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Press Releases

  • Remembering Clarence Byrd and Ida Chen

    Husband and wife, Clarence Byrd and Ida Chen, who authored Canada’s leading tax accounting book, passed away on May 30th 2020 and November 6th 2019, respectively, after battling with cancer.

    The Pearson community is deeply saddened by the passing of Clarence Byrd and Ida Chen, beloved authors who dedicated their lives to championing accounting education.

    For over 35 years, Clarence and Ida have been extensively involved in Canadian accounting education. Their book, Canadian Tax Principles, has been used by many thousands of students and instructors at colleges and universities, and continues to be read and relied upon by learners across the country.

    Before he passed away, Clarence prepared a tribute to his wife, Ida. He wrote:

    On November 6, 2019, Ida Chen, my wife of 43 years, died from cancer.

    In our years together, Ida and I authored some 150 books on financial accounting and tax. These books were used by tens of thousands of students, as well as by many accounting professionals.

    While Ida's efforts were essential to the success of our publications, her contributions to our life together were even more important to me. We were best friends from the beginning of our marriage and, during the last 15 years, after my teaching was restricted to online efforts, we spent pretty much 24/7 together. We skied, hiked, climbed, and biked all over North America. We shared great food and, over the years, had several beautiful homes. Both the success of our books and the joy we found in our life together were beyond our wildest dreams.

    We have lived the greatest love story that I have ever witnessed. I miss her terribly.

    With Clarence and Ida’s passing, Gary Donell will continue their legacy as the new leading author of Canadian Tax Principles. To honour their memory, Gary reflected on his relationship and experiences with the couple. Below is an excerpt from his memorium to Clarence:

    [In the late nineties] I had worked for the training organization for the CRA teaching and writing courses and had become an income tax rulings officer in Ottawa shortly thereafter. I regularly read tax textbooks and other tax literature and came across a relatively new publication “Canadian Tax Principles” written by Clarence Byrd and Ida Chen. I read through the textbook and reached out making recommendations as to improvements. It was a bit of a bold move but it was well received by Clarence who reciprocated by personally reaching out to me. Clarence realized that my background with the CRA could only improve the textbook and our collaboration, which would last for more than twenty years, had begun. Ida once described our complimentary skills as producing one of the finest writing teams she had ever seen. What made it all work was that Clarence, Ida and myself were dedicated to effective quality tax education.

    My role with Clarence and Ida was as a consultant, advisor, technical reviewer and sometimes co-author writing a handful of chapters and some problem material. It was not unusual for me to speak to Clarence two or three times a day particularly during annual Federal budgets or unexpected changes to the Income tax laws. Our collaboration led to constant discussions on what to add, what not to add and how to go about introducing new topics in the most effective manner.

    Ida was the glue that kept it all together. She was a dynamo, a gifted organizer and administrator who could have easily fit into the fabric of the largest companies in the world. We knew that Ida had been struggling with cancer for a few years and beaten the odds more than a few times but her passing in November of 2019 was an incredibly difficult time for my wife and I and everyone who knew her.

    Through it all, Clarence, always a rock, began to show the signs of stress and his own medical situation worsened. Our collaboration accelerated as he was dedicated to completing what would be his final edition of Canadian Tax Principles. That publication held a special place in his heart. Clarence and Ida had created the textbook together from scratch and they took exceptional pride in each and every annual release.

    In the final weeks before Clarence passed on Saturday May 30, 2020 he worked furiously with a dedication to complete all the necessary steps possible to ready the textbook for publication. Our telephone conversations increased substantially during this time as our collaborative efforts took on a new urgency, purpose and meaning. Clarence took comfort in knowing that I would pick up the reins to ensure the continuity of the successful text that both he and Ida had created together.

    I look back on my relationship with these two remarkable individuals with happiness that our paths crossed for a common purpose and dedication to ideals of education. Along the way on this journey my wife and I had the opportunity to enjoy their company and friendship. We think of them every day and will miss them tremendously.

    We extend our deepest heartfelt condolences to their families and friends. Clarence Byrd and Ida Chen’s passing is a terrible personal and professional loss for many of us at Pearson Canada.

    We shall never forget them.

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  • Pearson Canada offers English language test for students to take at home

    Latest version of Versant test unveiled with remote monitoring built-in

    Pearson, the world’s learning company, unveiled its latest Versant English Language test, which students can take from the comfort of their own homes and Canadian universities can count on to verify test takers skills.

    Versant’s remote monitoring capability means that test sessions are recorded, with AI algorithms identifying and flagging any suspicious behaviour for the test administrator to review and examine. The remote monitoring feature is an add-on to other standard benefits including on-demand testing, AI scoring and instant results.

    Marlene Olsavsky, Managing Director for Pearson Canada, said “We have introduced our Versant remote monitoring test for Canadian universities and students to use, in response to PTE Academic being currently unavailable for testing in Canada many other parts of the world due to Coronavirus.

    “We recognise that Canadian higher-educational institutions are in need of alternative remote English language testing options during this time, which is where Versant comes in – it is a valid and reliable test which will accurately measure student’s English skills.

    “With millions of students around the globe in lockdown, this test is an ideal solution, as they can take it at home, needing only a computer and headphones.

