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February 21, 2017

Trades training, like Lethbridge College’s Automotives program [pictured], plays an important role in Canada’s workforce development.

Pursuing inclusive growth through skills and innovation

Earlier this month, Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) welcomed the second wave of recommendations for unleashing Canada’s economic potential from Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth. The Council’s bold ideas put workforce development and innovation among the necessities for sustained and inclusive economic growth. As colleges and institutes have a long history of success in these areas, there is no doubt that they will continue to play an important in role in the implementation of the Council’s recommendations.

The Council’s “Tapping Economic Potential Through Broader Workforce Participation” focused on increasing underrepresented groups in the labour market. Providing all Canadians with the skills they need to succeed has always been the first priority of colleges and institutes, who often pioneer programs for under-represented and vulnerable demographics. This has included working with Indigenous peoples on programs to improve training opportunities and employment outcomes in Northern communities, such as Okanagan College’s Construction Craftworker (CCW) Aboriginal Bridging Program, as well as innovative programs to promote the inclusion of women in in the labour market, such as Canadore College’s successful Aboriginal Women in Trades program.

Because of this focus on inclusion, colleges and institutes have always been champions of reskilling, which is becoming increasingly important as emerging trends and technologies are causing rapid and constant shifts in the labour market. By working with local employers and experts, they are able to adapt quickly to these changes and adjust their programs accordingly, such as NBCC’s new Salesforce training program developed in response to New Brunswick’s growing IT sector, and Algonquin College’s experiential learning partnership with Shopify.

The Council’s “Building a Highly Skilled and Resilient Workforce” report recommended the creation of a new national organization dedicated entirely to skills development and measurement – the FutureSkills Lab. We are facing monumental shifts in the global labour market — having a structure dedicated to establishing overarching national strategies would help tackle this challenge through innovative approaches to skills development.

In “Unlocking Innovation to Drive Scale and Growth” colleges and institutes again have a key role to play, having developed a strong expertise in applied research and a proven approach to innovation based on collaboration with private sector partners.

Through these applied research partnerships, such as those formed through BCIT’s Centre for Applied Research and Innovation (CARI), and Canada’s Smartest Kitchen at Holland College, colleges and institutes help boost the innovation capacity of SMEs to scale up operations in Canada and strengthen supply chains for large companies. As we move towards the implementation of “innovation marketplaces”, the role they play to strengthen talent development and improve connectivity within the innovation ecosystem already serves as a best practice.

The Council’s ambitious targets for building a more prosperous Canada will take work, but colleges and institutes are poised to respond to and collaborate on each one of the recommendations!

Member News

Northern College partners with Durham College and Algoma University on bridging program for Computer Engineering Technician diploma

Seneca College Hospitality students travel South Africa for field and work placement

Nicola Valley Institute of Technology among the post-secondary institutions partnering on First Nations language training

Region of Durham announces $1-million investment in Durham College in support of new Centre for Collaborative Education (CFCE)

College of New Caledonia, Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) partner with First Nations communities to provide Indigenous learners with skills such as basic computer literacy

Thompson Rivers University begins construction on new $30-million Industrial Training and Technology Centre

Loyalist College celebrates largest enrolment in the college’s history

Red Deer College celebrates reducing carbon footprint

Lethbridge College partnership helps bring new “poultryponics” approach to vegetable and egg production to life

Camosun College, Vancouver Island University, and North Island College among those participating in partnerships along BC coast to prepare Indigenous learners for jobs in construction, forestry, and eco-tourism sectors

Cambrian College adds two new programs in mobile app development and project management

Le Cégep de Sept-Îles continue son travail de l’optimisation des systèmes solaires photovoltaïques dans des microréseaux décentralisés

Le Cégep Édouard-Montpetit dévoile les noms des trois étudiants en Techniques de prothèses dentaires ayant remporté le Défi Summum

Trois étudiants du Cégep Marie-Victorin remportent un prix au Concours de sculpture de neige à Rivière-du-Loup

Le Cégep Édouard-Montpetit lance une exposition collective d’artistes diplômés du programme d’Arts visuels du cégep

Les gouvernements du Québec et du Canada annoncent l’investissement de 1,74 million de dollars dans l’infrastructure du Cégep régional de Lanaudière

Le Cégep de Saint-Félicien reçoit 2,04M$ pour l’amélioration de la formation spécialisée en techniques de santé animale

CICan 2017 Conference update!


CICan is pleased to announce that the new app for its 2017 Conference is now available for download! The app is equipped with everything conference participants will need, including schedules, maps, speakers, and exhibitors, to name a few.

Visit your app store and search “CICan 2017 Conference” to get connected!

CICan would also like to extend congratulations to Ken Tourand, President & CEO of Nicola Valley Institute of Technology, and Christopher Derickson, Member of Okanagan College’s Board of Governors – awarded with complimentary registration to this year’s conference for their participation on the leader board of last year’s conference app. More great prizes are coming this year!

