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October 19, 2020

Fact and fiction

Did you know that every five years, October 20 is recognized by the United Nations Statistical Commission as World Statistics Day, highlighting the value of statistics in meeting the challenges of our time? This year’s theme, “Connecting the world with data we can trust,” calls on each of us to reflect on the importance of current and reliable data in understanding our changing world.

Earlier this year, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres launched the United Nations Data Strategy with the goal of strengthening the organization’s ability to provide more and better data to address global challenges, including responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and meeting the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. In a world where truth can be easily manipulated, redacted, or rejected, reliable statistics and indicators of progress are key to making informed decisions and developing evidence-based policy. In short, data matters.

Many college and institute programs, like George Brown College’s Big Data Analytics and Durham College’s Data Analytics for Business Decision Making, train students to use and understand data. When we think about rebuilding better after the COVID-19 pandemic, here are a few key statistics to keep in mind:

On applied research, we know that colleges and institutes leverage close ties with industry to both fuel innovation and provide valuable learning opportunities for students.

  • In 2017-2018 colleges and institutes worked with over 7,300 partners on applied research projects, resulting in over 4,400 concrete innovations, including new products, services, prototypes or processes; and,
  • Over 53,000 students participated in these partnershipsat college and institute laboratories and research centres supporting every sector of the economy, from advanced manufacturing and digital technology, to health sciences and tourism.

On inclusion and accessibility, we know that colleges and institutes are the primary access point to post-secondary education for First Nations, Inuit and Métis learners, and are deeply engaged in advancing reconciliation and empowering communities.

  • Over 95% of all Canadians and86% of Indigenous people live within 50 km of a college or institute; and,
  • Colleges and institutes across the country offer over 300 credential programs tailored to the needs of Indigenous learners and communities.

The World Economic Forum also recently reported that the recession triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic has created larger employment losses for women than for men: with women’s labour supply still 20% below pre-recession levels, compared with men’s labour supply only 9% lower.

On sustainability, the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals Report 2020 brings together the latest data to show us that, unfortunately, we are not on track to meet our Goals by 2030; and we must mobilize, lead, and act to tackle issues like climate change, poverty, and inequality.

  • Our signature Education for Employment program operates in 15 countries and has an impact that touches on all 17 of the SDGs by empowering all people to achieve their full potential through education.
  • Our Fall 2019 Infrastructure Survey found that college and institute respondents have over300 shovel-ready projects, 62% of which were aimed at improving energy efficiency and green infrastructure.

Data and statistics are vital to our advocacy efforts and give us key insights that we can report to policymakers in the federal government, including in our submissions to federal consultations.

Rebuilding better means that we can’t go back to the way things used to be. World Statistics Day is a reminder of the evidence that supports policy decisions that help build a more innovative, inclusive, accessible, and sustainable future!

Inside mental health: stigma and support

Global systems have been disrupted and many of us are now facing unprecedented levels of anxiety, stress, uncertainty, and loss. As public-health recommendations impose limitations on social interaction, building awareness of and breaking the stigma around student mental health and well-being is now more important than ever.

In what ways can we think about mental health differently in the context of post-secondary education, and how can we better orient support systems to address inequalities widened by the pandemic?

In this episode, our expert guests will explore how we can ease mental strain and better promote the well-being of post-secondary faculty, staff, and students. Mark your calendars for October 28 and join us!

Submit a proposal for outbound mobility-focused innovation projects

Despite global restrictions on international travel we are moving forward on implementing our new Outbound Mobility Pilot program in partnership with Universities Canada! While the full program launch has been delayed, we’re starting work with a call for proposals for innovative approaches to reducing barriers to studying and working abroad.

Submit a proposal for non-travel related projects that test new tools and approaches, help institutions adapt mobility programming to a COVID-19 environment, and build the foundation for the launch of the full program. See the full proposal guidelines for more details. Deadline: October 30. 

We are also seeking input from students on the program’s name and brand! MediaStyle is conducting focus groups to better direct our key messages and communications strategy. Students interested in participating can respond to this survey.

The Outbound Mobility Pilot program is funded by the Government of Canada as part of its International Education Strategy with the goal of providing post-secondary students with the opportunity to study and work overseas, strengthen their global competencies, and enrich Canada’s economic prosperity.

Promote positive mental health outcomes with the new national student standard

To support post-secondary institutions in promoting positive mental health outcomes on and off campus, the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), in collaboration with CSA Group, has created a brand-new national standard on Mental health and well-being for post-secondary students!

This new standard is the first of its kind in the world and serves as a set of voluntary guidelines developed in consultation with diverse stakeholders, including students, administrators, service providers, and people with lived and living experience of mental illness. Its goal is to provide a consistent, evidence-based framework schools can use to enhance existing mental health strategies or develop new ones.

Since 2018, we have been working with MHCC on the development of this National Standard and thank all CICan members for their contributions: those represented on the Advisory Committee for Student Mental Health and the Technical Committee charged with drafting the document, and the many others interviewed during the process.

Help us support NEET Indigenous and newcomer youth

Join one of our upcoming virtual focus groups to discuss and identify challenges, opportunities, promising practices, and resources to better engage, support, and advance the success of Indigenous and newcomer youth who are currently not in education, employment, or training (NEET).

Three sessions will be held in early November:

The focus groups will inform our environmental scan and form the basis of continued collaboration through our brand-new Skills Compass project designed to meet the needs of unemployed or underemployed Indigenous and newcomer youth between the ages 18 to 30 years. Register now!

Nominate a student committed to social and environmental impact

Do you know a student or recent graduate who has shown extraordinary commitment and leadership to global citizenship, social and economic inclusion, and environmental sustainability?

We are looking for committed individuals from diverse regional, linguistic, institutional, and cultural backgrounds to join the ImpAct Student and Alumni Advisory Committee (ISAAC) supporting colleges and institutes in achieving their vision of a better future for people and communities.

Since its inception, ISAAC has played an invaluable role in shaping the work of the ImpAct team as a partner, advocate, and advisor to management, presidents, and stakeholders in government and beyond!

Nominate a student or recent graduate before October 23.

Share your research with the IJWIL

The International Journal of Work-Integrated Learning (IJWIL), in partnership with Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) Canada is putting together a special issue highlighting recent research and best practice developments in Canadian co-operative education and work-integrated learning and is looking for content!

The journal is seeking expressions of interest for academic papers, reports on original research, and detailed case studies of unique practice with an emphasis on student learning and outcomes.

The IIJWIL special issue, The Practice and Research of Co-op and WIL in the Canadian Context, will be published in May-June 2021. Submit and expression of interest by email before Nov 9.

Eureka! Moment

Did you know that Fanshawe College’s Centre for Research and Innovation has developed a safe, rapid and inexpensive method to identify the effectiveness of potential COVID-19 drug treatments? Using non-infectious artificial copies of the SARS-COV-2 virus, the team can test new COVID-19 drug therapies against the copies outside of the more expensive biosafety level-2 laboratories. Following initial success, the team is now ready to work with a commercial partner to take the proof-of-concept success from small college lab to large-scale application!


Saskatchewan Polytechnic announced the appointment of Thevi Pather as the new associate vice-president, International. Pather brings over 25 years of international education experience to this new role.

Capilano University welcomed Debbie Carter as its new vice president, Finance & Administration. Carter’s background includes extensive leadership experience in financial planning and forecasting, asset and risk management, and strategic planning.

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.