The Fall months bring with them an invigorating energy. It is a season of transformation and renewal, particularly within the post-secondary sector, as learners, educators, and administrators begin a new academic year. For Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan), it’s a time to reaffirm our commitment to creating better futures for people and communities and amplify our advocacy agenda for the year ahead.
This year, aligning with the government’s heightened focus on youth, our priorities gain a renewed purpose. We’re zeroing in on our key priority areas and driving practical solutions that strengthen our system’s ability to cultivate diverse, confident, and resilient leaders and workers prepared to take on future challenges and propel Canada forward.
Here’s an overview of those solutions as recommended in our recent submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance – Pre-budget Consultations in Advance of Budget 2024:
- Supporting the Supporters: As labour gaps persist, we remain focused on ensuring our members receive the support needed to fulfil their critical roles producing highly skilled and future-ready workers. We’re asking the government to increase investments in the Canada Social Transfer escalator, which aids provinces and territories in funding vital social programs like post-secondary education.
- Giving Learners a Place to Call Home: Recognizing the severity of Canada’s housing crisis, colleges and institutes are eager to be a part of the solution. We’re pushing for the government to integrate students’ unique housing needs into federal housing policies, programs, and data, as well as introduce a new Student Housing Loan and Grant Program.
- Supporting Learners in a Globalized World: Global skills are crucial in today’s interconnected world. It’s why we are advocating for the permanency of key programs, like the Global Skills Opportunity pilot program, along with increased funding to facilitate outbound student mobility and strengthen Canada’s global education standing.
- Advancing Reconciliation: Reconciliation remains a cornerstone of our advocacy. We maintain an unwavering focus on securing substantial investments in programs like the Post-Secondary Support Program and tailored strategies for Inuit and Metis post-secondary education to foster Indigenous economic mobility and enrich Canada’s potential.
- Supporting Learners’ Mental Health: Students’ mental health affects their ability to thrive. As mental health challenges continue to rise, we are underscoring the importance of investing in student mental health support services at post-secondary institutions.
- Leveraging College Applied Research to Support Small Businesses: Colleges continue to play an increasing role in innovation and tackling pressing issues like climate change. We are advocating to enhance colleges’ ability to compete for research funding and ensure equity of opportunity in Canada’s innovation ecosystem.
How will we ensure these recommendations become a reality? As the collective voice of colleges and institutes, our advocacy efforts over the coming months will focus on:
- raising awareness of our members’ invaluable contributions and ensuring their concerns reach the highest levels of government through impactful reports, publications, and meetings with key government officials (see our latest submissions);
- ensuring our members’ active participation in critical discussions, like the House of Commons Standing Committees and high-impact events, such as our upcoming annual CICan on the Hill; and
- amplifying our collective voice through strategic communication initiatives that target national, regional, and online media outlets (see the latest news from CICan).
Stay tuned as we embark on an exciting new year of advocacy as colleges and institutes continue to propel Canada forward.