SAGE Newsletter

Main Content

March 2020

1. COVID-19 Measures

CICan's Response to COVID-19

As we all watch attentively for updates from public health authorities in Canada and around the world regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, we see that the preventive measures put in place to combat the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic have had significant impacts on the operations of our international programs. We want to inform you of the steps we are taking to support the health and safety of our staff, our members, and our partners.

Office Closure: Effective March 17 2020 the CICan office was closed until further notice. We want you to know that all CICan staff, while working from home, remain accessible during business hours. Employees will not be travelling for non-essential work-related reasons and in-person meetings have all been moved online. Though this will require adjustments on all parts, we remain as committed as ever to serving as the national and international voice of Canadian colleges and institutes.

International Travel: We recommend that Canadian and international teams follow the Canadian government’s international travel guidelines. Current guidance recommends to avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice.

Program Reporting and Planning: CICan wishes to support its SAGE program partners to facilitate the filing of financial and annual reports as well as annual planning or EFE PIPs for projects. Global Affairs Canada (GAC) has published guidance regarding reporting and financial matters for recipient organizations (like CICan and its partners). This guidance will be updated as the crisis unfolds. CICan is in on-going conversations with Global Affairs Canada (GAC) to discuss context-specific situations.

The health and safety of our staff, our members and all stakeholders remain our first and foremost priority. We believe the above-mentioned steps are necessary to help keep people safe, while contributing to the global efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19. Stay safe everyone and take care of each other!

2. Greetings from our Senior Technical Advisor

Hello from Pat Bidart !

Dear colleagues and friends,

It was exciting to meet everyone in person at the SAGE Program’s Launch and Orientation Workshop held in February 2020 in St. Lucia. It was impressive to see the partners together to begin their SAGE journey. I am pleased to share that the SAGE Program has been launched and that our Canadian partners and Caribbean partners are hard at work developing their 3-YR Workplans and Budgets. I am proud to be a member of an excellent team providing support to program’s partners. Here in the field, the SAGE team includes a Gender Specialist, a Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, an Apprenticeship Technical Advisor, an Administrative Assistant, six Country Support Coordinators (CSC) and myself as the Senior Technical Advisor (STA). I am looking forward to working with all the partners on SAGE!

My heart is with all our partners, friends and relatives during the COVID-19 crisis. So quickly our lives have changed and we now live in such uncertain times. Our SAGE team is working from their homes to ensure full program support for SAGE partners and we have changed some timelines to support our partners. We are all in contact via the internet and if you want to discuss anything with our team please feel free to contact us. I have returned to Canada and I am available through Skype or WhatsApp.

Stay healthy and keep in touch!

3. News and Events from the SAGE Program Countries of Focus

Program Launch and Orientation Event - February 2020

On February 11 2020 Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan), Global Affairs Canada and Carribean partners celebrated the official launch of the new Skills to Access the Green Economy (SAGE) program in St. Lucia.  A total of ten Canadian colleges and institutes will partner with twelve local Caribbean partners across the SAGE program’s six countries of focus.

CICan was joined for the program inauguration by Benoît-Pierre Laramée, Senior Director for Global Affairs Canada’s Caribbean Regional Program, as well as Barrymore Félicien, Permanent Secretary to St. Lucia’s Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Physical Planning, Natural Resources and Cooperatives.

A three-day orientation session followed the program launch to provide an opportunity for all participants to develop a shared understanding of the SAGE program. Presentations focused on the required partnership outcomes and frameworks in place for the undertaking of gender analysis, projection of green skills, development of occupational standards, the awarding of Caribbean vocational qualifications, and curriculum development.

Inception Missions in SAGE Countries of Focus

During February/March 2020, partnership teams comprised of Canadian and Caribbean partners conducted their inception missions and started preparing their 3-YR Workplans & Budgets. The next section provides a short description of each inception mission.

Belize (SAGE-01 Sustainable Agri-Forestry and Fisheries)

The inception mission in Belize involved representatives from Vancouver Island University, Parkland College, Marine Institute, CICan, the University of Belize, ITVET Stann Creek and ITVET Toledo.

