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September 8, 2020

Staying safe and healthy as we return to campus

Back to school is always an exciting time as colleges and institutes welcome faculty, staff, and students back to campus! This year, the academic routine we know may be a thing of the past. College and institute administrations have been hard at work finding solutions for unique challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic as they upend classrooms and online learning, interaction between students, staff, and faculty, student residences and campus services, financial aid, and more.

Above all, colleges and institutes are dedicated to safety on campus, which includes physical and social distancing requirements as well as public awareness of new protocols. This is especially important as reported cases of COVID-19 have increased among younger populations.

The Government of Canada, Health Canada, and the Public Health Agency of Canada want to ensure that students are able to return to campuses safely this fall, and have compiled a list of COVID-19 resources for youth, students, and young adults: 

  • Tips to help take care of physical, mental, and sexual health; making informed choices for participating in social activities; and special resources for support, counselling, and crisis intervention for Indigenous youth and for youth experiencing violence or abuse at home.
  • The COVID Alert app is another tool Canadians can use to help limit the spread of infection and prevent future outbreaks.
    • The app uses Bluetooth signals to exchange random codes with nearby phones. Every day, it checks a list of random codes from people who tell the app they tested positive. If you’ve been near one of those codes in the past 14 days, you’ll get a notification.
    • COVID Alert does not use GPS or track your location. It does not have access to your name or address, your phone’s contacts, your health information, or the he health information of anyone you’re near. Learn more about how COVID Alert protects your privacy.
  • For international students arriving in Canada, the ArriveCAN mobile app lets users provide mandatory information to public health and border security officials before arriving to speed up the process at Canadian ports of entry.
    • ArriveCAN also provides users updates on quarantine compliance and the development of symptoms during the 14 days after arriving in Canada.
  • Wellness Together Canada provides free online mental health and substance use support, including resources, tools, apps and connections to qualified people when needed.

The Government of Canada has also established a process whereby provinces and territories must validate that they are equipped  to safely welcome international students against a set of institutional readiness requirements laid out by the Public Health Agency of Canada. We encourage you to work proactively with your local public health unit to finalize your plans and share them with your respective provincial officials. As we come back to campus, keeping safe and healthy is top of mind. Together, we can take care of each other and protect our communities.

Additional flexibility for international students and online studies

We are very pleased to share that Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced additional flexibility with respect to Post-Graduate Work Permit eligibility and online studies for international students:

  • Students may now study online from abroad until April 30, 2021, with no time deducted from the length of a future post-graduation work permit,provided 50% of their program of study is eventually completed in Canada.
  • Students who have enrolled in a program that is between 8 and 12 months in length, with a start date from May to September 2020, will be able to complete their entire program online from abroadand still be eligible for a post-graduation work permit.
  • Students who have enrolled in a program with a start date from May to September 2020 and study online up to April 30, 2021, and who graduate from more than one eligible program of study, may be able to combine the length of their programs of study when they apply for a post-graduation work permit in the future, as long as 50% of their total studies are completed in Canada.

We appreciate IRCC’s leadership on this issue and all the feedback that we have received from our members. This announcement reflects keys elements of our advocacy efforts and will provide much needed certainty for students and institutions. As always, we continue to work with IRCC, other government departments and stakeholders to advocate on your behalf. 

Pre-budget consultations: supporting COVID-19 response and recovery

Over the summer, we engaged members to position Canada’s colleges and institutes as vital partners in COVID-19 response and recovery and submitted eight recommendations to prebudget consultations undertaken by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance.

The recommendations reflect the best ways colleges and institutes can support skills, boost training, empower small and medium-sized enterprises, accelerate sustainability, and improve access to post-secondary education to restart, recover, and build back better.

Thanks to those who contributed valuable insights.

With an Applied Research Taskforce, we also recommended the federal government invest $165 million in college and institute applied research supporting Canadian businesses facing challenges related to COVID-19 and leading Canada’s economic recovery.

  • A special thanks to taskforce members: l’Association pour la recherche au collégial, Atlantic Colleges Atlantiques, the BC Association of Institutes and Universities, BC Colleges, the British Columbia Applied Research and Innovation Network, Colleges Ontario, the Council of Post-secondary Presidents of Alberta, the Fédération des cégeps, Polytechnics Canada, Synchronex, and Tech-Access Canada.

Hire a student or grad to support research in diverse sectors!

New subsidies are now available to through the Career-Launcher Internships program to give an additional 480 Canadian youth the opportunity to gain meaningful work experience and contribute to Canada’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery! Internships are available in four streams: Digital Tech, Clean Tech, Natural Resources, and the brand-new ImpAct Internships focusing on initiatives that align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Post-secondary institutions and their industry partners can receive up to 100% coverage to a maximum of $30,000 depending on the program stream.   

Benefit from the program by encouraging students and grads to apply to paid internships, hiring a student or grad to support research projects and other initiatives at your institution, and sharing with industry partners so they can hire your grads and students. Apply today!

Your accomplishments recognized nationally

Our Awards of Excellence recognize colleges, institutes, cégeps, and polytechnics across Canada; showcase the extraordinary contributions of individuals to their communities, and highlight the role of Canadian post-secondary institutions in social, cultural, and economic development. Submit a nomination before November 6.

Gold recipients in each category will receive a $1,000 prize courtesy of TD Insurance and a complimentary registration to the CICan 2021 Connection Conference!

Brand new this year, nominate your colleagues for Excellence in Sustainable Development!

We are also looking for reviewers to sit on one of the nine Awards of Excellence selection committees! Apply before Oct 9. Contact Bruce Landry for more information.

