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January 13, 2020

The future is now: our vision for the 20s

Welcome to 2020. Seminal works of science fiction from the 19th and 20th centuries predicted the year 2020 in various ways, sometimes fundamentally different from the world we know, and sometimes merely an imaginable reality augmented by new technologies.

While their visions haven’t been fully realized, much of the technology is already here. We can 3-D print everyday objects, robots are now routinely performing tasks identified as too dangerous or time-consuming for humans, the underwater world is being mapped with optical and acoustic remote-sensing technologies, and scientists can detect radio signals emerging from distant parts of the universe.

The United Nations has set a 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to direct how we can use these technologies, along with collective action, for the good of the planet and humanity in the next ten years. Without letting our imaginations run too wild, here’s our optimistic vision for the coming decade:

  1. Following the development of a national framework to integrate principles of climate change adaptation and mitigation into postsecondary education, all students will graduate with a climate credential.
  2. All workers displaced by automation will be fully reintegrated into the workforce thanks to reskilling and upskilling programs; micro-credentials; and part-time, online, hybrid, and accelerated programs.
  3. With expanded wraparound supports for Indigenous students and curriculum supporting truth and reconciliation, Indigenous and non-Indigenous post-secondary attainment rates and labour market outcomes will be on par.
  4. Businesses and government will fully recognize the college and institute research and innovation capacity to offer solutions to pressing real-world problems.
  5. In line with the Government of Canada’s goal to be completely carbon neutral by 2050, sustainable cities and communities of the future will only offer carbon-neutral public transportation, including infrastructure to support the use and recharging of electric vehicles on campus.
  6. Buildings, classrooms, and research facilities on campus will all be constructed from recycled or recyclable resources, reducing garbage production, and retrofit to ensure energy efficiency to become net-zero.
  7. All post-secondary students will have opportunities to learn and develop global and intercultural skills through educational and work experiences abroad.
  8. As Canadian institutions welcome international students in increasing numbers year after year, expanded welcome and orientation programs, language training, and integration support will ensure the success and integration of all international students.
  9. As warming climates continue to cause geographic shifts, many inland and northern colleges and institutes will emerge as leaders in unexpected areas such as marine research, agriculture, and freshwater and natural resource management.
  10. With the help of on-campus student entrepreneurship incubators, young people will have the resources they need to step up to their innovation potential and launch small businesses in line with their own values systems for sustainable design.
  11. Small and medium-sized enterprises will benefit from the college and institute system – a Canada-wide research and development engine – to become internationally competitive.
  12. As mental health is recognized as a fundamental component of good health and wellbeing through initiatives such as Bell Let’s Talk and the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s new national standard on mental health for students, all post-secondary institutions will be equipped with the necessary individualized mental health support services to ensure student success.
  13. All employers will get on board with lifelong learning opportunities for employees, matching government incentives, providing tuition reimbursement programs, and allowing employees time for professional and personal development.
  14. All Canadians will have access to high-speed Internet service and the 5G network, no matter where they live, including universal broadband access for rural, remote, and northern communities.
  15. Work-integrated learning in all programs will give every student the hands-on technical and entrepreneurial skills they need to satisfy employer demand upon entering the workforce.
  16. Specialized programs will be accessible and affordable anywhere in Canada regardless of geographic location thanks to high-quality simulation, augmented and virtual reality, and open educational resources.
  17. All learners, including students from underrepresented populations, women, LGBTQ2S+ students, and students with disabilities will be able to pursue post-secondary education without facing physical, emotional, financial, or psychological barriers.
  18. As robots, drones, and other automated processes perform everyday tasks, we will have more time to direct towards innovation and global problem solving.
  19. Canadians will age comfortably and securely thanks to college and institute training and applied research in seniors care, aging, and gerontology.
  20. Hands-on technical and vocational education and training (TVET) all over the world will be completely destigmatized, and diploma, degree, and certificate programs and credentials will be recognized by employers as “top quality education”.

The start of a new decade is a good time to reflect on how far we’ve come and where we are going. By setting the right goals, working together to develop new solutions, and investing in the right infrastructure and skills, there’s no telling how far we can go.

Join us in February: symposium on continuing education

Our National Symposium on Continuing Education is around the corner and we have an exciting line up of presentations and keynotes lined up!

With the theme, Responding to Employers’ Needs – New Collaborations for New Skills, this interactive event will gather leaders in continuing education to discuss emerging themes in lifelong learning, including trends in the labour market, innovative models and approaches, and institutional readiness. The preliminary program is now available online!

Sessions over the two days will be punctuated by passionate keynotes from:

  • Pedro Barata, inaugural executive director of the Future Skills Centre and an active voice on social policy and community building with an extensive career in the non-profit sector over the past two decades; and,
  • The Honourable Perrin Beatty, president and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, former member of parliament and minister in seven different portfolios, and a longstanding champion of post-secondary education.

Join us in Toronto, ON, from February 6-7, 2020. Register now!

Conference 2020 keynote updates!