    “Furthermore, Versant will help higher-ed institutions quickly and securely reduce their backlog of students waiting to test, as it is available on demand to buy and administer, with results available as soon as testing is completed.”

    Pearson has partnered with HirePro, a leading assessment solution provider with over 15 years of proctoring experience, to automatically monitor Versant testing.

    Pasupathi Sankaran, Chief Operating Officer, HirePro, said “We are very excited about the partnership with Pearson. This latest version of the Versant test will help universities to conduct assessments remotely with precision, enable a convenient and faster process at the same time and reduce the operational cost associated with conducting them in-person.

    “In our journey of the past 15 years, we have realized the growing need for remotely monitored assessments and the present situation has led to a wider acceptance. Built by a team of experts with more than 20 patents in audio / video technologies, our assessments platform offers the test takers a superior experience and ensures automated detection and prevention of cheating.”

    Versant is purchased by Universities (rather than by selling direct to test takers) who then administer the test direct to students. Versant + Remote Monitoring can be taken worldwide, with the exception of mainland China and other sanctioned countries.


    Notes to Editor

    1. For further information on Versant + Remote Monitoring, as well as the wider suite of Versant tests on offer please go to
    2. For further information on PTE Academic including our extensive range of preparation materials and current test centre availability go to
    3. Pearson is the world’s learning company with more than 22,500 employees operating in 70 countries. We provide content, assessment and digital services to learners, educational institutions, employers, governments and other partners globally. We are committed to helping equip learners with the skills they need to enhance their employability prospects and to succeed in the changing world of work. We believe that wherever learning flourishes so do people.  
    4. HirePro is a leading technology and assessments solution provider to Government, corporates, and educational institutions. Established in 2004 and headquartered in Bengaluru, India, HirePro offers preeminent technology platform and allied services to companies that require an expert support to navigate the talent landscape. As a distinguished provider of automated selection platform and solutions, HirePro holds the prominence of a strategic partner in the talent acquisition and recruitment market today. To know more about HirePro and its offerings, please visit

    For Pearson media enquiries please contact Kasia Reardon, Director of Communications, Pearson English Assessment, at or 07702 512 312

    For HirePro media enquiries please contact Jay Nair at

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  • Pearson partners with MindBridge Ai to empower students with artificial intelligence

    Pearson Canada has partnered with MindBridge Ai to bring artificial intelligence to academic institutions. This collaboration is a transformative step for accounting education and the future of the profession as it builds upon MindBridge’s University Alliance Program that's empowering the next generation of professionals with artificial intelligence.

    By teaching students how to extract risk-based insights from data, in conjunction with Pearson's auditing product and study tools, MindBridge Ai and Pearson Canada will help to equip students to become effective auditors.

    "The importance of data analytics has grown exponentially in the accounting profession and we at Pearson Canada recognize how important it is to prepare students to read, analyze and interpret financial information during their post-secondary education,” said Keara Emmett, Executive Portfolio Manager, Accounting. “This partnership with MindBridge Ai will help set up students for success in their accounting careers by giving them the opportunity to complete auditing tasks in a simulated environment.”

    Artificial intelligence is the future of auditing and Pearson Canada is looking forward to working with MindBridge Ai to help make its role a part of the higher education market.

    About Pearson
    We are the world’s learning company with more than 24,000 employees operating in 70 countries. We combine world-class educational content and assessment, powered by services and technology, to enable more effective teaching and personalized learning at scale. We believe that wherever learning flourishes so do people.

    About MindBridge Ai
    MindBridge Ai is the world’s first and only AI powered auditing solution that leverages advanced machine learning and AI techniques to augment human capacity and cope with the enormous amounts of financial data that exist within organizations.

    To learn more, go to:

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  • Pearson partners with ILAC International College to support student success

    Pearson Canada has partnered with the International Language Academy of Canada (ILAC), effective January 2020, to become ILAC’s exclusive partner in providing learning resources for all international students at ILAC International College.

    "We are very proud to work with ILAC to leverage business efficiencies,” said Jessica Biga-Wadstein, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships for Pearson Canada. “ILAC International College students can now benefit from Pearson's state-of-the-art adaptive and ever-evolving digital learning technologies for the foreseeable future.”

    “The new agreement will allow ILAC International College to leverage Pearson Canada’s personalized course content, interactive learning and assessment tools and various digital resources,” says Feroz Ali, President and Chief Development Officer of ILAC Higher Education. “This in turn will support student learning outcomes and help prepare them for the next phase of their careers.”

    About ILAC International College

    Founded by English-language education pioneers Jonathan Kolber & Ilan Cohen, ILAC International College is a leading Private Career College that offers career-focused programs in Business, Sales, Marketing and Customer Service. ILAC’s boutique campuses are located in the heart of Toronto and Vancouver.

    About Pearson Canada

    Pearson Canada works with educators and learners to develop innovative ways to stimulate curiosity, feed the mind, and foster education that’s focused on real outcomes. Pearson’s world-class tools, content, products and services are designed to help people adapt to our changing world, navigate its challenges and opportunities and ultimately make progress in their lives. Because where learning flourishes, so do people.

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