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January 9, 2017

17 things to watch in 2017!

2017 is sure to be an exciting year for Canada. In looking forward to the year ahead, we have identified 17 areas that are likely to see some important developments. In no particular order, here are 17 things we will be watching in 2017:

  1. A stronger voice for youth

With the Prime Minister taking on the role of Minister of Youth, 2016 saw the creation of a new vehicle for youth engagement, the Prime Minister’s Youth Council. In 2017 we will be watching to see how the work of this council unfolds and which opportunities for youth involvement in national issues arise. We can’t wait to see how Canada’s young people will step up to help shape policy to build a better Canada.

  1. Commitment to reconciliation

Just over one year after the release of the report from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), Justin Trudeau renewed his commitment to improving the relationship between Canada and its Indigenous peoples. Committing to annual meetings with Indigenous associations, Trudeau made it clear that reconciliation will continue to be a priority for the federal government. We know this is the case for colleges and institutes as well and we can’t wait to see what their continued leadership brings via the commitments outlined in CICan’s Indigenous Education Protocol, signed by 47 colleges and institutes across the country.

  1. A post-consultation era

2016 was Canada’s year of consultation, and now we will get to see what comes of the recommendations! In December 2016, Global Affairs Canada released a “What We Heard” report in response to the International Assistance Review, while the Honourable Ministers Bains, Duncan, and Chagger jointly released a “What You Told Us” report to sum up Canadian recommendations heard through the Innovation Agenda consultations. We can expect that the other consultations will follow a similar process through 2017, with colleges and institutes poised to play a large role in implementation!

  1. A focus on environmental sustainability

Action on climate change has been a big priority for Canada in 2016, most recently with the announcement of a plan to implement a pan-Canadian approach to carbon pricing by 2018, and a new partnership to ensure a strong, sustainable Arctic free from the risks of offshore oil and gas activity. CICan also submitted input to Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan) consultations on clean technology. In 2017, we can expect to see colleges continue to lead in the reduction of institutional carbon footprints, while also providing innovative, environmentally-focused training that addresses the challenges of a world increasingly threatened by climate change.

  1. New international partnerships

Canada became the first non-Latin American observer to The Pacific Alliance in 2012, and in June 2016 signed the Canada-Pacific Alliance Joint Declaration on Partnership, which identified six key areas for increased cooperation, including trade, education, innovation, and climate change. As Canadian colleges and institutes are key players in all of these areas, we can expect to see CICan and its members emerging as leaders in forming more international partnerships, and acting as examples of a successful partnership approach. In this context, CICan’s Pacific Alliance project to provide policy, technical, and training support for Chile, Mexico, Peru and Colombia was also approved, and will take shape over the course of 2017.

  1. Canada’s 150th

Canada’s 150th anniversary this year is a great opportunity to showcase the contribution colleges and institutes have made to the country, dating back even more than 150 years. CICan’s Canada 150: A National Anthology website was launched last week, starting with outstanding achievements in art and design. Stay tuned for a new showcase each month of 2017!

  1. A new marijuana market

In November 2016, the Liberal platform commitment to legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana took a step forward with the release of the Task-Force Report of recommendations. Because colleges and institutes are entrepreneurial, providing education that responds to new market opportunities, Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick (CCNB) and Kwantlen Polytechnic University are among those who have already announced plans to introduce programming to train people to work in the burgeoning marijuana industry. From cultivation and plant production, facilities management, business administration, and more, we can expect to see colleges and institutes take the training lead in this new opportunity!

  1. Data is paramount

In December 2016, the federal government announced the introduction of a bill to reinforce Statistics Canada’s professional independence, and to ensure the relevance and transparency of the national statistical system. Minister Bains specifically mentioned the “necessity of data for planning critical services that all Canadians rely on, including housing, schooling, public transportation and skills training for employment.” CICan has long been an active voice in establishing the importance of data for postsecondary education; with this new bill, we hope to see a big jump in collecting the data Canada needs. Internationally, as the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) committed to measuring progress towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to education with its Education at a Glance reports, we will be looking to see how this exciting new data is put to use!

