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October 13, 2015

CICan takes a final look at the main electoral platforms

The three main parties released their electoral platforms last week and though many of the measures had already been announced, they do include some new items that will be of interest to colleges and institutes. The Liberal Party unveiled its platform on October 5, which includes several measures on education that focus mainly on financial aid for students. This includes increasing the maximum Canada Student Grant for low-income students to $3,000 per year for full-time students, and to $1,800 per year for part-time students. The Liberals would also increase the income thresholds for eligibility with the objective of giving more Canadian students access to even larger grants. In order to deal with student debt, the Liberals would take measures to make the loan system more flexible. They would ensure that no graduate with student loans will be required to make any repayment until they are earning an income of at least $25,000 per year. On job and skills training for Canadians, the Liberals reiterated their promised to increase investment in skills training through a $750 million annual increase in funding for training programs delivered in partnership with the provinces and territories. A Liberal government would also renew and expand funding by $50 million to the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ASETS). The NDP platform was unveiled on October 9 and also focuses on student debt,  promising to completely phase out interest on student loans over a period of seven years. The party would also provide additional funding of $250 million, ramped up over four years, for the Canada Student Grant program. The NDP believe this would be enough to create 50,000 additional grants that would be targeted to helping low-income and Indigenous students, as well as students living with disabilities. The party has also pledged to work with private sector employers and non-profits, to create 40,000 new jobs, co-op placements and internships for youth. On jobs, the NDP platform commits to support a culture of innovation by introducing a new Innovation Tax Credit for companies that invest in research and development. In addition, they will create a new Aerospace Advanced Manufacturing Fund for SME’s to adopt new technologies.  In the natural resource sector, they will commit $1 billion to mining projects in northern Ontario and support manufacturing and innovation in the forestry sector. On infrastructure, the NDP will continue to support federal commitments under the New Building Canada Fund and expand eligibility. On healthcare, the NDP will provide federal training grants to hire up to 7,000 healthcare workers. On Indigenous education, the NDP will work to close the education gap for Indigenous students, which includes the renewal, improvement and long-term sustainability of the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ASET). (p37) The Conservative party also released its platform on October 9. It includes several measures in support of skills training and education. If re-elected, the Conservatives will continue implementing the $1.5 billion Canada First Research Excellence Fund to support world-leading research projects that create long- term economic advantage for Canada. They would also establish a $100m Manufacturing Technology Demonstration Fund to support new manufacturing technologies and provide ongoing support to the tri-council funding agencies. The Conservatives have also pledged continuing support to the Canadian Foundation for Innovation to finance research infrastructure on university, college, and polytechnic campuses. This will be made possible through funding of $1.33 billion over six years, starting in 2017-18, to support the Foundation’s ongoing work. The Conservative party would also work to enhance and extend the Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit – raising the amount employers can claim to $2,500 and extending the credit into the third and fourth years of an apprenticeship program. On jobs, the Conservatives would create a Skilled Trades Job Experience Program to help young Canadians gain work experience in the skilled trades. Like the new-democrats and liberals they would also continue providing support for the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy and the Skills and Partnership Fund.

Did you know?

On October 7, over 1,500 students at New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) volunteered their time for the institution’s designated Service Day. Students participated in activities in Fredericton, Saint John, St. Andrews, Moncton, Miramichi, and Woodstock. The Service Day, titled #TransformNB, is run through NBCC’s Robertson Institute for Community Leadership, which helps create a culture of leadership and service. Way to go NBCC!
I hope all of CICan’s members and partners had a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving break! The weather has been particularly beautiful and the leaves in Ottawa are gorgeous this fall. On September 29, our CICan board meeting was held in Calgary. While there, all the board directors took the opportunity to visit Bow Valley College as well as SAIT Polytechnic. I would like to thank both colleges for being so generous and showing us their beautiful campuses. It was great to meet with Dr. David Ross, president of SAIT, and hear how the institution has had a great impact on local industry. Sharon Carry, president of Bow Valley College, also shared great success stories from her institution. It’s always fantastic to visit member colleges, and the presence of CICan board members made it even more special! After Calgary, it was back to Ottawa, where CICan hosted an Australian delegation on October 1. The delegation was composed of representatives from Australia’s Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutions. It was great to discuss common challenges with these delegates and we also identified potential areas of partnerships in the following sectors: hospitality and tourism. If you are interested in partnering with Australian institutions, please let us know. I finished the week in Manitoba, where I visited Brandon’s Assiniboine Community College (ACC). It was so great to visit the college, and to experience the annual Thanksgiving dinner at the ACC Adult Collegiate, which was prepared by Faculty for all the college students of that campus. I also had the privilege to attend the ACC’s Harvest on the Hill evening, where I got the chance to visit ACC’s sustainable greenhouse. It was great to learn about local organic food production in Brandon and hear about the students' experience testing approaches in northern climates. The food stations were amazing and it was clear that the many guests enjoyed their experience.

Congratulations!

The Canadore College Board of Governors has announced that George Burton will continue in his role as the College’s president for another five years. Appointment notice Northern College has announced the compostition of its new Board of Governors, which will be chaired by George Kemp. He will be joined by, first Vice-Chair Alan Spacek, Second Vice-Chair Rock Foy and Governor at Large George Pirie. Appointment notice

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