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October 25, 2019

Students in Niagara College’s Winery and Viticulture Technician program learn all facets of the winemaking process. Above, students press grapes harvested from the College’s 40-acre on-campus teaching vineyard. Photo: Niagara College.

Innovating in Canada’s growing beverage industry

Wineries, breweries, and distilleries are a unique, innovative, and growing part of Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sector. According to the Government of Canada, the wine sector alone generated $1.2 billion in revenue in 2016 and employed 5,600 people! Since then, the federal government has invested in further developing the agri-food industry through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a $3-billion fund committed to charting the course for government investments over the next five years.

As leaders in agricultural training and innovation, and sustainable environmental practices in agri-food, it’s no surprise that colleges and institutes have stepped up to the plate – or the glass – in the beverage industry as well. In fact, these institutions are home to many state-of-the-art, industry-leading facilities and have been among the first to provide training to meet winery, brewery, and distillery demand. For example:

  • The Brewmaster & Brewery Operations Management program at Olds College introduces students to the art and science of brewing, including technical beer-making skills, research into developing new recipes, sourcing of locally grown materials, and entrepreneurship skills necessary to manage and operate a craft brewery. As a leader in agricultural innovation, Olds also conducts research for new crops such as quinoa, hemp, and hops.
  • The Canadian Food and Wine Institute at Niagara College is home to a Teaching Winery, Teaching Brewery, and a Teaching Distillery fed by the institute’s 40-acre vineyard, hop yard, fruit-tree orchard, and culinary garden. Program offerings include Winery and Viticulture Technician, and Wine Business Management, Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management, and Canada’s first Artisan Distilling program and provide students with an in-depth understanding of the scientific, technological and business aspects of the industries. The institute also, last week, hosted its first Food & Beverage Innovation Summit.
  • The two-year Brewing and Brewery Operations program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) is the only brewing diploma of its kinds in British Columbia and combines a solid foundation in brewing science with hands-on practical learning at KPU’s pilot brewery. Students explore the history of brewing, brewery equipment and technology, packaging and sales, as well as brewing chemistry and recipe formulations.
  • Known as a leader in culinary studies, Vancouver Community College also offers a part-time Wine Sommelier program in partnership with the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) after which graduates are fully WSET certified.
  • The Centre for Craft Brewing Innovation at Durham College offers access to expertise state-of-the-art facilities, and research services supporting craft brewers while giving students valuable experience by working on research projects to refine brewing methods and recipes.
  • Collège La Cité’s Sommelier program also recently added a course specific to beer, spirits, and non-alcoholic beverages such as mineral water pairings.
  • In 2016, Cégep de Jonquière inaugurated the very first micro-brewery program in Quebec (Techniaues de production en microbrasserie) and, last year, officially opened its own artisanal brewery to expand training with hands-on learning. The program trains students in beer production and quality control, brewing science and ingredient chemistry, and equipment sterilization and maintenance.
  • Cégep de Saint-Félicien is also set to launch its first program in fine alcohol distillation with the goal of expanding Quebec’s distilling industry. The attestations d’études collégiales Local Product Development (specialization fins alcohols, schnapps, mistelles) will train students to produce high quality beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, distilled from local boreal fruits and vegetables.
  • Nova Scotia Community College’s (NSCC) one-year Cool Climate Wine and Viticulture certificate explores the wine industry in Atlantic Canada from the essentials of growing grapes to the science of wine making and the business of tourism, sales and marketing. Courses include biology for viticulture, vineyard and harvest health, pest management, and aging and bottling.
  • Okanagan College is known for its food, wine, and tourism programming, including a Wine Sales Certificate and a Viticulture Technician Diploma. The college was also recently awarded British Columbia’s second Technology Access Centre (TAC), the BC Beverage Technology Centre that will provide business services and applied research assistance to the wine, beer, cider, and spirits industries throughout the province.

As innovation in agriculture continues to expand to meet the challenges posed by climate change and sustainable growth, so will Canada’s beverage industry, spurred by colleges and institutes that live at the nexus of hospitality, tourism, gastronomy, agriculture, and innovation.

CICan congratulates all new and returning MPs

On behalf of colleges and institutes across Canada, we would like to thank all candidates who took part in this very important election and offer our sincere congratulations to the 338 new and returning members of parliament.

“Regardless of party lines and platforms, Canadians know that providing quality, accessible education is at the heart of Canada’s success and prosperity,” said CICan President and CEO Denise Amyot. “We look forward to working with all the parties in the House to support the innovative training options and applied research that make Canada’s colleges and institutes some of the strongest in the world. Together, we will ensure that Canadians continue to obtain the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in a rapidly changing labour market, while contributing fully to strong and vibrant communities.”

