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November 23, 2015

Time to dust off Canada’s International Education Strategy

Last week was International Education Week, an important moment of reflection for colleges and institutes across Canada made all the more relevant by the fact that our new government took the world stage for the first time and committed to welcoming 25 000 Syrian refugees before the end of the year.

This week, leaders of international activities from colleges, institutes and universities across the country will gather at the Canadian Bureau of International Education (CBIE)’s annual conference to discuss the importance of providing Canadian students with international experiences to compete in the global marketplace. Given the scope of the refugee crisis the issue of opening our institutions to foreign students is also sure to take centre stage.

Colleges and institutes across the country already have a long history of welcoming immigrants and refugees for whom education and upskilling is often a priority as they seek to find employment in the Canadian job market. It is fair to say that leveraging the training resources and community connections of colleges and institutes will be important to welcome Syrian refugees within our communities.

“Colleges and institute have a big role to play in welcoming refugees and immigrants to a community”, notes Paul Brennan, CICan’s vice-president, international partnerships. “Many of them are working in close partnership with community organisations and can help coordinate the various tasks required to welcome newcomers to Canada.”

The importance of international education, both to make our campuses welcoming to international students and to encourage Canadian students to spend some time abroad in order to gain a better understanding of other cultures, is very clear in the current situation.

Unfortunately, Canada is still lagging behind other countries when it comes to sending post-secondary students abroad, with barely 3% of our students studying for one or more session overseas according to CBIE. And that number drops even lower for college students.

However, when it comes to welcoming international students, colleges and institutes show their willingness to work with governments and community organisations to open their doors. This spirit of inclusiveness was on great display at the recent Interact Summit organized by Mohawk College which should lead to the elaboration of its Welcoming Communities Action Plan that will serve to make international students more welcome than ever before.

As for the number of international students in Canada, there has been a sharp rise in recent years. The country currently ranks as the world’s seventh most popular destination for international students and according to CBIE, enrolment has grown an incredible 84% between 2003 and 2014 from 159,426 to over 290,000.

According to the 2014 International Education Strategy, Canada could do even more as it sets the goal of attracting 450 000 international students by 2022. Unfortunately, that plan was only partially implemented by the previous government, who invested five million dollars to improve the marketing of Canadian education abroad but left most of the recommendations untouched.

With a new government in place planning to make Canada even more open and inclusive, it seems like a good time to revisit this plan and provide colleges and institutes with the support they need to expand their international focus.

Durham College and CICan Launch Leadership Development Program in Barbados

On November 9, Durham College and CICan began a week-long inception mission for the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) funded Skills for the Future: Leadership Development Program. This 12-month consultancy is focused on bringing together a community of Barbadian leaders to develop an in-depth understanding and appreciation of leadership models focusing on institutional strengthening and best practices in delivering skills training in the 21st century.Durham College, with support from Seneca College, will lead a program comprising a study visit to Canada, workshops in Barbados, and mentoring participants as they implement change management programs. The 25 participants are currently leading secondary and tertiary level institutions or working in the Ministry of Education.

CICan renews agreement with CONIF in Brazil

On November 10, CICan was in Brazil to renew its agreement with CONIF (National Council of the institutions of the Federal Network of Professional Education, Science and Technology). The 5-year agreement was signed in the presence of rectors from Brazilian federal institutes. This agreement will strengthen student mobility, teacher mobility, as well as applied research and innovation.

Call for submissions - 2016 Indigenous Education Symposium

CICan is looking for proposals for its 2016 Indigenous Education Symposium. The theme of this year’s Symposium is “Supporting Reconciliation through the Indigenous Education Protocol”, building on the CICan Indigenous Education Protocol and the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which emphasized the role of education in fostering reconciliation.

Click here  for more information.

New deadline for CICan’s Awards of Excellence nominations

CICan will be accepting nominations for its 2016 Awards of Excellence until January 8, 2016.

The Colleges and Institutes Canada Awards Program recognizes and promotes excellence within Canadian colleges, institutes, cégeps, university colleges and polytechnics. The awards showcase the extraordinary contribution of individuals to their college/institute communities and highlight the role of our institutions in social, cultural and economic development. There are three levels of recognition: Gold, Silver and Bronze.

Click here for more information.

Did you know?

Rémi Massé, Cegep de Matane’s former Director General, has been elected the Liberal Member of Parliament for the Avignon-La Mitis-Matane-Matapédia riding. Mr. Massé has previously stated that he wants to position the region as a hub for entrepreneurs and creators. He assumed office on October 19, 2015. Here is Massé visiting the CICan offices!



Read more about Remi Massé here.



Eureka! Moment

Students at George Brown College’s School of Dental Health recently provided Canada’s veterans with dentures and dental care. The college teamed up with dental equipment maker Dentsply and dental lab service firm LHM Dental to offer the veterans a significant discount on dental bills that can cost up to $3,000 or more. Two dozen students volunteered to help with the dental screening clinic, which took place between November 9 – 13. What an inspiring initiative!


Linda Marco has been named Durham College’s new associate vice-president, Office of Development and Alumni Affairs, as well as the president of the Durham College Foundation. Mrs. Marco is a graduate of Durham College, her previous positions include director of advancement for the Lakeridge Health Foundation. Appointment notice.

Thevi Pather is the new Executive Director of International Education at North Island College. Mr. Pather’s previous positions include director of advancement at Royal Roads University. He begins in his position on November 23. Appointment Notice.



Sign up for CICan’s Fall/Winter Webinar series

Are you interested in learning about internationalization in colleges and institutes? Would you like to know more about fundraising practices in the college and institute system? How about furthering your knowledge of social finance? CICan is once again hosting a series of webinars centered around these themes.  Stay tuned for more information, and mark your calendars with our next webinar!

Manufacturing GPS (including live demo) (English)

Date: December 7, 2015, 2-3pm EDT


To register for a webinar, click here.


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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.