Take advantage of discounted rates and promotions with Budget car rental

While this back-to-school season will be uniquely challenging, we are all still looking forward to reconnecting. Renting with Budget puts you in the driver’s seat.

CICan member institutions can save up to 25% off Budget base rates when renting a vehicle from a participating location in Canada or the contiguous United States. Complete your reservation and receive instant online and email confirmation of your travel plans.

Save big and stay on budget when you travel!

Budget car rental continues to monitor and follow guidelines set out by Canadian public health authorities and the World Health Organization to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Safe travels!

Survey: Online learning and technical skills

As many institutions turn to online instruction and course delivery, CICan is conducting a study to inform the creation of a public digital catalogue of media-rich open educational resources focused on hands-on skills training. Help us identify the challenges and benefits of online training for technical skills! 

Respond to this short survey before September 18 and share your ideas for collecting, curating, and creating digital resources that can be used to teach, practice, and assess technical skills that have traditionally been taught in hands-on learning environments.

The study is being undertaken with emphasis on exploring ways to enable and maintain access to hands-on skills training for vulnerable learners, including Indigenous students, persons with disabilities and those who live in areas under-served by broadband.

Students help Canadian businesses thrive!

With participating Canadian colleges, polytechnics, and universities, Mitacs has launched a new initiative to provide students across all disciplines, from finance to marketing to social sciences, with the opportunity to apply concepts and theories in real-world situations.

The Business Strategy Internship will provide $10,000 per student for college, undergraduate, or graduate students to tackle a four-month project to develop innovative solutions designed to help an organization thrive in the current economic environment.

Put your strategic business skills to work through a paid internship and help Canadian businesses on the road to economic recovery! The award is funded equally by Mitacs and the participating business or non-profit.

Join CCUNESO’s Indigenous land-based education expert working group

The Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CCUNESCO) is creating a working group to develop and share resources in land-based education between its UNESCO Schools Network and the kindergarten-grade 12 school system.

The Indigenous Land-Based Education Working Group will create a pan-Canadian group of Indigenous stakeholders linked to land-based education; develop and share resources and tools that support teachers and educators in better understanding land-based education; and support CCUNESCO’s Education Sectoral Commission in its work related to reconciliation, indigenous education, and education for sustainable development. 

Teachers, educators, and consultants that self-identify as Indigenous with a keen interest and expertise in the fields of in Indigenous worldviews, Indigenous pedagogy, anti-oppression, and land-based education, are encouraged to apply. Share your interest with Isabelle LeVert-Chiasson before September 11.

Explore strategies in post-secondary advancement with CCAE

The Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education (CCAE) is bringing together post-secondary advancement professionals for the first ever summit exploring strategies in donor research, relationship building, volunteer engagement, and accountability!

The Colleges Advancement Summit will run virtually from September 23 to November 4 on Wednesdays. Attendees will have a chance to ask questions and engage with the presenters and other attendees for a fully interactive experience.

CICan members who are not already members of CCAE can use the following discounts codes to register at CCAE member rates:

  • For the full summit and 3-session packages: code CICANpkg
  • For single sessions: code CICANSingle

CCAE also wants your input on the 3rd edition of the CASE-CCAE Support of Education Survey. Conducted in partnership with the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), survey analyzes trends in Canadian post-secondary fundraising efforts and provides participants invaluable data to understand the full potential of their current fundraising processes and strategies.

New partnerships for Young Africa Works in Kenya

Congratulations to the eight colleges and institutes selected for three inaugural partnerships through Young Africa Works Kenya: Youth Employability Through TVET! The partners will collaborate with Kenyan institutions and key national agencies to strengthen the Kenya’s TVET system and increase the participation of youth, particularly women, in market-relevant skills training:

  • On pre-service and in-service training, Algonquin College will partner with Durham College and Camosun College;
  • On recognition of prior learning, Humber College will partner with NorQuest College and Red River College; and,
  • On an audit of gaps in curricula, NorQuest College will partner with Seneca College and College of the Rockies.

Eureka! Moment

Did you know that, last month, Nunavut officially joined Canada’s National Research and Education Network (NREN) through Nunavut Arctic College? The new relationship will ensure equal and secure access to research and education resources for all Nunavummiut and improve access for the rest of Canada and the world to research from the rich and diverse communities of Nunavut. The addition of Nunavut also makes Canada’s NREN whole, now comprising all thirteen provincial and territorial partners, and fulfills the federal mandate to have a pan-Canadian research and education network.


The Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick appointed three new vice-presidents. Having served in interim, Paolo Fongemie was named vice-president of administrative services; previously at Collège Boréal, Diane Sénécal joined CCNB as vice-president of training and student success; and former mayor of Edmunston Cyrille Simard will join CCNB as vice-president of development.

Northern Lakes College welcomed Glenn Mitchell as its new president and CEO. Mitchell has over twenty years of leadership experience in the education sector.

Cherene Griffiths was appointed vice-president, external relations at Grande Prairie Regional College. Griffiths has an extensive human resources background and over 15 years of experience in the post-secondary education sector.

With an extensive background in Manitoba’s post-secondary system and public sector, Lynn Zapshala-Kelln was appointed vice-president, finance and administration at Red River College.

Langara College announced the appointment of Jody Gordon as the new associate vice-president, students. Gordon brings over 28 years of experience in post-secondary education in Canada and the United States.

Conestoga appointed Gary Hallam to the role of vice-president, research. Hallam joined Conestoga in 2006 as chair to the college’s former School of Business & Hospitality.

Tara Clowes was appointed vice president, finance at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Clowes previously served as executive director in the Finance department of the Northwest Territories government.


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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.