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August 30, 2021

Why do federal elections matter to post-secondary?

Parliament has been dissolved and Canadians will head to the polls on September 20. But what does it all mean? The federal government having familiarity with college and institute priorities is always important. The way we work with government isn’t just about speaking up for our members; it’s also about making sure that the government understands how colleges and institutes support their own priorities. And in the context of an election, voters have a real opportunity to be heard. Every year, we issue recommendations that make the case, so that when it comes to budgeting, decisionmakers in Ottawa can get the most bang for their buck.

Here’s how we see it.

On workforce and recovery, the world of work has changed, and our labour market needs faster and more flexible ways to learn new skills:

  • A national micro-credential framework for key sectors will support industry and serve the interests of Canada’s economic, social, and environmental leadership; and,
  • Money to develop a national collaboration platform for colleges and institutes to share online resources will boost our technical and trades training capacity in a cohesive and equitable way.
  • Expanded streams to permanent residency for international students will also open Canada up to an untapped talent pool.

On inclusive innovation, college and institute applied research means innovative solutions to tangible problems developed and delivered for Canadian businesses and non-profit organizations; the more the better:

  • Innovation is also a federal priority, and investment that enables more Canadians from diverse backgrounds to contribute to our innovation ecosystem will create even more solutions.

On reconciliation, colleges and institutes want to deliver on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action:

  • Federal dollars for Indigenous-language revitalization programs, OERs on Indigenous histories and the legacy of residential schools, and skills-based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, and human rights can help us get there.

On net-zero, inclusive, and digitally-accessible infrastructure, our needs as a country are vastly different from five, ten, or 15 years ago:

  • Dollars to make college and institute campuses more sustainable and accessible; to improve learning spaces for Indigenous students; and to upgrade digital infrastructure, simulation technologies, and cybersecurity systems will contribute to Canada’s infrastructure ambitions.

On green recovery, Canada’s ambitious net-zero goals could use a significant boost from a new network of 50 College Sustainability Centres leveraging existing college and institute assets like campus infrastructure, research centres, and community partnerships.

  • Around the world, we can also support developing countries in their net-zero transitions through skills training and applied research programs like Education for Employment!

There’s certainly a lot on the agenda for this election, as we enter a fourth wave of the pandemic and as wildfires continue to rage in many parts of the country, but our newest elected officials will be well advised to recognize what colleges and institutes can do for the country and their constituents over the next four years.

Election watch: Learn more about how Canada’s colleges and institutes contribute to building resilient communities, facilitating recovery and supporting innovation.

A word from Elections Canada:

Extended deadline: Support for students facing barriers to post-secondary education (a potential of one student bursary for every seven applications!)

There is still time to nominate a student for the CICan Paul and Gerri Charette Bursary providing support to college and institute students who face challenges, mainly financial needs, to participating in and completing their post-secondary education! Deadline: October 1.

  • Students from or attending colleges or institutes in rural, remote, or northern areas will be given preference for the 20 bursaries of $5,000 each.
  • Questions? Watch the recording of our information session for an overview of the bursary program and best practices for completing the application.
  • New eligibility criteria this year! Students enrolled full time in the first or second year of a multi-year program at a CICan member institution are now eligible.

Help us review submissions! We’re looking for a diverse group of representatives whose positions are directly related to student services (e.g. registrars, academic counsellors, & vice-presidents) to sit on our National Bursary Selection Committee. Apply before September 13.

Recognize and promote excellence at Canadian colleges and institutes

It’s that time again! Nominate your colleagues and your institutions for our Awards of Excellence and recognize their leadership and contributions in ten categories. Help us highlight the role of Canadian post-secondary institutions in social, cultural, and economic development! Deadline: November 26.

Gold recipients in each category will receive a $1,000 prize courtesy of TD Insurance and a complimentary registration to the CICan 2022 hybrid Connection Conference, online and in Halifax!

Brand new this year: the award for Excellence in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion!

Take part: Become a member of one of the ten National Selection Committees reviewing nominations! Apply before October 4.

Accelerate, explore, and innovate with Mitacs

Maybe you’ve heard of Mitacs, a national organization connecting Canadian students and faculty with companies looking to innovate? But did you know that we advocated for many years to make sure that their learning and research opportunities would be available to college and institute students? (And now they are)!

Mitacs programs support and fund collaborative research projects with college, institute, CEGEP, and polytechnic students and faculty and the organizations that benefit from their expertise.

  • For students: Put your talent to work with a paid internship at an organization that needs your expertise and contribute to Canada’s innovation ecosystem!
  • For businesses: Connect with the right research talent, maximize your budget, and develop efficient solutions to help your company grow, thrive, and succeed!

Simple! Learn more about how Mitacs works, programs available, and eligibility.

Must read: Evolving definitions in digital learning

Even as digital learning becomes more commonplace and traditional program delivery methods continue to shift, much of the discourse remains nebulous. What do we mean by online versus hybrid versus technology-supported learning, and is my definition the same as yours?

The Canadian Digital Learning Research Association (CDLRA) Evolving Definitions in Digital Learning: A National Framework for Categorizing Commonly Used Terms report introduces a pan-Canadian framework for consistently defining commonly used terms related to digital learning.

The report is part of a series evolving from CDLRA’s National Survey of Online and Digital Learning. Stay tuned for more blog posts, short reports, and presentations sharing the key findings from the survey. The full 2021 National Report will be released in early 2022.

Eureka! Moment

Did you know that four students from Algonquin College’s Computer Programming, Graphic Design, Public Relations and Victimology programs recently developed a youth-focused workshop to tackle the growing issue of gun violence around the world? Aim for Change is a two-hour after-school workshop that tasks 11-15-year-old students with developing a publication of their own illustrations, short stories, song lyrics and collages. By creating a zine, kids can challenge the problems they see in their communities (like gun violence) and voice their thoughts and feelings in a safe, fun, artistic, creative, and engaging way!


Grande Prairie Regional College announced the appointment of Justin Kohlman as its tenth president and CEO. Kohlman will begin his duties in November 2021.

Keyano College also announced the appointment of a new president and CEO. With over 25 years of post-secondary experience, Jatinder (Jay) Notay will take on the role effective October 4.

NAIT appointed Melanie Rogers as the polytechnic’s new vice-president external relations Rogers has more than 20 years of experience within the Alberta post-secondary sector.

Loyalist College appointed Sean Monteith as its new senior vice president.

Lambton College appointed Mary Vaughn as senior vice president, Academic and Student Success.


Nov 30 - Dec 1st, 2022
CICan on the Hill + Student Showcase
Ottawa, National Arts Centre
Dec 5 - 9th, 2022
Leadership Institute for French-speaking Managers
Quebec City, Château Laurier
Dec 5 - 7th, 2022
Perfectionnement pour les responsables internationaux
Québec, Hôtel Château Laurier
View more


Visit Wellness Together Canada for free online mental health and substance use support.

Help get Canadians back together, FasterDownload promotional materials in support of vaccination.

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 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.