March 1, 2021 | Software company Clearview AI has recently been discovered illegally scraping countless images of faces on the Internet and selling them to third-party organizations in Canada. Co-penned by Sonja Solomun, Research Director of the Centre for Media, Technology, and Democracy, this article looks at the consequences of using facial recognition for the purposes of widespread surveillance. Read on to learn more about Canadian privacy law needs to change in order to hold users of facial recognition technology accountable.Published: 9Apr2021
March, 2021 | Max Bell Professor David Shribman has penned several articles covering the ongoing changes being instated by the Biden administration. To learn more about how the US has been dealing with the pandemic relief response, massive government spending, and the other challenges of adapting to new leadership, read the articles:Published: 9Apr2021
Dr. Tina Montreuil, of the Department of Educational & Counselling Psychology, was recently interviewed in the McGill Tribune on the symptoms of social anxiety in early adolescence.Published: 9Apr2021
McGill's new version of LimeSurvey (v3) was released earlier this year. LimeSurvey is a robust survey tool, often used for extensive research studies, that allows complex conditional branching and supports anonymous tokens.
Access to version 2 of LimeSurvey will be restricted to survey administrators as of September 1, 2021. Therefore any surveys that are still active in version 2 should be moved to version 3.Published: 8Apr2021
Erin O’Toole says Conservatives’ plan to address climate change will surpass commitments under Scheer | Globe and Mail
April 8, 2021 | In this Globe and Mail article, the Max Bell School's Ken Boessenkool opines on the steps Erin O’Toole must take if the Conservatives want to form government in the next federal election.
The just-in-time inventory system may have revolutionized supply chain management, but the staggering complexity of distributing COVID-19 vaccines calls for a more nuanced approach. Professor Saibal Ray brings his supply chain expertise to bear on the issue, painting the challenge in vivid detail and recognizing the opportunity to make supply chains more resilient in the future.Published: 8Apr2021
Professor Saibal Ray joins the Scott Thompson Show podcast to answers questions about current state of COVID-19 vaccine acquisition across Canada. Recently, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced a substantial provincial investment in the construction of a new, state-of-the-art influenza vaccine facility.Published: 8Apr2021
Sandra Gualtieri, an entrepreneur and disability rights activist with cerebral palsy, enlisted the help of four McGill students to design a custom airplane seat that alleviates discomfort for people living with disabilities.
Constructed out of memory foam that is designed to rest on top of a traditional airplane seat, the Universal Seating Apparatus prototype won first place in the Social Impact Enterprise track of the 2021 McGill Dobson Cup Startup competition.Published: 8Apr2021
Congratulations to Dr. Reza Sharif for being part of the Brain Canada grant led by Dr. Yves de Koninck: The Canadian Optogenetics and Vectorology Foundry. Reza and other team members from across the country form a consortium of research sites that aims to accelerate the development and dissemination of optogenetic and viral tools.Published: 7Apr2021
On March 31, McGill University celebrated its milestone 200-year anniversary, marking the day with an inaugural Conference entitled A Road Map for Greater Food Security and Autonomy. The bilingual virtual event – a first instalment in the Bicentennial Conference Series, Providing solutions to global challenges – brought together experts to discuss issues facing global food security.
Conference host Alex Johnston (LLB/BCL’99) – uniquely tied to McGill as an alumna, Co-Chair of the Board of Trustees for the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada, and the daughter of former McGill Principal David Lloyd Johnston – interviewed keynote speaker André Lamontagne, Quebec Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, and moderated a set of expert panels as they discussed the impacts of public policy and higher education on the agri-food sector.Celebrating the past while forging ahead
In her opening remarks, McGill Principal and Vice-Chancellor Suzanne Fortier acknowledged that although the Bicentennial is an important opportunity to reflect on and celebrate McGill’s past, it’s also crucial to consider the future and take the appropriate steps to address some of the biggest challenges facing food safety and autonomy, including rapid population growth, poverty and climate change.
“It’s a topic that requires a commitment from our University to be a model of research and leadership in the field and to train the professionals of tomorrow to invent the solutions of the future,” Principal Fortier told Anja Geitmann, Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, who joined her in the welcoming address. “We are very fortunate to have a lot of strengths in this area, particularly within the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the Margaret A. Gilliam Institute for Global Food Security, and the strong, partnerships McGill has developed with other universities and partners in Quebec will be crucial in tackling these challenges.”
