Sub Menu

Main Content

December 11, 2017

2017, A Year in Review

2017 was definitely Canada’s year, setting itself apart on the international scene, investing in domestic growth strategies, and reaching a major milestone in its own history. Here’s how we saw Canada in the world this past year, and what it means for Canada’s colleges and institutes.


Canada’s 150th

2017 was a year of celebration as Canadians across the country celebrated Canada’s 150th anniversary. With so much going on, Canada topped the lists of worldwide travel destinations. The New York Times 2017 travel list called Canada “a world unto itself,” while Travel & Leisure called its Destination of the Year “a source of stability and hope; and, Lonely Planet cited Canada’s wake of positivity in placing it at the top of the magazines 2017 Best in Travel.

From art and history to nature and exploration, there was a lot to do and see this year. To name a few:

In the education sector, Colleges Ontario and the Fédération des cégeps celebrated their own 50th anniversary; while nationally, CICan launched a Canada 150 project celebrating the achievements of colleges and institutes across the country in categories ranging from art and design, to entrepreneurship, innovation, and community impact. Discover CICan’s full National Anthology here.


Empowerment of women and girls

The Prime Minister and federal government have been proud to declare themselves feminists since coming into office in 2015. In this vein, Canada took important steps this year in the advancement of women’s rights with the launch of new Feminist International Assistance Policy. In June, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced a plan to make Canada a global leader in promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, addressing inequality as a means of contributing to global efforts to eradicate poverty.

With education as one of the keys to empowerment, CICan was pleased to announce the release of a new paper, “Skills Development as a Means to Women’s Empowerment: Integrating Gender Equality in TVET,” which gathers the work CICan members have done in strengthening women’s economic empowerment and gender equality internationally, and offers recommendations for removing barriers to access TVET (technical and vocational education and training) and ensuring better transitions to decent work. Read the full paper here.

These efforts were accompanied by a successful webinar on gender equality in education, discussing how Canada’s colleges and institutes can better align their programs to meet a more ambitious agenda in areas like improving access to education for women and girls.


Innovation superclusters

As part of Budget 2017, the Innovation and Skills Plan intends to help Canada realize its potential as a global leader in innovation, in part by funding a new “supercluster” initiative.

The federal government defines superclusters as innovation hotbeds with strong connections between large and small companies, postsecondary institutions and other research institutions, and government partners; a long-term competitive advantage; and a positive impact on job creation and economic growth. The planned investment is up to $950 million between 2017 and 2022.

This initiative is an opportunity for colleges and institutes to further leverage existing partnerships with industry to help accelerate growth in sectors such as advanced manufacturing, digital technologies, fisheries and oceans, and clean technologies. Many CICan members are excited to be innovation partners on the shortlist of supercluster applicants. For the full shortlist of applicants announced in October, click here. The selection process is expected to conclude by the end of the 2017-2018 fiscal year.


Job-ready youth

Budget 2016 announced the creation of an Expert Panel on Youth Employment to assess the barriers faced by vulnerable youth – including recent immigrant, LGBTQ2+, and Indigenous youth – in finding and keeping jobs. In May 2017, the final report of the expert panel identified several recommendations, among which colleges and institutes find their places as key providers of hands-on skills to ensure youth are job-ready.

Canada took another step forward for youth experiential learning by launching the Student Work-Integrated Learning Program (SWILP) which commits to providing post-secondary students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) with quality work-integrated learning placements.

CICan was pleased to play a role in improving job-readiness for youth this year with the launch of our Career-Launcher Internship program, connecting employers with skilled graduates by providing up to $15,000 towards an intern’s salary. The program builds on CICan’s existing Clean-Tech Internship program, adding the Natural Resources Internships, and is funded by the Government of Canada as part of the Youth Employment Strategy.


Investments in skills 

In 2017, both the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimated that Canada’s economic growth rate would be the highest in the G7 (IMF estimate at 3.0%, OCED at 3.2%). Budget 2017 signaled the federal government’s commitment to inclusive economic growth through big investments in skills, including access to skills training and reskilling.

Colleges and institutes have long been the primary providers of skills training and reskilling, particularly to under-represented groups such as Indigenous students and adult learners. New measures to allow for greater access to Canada Student Loans and Grants, as well as investments in the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ASETS), the Northern Adult Basic Education program (NABE), and the Post-Secondary Student Support program (PSSSP) put colleges and institutes in a position to expand their programming and further contribute to Canada’s economic growth.


