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October 3, 2016

Facilities like the Kawartha Trades and Technology Centre at Fleming College (pictured) help ensure that Canada is equipped with a skilled and innovative workforce.

Government Consultation: Highlighting the Role of Colleges and Institutes in Canada’s Innovation Ecosystem

Canada has been abuzz with innovation talk since Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains, launched the Government of Canada’s Innovation Agenda in July 2016. The country has been asked for their innovation ideas and they are responding with their priorities for the future of Canada’s innovation ecosystem.

Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) was pleased to participate, addressing the question of how colleges and institutes can play a larger role in the innovation ecosystem. Colleges and institutes have been instrumental in shaping the Canadian innovation ecosystem for a long time and this nation-wide call to action provides an opportunity to make clear the unique role they play in Canada.

As part of the National Collaboration and Call to Action, the minister identified six areas for action – focusing on people, technology and partnerships – and solicited suggestions from Canadians through an interactive website and roundtable consultations across the country.

CICan’s President and CEO, Denise Amyot, had the pleasure of participating in a roundtable discussion on Entrepreneurial and Creative Society, in Halifax on September 7, 2016, which highlighted the need for innovation within educational institutions, both engaging youth and Indigenous populations as well as developing programs that foster creative idea generation.

As the national voice of colleges and institutes, CICan also led a national submission to the consultation, titled “Fact-Tracking Inclusive Innovation for a Successful Canada,” which focuses on three key points:

  • To foster an Entrepreneurial and Creative Society and Compete in a Digital World, the federal government must invest in people to deliver and maintain an innovation-ready workforce equipped with the skills and experience to meet the rapidly evolving needs of the labour market, generate and implement new ideas and technologies, grow companies, and adapt readily to the changing global market;
  • To expand and exploit Global Science Excellence, support World Leading Clusters and Partnerships and increase the Ease of Doing Business, Canada should unlock local innovation by providing regional partners, particularly SMEs, with more and easier access to applied research capacity to develop, adapt and market their products and services in new ways and to maximize their contributions to value chains and the development of world-leading clusters;
  • And to Grow Companies and Accelerate Clean Growth, the government must support the creation and growth of SMEs, including those in clean-tech, by providing student and community entrepreneurs with the training, advice, services and connections required to start and scale new companies that can move into global markets. 

Although we have provided input on a national level, we strongly encourage members to join the 93,000 Canadians who have participated using the government’s interactive website.

China and Canada strengthen their ties in education


The relationship between China and Canada took centre stage last week with the official visit of Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China. Education was an important topic of discussion, culminating in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Global Affairs Canada and the Ministry of Education of China.

The MOU was signed by Prime minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Li Keqiang during a ceremony on Parliament Hill. CICan has long been involved in advocating for this agreement which will make it easier for Canadian institutions to work with China on bilateral education cooperation initiatives.

For more information, see the joint statement issued by the governments of China and Canada.

At the same time, CICan hosted a group of 44 private college and university presidents and vice-presidents from the China Association of Non-Government Education (CANGE) in Canada last week to explore potential partnerships. This trip followed the signing of an initial MOU with CICan in October of 2014.

The delegation visited five CICan members: Douglas College and Langara College in British-Columbia, Algonquin College and Humber College in Ontario and Vanier College in Québec. This was the largest overseas delegation with the largest regional coverage ever organized by the China Association of Non-Government Education (CANGE).

With the signing of an official MOU between both national governments, bilateral partnerships can now be recognized and funded by both governments.

The first initiative funded by the government of China will be launched in November, when representatives from 20 Chinese institutions will visit Canada. This will be the first step towards the Canadian implementation of PathPro, a comprehensive platform aiming to promote multiple cooperation between Chinese higher vocational colleges and institutes of higher applied learning in other countries. The Chinese institutions will be looking for partners in a variety of fields and CICan has agreed to facilitate linkages.

CICan will also represent Canadian colleges and institutes at the upcoming 17th China Annual Conference for International Education, October 20-22 in Beijing.

10 CICan members receive WFCP International Awards of Excellence


On the occasion of its 8th biannual World Congress – during which delegates representing over 30 countries participated in discussions about the future of professional and technical education – the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics’ (WFCP) was happy to announce the winners of its second International Awards of Excellence!

The Federation presented 21 awards in 7 categories ranging from accessibility and entrepreneurship, to green initiatives and student support services. Of the 20 recipients, an astounding 10 are also members of Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan)! The following prizes were awarded to CICan members:

WFCP thanked the members of its awards committee – representing China, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, and the United States – for the time they dedicated to assessing files for all candidates.

For the complete list of winners, see the press release here.

