Ontario is weighing the possibility of offering funding for international graduate students in response to pressure from the province’s universities. Leaders at Ontario’s universities say that the lack of funding for international graduate students limits their ability to attract top-notch global talent; as a result, universities say that they face challenges when competing on the world stage. The lack of funding has made Ontario institutions very cautious when accepting applicants. Allison Sekuler, Dean of Graduate Studies at McMaster University, said, “We are not able to bring in the best and brightest from around the world and we will start to see Ontario universities falling in the rankings. We’ve started to see that a little bit.” Ontario is currently one of a minority of provinces that does not provide funding for graduate students from abroad; Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia provide the same amount of funding for international students as they do domestic students, while Quebec and British Columbia provide partial funding. However, such a move would likely be controversial in Ontario; a previous attempt by then-premier Dalton McGuinty met widespread criticism.
Simon Fraser University [CIEC Academic Member] and Ryerson University last week signed an agreement with the Bombay Stock Exchange Institute (BSEI), formalizing a letter of intent signed in January. The signing officially creates the BSEI-Ryerson-SFU Accelerator Program India, a Mumbai-based incubator/accelerator that will help entrepreneurs in both countries launch start-ups and connect with mentors, investors, and customers. SFU also signed an agreement with Indian Oil Corp Ltd (IOCL) to further their collaborative research into hydrogen and fuel cell technology. SFU previously announced plans to work with IOCL on an initiative to bring Indian PhD students to SFU to train in the fuel cell technologies, hydrogen, and clean energy, a program which will commence in January. SFU also recently announced an agreement with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations to create a new visiting scholars program.
On October 18, 2014, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, along with Husain F. Neemuchwala (CIEC – CEO) & Kalpa Pathak (CIEC – Director of Public Affairs & Member Services) took part in the 14th National Diwali Celebration at the Hindu Sabha Mandir in Brampton, Canada.
Source: Government of Canada | October 18, 2014
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today delivered the following remarks at the 14th Annual Diwali Celebration in Brampton:
“Thank you very much. Good afternoon. Namaste and happy Diwali everybody! I just want to begin by acknowledging all of my colleagues. First of all, by thanking our master of ceremonies today, one more big hand for Canada’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, the Honourable Chris Alexander. I also want to extend my sincere thanks to my introducer and caucus colleague, as we know who is the gentleman who really put Diwali on our national calendar in Canada, one more hand for the Honourable Deepak Obhrai. And of course colleagues I’m just delighted with how many of my friends and colleagues from both Houses of our Parliament have come here today. So I’d ask everybody – Parm Gill, everyone else – to stand. Please give one more round for all these great Members of Parliament who are joining us. Colleagues from all levels of government, members of the diplomatic corps, respected religious and spiritual leaders, ladies and gentlemen. I want to extend my personal gratitude to our host here today, the Hindu Sabha Mandir, and to all the regional temples – there are so many – who are playing a role in today’s festivities. This is a very impressive turnout. So a big hand to all of the organizers of this event.”
“Friends, the Indo-Canadian community has a proud and rich history in our country. Since the first Indian immigrants arrived in Canada more than a century ago, the Indo-Canadian community has grown in size and prominence. And you, India’s sons and daughters, have and continue to make lasting contributions to Canada’s strength and to our prosperity. Some of these contributions can be seen, quite literally, all around us. This beautiful Hindu Sabha Mandir, I’m told as Deepak said, the oldest and largest of its kind in Canada, and my second visit – what a beautiful place to hold this, thank you everybody, our hosts here. Not far from here, the extraordinary BAPS Mandir, a stunning complex that I had the great honour to officially open back in 2007. There’s the Gur Sikh temple, the oldest standing SikhTemple in North America. And of course the Vishnu Mandir, which I had the pleasure of visiting two weeks ago. Those and many other impressive Hindu and Sikh facilities are true, visible monuments to the accomplishments and vitality of our Indo-Canadian community. Of course, in addition to stunning temples, you’ve also helped to build stronger cities and communities. Indeed, as a result of your commitment to work and education, to faith and to family, you’ve helped build a better and more prosperous country for all of us. So thank you for that.”
“Now, friends, all of these beautiful temples remind me of my two trips to India, the two trips that Laureen and I have had the pleasure of making. I want to thank you as well for the important role that I know many of you here are playing in strengthening relations between Canada and India. The bottom line is this: the relationship between Canada and India is strong. In fact, it is stronger than it has been in decades. It is a great relationship. Something that we all should be very proud of. And friends, our Government is committed to continuing to enhance this special relationship with India, a rising economic power, and one of the fastest growing regions in the world today. In the world; I should also add in the Solar System, because just recently, India became the first country ever to put a spacecraft in Mars-orbit on the very first try. And I know Deepak had an opportunity to congratulate Prime Minister Modi on that remarkable achievement. Friends, you can be sure that India will remain a key priority in Canada’s international agenda. We will continue to work to eliminate barriers that interfere with bilateral trade and investment, and we will continue to reform our immigration system to make it easier for immigrants to build a life here in Canada and contribute to this country to the maximum of their capacity.”
