Ontario universities create fellowship to increase diversity in engineering and technology
As we bid farewell to 2020, an annus horribilis if there ever was one, spare a thought or two for Canada’s youth. Hard as 2020 was on Canada a whole, young Canadians are paying big time for the unavoidable consequences of COVID-19. Many Canadian young people were supposed to be having the proverbial ‘time of their lives.’ Instead, they were (supposedly) in lock down at home, subject to many restrictions, and denied the social activities that were crucial rites of passage: parties, high school and university sports, dating, and the like. Goodness knows how many social events, outings, and fun activities were cancelled by public health regulations and the wise decisions to socially isolate. No doubt many young and fresh relationships fell by the wayside. The very young, struggling with grade school assignments at home, will effectively lose a full year of basic skills acquisition. This lost time is not easily made up, particularly for children under Grade 4. Wealthy and highly motivated parents will have found alternative instruction; the poor and marginalized are sure to fall further behind.
As the pandemic-related economic turmoil and wage loss continues in Ontario, there are signs that some may be setting themselves up for a painful debt reckoning in the future. New research conducted by Ipsos finds that six in ten (63%) Ontarians feel that with interest rates low, now is a good time to buy things they otherwise might not be able to afford. Four in ten (44%) say that with current interest rates so low, they’re more relaxed about carrying debt than they usually are. “Those already cash-strapped, saddled with debt and struggling to navigate, risk being lulled into a debt trap,” cautions Caryl Newbery-Mitchell, a Licensed Insolvency Trustee with MNP LTD. “When individuals in financial trouble try to cope by taking on additional debt, the results can be disastrous. They end up trying to fill a hole by digging another one.” ___________________
The virtual Explore Waterloo Region esports camps will provide top level instruction to campers between the ages of 12-19, designed to help them improve their gaming abilities, while also building important life skills that extend beyond the game. Coaches are trained through Sports Camps Canada’s unique esports coaching certification program, which has been developed in partnership with Logitech, to enhance the educational and competitive experience for each of its campers. “As we continue to explore ways to deliver and support esports activities and programs within our region, I’m excited for our communities and educational institutions to be the first beneficiaries of the partnership between Sports Camps Canada and Subnation”, said Allister Scorgie (photo), Director of Sport Hosting at Explore Waterloo Region. “We’re excited to launch these esports camps this spring, and look forward to offering in-person options for visiting campers from across Canada in the future when it’s safe to do so.”
For the last 15 years the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report has been warning the world about the dangers of pandemics. In 2020, we saw the effects of ignoring preparation and ignoring long-term risks. The COVID-19 pandemic has not only claimed millions of lives, but it also widened long-standing health, economic and digital disparities. Billions of caregivers, workers and students – especially minorities who were disadvantaged before the pandemic – are now at risk of missing pathways to the new and fairer societies that the recovery could unlock. According to the Global Risks Report 2021, released today, these developments may further impede the global cooperation needed to address long-term challenges such as environmental degradation. When it comes to technology access and digital skills, the gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” risks widening and challenging social cohesion. This will particularly affect young people worldwide, as this group faces its second global crisis in a generation and could miss out altogether on opportunities in the next decade.
We’ve all done it – scrolled through our phones immediately before bedtime to read the latest news, only to wake up at 3 a.m. feeling anxious about all the things we’ve read. Then, having trouble falling back to sleep, we grab our phones again and distract ourselves with social media. The next day we wake up feeling overwhelmed, anxious and exhausted. But how exactly do social media and poor sleep influence our mental health? Researchers in the department of epidemiology and biostatistics at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry are working to understand the relationship between sleep, social media and mental health among youth in two recently published papers. Associate professor Kelly Anderson (photo), PhD, looked specifically at the role of social media in the equation through a systematic review of previously published studies.
