Calling on each other for support
As the global COVID-19 pandemic intensifies, the way we are all working is rapidly shifting. Where interaction with colleagues, partners, and community members was once encouraged, it is now necessary to practice physical distancing and connect in virtual ways. As educators, this has meant the huge task of moving learning and support services completely online. In this response to COVID-19, the incredible versatility of Canada’s colleges and institutes has been evident, and we urge you to keep up the good work and keep sharing your stories!
While we’ve seen resilient and creative methods to deliver online instruction across the country, in Canada and around the world, healthcare systems are struggling to meet the needs of their patients and communities. It’s at times like these that Canada needs its network of colleges and institutes the most.
In vital human and personnel resources, Fanshawe College, Collège la Cité, and St Clair College were all able to put third-year Respiratory Therapy students on a fast-track to graduation so they could begin working at hospitals where there were shortages of therapists. Similarly, 14 Red River College Health Information Management students stepped up to the challenge to help with vital record keeping and tracking the spread of COVID-19.
In material resources, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Industry, Science and Innovation thanked post-secondary institutions for their leadership and research effort to help understand, combat, and mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 and issued a call for support in providing medical equipment and access to 3D printers capable of producing critical supplies in times of shortage. And just last week, the minister followed up with another letter specifying additional supplies that were deeply needed.
Colleges and institutes have answered the call, donating equipment used in practical nursing and medical training, such as surgical face masks, gloves, gowns, and hospital beds; and many have put their research and innovation teams to work developing and producing new equipment! For example:
- Niagara College is producing 2,000 face shields at the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre using laser-cutting technology and computer design tools. The college’s teaching distillery has also moved to produce 70% alcohol disinfectant that can be used for hand sanitizer and surface wipes.
- At Vestechpro, a research and innovation centre specializing in the development of intelligent clothing and textiles affiliated with the Cégep Marie-Victorin, the team is mobilizing its partners to develop new models for medical protective equipment and clothing that meets the needs of hospital workers and can effectively combat infection.
- A Mechanical Engineering Technology professor at Durham College and his students are using the college’s six 3D printers to continuously produce face shields for local community organizations and hospitals in need of personal protective equipment.
- A faculty member at Kwantlen Polytechnic’s Wilson School of Design is also designing and producing a face shield to support Canada’s efforts to fight COVID-19.
- Working with their partners at AP Plastics and Island Health, Camosun College’s Camosun Innovates team designed a new face shield that could be 3D printed at a rate of 90 units per hour over their previous estimate of ten per day to meet growing demand.
- Sheridan College’s Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Design Technologies is exploring how it can use its leading-edge manufacturing expertise and equipment, including 3D printers, a robotics lab and other advanced technologies to meet the need for medical equipment and supplies.
- In addition to providing 3D printers to produce ventilator components, Humber College’s Faculty of Heath Sciences and Wellness is also exploring how its biotechnology labs could be converted to support COVID-19 testing.
- Georgian College’s Research and Innovation team is using its skills to manufacture 600 temporary face shields for its long-term partner, the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre.
For those with resources to offer, Canada wants to hear from you. Similarly, share your research expertise with the Montreal General Hospital Foundation to help design a low-cost, easy-to-use and easy-to-build ventilator that can serve COVID-19 patients; by applying for a NSERC Alliance COVID-19 grant to accelerate the exchange of research results and expertise; or by getting your students and interns involved in research development for Mitacs COVID-19 related projects.
This is a challenging time that calls upon each one of us to do our part to support our communities and contribute to global efforts to flatten the curve.
Continuing business and advocacy during COVID-19
We remain committed to monitoring and sharing updates and to being your voice in Ottawa in order to better serve our members.
For international students and departments, we continue to engage on your behalf with IRCC to ensure that your concerns, and those of your students, are being heard and addressed in a timely manner and with as much flexibility as is possible. Updates include exemptions to travel restrictions, eligibility for post-graduation work permits, and study and work-permit processing.
On granting agencies and funding: We are working with officials at NSERC, Canada Foundation for Innovation, and Innovation, Science and Industry to ensure they understand the impact of COVID-19 on college and institute applied-research operations and partnerships. We will also be hosting a webinar for those working in applied research to hear directly from granting agencies about their response to COVID-19 and the impact on existing programming on April 15. Contact Tresanna Hassanally for details and to RSVP.
Our COVID-19 webpage gathers all of our most recent updates, including advocacy with the federal government and freely available teaching and learning resources. Be sure to check in often.