“Now ladies and gentlemen, I just want to close with this on this occasion. As you know, we’re here today to celebrate the great Hindu, Sikh and Jain tradition, now the great Canadian tradition of Diwali. And I will admit that this year – perhaps more than any other – I am pleased to mark Diwali, ’The Festival of Lights,’ because in this year, much of our world has become a darker place, and certainly, it has become more dangerous. And friends, that is precisely why we need to celebrate Diwali. For Diwali reminds us that light always casts out darkness. That truth always dispels ignorance and fear. That there is good in the world, and that, in the end, good will triumph. Diwali also reminds us that we have much to be thankful for: safe and healthy families in a country – a home – that is peaceful and prosperous and full of opportunities for those looking to build a better life for those they love. Once again, ladies and gentlemen, I want to thank all of you for being here, particularly our hosts, and for all that you are contributing to this magnificent country. Happy Diwali, everybody!”
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) has released a new report entitled “A Battle We Can’t Afford to Lose: Getting Young Canadians from Education to Employment.” The report considers 3 factors that it says affect young Canadians’ ability to join the labour market: labour market information, career decision-making, and work-integrated learning. The CCC calls on governments, education providers, and businesses to collaborate in order to mitigate skills mismatching and to help students transition from education to employment, and identifies the development of basic skills—including literacy, numeracy, technological literacy, and problem solving—as a priority issue. The report emphasizes the value of “soft” skills, including relationship-building skills and communication skills, as being particularly important for entry-level positions; moreover, it highlights the importance of strong labour market information to help guide career decision-making, curricula design, recruitment strategies, and education policy-making. The CCC also emphasizes the value of work-integrated learning, and suggests that it is underused by university students.
Simon Fraser University [CIEC Academic Member] has formally signed an agreement with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) to create a new visiting scholars program. The agreement reportedly makes SFU the first Canadian institution to receive ICCR support for such a program. Through the partnership, SFU will host scholars in disciplines including international studies, contemporary arts, business, and world literature. “This program strengthens our already extensive ties with India. Bringing leading Indian scholars to SFU will enrich our educational programs and research environment, while providing opportunities to further share India’s rich heritage and culture with the communities we serve,” said SFU President Andrew Petter.
HEC Montréal has partnered with Mouvement Desjardins to create the new Alphonse and Dormiène Desjardins International Institute for Cooperatives. The Institute will promote research into financial and non-financial cooperatives, as well as offer a forum for debate, learning, and the sharing of best practices among those involved in the cooperative movement. It will include the International Observatory on Cooperatives, which will facilitate access to research on cooperatives, and the Centre for Expertise and Knowledge Transfer on the Management of Cooperatives, which will organize knowledge transfer and training activities. “HEC Montréal has long aspired to be an international player in research into cooperatives. Now the creation of this unique institute has made it possible for us to support research into the management of cooperatives worldwide,” said HEC Montréal President Michel Patry. Rym Ayadi will serve as Director of the Institute.
Nova Scotia is launching a new round of public consultations into the role of universities in the province. The government will reach out to students, faculty, campus staff, university Presidents, businesses, and the international community to collect ideas on how universities can help improve the provincial economy and keep young people in NS. “Nova Scotia universities are among the top in the country in terms of bringing in international students. So we’re at the forefront of that, but it’s to make sure that there’s a good alignment between the needs of the province and what universities are providing,” said Minister of Labour and Advanced Education Kelly Regan. Among the issues to be considered in the consultation process is how to make higher education more affordable for students. The latest round of consultations follows a report submitted to the province 4 years ago by economist Tim O’Neill, who recommended tying operating grants to population growth, government spending growth, or GDP, as well as exploring mergers, private-public partnerships, and tuition increases. The sessions are expected to lead to the release of a “vision paper” in early 2015.
At his installation ceremony on Friday, Kent MacDonald identified 3 priorities for his time as President of St Francis Xavier University. First, MacDonald announced a recommitment to StFX’s academic mission, pledging to add $1 M to the research budget for faculty and student researchers. MacDonald also announced his intention to expand StFX’s global reach through the development of a comprehensive international strategy. He further committed to increasing the number of international students on campus to 10% of all students. MacDonald also said that he aims to increase StFX’s total enrolment to 5,000 students. Finally, MacDonald announced that he intends to raise $25 M over the next 5 years through the Xavieran Legacy Fund to improve accessibility and offer educational opportunities to “the most talented students, regardless of background.”
MacEwan University President David Atkinson says that a rigid divide between colleges and universities is counterproductive in today’s economy. “We need to find some new pathways and get past the two solitudes,” he said. “The model for higher education can’t just be aimed at the high school student who comes for four years and be done.” He argues for a model that is more accommodating of students already in the workforce but looking to upgrade, as well as for recent immigrants seeking education. To this end, MacEwan will begin allowing students pursuing college diplomas to move directly into university degree programs, and will accept full credit for college courses. Atkinson says the move is reflective of the fact that a university degree is “the currency” of the job market. “We made the decision to be different,” he said.
Humber College [CIEC Academic Member] has published the details of its internationalization strategy. Humber’s approach is organized around 5 goals: recruit an increasingly diverse group of students from around the globe; provide opportunities for students to earn credits while studying abroad; ensure that faculty and staff are equipped to support internationalization; develop partnerships focused on intercultural academic exchanges and collaboration that engage the Humber community; and advance initiatives that enable faculty and students to contribute to international development initiatives globally. To achieve these goals, Humber will invest in marketing efforts and international student support services. Moreover, the institution has launched a Global Citizenship Certificate, a set of courses, travel experiences, and co-curricular activities that fit into students’ current studies. Humber says that it will also work on further internationalizing its curriculum and processes, as well as expanding its network of international partnerships, among other initiatives.