CICan Announces its 2023 Awards of Excellence Recipients

Montreal, April 24, 2023 – Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) today announced the recipients of its 2023 Awards of Excellence, which recognize best practices and individual achievements from colleges and institutes across the country.

Every year, a select group of thoughtfully selected CICan members are honoured with the CICan Awards of Excellence for their outstanding leadership and contributions to advancing Canada’s social, cultural, and economic development. The awards are distributed in partnership with TD Insurance, the exclusive sponsor of CICan’s Awards of Excellence.

“The impact of Canada’s colleges and institutes on Canada’s social and economic well-being cannot be overstated, especially in times of economic hardship when innovation and a diverse, skilled workforce are more imperative than ever,” says Denise Amyot, CICan president and CEO. “Although we strive to acknowledge our members’ hard work and commitment daily, these awards serve as a special tribute and celebration of their remarkable achievements. A heartfelt congratulations to all!”

This year’s awards were announced at World Congress – a global event co-hosted by CICan and the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics. The congress brings together postsecondary leaders worldwide to discuss, share, and expand their collective intelligence.

Congratulations to the winners in the following ten categories:

Applied Research and Innovation Excellence Award

Gold: Lambton College
Lambton College’s Research & Innovation (R&I) department is committed to leading innovation in its community, region, and Canada. It is because of this dedication Lambton has ranked among the top five research colleges in Canada since 2016. Lambton is a major driver of economic diversification and development within Southwestern Ontario, leading the development of several industrial clusters, supporting the commercialization of new products, services, and process developments for SMEs and propelling social and environmental innovation.
Silver: Conestoga College
Bronze: Seneca College

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Award

Gold: Seneca College
Through Au Large, Seneca has set a clear course for the future, with the objectives of becoming an equitable, sustainable and more virtual institution. Seneca is committed to creating a culture that embraces and supports its entire community. They are many things – employer, teacher, gathering place, social venue, community space. And they are removing barriers to education, supporting equity-deserving groups, learning more about who they are as a community and offering programs and activities that educate in a safe environment.
Silver: Sheridan College
Bronze: NorQuest College

Leadership Excellence Award for Faculty

Gold: Peter “Dutch” VandenBerg, Niagara College
Peter VandenBerg is a dynamic, enthusiastic professor whose passion for his craft, students and Niagara College (NC) is infectious. As program coordinator of NC’s Broadcasting – Radio, Television & Film (BRTF) program, he has taught students at the college for 15+ years, helping students realize their potential through unique real-world learning opportunities. As Chair of Broadcast Operations & Production Services for the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games, he facilitated once-in-a-lifetime experiential learning and work opportunities for over 100 BRTF students and grads.
Silver: Johnathan Mina & Pascale Warmoes, Collège LaSalle
Bronze: Erin Dolmage, Jamie Zeppa and Mary Trant, Seneca College

Global Engagement Award

Gold: Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC)
NSCC has demonstrated innovation, creativity and leadership in internationalization through the results and impact achieved over the past five years. At NSCC, funds from technical assistance projects are reinvested into student and employee mobility, and internationalization on NSCC campuses. Partnership activities maximize internationalization initiatives, with student mobility projects connected to technical assistance projects, and initiatives to enhance international student experience. In 2022 NSCC is celebrating exceeding its five-year internationalization strategy targets.
Silver: Camosun College
Bronze: North Island College

Indigenous Education Excellence Award

Gold: Red Deer Polytechnic
Red Deer Polytechnic’s commitment to reconciliation, building relationships, respecting cultural traditions and knowledge, understanding reciprocity, and creating supportive learning environments is clear not only through intent, but through action. It’s Indigenous Education Strategic Plan guides the development of long-term relationships and meaningful work. As evidenced by the formal partnerships with numerous Nations and Indigenous organizations, an Indigenous Advisory group, and the Director of Indigenous Initiatives and Indigenous Student Services, RDP has developed a formal avenue to ensure meaningful consultation and increased understanding and reciprocity among Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.
Silver: Cambrian College
Bronze: College of the Rockies

