Canadian Fedwatch! News Across the Nation

Meeting of the Minds

Back in March, the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada, had a meeting. Why am I telling you now? Because on May 5th, the Canadian Intergovernmental Conference Secretariat finally put up a notice(http://www.scics.gc.ca/cinfo05/860499004_e.html) informing people of this.

I know I’m not the world’s fastest worker but this has taken them nearly two months to create a news release, when supposedly all this department does is, well, handle intergovernmental conferences. And people wonder where their tax dollars go.

At any rate, back in March when the Ministers met, they agreed to three “ambitious action plans” regarding education. One action plan each for literacy, aboriginal education, and postsecondary education. The ambitious plan for post-secondary education is “an invitation from ministers of education to their federal colleagues to discuss the capacity challenge in the post-secondary sector, particularly in the area of infrastructure, and to consider possible federal involvement. The Council of the Federation (COF) will be asked to take a leadership role on matters[sic] related to postsecondary capacity.”

If sending out an invitation is considered ambitious, I wonder what they consider actually doing something? Running a spell-check, for example.

Perhaps that’s a little more groundbreaking than this group can handle right now, but it should come as no surprise that they view the capacity challenge as one of infrastructure rather than human resources. Clearly the idea of distance education isn’t getting through or they’d see encourage the government to spend money on providing Canadians with an education as opposed to providing a building for people to get educated in.

Or maybe they’d be better off encouraging their colleagues to pressure the federal government for a dedicated Ministry of Education at the federal level. After all, if the goal is ensuring all Canadian citizens have the best education possible, not just those from certain provinces, having some kind of federal counterpart could only help the Education Ministers in the long run.

Summer Help

It’s nearly summer, and while that may not mean as much for AU students as others, it does mean that traditional summer-work programs are starting to come into effect. If you’re an AU student looking for a job, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to benefit from these programs as well.

In Alberta, the program is known as STEP, and its opening for this year was recently announced(http://www.gov.ab.ca/acn/200505/179841EBF9E29-54DC-447A-AA0027E52B8A1CF9.html). The provincial government pays employers $4.50/hr toward STEP position costs, as well as 10% of the employer’s contributions to federal employment tax, CPP, and vacation pay. More information for students can be found at the STEP website (http://www.gov.ab.ca/hre/step).

$510 Million for Scientific Research

Natural Science and Engineering Research Canada has announced that it will be providing 510 million dollars in grants and research funding this year. 380 million will be split among just over 3000 professors for their research in natural science and engineering, with 111 million being split between graduate students to support their education in the form of scholarships.

However, research money isn’t just for graduate students, as there is also just over 19 million being spent on the Undergraduate Student Research Awards.

While it is too late for any of us as undergraduates to apply for any of this money, the lesson that there is money available for undergraduate research should be remembered.

Who knows, if you have an innovative research idea, you may be able to not only get credit for it in a project course with AU, but you might even be able to get that course funded courtesy of the federal government. It certainly couldn’t hurt to try.

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