Meetings were held with University of Belize, the two ITVET institutions and local business representatives. Good discussions were held about how training should encompass an entrepreneurial component to account for the fact that employment opportunities in various sectors can be limited. Strategies were discussed to deliver on CVQs as well as articulation arrangements between the ITVETs and the University of Belize. The program in Belize will prioritize delivery strategies which help attract students to the ITVET Toledo campus for training because of its remote location. Fishing remains artisanal however there is a large and growing aquaculture sector in Southern Belize focused on shrimp farming. The forestry sector is dominated by two large companies. This complex local labor market context underscored the need for SAGE partners to meet with employers one-on-one basis to ascertain labour market and skills requirements.


Dominica (SAGE-02 Sustainable Building Techniques)

The inception mission in Dominica involved representatives from Algonquin College, Dalhousie Agricultural Campus of Dalhousie University, CICan, Dominica State College (DSC) and the Centre Where Adolescents Learn to Love and Serve (CALLS). The inception mission team met with senior management at DSC and with Dominica’s Minister of Education Mrs. Octavia Alfred at her ministerial office in Roseau. The team also met with CALLS management, staff, students and the CALLS Women Focus group, staff from the Women’s Bureau, the Building and Construction Association of Dominica (BCA), the Dominica Technical and Vocational Council (DTVETC) and the Skills for Youth Employment (SKYE) project.

It was clear from these meetings that a strong connection with industry from early stages of the program is a key success factor. These connections will motivate industry to provide attachments to students at the end of their studies and ensure that companies are vetted in order to provide high quality attachments and apprenticeships.

There was widely-shared agreement on the preference for a general construction curriculum, which could offer more detailed specialization through modular short course design. The team was impressed with the work CALLS does in the community. Other themes discussed included; role of the DTVETC, the occupational standards approval process and how it relates to the Ministry (funding, support, direction, TORs), PLAR, the processes of occupational standards approval, student assessment and the importance of developing an advisory board which will help to identify the industry needs.

Grenada (SAGE-03 Coastal and Fisheries Management)

The inception mission in Grenada involved representatives from the Marine Institute, Nova Scotia Community College, CICan and local partner T.A. Marryshow Community College. The objective of the mission was to develop the 3-YR Workplan and Budget for a program in Water and Coastal Management in Grenada to strengthen local partner’s  capacity to develop and deliver training to unattached youth, women and current workers requiring skills upgrading. Meetings were held with Principal of T.A. Marryshow Community College (TAMCC), Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, Ministry of Climate Resilience, The Environment, Forestry, Fisheries and Disaster Management, Global Water Partnership – Caribbean (GWP-C), New Life Organization (NEWLO).

Guyana (SAGE-04 Renewable Energy)

The inception mission in Guyana partnership involved representatives from Mohawk College, Durham College, College of the North Atlantic, CICan, the Bina Hill Institute Youth Learning Center in the hinterland district of Annai Region #9 and the New Amsterdam Technical Institute (NATI) located in Region #6.

The mission focused on developing the 3-YR Workplan and Budget with a focus on gaining a deeper understanding of the local partners capacity, needs and expectations. The team visited both local parters; the Bina Hill Institute Youth Learning Center and the New Amsterdam Technical Institute (NATI).

At Bina Hill Institute the team was welcomed by student of the institution and they toured the newly built TVET Institution, the first of its kind in the hinterland area. The team also met some of the trustees from the Norther Rupununi District Development Board.  The goals of the partnership were discussed with Hon. Sydney Allicock, Guyana’s second vice-president and minister of Indigenous Peoples Affairs.

At NATI, the group met with the principal, staff and the board of governors and a local industry entrepreneur from the solar energy sector.

Jamaica (SAGE-05 Climate Smart Agriculture)

The mission team in Jamaica included representatives from Niagara College, College of the North Atlantic, Moneague College and Ebony PARK Academy. The team visited the Moneague College, the Ebony Park HEART Academy in Clarendon, the Canadian High Commission and the HEART Trust NSTA head office in Kingston.

