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Controversial program cuts part of regular review, says Red River College

Red River College bomb threat Winnipeg
Red River College's Notre Dame campus. Gage Fletcher / Global News
The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t the only reason Red River College in Winnipeg, Man., is suspending six of its programs  — including welding and advanced care paramedicine.
Christine Watson, the college’s vice-president of academics, told 680 CJOB that RRC is constantly reviewing its programs to make sure they’re responsive to the needs of their respective industries.
“We really need to be responsible and make sure that our programs are sustainable,” she said.
“The program cuts are really part of the sustainability of our financial model but is also just part of our regular program reviews.”
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Christine Watson
Christine Watson. Red River College
Watson said the pandemic has affected RRC, as it has businesses across Manitoba, in terms of its revenue, funding, and more — but the main impetus behind the program suspensions is making sure the college is meeting its labour-market needs and remains relevant and current.
“This advanced care paramedic in particular — we’re still running our second and third years, and we’re still running our primary care paramedicine. We know our graduates are crucial to health care in this province,” she said.
“We’re one of the strongest providers of graduates for health-care providers in Manitoba and our commitment remains strong for that.”
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New technology at the Red River College’s MRT program
New technology at the Red River College’s MRT program
Some local organizations, however, aren’t pleased with the decision and say suspending some of the programs is a step backward that doesn’t accurately reflect industry need.

In a statement Thursday, Bob Moroz of the Manitoba Association of Health Care Professionals (MAHCP) called the suspension of the advanced care paramedicine program a blow to rural health care.

“Manitoba has been moving toward a more consistent and professional model of Emergency Response Services for years now, and we’ve made some progress, but this cut takes us in the opposite direction,” said Moroz.
“It will make it even more difficult to recruit and retain paramedics with advanced skills to serve rural Manitobans in an emergency, and it’s another signal that the Manitoba government is moving in the wrong direction on rural health care. Manitoba paramedics and all Manitobans deserve better.”
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Watson said the college is having to pivot to address the challenges faced by the pandemic, and isn’t easy.
“We’re investing a lot in education, not only to look at alternate ways of delivery, but also because we’re having to retrofit many of our campuses to make sure that we’re following public health directives.
“It’s also really important to recognize that online delivery is no less quality … our students and our industries really need to know that the quality of education they’re getting at Red River is no less because it’s being delivered differently or through a different medium.
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“We’re absolutely committed to the highest level of education because our province needs it.”
Red River College Skilled Trades facility looks for future students
Red River College Skilled Trades facility looks for future students