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May 19, 2020

Preparing for the new normal

Many countries around the world are now starting to ease restrictions on public interaction with an eye to re-opening their local economies, but all in the context of the “new normal”. While we don’t yet know exactly what our new normal will look like, we know that many businesses will need to adapt their operations and begin work on longer-term re-tooling and transformation that will support recovery, provide jobs, and enable growth in a changed economy.

Our latest Applied Research survey showed that, in 2017-2018, colleges and institutes across Canada led over 6,000 applied research projects with industry partners – many of which were small and medium-sized enterprises – resulting in over 2,100 prototypes, 880 new products, 480 processes and 360 services. To top it off, 87% of these projects were notably completed in less than one year. With this in mind, we know that colleges and institutes will play a vital role in reopening, re-tooling, and transforming business operations in Canada following, and throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We recently recommended the federal government invest $85 million in college and institute applied research supporting up to 2,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) facing challenges related to COVID-19 and leading Canada’s economic recovery, including:

  • $40M for rapid-response NSERC Engage Grants to help applied research offices respond nimbly to the innovation needs of industry and community partners and to reduce cost and wait-times associated with applications;
  • $15 million to reduce requirements and increase flexibility for companies working with colleges and institutes on projects supported through the College and Community Innovation Program (CCI);
  • $20 million for new projects across all CCI grant types that help SMEs adopt digital processes as they redesign operations post COVID-19;
  • $10M for NSERC’s Applied Research Tools and Instruments (ARTI) grants to help retool and reconfigure applied research facilities and equip applied research staff to meet physical distancing requirements;
  • Opening eligibility for these new funding opportunities to college and institute partners from all sectors, including community and non-profit partners, and for projects that improve services and quality of care for vulnerable groups including the elderly, persons with disabilities, Indigenous people and newcomers.

These recommendations will ensure that college and institute applied research is ideally positioned to support Canadians through short-term social and economic recovery and long-term growth across the country. To enhance our advocacy efforts and better illustrate the college and institute capacity to support economic recovery, complete our new Applied Research Survey for 2019-20.

For post-secondary institutions, business resumption and return-to-campus plans are still in the works. While many institutions have announced online and hybrid delivery methods for the fall semesters, a clearly articulated return to campus plan ensuring everyone’s safety, in consideration of current public health and safety guidelines, is essential. Join us this Friday with special guests from our partner BGIS, experts in facilities management, for a presentation on the essential elements of a strategic and tactical return-to-work plan for students, faculty, staff, and community learners. 

Continuing business and advocacy during COVID-19

As we all work together to support each other and those most vulnerable in our communities, we are pleased to share information on a few recent federal updates:

Don’t forget that our COVID-19 webpage gathers all of our updates, including advocacy with the federal government and freely available teaching and learning resources. Be sure to check in often! Join our weekly webinar series for updates on our efforts in Ottawa and to share amongst yourselves how the situation is evolving in your various regions and what approaches you are taking to tackle the challenges. Join us every Friday in English, and every Monday in French!

Visit our showcase of college and institute responses to COVID-19 in areas ranging from applied research and online learning to support for small businesses and student well-being. Share with us more of what your institution is doing!

Congratulations to our 2020 Awards of Excellence recipients!

We are happy to share the recipients of this year’s Awards of Excellence celebrating the extraordinary contribution of individuals and highlighting the essential college and institute role in Canada’s social, cultural, and economic development. The awards are distributed in partnership with TD Insurance, the exclusive sponsor of CICan’s Awards of Excellence.

As recipients could not be recognized in person this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve developed a special online showcase to share and celebrate the achievements of these amazing institutions and individuals!

The Awards are presented at gold, silver, and bronzes levels in eight categories: Indigenous education, program excellence, applied research and innovation, internationalization, and leadership excellence for students, faculty, non-managerial staff, and managerial staff.

Congratulations to all and a special thank you to TD Insurance!

Vote for your favourite student artwork!

Despite physical distancing, the 2020 Student Art Showcase and Contest is still on. This year, we received over 200 submissions from talented students across the country!