With our 2020 Connection Conference approaching, we are happy to share more news about our keynotes! In addition to Bina48, one of the world’s most advanced social robots, we have a slate of speakers set to inspire and engage participants over the course of the event:

  • Nikki Fraser, Indigenous advocate and founder of Uniting Our Voices, a space for Indigenous voices to be heard, to build connections, and inspire change makers;
  • John McArthur, senior fellow in the Global Economy and Development program at the Brookings Institution, senior adviser to the UN Foundation, and a board governor for the International Development Research Centre;
  • Janet Bannister, entrepreneur and founder of Kijiji; and,
  • Thomas Frey, founder and executive director of DaVinci Institute and entrepreneur with unique insights into the future.

Don’t miss this unique conversation! Join us in Montreal from May 3-5. Register now!

On top of these keynotes, this year’s event will engage topics in six streams: Governing Excellence, Wiring for Student Success, Hacking Education, Embodying Sustainability, Driving Innovation, and Going Global.

ATTN Students! Take part in a hackathon to fight climate change

BGIS and the International Facilities Management Association (IFMA) are inviting students to participate in the first annual “Hacking Climate Change” Hackathon with the goal of accelerating progress in the fight against climate change!

Do you have an idea that you believe can lower the carbon footprint for a business? How will you help change the way we work in facilities management?

Any student registered at a Canadian college or institute is eligible to participate – either individually or as part of a group! Students and teams must register before January 31, 2020. The Hackathon will take place from February 7-10.

Two $5,000 cash prizes will be awarded to the top winning solution of each question. Visit the Hacking Climate Change website to learn more.

Share your research story with SSHRC

The Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) recently launched its annual Storytellers contest challenging postsecondary students to creatively show Canadians how social sciences and humanities research has an impact on our lives and our communities.

All students enrolled at a Canadian post-secondary institution are invited to tell the story, in 3 minutes or 300 words, of a SSHRC-funded research project taking place at their institution for the chance to will a receive a $3000 cash prize and specialized training in research communications!

Visit SSHRC online for more information.

Apply for a Connection Grant in digital citizen research

SSHRC has just launched the Initiative for Digital Citizen Research (IDCR), a new joint initiative with the Department of Canadian Heritage. The IDCR aims to develop a better understanding of the impacts of online disinformation in Canada in order to better inform programs and policies, build Canada’s capacity to conduct research on online disinformation and other related online harms, and help foster a community of researchers engaged with digital citizenship and online disinformation in Canada.

Institutions, individuals, and teams are encouraged to apply to the Connection Grants’ arm of IDCR to fund events and outreach activities geared towards short-term, targeted knowledge mobilization initiatives. The deadline for applications is February 1.

New project gives Canadians facing barriers access to pre-apprenticeship training adapted for their success

In partnership with the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum (CAF), we are launching a two-and-a-half-year project funded by the Government of Canada as part of the Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness (STAR) Program. The Inclusive Pre-Apprenticeship Pathways Program will help Canadians, particularly those facing barriers to education, access pre-apprenticeship training adapted to support their success.

The pan-Canadian program will gather data to provide a comprehensive overview of pre-apprenticeship training available to Canadians at colleges and institutes, pilot up to five pre-apprenticeship programs designed for groups facing barriers in urban and rural locations, and measure outcomes with framework prototype developed by CAF.

Ultimately the project will allow Canadians to explore careers in trades and gain work experience through promising pre-apprenticeship programs. Read more in the full press release.

New institutional partnerships in the Pacific Alliance

We are happy to announce the results of the fourth call for partnerships to improve services that support the success and employability of learners, particularly women, in our Education for Employment program in the Pacific Alliance (EFE-PA):

  • In Chile, Collège Boréal will lead a project with partners Cégep Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu and Collège Communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick;
  • In Colombia, Cégep de Chicoutimi will lead a consortium including Cégep de Jonquière as a partner;
  • In Mexico, Fanshawe College will partner with Northern Lights College; and
  • In Peru, Cégep Édouard-Montpetit will lead a project with Collège Montmorency.

The selected Canadian institutions will collaborate with the Ministries of Education and Labour at national and local levels to provide greater socio-economic opportunities for women and men in a sustainable and inclusive extractive sector. We look forward to collaborating on the implementation of these partnerships with these ten member institutions!

Eureka! Moment

Did you know that we recently welcomed back two returning members? With the addition of Collège Ellis, with campuses in Drummondville, Trois-Rivières, and Longueuil, QC and Columbia College, located in Vancouver, BC to our membership, we will continue to expand our reach and strengthen national advocacy efforts! Welcome back!


Saskatchewan Polytechnic appointed two new vice-presidents. Dr. Has Malik will take on the role of provost and vice-president, Academic with 15 years of experience at Sheridan College; and Patricia Bowron will join the institution as vice-president, Advancement and International with 22 years of experience at College of the Rockies.

Langara College also appointed Yusuf Varachia as vice-president, External Development. Varachia has over 15 years of experience in Canadian post-secondary education, most recently at Simon Fraser University.


Leadership Institutes

Register for this year’s upcoming Leadership Institutes.

WFCP awards

Submit a nomination for the WFCP’s Awards of Excellence.

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.