The road to recovery
In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and looking forward to recovery, there is an urgent need to re-examine policies, operations, and processes to stimulate economic recovery, ensure future sustainability, and support diverse communities. For colleges and institutes, applied research partnerships do just that – they develop innovative prototypes and products for local businesses to grow, new processes to improve sustainability, and streamlined services that support communities.
In early months of the pandemic, projects and partnerships largely directed their efforts to meet the urgent need for medical equipment, personal protective equipment, and healthcare expertise. Now, thanks in part to recent funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, projects to address more wide-ranging impacts of the pandemic are further leveraging college and institute expertise:
- Lambton College biotechnology researchers joined forces with Toronto-based Mediphage Bioceuticals to begin collaborative work on a mini-string DNA-based vaccine engineered to artificially simulate an immune response to COVID-19.
- Cégep de Shawinigan also received funding for three COVID-19 related projects, including the development of an oral and nasal vaccine using antigenic proteins with partners Bio-K Plus International Inc. and Biotechnologies Ulysse Inc., and the development of new clinical tests to quickly detect COVID-19 antibodies.
- The Justice Institute of British Columbia is undertaking research to study the paramedic response to COVID-19, including challenges, innovations, barriers, and adapted solutions with the goal of developing modified protocols and disseminating evolving strategies.
- Similarly, Conestoga College’s Canadian Institute for Safety, Wellness & Performance is undertaking research to develop a guideline for addressing the mental health impacts of COVID-19 among Canadian paramedics. The college also received funding to support a project aimed at promoting hand hygienein long-term care homes to reduce COVID-19 transmission rates.
- Collège Boréal is working on two applied research projects to better understand and address the impacts of COVID-19 on the local agri-food sector as well as on early childhood education sector staff in francophone communities across the province.
- At the Aurora College Research Institute, staff were awarded a grant to study gaps in COVID-19 information, protocols, and training for both residents and small businesses in the Northwest Territories. The project aims to help manufacturers and small businesses understand the labeling, safety, and legality of medical and non-medical personal protective equipment.
- Camosun College’s Camosun Innovates team has developed a “portable oven” device to help in the fight against COVID-19, using ultraviolet light to sterilize N95 masks so they can be reused by health-care workers.
- With the help of eight students from New Brunswick Community College, a Fredericton-based company is working on an app to reduce the time people spend near each other when they’re shopping or obtaining services.
- Two instructors from Cégep André-Laurendeau developed an instrument prototype integrated into an electronic advertising screen and using camera-triangulation technology to allow passersby to visualize their distance from others during the pandemic.
Earlier this summer, we called for an investment of $165 million over two years in the College and Community Innovation Program to strengthen college and institute applied research capacity to help businesses and communities survive the challenges of the COVID19 pandemic and pivot as the economy re-opens.
Read more on this and seven other recommendations for positioning Canada’s colleges and institutes as vital partners to support COVID-19 response and recovery in our submission to federal consultations undertaken by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance (FINA); its committee on Industry, Science, and Technology (INDU); and its committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities (HUMA).
Updates related to COVID-19
As we all continue to work together to support each other and those most vulnerable in our communities, take note of these recent federal updates:
For international students, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced additional support measures for international students beginning a new program online this fall with a Canadian learning institution, including:
- priority study-permit processing, updates to eligibility for a post-graduation work permit, and a temporary 2-stage approval process for international students who cannot submit all required documentation due to pandemic-related closures.
- The Government of Canada also recently extended the Order in Council limiting the entry of persons into Canada until August 31. For designated learning institutions looking to host international students, we have requested further information.
We continue to work with IRCC, other federal departments, and provincial associations to facilitate the safe and guided return of international students to Canada in the fall.
For jobs, internships, and community service, the Government of Canada announced further support for students as part of the nearly $9 billion in support for post-secondary students and recent graduates announced in April:
- New measures include, the Canada Student Service Grant, the Student Work Placement Program, the Canada Summer Jobs program, Mitacs, the Digital Skills for Youth program, the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy, and the Business + Higher Education Roundtable.
College and institute action: our online showcase highlights some of the responses we’ve seen in areas ranging from applied research and online learning to support for small businesses and student well-being. Share with us more of what your institution is doing!
Remember: 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.
CICan Paul & Gerri Charette bursaries: 10 additional opportunities!
Thanks to another incredibly generous gift from Paul and Gerri Charette, 10 additional bursaries of $5,000 each for a total of 20 bursaries will be available this year in recognition of the increased pressure on students given the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CICan Paul and Gerri Charette Bursary provides support to college and institute students who face challenges or barriers, especially financial needs, to participating in and completing their post-secondary education.
