephen Ritz curriculum plus classroom teachings via livestream and FoodShare educators who will visit the schools regularly to help teach and support.


Selected schools were shortlisted by FoodShare and the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), and were invited to apply for a spot in the program. Schools were chosen based on a positive school community, a teacher who would champion the program as well as considering a variety of grades and specialized student programming. Priority was given to schools that rank high on the TDSB Learning Opportunities Index (LOI). The LOI ranks each school based on measures of external challenges affecting student success. It measures relative need and compares all schools on the same set of data.

Phase one schools include:

Eastdale Collegiate Institute (CI)
York Humber High School
Heydon Park Secondary School
Bala Avenue Community School
Nelson Mandela Park Pubic School
Dennis Avenue Community School
D.A. Morrison Middle School
Charles E Weber Public School
Bruce Public School
Ogden Public School

"We're delighted to have been selected for this wonderful program," says Martha Bartley, Eastdale CI Principal. "Our students are avid farmers and have been growing on our rooftop since 2013 with the help of FoodShare. The Good Food Machine will allow us to build on our urban farming program and grow year round with all manner of curriculum opportunities, from culinary to science programs. We can't wait!"

In addition to the donated kits, the Good Food Machine is available to all Canadian schools as a purchased program.

"We're thrilled to partner with LoyaltyOne on the Good Food Machine. Bringing good food and food education to schools is at the heart of who we are" says Katie German, Field to Table Schools Manager, FoodShare Toronto. "We've been delivering fun food literacy education to students and teachers throughout Toronto for the past decade and have seen first-hand the transformative power working with food and growing has on students. This program is not only a natural extension of our work but one we cannot wait to share with our school communities."

TODAY LoyaltyOne is sponsoring Global Teacher Finalist Stephen Ritz' presentation at FoodShare Toronto to talk about his innovative Green Bronx Machine program and how this model is being brought to life as the Good Food Machine in Toronto this September.

Indigo Love of Reading Foundation Announces $1.5 Million in New Grants to 25 High-Needs Schools, Total Donations Exceed $23 Million Since 2004

The Indigo Love of Reading Foundation is thrilled to announce the recipients of its 2016 Love of Reading Literacy Grant.i Twenty-five high-needs elementary schools across Canada will benefit from the Foundation's $1.5 million annual grant commitment. These grants offer deserving school libraries the means to break the cycle of dwindling bookshelves caused by inadequate funding.

Since its inception in 2004, the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation has donated more than $23 million to more than 2,600 schools, benefiting more than 750,000 Canadian children.

"We love to know that these grants are nurturing a passion for reading and are helping Canadian children become richly literate," said Heather Reisman, President, Indigo Love of Reading Foundation.

Exposure to books at an early age sparks creativity and critical thinking. Without proper access, kids are less equipped to become lifelong readers.

Here are the shocking realities of today's literacy crisis in Canada:

In today's high-needs schools the average age of library books is over 16 years old.ii
On average, schools that apply for Literacy Grants have annual budgets of less than $8 per student – far below the minimum spend to ensure a healthy school library.iii
If reading is not mastered by grade 3, this may lead to failed grades and early drop outs.iv
Early childhood literacy is one of the greatest indicators of success later in life.v
The Indigo Love of Reading Foundation believes every child should have access to books so they can reach their full potential. As a result of this year's literacy grants, 8,200 students across the country will have funds to purchase more than 200,000 books over the next three years.

Indigo Love of Reading Foundation & First Book Grant Day Partnership In addition to the 2016 Literacy Fund grants, the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation has once again partnered with First Book Canada, which provides new books to children in need, addressing one of the most important factors affecting literacy – access to books. As part of this partnership, the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation and First Book Canada will provide more than 1,500 new books to each of the 20 runner-up schools that applied for the Literacy Fund Grant, a donation of more than 30,000 books in total. This year books will be generously donated from Disney Worldwide Publishing, Marvel Press, Disney Press, Lucasfilm Press, and Hyperion Press.

Schools interested in applying for the 2017 Indigo Love of Reading Foundation Literacy Fund Grant can download an application at www.loveofreading.org. To learn more about the Foundation, please visit www.loveofreading.org.

The 2016 Indigo Love of Reading Foundation Literacy Fund Grant Recipients (by province):

  • Annie Foote School, Calgary,
  • Alberta Cardston Elementary School, Cardston,
  • Alberta Evansdale School, Edmonton,
  • Alberta Fairview Community School, Nanaimo, British Columbia
  • Khowhemun Elementary School, Duncan, British Columbia
  • Terry Fox Elementary School, Abbotsford, British Columbia
  • Strathcona Community School, Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • St. George School, Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • École W.-F.-Boisvert, Rogersville, New Brunswick
  • St. Matthew's School, St. John's, Newfoundland & Labrador
  • West Colchester Consolidated School, Bass River, Nova Scotia
  • Kugaardjuq School, Kugaaruk, Nunavut
  • David Maxwell Public School, Windsor, Ontario
  • Daystrom Public School, Toronto, Ontario
  • Elia Middle School, Toronto, Ontario
  • Oakridge Junior Public School, Toronto, Ontario
  • Queen Victoria Elementary School, Hamilton, Ontario
  • St. Angela Catholic School, Toronto, Ontario
  • St. Dunstan Catholic School, Scarborough, Ontario
  • Stilecroft Public School, North York, Ontario
  • Summerside Intermediate School, Summerside, Prince Edward Island
  • École Du Trait-D'Union, Ste-Thérèse, Quebec
  • Gaspé Elementary School, Gaspe, Quebec
  • Imperial Community School, Regina, Saskatchewan
  • Queen Mary Public School, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan


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i Grant applications are reviewed through six rounds of judging. Grant recipient schools are selected based on their application's ability to demonstrate the school's commitment to literacy programs, as well as other factors including their socioeconomic status, library status and need, and future plans for the grant.
ii Source: Love of Reading literacy grant applications.
iii Source: Canadian Books in School Libraries: Raising the Profile. A Research Report for the Association of Canadian Publishers, October 2004. Page 11
iv Source: American Academy of Pediatrics, Department of Community Pediatrics. Literacy Promotion. Technical Assistance.
v Source: http://www.economist.com/news/books-and-arts/21696494-lifelong-learning