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November 16, 2020

A new era of connectivity

Did you know that in 2016, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) declared broadband internet an essential telecommunications service, a designation previously used only for local landline telephone services? At the time, the classification was indicative of a change in the way we communicate and access information. Now, with many Canadians working and learning from home for the foreseeable future, the need for connectivity goes way beyond YouTube, virtual yellow pages, and TikTok. More than ever, connectivity is about access and equal opportunity.

Canada’s Connectivity Strategy aims to have all Canadians connected to highspeed internet – that which meets or exceeds the target of 50 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload – by 2030. While many of us in urban centres take this for granted, CTRC’s 2019 Communications Monitoring Report 2019 tells a different story:

  • Where 50/10 Mbps broadband-internet services were available in 97.7% of urban households, availability dropped to 40.8% in rural households, and only 31.3% in households on First Nations reserves.

When the pandemic forced campus closures, colleges and institutes quickly mobilized to move learning and support online. Our COVID-19 webpage highlights some of the resilient and creative responses we’ve seen, such as: adapting programs to offer alternatives to in-class instruction; partnering with local organizations to make sure that students have access to the equipment necessary to continue their studies online; transitioning to virtual tutoring, career coaching, and mentorship opportunities; developing strategies to help vulnerable students shift online; and offering an array of virtual mental health resources.

This mobilization is helping to redesign the way post-secondary institutions operate and continues to help reduce the effects of the pandemic on learners. However, in communities where current infrastructure is not able to support surges in internet usage, access to post-secondary education and services remains a challenge.

  • In our submission to federal prebudget consultations, we recommended that, in order to reduce inequalities, investments to increase PSE access must be complemented by dramatic improvements to broadband in support of virtual learning and work during recovery.

We were pleased to see last week’s announcement of the expansion of the Universal Broadband Fund which offers an opportunity to address gaps widened by the pandemic. The Government of Canada is committing an additional $750 million to support broadband infrastructure projects bringing high-speed Internet to rural and remote households in areas that lack service of at least 50/10 Mbps.

  • With a unique presence in northern and rural communities reaching well beyond large urban centres, colleges and institutes are well-placed to partner on projects connecting Canadians to the digital world – particularly those that primarily benefit Indigenous peoples. Over 95% of all Canadians and more than 86% of Indigenous people live within 50 km of a college or institute location.

Sustainable Development Goal #9 recognizes the importance of building resilient infrastructure that promotes sustainable industrialization and fosters innovation; universal broadband in a key element of that infrastructure. To build stronger, more resilient communities, it is essential that all Canadians, including those in rural and remote communities, can fully engage with each other, with the rest of Canada, and with the global economy.

Hacking education in a digital world

The Canadian post-secondary landscape has long incorporated digital technologies in its delivery model and, in the context of the current global pandemic, technological change has accelerated at a rate never before seen. Institutions have been faced with both a challenge to adapt and an opportunity to re-evaluate their approaches to teaching and learning.

How can colleges and institutes transform learning options to provide better access to postsecondary education for all Canadians in the context of a pandemic, and how can the success of the transformation be measured?

In this episode, our expert guests will explore the scope of the post-secondary transformation, emerging best practices, and its impacts in the distant and not-so-distant future. Mark your calendars for November 25.

Submit a presentation on Changing Narratives

Our annual conference is coming back in 2021 and this year, we’re going completely virtual! The global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic means things are going to be different, but we’re looking forward to welcoming everyone online, including a broader community of attendees who might not normally be able to attend in-person.  Mark your calendars for April 26-28, 2021!

Until then, our call for presentations in open! This year’s theme of Changing Narratives reflects how the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged colleges and institutes to transform the way they operate and rewrite the future of post-secondary education, skills development, and diversity.

Share your strategies for navigating our new reality.

Be creative and inclusive! Submit a presentation before December 21.

Showcase your institution’s SDG journey in our new toolkit

In September, we launched the first edition of our SDG Toolkit for Canadian Colleges and Institutes, an open educational resource sharing promising and emerging practices related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in post-secondary institutions. We’re working on the second edition and are looking for new examples to showcase!

Share your examples of best practices and innovative approaches to finance, academics, student life, infrastructure, and applied research that illustrate how the network of Canadian colleges and institutes is leading Canada’s commitment to sustainable development and achieving the SDGs! Deadline: November 26.

As we approach our global deadline for the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and focus on what needs to be done to achieve our targets, your examples can inspire others to action!

Powerful cyber security accessible to colleges and institutes

Field Effect believes powerful cyber security should be accessible for all businesses and organizations. CICan member institutions can benefit from Field Effect’s threat detection, monitoring, training, and compliance products and services:

Work with Field Effect to train students on vital online technologies and take advantage of the results of years of research and development by the brightest talents in the cyber-security industry.

Watch EFE-PA’s third thematic forum online

On November 5, our Education for Employment in the Pacific Alliance (EFE-PA) team closed the fourth and final session of its third thematic forum related to TVET, this year connecting over 2,000 participants and experts in technical and vocational education and training (TVET) from around the world!

Watch videos of the plenary sessions on YouTube (available in English, French, and Spanish).

Over the course of four Thursdays from October 15 to November 5, TVET Intersectoral Forum: Best Practices and Policies from the Pacific Alliance participants learned from expert panels and participated in group discussion with the goal of exchanging best practices in TVET from Canada, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru; innovative approaches to strengthen regional partnerships; and strategies to face TVET’s biggest challenges. Thanks to all participants!

Take advantage of discounted rates and promotions with Avis car rental

Despite unique challenges during this fall and upcoming winter seasons, we are all still looking forward to reconnecting! Renting with Avis puts you in the driver’s seat.

CICan member institutions can save up to 25% off Avis base rates* when renting a vehicle from a participating location in Canada or the contiguous United States. Complete your reservation and receive instant online and email confirmation of your travel plans.

Save big and stay on budget when you travel!

Avis car rental continues to monitor and follow guidelines set out by Canadian public health authorities and the World Health Organization to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Safe travels!

*Terms apply.

Eureka! Moment

Did you know that instructors in Sheridan College’s Bachelor of Illustration program recently developed a method to reinvent life drawing classes remotely? When the shift to online instruction meant virtual illustration classes would be limited by a one-dimensional perspective, instructors teamed up with faculty from the college’s Bachelor of Film and Television (BFTV) program to approach remote instruction as if it was a TV show. Working together, they used multiple viewpoint cameras as a device to deconstruct the pose and offer students the opportunity to more fully understand and interpret the human form!


Bow Valley College announced the appointment of Dr. Misheck Mwaba to the role of president and CEO, effective November 2. Dr. Mwaba has held the role of Vice President, Academic at the college since 2017. Congratulations!


Submit a nomination for CICan’s Awards of ExcellenceDeadline: December 6.

Stay safe and healthy on campus. Download the COVID Alert app.

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.