Sub Menu

Main Content

June 12, 2017

The Native Education College in British Columbia celebrates Indigenous graduates.

Celebrating Indigenous Inclusion at Colleges and Institutes

For generations, the summer solstice has held significant cultural importance for many Indigenous peoples – which is why, nationwide, we recognize June 21 as National Aboriginal Day, and the entire month of June as National Aboriginal History month!

To coincide with the celebrations, CICan was pleased to launch a new category of the Canada 150 National Anthology focused on college and institute success in Indigenous Inclusion. Check out these amazing stories!

Colleges and institutes are the main providers of post-secondary education, as well as adult basic education, for Indigenous peoples. With campuses reaching over 3,000 communities, including First Nations reserves, remote villages, northern communities, as well as urban centres, they are able to meet the educational needs of Canada’s First Peoples wherever they are located.

Following the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the federal government highlighted its support for Indigenous education in part through the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund (SIF). Among the Indigenous college and institute projects receiving SIF funding were Algonquin College’s Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning Centre and Institute for Indigenous Entrepreneurship; and the Gabriel Dumont Institute’s expansion in La Loche, Saskatchewan. Not only does this funding reflect the federal government’s commitment to reconciliation through education, but it also serves to recognize and expand this important aspect of the college and institute mandate.

Including six Indigenous CICan member institutions – Kenjgewin Teg Educational Institute (KTEI), First Nations Technical Institute (FNTI), Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT), Dumont Technical Institute (DTI), Nicola Valley Institute of Technology (NVIT), and Native Education College – colleges and institutes across the country offer programs which incorporate Indigenous cultures and traditions to the benefit of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students.

Loyalist College’s Indigenous Construction Renovation certificate program gives Indigenous students tuition-free hands-on experience in the construction renovation field, while the Aboriginal Master of Social Work (MSW) from FNTI teaches students social-work techniques with an understanding of, and respect for, the history, traditions, and cultures of the Indigenous peoples of Canada; and, the Attestation d’études collégiales (AEC) Éducation spécialisée et contexte autochtones (Specialized Education for Indigenous Contexts) from the Cégep de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue gives students skills and techniques to provide education, health, and social services for Indigenous youth.

University of the Fraser Valley’s (UFV) Indigenous Maps, Films, Rights and Land Claims certificate also helps shed light on the complex questions related to land claims to deepen understanding of Indigenous issues, while the Aboriginal Visual Arts program from the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design gives students the opportunity to work one-on-one with Indigenous artists to learn about traditional and contemporary Indigenous crafts and history.

Providing programming such as this – in addition to adapted support services for Indigenous students, and governance structures that respect Indigenous peoples – make up the key elements of CICan’s Indigenous Education Protocol.

Launched in 2014, the Protocol supports member commitments to Indigenous inclusion on campus, recognizes the important role colleges and institutes play in supporting Indigenous community development through increased access to post-secondary education, and serves as an aspirational document for fostering greater understanding and reciprocity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.

In honour of National Aboriginal Day, CICan is pleased to announce that the Protocol will be reaching a very important milestone, as the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) will become the Protocol’s fiftieth signatory on June 19th, committing to the Protocol’s seven founding principles. Click to read more about the Protocol and to view a complete list of signatories. We are looking forward to this exciting announcement!

Recognizing and celebrating Indigenous culture and history is such an important part of what colleges and institutes do and an indispensable part of improving educational outcomes for all Canadians.

Member News

CICan shares 2016-2017 Annual Report


2016-2017 was a very busy and productive year for CICan, launching new programs and promoting member interests in Ottawa, with big gains for the college and institute sector in Budget 2017.

We are extremely proud to share our 2016-2017 Annual Report, highlighting some of CICan’s achievements over the past year. To read the report online, click here.

EPRI research proves benefits of post-secondary credentials


CICan is a proud partner of the Education Policy Research Initiative, a national research organization based at the University of Ottawa that engages in research aimed at informing policy discussions focused on education, skills, and the labour market.

Through this partnership, the EPRI, led by Dr. Ross Finnie was able to dispel the so-called “barista myth” by showing that holding a post-secondary credential does in fact improve employment outcomes and earnings.

For more information about the research click here, or watch these videos about College Diploma Graduate and Bachelor’s Degree Graduate earnings.

CICan to launch new International Strategy

CICan’s International Partnerships Division is developing a 3-year strategic plan to set a new direction that ensures its efforts and energies are being maximized to better support members.

The Division is beginning to collect data from numerous sources – including members, funding organizations, international organizations, Canadian federal agencies and departments, universities, and other relevant organizations – and plans to synthesize the data in a finalized plan that will be ready for members this fall.

As part of this process, CICan will be reaching out to members nationwide to collect their thoughts about where CICan International should focus its attention in the coming years. A series of webinars will be scheduled during the month of June, as well as an opportunity to provide your feedback online now.

We have developed a short questionnaire (approximately 10 minutes in length) that will allow you give CICan valuable input for the strategy. Please take the time to share your thoughts and help CICan design a new path forward, please click here.

Thank you for your input!

CICan welcomes Expert Panel on Youth Employment report


In March of last year, Budget 2016 announced an Expert Panel on Youth Employment with the goal of assessing barriers faced by youth in finding and keeping jobs, and to find innovative solutions to improve job opportunities for youth.

