#Quebec; #WQTA; #5DayStrike; #LowPay; #HeavyWorkload
Quebec/Canadian-Media: A growing threat has emerged from the English teachers in western Quebec to walk off the job as early as the middle of next month after voting in favour of striking over a year of negotiations with the province for more investment recently failed.
Western Quebec Teachers Association. Image credit: Website
Members of the Western Quebec Teachers Association (WQTA) voted on Thursday evening, 95 percent in favour of a five-day strike mandate.
Heidi Yetman, president of the Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers, which encompasses the WQTA said the major sticking points being salary and workload.
Other local unions across the province are also set to vote by the end of the month on whether to strike.
#LibraryofCongress; #Presidentialnaugurations; #RichPrimarySources; #Students; #Teachers
Washington/Canadian-Media: Although Presidential inaugural ceremonies date back to the beginnings of the republic, yet every inauguration has been unique, Library of Congress (LoC) reported.
Library of Congress. Image credit: Twitter handle
Inaugural ceremonies have taken place indoors and outdoors, in private and in public, in New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. The arrival of the president-elect at the inauguration site was on foot, in a horse-drawn carriage, or an armored limousine.
New presidents in their inaugural ceremonies have used lengthy inaugural addresses, or a few terse remarks, and in their speeches have professed optimism for the future of the United States or challenged Americans to confront difficult circumstances.
Teachers and students are provided with an opportunity to investigate inaugurations past through a newly updated teacher resource from the Library of Congress named Inaugurations: Stepping into History by using rich primary sources from the Library’s online collections.
The Inauguration of President McKinley. Chief Justice Fuller administering the oath of office in front of the senate wing of the Capitol. Image credit: LoC/ drawn by T. de Thulstrup.
Created / Published 1897 March 13.
Different aspects of these key moments of transition, from the inaugural oath, site, and address to the issues and expectations that each president faced are presented in each section of the presentation.
During examination of these inaugural primary sources facilitates exploration of the different moments in the nation’s history, and the very different presidents, that these unique artifacts illuminate and reflect the ways in which they underscore the nation’s long history of orderly transfers of presidential office.
#InternationalStudentsInCanada; #JerinRaj; #SenecaCollege; #Petition; #IRCC; #Covid19Pandeimc; #ExpiredPGWP; #permanentResidence
Toronto/Canadian-Media: A petition started by Jerin Raj, who was an international student, and currently President of the Canadian International Youth Organization who also serves as a Professor at the School of Business and a member of the Board of Governors of Seneca College initiated a petition to prime minister Justin Trudeau and immigration minister Marco Mendicino seeking a reasonable accommodation to support millions of International students currently on post-graduation work permits from all over the world who have come to Canada to build a better future and are affected by the pandemic had been supported by Government of Canada.
Petition by Jerin Raj and two others. Image credit: change.org
Jerin organized a team of students and virtually connected with student groups around the province and other parts of the country to encourage them to come forward to voice their concerns and file petitions to the authorities. They also worked with Social, cultural organizations, and community and political leaders including Dolly Begum MPP, and worked closely with them to press for the needs of those students affected. Dolly begum MPP and her NDP counterparts wrote a letter to Minister Mendoccino and stood firmly with the International student community from the very beginning.
Jofin Lawrence came to Canada in 2017 on a Student Visa to study at Centennial College. When he completed his 2 years academic program, he was offered a 3 years Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) which was meant to acquire substantial work experience in the field of his studies. It was stipulated that the permit holder should complete the required minimum hours within the validity period making him qualify for applying for permanent residence (PR) in Canada. When Covid 19 hit hard, in March 2020, Jofin’s work was affected, and eventually, he lost his job, making it impossible for him to gain the stipulated Canadian work experience and apply for PR. Along with Jofin, Anu Shinto (Durham College graduate), Madonna Sebastian (Seneca College graduate), Jeril Jose (St Lawrence college graduate) are among the thousands of International youth across Canada who are affected but thankful to the Prime minister and immigration minister for the timely decision to support their future prospects in this country.