For her part, Geitmann highlighted the importance of maintaining objectivity as the University continues to establish and grow these key partnerships. “Universities are neutral players. As such, we have the unique opportunity to unite people who might usually be in competition with the goal of collectively solving problems that are shared within the industry.”The role of public policy
Following the introduction from the Principal and Dean Geitmann, Johnston sat down with alumna Chantal Line Carpentier (BScAgr’90, MSc’94) Chief of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTD), and McGill Associate Professor, Political Science Krzysztof Pelc, to open the first panel discussion on the impact of trade agreements on food safety and autonomy, and to talk about Canada’s role in helping move these causes forward.
“It’s important to understand that it’s not question of quantity – in fact, there is enough food produced globally to feed the world. Instead, we’re mainly talking about access issues, distribution problems, political issues and economic issues, and this is where international trade agreements come into play,” Pelc began.
“These agreements help protect small countries financially who can’t otherwise protect themselves,” added Carpentier, explaining that agricultural subsidies put in place by some European countries and the United States, for example, allow them to produce more at a reduced cost. “The result is that developing countries are discouraged from establishing their own agriculture and miss out on progress that developed countries have experienced through this type of growth.”
The panelists also agreed that good international agreements don’t have to come at the cost of maintaining strong food security systems nationally – quite the opposite. “Modern trade agreements have gotten good at balancing competing objectives, like efficiency on one hand and labour rights on the other,” said Pelc. “The objective would be to preserve social and cultural priorities linked to food and ensure that provisions around food are not exploited for protectionist ends because that’s what decreases overall production and limits food access in the world’s most vulnerable nations.”
And whether it be through agreements like the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), or through progressive approaches to agricultural education, Canada is taking a leading role in establishing this kind of balance.
“After graduating from McGill, I went on to do my PhD at Virginia Tech,” Carpentier recalled. “I quickly realized that I was the only one of my colleagues that had a deep understanding of soil science, plant science and animal science because most of my peers had gone straight from math to economics to ag–con.”
It’s this kind of multi-disciplinary approach to agricultural education that is needed to adequately prepare graduates to tackle the industry’s evolving challenges, argued Carpentier, and is the perfect example of a Canadian-made academic model that should be more widely adopted. “You need to make connections between these various disciplines and McGill has figured that out.”Knowledge breeds confidence
Johnston invited the next set of panelists, Marcel Groleau, President, Union des Producteurs Agricoles du Québec (UPA) and Darlene McBain, Industry Relations Manager, Farm Credit Canada, to examine the role of higher education in strengthening the agri-food sector and discuss how knowledge impacts industry stakeholders.
Although Groleau and McBain acknowledged universities’ essential role in the obvious areas of research and development and partnerships with key players in the sector, they also stressed the significance of an enhanced education offering for new farmers, equipping them with the skillset to effectively navigate and adapt to this rapidly evolving field.
“Quebec has a host of college– and university-level programs that support and educate new and young farmers and, statistically, we know that farmers educated in agricultural management or in agricultural production have much higher success rates. They can more easily obtain loans, they’re more receptive to new technologies, and they’re better equipped to work with industry professionals,” said Groleau.
McBain agreed. “Our producers need to be experts in all parts of the agricultural value chain and a university education gives them a solid foundation in the key areas like production, environment, and economic and technology management that improve efficiency and lead to important developments in the industry.”
Further, said Groleau, institutions like McGill have a social responsibility to share research that enables the public to make informed decisions about the foods they consume and to help them understand how those choices contribute to food independence.
“Today’s consumers select foods based on factors like environmental impact and nutrition, and universities can demystify these concepts by sharing research and scientific data. They can also educate the public about how their choices impact food independence and help them understand how progression in the agri-food sector are helping drive society closer to achieving those objectives.Driving Quebec closer to food independence
In the final conference segment, Johnston sat down with keynote speaker André Lamontagne, Quebec’s Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, and Minister Responsible for the Centre-du-Québec Region, to talk about the factors that promote and hinder provincial food autonomy and how education can impact consumer choices.
