Government Relations | December 2019 | President's Newsletter | UNB

Dispatches from Government Relations

New Brunswick Legislature

Norwegian Ambassador

UNB has global reach and often hosts international visitors. On Nov. 25, 2019, UNB welcomed the Norwegian Ambassador to Canada, H.E. Anne Kari H. Ovind. The Royal Norwegian Embassy in Ottawa was established in 1949 and exists to promote Norwegian interests in Canada and further develop Norwegian-Canadian relations.

I see real potential for mutual benefit as we explore opportunities for research cooperation and student exchanges between Norway and New Brunswick. We share common interests across topics such as public policy, Reconciliation, environmental sustainability, and economic development. UNB’s leadership in areas like aquaculture, biomechanics engineering, cybersecurity, and evidence-based public policy make it a relevant partner in global settings, and this is a story we should acknowledge more frequently.

Federal election outcomes

The 43rd Canadian Parliament convened on Dec. 5, 2019. Saint John-Rothesay’s MP Wayne Long returned as part of the re-elected Liberal government. Wayne is a proud UNB alumnus, and well known as an advocate for the university and the Health and Social Innovation Centre proposed for the Tucker Park campus.

In Fredericton, MP Jenica Atwin, another UNB alumna, joins Parliament as the first representative of the Green Party of Canada to be elected outside of British Columbia. Jenica has a strong reputation as an advocate for Reconciliation and education, and we are very much looking forward to working closely with her.

The Hon. Dominic LeBlanc, also a UNB alumnus, returns to Cabinet as President of the Queen's Privy Council. Our thoughts are with him as he continues his treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and we look forward to working closely with him in his new role.

The public policies set by Canada’s federal government and the investments made in research and discovery are highly influential in New Brunswick, where we look to innovation as a path to global competitiveness, low-carbon industrial productivity, and economic growth. As the only national comprehensive university in the province, this bestows on UNB a significant role in advancing these priorities in partnership with the federal government.

Nursing Agreement

As an institution, we place a high commitment on nursing education and producing future nurses well placed to address the demands of the profession. 

On Nov. 18, 2019, the Province of New Brunswick announced 10-year funding agreements with the University of New Brunswick and Université de Moncton to implement bridging programs for licensed practical nurses (LPNs). The bridging program for LPNs combines classroom learning and hands-on clinical experience. It’s designed to recognize their experience and education while addressing the knowledge and training differences between LPNs and registered nurses.

Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister and UNB alumnus Trevor Holder reintroduced the programs, which will begin in January 2020. UNB will receive $5.3 million to support 24 seats per year in the program offered at its Saint John campus. This includes the $500,000 announced in July to cover the first class of students.

Building capacity in nursing education to meet New Brunswick’s current and future needs is a difficult task – for governments and for institutions. UNB is committed to collaboration with the Province of New Brunswick across a variety of initiatives, and this agreement is a step in the right direction.

Maximizing our potential in NB

For New Brunswick to prosper, we need to maximize our human potential. In the past few weeks, I’ve had an opportunity to talk with some of New Brunswick’s senior leadership in areas related to social development, including Minister Dorothy Shephard. Social development is an area where evidence-led policy development and organizational innovation can create performance gains that make a real difference in outcomes for people. We’ve seen this work with projects like the UNB Promise Partnership, and we can do even more. Connecting UNB innovators with New Brunswick challenges creates mutual benefit, and I’m looking forward to exploring these possibilities in more detail.

New Brunswick needs more good ideas, but it also needs more people. By and large, that means immigration. A few weeks ago, the Province of New Brunswick launched “New Beginnings: A Population Growth Strategy for New Brunswick 2019-2024”. I was pleased to see New Brunswick’s universities recognized as a valuable attractor for the global talent needed to fill New Brunswick’s projected jobs gap. We have some of the best and brightest from around the world at UNB, and it’s now up to all of us, working together, to help newcomers sink roots in New Brunswick and stay.