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Budget 2016 addresses the infrastructure needs of colleges and institutes

Ottawa, March 22, 2016 – Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) congratulates the Minister of Finance on his first Budget and welcomes the government’s clear recognition of the vital role that post-secondary institutions will play in revitalizing Canada’s economy.

CICan is especially pleased to see the government respond to its call for additional infrastructure funding with the new Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Funds, which commits $2 billion over the next three years. Coupled with the $9 billion Building Canada Fund, this will help drive a much needed renewal in college and institute infrastructure, 60% of which currently exceeds its 40-year life cycle.

“These funds will be put to good use by our members who have identified over 1000 projects totaling $7.6 billion”, says CICan president and CEO, Denise Amyot. “With growing waitlists in high-demand programs and countless opportunities to enhance the innovation facilities that support local businesses and community organizations, this is great news for all Canadians. These investments will also help colleges and institutes reduce their environmental footprint by making campuses more energy efficient.”

CICan is also pleased to see increased levels of support for the research granting agencies including confirmation of the Budget 2015 commitments of $5 million for the College and Community Innovation Program and $7 million for SSHRC partnership grants in 2016-17.  Given the impressive results that modest investments in applied research have yielded to date and the dramatic growth in college and institute capacity, CICan welcomes the government’s commitment to redesign and redefine how it supports innovation and growth.

“As the voice of colleges and institutes across Canada, CICan looks forward to playing a very active role in this process, to ensure that in future, the innovation agenda fully leverages the unique position of colleges and institutes within their communities,” states Amyot.

The budget’s commitments to strengthen work integrated learning opportunities, including co-op placements, recognize the evolving needs of learners and employers. Colleges and institutes will make important contributions to the consultations on the future of these programs as well as those aimed at improving Labour Market Development Agreements and the Canada Job Fund Agreements.

“Making education available to all Canadians remains one of the soundest investments we can make as a nation”, adds Amyot.

In this respect, the government’s commitments to renew and expand the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy and review the support provided to Northerners’ participation in the labour market will be important, particularly to the Indigenous learners and communities that colleges and institutes serve.

“Taken together, this Budget demonstrates an understanding of the holistic approach needed to maximize the contributions of the post-secondary education system to Canada’s social and economic success”, concludes Amyot.  “CICan members look forward to contributing to the implementation of the measures announced today.”

Colleges and Institutes Canada is the national and international voice of Canada’s publicly supported colleges, institutes and polytechnics. Its members work with industry and social sectors to train 1.5 million learners of all ages and backgrounds at campuses serving over 3,000 urban, rural and remote communities in Canada. The association operates in 29 countries via 12 offices around the world.

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For more information:

Julien Abord-Babin
Senior Strategic Communications Officer
Colleges and Institutes Canada
jabord-babin@collegesinstitutes.ca
Tel. : 613-746-2222 ext. 3131
Twitter : @CollegeCan