As the national voice of Canada’s colleges and institutes in Ottawa, we commit to working with the federal government on priorities representative of the entire college and institute system. Consult our latest submission to pre-budget consultations for more information on priorities.

Recognize excellence in leadership

Each year, our Awards of Excellence showcase both exceptional institutions across the country and the extraordinary contribution of individuals to their college or institute community. The awards recognize leadership excellence at four levels: Faculty, Managerial Staff, non-Managerial Staff, and Students.

Take this opportunity to nominate your colleagues and students by November 18.

Gold recipients in each category will receive $1,000 courtesy of TD Insurance, as well as a recognition trophy and a complimentary registration to the CICan 2020 Connection Conference.

Last chance to register: Indigenous Education Symposium

Our upcoming Indigenous Education Symposium in Saskatoon is only a week away. Don’t miss this last chance to register and share your knowledge and innovative approaches to serving Indigenous peoples and communities!

The theme of this year’s symposium is TAPWEWIN and ReconciliACTION. TAPWEWIN means ‘’the truth’’ in the Cree language.

Explore the full program, including keynote speaker Wilton Littlechild, Ph.D., Grand Chief of the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations and International Treaty Chief. Dr. Littlechild is also a lawyer and residential school survivor.

The event is organized with the support of host institutions Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies, Saskatchewan Polytechnic, and the Dumont Technical Institute.

Call for expressions of interest: ImpAct

CICan ImpAct, with the support of McConnell Foundation and the patronage of Canadian Commission for UNESCO, is launching three collaborative pan-Canadian projects to strengthen and scale up member institutions’ contributions to social and economic inclusion and ecological sustainability.

After extensive consultation, we are inviting representatives from member institutions to express their interest in participating in one of three working groups:

  • Reducing barriers to inclusive access
  • Social entrepreneurship
  • Campus sustainability

Institutions are invited to express their interest by November 4, 2019.

Help girls change the world

Technovation Girls is calling on Canadian post-secondary institutions to get involved in empowering girls to become leaders and creative problem-solvers through technology and engineering education.

Technovation is a global tech education non-profit organization that equips young women to become tech entrepreneurs and leaders. The organization’s two programs, Technovation Girls and Technovation Families bring kids and adults together to solve big problems in their communities. 

As leaders in innovation and access to education for underrepresented groups, colleges and institutes can partner with Technovation to help build a world where girls feel empowered to lead conversations and create solutions to issues that will impact their lives and communities.

Contact Ophelie Horsley at to learn more about how to get started and get you kit of Club Leader resources.

Take advantage of CICan’s new corporate partnerships

Our newly redesigned and relaunched partnership options offer organizations that are national in scope a direct line of communication to Canada’s extensive network of colleges and institutes! Partners benefit from:

  • Brand visibility, including advertising and promotion on CICan’s website, in our Perspectives newsletter, and at various events;
  • Network access, including engaging CICan members through various communications channels; and,
  • Customized content such as commissioned studies and tailored reports.

Customizable sponsorship options are also available. Learn more about corporate partnerships and advertising opportunities.

Help promote education for employment in Latin America

The Pacific Alliance Education for Employment (PA-EFE) team is looking for support to develop and implement national promotional campaigns in Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru! This is a great opportunity for communications departments and students enrolled in related programs to contribute to a dynamic international project.

View the full call for proposals online. The deadline for submissions is November 29, 2019.

The PA-EFE program supports training programs and employment opportunities in the extractive sector with a particular emphasis placed on prioritizing the recruitment of women.

The team will also be offering an informational webinar on October 30th, 2019 from 1:30PM to 3:00PM (ET) to discuss the project and answer your questions! Contact Brigid Shea, Senior Program Officer, Pacific Alliance at for more information.

Eureka! Moment

Did you know that Assiniboine Community College’s One to Watch Entrance Awards recognize graduating high-school students who demonstrate exceptional leadership and community involvement throughout their schooling? The new awards of $1,000 each will provide financial resources for over 300 students (one per high school) to pursue post-secondary education, beginning in June 2020. Eligible students can learn more and apply online.


NAIT announced the appointment of Dr. Ray Block as interim President and CEO following the retirement of current president Dr. Glenn Fletham. Dr. Block has been a member of NAIT’s executive committee since 2011 and will assume the new role effective December 16.


Awards of Excellence

Submit a nomination for CICan’s Awards of Excellence before November 18.

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.