Another award during the festivities was presented to Marie-Josée Fortin, CICan’s Director of International Partnerships. CONIF (Conselho Nacional das Instituições Federais) awarded Fortin, along with nine other international honorees, a Medal of Honour in recognition of her contribution to professional and vocational education in Brazil. Congratulations Marie-Josée!

CICan launches 2016-17 Webinar Series

Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) is pleased to announce the first two webinars of its fall and winter 2016-17 Webinar Series. These interactive sessions will include presentations from experts followed by a robust question and answer session.

Strengthening International Education through Canadian Best Practices will lead the webinar series on November 1, 2016, and will focus on CICan’s role as the North American UNESCO-UNEVOC leader, offering a platform for CICan members to share expertise, best practices and research.

The second webinar, on November 22, 2016, Creating Mental Health Educational Environments, will allow for participants to learn about evidence-based tools and resources employers can use to create mentally healthy educational environments for all. Please note this webinar is available in English only.

While there is no cost for the webinars, participants are requested to register as these webinars are exclusive to CICan members. Participants will be sent a link to the webinar prior to the scheduled time and date.

To register, please click here. Stay tuned for information about upcoming webinars later this fall!

Canada’s Ambassador to Peru visits an EFE Andes Local Partner


On September 19th, Ambassador Gwyneth Kutz visited one of the technical institutes participating in CICan’s Education for Employment program in Peru. This institution, CEFOP La Libertad in the city of Trujillo, is working in collaboration with Durham College, Centennial College, Cégep St-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Cégep Édouard-Montpetit.

The Ambassador had the opportunity to meet with the regional government’s directors and general manager; teachers who received training (in Peru and Canada) through the EFE and their roles as agents of change for other institutions in their region; business leaders who shared their perspectives on Canada’s contribution to increasing productivity; as well as students who spoke about the experience of going back to school and the importance of quality technical education in their professional transition and economic well-being.

During her visit to the training centre, the Ambassador highlighted the EFE program’s contribution in terms of equipment (including an environmental best practices micro-laboratory) and particularly in terms of skills development in the gastronomy and agricultural/ecological production programs, which welcomed a new cohort of students in April and another in August.

A Call for Proposals for CICan’s Applied Research, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Forum


CICan’s Applied Research, Entrepreneurship and Innovation ForumFast-Tracking Inclusive Innovation” is bringing together 125-150 college and institute leaders in applied research, entrepreneurship and skills training; the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs; and a full range of government, industry and community partners.

Join us at Seneca College for this important event, on November 7-8, 2016.

Opportunities to submit proposals for presentations are now available. The Forum provides speaking opportunities for leaders in college and institute applied research and entrepreneurship to showcase innovative, exemplary practices with their colleagues, government and industry. We currently have speaking opportunities available on the following themes: The Next Generation of Innovators and Entrepreneurs, Commercializing Innovation, and Social Innovation for Change and Inclusiveness.

More information regarding the Call for Presentations and guidelines for proposal submissions is available here. All proposals must be submitted by October 14, 2016.

News from the UNESCO-UNEVOC network


The UNEVOC North American cluster has published its latest newsletter on entrepreneurship. We hope that this brief newsletter will provide some insight into how creative and committed Canada is when it comes to entrepreneurship. You can read it here, on CICan’s web-site.

CICan is part of the UNESCO-UNEVOC network and was designated as the pan-Canadian UNEVOC centre and lead for the North American Cluster of UNEVOC centres. This gives Canada’s colleges and institutes great international visibility with the UN!

Eureka! Moment

Did you know that children of Saskatchewan Polytechnic alumni may be eligible for financial support with the Sask Polytech Alumni Award? Graduates of Sask Polytech and its predecessors can register as alumni with the Alumni Registration form, and their children, stepchildren, grandchildren or step-grandchildren could be eligible for a $1,000 student award. To find out more, click here.


Bow Valley College was pleased to announce the appointment of Laura Jo Gunter as the college’s new President and CEO. Currently serving as Senior Vice President, Academic at George Brown College, Gunter will assume her new role on January 1, 2017.

Yukon College was pleased to announce the appointment of a new College Chancellor. Officer of the Order of Canada and former Yukon Premier Piers McDonald will assume the ceremonial role for the next two years.

Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technology (SIIT) has appointed both a new vice-president and new dean. Gord Graham will join SIIT as Vice President, Academics & Student Services after having worked in the mining and minerals industry for over 25 years; and Mark Pollard will join as Dean, Trades and Industrial after a varied career in commercial construction management and education.


Canada’s 150th Anniversary! 

Submissions for CICan’s Canada 150 project are ongoing. Check out our Canada 150 website for more details.

CSA Group Survey

CICan members can still contribute to the development of standards. Click here to complete the CSA Group survey.

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.