The Leadership Excellence Award for Managerial Staff

Gold: Ray Château, Humber College
Ray Chateau, Director, Athletics and Recreation, has provided passionate leadership at Humber for more than twenty years. His commitment to students’ academic success and athletic achievement led the Hawks to earn 15 Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Academic All-Canadian titles in 2021-22. During an uncertain 2021-22 varsity season, Ray tirelessly advocated for students to continue training and learning, recognizing their daily sacrifices and the role athletics plays in mental health. Ray was also instrumental in the CCAA’s landmark decision to revise the language in their operating code to allow student-athletes to compete on the sports team that corresponds with their sex assigned at birth or their gender identity.
Silver: Paolo Mussone, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology
Bronze: Diane Burt, New Brunswick Community College

The Leadership Excellence Award for Non-Managerial Staff

Gold: Kathryn Reilander, Algonquin College
Kathryn first came to Algonquin College as a student in the Electrical Engineering Technician program. After several years of professional experience, she returned to her studies to complete her undergraduate degree at the University of Ottawa. Upon completion, Kathryn worked at Stantec where she consulted on energy efficiency projects and was exposed to power system analysis, design and knowledge that she draws as a full-time professor and coordinator of Algonquin College’s Electrical Engineering Technology program. Kathryn also serves as a role model and advocates for young women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) and skilled trades.
Silver: Dion Fawcett, Sheridan College
Bronze: Nermin Zukic, Keyano College

Program Excellence Award

Gold: Reintegration Industry Readiness Training (RIRT) Program, College of New Caledonia
In partnership with Corrections Service Canada (CSC), the RIRT program provides a post-secondary education experience for previously incarcerated individuals seeking meaningful employment and healing. Since 2015, the program has served over 80 participants, enhancing their capability to secure employment or continue education in trades. Participants complete three months of in-person skills training at CNC involving a mix of in-class job skills and hands-on learning opportunities for the trades. Recent cohorts have achieved a 70 per cent employment rate within 3 months of graduation.
Silver: Integrating Digital Micro-Credentials into Correction Canada’s Learning Management System Program, St. Lawrence College
Bronze: Attestation d’études collégiales (AEC) travail-études en techniques d’éducation à l’enfance, Cégep Édouard-Montpetit

Excellence in Sustainable Development Award

Collège Ahuntsic wishes to inspire and mobilize its entire community in a responsible approach to greening. This approach is guided by a vision that aspires to change the relationship between humans and their environment, which puts humans at the service of the environment thus allowing for sustainable changes. The college wishes to play a part in constructing environmental and climatic solutions for ecosystems and human societies. Its educational role is an important strategic catalyst to meet the challenge of an inclusive and just ecological transition. Social justice is at the heart of its process, which is educational, inclusive and participatory.
Gold: Collège Ahuntsic
Silver: Red Deer Polytechnic
Bronze: Thompson Rivers University

Leadership Excellence Award for Students

Gold: Edward Tzinquaw Gooch, Vancouver Community College
Edward Tzinquaw Gooch is an inspirational Vancouver Community College (VCC) student and community champion. He is of Cowichan (Quw’utson) ancestry, a Sixties Scoop survivor, and a recovered alcoholic. He is a third-year BSNursing student with a GPA of 3.88. He came to VCC as a mature student after a long career in hospitality and construction where he has embraced every leadership opportunity with authenticity, passion, and care as a student ambassador in the Indigenous Gathering Space.
Silver: Nusrat Awan, Bow Valley College
Bronze: Savannah Snow, Red Deer Polytechnic


About Colleges and Institutes Canada:

CICan is the national and international voice of Canada’s largest post-secondary education network. It advocates, builds capacity, and drives knowledge to strengthen Canada’s publicly supported colleges, institutes, CEGEPs, and polytechnics. With more than 95% of Canadians living within 50 km of a member institution, and thanks to its extensive reach around the globe, CICan works to future-proof communities in Canada and abroad.

We respectfully acknowledge that CICan’s offices in Ottawa are located on the traditional and unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabe Nation.


For more information:  

Katrina King

Senior Digital Communications Officer
Colleges and Institutes Canada
Twitter: @CollegeCan