Sub Menu

Main Content

July 6, 2020

Asking ourselves the important questions

This past month has been incredibly charged with calls to action for social justice around the world. Even as the COVID-19 pandemic limits large gatherings, thousands have joined global protests against systemic racism following the police killings of Black men and women in the United States, and reports of police brutality against Black, Indigenous, people of colour (BIPOC) in Canada.

As many have taken to social media to share stories of injustice and call for public action, and leaders in higher education across the country have condemned anti-black violence and xenophobia, we also recognize that systemic racism and discrimination exist in Canada, and that Black students, Indigenous students, Asian students, and other visible minorities often disproportionately face challenges to success.

We celebrated inclusivity and diversity during Pride Month, and the unique heritage, diverse cultures, and outstanding contributions of Indigenous peoples on National Indigenous Peoples Day, but we must also take actionable steps to catalyze change. Colleges and institutes have a vital role to play in developing an engaged, civic-minded, and community-focused society.

  • The Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) is Canada’s unique leading public safety educator, training approximately 26,000 students on campus and online each year. Last month, JIBC condemn race-based violence and discrimination, and affirmed its commitment to the principles of diversity, inclusivity, and social justice advocacy in its law enforcement training.
  • Just last year, Nunavut Arctic College and the University of Saskatchewan launched the Nunavut Law Program with funding from the federal government to give legal professionals an understanding of the regional and cultural contexts in Nunavut and to improve access to justice across the territory.
  • The Northern Institute of Social Justice at Yukon University focuses primarily on developing and delivering short training courses and awareness sessions for frontline workers employed in social justice-related work in governments, non-government organizations, and businesses. Courses cover fields such as administrative justice, education, health and wellness, policing, regulatory enforcement, and social services.
  • Collège de Maisonneuve is the only francophone cégep to offer the Justice and Society diploma program looking at individual and collective rights, the role of public institutions in social and economic equality and the distribution of wealth, and the history of the justice system in Canada.
  • Collège d’Alma’s Police Technologies for First Nations program [Techniques policières des Premières Nations] trains public safety officials with particular emphasis on the unique realities and challenges often faced by Indigenous communities.
  • Bow Valley College’s two-year Justice Studies diploma with Aboriginal Focus Specialization trains students for careers in justice sectors, covering topics such as psychology and mental health, correctional methods, and intervention strategies with youth.
  • The Atlantic Police Academy (APA) at Holland College provides training to enter public safety careers and is also a leader in the development of the Canadian Police Knowledge Network (CPKN), an innovative network of training and knowledge sharing between police and public safety professionals.
  • In an informal, virtual setting, Centennial College recently hosted a community conversation on anti-Black racism and how we can take action as a community. In a safe space for Black students and allies, participants shared the impacts of anti-Black racism and resources for support.

While programs of study and institutional initiatives focused on social justice, race, and gender equality educate and help communities take important steps forward, we must also take a deep look within all of our institutions and ask the difficult questions that expose implicit and unintentional biases in order to drive meaningful change. We cannot take for granted that racism and discrimination don’t exist in our communities and on our campuses. Committing to the Sustainable Development Goals, and to universal, inclusive quality education means that we need to continue to have the conversation, to right wrongs, and to admit we can and we will do better.

Congratulations to our Distinguished Service and Outstanding Partner award recipients!

It is with great pleasure that our President’s Leadership Network recognized Dan Patterson, President of Niagara College with this year’s Distinguished Service Award! He is recognized not only for his leadership at Niagara College, but for his outstanding contribution to Canada’s post-secondary system as a whole, throughout his distinguished career.

Over his 25-year tenure, Dan Patterson has overseen a dramatic transformation of Niagara College. Enrolment has almost tripled – from 4,500 to 13,000 full time students who come from more than 90 countries. Read the full press release. 

Leading into his retirement, we are so pleased to celebrate Dan’s achievements. Well done and congratulations; this award is well deserved!

We were also thrilled to recognize Mitacs with our Outstanding Partner Award in recognition of its important contribution to the post-secondary education sector, providing valuable work-integrated learning to Canadian students across the country!

