College gets kudos from Parliament

With Canada poised to take over as chair of the Arctic Council, Yukon College is getting some important attention from the council and Canada's Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs.

With Canada poised to take over as chair of the Arctic Council, Yukon College is getting some important attention from the council and Canada’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs.

On Tuesday, college president Karen Barnes and the director of the Cold Climate Innovation Centre, Stephen Mooney, gave a presentation via video conference to eight parliamentarians on the standing committee, including Dennis Bevington from the N.W.T., about the work the school does studying everything from climate change to cold weather technology.

The talk went very well, said Barnes.

“They were asking a lot of questions about how we can prepare Canada and the North to take over the chair of the council,” said Barnes.

Both Barnes and Mooney had about 10 minutes to make presentations to the standing committee, followed by an open discussion.

Mooney focused on the research, while Barnes spoke about the education and labour challenges facing the North.

Mooney said that while research into cold climates takes place across the country, Yukon College is perfectly positioned to be a leader because, essentially, it is very cold here.

That allows college researchers to actually test their research in the climate it’s meant for, said Mooney. That makes it particularly interesting to the Arctic Council, which can take the work the college does and present it to its partners in other Arctic countries.

The research centre has been working to identify potential hazards of climate change, such as melting permafrost and changing weather patterns. It’s also focused on finding ways to keep the benefits of resource development in the Yukon, said Mooney in his presentation.

“Since 95 per cent of Yukon’s electrical generation comes from hydro that is distributed through a stranded grid, we have also partnered with the local energy provider to study the effects of climate change on the glacier-fed Yukon River,” Mooney explained to the committee.

One project that Mooney emphasized in the presentation was the development of North America’s first plastics-to-fuel machine, which he said can turn 10 kilograms of plastic into 10 litres of fuel every hour. That fuel can then be used to heat homes and buildings while providing an alternative to throwing used plastic into a landfill.

In total, the Cold Climate Innovation Centre completed 27 projects with more $1.8 million in public and private funding last year.

While research is one side of the college’s coin, preparing northerners to help drive the Yukon economy is the other.

“In the labour market, we need to prepare people to be mobile because industry tends to be fairly migratory, especially mining,” said Barnes.

She also spoke about preparing the Yukon’s young people to take over leadership roles in First Nation governments and the need for education.

“We know that where you go to school is where people tend to put down roots. If we want people to stay here, if we want to attract people to live here, we need to offer them that.”

Barnes said the college is already an important player on the pan-Arctic scene as a member of the University of the Arctic and with agreements between Alaska and the Danish Technical Institute.

“We’re really hopeful that as the council unfolds we get to play an important part. It will be good for the North,” said Barnes.

Contact Jesse Winter at

jessew@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Yukon First Nation Education Directorate education advocates and volunteers help to sort and distribute Christmas hamper grocery boxes outside Elijah Smith Elementary School on Feb. 23. (Rebecca Bradford Andrew/Submitted)
First Nation Education Directorate begins Christmas hamper program

Pick-ups for hampers are scheduled at local schools

Cyrine Candido, cashier, right, wipes down the new plexi-glass dividers at Superstore on March 28, before it was commonplace for them to wear masks. The Yukon government is relaunching the Yukon Essential Workers Income Support Program as the second wave of COVID-19 begins to take place in the territory. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon Essential Workers Income Support Program extended to 32 weeks

More than 100 businesses in the territory applied for the first phase of the program

City of Whitehorse staff will report back to city council members in three months, detailing where efforts are with the city’s wildfire risk reduction strategy and action plan for 2021 to 2024. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Council adopts wildfire risk reduction plan

Staff will report on progress in three months

asdf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Nov. 25, 2020

Ivan, centre, and Tennette Dechkoff, right, stop to chat with a friend on Main Street in Whitehorse on Nov. 24. Starting Dec. 1 masks will be mandatory in public spaces across the Yukon in order to help curb the spread of COVID-19. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
UPDATED: Masks mandatory in public places starting on Dec. 1

“The safe six has just got a plus one,” Silver said.

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Keith Lay speaks at a city council meeting on Dec. 4, 2017. Lay provided the lone submission to council on the city’s proposed $33 million capital spending plan for 2021 on Nov. 23, taking issue with a number of projects outlined. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Resident raises issues with city’s capital budget

Council to vote on budget in December

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

City council was closed to public on March 23 due to gathering rules brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The council is now hoping there will be ways to improve access for residents to directly address council, even if it’s a virtual connection. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Solution sought to allow for more public presentations with council

Teleconference or video may provide opportunities, Roddick says

Most Read