Lamontagne pointed out that although a large part of the foods we consume can’t be produced locally due to Quebec’s northern geography and climate, vibrant agricultural community, supportive government, and informed consumers are all positive factors that help drive us closer to food independence. The key to the success of the agri-food industry, however, relies on confidence between those who produce and those who consume.
“Quebec’s Sustainable Agricultural Plan, developed in October 2020, hopes to build that trust by addressing the need to take better care of the environment and move toward more ecological, sustainable agricultural models that will benefit both consumers and producers.”
Like Groleau and McBain, Minister Lamontagne also stressed the vital role that higher education institutions like McGill play in strengthening food self-sufficiency.
“Higher education makes several things possible: it equips today’s farmers with the essential knowledge and skills required to effectively manage modern-day agriculture; the investment in and application of agricultural research conducted through these institutions leads to practical improvements in the field; and it helps help to inform consumers, allowing them to make educated decisions about their food choices.”
Finally, when asked what advice he would like to impart on conference attendees, Lamontagne referenced the “$12 challenge” launched by the provincial government last year. “If Quebec households swapped just $12 of their imported grocery purchases for locally grown food, we’d see an additional $1 billion per year being put toward local producers and fishermen. It would represent a significant investment in our sector that could move us that much closer to our goal of self-sufficiency.”
Visit the McGill Bicentennial website to watch a recording of A Road Map for Greater Food Security and Autonomy Conference.
The Faculty of Law is thrilled to announce that five incoming BCL/JD students from across Canada have been selected for McCall MacBain Scholarships.Published: 7Apr2021
Sutures are used to close wounds and speed up the natural healing process, but they can also complicate matters by causing damage to soft tissues with their stiff fibers. To remedy the problem, researchers from Montreal have developed innovative tough gel sheathed (TGS) sutures inspired by the human tendon.Published: 7Apr2021
March 23, 2021 | In this recent article, Max Bell Professor Andrew Potter comments on the current diplomatic trajectory Canada is taking with China. To learn more about the economic and defense-related consequences involved, read on.
Marijuana has increased fatal car accidents in the US by 16% since being legalized in 2012 that could amount to some 4,000 deadly incidents if cannabis is allowed nationwide, study reveals - Daily Mail, April 6, 2021
Sarah Windle, a PhD Student in the Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health is quoted in a recent Daily Mail Article.
"…Researchers at McGill University found fatal automobile accidents increased 15 percent and associated deaths increased 16 percent.
However, the team notes that if cannabis were legalized nationwide in the US, it would contribute to an additional 4,843 motor-vehicle fatalities per year."Published: 7Apr2021
The Faculty of Law of McGill University and the Peter MacKell Chair in Federalism are delighted to announce the winners of the 2020-2021 Baxter Family Competition on Federalism, organized by Professor Johanne Poirier.
For the first time, the Competition was open to authors from the disciplines of law or political science. This edition’s overall theme was Federalism, Identity and Public Policy in Challenging Times.Published: 7Apr2021
In all, 735 students applied from across Canada and beyond; 132 were interviewed; 50 were short-listed. And now 20 students have clinched the honour of being the first cohort of McCall MacBain Scholars at McGill.
The 20 students are all aspiring innovators, community-builders and leaders. In September 2021, the scholars will begin their fully funded master’s or professional degree in five faculties at McGill, while connecting with mentors and participating in an intensive leadership development program.
The program is the first comprehensive leadership-based scholarship for master’s and professional studies in Canada. The scholarships were created through a historic $200-million gift to McGill University from John McCall MacBain and his wife, Dr. Marcy McCall MacBain, in 2019.
“The global challenges we face as a society need the energy and entrepreneurial spirit of these scholars,” John McCall MacBain said in a statement. “Through this scholarship program, they’ll have opportunities to deepen their knowledge, develop their leadership skills, and create meaningful connections that will enable them to bring about positive change. We want to congratulate these students and recognize the hundreds of candidates across Canada who were considered for this scholarship.”Three McGillians in the mix
The McCall MacBain Scholars were chosen based on character, community engagement, leadership potential, entrepreneurial spirit, academic strength and intellectual curiosity.
