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November 11, 2019

Photo: Conestoga College.

Increasing quality of life for Canadians as they age

According to the United Nations, in 2017, there were 962 million people aged 60 or over, more than twice as many as in 1980. By 2050, the UN expects this number reach nearly 2.1 billion! We will see the same growth in Canada where Statistics Canada reports that seniors will account for 25% of the population by 2036. This demographic shift will have wide-ranging implications, from healthcare and public finance to labour market and workforce development.

In 2017, the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance released its “Getting Ready: For a New Generation of Active Seniors” report which identified recommendations to take on Canada’s looming demographic challenges, including the development of a national seniors strategy.

As centres of excellence and community hubs, colleges and institutes are playing an important role in tackling the challenges identified by the Senate report. They offer research and training opportunities to improve quality of life for seniors, incorporate new technologies in seniors care, and respond to labour-market needs in the sector. For example:

  • At the Centre for Elder Research at Sheridan College, applied research projects aim to identify, develop, and eventually implement innovative strategies to improve the quality of life for older adults and their families. Research areas include the impacts of emerging technologies such as virtual reality, support for older immigrant adults, and a unique project attempting to better understand bullying between older adults.
  • Bow Valley College’s Institute for Aging Well delivers programming designed to create a positive perspective on healthy aging, allows for intergenerational knowledge transfer, and provides applied research and entrepreneurship opportunities, with particular emphasis on incorporating different views on aging from new Canadians and immigrants.
  • Since 2006, the Centre for Education and Research on Aging at the University of the Fraser Valley has been a leader in gerontological education and research with particular emphasis on community engagement. Curriculum offered through the centre includes courses in human services and nursing, studying the effects of aging on sensation, perception, learning, and cognition.
  • The Aging happily at home (« Vieillir heureux chez soi ») research project being undertaken at CIRADD, the CCTT affiliated with the Cégep de la Gaspésie et des Îles aims to meet with seniors to better understand their needs and worries and jointly devise solutions adapted to the realities of seniors and their communities.
  • Kwantlen Poytechnic University’s Third Age Learning at Kwantlen (TALK) program offers anyone over 50 years of age a participatory learning experience through discussion, campus tours, and instruction with no grading or prerequisites. Courses cover a variety of topics, including health, wellness, arts, and culture.
  • Niagara College recently joined the Age-Friendly University Global Network, which aims to encourage the participation of older adults in postsecondary activities, including lifelong learning and the pursuit of second careers, personal and professional development, and educational and research projects.
  • The Garbarino Girard Centre for Innovation in Seniors Care at Algonquin College completed its first clinical research study in 2017 experimenting with integrated assessment systems to monitor movement and brain health to support early identification of cognitive decline, including dementia. The centre also provides hands-on training for students in geriatric care with its learning lab, smart apartments, applied research facility, and community partnerships.
  • At Yukon College, the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers (TIOW) is a reskilling and skills upgrading program geared specifically towards older Canadians. The program helps unemployed workers, aged 50-70, displaced by the changing economy to develop employability skills, computer skills, and upgrade their work-related literacy.
  • The Mobile Ideaspace at New Brunswick Community College’s (NBCC) is a centre of research specializing in, among other areas, designing mobile information and communication technologies (mobile ICT) that make aging a positive experience and foster age-friendly communities: including home monitoring, homecare, support for daily activities, fall prevention, biometrics, and image processing.
  • The Schlegel Centre for Advancing Seniors Care at Conestoga College provides opportunities for education and training, workforce development, and applied research to improve the quality of life and care for Canada’s seniors. The unique approach includes Living Classrooms at Schlegel Villages where students learn while working in long-term care and retirement environments, participating in knowledge exchange workshops, and evidence-informed approaches to process and product development.
  • The Attestation d’études collégiales (AEC) in Gerontology offered by Cégep de Saint-Jérôme gives students the skills required to work with and care for seniors, including an understanding of the biology and physiology of the aging body, relevant relational and communication skills, and practical experience in homecare.

Research centres and training options like these are already breaking ground in a critical, and growing, sector. As global populations continue to age, we can expect to see college and institute applied research centres, projects, and hands-on training opportunities expand to meet demand within Canada and around the world.

Submit a presentation proposal for CICan’s 2020 Connection Conference!

Our annual conference is the largest event of its kind in Canada, building connections between post-secondary institutions from across the country and around the world. This year, these connections will focus on strengthening our collective intelligence in our amazing host city, Montreal!

Knowing how to use and leverage all forms of intelligence is essential to the development of both individuals and societies. By using a holistic and creative approach to meet the needs of a diverse student population, colleges and institutes help foster individual and collective intelligence. Share your approach with us!

The conference is organized into six streams: Governing Excellence, Wiring for Student Success, Hacking Education, Embodying Sustainability, Driving Innovation, and Going Global.

In addition to the six streams, presentations can include the cross-cutting topics of Indigenous education and inclusion and should reflect on opportunities or lessons learned for the future of the college and institute system.

We welcome presentations in both official languages and encourage bilingualism. Be creative in your proposals and highlight how your session fits with the overall conference theme!

Proposals will be accepted until December 1.

View the full call for presentations online for more information about streams, session formats, and the selection process.

Colleges and institutes gather in support of Indigenous education

Last week, over 200 delegates gathered in Saskatoon for CICan’s 11th Indigenous Education Symposium, the largest gathering of its kind in Canada, breaking previous records set for the number of participants, number of CICan member presidents in attendance, and number of international guests!