Having prepared a Submission to the Expert Panel on Youth Employment in February 2017, CICan was pleased to see many of its recommendations factor into the Panel’s report, released in May 2017. Among the key findings of the report was an emphasis on investing in vulnerable populations, such as Indigenous youth, as well as developing additional supports for young entrepreneurs.

As colleges and institutes are key providers of entrepreneurship training – with dedicated facilities and partnerships designed to foster innovative entrepreneurial ideas – and pioneer programs designed to ensure positive outcomes for vulnerable populations, they have an important role to play in advancing the Panel’s recommendations.

We look forward to working with government and stakeholders on making these important recommendations reality.

Wage subsidies available to advance your green initiatives


Did you know that you can get paid to hire a recent grad to work for 6 to 12 months?

Thanks to CICan’s Clean Tech Internship program, Red River College (RRC) was able to hire Eric Groot, a grad from RRC’s Instrumentation Engineering Technology program, to work at the college’s Building Envelope Technology Access Centre (BETAC).

Like RRC, you too can take advantage of the Clean Tech Internship program and receive a subsidy of up to $15,000 to hire a recent grad to support your green initiatives that have a link to clean technologies. You can complete the simple application process and hire an intern to grow your team and complement its set of skills and abilities.

“I would use the program again without hesitation,” says Rob Spewak, manager at BETAC, during his TACTalk at the Tech-Access Canada conference last April. “The internship funds helped us subsidize a position that is not generating revenue, but rather building capacity and distinctive expertise that could lead to future revenue streams for RRC. The reporting process was also very straightforward.”

As a research analyst, Eric is working to insert building envelope sensors in the Skills Trade and Technology Centre currently under construction at the college. These sensors will monitor moisture in the roof system and measure heat flow through wall sections. The goal is to use the sensor data to gain insight on how to improve building efficiency to reduce the energy needed to heat and cool commercial buildings.

His internship now complete, Eric continues to work at BETAC and has future career prospects with industry partners. “My work is providing me with a meaningful experience in the environmental sector, and is giving me a chance to manage my own projects and communicate with industry professionals. I’ve had the opportunity to learn new skills and I’m able to apply what I’ve learned in college to these projects.”

Visit the Clean Tech Internship website for more information and to register.

CICan welcomes Canada’s new Feminist International Assistance Policy 

Friday, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister for International Development and La Francophonie, announced Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy laying out the Government of Canada’s new approach and priorities for international development assistance. By acknowledging the importance of skills and education, the new policy aligns very well with CICan’s own international priorities.

Read the CICan statement

“I’m excited for the next stages in my life” – CICan ESSF participant profile


Six months post training, Shari – a participant in CICan’s Essential Skill Social Finance (ESSF) pilot – remains in school, is securely housed, actively volunteering in her area of interest and, last May, attended the Coast Mental Health 19th annual Courage to Come Back Awards, thanks to Dave Richardson, an investor in the ESSF pilot inspired by her story. Like the six recipients recognized at the awards for triumphing over the challenges of maintaining mental health in the face of adversity, Shari has faced her own challenges.

Her story spans two decades, dozens of foster homes and multiple losses. At 18, mother of two baby girls, she moves to a transition house after her relationship with the father of her youngest daughter deteriorates. After living on her own, she eventually moves in with a friend.

One night, feeling particularly low and unsupported, she accepts the meth her roommate offers. A year and a half later, having surrendered the care of her children, incurred a criminal record and gone to jail, she decides to get clean and continues to be since 2013.

In 2014, now pregnant, Shari completes probation and parenting courses, and demonstrates she can care for her new son who has always remained and continues to be in her care.

Then in 2016, she’s referred to Douglas College (BC), one of three colleges currently delivering essential skills training through the ESSF pilot: a ground-breaking social finance project for the Government of Canada to improve the skills levels of 91 unemployed adult Canadians.

“I thought the training would be about hard skills, like in high school, but it’s not. It’s about communicating, and I discovered how to talk professionally. There’s a difference between being aggressive, abrasive and assertive. I didn’t know that.”

Now equipped with new skills like time management and document use, Shari is studying to become a community support worker and hopeful for her and her son’s future.

“I’m excited for the next stages in my life and to reach the new goals I’m setting with the skills I’ve learned and will continue to learn throughout life.”

Note: Over the summer, Perspectives will be published once a month on July 10, and August 14. Bi-weekly publication will resume Sept 5, 2017.

Eureka! Moment

Did you know that Sheridan College has committed to excellence in environmental sustainability? Mission Zero represents the college’s framework for re-envisioning its energy future by 2020, with an aim to decrease overall energy and carbon emission by 50% and become a zero waste campus. Way to go Sheridan! For more information about Mission Zero, click here.


Olds College was pleased to announce the appointment of a new college President and CEO. Stuart Cullum will assume the role effective July 1, 2017 after having served as the college’s Chief Innovation Officer. Before joining Olds College, Cullum held academic and administrative leadership roles at Lethbridge College and NAIT.

Thompson River University welcomed a new Director of the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT). Dr. Catharine Dishke Hondzel will take up the position effective August 1, 2017. She most recently held the position of Coordinator of Research and Learning Support at Huron University College.


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.