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January 14, 2019

10 Things to watch in 2019

2019 is here and we are looking forward to an exciting year ahead! In no particular order, here are the top 10 things to watch in the coming year:

  1. Mental health

According to recent statistics, one in three Canadians will experience a mental illness or substance-use disorder in their lifetimes, yet stigma still prevents many from seeking help. In 2019 we expect to see colleges and institutes play an increasingly important role in addressing the mental health challenges of their students. One way we will see this advance in 2019 is via the development of a National Standard on Psychological Health and Safety for post-secondary students led by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), in partnership with CICan, Universities Canada, and others. We also know our members will continue to pioneer mental health-related programming, such as a Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) course to reduce and manage post-traumatic stress among first responders, and initiatives to help students minimize stress on campus.

  1. A skills budget

In November, speaking to reporters, Minister of Finance Bill Morneau said skills training would be a large part of the Liberal government’s 2019 Budget. Having already invested heavily in previous budgets – including a 2018 commitment of $2 billion over five years to support the creation of a new Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Program – and having announced details of a new Future Skills Centre tasked with “exploring new and innovative approaches to skills development,” we will be watching to see how training for future skills plays out, with particular emphasis on global skills and student mobility, as well as increased access to vital skills training for Indigenous and underrepresented populations.

  1. Election fever

Canadians in Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick have had a lot to ponder this past year as the three provinces elected new governments. As Alberta, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Northwest Territories are slated to head to the polls in 2019 – on top of a Canadian federal election in October – leadership across the country could look drastically different by the end of the year. Whatever the results, we are looking forward to working closely with the current and upcoming governments to define priorities for 2019 and beyond, building connections with newly elected ministers and old friends in new roles.

  1. Artificial intelligence

We expect AI to make even bigger headlines this year. In December, Canada played host to the G7 Multistakeholder Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Montreal, during which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an investment of nearly $230 million in the AI-Powered Supply Chains Supercluster (SCALE.AI). And, this Maclean’s list of Canadian startups that could make it big in 2019 features a variety of companies bringing AI to an unimaginable variety of fields. Durham College’s AI Hub and a new College Centre for the Transfer of Technology (CCTT) in artificial intelligence affiliated with Cégep John Abbot College are also sure to be big players in 2019. This year, we will be watching for advancements in AI technology and to see how colleges and institutes can expand their role in AI-industries to help Canada, as a global leader in innovation, harness the potential from artificial intelligence to reap both social and economic benefits for all Canadians.

  1. Work-integrated learning for all

Work-integrated learning (WIL) is a fundamental element of education provided by colleges and institutes; however, competition remains very high and many students – particularly newcomers to Canada, Indigenous populations, and other vulnerable groups – remain without access to this critical learning experience. In 2018, CICan supported the Business/Higher Education Roundtable’s (BHER) call for 100% of students to have access to WIL. As WIL is so crucial to developing a workforce equipped with the necessary skills for the workplace of the future, we will be watching for both more government investment in WIL and more engagement from the private sector, particularly small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SME).

  1. New models for lifelong learning

In 2018, Humber College launched Digital Badges to offer learners unique professional credentials to help steer their careers in new directions. Similarly, Saskatchewan Polytechnic offers a series of LERN Microcredentials to give learners practical skills. In Quebec, the Fédération des cégeps piloted a project to recognize digital skills through 24 different badges with five participating colleges: Ahuntsic, Édouard-Montpetit, Lévis-Lauzon, Limoilou, and Valleyfield. The project is set to expand in 2019, covering many more competencies and skills. This approach to recognizing skills provides learners with credentials that are quickly earned, flexible, and “stackable” into unique skills sets that are desirable for employers in rapidly changing workplaces. We are looking forward to discussing this new model of lifelong learning in the coming year, including at CICan’s National Symposium on Continuing Education, Feb 28 and March 1st in Montreal.