  1. An Innovation Budget

 2016 saw the launch of a federal Innovation Agenda consultation to which we provided our recommendations on how colleges and institutes can contribute to the national plan. This year we can expect more support for innovation as the federal government is set to announce its Budget 2017 dedicated to innovation in the coming months. We can’t wait to see what’s in store and how colleges and institutes will rise to the challenge!

  1. Essential skills

A key component of the federal government’s focus on inclusive growth and supporting the middle class is equipping every individual with the skills they need to compete in the evolving labour market. Colleges and institutes are known as outstanding providers of essential skills training, which is critical to achieving inclusive growth. For this reason, the Government of Canada decided to support essential skills development in their social finance pilot – CICan’s Essential Skills Social Finance. With funders now in place, we can expect great results in 2017! And, with the renewal funding for the Northern Basic Adult Education Program (NABEP), we’re excited to see what the three northern colleges can continue to achieve!

  1. Response to disruptive technologies

Disruptive technologies inside and outside of the classroom are changing both industry and education. A study released in November 2016 by the University of Toronto says that up to 7.5 million jobs are at risk of becoming redundant due to technological advances in automation, meaning that colleges and institutes will continue to find new ways to respond to shifts in the workforce. With classrooms embracing new technologies such as LinkedIn Learning , we can expect to see colleges and institutes continue to lead in re-skilling workers to address the changing labour market.

  1. Getting students moving

With a renewed presence on the international scene, Canada has been actively recruiting international students as an important aspect of maintaining a global advantage and international perspective in our education system. In 2017, we’re looking forward to seeing increases in funding and programming that open opportunities for mobility of Canadian students both nationally and internationally so that these experiences can be brought home to enrich Canada’s workforce.

  1. More work-integrated learning opportunities

With a renewed federal focus on getting students the skills they need to compete in an evolving economy and workforce, and in the context of a Business/Higher Education Roundtable report on work-integrated learning, colleges and institutes received a lot of attention in 2016 for the ways they connect industry into an integrated model for education. CICan also recently submitted a study on Program Advisory Committees to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) slated to be released in early 2017 – we’ll be watching to see how this will change work-integrated-learning-related opportunities for students in 2017! 

  1. Lots more entrepreneurs

2016 saw so many amazing companies born out of or in conjunction with colleges and institutes. Now, with a federal government investing in entrepreneurship hubs and partnership centres, an unprecedented number of newcomers to Canada, and a growing number of Student Pitch Competitions being supported, 2017 is poised to support even more innovative start-ups than we saw last year. We are so excited to see the great ideas pursued this year!

  1. Crowdfunding to Celebrate Canada’s 150th

In March, as part of CICan’s Canada 150 project, we will be launching a dedicated crowdfunding webpage to help students fund modest, community-based projects. We’re watching for the amazing projects sure to come from this initiative! 

  1. A greater focus on mental health

Throughout 2016, Justin Trudeau and his family, including his mother Margaret Trudeau, and wife Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau, affirmed a commitment to addressing the struggles and stigma related to mental health. The Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, also highlighted the issue in a speech delivered at the Canada 2020 Health Summit. As colleges and institutes not only train mental health workers, but are also leaders in providing mental health services to their students, staff, faculties, and local communities, 2017 is sure to see these establishments make great progress in addressing the mental-health needs of all Canadians.

  1. Welcoming newcomers to Canada

For the better part of 2016, Canada’s “sunny ways” have been a real contrast to the politics of division now present in other parts of the world. For those who want to work and live in Canada, recent changes to Canada Express Entry Program are now making it easier to attract great talent from around the world! With recognition from the federal government of the importance and success of the Planning for Canada program, we are excited to see welcome even more newcomers to the Canadian workforce in 2017.

