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March 20, 2017

Yellow benches from encourage students to talk about mental health on campus.

Colleges and Institutes Taking Mental Health to Heart

Health-care funding has been a hot-topic in Ottawa over the past few months, as nearly all of Canada’s provinces and territories are now in agreement with the federal government on individualized funding deals that include a specific focus on mental-health. With each agreement, Health Minister Jane Philpott underlined that Ottawa is topping its list of priorities with home care and mental health. As we predicted in our new-year’s “17 Things to Watch” issue, we’ll see that colleges and institutes continue to be key providers of training and support to address the mental health needs of all Canadians.

Part of what makes colleges and institutes so vital to Canadian mental health is their proximity to affected populations. The Globe and Mail recently reported that a fifth of Canadian postsecondary students are battling mental health issues, including depression and anxiety. This is why campuses across the country make support available in addition to training programs. In Ontario, the Centre for Innovation in Campus Mental Health (CICMH) provides a list of all the mental health initiatives on campuses across the province, including a Healthy Minds App and an online support service, iCopeU; while in Quebec, the Federation des cégeps recently underlined the collective commitment of Quebec cegeps to suicide prevention and awareness among Canada’s young people. Lambton College takes their approach off campus with its From Tension to Triumph program, designed to ease anxiety and stress for graduating high-school students.

Informal initiatives such as yellow Friendship Benches installed across campuses also offer students a place to sit and talk to their peers about mental health in a non-judgemental setting. Niagara College, Seneca College, Sheridan College and Centennial College are now among those working to reduce suicide among young people with this initiative. Confederation College runs a similar initiative using a Red Couch.

These mental health services on campus are only part of the focus – preparing the next generation of mental health workers with specialized training programs tailored to the realities of individual communities is of utmost importance. For example, the two-year Mental Health and Addiction Worker program offered jointly between Canadore College and the First Nations Technical Institute focuses its curriculum on the root causes of addiction within Indigenous communities, while incorporating both mainstream and traditional Medicine Wheel approaches to counselling.

Colleges and institutes also train emergency responders, paramedics, personal-support workers, and other first responders who help others cope with trauma, often without significant resources to help them deal with their own. That’s why Langara College launched Strategic Resilience for First Responders in September 2015, a program designed to teach paramedics, firefighters, police, military, and crisis line professionals how to properly handle the effect their professions have on their physical and mental health, nervous systems, and empathetic engagement. Similarly, JIBC – an institution dedicated to training first responders – took to addressing the burnout and turnover rate of first responders by developing a new online course to help emergency crews reduce and manage post-traumatic stress.

Colleges and institutes help many populations– including students, Indigenous communities, and first responders – build strong mental health support systems for themselves and for others. It’s just one of the ways we can all work together to make mental health a priority for all canadians!

Member News

Fleming College business administration students give back to community with volunteer income-tax preparation workshops

Langara College leads province-wide effort to increase funding for Canadian postsecondary education

Cumberland College launches elders-in-residence program to connect with and guide both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students

Holland College business students pitch their business ideas at Starting Point Entrepreneurship Conference

Northern Lakes College signs forestry partnership to provide local Métis with customized training in the forestry industry

Former BCIT student, Adrian Duke, to launch heritage app to share and preserve Indigenous history

College of New Caledonia to launch new Health Assistant program with funding from BC Ministry of Advanced Education

Vancouver Island University grad develops Cree-language app to help preserve Indigenous languages

Cambrian College partners with Laurentian University on research and innovation projects

Selkirk College formalizes Memorandum of Understanding with Chinese ski resort group

Keyano College and NAIT partner on free entrepreneurship and business course

La Formation continue du Cégep régional de Lanaudière offre des nouveaux ateliers en assurance de dommages des particuliers et des entreprises

Des finissants de l’ÉNA du Cégep Édouard-Montpetit travaille en collaboration avec l’Université de Bordeaux

Le Cégep de Jonquière accueille la 53e finale régionale de l’Expo sciences Hydro-Quebec

Des étudiants du Cégep de Rimouski de démarquent à HackQC

Une délégation du Sénégal observe ce qui se fait à Sudbury pour adopter les meilleures pratiques en terres sénégalaises

Le Collège Boréal reconnu pour sa contribution à Centraide Sudbury

Innovation and Art Showcases Calls for Submissions

CICan currently has two open calls for submissions:  the CICan Innovation 2017 Showcase, and the CICan 2017 Art Showcase!

CICan is updating its online Innovation Showcase, and invites colleges and institutes to submit new stories about innovation and applied research projects that have realized positive impacts and results for industry and community partners. These amazing success stories will be used to promote the applied research and innovation capacity of our member institutions to new potential partners from industry, government and communities.

The deadline for submissions is March 27, 2017. Submit here!

CICan is also looking to showcase student talent on the walls of the association’s national office at the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa for the fourth year in a row. Students can submit paintings, drawings, sculptures, prints, works of textile/mixed media, photography, and digital illustrations/animations for a chance to win a prize and gain recognition as an artist!

The deadline for submissions is March 31, 2017. For details and to submit, click here.

CICan 2017 Conference update!


CICan is pleased to announce Conference 2017’s Opening and Closing performers. Opening regional festivities will be headlined by Aboriginal Experiences, while the Closing Gala will feature an opportunity to celebrate in Red and White with Drum!, a musical group featuring performers from Canada’s Aboriginal, Black, Celtic, and Acadian communities.

Click here to register for the event.

Be social and network with the CICan 2017 Conference app, now available. For app download instructions click here. For any other questions contact Bruce Landry here.

Registration is open for The 16th Annual RE$EARCH Money Conference


CICan is pleased to partner once again with Re$earch Money on the 16th Annual Re$earch Money Conference themed “An Opportunity to Excel: Advancing Canada’s Innovation Agenda.”

The Government of Canada is preparing to release its Budget 2017, which will reveal the first elements of the broader Canadian Innovation Agenda. ISED Minister Navdeep Bains has said that the GoC “fundamentally believes that innovation is the path forward for Canadians,” and has already identified three key action areas: People (including digital literacy and talent development); Technologies (including fostering Canadian STI networks and clusters); and Companies (including supporting and encouraging scale-ups).

Will the Agenda finally ignite Canada’s innovative potential? What opportunities will it provide for Canada’s innovation community?

Be a part of the discussion at the 16th annual RE$EARCH MONEY conference alongside over 30 innovation thought leaders from industry, finance, policymaking and academia. An Opportunity to Excel will provide a unique opportunity in an intimate gathering of 150 attendees to grapple with these issues. Together we’ll explore which action areas are addressed in Budget 2017 and which ones will need to be tackled in future budgets. As a group, we’ll look at how we – as stakeholders in Canada’s innovation ecosystem – can contribute to moving the Agenda forward in the coming year.

Don’t miss Canada’s premier innovation policy conference. Learn more and register here, or contact Rebecca Melville for more information. Use our partner code AP2017 for a 10% discount.

Eureka! Moment

Did you know that students from the Cégep de Sainte-Foy’s Business Management program will be taking part in a visit to Washington DC at the end of May? The trip will include conferences, visits to local businesses, and an opportunity to develop a network of American financial and commercial contacts! Read more here.


University of the Fraser Valley was pleased to welcome a new Interim President and Vice-Chancellor. Jackie Hogan will assume the position effective July 1. Hogan currently serves as Chief Financial Officer and Vice-President Administration.

Both the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) and the Alberta College of Art + Design (ACAD) were pleased to announce updates to their Boards of Governors. Ray Martin has been appointed Chair of NAIT’s Board of Governors, while Carol Ryder will be returning as the Chair of ACAD’s.



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.