Thanking Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for supporting the international student community, Jerin said that he wished to highlight some of the key concerns of International students from all over the world who have come to Canada to build a better future.
IRCC. Image credit: Facebook page
The petition which made change with 3,792 supporters is as follows:
"International students contribute $6 billion a year just in tuition at Canadian universities, but their economic impact extends beyond the campus. Government figures show that in 2018 they pumped $21.6 billion into schools, communities, and the broader Canadian economy. As of Dec. 31, 2019, there were 498,735 post-secondary international students in Canada, a 14.5 percent increase from 2018" (Toronto Star, Apr. 8, 2020)
International Students in Canada. Image credit: immgration.ca
"The post-graduate work permit (PGWP) program in Canada allows international students who graduate from eligible Canadian institutions to get an open-work permit to gain Canadian work experience. It helps graduates who meet the requirements of the permit to qualify for permanent residence in Canada through the Express Entry system. PGWP is issued for a very limited duration (for 1 to 3 years depending on the length of the course.), and is issued only once to a student, leaving them under strict time pressure to accumulate skilled work experience to apply for permanent residency.
The situation that International students are facing right now is even worse. Due to COVID-19 and the crunched job markets and the economic downturn, most of the students find themselves severely restrained to find NOC skill level jobs to accumulate the required hours to apply for Permanent residency. Many got laid off, many who traveled to their home countries got stuck due to travel restrictions and there are only fewer new hirings happening now, all contribute to the loss of precious hours of work from their already limited PGWP duration. This puts students under severe stress, leading to anxiety and other mental distress.
Therefore, I am earnestly requesting the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship to offer reasonable accommodation for the time lost, by extending the work permit or by allocating concession points while processing their permanent residency application or by any other suitable means that would support the student community whose work experience accumulation is negatively affected by COVID-19."
As part of the Government of Canada’s efforts to support international students who contribute over $21 billion annually to our economy to support the vitality of our communities through this challenging time, Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of IRCC, announced on Jan 8 that former international students with an expired Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) will have the opportunity to apply for an open work permit valid for 18 months allowing them to remain in Canada, and gain sufficient experience needed to apply for permanent residence.
Marco E. L. Mendicino. Image credit: Facebook page
Decisions of More than 58,000 graduates to stay in Canada, who had successfully applied to immigrate permanently in 2019 will help to address our demographic challenges.
As part of its central plan, Canada helps skilled immigrants to fill pressing needs in areas like health care, technology, and more during the second wave of the pandemic’s course of recovery.
“Whether as nurses on the pandemic’s front lines or as founders of some of the most promising start-ups, international students are giving back to communities across Canada...contributions of international students are lasting...ensuring that Canada meets the urgent needs of our economy for today and tomorrow. Our message to international students and graduates is simple: we don’t just want you to study here, we want you to stay here,” said Mendicino.
IRCC estimates that as many as 52,000 graduates with expired or expiring PGWPs could benefit from the public policy.
Applications for an open work permit under the public policy will be open from January 27 to July 27, 2021, details of which will be posted on IRCC’s website on January 27, 2021.
#Canada; #OnlineEducation; #StruggleForParentsandStudents; #StudentSaety; #HealthExpertsAdvice
Canada/Canadian-Media: Parents of students attending virtual classes offered in Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec and Ontario are facing additional challenges this week to manage kids' studies along with their work, media reports said.
Online classes. Image credit: Pixaby
Teachers who are also parents are overwhelmed with tasks of trying to teach students while also attending their own kids learning from home.
A spokesperson for Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce said to keep students safe, the government will continue to follow the advice of the chief medical officer of health and medical experts to guide decision-making.