Member News

Okanagan College participates in three-year collaborative study on sustainable homebuilding and energy-efficient technologies

Collège Montmorency helps autistic students express themselves with unique college magazine

Canadore College celebrates 100 percent graduation rate of Aboriginal Women in Trades program

Camosun College launches Coastal Skills Initiative to contribute to growth of British Columbia’s coastal communities

Three-year NorQuest College study explores how marginalized communities deal with discrimination and loneliness

SAIT to offer Construction Management Certificate providing project management skills for workers in the construction sector

Canada, BC allocate $199,000 to North Island College to deliver underground mining training for First Nation participants

George Brown College program helps refugees and survivors of war overcome hurdles to post-secondary education

Students from Algonquin College showcase research success in tackling environmental issues of Muskrat Lake Watershed

Georgian College partners with City of Barrie to offer new business development program for entrepreneurs

Le Cégep de Victoriaville reçoit 4,3 millions $ en provenance du Fond d’investissement stratégique

Des étudiants en Techniques de bioécologie du Cégep de Sainte-Foy s’envolent pour le Nicaragua

Le Cégep Garneau entame des démarches pour réduire son empreinte écologique

Deux étudiants du Collège Shawinigan remportent les honneurs du Centre national en électrochimie et en technologies environnementales (CNETE)

Des étudiants en Sciences humaines du Cégep régional de Lanaudière à L’Assomption présentent leurs projets d’Innovation sociale

CICan launches Canada 150: A National Anthology!


2017 has begun and we are so excited to officially launch our anthology project to showcase college and institute achievements in various categories over the course of the year – January is kicking off with achievements in Art & Design!

Our goal is to reach 150 submissions in each category by the end of this celebratory year. Check back and monitor our progress as more and more submissions are added each week!

Remember, submissions will be open for all categories all year long. Help us reach our target by getting involved!

Call for submissions: The Lieutenant Governor of Ontario’s Visionaries Prize


Attention Ontario students! How are you going to improve your province? The Lieutenant Governor’s Visionaries Prize is your opportunity to identify and address the challenges that Ontario will face over the next 50 years!

In partnership with the Walrus Foundation, the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario has announced a prestigious prize for young, creative thinkers to provide solutions to the great challenges facing Ontarians and Canadians over the next 50 years – from evolving environmental pressures to the future of governance in the 21st century.

The Visionaries Prize is a wonderful opportunity for college and institute students to get involved in public policy and make their voices heard! Students can submit their ideas in a short essay and/or video before March 2017.

36 finalists in six categories will be selected to present their ideas in front of a judging panel and live public audience in September 2017.

For more information and to submit, click here.

CICan 2017 Conference to feature ‘don’t miss’ Networking Sessions


Conference 2017 is set to be unforgettable as colleges and institutes across the country will gather during Canada’s sesquicentennial year, with the opportunity to network in the following sessions:

  • Presidents Leadership Network;
  • Governors Networking Session;
  • Vice-President, Associate Vice-Presidents and Campus Directors Networking Session;
  • Deans, Program Directors, Faculty and Staff Networking Session;
  • International Program & Recruitment Directors/Staff Networking Session; and,
  • Students Networking Session.

The conference will take place from April 30-May 2. Registration is on-going – click here! Visit the Conference 2017 website for more information.

Last call for nominations for CICan’s Awards of Excellence

CICan’s Awards of Excellence program is back and the deadline for nominations is fast approaching – CICan will be accepting nominations for the 2016-2017 Awards of Excellence until January 12, 2017.

The Colleges and Institutes Awards Program recognizes and promotes excellence within Canadian colleges, institutes, cégeps, university colleges and polytechnics. The awards showcase the extraordinary contribution of individuals to their college and institute communities, and highlight the role of these institutions in social, cultural, and economic development.

Awards will be presented at CICan’s 2017 Conference. For more information and to submit a nomination, click here.

Mark your calendars for the 2017 CICan Leadership Institutes

CICan is pleased to announce that registration for its upcoming Leadership Institutes is now open. The following institutes will be offered summer 2017:

CICan’s celebrated Leadership Institutes draw on the latest management concepts and experience to prepare participants to successfully lead in the college and institute system.

For more information, please contact Michèle Clarke, Director Member Relations.

Eureka! Moment

Did you know that a relationship between Selkirk College and the Nyundo School of Music in Rwanda has been an important part of the healing process following the devastating Rwandan genocide? A music instructor and three Selkrik students ravelled to Rwanda last year and made an amazing video mash-up of the two national anthems as a tribute to the on-going relationship between the two countries and schools. Read more about the relationship here, and watch the video here!


Congratulations to Vancouver Island University President and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Ralph Nilson who has been reappointed for a third term. Dr. Nilson’s new term will run until June 2019.


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.