CICan recognizes excellence and leadership at colleges and institutes

Ottawa, April 26, 2021 – Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) is proud to announce the recipients of its 2021 Awards of Excellence which were recognized during the association’s virtual annual conference.

The CICan Awards of Excellence recognize best practices from institutions across the country, as well as individual leadership and achievements. The awards were distributed in partnership with TD Insurance, the exclusive sponsor of CICan’s Awards of Excellence.

“It is because of dedicated people working hard every day to improve educational programs and campus life that colleges and institutes are able to offer such remarkable student experiences and training opportunities,” says Denise Amyot, President and CEO of CICan. “This strong leadership was on full display this year, as COVID-19 forced all of us to adapt and innovate to meet unprecedented challenges. We are thrilled to honour these leaders and innovators who make the entire system stronger, more inclusive, and more responsive to the needs of students as well as employers.”

Here are this year’s winners in all nine categories.


Indigenous Education Award of Excellence

Gold: Humber College

Humber has been a national leader in Indigenous education for many years and was one of the first colleges to sign the CICan Indigenous Education Protocol. Humber constantly adds new services and opportunities for Indigenous students and hosts more than 100 cultural events annually through on-campus gatherings, community-based events, and virtual programs. This includes an Indigenous Knowledges Gathering, Pow Wows, and other educational and engagement activities to support spiritual, emotional, mental and physical wellness. Indigenous Education is prioritized in Humber’s current strategic and academic plans, with an emphasis on ‘Naawsidoong Mino Nawendiwin: building good relationships and furthering Truth and Reconciliation efforts.

Silver: Fleming College

Bronze: Lambton College


Program Excellence Award

Gold: Respiratory Therapy, Fanshawe College

Fanshawe College’s Respiratory Therapy (RT) advanced diploma program is a credential that is in-demand all over Canada and vital to the health of our communities. Students learn in the classroom and in simulation labs and are taught by skilled and dedicated professors who ensure they learn the tools and techniques to be successful in their careers. Students also participate in clinical placements, giving them vital experiential training. Considered a “highly competitive program”, demand from students and the community continues to increase. The need for skilled respiratory therapists—and the exceptional skill of Fanshawe graduates—became clear as the COVID-19 pandemic reached the region and staff and students joined the frontlines of care.

Silver: Early Learning & Child Care, Norquest College

Bronze: Virtual Internship Program, Sheridan College


Applied Research and Innovation Excellence Award

Gold: British Columbia Institute of Technology

Applied research at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) is exciting. It creates practical learning opportunities for BCIT’s students, provides innovative solutions to industry challenges, and produces new, commercially relevant technology products and applications. BCIT researchers and research groups have been working with industry clients for over 30 years, helping companies and organizations develop new technologies, products, and services. The practical solutions range from process improvements for small SMEs to changing provincial building codes for the construction industry.

Silver: Olds College

Bronze: La Cité


Internationalization Excellence Award

Gold: NorQuest College

In 2019 NorQuest College identified internationalization as a main priority and undertook the process of designing a college-wide strategy to transform itself into a globally engaged institution developing workforce relevant education and creating training opportunities for learners worldwide. To achieve this vision the college identified 3 pillars of action: Invite the World to NorQuest, Take NorQuest to the World, and Think Global, Act Local

Silver: Centennial College

Bronze: Humber College


Leadership Excellence Award for Students

Gold: Ryan Corcoran, New Brunswick Community College

When the COVID-19 pandemic sidelined Ryan Corcoran’s practicum at a Miramichi manufacturing company in March, he didn’t give up. Instead, he found a way to gain practical experience, improve the company’s supply chain, and help his community. Ryan got involved with a project led by an NBCC instructor to manufacture non-medical face shields for front-line service workers, volunteering his time to work on marketing materials and supply chain management for Sunny Corner Enterprises. This involvement is typical of his time at NBCC, where he excelled academically while balancing family life and many extra-curricular activities including Service Learning Day, Student Council, Community Volunteer Income Tax Program, and a high school STEM program.

Silver: Levi Ogbaje, Nova Scotia Community College

Bronze: Josh Roberts, Loyalist College


Leadership Excellence Award for Faculty

Gold: Bobby Haraba, NAIT

Twenty-one years ago, after 18 years in the heavy equipment industry, Bobby Haraba joined the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology’s School of Skilled Trades as an Instructor in the Heavy Equipment Programs. Since then, he has immersed himself in providing, promoting and elevating apprenticeship education in Alberta. For 16 years, Bobby has committed his spare time to leading Heavy Equipment Technology Skills Competitions provincially, nationally and internationally. His unwavering commitment to advance skilled trades, apprentices and apprenticeship education has led him to make outstanding contributions to apprenticeship at NAIT and across the country.

Silver: Shane Jones, Durham College

Bronze: Dr. Petrice Moffitt, Aurora College


Leadership Excellence Award for Non-Managerial Staff

Gold: Joanne Dominico, Centennial College

Joanne Dominico implemented and expanded Centennial College’s Support for Apprentices with Disabilities (SAWD) program, which follows the overall mandate of Centennial College’s Centre for Students with Disabilities. Three years later, she became a Learning Strategist, growing the size of the Learning Growth Centre program by ten times in just nine years. With expertise in online learning, she has been invaluable for helping students stay motivated to do remote studies and adapt their study skills during COVID-19. She is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader both on and off campus, and also makes time to do volunteer work to help Black children and youth gain confidence and skills in study habits.

Silver: Sarah Gauen, Algonquin College

Bronze: Courtney Rivard, Cambrian College


Leadership Excellence Award for Managerial Staff

Gold: Emily Ecker, Mohawk College

Thanks to Mohawk College’s Emily Ecker more people in Hamilton have access to a college education. Emily’s leadership in engendering vibrant community connections, fostering respectful stakeholder alliances, developing robust curriculum and program delivery, and ensuring strong student learning outcomes, have resulted in the establishment of powerful community-based programs like City School, which has garnered provincial and national recognition as an exemplar strategy that addresses poverty reduction through education. Emily is a champion for making education accessible and her efforts within the college and community have been pivotal in opening a world of hope for Hamiltonians.

Silver: Tim McRoberts, Holland College

Bronze: Barb Sankey, SIIT


Excellence in Sustainable Development ​Award

Gold: Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC)

Sustainability is part of everything at NSCC, from curriculum to the colleges’ values. Presently, NSCC is the highest-scoring college in Canada via STARS and the Overall Top Performing Associate College on the Sustainable Campus Index. Across NSCC, work continues to improve that score, further the SDGs and lead difference-making efforts. More than 20K students attend NSCC each year. A survey of graduates shows that 91% are employed one year after graduation and 90% of those live and work in Nova Scotia. This creates a distinct opportunity to significantly contribute to the sustainable development of the province through the college’s vision — to transform Nova Scotia one learner at a time.

Silver: Sheridan College

Bronze: Seneca College


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.


For more information:

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