"As the numbers in the community increase, we have to kind of adjust our recommendations, but at that same time, I do know that kids do need to be in school ... so we have to balance that. I think that, at least for January, it's going to be a tricky balance," said Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti, an infectious disease specialist at Trillium Health Partners in Mississauga, Ont., west of Toronto and added that any decision regarding opening or closing schools will require consideration of many factors.
Although schools have not been a driver of COVID-19, rather they are more a reflection of what was happening in the community, said Chakrabarti on Monday and added,
"when you get to a point where you have such high amounts of transmission, all in the community, that can certainly change. I think that this is part of what is underlying us having an extra week of online learning. Maybe it might be even a bit longer."
#Toronto; #TPH; #TDSB; #ClosureOf8Schools; #Covid19Outbreak
Toronto/Canadian-Media: Toronto District School Board (TDSB) announced on Sunday evening the closure of eight schools, on the advice of Toronto Public Health (TPH), until Jan 4. due to COVID-19 outbreaks at the facilities.
Image credit: TDSB website
TPH said that they would investigate these outbreaks during the closure period.
The eight schools include Thorncliffe Park Public School, Fraser Mustard Early Learning Academy, City Adult Learning Centre, Humewood Community School, R H McGregor Elementary School, David Lewis Public School, Grenoble Public School, and Oakridge Junior Public School.
Ryan Bird, spokesperson for the TDSB said that schools will be closed to all students and staff and added that the TDSB will continue to update school communities on the status of the schools.
#BCSchools; #CommunityGamingGrants; #Covid19Pandemic; #ExtracurricularActivities; #PACs; #DPACs; #BCFoodBanks
British Columbia/Canadian-Media: Funding of $11 million through Community Gaming Grants is being given to school groups throughout the province of British Columbia (BC) during 2020-21 school year to promote availability of extracurricular activities when students can safely participate, media reports said.
Image credit: BC Govt website
BC Schools are funded each year through parent advisory councils (PACs) and district parent advisory councils (DPACs) to promote activities that benefit the social, cultural and physical health and well-being of students.
Realizing the difficulty for PACs to raise funds in their communities during the vulnerable situation, Andrea Sinclair, president, BC Confederation of PACs, also acknowledged Community Gaming Grants' continuous financial support activities for students and parents during the 2020-21 school year in funding more than 1,300 PACs DPACs in the province.
BC Confederation of PACs. Image credit: Facebook page
Acknowledging the hard work and creativity of the PACs for their continued efforts to safely engage students in extracurricular activities during this difficult year, Josie Osborne, BC's Minister of Municipal Affairs said,
“These activities contribute significantly to students’ health and wellness by providing opportunities to connect, play and learn.”
Extracurricular experiences provided through Community Gaming Grant funds for students in K-12 include support student publications, grad ceremonies and sports or playground equipment as well as writing, drama and music clubs.
"While things look different this year, B.C. PACs are doing wonderful work to ensure students have extracurricular outlets where they connect with each other and share the things they enjoy together,” said Jennifer Whiteside, BC's Minister of Education
The Community Gaming Grants program distributes $140 million each year to support approximately 5,000 not-for-profit community organizations throughout the province.
Food Banks in BC during the COVID-19 crisis were also supported in March 2020 by the Province's $3-million emergency grant from the Community Gaming Grants program.
#UN; #Journalists; #PressFreedomChampions; #UNESCO; #WorldPressFreedomConference
UN/Canadian-Media: Prominent journalists and champions of press freedom from across the world are examining ways to overcome increasing challenges facing the media during a two-day online conference organized jointly by the UN’s cultural and educational agency, UNESCO, and the Netherlands.
A mural on a blast wall in downtown Kabul commemorates journalists killed in Afghanistan in 2016. Image credit; UNAMA/Fardin Waezi
he World Press Freedom Conference 2020, which began on Wednesday, features interactive panels and discussions covering issues such as investigating the killings of journalists, online violence against women journalists, and the media’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Not only are journalists conveying vital information during the pandemic, they also help us distinguish all manner of truth from falsehood, which is fundamental to our social contract”, said Audrey Azoulay, the UNESCO Director-General.