We’ve selected finalists, and now it’s over to you to vote for your favourites in each of the following six categories: textile, mixed media, or sculpture; photography; digital Illustration or animation; painting; and, drawing.

Don’t forget that each winner will receive a monetary prize of $350 and will have their artwork displayed on our website! Vote before May 27.

Demystifying the SDGs: a new webinar series!

Do you know what the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are and why they matter for your institution?

We are launching a new SDG webinar series for colleges and institutes to learn more about what the SDGs are and why 192 nations have committed to achieving them, how your institution already works on the SDGs and why this matters, how students can get involved in and benefit from the SDGs, and more!

Join us on May 26, 2020 at 2pm to learn how we can support your institution in aligning social, economic, and environmental objectives with the SDGs to scale up your impact and be part of a global solution! You’ll hear from UNESCO chair, Charles Hopkins; Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) youth coordinator, Beth Eden; and a representative from the federal government’s SDG Unit.

If you have not already completed our SDG practices survey, help us develop an online guide sharing promising and emerging practices in sustainable development.

The Future Skills Centre supports tourism and hospitality

As disruption to the global economy caused by COVID-19 is rapidly evolving, the tourism and hospitality sector has been hit with unprecedented challenges. To support workers and businesses, the Future Skills Centre (FSC) is partnering with the Ontario Tourism Education Corporation (OTEC) and an alliance of its stakeholders on an initiative for the hundreds of thousands of tourism and hospitality workers who have lost their jobs because of the COVID-19 crisis.

Over two years, FSC will invest $2.25 million in the Rapid Response in Times of Disruption project with the goal equipping displaced workers to navigate an uncertain future and get new skills for changing jobs.

For workers displaced by the pandemic, the project will provide a channel through which they can find immediate services to support resilience during the crisis. For businesses, it will provide a way to engage and support employees while they are laid off as well as a framework for tracking the stages of recovery.

Learning disruptions widespread among postsecondary students

Last week, Statistics Canada released crowdsourcing data collected from over 100,000 postsecondary students in late April providing insight on how their academic life was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic led to the closure of colleges, institutes, cégeps, and universities across Canada, postsecondary students experienced rapid changes to their academic environment with courses moved online or postponed and, in some cases, cancelled.

Results highlight the challenges faced by students during this time, including adapting to online program delivery, being unequipped for online learning, delay or cancellation of work placements, personal finances, and coping with added stress.

Statistics Canada thanks those who participated in the survey.

Eureka! Moment

Did you know that two instructors from Cégep André-Laurendeau have developed an instrument prototype to digitally measure the space between objects based on artificial intelligence? Integrated into an electronic advertising screen and using camera-triangulation technology, Dista allows passersby to see themselves and to visualize their distance from others, which can be especially useful when trying to practice physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic!


Red River College announced the appointment of Fred Meier as the college’s new president, effective July 6. Meier has many years of experience in leadership and currently serves as cabinet secretary and clerk of the province’s Executive Council.

Durham College announced that Don Lovisa’s term as president will be extended to 2024. Lovisa was first appointed in 2008.

Cégep de Matane announced the renewal of Brigitte Chrétien’s mandate as director of studies for a second term. Chrétien was first appointed to the role in 2015.

Kevin Anderson began serving remotely as head of the Marine Institute of Memorial University effective May 4. Anderson previous served as regional director general of Fisheries and Oceans Canada for Newfoundland and Labrador.

Cégep de Trois-Rivières announced the appointment of Marie-Josée Boily as the cégep’s deputy director of support for higher education. Boily has more than 15 years of experience in the college and university sector.

University College of the North (UCN) announced the appointment of Harvey Briggs as associate vice president of UCN’s new Reconciliation, Research and Academic Innovation department. Briggs has extensive experience in post-secondary education and most recently served as dean of UCN’s Faculty of Arts, Business, and Since.

Loyalist College appointed Ron Byrne as its new senior vice-president, Academic. Byrne will bring extensive leadership in Canadian and international higher education to Loyalist effective July 15.


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CICan Leadership Institute for Leaders in International
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