CICan Network Updates

Main Content

International Partnerships

1. Impact of COVID 19 on International Students

International education remains a major focus of CICan advocacy efforts. In addition to putting forward specific operational and policy recommendations that helped mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on international enrolments CICan, in partnership with other national associations, advocated for lifting of travel restrictions. This helped paved the way for colleges and institutes to safely welcome international students back to Canadian campuses.

As of October 20 2020, international students, regardless of where they travel from or when their study permit was approved, can now enter Canada provided they are attending a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) with an approved COVID-19 readiness plan. Importantly, the travel of asymptomatic students has since been non-discretionary and non-optional (unless there is evidence that they are coming to Canada for a discretionary or optional purpose). Canada was the first major study destination to open its boarders more broadly, further strengthening Canada’s reputation as a safe and welcoming destination.

Though most Visa Application Centres (VAC) are now open, the limited availability of appointments and large backlogs are making it difficult for students to provide biometrics and obtain study permit approval in time to arrive in Canada for the start of their term. We continue to advocate for the extension of provisions that allow for time spent studying online to count towards a Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) and for reinstatement of the two-stage study permit application process. To address backlogs and reduce processing times, CICan continues to ask that study permits be processed as priority. CICan and other national and regional associations are submitting recommendations that would streamline the processing of co-op work permits for international students already in Canada and provide current PGWP holders, whose employment prospects in many cases were reduced because of the pandemic, more opportunities to gain Canadian work-experience necessary for transition to permanent residency.

Minister Mendicino tabled the Government of Canada’s 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan with the target of welcoming 401,000 permanent residents in 2021 and 421,000 in 2023. In 2019, 58,000 former study permit holders became residents. Attracting international talent will be critical in supporting a resilient economy recovery and Canada’s college and institutes will play a key role in training international students and new immigrants who can help fill labour market gaps. Colleges and institutes represent the fastest growing study level for international students to Canada, accounting for just under half of all study permit holders at the post-secondary level in 2019.

For more information please contact Andrew Champagne.

2. Update on Outbound Mobility

In October, CICan and Universities Canada launched calls for proposals for mobility-focused innovation projects. Through the Outbound Student Mobility Pilot Program’s Innovation Fund, CICan and Universities Canada received 173 project proposals from 108 institutions. Projects were submitted from institutions big and small, from all provinces, with strong engagement from both anglophone and francophone institutions.

In November, a total of 130 projects from 107 post-secondary institutions were approved, 69 of which are being implemented by 47 colleges and institutes Projects’ foci include piloting virtual mobility, testing new wraparound supports, developing risk management policies, building innovative marketing and recruitment strategies and conducting research on existing barriers to participation. Institutions have until March 31, 2021 to complete project activities. We will encourage institutions to share knowledge from innovative projects, to connect projects with similar areas of focus and to share insights and learnings.

We are pleased to share that the pilot program has been extended until March 31, 2025 to compensate for disruptions caused by COVID-19.

We are optimistic that the full program (April 2021-March 2025) will be launched in 2021, with student travel starting January 2022. This phase will likely include a  blended approach, starting with virtual mobility and transitioning to physical in-country experiences as international travel resumes. It will allow post-secondary institutions to adapt, as needed.

We are seeking your assistance to recruit students to test a potential name and brand for the outbound student mobility pilot program. Media Style will be conducting paid focus groups with low-income students, students with disabilities and Indigenous students to test proposed names and brands, better understand the effectiveness of key messaging and identify tactics to better engage students in the program’s communication strategy. We are grateful if you could share this intake survey with interested participants.

For more information please contact Andrew Champagne.

3. International Cooperation Programs

Youth Africa Works Kenya (YAW-K)

The Request for Proposals (RFP) process for the thematic partnerships on Conducting Labour Market Information (LMI) research and Career Guidance and Mentorship are finished. The selected consortium is Seneca College (with the Marine Institute and Niagara College) for (LMI) and Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick (with Cégep St-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Vanier College) for Career Guidance. Two more thematic partnerships are currently in the first stages of development and will be ready for release in early 2021. The Ministry of Education has confirmed his approval of the new 15 proposed Centers of excellence (COEs) as recommended by CICan and the Mastercard Foundation. These are in addition to the 11 existing COEs. A first meeting with all of them is planned for January 2021.

For more information please contact Susan Sproule.

Kenya Education for Employment Project (KEFEP)

CICan is coordinating with our Kenyan and Canadian partners to ensure that the final preparations are made for the official launch of the new CBET courses in January 2021. This includes wrapping up the installation of the equipment, refreshing training for instructors, and receiving final curriculum approval from all Kenyan TVET agencies.  At the same time, CICan is contributing to the Government of Kenya’s goal of safeguarding students and staffs’ return to campus in January 2021 through its Back-to-Campus campaign. As part of the campaign, five national polytechnics were selected to manufacture 120 handwashing stations and 5,000 liters of soap for distribution to the 10 national polytechnics, along with the distribution of 500 posters and 250 handwashing guides to promote COVID prevention practices.

For more information please contact Susan Sproule.

IDRC: Supporting Innovation in the Technical and Vocational Education Sector (SITVES)

Grant agreements were signed with each of the ten participating Kenyan TVET institutions and implementation of research and innovation initiatives were started under the three project pillars. During this period, the SITVES project team held one-on-one training sessions with each subgrantees to support and strengthen their grant management capacity on budget preparation, cash-flow management, and financial reporting.