  1. Changing food supply

In December, CBC reported that the price of the average Canadian grocery bill could go up by 3.5 percent in 2019 as shifting diet trends have both raised and lowered demand for various vegetables, meats, seafoods, and dairy products. Health Canada is also set to release an updated Food Guide in the spring which could mean big changes for healthy eating. Colleges and institutes are huge players in the culinary, agriculture, and food preparation fields. This year we’ll be watching to see how institutions such as Vancouver Community College, Holland College, and Olds College respond to these shifts with new culinary and food processing programs, agricultural technology programs, and another innovations in food production, such as Yukon College’s Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Cold Climate Greenhouse.

  1. More opportunities for entrepreneurship

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) has made significant investments in resources for entrepreneurs, both launching an Innovation Canada Digital Platform, and investing in a Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub, launched as part of the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy. Colleges and institutes are already champions of entrepreneurship, with specialized centres like Red River College’s ACE Project Space and the soon-to-be-opened Algonquin College Institute for Indigenous Entrepreneurship. This year, we will be watching to see how colleges and institutes can grow the entrepreneurship services they currently offer, especially as they pertain to underrepresented groups.

  1. The global skills trade

In his Fiscal Update, Minister of Finance Bill Morneau announced that Global Affairs Canada and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) would work together to develop a new international education strategy. The federal government clearly recognizes the importance of attracting international students to support inclusive economic growth in Canada, as do our members. Over the past few years, many colleges and institutes have seen the highest number of international enrollments in their history, and many now offer unique programs and services tailored to the needs of international students and new Canadians, such as a Nova Scotia Community College four-week automotive program, and French-language courses for new immigrants offered by Collège Montmorency. In the coming year, we expect the trend to continue to grow, and we will be watching to see new innovative approaches to supporting students from all over the world, while building new opportunities for Canadians to learn abroad, becoming true global citizens.

  1. Open-source educational material

2018 was a big year for intellectual property in Canada, as the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology (INDU) undertook a lengthy consultation process to review the Copyright Act. CICan’s own submission highlighted the importance of supporting new ideas, allowing the dissemination of knowledge, permitting access to education, and embracing technological innovation with a Copyright Act tailored to the digital age. And, at CICan’s Leaders Forum in November 2018, Nelson CEO Steve Brown spoke about leading Nelson’s transition from traditional textbooks toward digital education solutions and the importance of evolution in learning. We could see big changes in store for Canadian colleges and institutes in 2019.

No matter which way you look at it, 2019 is sure to be exciting. Stay tuned for the college and institute spin on this year’s trends in Canada!

Register now: CICan’s 2019 Leadership Institutes!

Registration is open for CICan’s renowned Leadership Institutes – don’t miss the 2019 program! Leadership Institutes draw on the latest management concepts and experience to prepare participants to successfully lead in the college and institute system and contribute to institutional succession planning by looking at the competencies required to lead effectively in institutions of all sizes and the skills necessary to lead at a higher level.

The following institutes will be offered in 2019:

Don’t miss this opportunity to interact with colleagues from across the country and become part of a networking group to facilitate further engagement and learning! Register now.

Join us at the National Symposium on Continuing Education!

In a world of rapid technological and economic change, workers now expect to switch jobs throughout their lifetimes, see sectors disrupted, and continuously develop new skills. With this in mind, CICan, together with the Fédération des cégeps, is pleased to be hosting “Training and the Labour Market – Always Evolving,” in Montreal, QC, from February 28 to March 1st, 2019!

This National Symposium on Continuing Education will engage participants on how to better respond to changes in the labour market and to the needs of a diversified student body, including new immigrants, international students, Indigenous populations, and other under-represented groups.

Meet and exchange with experts and leaders from colleges and institutes, the labour market, and governments, regarding issues and best practices for continuing education and training in the workplace. Don’t miss this event!

Be sure to book your accommodation soon as rooms at the Hotel Omni Mont-Royal are quickly filling up! For more information, click here.

