All Posts Tagged With: "Diane Finley"
Skills mismatch may mean 1.5 million vacancies by 2016
On a recent February evening, Karl Eve received an emergency call from a restaurant owner in Canmore, Alta. The busy eatery had suddenly found itself with no hot water, even though the basement hot water tanks appeared to be working fine. A plumber with 10 years’ experience, Eve eventually traced the problem to a malfunctioning dishwasher and got the hot water flowing again—much to the owner’s relief.
It’s the sort of detective work Eve says he loves about his job. He also likes that his plumbing business, which he runs with his wife in nearby Exshaw, provides his family with a comfortable middle-class lifestyle. But it was a career he very nearly missed. Never a fan of textbooks, Eve ended up toiling in a southern Ontario gypsum mine after high school. It was only after moving to Alberta years later that he considered a career in the trades. A chance meeting at a church potluck led to a ride-along with a local plumber and, ultimately, an apprenticeship. “I discovered there was a lot to learn, especially when it came to math,” Eve says of his four years of training, which included eight weeks a year in a classroom. “The amount of education was very surprising to me, but in a positive way. I grasped it with both hands, so to speak.”
Eve’s story is more rare than it should be in Canada. Many consider the trades to be low-paying, go-nowhere jobs, if they consider them at all. But it’s a perception not grounded in reality, as Eve’s healthy hourly rate of $90 to $135 suggests. Nor is it one Canada can afford to maintain. Numerous studies warn Canada is facing a massive shortage of skilled workers over the next few decades as millions of baby boomers hit retirement age and exit the workforce.
What students are talking about today (February 5th)
1. Canadian university and college students are abusing the prescription drug Adderall—a pill form of amphetamine that is prescribed to treat Attention Deficit Disorder—to stay focused on schoolwork, reports CTV News, who have dubbed it “campus crack.” Researchers in the United States estimate that as many as 30 per cent of students there are abusing Adderall. As for Canada? “It has quite the presence around campus here, and I hear about it all the time,” one anonymous University of British Columbia student told CTV. Although I’m sure some quantity is available on Canadian campuses, I doubt that it’s as common as it is in America. One anonymous student does not make a “campus crack” trend.
2. Memorial University’s student union won’t allow a fraternity and a sorority to become official groups because they say the groups discriminate by gender. Maxwell Page, a director at large with MUNSU, told CBC News they “will not ratify any group that the council considers to be of homophobic, racist, ageist, sexist or otherwise discriminatory nature.” What makes this especially silly is that both the sorority, Nu Delta Mu, and the fraternity, Sigma Theta Pi, say they are open to anyone joining.
3. The University of Toronto is planning to build a $9.5-million field hockey pitch to be used in the 2015 Pan Am Games and that has caused controversy because it would require replacing real grass with artificial turf, reports the Toronto Star. The University College Council voted nearly unanimously last fall to to register “strong concerns.” Those who oppose artificial fields say real grass is a cooling surface that combats climate change, soaks up rainfall and isn’t made with certain chemicals. The turf is, however, a requirement of the International Field Hockey Federation.
4. The federal Liberals requested an emergency debate in the House of Commons Monday over the loss of an external hard drive containing the personal information of 583,000 Canada Student Loan borrowers. They wanted Human Resources Minister Diane Finley to answer questions including when the device was last seen and why the RCMP have been called, reports Canada.com. Speaker Andrew Scheer ruled that the request didn’t meet the requirements for emergency debate. Finley has ordered stricter data handling protocols for her department, including the collection and destruction of unapproved USB memory sticks. Credit monitoring firm Equifax is flagging affected accounts for students who contact them. A class action lawsuit has been filed.
5. The University of Prince Edward Island waited too long to close after a snowstorm Monday, say some students. Dianne Rogers went to school for a midterm. “One and a half pages into the exam, someone arrives at the door to say, ‘School’s closed, go home’,” she told CBC News. “I was thoroughly frustrated because the conditions weren’t safe for me to be out there in the first place.” Dozens of students took to Facebook angry at the university for waiting until about 8:20 a.m.. Nearby Holland College’s was closed around 7 a.m. Jackie Podger, a UPEI vice-president, told CBC staff were monitoring the weather and didn’t shut down until they felt conditions warranted it.
Names, SIN numbers, contact info. missing
A federal agency has lost a portable hard drive containing personal information about more than half a million people who took out student loans.
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada said Friday the device contained data on 583,000 Canada Student Loans Program borrowers from 2000 to 2006.
The missing files include student names, social insurance numbers, dates of birth, contact information and loan balances of borrowers, as well as the personal contact information of 250 department employees.
Borrowers from Quebec, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories during this time period are not affected.
Revamped student loan and grant program is unveiled to mixed reviews
The federal government’s launch of the new Canada Student Loans and Grants Program is getting mixed reviews in today’s Globe and Mail.
Although the Canadian Federation of Students and the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations appear to like the new program, which both groups say are badly needed due to the recession and grim job prospects of high school grads, not all responses have been as enthusiastic.
The Education Policy Institute’s Alex Usher told the Globe that the overhauled loan and grant program hasn’t been given any additional funds, and is rather an attempt to distribute those same funds differently.
The restructuring of the loan and grant program was announced more than a year ago in the 2008 budget and has been a work-in-progress ever since. This will be the first summer students can apply under the new grant program, designed to replace the Millennium Scholarship Foundation created by the former Liberal government.
The new program will allow about 245,000 college and university students to qualify for grants that do not need to be repaid. Although the awards for eight months of study up to $2,000, will be lower, that means an additional 100,000 students will be eligible to receive the cash.
Usher says he isn’t sure whether this change will encouraging more students to enroll in college or university. “I suspect that it will not have the effect on access that they think it will, but spreading money around more is likely to be politically popular,” he says.
The CFS’s chairperson, Katherine Giroux-Bougard, says she is pleased the program will being administered through the federal Human Resources and Skills Development department and not as a stand-alone foundation. In past years, Canada’s auditor general has expressed concern that arms-length foundations such as the now-defunct Millenium Scholarship Foundation are not sufficiently accountable.