For more information please contact Susan Sproule.

Senegal: New "One Thousand Women" Program

This program announced by the Prime Minister of Canada in Dakar (February 2020) is still under negotiation for the contribution agreement between CICan and GAC. CICan expects to have our signed agreement by April 1 2021, followed by preparation of the CICan Implementation Plan. We plan to publish the first calls for proposals for CICan members by December 2021.

For more information please contact Marie-Josée Fortin.

Senegal: EFE-PSG

The time invested by institutional partners to mobilize all efforts to review their planning has permitted the EFE-PSG to continue its commitments despite the challenges and issues encountered during the pandemic and the closing of the program. Canadian and Senegalese partners obtained extensions for their partnership to continue programing until March 31 2021 using innovative approaches

The EFE-PSG team is pleased to share the preliminary results of the study: “Analysis of the determinants of employment and the training-employment transition of youth in the EFE-PSG programs”. Preliminary data confirms that support must continue to meet the challenges of access, retention and inclusion of learners, with a particular focus on support for girls. We are proud to inform you that thanks to the work of all of the partners, We have gone from 5% of girls in the streams affected by the program to over 30% today.

A forum to share program results will be held virtually in March 2021.

For more information please contact Marie-Josée Fortin.

Skills to Access the Green Economy (SAGE)

The SAGE partnerships have met with the SAGE team and they are pleased to say that the programs are moving along and meeting the deliverables set out in respective work plans. The programs are to be delivered beginning September 2021 and partners have met with stakeholders and the curriculum is starting to be developed. The Gender Policy webinar had 112+ people participate from across the Caribbean region and Canada. Two new consultancies have begun, Marketing to Vulnerable learners lead by Nova Scotia Community College and Integrating Students with Disabilities with College of the North Atlantic and Norquest College collaborating on this program.

For more information please contact Susan Sproule.

Improving Skills Training for Employment Program (ISTEP) Tanzania

CICan completed its YR 7 workplan activities and has submitted its Final Project Results and Operations Report (FPROR) to Global Affairs Canada for approval. ISTEP closed December 31, 2020.

For more information please contact Susan Sproule.

Pacific Alliance Education for Employment Program (PA-EFE)

On November 5 2020. CICan concluded the 4th and final session of its TVET cross-sectoral forum: Best Practices and Policies of the Pacific Alliance and Canada. This 3rd thematic forum from the PA-EFE Program connected more than 3,000 participants and experts in the field of TVET from the Pacific Alliance countries (Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru) and Canada. Over the course of four Thursdays from October 15-November 5th, participants heard from expert panelists and took part in group discussions. The aim was to ease the exchange of best practices and innovative policies or guidelines, as well knowledge sharing and the sharing of experiences to create a dynamic and enriching regional dialogue among participating delegations. The videos of the plenary sessions are available on YouTube (available in English, French, Spanish).

For more information please contact Marie-Josée Fortin.

Education for Employment (EFE) Tunisia Al-Najah

Canadian and Tunisian partners continue to implement their activities despite the pandemic. Numerous training courses have been carried out at a distance and the work related to the completion of the Work Situation Analysis (WSA) has been carried out. Three new sectoral partnerships between ISETs and the Canadian colleges have completed their planning phase of the distance project with excellent support from the CICan overseas team – a new way of starting the partnership that could not be done face-to-face. In the beginning of January, two new Terms of Reference will be launched: the first on the Employability of women and Entrepreneurship of women and the second on Technical and Pedagogical Training for the ISET network.

For more information please contact Marie-Josée Fortin.

Skills Training for Employment in Mozambique (STEM)

The program is approaching its end and participating CICan members are working on the preparation of the last teacher training sessions to be delivered by distance. Despite COVID-19, which caused the disruption of equipment production and logistic challenges, all the equipment recently bought for the schools (CDN $2.4 million) is now in Mozambique.

To underline the work done by all the partners within the framework of the CTEM program, a photographic exhibition was held on December 14 2020 with Mozambican authorities present.

For more information please contact Marie-Josée Fortin.

4. Partnerships Development Updates

  1. International development pipeline update:
    • Recent discussions with GAC indicate that CICan’s “Empowerment through Skills Program in Tanzania” (CDN $25M/7 years) proposal could be approved by spring 2021. The proposal was submitted in November 2018.
    • CICan submitted a proposal to GAC on September 30 2020, the “Kenya Blue Economy Skills Training Program” (CDN $20M/7 years). Approval is expected by late 2021.
    • CICan and Universities Canada are preparing a proposal to Global Affairs Canada to implement the Canadian International Development Scholarships Program (CDN $80M/8 years), which has a focus on providing opportunities for beneficiaries primarily from Francophonie member countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. The program will provide beneficiaries, especially women, with access to Canadian university and college education and training programs. If selected, CICan and UC would begin implementing this initiative in mid-2021.
  2. CICan is continuing to pursue opportunities in Latin America to ensure there is continuity after the end of the Pacific Alliance EFE program (September 2022).
  3. CICan has had initial discussions with Canadian companies bidding on international procurement processes facilitated by the Canadian Commercial Corporation. This could position CICan members for contracts with Canadian companies working around the world on large infrastructure and economic development programs.
For more information please contact Camille Khoury.