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December 18, 2015

2015 : The year in review

2015 in review

This past year has been one of change and transition. We have seen new governments, new promises, and new pressures. It has also been a challenging year for many colleges and institutes in provinces and territories dealing with the impacts of economic uncertainty and budgetary restraints, but there have also been encouraging developments, both nationally and internationally . The important role that colleges and institutes play in training young Canadians, stimulating the economy and supporting innovation has been recognized many times this past year.

This is generating new opportunities for growth and partnerships as well as new funding programs from the federal government. This is especially true in the applied research sector as 2015 saw the creation of several initiatives in support of innovation. In April, colleges and institutes across the country received over $40 million in grants through the Tri-Council College and Community Innovation Program and the College Industry Innovation Fund (CIIF) Program. A new program, the Community College Social Innovation Funds (CCSIF), was also launched in 2015 to increase college capacity to engage in collaborative projects with community organizations and businesses. Twenty-seven projects from 20 different colleges and institutes have already received support from this fund.

These new developments recognize what CICan has been striving to have recognized for several years: that colleges and institutes are leaders in applied research and innovation. In fact, our latest environmental scan of college and institute applied research noted a significant increase in the number of partnerships and specialised research centres at member institutions across the country making it clear that colleges and institutes continue to lead and grow in this space. There are now 670 specialized research centres and labs tied to Canadian colleges and institutes. That is 37% more than were reported the year before.

Positive changes to the Canada Student Grants Program were also announced in April to expand eligibility for students enrolled in short-duration educational programs. The Canada Apprentice Loan launched in January will also provide apprentices in Red Seal trades across Canada with access to interest-free loans. This shows once again that the federal government is taking note of the importance of supporting a variety of pathways to employment and taking action to provide adequate support to all students.

Even though 2015 saw the election of a new federal government, there are no signs that these gains will be lost. The liberals have made it clear that education is a priority for their government, promising measures to improve access, support innovation and increase investments in social infrastructure. The importance of making education accessible to all Canadians was also reiterated during the recent launch of the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The national media has also taken note of the great work colleges and institutes are doing this year, raising their profile on many occasions. On top of very positive coverage in publications such as the Globe and Mail, l’Actualité and Canadian School Counsellor Magazine, Maclean’s magazine published a brand new Colleges Guide, which showcases college and institute programs and student stories from across the country.

This was also a great year for new international opportunities for colleges and institutes. CICan signed several memorandums of understanding with various international partners. This included the creation of a new Education for employment program in Senegal, the signing of a partnership with Anadarko in Mozambique and the renewal and expansion of Education for employment in the Caribbean. These new partnerships have created opportunities for dozens of colleges and institutes to take part in international programs.

All of these new opportunities created over the past year should make clear the incredible contributions colleges and institutes make to their students, local business and industry, and ultimately to Canada. As we welcome 25,000 new refugees to Canada in early 2016, we have no doubt our members will rise to the occasion and again make clear the incredible role they play in each and every community.

Happy holidays from CICan!

CICan Logo Holidays

The staff at Colleges and Institutes Canada would like to wish you happy holidays and a wonderful new year. We hope your holidays are cheerful, restful, and filled with time spent with family and friends. Stay tuned for exciting news from colleges and institutes across Canada in the New Year!

Watch our holiday video message here. Best wishes from everyone at CICan!

CICan and Asian Development launch joint publication

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 9.49.50 AM

The Asian Development Bank and CICan officially launched a new publication on the lessons to be learned by Asian countries from the Canadian college and institute experiences on Tuesday‎ December 1st at ADB Headquarters in Manila.

The launch was made by the Senior Advisor on Education at the Bank, Mr Brajesh Panth, at the Annual ADB International Forum‎ on Skills, where CICan also presented on how to drive quality improvements by outcome measurements, and how to integrate entrepreneurship within technical curriculum.

In light of the growing engagement of CICan and it’s member institutions in supporting the improvement of college and institute systems in many countries of Asia, and the relative lack of research available on the Canadian system, the ADB hired Dr Blagovesta Maneva-Sleyman to undertake a research piece that described the Canadian system. It also looks at our work in China on leadership development and in Brazil on facilitating access to training by marginalized women.

The booklet is available online at ‎here or in hard copy by ordering from the Bank.

Eureka! Moment

To celebrate Medicine Hat College’s 50th anniversary, college staff, faculty and students have committed to completing 50 Acts of College in the institution’s region until June 30, 2016. The college has recently given back to the community by supporting Syrian Refugees, launching a Santa Claus fund to raise money for families in need, and by working with Canadian Blood Services. What an inspiring initiative! Good luck with your 50 Acts, MHC!


David Christie is the new director of Aboriginal Education at Northern Lights College. Mr. Christie’s previous positions include coordinator of Aboriginal Services at the college. Appointment notice

Dr. Deanna Rexe is the new Vice-President, Academic at Assiniboine Community College. Dr. Rexe’s previous positions include Vice-President at Vancouver Community College. Appointment notice

Dr. Adel Essayed is the new Dean, Centre for Construction and Engineering Technologies, at George Brown College. Dr. Essayed was recently an associate dean at Niagara College. Appointment notice

Luigi Ferrara is the new Dean, Centre for Arts, Design and Information Technology at George Brown College. He has been acting Dean of the Centre Arts and Design since 2013. Appointment notice

Leslie Quinlan is the new Vice-President, Human Resources and Organizational Development at George Brown College. Mrs. Quinlan’s previous positions include Senior Vice-President, HR, at TD Bank Group. Appointment notice



Registration for CICan’s 2016 Conference is now open! Join CICan in Quebec City from May 29-31 2016. Register now and you will be entered in a draw to receive a 50% discount on your registration, up to a maximum of $500!

Applied Research Symposium – Call for Presentations

CICan invites proposals for its 2016 Applied Research Symposium. The symposium is taking place March 7 – 8, 2016 at the Delta Winnipeg, Winnipeg, MB.

CICan Awards of Excellence 2016

The Colleges and Institutes Canada Awards Program recognizes and promotes excellence within Canadian colleges, institutes, cégeps, university colleges and polytechnics.

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.