Summer Weekly:
Thursday July 9, 2020
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MONITOR

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Education

Ontario urged to create new strategy to expand degree programs at colleges

Ontario’s colleges are calling for a new provincial strategy for post-secondary education that will expand the range of degree programs at colleges, including the creation of career-focused three-year degree programs and master’s programs in specialized fields. “This is the time for bold action to ensure we become a world leader in career-focused post-secondary education,” said John Tibbits (right), President of Conestoga College and Chair of Colleges Ontario, the association representing Ontario’s 24 public colleges. “Working together with government, we can help drive Ontario’s economic recovery.” The recommendation has been submitted to Colleges and Universities Minister Ross Romano’s recently announced consultations on modernizing post-secondary education. The call for a new vision for post-secondary education follows the recent release of The Future of Ontario’s Workers, a white paper by the StrategyCorp Institute of Public Policy and Economy. The paper proposes measures to drive economic growth as Ontario emerges from the COVID-19 lockdown.


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Intellectual Property

Canada’s comparatively weak intellectual property protections limit access to life-saving drugs

Because Canada’s protection of intellectual property in the life sciences—including biology and biochemistry—lags behind other industrialized countries, Canadian patient access to potentially life-saving biologic medicines is comparatively limited, finds a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank. “Cutting-edge biologic drugs are treating previously untreatable conditions, often with fewer adverse effects, improving the health of patients and saving lives worldwide,” said Kristina Acri (photo), associate professor of economics at Colorado College, senior fellow at the Fraser Institute and author of Biologics and Biosimilars: A Primer.


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Appointment

Conestoga President John Tibbits is new chair of Colleges Ontario

Colleges Ontario announced on Monday that John Tibbits, President and CEO of Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, has started a two-year term as the new chair of Colleges Ontario, the association representing Ontario’s 24 public colleges.


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Grants

The Guelph Community Foundation announces $345,510 to 21 local charities through the Emergency Community Support Fund to support COVID-19 efforts

The Guelph Community Foundation (GCF) announced $345,510 dollars in grants to 21 local charities to address well-being needs to support our most vulnerable populations affected by COVID-19. The grants announced are funded through the federal government’s Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF), which was announced on May 19, 2020. In large part, these grants will support local organizations working with our community’s most vulnerable populations who continue to be disproportionately affected by the pandemic. These funds will help thousands of people in our community who are facing ongoing and increasing challenges accessing sufficient food, housing, and mental health supports. The GCF volunteer Grants Committee and partners at the United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin have worked together to take a coordinated approach to get the most impact out of the limited resources available. Additionally, they worked with partners at Centre Wellington Community Foundation and Dufferin Community Foundation to support the needs in Wellington County.


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Education - Digital

Skills Ontario promotes career exploration through #SkillsFashionChallenge, eighth challenge of #SkillsAtHome series

Skills Ontario’s #SkillsAtHome challenge series encourages Ontarians to virtually explore the skilled trades and technologies, with a new challenge being released every two weeks. The #SkillsFashionChallenge, the eighth of the series, launches today, and asks participants to design and create a full suit or a full-length dress entirely out of paper products. This challenge encourages the development of skills in planning and design, creativity, organization, and attention to detail, and relates to the skilled professions of fashion designer and seamstress. Participants must send in submissions for the #SkillsFashionChallenge by July 20th.


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Exposure

Study shows that aerosol box used to protect healthcare workers during COVID intubation increases, rather than decreases, exposure to airborne particles

A new study shows that certain aerosol boxes of a similar type to those that have been manufactured and used in hospitals in the UK and around the world in order to protect healthcare workers from COVID-19 can actually increase exposure to airborne particles that carry the virus, and thus casts doubt on their usefulness. The authors - who include Drs Peter Chan, Joanna Simpson and colleagues, Intensive Care and Anaesthesia Specialists at Eastern Health, Melbourne, VIC, Australia - say that "the consequences of promotion of such untested devices include either a false sense of security using these devices, or paradoxical increase in healthcare workers exposure to COVID-19". The study is published in Anaesthesia (a journal of the Association of Anaesthetists). The danger posed to frontline health workers exposed to infectious COVID-19 is significant. The sickest COVID-19 patients often need to be placed onto a ventilator, which is also when the risk to the health worker of exposure to virus is potentially at its greatest.


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UW-Q&A

Fiscal snapshot, what an economist is looking for

UW spoke with economics Professor Jean-Paul Lam in advance of the Federal Government’s ‘fiscal snapshot’ to learn about his concerns, and what he is looking for in the information released yesterday.