At Moneague College the team met with the board of directors and visited the college farm which will play a significant role in the project. The team took a short tour of the Walker’s Wood Agro-processing facility, a key company in Jamaican Agro-processing and a potential partner for the project.  The team also visited Clarendon to see the Ebony Park Facility. Here too, the team had the chance to meet with the management team. A highlight of this tour was the visit to the level three lab which is utilized by the current agro-processing students.

The mission also included visits to the Canadian High Commission and the head office of the HEART/NSTA. This session provided an open atmosphere to plan for the future of the project and consolidate findings from the mission. Both the Canadian and Jamaican partners expressed great satisfaction in the success of the inception mission.


St. Lucia (SAGE-06 Climate Smart Agriculture)

The mission team in St. Lucia included representatives from Dalhousie Agricultural Campus at Dalhousie University, Algonquin College, CICan and local partners Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC) and National Skills Development Centre (NSDC).

The team visited the SALCC and NSDC farm operation and met with the Inter-Amerian Institute of Cooperation (IICA) and the Saint Lucia Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (SLCTVET). Meetings were held with the principal of the SALCC as well as with representatives of the St. Lucia Marketing Board (a government agency where farmers sell their produce).  A brief presentation was made to the St. Lucian Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Ezikiel Joseph and a team of high-level Agriculture officials.  The presentation was very well received and minister pledged support for the SAGE initiative.  Discussions were also held with women in agriculture and the school for persons with disabilities.

Issues discussed related to certification, the participation of youth in agriculture and strategies to encourage participation and training for participating staff at both the SALCC and the NSDC. The team met with a group of women farmers from the St. Lucia Network of Women Producers.  They raised several issues related to womens’ participation in agriculture,  especially young women.

4. Spotlight on Gender

SAGE Partners respond favourably to applying a Gender Equality Plus Framework to planning and implementing training

At the orientation for SAGE institutional partners held February 11-13 2020 in St. Lucia, the SAGE Gender Specialist, Carol Narcisse and partners engaged in lively discussion of data on the situation with vulnerable groups and with gender equality in the six SAGE countries  of focus. Partners considered how their program could contribute to transforming the life prospects of vulnerable groups and discussed strategies that would promote diversity and equity in their training program. Partners responded favourably to applying a Gender Equality Plus (GE+) framework to the development and implementation of their programs to be better able to identify and respond to the needs of different vulnerable groups. In the review of the SAGE Gender Equality Strategy partners saw the need to rely on data to indicate who vulnerable groups are and what factors contribute to their vulnerability and exclusion – factors such as gender, age, race/ethnicity, class, geographic location (urban/rural), sexual and/or gender identity, disability etc.

The elements of the GE Strategy were discussed including institutions’ development or updating of gender equality/diversity/inclusion policies, gender-sensitive career counselling and student support services, physical plant planning and retrofitting; development of specific indicators for monitoring and evaluation among others.  As a next step, a Gender Equality toolkit will be developed to provide the practical guidance partners’ will need as they develop and implement country-specific plans and strategies.

5. SAGE Team Member in Focus

Presenting Carol Narcisse - Gender Specialist

Carol Narcisse joined the SAGE Program team in December 2019. She holds an M.A in Education from Colombia University and has a background as a social policy researcher and analyst. Her work has focused on the intersection of factors in human vulnerability, including gender, age, race/ethnicity, gender identity and sexual orientation; income and education levels and disability. Carol has worked throughout the Caribbean and internationally in education, youth development, on issues of gender and human rights. Carol’s expertise includes capacity building capacity of development actors in understanding vulnerability, the factors that give rise to it and implications for, and impact of, public policy, programme development and implementation.

“The Gender Equality strategy enables SAGE partners to be aware of vulnerabilities that act as barriers to entry and completion of training and to implement strategies that can expand access and opportunities to women, youth, the indigenous community and other vulnerable groups.  This will be a vital contribution to the regional goals for resilience and sustainable development.”