Colleges and Institutes Canada Appoints Pari Johnston as President & CEO

Ottawa, September 12, 2023 – Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) is thrilled to announce the appointment of Pari Johnston as its incoming President and CEO, effective December 4, 2023.  

With an outstanding track record of national leadership and a strong commitment to driving the transformative impact of Canada’s post-secondary education, research, and innovation sectors, Pari is poised to play a pivotal role in advancing CICan’s mission to strengthen Canada’s college and institute system at a time of major transitions for our country. 

A senior executive with 25 years of experience, Pari’s hallmark is building strong external relationships and high-impact, high-touch teams. She currently leads Genome Canada’s federal advocacy, policy and corporate partnership strategy as Vice-President, Policy and Public Affairs. Prior to this, Pari held several increasingly senior positions at Universities Canada, serving most recently as Vice-President, Policy and Public Affairs after transforming the association into the premiere national forum for Canada’s university presidents as its inaugural Director of Member Relations. 

“Throughout the selection process, Pari stood out not only for her extraordinary accomplishments, including her impressive record of federal policy and Budget wins but for her alignment with CICan’s core mission and values,” says Peter Devlin, Board Chair, CICan. “The board and I couldn’t be more confident that Pari is a leader with the right attitude, skills, and expertise to amplify our members’ collective strengths and steer us into our next chapter of success.” 

Outside of work, Pari is a passionate community volunteer, driving several initiatives, including improving housing in Ottawa for Autistic young adults, thanks to her family’s own lived experience. She serves as Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees at The Royal, one of Canada’s foremost mental health care, teaching and research hospitals. She was also a founding board member of The Conversation Canada/La Conversation Canada, the national digital media organization for academic journalism. Proudly from Saskatchewan and fluently bilingual, she has an M.A. in International Affairs from Carleton University and a B.A. in French Literature from the University of Regina.  

“I’m thrilled to be coming home to the post-secondary education community at a time when training Canada’s diverse workforce, educating the next generation, and advancing research and innovation in key sectors is crucial to securing Canada’s future,” noted Pari Johnston, incoming President and CEO, CICan. “Passion for community-building is what gets me up in the morning, making it a true honour to serve Canada’s extensive network of colleges and institutes and elevate its impact at home and abroad. I salute Denise Amyot for her remarkable legacy and thank CICan’s Board of Directors for their confidence in me to advance this national effort.”   

Pari will serve as CICan’s 8th President & CEO, succeeding Denise Amyot, who announced her decision not to accept a third mandate earlier this year. CICan embraces this leadership transition with confidence and enthusiasm, recognizing its significance in supporting its growth and unrelenting commitment to “better futures for people and communities.”  

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. 


For more information: 

Katrina King 

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