With the theme TAPWEWIN and ReconciliACTION, the symposium engaged participants in a dialogue sharing strategies and best practices in Indigenizing curriculums, expanding access to post-secondary education for Indigenous populations, incorporating traditional knowledge and teaching methods in programming, and building collaborative relationships with Indigenous communities in their regions. The yearly event is also an important opportunity to expand the reach of CICan’s Indigenous Education Protocol, which now has 67 signatories.

Delegates had the pleasure of hearing from Dr. Wilton Littlechild, Grand Chief of the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations, who shared a powerful and personal story of the impact of residential schools in Canada and an inspiring message for those working towards reconciliation with those affected, their descendants, and their communities.

For the first time, the event was also host to a delegation of 32 international visitors in the context of CICan’s Education for Employment in the Pacific Alliance program, who shared their own experiences in Indigenous education in their home countries of Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru.

A big thank you to all participants, presenters, and moderators as well as our host institutions Saskatchewan Polytechnic, Dumont Technical Institute, and Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT).

Apply to the Fund for Innovation and Transformation

The Fund for Innovation and Transformation (FIT) is a new national innovation initiative launched in May supporting Canadian small and medium-sized organizations – including post-secondary institutions – testing innovative solutions to advance gender equality in the Global South.

FIT is now accepting applications for funding to share knowledge and learning to build capacity within the international development community around advancing gender equality through innovation and testing. Successful applicants will receive $150K-$250K to test their idea in collaboration with local partners in the Global South!

Apply before Thursday, January 9.

View eligibility criteria and more information about the application process.

Webinar: Accessing paid applied research opportunities for college and institute students

Did you know that college and institute students can now undertake paid applied research internships with a company under the supervision of a faculty member, gaining on-the-job experiences in non-academic setting through the Mitacs Accelerate program?

Join us, with partners Mitacs, the Canadian Association of Research Administrators (CARA), and Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) Canada, for a webinar to learn how your institution can take full advantage of this new initiative!

The webinar will take place Tuesday, December 3 at 12pm EST. Register now!

Webinar: Supporting mental health for post-secondary students

With two million students in post-secondary institutions in Canada, mental health is a growing and pressing societal concern. To support students on this journey, the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) is offering a new webinar to help post-secondary institutions support and promote mental health and well-being for students.

Join this webinar to learn about:

  • Supporting mental health for post-secondary students with a new standard,
  • The Inquiring Mind Post-Secondary (TIM PS) mental health training program, and
  • an introduction to the National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS).

The webinar will take place on Wednesday, November 20 at 1pm EST.

Become a partner in CICan’s Sodium Reduction Project

Help Canadians live longer, healthier lives by reducing sodium intake levels.

CICan’s Sodium Reduction Project is a two-year, pan-Canadian initiative funded by Health Canada aiming to develop and test teaching material on sodium reduction to be incorporated in college and institute courses and programs in food production and preparation. Partner institutions can:

  • improve the education and employment outcomes of students,
  • contribute to an initiative that promotes health and helps prevent chronic disease,
  • share knowledge and expertise with Health Canada,
  • develop and expand opportunities to partner with industry, and
  • connect and collaborate with other colleges and institutes.

Submit an expression of interest before Friday, November 29. For more information, contact Brian Carriere at

Support Education for Employment in Senegal

CICan’s Private Sector Growth through Education for Employment (PSG-EFE) program in Senegal is looking for your expertise in journalism and video production!

The 5-year PSG-EFE program, funded by Global Affairs Canada is looking to recruit  a college or institute offering a journalism program or an independent journalist to produce a series of videos on the impact and results of PSG-EFE program. The videos produced as part of this short mandate are intended to share the program’s results with the public in both Senegal and Canada.

Apply before Monday, November 18. For more information, please contact Fanny Hébert at fhé

SITVES announces consultancy recipient

The Supporting Innovation in the Technical and Vocational Education Sector: Towards Productivity and Competitiveness (SITVES) is happy to announce that George Brown College has been awarded the SITVES Pillar 1 Canadian consultancy!

Working with the SITVES team, George Brown College will support the delivery of a toolkit and workshops on how to establish innovation and applied research hubs at up to four Kenyan Vocational Education and Training institutions.

The call for proposals for this consultancy was launched in August 2019. George Brown College was selected by a committee comprised of representatives from CICan and its two Kenyan partner organizations: Linking Industry with Academia (LIWA) and the Rift Valley Technical Training Institute (RVTTI).

Eureka! Moment

Did you know that Okanagan College recently hosted its 5th annual Wine Talks series? This year’s events saw two internationally renowned wine experts share their thoughts on the Okanagan wine industry at the college’s Penticton campus with more than 100 guests in attendance. Okanagan College has long been a leader in the wine industry and celebrates the event as an opportunity to bring together the public and industry experts to discuss insights into the constantly evolving industry. The sold-out series was presented by Okanagan College and the Okanagan Wine Initiative.


Grande Prairie Regional College announced the appointment of Dr. Robert Murray as the college’s ninth president and CEO. Dr. Murray brings executive leadership experience in professional and business advisory services, economic development, education and public policy.


Leadership Institutes

Register for the upcoming CICan Leadership Institute for Managers in Quebec City.

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.