CICan and Mitacs partner to drive innovation with 1,000 research internships for college and institute students across Canada

New agreement pledges work-integrated learning research opportunities with industry and post-secondary education partners across Canada

 Ottawa, February 27, 2020 — Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) — the national organization that represents publicly-supported colleges, institutes, CEGEPs, and polytechnics — and Mitacs — a not-for-profit organization that fosters growth and innovation in Canada — signed an historic agreement yesterday.

The partnership creates up to 1,000 work-integrated learning Mitacs research internships for students from CICan member institutions across Canada over the next five years. This agreement builds new links for college and institute students to work with industry partners and other researchers. It leverages both the extensive footprint and the longstanding relationships colleges and institutes have with community partners and local industry across the country, including rural and northern communities. Similarly, this partnership extends access to research opportunities for underrepresented groups who have traditionally sought post-secondary education at colleges and institutes in their local communities.

Since Mitacs first launched a pilot project with college and institute students last year, 53 internships have commenced from 18 institutions, in nine provinces.

For example, one partnership with the Centre for Innovative Cancer Research and Ottawa Hospital Research Institute created an opportunity for students from Algonquin College to develop fundamental health-science research skills that include testing and monitoring cells. The students developed job-ready skills in an environment overseen by senior Mitacs interns, those at the doctoral and postdoctoral level, from the University of Ottawa.

In rural British Columbia, Mitacs interns from Selkirk College worked with a PhD candidate and faculty at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus to create 3D models of dams. With their industry partners, Austin Engineering and FortisBC, Selkirk students tested the models’ performance in the engineering laboratory during simulated earthquakes.

And in London, Ontario, a Mitacs intern from Fanshawe College worked with the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association, Agriculture Canada, and researchers from Carleton University to solve the age-old problem of “buddy,” an awful, burnt Tootsie-Roll flavour that affects maple syrup when trees are tapped too late. By using biomarkers such as temperature, daylight, and soil conditions, the Fanshawe student intern was able to create an innovative test to predict exactly when the flavour will turn, saving maple syrup producers as much as 10 per cent.


“Our government is committed to supporting research that will strengthen collaboration in Canadian science. These work-integrated learning research internships will help students develop the skills they need to be job-ready, and to compete and succeed globally.”
The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

 “Mitacs is proud to partner with CICan to provide new avenues for Canadian college and institute students to access research experience through work-integrated learning opportunities. This partnership marks the beginning of tremendous new opportunities for people across Canada, for all to contribute to and take part in a future filled with economic development, prosperity, and innovation.”
John Hepburn, CEO and Scientific Director, Mitacs

 “Work-integrated learning is a critical part of college and institute learning and we are incredibly pleased to work with Mitacs to offer more opportunities to students across Canada. Thanks to these valuable research internships, they will be able to acquire hands-on experience while contributing directly to Canadian innovation. It will also be an occasion to foster even greater collaboration between post-secondary institutions, industry and community organizations.”
Denise Amyot, President and CEO, CICan


About Colleges and Institutes Canada:
Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) is the voice of Canada’s publicly supported colleges, institutes, CEGEPs, and polytechnics, and an international leader in education for employment with ongoing programs in over 25 countries. CICan’s members add over $190B to Canada’s economy each year and contribute to inclusive economic growth by working with industry and community partners to offer more than 10,000 programs to learners in urban, rural, remote, and northern communities.

About Mitacs:
Mitacs is a not-for-profit organization that fosters growth and innovation in Canada by solving business challenges with research solutions from the best academic institutions at home and around the world. Mitacs is funded by the Government of Canada as well as every province, post-secondary partners, and industry and not-for-profit partners. For information about Mitacs and its programs, see


For more information :

Julien Abord-Babin
Senior Strategic Communications Officer
Colleges and Institutes Canada
Phone: 613-746-2222 ext. 3131
Twitter: @CollegeCan 


ErinRose Handy 
Communications Manager
Phone: 604-754-1440
Twitter : @MitacsCanada