Temporary housing options for students impacted by COVID-19 travel restrictions
As global travel becomes increasingly restricted due to concerns related to the spread of COVID-19, many international students have found themselves without accommodation or unable to return home. In some cases, student residences have remained open to accommodate both international and domestic students; however, space remains limited. The same restrictions have also resulted in many Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) member hotels sitting empty or with low occupancy.
As such, HAC is collaborating with a variety of organizations and government agencies to use hotels as alternative housing. HAC members have also expressed interest in working with post-secondary institutions to provide temporary housing for international student populations.
For more information on how HAC can facilitate connections with hotels in your area, please contact Rebecca Bartlett-Jones, Manager of Business Development, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support youth employability in Kenya through the Young Africa Works program
Our team in Kenya has launched three calls for proposals supporting youth employability through technical and vocational education and training. The Young Africa Works Kenya program will increase the participation of young Kenyans, particularly women, in market-relevant skills training programs to increase the number of youths transitioning to dignified and fulfilling work.
The three calls for thematic partnerships include pre-service and in-service training, the development of prior learning assessment and recognition (PLAR) guidelines and tools and identifying gaps in curricula. Apply before April 27.
Young Africa Works project in Kenya is a 5-year project with funding from Mastercard Foundation aiming to strengthen the quality of Kenyan TVET institutions and system.
Help assess the impact of COVID-19 on Red Seal trades
During this time, the Government of Canada has implemented a number of measures to support workers and businesses in its COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.
To better guide new measures, the Trades and Apprenticeship Division at Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), is reaching out to national apprenticeship partners and stakeholders for input on how COVID-19 is impacting Red Seal trades:
- What is the impact of the COVID-19 situation on Red Seal trades and apprenticeship sectors?
- What type of labour market measures could be helpful to support the economic recovery of Red Seal trades and apprenticeship sectors?
Your input will help further inform understanding of how apprenticeship partners and stakeholders are managing in this new context.
Apply for a scholarship in TVET
The Horatio Alger Association of Canada has opened this year’s application process for its Vocational & Technical Education Scholarships awarded to students pursuing trade and career programs at non-profit institutions across Canada.
In total, 25 Horatio Alger scholarships valued at $3,000 each will be awarded to deserving students in financial need who have overcome significant adversity while demonstrating strength of character, strong academics, a commitment to pursuing higher education as well as a desire to contribute to society.
New institutional partnerships in Tunisia
Three Canadian institutions have been selected for new partners through our Education for Employment program in Tunisia! This round of call for partnerships was for competency-based co-constructed licensing programs; short-term training programs; technical and pedagogical teacher training; entrepreneurship; and partnerships between colleges, institutes, and businesses:
- In Sidi Bouzid, Collège de Maisonneuve will partner with local institutions specializing in food processing and manufacturing.
- In Tozeur, Cégep de Jonquière will specialize in renewable energies.
- In Médenine, Collège Boréal, in partnership with Cégep de Jonquière will also specialize in renewable energies.
Congratulations to the selected institutions! EFE Tunisia Al-Najah is a 4-year project funded by Global Affairs Canada.
Did you know that in response to exceptional circumstances surrounding COVID-19, Riipen has made its online learning platform free for all post-secondary institutions in Canada until the fall? In times of uncertainty, as many student work-integrated learning opportunities are in jeopardy, Riipen’s platform and services provide a barrier-free way for employers to engage in meaningful work-integrated learning with students. Learn more about Riipen’s virtual internships.
Vancouver Community College appointed Dr. Ian Humphreys as the college’s new Vice President, Administration. With more than a decade of leadership experience in education, Dr. Humphrey’s took on his new role effective April 1.
Loyalist College announced the appointment of two new vice presidents. With a blend of business, academic and entrepreneurial leadership experience, Jeremy Laurin will join Loyalist as Senior Vice-President, External Relations & Business Development. The college also appointed Mark Kirkpatrick as Senior Vice-President, Corporate Services & CFO. With 15 years of experience at Loyalist, Kirkpatrick has been acting in the position since December 2019.
Due to COVID-19, the 2020 Connection Conference has been cancelled.
Send Us Your News
One of our main goals at Colleges and Institutes Canada is to champion and share the innovations and awesomeness of our members. You can help! We want to hear about your new applied research, industry and community partnerships, international education, important financial investments and more. Add email@example.com to your media mailing lists! We’ll share member institution News Releases and other upcoming announcements online and with our national media contacts based in Ottawa.