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October 29, 2018

Working towards reconciliation

CICan’s  10thNational Indigenous Education Symposium took place earlier this month in Wendake, QC, highlighting the role of colleges, institutes, cegeps and polytechnics in working towards reconciliation. With over 175 educators, government officials, post-secondary administrators, and Indigenous service providers in attendance, the event was our most successful to date! Participants discussed topics such as strengthening Indigenous research capacity, supporting Indigenous student mental health, and harnessing the momentum around reconciliation with the goal of improving outcomes for Indigenous learners across the country.

Colleges and institutes are the primary access point to postsecondary education – and the upskilling required to access it – for Indigenous people. Did you know that 86% of Canada’s Indigenous population live within 50 km of a college or institute campus or learning centre? Not only that, but colleges and institutes offer over 300 programs (certificates, diplomas, bachelor’s degrees, and postgraduate certificates) tailored to meet the needs of Indigenous learners and communities. For example:

In British Columbia, College of the Rockiesoffers a one or two-year program in Aboriginal Financial Management; while Capilano Universityoffers a diploma in Indigenous Independent Digital Filmmaking.

In addition to specialized programs in a wide range of sectors, colleges and institutes also support reconciliation and foster indigenous student success through specialized supports, resource centres, and services, including:

  • Confederation Collegehas special Indigenous Student Navigators that can help Indigenous students apply for programs and financial aid, arrange living accommodations and daycare, and stay connected to their home community.
  • Algonquin Collegeis opening a new Institute for Indigenous Entrepreneurship that will help Indigenous students launch their entrepreneurial ideas through mentorship, peer support, and cultural connections.
  • Yukon College’s First Nations Initiatives department is a voice within the college that is dedicated to integrating an understanding and awareness of the culture, traditions, and history of Yukon First Nations.

In its submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance (FINA), CICan recommended improving labour-market outcomes of Indigenous people and supporting economic development in Indigenous communities through increased financial support for learners, tailored programs, and wrap-around supports. As the main providers of adult education and upskilling, colleges and institutes are critical to Indigenous peoples gaining the skills and high school equivalency needed to transition to PSE.

For a more inclusive and competitive Canada, it is vital that First Nations, Inuit, and Métispeoples are fully able to participate in the economy and that the government invest in Indigenous communities. Read CICan’s full submission and recommendations here.

Applied Research Symposium is just days away

CICan’s Applied Research Symposium is just a week away – this is your final chance to register!

The Applied Research Symposium will bring together federal policy makers, leaders in applied research, students, community and industry partners to discuss how to support Canadian innovators, including small and medium enterprises. It will feature several influential guests and keynote speakers, including The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, Senator Diane Bellemare, Roberta Jamieson, CEO of Indspire and several MPs, including members of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology (INDU).

The event will also feature a student showcase, where students from across the country will present applied research projects and discuss their impact. With over 45 students registered, this promises to be our biggest and most successful showcase yet!

For more information, and to register, visit CICan’s upcoming events page.

Register now for CICan’s Leaders Forum!

Held in parallel to the Applied Research Symposium, CICan’s Leaders Forum will provide presidents and senior leaders with opportunities to engage with parliamentarians and senior federal officials to share advocacy priorities.

While the Forum and Symposium will run concurrently, there will be common sessions for Presidents and Heads of Applied Research on the afternoon of November 5, with a focus on Applied Research and Innovation.

For more information, and to register, visit the Forum’s event page.

Colleges Ontario invites you to the Higher Education Summit

The legalization of cannabis and key challenges in mental health on today’s campuses are among the issues to be explored at next month’s Higher Education Summit in Toronto. Hosted by Colleges Ontario, the summit will take place November 24 to 26 at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel.

The Higher Education Summit is an annual event that explores the top issues affecting post-secondary education today. It includes featured talks from world-renowned leaders and networking opportunities at the most senior level. This year, the summit will include featured addresses by former White House adviser and CNN correspondent Van Jones, former Supreme Court chief justice Beverley McLachlin, and Toronto Star columnist Chantal Hébert.

For more information, or to register, please visit the Higher Education Summit website.

Bell Let’s Talk offers free toolkits

CICan is very proud to work with Bell Let’s Talk as a partner for the 2019 Bell Let’s Talk Day Campaign to promote mental health and help reduce stigma on campuses. Student mental health in post-secondary institutions is an important topic of discussion as we continue to see concerning statistics and an increase in calls for support. Together, we need to take action and promote the current mental health programs and services already available in many colleges, cegeps and institutes.

To help support mental health strategies at the post-secondary level, Bell Let’s Talk is offering free mental health campus toolkits. The toolkits are intended to help drive conversations and raise awareness on Bell Let’s Talk Day. Toolkit materials, combined with your school’s own promotional material, can be used to support activities in dining halls, residences, sport facilities and other common areas where students gather. CICan encourages all its members to request a toolkit and bring the conversation to life on your campus.

Click here to order a free mental health campus toolkit for your college and be part of the Bell Let’s Talk Day campaign in 2019. A limited number of campus toolkits are available and orders will be filled on a first come first served basis. To reach as many colleges and institutes as possible, one toolkit per college can be ordered. Colleges are encouraged to select one campus location to receive the toolkit.

If you have any questions, please contact Dawn Boylan on the Bell Let’s Talk team at or 902-487-4738.

New funding available from the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES)

The Government of Canada’s Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) has announced that its Ecosystem Fund is investing $85 million over five years in projects to strengthen organizations’ ability to support women entrepreneurs and close gaps in service.