“Yet, journalists continue to be targeted, harassed and attacked. In recent years, threats against them have grown because they disrupt, because they tell the truth. Or, to put it simply, because they do their job.”
No ‘press’ without ‘freedom’
Between 2010 and 2019, nearly 900 journalists were killed in the line of duty, according to UNESCO data; crimes that mainly go unpunished. Women journalists have faced harassment, including physical or sexual threats, whether online or in real life, while the pandemic has added to the already precarious financial situation of the media industry.
There can be no “press” without “freedom”, the Dutch Foreign Minister, Stef Blok, stressed, acknowledging how he counts on the media to keep him informed about what is happening at home and around the world.
Mr. Blok said he had spoken earlier on Thursday with young journalists from Ethiopia and Libya “and I really could tell them from the bottom of my heart: We need you. We need you to know what is happening in your country, and to do what we have to do as ministers.”
Corrosion and contagion
During the first panel, Elisabeth Bumiller, Washington Bureau Chief of the New York Times, spoke of the “rough four years” American media had to weather, covering the Trump administration.
“He has called us ‘the enemy of the people’, he’s used the term ‘fake news’, which has been repeated by 50 Presidents, Prime Ministers and other government officials around the world”, she said.
Although these attacks have had what Ms. Bumiller described as “a corrosive effect” on the media in the United States, she reported that The Times has nonetheless seen record levels of readership and digital subscriptions.
However, Sudanese-born journalist Nima El Badir, a Senior International Correspondent with CNN in London, was wary that the “contagion” of populism is still spreading across the globe.
“I worry that we are taking a breath and kind of exhaling a little too early”, she said. “The sense that we get is that there is a contagion; that the lessons of the populist leadership, of the populist wave – whether in the US, the UK, or Europe – has been learned very well by leaders around the world.”
Democracy in danger
Ms. El Badir pointed to the situation in Ethiopia, where a communications blackout has been imposed in the north since the start of the Tigray crisis a month ago.
“How can President Trump, how can Prime Minister Johnson, how can any of the many leaders within the European Union, speak out about lack of access when they themselves would love to nothing more than exactly the same? If they could shut us down, they would”, he claimed.
For Maria Ressa, Editor-in-Chief of the Philippines online news website Rappler, the rise of populism, and attacks against journalists, have been enabled by technology.
Ms. Ressa, who has been arrested nine times, believes people must give consideration to their news sources. Social media penetration in the Philippines is high, she said, describing it as “Facebook country.”
“Well, our dystopian present has now hit many democracies around the world, and we’ve got to do something about this”, she warned.
“And that is to make sure that news reaches you; that the platforms, the social media platforms, because of their business model, that they do not insidiously manipulate us to tear democracy down.”
#UN; #UNICEF; #Covid19Pandemic; #LargeScaleSchoolClosure; #UNHCR; WFP; #UNESCO
UN/Canadian-Media: Countries fighting the coronavirus should not impose nationwide or large-scale school closures, which is the wrong response and compounds the societal cost of the disease, with 320 million children locked out of school at the start of December, the UN children’s agency UNICEF said on Tuesday.
Six-year-old Ugyen Jigme Yoedzer from Bhutan says his teacher has been a source of inspiration during the COVID-19 lockdown. Image credit: © UNICEF
“What we have learned about schooling during the time of COVID is clear: the benefits of keeping schools open, far outweigh the costs of closing them, and nationwide closures of schools should be avoided at all costs”, Robert Jenkins, UNICEF Global Chief of Education, said in a statement.
Closing schools did not help in the fight against COVID-19, but simply removed a system that provides children with support, food and safety as well as learning, UNICEF said. Instead of shutting them, governments should prioritize school reopening and make classrooms as safe as possible.
