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September 30, 2019

At Durham College’s AI Hub, students, faculty, and industry partners, and community members share their experience and insights to create knowledge within the community. Photo: Durham College.

Artificial intelligence and the future of learning

Artificial intelligence is all over the news nowadays, but what does it mean for the future of work and learning? As processes from data gathering and analytics to computer-integrated manufacturing become increasingly capable, the limits of our imaginations are tested. In today’s workplace, robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence are very much a reality. It’s no surprise, then, that in 2017 the Government of Canada engaged CIFAR, Canada’s global research institute, to lead the development of a pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy.

As we wait for the release of the Government of Canada’s official artificial intelligence strategy, what’s clear is that, as the nature of training, learning, and work evolve, colleges and institutes are leading the development of new programs, research, and learning methods needed to train a resilient AI-literate workforce in virtually all industries. For example:

  • Students in BCIT’s Computer Systems Technology program can now pursue the second-year Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning specialization focusing on the design and development of software to process, visualize, analyze and model data sets for the purposes of decision making and prediction.
  • Durham College’s AI Hub helps the college’s industry partners access technical expertise, state-of-the-art facilities and platforms, and student talent to develop innovative intelligent and autonomous solutions that encourage productivity and growth. The college has also launched a brand new Artificial Intelligence Analysis, Design, and Implementation graduate certificate to ensure the need for skilled professionals in AI adoption is met.
  • Dawson College is also set to become a leader in AI, having recently announced a plan to turn the college into an AI centre of excellence, including peer-to-peer mentorship for faculty, the development of AI teaching materials, and curriculum devoted to AI ethics. The $1.5 million investment is the largest by any cégep in an AI-related initiative.
  • The JACOBB Centre for Applied Artificial Intelligence is a College Centre for Technology Transfer (CCTT) affiliated with the Cégep John Abbott College and the Collège de Bois-de-Boulogne that aims to accelerate the integration of AI into the Québec economy, particularly in the health sciences, financial services, and Big Data sectors. The Collège de Bois-de-Boulogne has also worked jointly with the Cégep de Sainte-Foy to launch a new program in Artificial Intelligence Technologies (Spécialisation technique en intelligence artificielle). Responding to industry demand, the program prepares students with technical skills to support AI research, implementation, data solutions.
  • NAIT’s Robotics, Automation and Control Certificate familiarizes students with automated processes including hydraulics and pneumatics, data communications, mobile robotics and automated systems, and computer-integrated manufacturing, using both lecture and lab practice. NAIT’s Student Services Centre is also currently developing an AI chatbot called IllumiNAIT to help answer common questions asked of the information services and career development departments.
  • An instructor from Mohawk College and her students are also working on the development of a chatbot with the goal of increasing audience engagement in the journalism industry through the college’s SURGE entrepreneurship hub.
  • Olds College’s Smart Farm uses the latest technologies in farming operations, including data analytics, machine learning and AI to turn data into information and knowledge aimed at improving productivity and addressing challenges while efficiently and sustainably managing resources. The Smart Farm is also a cutting-edge learning environment for agriculture students.
  • Artificial intelligence will also feature in our upcoming Connection Conference – Collective Intelligence in Montreal!

As AI-industries continue to grow, colleges and institutes can expand their role in training and research to help Canada, as a global leader in innovation, harness the potential from artificial intelligence to reap both social and economic benefits for all Canadians.

Register for the upcoming Indigenous Education Symposium

Join us at the upcoming Indigenous Education Symposium in Saskatoon from November 4-6 to share your knowledge and innovative approaches to serving Indigenous peoples and communities!

With the support of host institutions Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies, Saskatchewan Polytechnic, and the Dumont Technical Institute, the symposium will bring together leaders in Indigenous education from colleges and institutes, industry, government, and more under the theme TAPWEWIN and ReconciliACTION. TAPWEWIN means ‘’the truth’’ in the Cree language.

