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October 6, 2014


CICan and AUCC sign partnership agreement

Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) signed a historic partnership agreement with the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC). The framework for collaboration was signed on September 29 at SAIT Polytechnic, in Calgary, by Paul Davidson, president of AUCC, and Denise Amyot, president of CICan. It is designed to help Canada succeed in the global knowledge economy by addressing the need for advanced skills in all sectors.

This student-centered agreement encourages further collaboration between colleges and universities to support student mobility, credit transfers, collaborative programs, articulation agreements and research partnerships.

The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) was quick to welcome the new framework, noting that it will help create “a more seamless learning environment and an openness to experimentation.”

The framework also signals new avenues for collaboration by AUCC and CICan in communications, member initiatives and policy dialogue.

Read the News Release.

Read the Framework agreement.


New board members

The CICan board of directors convened in Ottawa on Thursday September 25 to discuss issues of importance for our association and members. The Board also welcomed three new members: Jim Hamilton, President and CEO of Okanagan College and Michel Tarko, President and CEO of the Justice Institute of British Columbia will both sit as representatives for the British Columbia and Yukon region, while Mark Frison, President and CEO of Assiniboine Community College, is the newest representative of the Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Nunavut Region.

The CICan team looks forward to working with them and thanks them for contributing their time and energy to advancing Canada’s college advantage.

Click here for the updated list of board directors


The CICan Board of director for 2014-2105 (absent: Don Gnatiuk and Jim Hamilton)

Launch of CARICOM regional TVET strategy

CICan, in collaboration with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Caribbean Association of National Training Agencies (CANTA), launched the CARICOM Regional Technical Vocational Education and Training Strategy for Workforce Development and Economic Competitiveness on September 23. The strategy is an ambitious approach designed to improve education for employment and strengthen economic competitiveness across the Caribbean Community.

Funded by the Government of Canada and supported by the CICan CARICOM Education for Employment Program (C-EFE), the CARICOM Regional TVET Strategy is already guiding action plans that will strengthen delivery of technical vocational education and training.

Click here for the full news release.


Rebranding at SIAST and MITT



Two of our members have just launched major rebranding initiatives and adopted new names. First, Winnipeg Technical College is now known as the Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology (MITT).

This accompanied a mandate renewal and a major funding announcement at MITT, whose campus will be expanded to become a unique, hybrid institution that will allow high school students to complete their high school education and receive college-level technical training credits at the same time.

In addition, MITT has signed an MOU to provide French language training for trades courses to high school students from la Division scolaire franco-manitobaine (DSFM). The DSFM is currently providing 80 students courses in Introduction to Trades and Technology or Introduction to Carpentry. It is anticipated that these numbers will increase by an additional 200 over the next two years.

In the meantime, the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST) is now known as Saskatchewan Polytechnic. The institution began it’s transformation in 2012 when it was recognized as a degree-granting institution and will continue to develop a full suite of learning opportunities, including bachelor degrees, apprenticeship training, certificates and diplomas. CICan also likes their choice of the colour purple. 😉

Communicator’s network

The CICan communications team has launched a new initiative to increase contact and collaboration with members’ communications and marketing teams. We have established a contact list that will be used to facilitate coordination of issues or media requests, as well as share important information regarding communications, advertising and other opportunities for members.

If you are a communications or marketing professional and have not already joined our list, please click here to sign up.

BCIT turns 50!

The British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) is turning 50 this year and celebrating its rich history. The celebrations were kicked off Saturday with a 1964-teamed party and will be followed by an anniversary gala this Monday. Students are also invited to leave their own mark by participating in a student selfie project using the hashtag #bcit50selfie. The pictures will then be used to create a selfie mosaic that will be displayed at BCIT campuses this fall.

Did you know?

Canada will be represented by a culinary team from Niagara College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute at this year’s World Culinary Championships in Luxemburg, from November 21 to 27.

The team will compete as Junior Culinary Team Canada against the top junior culinary teams in the world, representing 14 other countries. This will be their toughest competition to date, but the group, comprised of Niagara College students and recent grads, has been training hard. They are also showcasing their skills at a few local events where community members can sample their world class cooking.

Click here for the news release.



CEO on the move

I was honoured to join the head table at the Canadian Club of Ottawa on September 23 for a luncheon address by the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development, about the skills gap.

The Minister described “the paradox of too many Canadians without jobs in an economy of too many jobs without Canadians” and emphasized that provinces, territories, the private sector and post-secondary institutions need to work together to ensure the prosperity of the Canadian economy.

I had a great trip to Calgary. I was there for the signature of our new partnership agreement with the AUCC, but I also took this opportunity to visit Bow Valley College and SAIT.

I was very impressed by Bow Valley’s new Intercultural Centre as well as their business school, which is the fastest growing department at the College. This year alone, Bow Valley saw a 7% increase in enrolment. They also have great partnerships with other local PSE institution and share facilities with Olds College, Athabasca University and Lethbridge University.

I was also happy to return to SAIT to visit their great facilities and see their state of the art instrumentation lab where students get hands on training with sophisticated measuring instruments.

On October 2, I delivered the keynote speech at the University of Ottawa’s Service Excellence Conference, where I shared insights about how to drive change and empower others to become advocates and service excellence ambassadors. This created an opportunity to champion and highlight initiatives of our colleges, institutes and polytechnics across the country with a university audience. It was a great way to initiate dialogue and act on the partnership agreement that was signed early that week.

Eureka moment

Social media offers powerful tools to help us connect and meet with folks from around the world, but there is also inherent risks that can be overlooked. To raise awareness about privacy issues and online bullying, the Cégep St-Jérôme recently re-lauched a very creative campaign.

Under the banner “l’impact n’a rien de virtuel” (The impact is anything but virtual), this multiplatform awareness campaign is aimed at students, personnel but also the community at large. It is another great example of a college using its creative potential to raise awareness about issues that affect us all.

Click here to see the campaign (in French).


Ken Burt has taken over as President & CEO of BC’s Northwest Community College on October 1. He brings with him more than a decade of executive experience in the post-secondary education field including serving as Vice President of Finance & Administration at Dalhousie University from 2007-2013.  Congratulations Ken!

Alain Charest has been elected as the new Chair of the Cégep de Drummondville board of directors. He was already sitting as vice-chair and received unanimous support from the board. An engineer by trade, Alain Charest is the president of Drummondville-based CVTech. France Richer was designated to replace him as vice-chair.

Alberta’s Keyano College has appointed Tanya Lopez as its new Director of Learning Innovation and Library Services. Ms. Lopez brings with her over ten years of progressive experience working in post-secondary education, six of which have been in an international environmental. Most recently, Ms. Lopez worked at the College of the North Atlantic in Qatar in a variety of capacities, including Program Development Coordinator and the Manager of Institutional Research. Congratulations Tanya!



World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics Congress
October 24th – October 26th 2014
Beijing, China
China National Convention Center

Serving Indigenous Learners and Communities Symposium
December 2nd – December 4th 2014
Ottawa, Ontario
Delta Ottawa City Centre

Colleges and Institutes Canada 2015 Conference
May 25th – May 26th 2015
Winnipeg, Manitoba