How would you characterize the general state of Canada's finances going into this snapshot? The lockdown measures imposed by the government during the pandemic heavily disrupted economic activity in Canada. As a result, the government spent billions of dollars on emergency programs to support the economy and workers in Canada. The Federal government is heading for a massive deficit of $250-300 billion, about ten times larger than the deficit forecasted in December 2019. With a deficit of around 12% of GDP, even with no lockdowns in the second half of the year, there is little room for the government to implement any further stimulus measures. This rapid deterioration in the public finances will force the government to make some hard choices to tackle the mountain of debt and reign in the deficit to get back on a path of balanced-budgets. The good news is that interest rates are currently very low and are expected to stay that way for a long-time, making debt-servicing cheap and more sustainable.


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Education

Beyond the "Classroom to Virtual" Journey: New Poll Finds Canadians have High-Tech Expectations for the Future of Higher Education

Athabasca University (AU)'s new "Future of Learning" study captures Canadians' predictions of what universities will look like 50 years from now

Micro-degrees, individualized studies, and artificial-intelligence-programmed robots teaching alongside professors – these are not scenes from a sci-fi movie, but rather, predictions by the majority of Canadians of what universities of the future will look like. And according to a new study, Canadians expect these changes to happen within our lifetime. More than half of all Canadians (56 per cent) say university degrees will become much more individualized in the next 50 years.


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Markets

KW June Home Sales Spring into Summer

Residential Average price tops $600,000 For First Time

The number of homes sold in June shot up 57.6 per cent compared to May. There were 673 residential homes sold through the Multiple Listing System (MLS® System) of the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS® in June 2020, an increase of 2.1 per cent compared to June 2019, and an increase of 8.5 per cent compared to the previous 10-year average for June. “After a pandemic-induced delay to the typical spring market, home sales sprung back to life in a big way in June,” said Colleen Koehler, President of KWAR. “As Waterloo region entered stage two of reopening, we saw many buyers and sellers resuming their home buying and selling plans.”


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Covid-19 Response

Region of Waterloo Council adopts mask by-laws

The Region of Waterloo Council adopted two bylaws that require face coverings on public transit and for indoor public settings. “These by-laws provide clarity to individuals and businesses of the importance of wearing masks and face coverings to help us protect and respect each other,” said Regional Chair Karen Redman. “This is a key element to support our business community as we move forward, safely, with economic reopening and recovery.”


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Supply Chain Dominance

Survey: Dangers of Single Nation Controlled Supply Dominance

Manufacturers Fear Supply Chain Shortage of Raw Materials Critical for Products Important to Businesses and Consumers on North America

Almonty Industries Inc. announced results of an industry survey that show the significant challenges U.S.-based manufacturers face as a result of China’s dominance of the supply of strategic metals used in a number of critical products and business uses. Almonty commissioned an online survey during the last week of June 2020, asking a series of raw material supply chain questions in front of roughly 150 business executives across industries such as construction, automotive, technology manufacturing, building products and electrical components. Click here for complete results. According to the USGS1, China controls the market for nearly 35 precious minerals and metals that are important to the U.S. for production and manufacturing, and strategic metals like tungsten are among them. Manufacturing executives are growing concerned that China has limited the amount of tungsten exports that can be shipped to the U.S., and this has caused business challenges from the supply of these metals.


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Society Behaving

New app aids women in violent relationships

Women experiencing violence from intimate partners now have access to a unique, interactive safety app that can help them assess their risks, set priorities and plan next steps. The myPlan Canada app was co-developed at Western, with Nursing professor Marilyn Ford-Gilboe as the Canadian project lead.

The app allows users to input their specific circumstances – such as whether they are in immediate danger, live with the abuser, have young children at home, have a job, are in a rural or urban area, or have access to a vehicle – and will walk them through a personalized plan to protect their safety and health. “The purpose of myPlan is to give women space and time to think about their situation, to think about their options. It’s a starting place,” said Ford-Gilboe, Women’s Health Research Chair in Rural Health at the Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing.


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Arts & Culture

Region of Waterloo Arts Fund awards 36 grants

The Region of Waterloo Arts Fund is awarding 36 grants, totaling $201,216, in response to dynamic proposals submitted by a wide range of artists and arts organizations throughout Waterloo Region. The Arts Fund initially received a record number of 90 stage-one applications, for a total request of $677,147. Due to the impact of COVID-19 restrictions, precautions taken to support the arts included inviting all of the applicants to submit to stage-two; in the end, 67 requests were received and assessed.