Sinan Abi Farraj, who is weeks away from finishing his McGill Engineering undergraduate degree, is one of three McGill grads who made the cut. He’ll be joined this fall by fellow McGill alums Somaya Amiri (BA’20) and Zeytouna Suleiman (BSW’20).
Farraj, who will begin a master’s degree in chemical engineering, manages and helped expand the engineering faculty’s peer tutoring service. He has helped organize student elections, lead a space technology subcommittee and researched textile recycling solutions for an environmental organization, in addition to teaching refugees in Lebanon.
Farraj said he will pursue research on “nanomaterial-based technologies to solve critical environmental challenges,” and intends to “continue giving back to my community through academics and volunteer work.”
“It is an honour to be selected as a McCall MacBain Scholar and to join the cohort of Scholars with a shared vision to have a positive impact on the world… You never know how your kind actions, no matter how small they might seem, will improve the lives of those around you. I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for the help and support of people around me and others behind the scene – a lot of whom I may never even know or meet!”A cross-country cohort
The first year of McCall MacBain Scholars will come to McGill from 15 Canadian universities, and one American university. The places they have called home span Canada and the globe, from Grande Prairie to Brossard to Beirut.
Grace Ma, for example, is a Winnipeg native who is currently finishing her undergrad studies at the University of Toronto’s Trinity College. There, she pursued her two passions, humanities and environmental science, by working for her college’s literary arts journal for four years, most recently as editor-in-chief, and co-leading a university-wide environmental action group. She also teaches violin to young people and spent summers working as a trail analyst, tour guide, and park outreach assistant. She will enter the law program at McGill.
Ma, whose family moved from Montreal to Winnipeg when she was eight, said she is “really excited to learn both common and civil law systems, and to brush up on my French!”
She plans to study various facets of environmental law “through the lens of constitutional law, Indigenous legal traditions and international law… I feel immensely grateful, humbled, and honoured to be selected as a McCall MacBain Scholar. This scholarship means so much to me – it is not just my scholarship, but rather that of family, friends, peers and educators who have supported me throughout my life and my undergraduate years, [through] highs and lows.”
Another Scholar, Josh Swain, is finishing his studies at the University of Winnipeg, where he has engaged with his Métis heritage by helping run a campus group that supports Indigenous students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. He has also helped teach biology and financial literacy to Indigenous students.
He worked for seven years before beginning his undergraduate studies at the University of Winnipeg in 2016 – and continued to work part-time at a restaurant during his studies. Swain plans to study public health through his scholarship.
“I very much look forward to the rich and vibrant culture that Montreal has to offer, and McGill being very much at the heart of that with such a vastly diverse student body,” said Swain.
“I am very much looking forward to learning not only from my instructors at McGill, but also from my peers in both my MSc program and fellow McCall MacBain scholars. What a huge wealth of both talent and diversity of lived experiences… McGill has been a dream school for me.”
The complete list of this year’s McCall MacBain Scholars:
- Sinan Abi Farraj, McGill University (BEng’21)
- Kasem Alhaeik, Université de Montréal (BA’21)
- Somaya Amiri, McGill University (BA’20)
- Fatima Beydoun, Dalhousie University (BA’21)
- AJ Bimm, University of Toronto (BA’21)
- Larissa Chiu, University of British Columbia (BSc’21)
- Brendan Cottrell, Simon Fraser University (BASc’20)
- Daisy Couture, University of British Columbia (BA’20)
- Nathan Duarte, University of Waterloo (BASc’21)
- Grace Ma, University of Toronto – Trinity College (BSc’21)
- Caroline Merner, Dalhousie University (BA’17)
- Hayley Newman-Petryshen, Wilfrid Laurier University (BA’21)
- Nicole Osayande, Queen’s University (BCmp’21)
- Tyler Paetkau, University of Alberta (BA’21)
- Amanda Sears, York University (BA’20)
- Zeytouna Suleiman, McGill University (BSW’20)
- Josh Swain, University of Winnipeg (BSc’21), Assiniboine Community College (Dipl’09)
- Helen Thai, Carleton University (BCom’17, BA’20)
- Raymond Tu, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (BSc’21)
- Nico Waltenbury, Western University (BA’20)
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