We are excited to announce keynote speaker: Wilton Littlechild, Ph.D., a Cree chief, lawyer, and residential school survivor. Stay tuned for the full event program!

Be sure to book your accommodation before October 3 as hotels are filling up quickly!

For the first time, a delegation organized through CICan’s Pacific Alliance Education for Employment (PA-EFE) Program will participate in the symposium with financial support from Global Affairs Canada.

Looking for students and recent graduates committed to social 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 brand-new ImpAct Student and Alumni Advisory Committee (ISAAC).

Nominate a student or recent graduate today! The deadline for nominations is Friday, October 11, 2019.

ImpAct supports colleges and institutes in achieving their vision of a better future for people and communities.

New webinar: The role of education officers in international student recruitment

Join our International Partnerships team for a new webinar on the role of education officers in international student recruitment! We will discuss:

  • services offered by education officers;
  • opportunities and challenges of collaborative work; and
  • international student mobility trends.

The webinar will take place on October 10, 2019, from 1pm to 2pm. Register now!

An analysis of mobility trends toward Canada will also be presented using data on student study permit applications and approval rates provided by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

New Request for Proposal for Planning for Canada

Planning for Canada (PfC) is currently seeking to review its Group Orientation curriculum and delivery methods with a new Request for Proposal (RFP)!

The goals of this RFP include:

  • identifying adult education practices suitable for PfC;
  • reviewing present curriculum for content and delivery updates;
  • developing new materials, tools, and delivery methods to be used by PfC; and
  • developing new training material for staff.

Those interested should apply by email to Holly Skelton, Program Director, Planning for Canada at by October 14, 2019. View the full Request for Proposal submission requirements and guidelines here.

Planning for Canada provides prospective Economic Class and Family immigrants with in-person and online services including group orientation sessions covering all aspects of living and working in Canada, personalized planning sessions focused on settlement and employment needs, and connections to Canadian organizations, providing additional guidance and support.

Great ideas shared during Roundtable on Sodium Reduction

Last Thursday, we held our first ever Roundtable on Sodium Reduction, in partnership with Algonquin College, as part of a two-year pan-Canadian initiative aiming to develop and test educational sources in sodium-reduction!

The event gathered participants from post-secondary, private, and non-profit sectors to present information on current efforts to reduce sodium, raise awareness of the dangers of overconsumption, and explore ideas for moving towards sodium-free curriculums.

A total of 14 colleges and institutes were represented at the event, including: Algonquin College, College of New Caledonia, Confederation College, Durham College, George Brown College, Holland College, l’Institut du Tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec, Niagara College, North Island College, Nova Scotia Community College, University of the Fraser Valley, Assiniboine Community College, and Saskatchewan Polytechnic.

The CICan Sodium Reduction Project is funded by Health Canada with the goal of reducing sodium levels in the food supply and the overall sodium intake levels for Canadians.

Eureka! Moment

Did you know that Georgian College graphic design students are putting their skills to practical use while helping out their local community? The Professional Practice for Designers 2 course pairs students with non-profit organizations to help with their print and design needs, including marketing and promotional materials, collateral materials for events, and informational materials for other projects. In its first four years, the program saw 87 students provide graphic design work to 97 non-profits, totalling $95,000 worth of services!


Northlands College announced the appointment of John Guy Penney as the college’s new president and CEO. Penney has 25 years of experience in education and most recently served as the college’s director of academic programming.

Southeast College welcomed Patrick Stoddart as the college’s new president and CEO. Stoddart has held numerous leadership roles in education during his career, most recently with Grassy Narrow Education Authority.

Vancouver Island University welcomed Irlanda Price as the institutions new associate vice-president, student affairs. Price has many years of experience in post-secondary education leadership, most recently at Medicine Hat College.


Awards of Excellence

Submit a nomination for our Awards of Excellence and apply to join a selection committee before October 7.

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.