Students from or attending colleges or institutes in rural, remote, or northern areas will be given preference for the bursaries of $5,000 each.
COVID-19: research, volunteering & funding opportunities
For institutions undertaking projects to address both urgent and forward-looking needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic, take advantage of new funding opportunities:
- Through its Exceptional Opportunities Fund, the Canada Foundation for Innovation is investing up to $2 million for projects supporting urgent needs for equipment, ongoing applied research, and technology development related to COVID-19. Deadline: September 15.
- SSHRC, in collaboration with the Future Skills Centre, is accepting applications for Knowledge Synthesis Grants for research on the implications of digital technologies in the global workforce and the COVID-19 crisis. Deadline: September 3.
For students: the Canada Student Service Grant provides post-secondary students and recent graduates with volunteer opportunities to help with the response to COVID-19 at Canadian not-for-profit organizations. Participants will be eligible to apply for grants of up to $5,000. Learn more at I Want to Help.
Apply for a scholarship in TVET
The Horatio Alger Association of Canada has extended the deadline for applications 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.
Education for Employment in the Pacific Alliance: new report
Our Pacific Alliance Education for Employment team has launched the new report of its second forum held last November in Saskatoon! The Indigenous Communities, Education for Employment, and Relations with the Extractive Sector report highlights best practices, challenges, and objectives to incite further progress in Indigenous education identified during breakout sessions attended by participants.
The forum was held in tandem with CICan’s 11th annual Indigenous Education Symposium, which gathered more than 200 participants, including 32 delegates from the four Pacific Alliance countries: Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. A recording of the forum is now available on YouTube.
Share this valuable resource with contacts to help refine objectives and organize priorities to better respond to the needs of Indigenous communities. The report is available in English, French, and Spanish.
Celebrating youth skills in Kenya
On July 15, our team in Kenya joined stakeholders in technical and vocational education and training (TVET) from around the world in celebrating World Youth Skills Day! In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, equipping youth with market-relevant skills is more important than ever.
Since 2016, our programs in Kenya have partnered with the Kenyan Ministry of Education, key industry representatives, and national polytechnics across Kenya to strengthen and promote TVET, including the development of new competency-based education and training (CBET) programs aiming to increase employment and economic development opportunities for young TVET graduates.
As our presence in Kenya continues to grow, we are rebranding our projects under the banner CICan in Kenya, including: the Kenya Education for Employment Program (KEFEP) funded by Global Affairs Canada, the TVET Innovation Fund (SITVES) with Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and Young Africa Works in Kenya: Youth Employability through TVET, a 5-year project in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation.
Follow @CICan_Kenya on Twitter.
Welcome to our new board members!
We are so happy to welcome five new members to our board of directors, elected during our annual general meeting, held virtually on June 29th.
Presidents from four member institutions were elected to join the board as At-Large Directors from heads of institutions: Sherri Bell of Camosun College, in British Columbia, Don Lovisa of Durham College, in Ontario, Josée Ouellette from Collège d’Alma, in Québec, and David Ross from the SAIT, in Alberta.
Marlene Floyd, National Director of Corporate Affairs at Microsoft Canada also joined the board of directors as a Public At-Large Director.
The annual general meeting was also an opportunity to reflect on our accomplishments over the past year, as outlined in our 2019-2020 Annual Report!
Did you know that Humber College is responding to the challenges of a disrupted global economy with a new learning opportunity through microcredentials: Digital Fluency for the Workforce? With funding from the Future Skills Centre, the project will help individuals build digital fluency and a foundational set of competencies to ensure that students are prepared for a new post-pandemic normal and that employers are able to fill their labour force needs.
Northern College announced the appointment of Dr Audrey Penner as the college’s president and CEO. Dr Penner has many years of experience in postsecondary, including at Holland College and most recently as Northern College’s vice-president, Academic.
Cégep de Saint-Jérôme announced the renewal of Nadine Le Gal’s mandate as director general for an additional five years.
Vancouver Island University (VIU) announced the creation of the Office of Community Partnerships; William Litchfield will take on the role of Associate Vice-President, Community Partnerships.
Keyano College appointed a new Vice President Corporate Services and CFO; with over 30 years of experience Robert LeSage joined the college in the role effective July 13.
Grande Prairie Regional College announced Dr. John Rigby as the successful candidate to lead the college’s academic mission as the new Vice-President, Academic and Research.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.