For App download instructions click here. To register click here.

Canada’s top researchers recognized with NSERC Awards

Screen Shot 2017-02-21 at 9.34.14 AM

On February 7, 2017, twenty of Canada’s top researchers were honoured with six prestigious Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) prizes totaling $3.72 million for their longstanding commitment to making discoveries and innovations found in every aspect of society. The prizes were awarded at Rideau Hall by Governor General, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston; Minister of Science, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan; and NSERC President, Dr. B. Mario Pinto.

Congratulations to all Awards recipients! For a complete list, click here.

In particular, congratulations go to the five researchers from Optech technology transfer centre (CCTT) at the Cégep André-Laurendeau who, in partnership with Montreal-based Dental Wings were awarded the Synergy Award for Innovation for their work developing new tools such as an intraoral scanner, an optical metrology system, and a series of tabletop three-dimensional scanners for use in dental professions.

The Synergy Awards for Innovation recognize partnerships in natural sciences and engineering research and development between post-secondary institutions and Canadian industry. The awards are judged on partnership, effective use of resources, and tangible benefits.

Congratulations Cégep André-Laurendeau! To read more about the Optech CCTT, click here.

CICan to re-host Webinar!

Registration is now open for a previously scheduled Webinar on the following topic:

  • Creating Mentally Healthy Educational Environments, focusing on creating mentally healthy working and learning environments in colleges and institutes.
    • In French: Monday, March 6, 2017 from 11:30am-12:30pm

Click here to register! Any further questions concerning the Webinars can be directed to Bruce Landry, here.

Canadian Nurses Foundation offering scholarships


For more than 50 years, the Canadian Nurses Foundation (CNF) has supported world-class Canadian health care by awarding scholarships to promising nursing students and nurses at all educational levels, including Indigenous and internationally-educated nurses, and by funding nurse-led research to improve the quality of patient care.

The Foundation grants more than $275,000 in scholarships annually and is always looking for new opportunities to fund students through partnerships with organizations and individuals across the country. This year, CNF is proud to offer more than 60 scholarships. The 2017-2018 application process is now open – deadline March 31.

Click here for more information and to apply.

In May 2016, CNF also launched a campaign to raise $1 million in support of Indigenous nurses. The One Million in One Year campaign recognizes the importance of Indigenous nurses as the first point of contact and often the only health care providers in Indigenous communities in the wake of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report and recent suicide and mental health crises in northern and isolated Indigenous communities. The campaign will build on CNF’s current programming to improve the health and wellbeing of Canada’s Indigenous communities.

Read more about the One Million in One Year campaign or make a donation here. For more information about all CNF scholarships and to apply, click here.

Canada launches new platform for collaboration between academics, students, and public servants


The federal government has launched a digital networking platform called GCcollab, a site it calls an easy way for academics and students to connect and collaborate with Canada’s public service.

Modelled after an existing open-source communication platform for government employees, GCconnex, GCcollab allows students, staff, faculty, and researchers from all of Canada’s universities and colleges to network with federal, provincial, and territorial public servants to share resources, pursue research partnerships, ask and discuss policy questions and recruitment opportunities, create profiles and groups, and view events.

Launched in September 2016, the pilot stage was open to users at five post-secondary institutions, and employees at the federal level; however, due to enormous demand, the tool was soon opened to all universities and colleges, and extended to provincial and territorial levels of government.

As of December 2016, nearly 300 of the platform’s 800 registered users were from academia. Take advantage of this opportunity to join the conversation! Register here.

Eureka! Moment

Did you know that Algonquin College graphic design students have teamed up with the Ottawa Hospital’s Research Chair in Public Health Innovation, Dr. Kumanan Wilson, to create a digital comic book that raises awareness about vaccines and immune health? Immunity Warriors: Invasion of the Alien Zombies was funded through the Public Health Agency of Canada and aims to explain the role of white bloods cells and vaccines to children with a story about invading extra-terrestrials. To view the full digital comic book, click here.


Durham College was pleased to welcome a new Associate Dean, School of Business, IT & Management (BITM). Michelle Hutt will assume the role effective February 27 after holding a wide range of positions at Seneca College.

Lethbridge College was also happy to announce Kristin Ailsby as the new Chair of the college’s Board of Governors. An experienced litigator and graduate of both the University of Lethbridge and the University of Alberta, Ailsby will serve as board chair until 2020.


Jun 20 - 24th, 2021
CICan Leadership Institute for Leaders in International
Toronto, Toronto Marriott City Centre
Jun 20 - 24th, 2021
CICan Leadership Institute for Leaders in Applied Research and Innovation
Toronto, Toronto Marriott City Centre
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Canada’s 150th Anniversary! 

Submissions for CICan’s Canada 150 project are ongoing. Check out our Canada 150 website for more details.

CICan’s Leadership Institutes 

Registration is live for CICan’s 2017 Leadership Institutes. Click here to register.

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.