Working with colleges, polytechnics and universities, over 4,000 companies, and both federal and provincial governments, Mitacs builds partnerships that support industrial and social innovation by funding student research internships that connect them with industry. Congratulations Mitacs! Read the full press release.

Both awards were presented virtually last Monday, June 29 during our Annual General Meeting, which connected members online from coast to coast to coast.

A year-end update from CICan

Over the course of the past year, we saw some big wins in Ottawa as we focused on the future of education and workforce development. With such a great year behind us, we are excited to share our Annual Report for 2019-20! Celebrate an amazing year with us!


Nominate a student for the Paul & Gerri Charette Bursary

Nominations are now open for the CICan Paul and Gerri Charette Bursary providing support to college and institute students that demonstrate financial need and face challenges or barriers to participating in and completing post-secondary education!

Students from or attending colleges or institutes in rural, remote, or northern areas will be given preference for the bursaries of up to $5,000 each.

Nominate a student before October 2.

Help colleges and institutes lead recovery and sustainability

Highlight the important role of colleges and institutes in helping communities across the country recover and focus on sustainability with pre-budget consultations for Budget 2021!

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance is now holding pre-budget consultations for the 2021 federal budget with a focus measures to restart the Canadian economy as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. This is an important opportunity to speak as one voice in Ottawa and better position the strengths of the college and institute system. We will provide a draft budget submission with recommendations and key messages for your feedback in mid-July.

Your support is vital to in ensuring that Canada’s colleges and institutes remain visible and active in Ottawa.

Celebrate six talented student artists!

We are thrilled to celebrate the creativity and talent of six student artists following the results of our 2020 Student Art Contest!

Despite COVID-19, this year’s contest received over 200 submissions from talented college and institute students across the country in six categories: textile, mixed media, or sculpture; photography; digital Illustration or animation; painting; and, drawing. Public voting on finalists in each category took place at the end of May. View each of the winning pieces of art online.

The winner in each category will receive a cash prize of $350 and have their work displayed on the walls of CICan’s office, located inside the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa. The winning pieces are also displayed on the CICan website.

Learn about TVET online with the WFCP

Join the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics (WFCP) for its new series of free webinars devoted to topical issues affecting professional and technical education and training, international exchange, and global education around the world.

The first webinar ‘What will be the post-COVID-19 recovery plan for education and the global economy?’ was hosted by the England’s Association of Colleges (AoC) at the end of June. For those who missed it, find the recording online and subscribe to the WFCP’s newsletter for more!

The WFCP also held its Annual General Meeting at the end of May, during which members learned about the federation’s progress throughout 2019-20 and how the WFCP could further support professional and technical education and training around the world. Read federation’s 2019-20 Annual Report is available online.

Eureka! Moment

Did you know that Kenjgewin Teg means “a place of knowledge” in Ojibwe and the institute includes Indigenous knowledge in all its educational programming and relationships with the community? Each learner works with staff to develop a unique learning plan and identify goals. Teaching includes obtaining sustenance from the land, using Indigenous games as teaching tools, and helping students broaden their cultural perspectives and ways of knowing. Watch this incredible video from the Indigenous Institutes Consortium to learn more!


Cégep de la Pocatière announced the renewal of Marie-Claude Deschênes’ mandate as director general for another five years. Deschênes began her first mandate with 20 years of experience in 2016.

Collège Ahuntsic also announced the renewal of Nathalie Vallée’s mandate as director general for another five years. Vallée has led the college since 2015.

Université Sainte-Anne also renewed the mandate of current president and vice-chancellor, Allister Surette, for another five years. Surette has held the position since 2011.

Red Deer College welcomed Kylie Thomas as its new vice-president, academic and research. An experienced leader in post-secondary education, Thomas most recently served as associate vice-resident, students and registrar, at Nicola Valley Institute of Technology.

Cégep André-Laurendeau announced the appointment of Édouard Langlois-Légaré to the position of assistant director of studies responsible for human sciences, technical studies, and internationalization. Langlois-Légaré joined the cégep in 2010. 

Cégep Limoilou announced the appointment of Caroline Harvey as assistant director of studies responsible for learning resources and pedagogical development. Harvey has more than 19 years of experience at the cégep.

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.