Food bank use in Canada increases by 26 per cent since 2008

OTTAWA (CUP)—HUNGERCOUNT, AN ANNUAL study of food banks and food programs in Canada, estimates an average of 851,000 individuals were assisted by food banks each month in 2011, four per cent of whom were post-secondary students.

Since 2008, food bank use in Canada has increased by 26 per cent. Two per cent of those receiving assistance from food banks cite student loans or schol- arships as their primary source of income.

According to Katharine Schmidt, Food Banks Canada executive director, the cost of housing, low job quality, and accessibility to employment insurance are all barriers students face when trying to have a healthy diet.

Food bank use has increased on campuses as well. According to numbers from the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa, the number of people using the U of O food bank has increased from 259 in 2007 to 3,534 in 2011.

“If you’re struggling and you need it, make the phone call, send the email depending on your food bank, and just get some help, because it’s important— no one’s going to judge you and it will make a difference for you,” said Schmidt.

—Briana Hill, CUP Ottawa Bureau Chief

Education quality assurance report raises questions

TORONTO (CUP)—RELEASED BY THE Council of Ontario Universities, a new report highlights the skills students in bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD pro- grams learn over the course of their university career.

According to the report, some of the skills students are expected to learn include the ability to “review, present, and interpret quantitative and qualita- tive information to develop lines of argument” at the bachelor’s level, to apply previously gained knowledge to the “critical analysis of a new question or of a specific problem or issue in a new setting” at the master’s level, and the applica- tion of research to “the generation of new knowledge, applications, or under- standing at the forefront of the discipline” at the PhD level.

“The report was to bring people up to date—whether it was the public, gov- ernments, or students themselves—on what was happening in terms of high quality standards,” said Bonnie Patterson, Council of Ontario Universities president.

—Lee Richardson, CUP Ontario Bureau Chief

McGill student protesters forced off campus

MONTREAL (CUP)—OVER 100 RIOT police stormed McGill University campus on the evening of the Nov. 10 tuition fee protests, forcefully dispersing student demonstrators gathered in front of the James Administration building at the university.

Pepper spray, tear gas, and physical force were used by police against dem- onstrators who were protesting the detainment and violence allegedly used by McGill security against a group of students who occupied principal Heather Munroe-Blum’s office earlier that day.

Thirteen McGill students claim to have been assaulted by school security while they occupied the fifth floor of the James Administration building for almost two hours on Thursday afternoon. The sit-in coincided with a 30,000 person-strong demonstration against tuition hikes in the province.

—Henry Gass, the McGill Daily

Yukon government eyes Canada’s first northern university

VANCOUVER (CUP)—CANADA IS THE only arctic country without a uni- versity in the north, but that may be changing. Newly elected Yukon premier Darrell Pasloski said his government is committed to building a university in the territory.

“By taking a leading role, we will work toward developing Yukon College into a northern university,” Pasloski stated in a press release during the Sep- tember territorial elections. “We will work to explore university models, iden- tify which model is best suited for Yukoners and northerners alike, and com- mit to achieving that goal.”

The idea of a university in the Yukon has been proposed since the 1970s, with previous NDP and Liberal administrations supporting the idea.

During his election campaign, Pasloski said his Yukon Party government would take initial steps toward developing a university that would include building a new student residence at Yukon College and identifying land that could be used for additional academic facilities.

Arshy Mann, CUP Western Bureau Chief