Colleges and Institutes Canada and Mark’s Commercial Launch Student Pitch Competition to Revolutionize Safety in the Skilled Trades

Ottawa, January 9, 2024 – As part of our joint commitment to a thriving and safe skilled trades sector, Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) and Mark’s Commercial today launched the Safety Innovation Showdown – a student pitch competition to harness postsecondary student innovation and creativity in shaping the future of workplace safety in the industry. 

Recognizing that the ongoing strength and resilience of the skilled trades industry hinges on its commitment to safety innovations and evolutions, CICan and Mark’s Commerical are challenging postsecondary students or recent grads from one of CICan’s member institutions’ trade programs to become architects for safer workplaces and future champions of workplace safety. 

This competition invites eligible postsecondary students to pitch ideas for revolutionizing safety in the skilled trades. These ideas could range from groundbreaking innovations in personal protective equipment to advancements in training methodologies and equipment design. The competition seeks ideas that exemplify innovative and outside-the-box thinking— proposals that can transform job sites and every aspect of the trades for the better. 

“Learners within colleges and institutes are inherently curious, innovative and creative,” says Pari Johnston, President and CEO, CICan. “The hands-on learning and early industry exposure they gain through our programs empowers them with the confidence and capacity to contribute to the vitality of key industries essential to Canada’s economy, bolstering mission-critical areas like workplace safety.” 

The competition is scheduled to run from January 9 to March 15. The winning team will be invited to showcase their innovative solutions, virtually or in person, at the 2024 CICan Connection Conference in Calgary, Alberta, scheduled for April 29 to May 1. The top three teams will be awarded with impressive prizes: 1st Place: $5,000, 2nd Place: $3,000, and 3rd Place: $2,000.

“At Mark’s Commercial, we believe that safety begins with the education of our youth,” says Adam Gaiser, Associate Vice President of Sales at Mark’s Commercial. “Skilled trade workers form the backbone of our economy, and we recognize the importance of investing in safety initiatives to prevent workplace incidents. That’s why we are proud to partner with CICan to prioritize and enforce this crucial goal right from the very beginning. Together, we’ll all set a strong foundation for a safer tomorrow.” 

More information on the Safety Innovation Showdown is available at

About Mark’s Commercial  

At Mark’s Commercial, we are devoted to revolutionizing the industrial workwear landscape for Canadian businesses. Our mission is to work with forward-thinking organizations to keep Canadian workers warmer, drier, safer and more comfortable. We do so with leading-edge technology and innovation that will contribute to an incident-free future and the goal of bringing workers home safe … every single day.  

Our commitment to product performance and unparalleled quality stems from our deep understanding of the challenges faced by Canadian workers. We strive to create a safe and protected working environment for all by developing cutting-edge workwear solutions that exceed expectations and stand the test of time.  

Choose Mark’s Commercial to experience the ultimate fusion of innovation and safety in industrial workwear as we work hand-in-hand with you to ensure the safety and well-being of your workforce. Let’s work together towards an incident-free future.  

About Colleges and Institutes Canada 

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.