Ontario’s seniority-based teacher hiring rules shut out talented newcomers, critics say

Regulation 274 has rewritten the rules for hiring Ontario teachers for long-term contracts or permanent jobs. Principals now have no choice but to hire from among applicants who’ve been working the longest….“It’s really harming the profession,” warned Ron Owston, dean of the Faculty of Education at York University, in the Toronto Star Aug. 30. “It’s a step backwards[…]it prevents new blood, new ideas and new graduates who are coming out with great skills in technology.[…]You are not going to see diversity, renewal, a refreshing of the teaching profession that we’ve had in the past.” Read full story.

Irwin Cotler: Syrians are dying while the world dithers
“The international community’s reaction to the most recent use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime in Syria began with expressions of outrage and promises of action,” wrote Irwin Cotler, the former minister of justice, attorney general and co-chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Group for Human Rights in Iran and the recipient of an honorary doctorate from York University, in the National Post Aug. 30. “Yet late this week, a closed meeting of the UN Security Council was suspended without action, the U.K. Parliament rejected participation in any international response, and Germany did the same. Declarations of intent not to participate in any international response have become no less common than the opposite. While the ghost of intervention in Iraq is a sobering presence in these discussions, we should remember as well the cost of inaction in the face of atrocity in the former Yugoslavia, to name but one example.” Read full story.

RBC’s Kathleen Taylor breaking new ground for women on Bay Street
When Kathleen Taylor becomes chairwoman of Canada’s largest bank, she will gain a platform to show the financial industry there is no limit to the leadership roles that women can take on….Taylor has been an independent director at RBC for 12 years, working on audit and risk committees, and leading the human resources committee since 2010….Female directors who sit on a board’s “tougher” audit and risk committees are important, said York University Professor Richard Leblanc in The Globe and Mail Aug. 30. This shows the women aren’t being marginalized and will get an opportunity to show other board members and the CEO their leadership style. Appointments like Taylor’s help pave the way for a female CEO at a top-five Canadian bank in the “not too distant future,” said Leblanc. Read full story.

B.C. school districts adopt unique strategies to help students stay alert
Imagine students log rolling down the hallway as they move from their classroom to the library, or pedalling furiously on stationary spin bikes as they listen to their teacher. These strategies and more are being used in a new educational initiative that is being implemented in several B.C. school districts, including Surrey, West Vancouver, Coquitlam and West Vancouver….Surrey School District’s superintendent Mike McKay is project director of the Canadian Self-Regulation Initiative, while Stuart Shanker, professor of philosophy and psychology at York University, has written a book about the practice and is a partner in the initiative, reported the Vancouver Sun Sept. 3. Shanker says the idea has taken off and that the entire country is watching B.C. educators to see the results. Read full story.

Labour Day picnic in Barrie stresses the value of unions
On Monday, more than 1,000 people attended the union celebration in Sunnidale Park to remind themselves – and the public at large – that unions are fighting for more than their own workers’ rights, reported the Barrie Examiner Sept. 2….Kimberley Sweeney, co-ordinator of the Ontario Nurses Association Local 134, and her organizing partner Joanie Cameron-Pritchett, president of both the York University Staff Association as well as the Confederation of Canadian Unions, considered their fourth-annual Labour Day picnic to be a grand success. Read full story.

Fewer homes go up in Stouffville, across GTA
New home building permits are about 66 per cent of what was predicted for the first half of the year, but the town’s CAO is not worried….“The blistering pace of the last few years is not sustainable,” said Schulich School of Business Professor James McKellar in the Stouffville Sun-Tribune Aug. 30. Read full story.