TDSB trustee wants legal opinion on Regulation 274, the seniority hiring rule

Howard Goodman and Shelley Laskin, of the Toronto District School Board, are seeking a legal ruling on whether a new regulation that forces boards to hire teachers based on seniority may violate the board’s obligation to employ a diverse workforce under the Human Rights Code….“The diversity of our students has definitely grown, so if you’re hiring teachers who graduated a few years ago and have been occasional teachers for a longer time, they may not be as diverse a group,” noted Dean Ron Owston of York University’s Faculty of Education, who believes boards can avoid nepotism better by using standard hiring processes than with the “heavy-handed” tool of seniority. Of 1,100 students in York’s Faculty of Education this year, he said, 240 students identified as being from an under-represented group – up from 185 last year, reported the Toronto Star Sept. 11. Read full story.

Hearing in Egypt for Tarek Loubani and John Greyson delayed again
Two Ontario men jailed in a Cairo prison will be there for at least a few more days after a planned meeting between their lawyer and the Egyptian prosecutor was delayed, reported the St. Thomas Times-Journal Sept. 11. The lawyer for Dr. Tarek Loubani and York University film Professor John Greyson was supposed to meet with the prosecutor Wednesday, but the meeting was postponed until Saturday. The news comes one day after Greyson’s sister Cecilia held a news conference alongside prominent Canadian filmmakers at the Toronto International Film Festival, appealing for the release of the two men. They’ve been held in a Cairo prison without charges since Aug. 16. Read full story.

Even a bad survey cannot blind us to income inequality
“The replacement of income data from the census by the National Household Survey, released Wednesday by Statistics Canada, leaves us largely blind to what changes in the level and distribution of income took place in Canada between 2005 and 2010,” wrote Andrew Jackson, the Packer Professor of Social Justice at York University, in The Globe and Mail Sept. 11. “We are thus unable to answer the key questions: ‘Who suffered the most from the impacts of the Great Recession?’ and ‘Did inequality get better or worse?’” Read full story.

Massive art intervention brings 30 works to Markham Museum
The Markham Museum – a 25-acre open-air site made up of 30 historic buildings – provides a particularly conducive environment for exploring the relationship between changing urban landscapes, diverse communities and environmental sustainability, explains project lead and chief curator Janine Marchessault, who is also the director of the Sensorium: Digital Arts and Technology Research Centre at York University. “Branded as ‘Canada’s high-tech capital’, Markham epitomizes the 21st-century edge city, being the most diverse municipality in one of the most agriculturally rich regions in the country,” said Marchessault in Yonge Street Sept. 11. Read full story.

Mission possible: What Natalie Panek’s space odyssey means for young women
“Unfortunately, aerospace has a smaller percentage of women than many disciplines in North America,” said David Zingg, director of the University of Toronto’s Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS), in Yonge Street Sept. 11. However, this is changing. UTIAS has seen an uptick in women enrolling after hiring two female professors (the first in 2007, the second was this year)….Notable examples of alumnae include Regina Lee, a professor at York University, and Irene Guiamatsia, a research associate in computational mechanics at the University of Sydney. There are also many female UTIAS graduates in Canadian industry at Bombardier, MDA and the CSA. Read full story.

Government allows foreign universities in India. Will they join the party?
On Sept. 10, the very day the government announced its decision to allow foreign universities to operate independently in India – set up their own campuses and offer degrees without roping in any local partner – York University’s Schulich School of Business launched its campus in India, reported Business Today Sept. 11. It had not been planned that way. Schulich wanted its own university, but unaware the change was coming, it launched in India under a twinning program with infrastructure giant GMR as its local partner. Read full story.

AGF Management Limited: AGF hopes to lure investors with pledge not to lose their money
To woo the risk-averse investors back, AGF Chief Executive Blake Goldring has teamed up with Boston-based F-Squared Investments to launch the AGF U.S. AlphaSector Class of funds, designed to cut the risk of downturns while capturing gains in rising shares….”They are playing into what has transpired since the financial crisis – listening to people worried about the downside, not just volatility,” said Schulich School of Business finance Professor Pauline Shum in Sept. 10. Shum said she does not endorse the AGF product but knows the hangover of risk aversion that has dominated the investment environment. So playing to that skittishness is not an unwise strategy. Read full story.