An open Canada

Despite a global shift towards the restriction of movement of peoples and the closing of borders, the government of Canada has maintained that immigration is essential to Canada’s growth and innovation potential. In June, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains, and the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, Patty Hajdu, announced a new Global Skills Strategy for Canada with the goal of attracting top talent from abroad to help innovative firms in Canada thrive, and expediting the process of bringing that talent here.

The Canadian Immigrant Integration Program (CIIP)’s pre-arrival initiative, Planning for Canada is one of the keys to reinforcing Canada as an exciting, positive, and welcoming destination. Funded by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), CIIP is an example of the government’s commitment to helping newcomers succeed in Canada.

Strategies like these have helped to make Canada an immigration destination and are a key part of Canada’s Innovation Agenda. Consequently, this year many post-secondary institutions in Canada saw higher application rates from potential international students, choosing Canada for both the strength of its education system and the potential for integration upon completion of studies, in contrast to other high-profile destinations.


Important steps were taken this year towards unlocking Canada’s potential for inclusive economic growth. We are looking forward to seeing how colleges and institutes continue to demonstrate their leadership in innovation, skills, and inclusiveness in the year ahead!

Member News

Call for Talent: CICan’s 2018 Art Showcase

For the fifth year in a row, Colleges and Institutes Canada is looking to showcase student talent on the walls of the association’s national office at the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa! For the 2018 Art Showcase, CICan invites students from colleges and institutes across the country to submit their artwork.

This year, CICan will be selecting a winner in each of the following six categories:

  • printmaking, including etching, lithography, relief, silkscreen-printing, or papermaking;
  • textile, mixed media, or sculpture, from stitching rich tapestries to molding clay, carving wood to unique dyeing techniques;
  • photography;
  • digital Illustration or animation, including comic strips, posters, or multi-dimensional living images;
  • painting; and,
  • drawing.

Each winner will receive a monetary prize of $350!

The winning artwork will be displayed at the CICan offices, and will receive recognition on CICan’s website and in various association publications. The final voting will take place during CICan’s annual conference, April 29- May 1 in Victoria, BC!

Click here for more information and to submit your artwork! The deadline for submissions is March 9, 2018.

CAF programs assist Indigenous students’ transition into a career

Indigenous students and grads can benefit from two paid programs to learn about a career in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) that puts their skills to work in a relevant field. The CAF has more than 100 career options ranging from Military Police, vehicle technician to financial services administrator.

The Summer Training Programs for Indigenous Youth are six-week programs designed to show participants the military lifestyle. The program is run by members of the CAF with the assistance of Elders from different First Nations and Indigenous groups, who act as counsellors and lead participants through common spiritual beliefs and cultural practices. Participants receive a salary for the duration of the program. Once completed, participants have the option – with no commitment – to pursue a part-time or full-time career in the CAF. They can even have a part-time job as they finish their studies.

The CAF Aboriginal Entry Program is a three-week program in which participants receive $1,200 to attend a Pre-Recruit Training Course. Upon successful completion of the program, participants may apply for a full-time job with the CAF, although there is no obligation. If accepted, they will be offered a job in the field they selected based on education, training or interests.

“My advice to any Indigenous person considering a career in the Forces is that there are plenty of opportunities out there; seize them.” – Sub-Lieutenant Khaos O., Maritime Surface and Sub-surface Officer, Royal Canadian Navy

Applications for the two programs are due by May 31,2018; however, people are encouraged to apply as early as possible. Contact a recruiter or go to the CAF website for more information.

Education for Employment Andes Program nearly complete

After six years in operation, the Education for Employment (EFE) program in the Andes is nearing its end. In late November, the CICan team visited the region for a final series of activities to take stock of the last several years of collaboration.

Beginning in 2012, the goal of the EFE Andes project was to support the development of technical and professional training in Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru. It aimed to develop an approach focused on skills adapted to the region’s needs in order to improve employment opportunities for graduates in these countries.

All in all, implementing the EFE project was made possible through the collaboration of 26 colleges and institutes with 16 post-secondary institutions in the three countries.

Notably, the program allowed for the creation and development of more than 20 new skills-focused programs with the cooperation of over 300 local businesses in order to ensure the new curriculums’ relevance. In total, more than 1100 students currently benefit from these new training programs. The program also contributed to the professional development of more than 900 people, including directors, instructors, and technical institute employees, as well as government employees and agencies. Furthermore, partner institutions in three countries benefited from over one million Canadian dollars in investments to purchase technologies to improve practical training.