As part of the Strategy, the Government is also making funding available directly to women entrepreneurs through the Women Entrepreneurship Fund. The objective is to support women in growing their businesses and in pursuing opportunities in markets abroad.

The WES represents a significant national milestone in the pursuit of gender equality. It will foster a diverse and inclusive economy that benefits all Canadians. Its success will further Canada’s status as a global leader in women’s economic empowerment.

For more information, visit the WES website.

CICan-Led missions to China and Indonesia help members identify new opportunities

From October 18thto 21st, CICan had the pleasure of leading a delegation of 20 participants to the 19th China Annual Conference for International Education & Expo (CACIE) organized by the China Education Association for International Exchange (CEAIE) in Beijing.  As part of the conference, CICan and CEAIE organized the first China-Canada Vocational Education Forum in many years.

The Forum which was opened with a warm welcome from John McCallum, Canada’s Ambassador to China was host to discussions and panels on topics such as Innovative Skills Development and Applied Research for Sustainable Economic Growth, and Best practices and Opportunities for Future China-Canada cooperation.

During the Forum, Algonquin College signed an MOU with Ningbo Polytechnic and Saskatchewan Polytechnic signed agreements with Chengdu Polytechnic and the Hunan Financial and Industrial Technical College. Several other colleges used the opportunity to further advance current work and discuss new projects related to joint programs, leadership training and mobility for students and faculty.

For its part, CICan renewed its MOU with CEAIE. The areas identified for future collaboration include the facilitation of institutional partnerships in advanced skills development by connecting Chinese institutions with CICan members; two-way mobility; institutional development with specific attention to curriculum development, teacher training, governance and performance measurement; the development of joint applied research projects; and the exploration of trilateral initiatives to promote TVET strengthening, leveraging existing ties and experiences with countries in Africa and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The overall CACIE conference was also a success, attracting more than 3000 participants from 50 countries and regions. About 500 universities, colleges and institutes from over 30 countries and regions joined the Education Expo tour in four major cities in China, and nearly 150 joined the Education B2B. CICan President and CEO Denise Amyot had the opportunity to be one of the panellists for the opening plenary session and to address the International Forum on Education. Those addresses and the presentations made by CICan members during the China-Canada TVET Forum helped further highlight the strengths of Canada’s college system and the relevance of its model for China, and Asia more generally.

A couple of days later, on October 23rd, a group of 10 colleges and institutes participated in a 1-day Technical and Vocational Education Forum in Jakarta, Indonesia. The event was held on the heels of well-attended EduCanada fairs in Surabaya and Jakarta. Participants heard in-depth market analysis and detailed updates on the efforts of the government to revitalize vocational higher education in the country. In recent years, CICan and some of its members have implemented activities as part of the Polytechnic Education Development (PEDP) program, funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Global Affairs Canada, whose goals are to strengthen the capacity of 34 polytechnics in applied research, polytechnic management and better aligning programs with market needs. The Forum helped to better identify opportunities for continued collaboration and to position Canadian institutions for upcoming calls for proposals expected in the next year.

CICan thanks all speakers and participants for making those events a success. To view photos of both events, click here. For more information, please contact Xin Qin at

WFCP announces its 2020 World Congress

Following a very successful congress in Melbourne, Australia, the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics(WFCP) has announced that its next world congress will be held in Donostia/San Sebastián, in Spain’s Basque Country. Hosted by Tknika (Basque Country) and the Association of Colleges (UK), and dubbed Europe 2020, the 10th bi-annual World Congress will focus on the theme of VET Excellence – For All.

The congress will take place from October 14-16, 2020, with pre-congress activities, including a youth camp and leadership institute organized by the PostSecondary International Network, beginning on October 13.

2020 will be a crucial year for Europe. It will be an opportunity to check compliance for the targets defined by Europe for the period 2010-2020. It will also mark the launch of a strategy to support platforms of excellence in the professional and technical education and training (PTET) sector, which will involve cooperation with centres from all over the world. The congress will also be an opportunity to hear changes adopted for the 2021-2027 Erasmus + and other education programs. Finally, it will offer an opportunity to take stock of the level of compliance with the Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs), which were defined for the period 2015-2030. Under the SDGs, the global PTET sector has greater responsibility in building a sustainable, inclusive world.

We take this opportunity to remind you that CICan members are elgible for the WFCP Awards of Excellence. It’s never too early to start thinking about your submissions in the awards seven categories. This year, eight Canadian institutions were recognized (Northern College, Niagara College, Red River College, Mohawk College’s mHealth and eHealth Development and Innovation Centre (MEDIC), Bow Valley College, Centennial College, Durham College, and Anne Sado from George Brown College).

Eureka! Moment

On October 14, Cégep Marie-Victorin and the Jinan Vocational College, in China, awarded diplomas to 92 graduates of their joint early childhood education program. This is the second cohort to complete the program, which was launched in 2014, and is based on a sharing of expertise between the two institutions. What a wonderful example of international collaboration!


Cegep Limoilou has announced that Philippe Aubé will be its new Director of studies (directeur des études). An alumni of Limoilou, he has a long history with the cegep and has occupied several positions over the past few years, most recently that of associated director of studies.


Marie-Chantal Dumas, research counsellor at Cegep Garneau, and Christine Trauttmansdorff, vice-president, Government Relations and Canadian Partnerships, at CICan, have both been nominated to the board of the Association pour la recherche au collégial.


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