Don't scapegoat schools
“Evidence shows that schools are not the main drivers of this pandemic. Yet, we are seeing an alarming trend whereby governments are once again closing down schools as a first recourse rather than a last resort. In some cases, this is being done nationwide, rather than community by community, and children are continuing to suffer the devastating impacts on their learning, mental and physical well-being and safety”, Mr. Jenkins said.
November saw a 38 per cent jump in the number of children affected by school closures, UNICEF said, after a big wave of re-openings the previous month.
“In spite of everything we have learned about COVID-19, the role of schools in community transmission, and the steps we can take to keep children safe at school, we are moving in the wrong direction - and doing so very quickly”, the top education official added.
Reopening plans must include expanded access to education, including remote learning, and rebuilding education systems to withstand future crises, UNICEF said.
The agency cited a recent study using data from 191 countries, published by the independent non-profit foundation, Insights for Education, which showed no association between school status and COVID-19 infection rates in the community.
The UN agency, together with the UN educational agency UNESCO, the refugee agency UNHCR, the UN World Food Programme and the World Bank, has published a Framework for Reopening Schools, with practical advice covering areas such as policy reform, financing requirements, safe operations and reaching the most marginalized children, who are the most likely to drop out of school altogether.
#Geneva; #OLO; #LifeLongLearning; #SkillsDevelopment; #PostCOVID19World
Geneva/ILO, Nov 19 (Canadian-Media): The International Labour Organization (ILO) has published a new guide for trade unions on skills development and lifelong learning, ILO reports said.
Image credit: ILO
The guide “Skills Development and Lifelong Learning: Resource Guide for Workers’Organizations” , published by the ILO’s Skills and Employability Branch and Bureau for Workers’ Activities (ACTRAV) addresses key challenges facing workers’ organizations, including best practices, key priorities and main challenges. It also outlines why trade unions should be involved in skills development and lifelong learning.
According to the guide, building the capacity and engagement of workers’ organizations in skills development and lifelong learning, based on a human-centred approach and International Labour Standards, will help build a ‘better normal’ in the post-COVID-19 World.
“What matters in the end, is that ALL workers can acquire the skills of their choice to get jobs and to keep jobs, and to be equipped to face the transitions they will be confronted with over the working life. Skills development and lifelong learning are essential to enhance workers’ capabilities to participate fully in decent work, to contribute to human development, active citizenship and the strengthening of democracy,” said Maria Helena André, Director of the ILO’s Bureau for Workers’ Activities.
The guide is designed for workers’ organizations, trainers, facilitators and ILO officials. It is part of a comprehensive programme of support for workers’organizations in preparation for the 2021 International Labour Conference (ILC), which will discuss skills and lifelong learning. It also paves the way for the general discussion on standing setting for apprenticeships, which takes place at the ILC in 2022 and 2023.
“If the lifelong leaning notion has to become a reality, the link between the world of education and the world of work needs to be very strong, bringing these together, through a process of social dialogue where governments, employers, and workers organization jointly formulate policies and programmes,” said Srinivas Reddy, Director of the ILO SKILLS Branch.
A Global webinar bringing together workers’ organizations, technical experts, academics and senior ILO officials was held on the November 18th 2020 to launch the guide.
#CanadaSchools; #Covid19Surge; #SchoolClosure
Toronto, Nov 18 (Canadian-Media): Rising COVID-19 cases including in Canadian schools poses potential for another widespread school shutdown and extensions to the upcoming holiday break, media reports said.
Stephen Lecce. Image credit: Twitter handle
Among Canada's provinces and territories, Nunavut has become as of Nov 18 the first to shutter schools across the board once again for at least two weeks, with teachers delivering instruction remotely.
Meanwhile, the premiers of Manitoba and Quebec said they are also considering extending the upcoming school holiday beyond the two weeks already scheduled.
Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce said his consultation with health officials is ongoing about school considerations for January, but has not made a decision.