IPAC’s National Leadership Conference

The Institute of Public Administration of Canada’s (IPAC) National Leadership Conference is scheduled on February 11 & 12, 2019 at the Chelsea Hotel in Toronto. The theme of the conference is Disruption, Change and Shifting Mindsets.

The conference will:

  • Give participants key information, tools and examples of how they can successfully manage, change, tackle disruption and shift the mindset of an organization.
  • Engage delegates with cutting edge leadership development workshops that will enhance their ability to lead in a fluid, shifting environment.
  • Provide delegates with access to renowned experts who led public sector organizations through complex, disruptive times and successfully implemented changes that reshaped and improved their organizations and teams.
  • Showcase IPAC’s new Excellence in Public Service Award.

For conference details and to register click here. Join your colleagues this February to share in this exciting learning experience!

A New Approach to Networking: Conference 2019 launches Thought Forums

Be prepared to be engaged and challenged! This year at CICan’s annual conference in Niagara Falls, we are taking our traditional networking sessions to a new level. The new thought forums will be open to all conference participants and provide opportunities to engage on hot topics and trade insights and first-hand experiences with a diverse group of participants. Topics will range from riding the waves of a changing government to teaching in diverse classrooms that include newcomers and international students.

CICan’s annual conference is the largest event of its kind in Canada and gathers post-secondary education leaders from across the country and around the world.

Join us from May 5-7, 2019 in Niagara Falls, ON, to network with colleagues, share best practices, and be inspired as we envision together the future of colleges and institutes focused on success and inclusion. Register now!

Canadian students wanted for unique internship opportunities in Mexico City!

CICan recognizes the multiple benefits of international mobility and is committed to empowering the next generation of Canadians with the skills, experience, and tools they need to become successful global citizens. With the support of Scotiabank as part of the joint Global Mobility Program, CICan is pleased to announce two new internship opportunities with Scotiabank’s Digital Factory in Mexico City.

Two fully funded internships are now available to Canadian and permanent resident students from CICan member institutions! Applications are now being accepted for a Front-End Software Developer and a Graphic Designer position beginning in May 2019.

To view eligibility requirements and apply, click here.

The Global Mobility Program offers Canadian students the opportunity to travel, study and work overseas to acquire international and intercultural skills and experiences that benefit their career, their employer, their community and Canadian society.

For more information, please contact Andrew Champagne at

Participate in the National Consultation on Literacy and Poverty

Frontier College and the Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC) are happy to announce the launch of a National Consultation on Literacy and Poverty as part of a National Research Study aiming to inform a poverty reduction strategy firmly rooted in literacy development.

By means of a short survey, the partners are looking for respondents to share experiences in the delivery of adult literacy programming and other poverty reduction and alleviation programs to learn more about new and innovative ways of providing these services and supports to adults.

As leaders in adult education, this is an opportunity for colleges and institutes to share best practices and help shape the future of literacy and poverty reduction.

Participate in the online survey here. Both Frontier College and SRDC thank you for your participation.

Eureka! Moment

Did you know that a new Vancouver Island University (VIU) partnership will help Indigenous graduates develop business and leadership skills? The Indigenous Intern Leaders Program, a partnership between the Province, the BC Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN), the Business Council of BC (BCBC), and VIU, will match Indigenous graduates of technical, trades, diploma and degree programs with companies in BC for two-year paid internships. Learn more here.


Langara College was pleased to name a new Vice-President, People and Culture. Jane Mason will take on the role effective February 11, 2019 with over 25 year of experience in human resources leadership.

Mohawk College announced the appointment of Hillary Dawson as the college’s new Associate Vice President, Public Affairs, Marketing and Strategic Initiatives. Dawson joined Mohawk College in 2015.

The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) was happy to announce the selection of a successful candidate to chair the institute’s Board of Governors. Melinda Park will take on the role with more than 20 years of experience in corporate law. She has served on SAIT’s Board of Governors since 2017.


Conference 2019

Join us in Niagara Falls for CICan’s annual conference! Register now.

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