The EFE Andes project was implemented in seven departments in Bolivia, two in Colombia, and four in Peru. It was developed in collaboration with the Plurinational State Ministry of Education in Bolivia, the Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje (SENA) in Colombia, and the Ministry of Education, Labour, and Employment Promotion in Peru.

The program, financed by the Government of Canada, represents a total investment of 18.5 million Canadian dollars over five years by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development as part of the Employment Skills Initiative.

For more information about the EFE Andes program, click here.

Call for Submissions: Exemplary Practices in Serving Rural, Remote and Northern Communities

CICan will soon be launching an online Showcase of projects serving rural, remote and northern communities. Colleges and institutes from across the country are therefore invited to submit new stories about projects that have generated positive impacts and results for industry and community partners.

The exemplary practices featured in this new Showcase will be used to promote the important contribution colleges and institutes make to the socio-economic development of rural, remote and northern communities and will bolster the case for funding to further support these institutions.

Please click here to submit. The deadline for submissions is December 15, 2017.

We look forward to receiving your outstanding success stories!

St. Lucia Council for TVET recognizes CICan for its role in advancing TVET in St. Lucia

On December 5, 2017, the St. Lucia Council for TVET awarded CICan with a plaque of appreciation for the role the association has played in advancing TVET in St. Lucia.

Through the CARICOM Education for Employment Program (C-EFE), St. Lucia’s Sir Arthur Lewis Community College entered into an institutional partnership with Seneca College with the aim of developing an Early Childhood Education program. To date 28 women and 2 men have enrolled in the program!

In addition to the institutional partnership with Seneca College, the St. Lucia Council for TVET also partnered with Cégep de la Gaspésie-et-des-Îles on CICan’s Youth Skills Development Programme (YSD) which prepared at-risk or disadvantaged youth trainees for further education and training leading to employment. Over the course of three short training cohorts, 29 women and 68 men have graduated from this program!

Currently, the St. Lucia Council for TVET is working with CICan to create a national TVET & Gender Policy to support the St. Lucian national TVET Policy.

Take part in CICan’s Career-Launcher Internship webinar

Career-Launcher Internships logo

Mark your calendar for the upcoming rescheduled Webinar on: Help your grads access valuable career opportunities!

Join us to discover how CICan’s Career-Launcher Internships offer grads paid internships in clean technology and natural resources. In this webinar, you will learn how your institution, your grads, and your local employers can benefit from up to $15,000 in wage subsidy from the internship program.

Date: Wednesday, January 24 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. (EST)

Attending is easy! No registration is required. Simply join the webinar by clicking here.

Scholarships available for study in China

Global Affairs Canada and the Chinese Ministry of Education are offering study, research, and language-training scholarships in China for the 2018-2019 academic year. Scholarships are for 2 to 12 months between September 2018 and August 2019.

Canadian students, academics and mid-career professionals, including Government of Canada employees, have until March 6, 2018 to apply.

For full program details, visit the Canada-China Scholars’ Exchange Program.

Eureka! Moment

Did you know that in 2017, CICan had the pleasure of welcoming 5 college and institute presidents at our offices in Ottawa to share success, challenges, and strategies in post-secondary education? Thank you to Riel Bellegarde from the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies, Lise Bourgeois from La Cité, Larry Rosia of Saskatchewan Polytechnic, Dan Patterson of Niagara College, and Claude Roy from Cégep André-Laurendeau. We also had the pleasure of welcoming Ron Bull, President of Otago Polytechnic in New Zealand! Each visit is incredibly valuable for our staff!


Alberta College of Art + Design was pleased to welcome a new Executive Director, Continuing Education + Professional Development. Nicole Hamilton will take on the role after nearly 20 years’ experience in higher education.

College of the Rockies recently welcomed Erin Gawne as the college’s new Executive Director, Public Relations. Gawne comes from 15 years of experience in the communications industry.

CICan was also pleased to welcome a new Director, Member Relations. Caroline Gagnon will join CICan in January 2017 after more than 25 years of experience in communications and public relations as well as project management and planning, including eight years with l’Association des collèges et universités francophones du Canada (ACUFC). Welcome!


Awards of Excellence 

Nominations for CICan’s Awards of Excellence are open until December 18, 2017. Click here for more information.


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.