Forging the way forward
At the heart of our communities across the country, many small businesses have been hit with unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic and closures aimed at keeping us safe and healthy. This year for Small Business Week, the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) recognized small businesses “forging the way forward”: those facing challenges with resilience, trying to understand what has changed for Canadian businesses, and looking to build for the future. Discover BDC’s compilation of the unique stories of how entrepreneurs and small business leaders adapted in these uncertain times.
Colleges and institutes know firsthand how entrepreneurs and small business owners face challenges in growing their companies; they are partners in applied research in industries like manufacturing, digital technologies, agri-food, health sciences, and natural resources:
- Data from our survey of applied research at colleges and institutes shows that CICan members participated in over 7,300 research partnerships in 2017-2018, 64% of them with SMEs who often do not have the capacity or resources to conduct cutting-edge research on their own.
- And in February – what feels like years ago – nearly 70 students from across the country showcased their innovative projects helping small businesses and community organizations find solutions during our showcase reception with college and institute presidents and parliamentarians.
- Earlier this summer, we called for an investment of $165 million over two years in the College and Community Innovation Program to strengthen college and institute applied research capacity to help businesses and communities survive the challenges of the COVID19 pandemic and pivot as the economy re-opens.
As vital community hubs, colleges and institutes quickly mobilized to support their partners, community leaders, and those in need at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our online showcase highlights some of the responses supporting small businesses we’ve seen including free virtual training options, start-up accelerators, and online platforms to help businesses go virtual.
Many students are also keen to play a role in supporting small businesses to build back better, here are a few ways they can:
- Students can get support from Mitacs’ Business Strategy Internship that provides grants of $10,000 for students to help develop innovative solutions designed to help an organization thrive in the current economic environment.
- Canadian youth have the opportunity to gain meaningful work experience and contribute to Canada’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery with our brand-new ImpAct Internships focusing on research projects and other initiatives that align with the SDGs.
- students can build a team and help solve the biggest challenges facing Canadian employers in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors with BHER’s Canada Comeback Challenge.
The Government of Canada also shared measures supporting businesses as they pivot and recover, including support for women entrepreneurs and Indigenous business owners, that will help ensure Canada’s economic recovery is inclusive and sustainable. As we all continue to deal with the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic, visit the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan website for information about supporting your employees and businesses.
Stay safe and healthy on campus: Remember to take advantage of resources prepared by Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada and download the COVID Alert app.
IRCC releases initial list of DLIs with approved COVID-19 readiness plans
For institutions welcoming international students, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) released its first list of designated learning institutions (DLI) with approved COVID-19 readiness plans.
- IRCC previously announced that, effective Oct 20, only international students attending a designated learning institution (DLI) that has been identified by their provincial or territorial government as having a COVID-19 readiness plan will be able to enter Canada. The list will be updated regularly as more DLIs are approved by their respective province or territory.
- We know that many of our members not currently on the list have shared readiness plans with their respective province or territory and are ready to receive students but are waiting for final approval. Provinces and territories have implemented different processes to assess federal readiness requirements and are operating at different speeds.
- We also know that ongoing service disruptions at Visa Application Centres have made it impossible for students in certain jurisdictions to provide their biometrics and obtain a full study permit approval. As always, we continue to work with IRCC, other government departments and stakeholders to advocate on your behalf.
For Indigenous institutions, the Prime Minister, last week announced $25 million to provide immediate support to Indigenous post-secondary institutions in 2020-21, including financial uncertainty resulting from the pandemic, supports to retain staff, and adapting courses for online learning.
Supporting mental health and well-being
As public-health recommendations impose limitations on social interaction, talking about mental health and well-being is now more important than ever. In last week’s episode of our new Perspectives LIVE series, we looked at the ways we can think about mental health differently in the context of post-secondary education, and how we can better orient support systems to address inequalities widened by the pandemic.
We owe thanks to our fantastic co-hosts, Sheridan College president Janet Morrison and Andrew Beattie, as well as our speakers: Chris Adams, from Dawson College’s Sustainability & Living Campus initiative; Carleton University president Benoit-Antoine Bacon, and Indigenous advocate Nikki Fraser. Watch a recording of the first episode online.
On November 12, we’ll be getting more perspectives on mental health and well-being with another set of speakers in our French-language episode: Soutenir la santé mentale et le bien-être. Register for free and add it to your calendars!
Welcome to our Board of Directors!
On governance, we are happy to welcome Lethbridge College president Dr. Paula Burns as the new chair of our Board of Directors! Collège Ahuntsic’s director general Nathalie Vallée will support Burns in as the board’s new vice-chair. The news of Burns’ appointment was picked up in the Lethbridge Herald.
We also want to thank outgoing board chair Dr. Michel Tarko, president of the Justice Institute of British Columbia, who completed his two-year term.
Nominate a student for a green-economy TVET experience
Global Affairs Canada will soon be accepting applications for the Canada-CARICOM Skills Training for the Green Economy Scholarships program! The scholarships provide students from the Caribbean community (CARICOM) with short-term post-secondary exchange opportunities at publicly funded Canadian colleges and institutes.
Students studying in programs or disciplines related to the green economy, including climate-smart agriculture, coastal and fisheries management, renewable energy, sustainable building techniques, and agro-forestry are eligible. Share the news with your Caribbean partners!
Only Canadian institutions can submit applications on behalf of candidates. Global Affairs Canada anticipates opening the application process in January 2021 for the 2021-2022 academic year. Institutions may choose to set their own internal deadlines for receiving supporting documents for applicants.
Did you know that Red River College has launched a new micro-credential course to train specific groups of health-care students and health-care professionals in safe COVID-19 sample collection procedures and ultimately help increase the COVID-19 samples collecting capacity of Manitoba Public Health? This course is being offered to meet the immediate need for trained individuals. The first group of students started the course in mid-October and are now ready to enter the workforce!
Collège André-Grasset director general Patrick Caron’s mandate was renewed for an additional five years. Caron has more than 25 years of experience in the private and public college systems.
Okanagan College’s board of directors selected Dr. Neil Fassina to replace retiring president Jim Hamilton. Dr. Fassina will take on the new role of effective April 1, 2021.
Dr. Nasir Kenea was appointed George Brown College’s first Chief Digital and Infrastructure Officer and will oversee both information technology services and facilities management.
The Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation (CCFI), Memorial University’s research and development centre for fishing and aquaculture industries, welcomed Keith Hutchings as its managing director.
Former Yukon University president Karen Barnes will serve as Chair the Council of Canadian Academies’ (CCA) Expert Panel to examine the legal, ethical, social, and policy (LESP) issues associated with deploying and adopting reliable high-speed internet in rural and remote communities.
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