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Markets

National home prices rise sharply in second quarter as housing supply struggles to keep up with surge in demand

Balance expected to return to market in second half of the year; Two-storey house prices outpace condos as home-bound Canadians place premium on space; Ontario posts Canada's highest home price increases, with Mississauga in top spot at 13.5% year-over-year

According to the Royal LePage House Price Survey and Market Survey Forecast released today, the aggregate1 price of a home in Canada increased 6.8 per cent year-over-year to $673,072, in the second quarter. Once provinces allowed regular real estate activity to resume, demand surged in many markets. Inventory levels, already constrained pre-pandemic, have failed to keep pace. "Home prices shot up in the second quarter as a crush of buyers entered the market, attracted by extremely low interest rates and the perception of bargains to-be-had," said Phil Soper, president and CEO of Royal LePage. "Across Ontario and Quebec in particular, the demand for housing outpaced the growth in supply, especially in the early weeks post-lockdown. The surge in the number of first-time buyers was felt acutely, as these housing consumers soaked up supply without contributing to it."


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Opinion

What was Trudeau thinking? That he can do whatever he wants

The WE mess shows sunny ways have been replaced with dark days of the same old cronyism in the halls of power - By Doug Firby

Just when you think our prime minister may actually be growing into his job, he does something so ill-considered, so tone-deaf and so contrary to generally accepted political convention that all the confidence he has earned in the past few weeks evaporates in a flash. Such was Justin Trudeau’s foolish and inexplicable attachment to the WE Charity, an organization to which he and his wife Sophie Grégoire Trudeau have a personal connection. WE was initially granted a $19.5-million sole source contract to administer the $912-million Canada Student Service Grant. Finally, after a string of critical stories about its internal turmoil and labour practices, the group mercifully exited the contract late last week.


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Software Solution

CaseWare Launches Breakthrough Cloud Solutions to Better Connect Accountants, Auditors and Clients

New product suite includes audit and client collaboration functionality, made-for-Canada analytics, and a streamlined accounting platform to benefit users at all stages of cloud adoption

As the Canadian accounting and auditing industries adapt to a new normal amid a changing world, where working in teams and engaging with clients must be done remotely, leading software provider CaseWare International Inc. has unveiled breakthrough technology solutions that will enable accountants and auditors to work smarter, faster and more cohesively, both now and for the long term. “The role of accountant and auditor will be more important than ever in a post-pandemic financial world, where people will need to place even greater trust in numbers and accountability,” said Ross Hampton, CaseWare Head of Business Development – Americas. “As a result, the speed with which firms transition to this new way of working – remotely and cohesively together – will radically increase,” Hampton said. “Before, many in the industry had a vision of one day transitioning to the cloud, but circumstances beyond all of our control are forcing accountants and auditors to do it now.”


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Tech

US Study says: Two-Thirds of Canadian Businesses Not Ready for Digital Transformation

New Report Reveals Employees' Dissatisfaction with Tech Workplace Tools

COVID-19 is forcing businesses to digitally transform how they operate. From enabling teams to work remotely to training employees, technology has never been more critical. Yet, a new Canadian study by Beagle Research Group reveals that technology systems have not kept up with changing times. According to this April 2020 survey of employees at 208 Canadian businesses, two-thirds of staff give their workplace tech tools a failing grade. Sixty-four per cent of respondents do not think their technology helps them be productive while working in the office or remotely. This sentiment is worse for businesses with fewer than 500 employees where more than two-thirds of staff lack confidence in their tech and another 88 per cent say it takes too long to build systems to support their job.

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Arts & Covid

Stratford Theatre Company Here for Now Announces 2020 Open-Air Theatre Festival

Local artists to create a six season show on the lawns of The Bruce Hotel

Independent Stratford- based theatre company Here for Now is thrilled to announce their 2020 Open-Air Theatre Festival taking place on the backyard lawns of The Bruce Hotel. Local artists are coming together to create a season that will include six shows with small audiences, adhering to the latest public health regulations.


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EVENTS


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November 5 - 7, 2020

Board Governance Boot Camp



Capacity Canada presents our annual Manulife Board Governance BootCamp November 5, 6 & 7, 2020 delivered virtually for the first time. This BootCamp delivers practical governance training to non-profit Boards and equips them with relevant action plans that will deliver a noticeable performance improvement in their boardrooms.



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ISSN 0824-45
Copyright, 2020