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Ontario won’t fund French-language university despite Ottawa support





Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press

Published Monday, January 14, 2019 5:33PM EST

Last Updated Monday, January 14, 2019 5:42PM EST

TORONTO — Ontario will not reverse the cancellation of a proposed French-language university despite a federal commitment to extend funding for a team working on the project, the provincial government said Monday.

Merrilee Fullerton, the minister of training, colleges and universities, said the Progressive Conservative government was not in a financial position to support the Universite de l’Ontario francais project at this time.

“As a result, the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities will not provide further funding to support the development of the new university while the initiative is on pause,” she said, adding that the working group could access private and public funding from other entities.

Fullerton’s comments came after Federal Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie Melanie Joly informed the Ontario government that Ottawa had provided 1.9 million in funding to a team developing the school called the Francophone Knowledge and Innovation Hub. The provincial funding for the hub and its staff was to expire on January 15.

“This project is greatly supported by the community, and enjoys support across the country,” Joly said in a letter Sunday to Ontario’s Francophone Affairs Minister Caroline Mulroney. “I am concerned about the impact of this decision on the vitality of the Franco-Ontarian community.”

Plans for the school were announced by the previous Liberal government in 2017, but the Tories scrapped the project in November as part of their effort to balance the books. It would have been the first French-only university in the province, which is home to 600,000 francophones, and was set to be located in southwestern Ontario.

The move sparked outrage and protests amongst Franco-Ontarians and prompted Progressive Conservative legislator Amanda Simard to leave the party caucus and sit as an independent.

Normand Labrie, interim president the Universite de l’Ontario francais, said the federal money will give the hub a year to secure additional funding to continue development of the school.

“We’re very relieved because otherwise we would have had to let the staff go,” he said. “It would have been a loss to stop the activity at this point and it would have been hard to start all over again if the government decides the pause is over.”

Joly said the federal government’s Action Plan for Official Languages 2018-2023 could provide funding for the French-language university, but that would be conditional upon the province applying for it and committing to at least 50 per cent of the total costs.

“Let us be clear, the responsibility to carry out this project lies with the Government of Ontario,” Joly said.

Fullerton said that by providing cash to the hub, the federal government is acknowledging its under-funding of francophones in Ontario.

“We are pleased to see our message is finally getting through to the Trudeau government,” she said. “This funding is a step in the right direction and we will continue to work so the federal government reduces the gap between Ontario and other provinces for funding to francophones.”

The Francophone Knowledge and Innovation Hub could not immediately provide comment.

NDP legislator France Gelinas called on the Tory government to restore funding for the school. The federal cash does not mean the Francophone university will be sustainable in the long-term, she said in a statement.

“It remains nearly certain that (Premier) Doug Ford has stopped the university from opening its doors to students in 2020 — hurting the dreams and impacting the futures of thousands of Ontario students,” she said.


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List of Tourist Attractions Open Now in Ottawa





With Ontario now in Step 3 of 2021 three-step plan for reopening, museums and other indoor attractions are allowed to reopen with capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity indoors and 75 per cent capacity outdoors.

Here is a list of Ottawa attractions you can visit starting July 16th.

Do remember to wear masks and buy tickets in advance.

Parliament Hill

Parliament’s Centre Block and Peace Tower are closed for renovation.

You can join for tours of the Senate of Canada Building (2 Rideau Street), House of Commons at West Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill, and East Block at East Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill.

When: Grounds open; guided tours of Parliament are suspended through the summer of 2021.
Where: 111 Wellington Street, Downtown Ottawa

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Ottawa performer leapfrogs from gymnastics to Broadway to TV





A new AppleTV+ series set in a magical town that’s stuck in a neverending 1940s musical includes a pair of Ottawa siblings in the cast. 

Warren Yang and his sister, Ericka Hunter, play two of the singing, dancing residents of the village portrayed in Schmigadoon!, a small-screen series that takes its cues from classic musicals like Brigadoon, Wizard of Oz and Sound of Music, and skewers them with the offbeat comedic mastery of Saturday Night Live. 

In fact, you’ll recognize many of the names from SNL, starting with executive producer Lorne Michaels, creator of the late-night, live-comedy sketch show. Schmigadoon! also stars SNL cast member Cecily Strong and comedian Keegan-Michael Key, who hosted SNL in May. They play a New York couple who get lost on a hike and stumble into a strange town where everyone sings and dances. 

For Yang, a relative newcomer to show-biz, the series marks his television debut. For Hunter, the younger of his two older sisters, it’s the latest in a career path that began with dance lessons as a child more than 30 years ago. She attended Canterbury High School, Ottawa’s arts-focused secondary school. 

“Her dream was always to perform,” said Yang, 34, in an interview. “But that was never the path I thought was an option for me.” 

While his sister studied dance, Yang did gymnastics. He was an elite gymnast throughout his youth, ultimately leaving Merivale High School at 16 to train in Montreal, finishing high school through correspondence courses. He was a member of the Canadian National Team and received a scholarship to study at Penn State, majoring in marketing. 

A few years after graduation, Yang was working at an advertising agency in Toronto when he got a call from a Manhattan number. To his astonishment, they asked if he would be interested in auditioning for a Broadway revival of Miss Saigon.

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COVID-19: uOttawa to require vaccination for students living in residence





Vaccination will be mandatory for students who want to live in residence at the University of Ottawa this year, with proof of vaccination and at least one dose required before move-in, or within two weeks of doing so if they can’t secure a shot before arriving.

Those who can’t receive a vaccine for “health-related reasons or other grounds protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code” will be able to submit a request for accommodation through the university’s housing portal, according to information on the university’s website.

Students with one dose living in residence will also have to receive their second dose “within the timeframe recommended by Ottawa Public Health.”

People who haven’t been granted an exemption and don’t get vaccinated or submit proof of having done so by the deadlines set out by the school will have their residence agreements terminated, uOttawa warns.

“Medical and health professionals are clear that vaccination is the most (effective) means of protecting people and those around them,” reads a statement provided to this newspaper by uOttawa’s director of strategic communications, Patrick Charette.

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“It is precisely for this reason that the University of Ottawa is requiring all students living in residence for the 2021-2022 academic year to be fully vaccinated. The University recognizes that some students may require accommodations for a variety of reasons and will be treating exceptions appropriately.”

Faculty, staff and students are also strongly encouraged to get vaccinated, the statement notes.

“Ensuring a high vaccine coverage in all communities is critical to ensuring an ongoing decline in cases and ending the pandemic. This will be especially important with the return of students to post-secondary institutions in our region in the fall of 2021.”

Neither Carleton University nor Algonquin College is currently mandating vaccination for students living in residence, according to the websites for both schools. But uOttawa isn’t alone in its policy – Western University, Trent University, Durham College and Fanshawe College have all implemented similar requirements. Seneca College, in the GTA, is going even further, making vaccination mandatory for students and staff to come to campus, in-person, for the fall term.

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