Vaccines continues to be rolled out in the region based on the availability of supply. The recent announcement from Pfizer of a decrease in the Canadian allocation of vaccine has resulted in a need to rework the current vaccine clinic plan for the Grand River Hospital clinic. The reduction in supply is due to Pfizer retooling its production line so they are able to produce increased volumes of vaccine in the months ahead. The decision has been made to pause the GRH clinic until January 24 when it will resume delivering second doses. At this time, all second doses will be scheduled for between 25-28 days post the first dose which is consistent with Pfizer’s recommendations, and Health Canada guidance. Shirley Hilton, Deputy Chief for the Waterloo Regional Police Service and head of the Region of Waterloo COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force acknowledged, “We will continue to focus on administering doses to those in long-term care homes and high risk retirement homes through our mobile clinic team. Once our allocation is increased, we will be ready to fully resume our vaccination plan.” ___________________
The World Economic Forum Davos Agenda, taking place virtually on 25-29 January, will bring together the foremost leaders of the world to address the new global situation. Heads of state and government, chief executives and leaders from civil society will convene under the theme: A Crucial Year to Rebuild Trust. The meeting will focus on creating impact, rebuilding trust and shaping the policies and partnerships needed in 2021. “In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to reset priorities and the urgency to reform systems have been growing stronger around the world,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum. “Rebuilding trust and increasing global cooperation are crucial to fostering innovative and bold solutions to stem the pandemic and drive a robust recovery. This unique meeting will be an opportunity for leaders to outline their vision and address the most important issues of our time, such as the need to accelerate job creation and to protect the environment.”
While 91 per cent of organizations were successful in increasing security as a result of adopting cloud services, it remains a top concern for many. This finding comes from part two of the four-part Cloud Impact Study from Aptum, the global hybrid multi-cloud managed service provider. The report, titled The Security and Compliance Barricade, identifies common security, compliance and governance challenges impacting organizations undergoing cloud transformation. The independent research reveals that more than half of survey respondents (51%) see security as the main driver behind cloud adoption. However, 38 per cent cite security and data protection as the primary barrier to cloud transformation.
Vaccines are being administered to priority groups in the first phase of a three-phased provincial distribution implementation plan. The first phase prioritizes health care workers, essential caregivers, long-term care home and retirement home residents, First Nation communities and urban Indigenous populations, including Métis and Inuit adults. This announcement comes at a time when the region will temporarily pause the Grand River Hospital COVID-19 vaccination clinic in order to vaccinate as many long-term care and retirement home residents as possible with the current supply. The clinic was closed on Friday January 15, 2021, to Monday, January 18, 2021 and will reopen today Tuesday, January 19, 2021. Shirley Hilton, Deputy Chief for the Waterloo Regional Police Service and head of the Region of Waterloo COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force has said that with the recent ability to move the Pfizer vaccine, “the priority right now is to transfer the Pfizer vaccine to the mobile clinics so that vaccinations can continue in the mobile clinics with long-term care and retirement home residents being the priority.”
Challenge your creativity this winter with Create 31. Get creative for 31 minutes a day for 31 days this January with prompts on Create Waterloo’s social media. Starting earlier this month, the City of Waterloo’s arts and culture team (Create Waterloo) launched a creativity campaign to get people creative for 31 minutes a day throughout January. At a time when most people are stuck at home and are limited on gathering, Create 31 aims to motivate and inspire around the home. People participating in Create 31 can do so with any skill level. The challenge encourages people to flex their creative muscles and challenge themselves to practice creative habits all month long. Simply spend 31 minutes per day engaging in a prompt delivered by local artists, influencers, businesses, political representatives, and more. Create 31 will give you ways to stay creative and active as we continue to stay home due to Covid-19. Creative challengers thus far have included Mayor Jaworsky and Amit from Good Co Productions, with more to come from locals like Ajoa from Four All Ice Cream and the band Onion Honey.
In recognition of reduced recreational opportunities due to COVID-19 this winter, the City of Waterloo is increasing services levels in an effort to provide three additional walking/hiking opportunities. Residents can use the trails and roadway networks at Mount Hope Cemetery, Parkview Cemetery and Bechtel Park Woodlot, and Clair Creek Trail (located between Sundew Drive and Columbia Forest Blvd at Erbsville Rd). Washroom facilities will be open at the Parkview Cemetery and Bechtel Park Woodlot location and will be accessible at the Manulife Centre daily from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.). Walkers/hikers are reminded to please maintain two metre physical distance when using trails and walkways throughout the city unless with members of the same household. Wearing a mask, even outdoors, is recommended. The cemetery locations both have relatively flat asphalt surfaces and benches to sit and rest when needed. The Clair Creek Trail is a longer (approximately 2 km), and more natural trail experience.