VIU News and Experts: December 19, 2023

Graphic of woman interviewing another woman with VIU expert spotlight written over top

December 19, 2023 - 3:30pm

Looking for last-minute story ideas before the holidays? We have a few ideas for you. In this issue: 

  • Sugar strike: will it ever end? 
  • Will there be enough electric vehicle techs in 2035?
  • Becoming a chocolate "sommelier" 
  • Medical assistance in dying (MAID): a patient-oriented approach
  • Can audiences sniff out a play performed by humans but written by AI? 

A reminder that VIU will be closed December 23 to January 2 for winter break. This newsletter will return in the new year! 

Featured experts

Rogers Sugar dispute: when will it end? 

Feeling the sugar pinch this holiday season? VIU Faculty of Management Instructor Dr. Evan Hoffman is available to provide expert analysis on the ongoing Rogers Sugar dispute. He can provide fresh insights on many important questions such as: 

  • When will it likely end?
  • Who has the upper hand in the negotiations: the union or the management? 
  • Is the recent introduction of a mediator a sign that an agreement will be reached soon?

Are we ready to service EVs? 

The Canadian government just laid out plans to phase out sales of gas-powered cars and trucks by 2035. What does this mean for the automotive service technician industry? Dean Cadieux, Chair of VIU's Automotive Service Techncian program, which recently launched an EV Skills Training program, is available to comment on what the industry needs to do to be ready for the change. 

Two Truths and an AI

VIU’s Two Truths and an A.I. performance challenged audience members to guess which play out of the three presented was written by an AI. During the last performance, only 50 per cent of audience members guessed correctly. Leon Potter says discussions after the performance led to some incredible insights and warrant more research on the issue. Chat with Potter about the results.


Want to hear more? Connect with VIU Experts

VIU news

Researching access to medical assistance in dying

VIU Nursing Professor Dr. Caroline Variath is researching ways to enhance awareness of and access to end-of-life care for patients by using a patient-oriented approach to medical assistance in dying (MAID). Variath received a Michael Smith Health Research BC award for her work last week. Read more.

Creating a custom chocolate flavour

After the success of VIU’s first-ever custom chocolate creation called Spindle Whorl, another student has been chosen to help design the next custom flavour. Grace Poirier, a second-year Baking and Pastry Arts diploma student, will help design the new flavour during a field school trip to Europe next month. She was chosen after winning a blind taste test featuring 20 different flavours and ingredients that “could potentially be in chocolate or accompany chocolate,” according to Instructor Ken Harper. She is available to speak to media about her experience and the upcoming trip.

Studying impacts of prenatal exposure to opioids

VIU Kinesiology Professor Dr. Serene Kerpan is studying the impact of prenatal exposure to opioids and neonatal abstinence syndrome with 13 First Nations communities. She recently published a national report on the findings with her team. The next step in her research is to look at strategies that will support children, mothers and families impacted by prenatal opioid exposure. Read more.

VIU in the news

Study sheds light on ancestry and genetics of Coast Salish woolly dogs

VIU Honorary Research Associate Liz Hammond-Kaarremaa was part of a Smithsonian study on woolly dogs. The study, which was published in the journal Science, used the DNA of a woolly dog named Mutton. Researchers compared the dog’s genome to ancient and modern dogs to determine what set woolly dogs apart. According to the research, disease and colonial policies made it increasingly difficult or forbidden for Coast Salish communities to maintain their woolly dogs and contributed to the demise of the breed. Read more in the Times Colonist and on

Short-term housing rules

Victoria won’t go ahead with a fee hike for short-term rental operators. The move was the city’s only way to dissuade people from operating their non-principal residence as short-term rentals. Since the idea was first proposed, the province has stepped in with rules. Master of Community Planning Professor Mark Holland weighed in on why government intervention is necessary at this time.

Tags: Announcements

Sign up for our VIU news and experts email