Investments in skills and innovation needed to respond to climate change

Ottawa, September 6, 2019 – With federal budget consultations underway, Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) has issued seven recommendations aimed at supporting economic growth, competitiveness and the fight against climate change by investing in skills and innovation. This is critical to help Canadians, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises, prepare for the future of work and to stay competitive in a rapidly changing labour market.

These recommendations were shared as part of the House of Commons Standing Committee of Finance’s pre-budget consultations in advance of budget 2020, which was focused on the transition to a low carbon economy, and are based on broad consultations with CICan member colleges, institutes, cegeps and polytechnics.

Focusing on innovation, providing Canadians with learning opportunities that fit their various needs, making education more accessible to all, including Indigenous people, and funding for green infrastructures are all key priorities for colleges and institutes across the country.

“With 95% of the population living within 50km of a campus or learning centre, colleges and institutes are perfectly positioned to assist governments in delivering economic growth for all Canadians, says CICan president and CEO, Denise Amyot. They also stimulate innovation and play an important role in mobilizing Canadians and their communities to respond to current and future challenges, including climate change and the transition to a low carbon economy.”

CICan’s budget 2020 recommendations:

  • Expand SME participation in the R&D ecosystem with an investment of $40 million per year in business innovation engagement services based in colleges, institutes and polytechnics.
  • Make an ongoing investment of $15 million per year in social innovation research at colleges, institutes and polytechnics, with a specific stream for Indigenous community-led research.
  • Increase investments in retraining and support mechanisms that meet the needs of individuals, employers, and training providers, including the use of Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition services.
  • Support the development of a national framework to promote the integration of climate change adaptation and mitigation into postsecondary education and reskilling/upskilling programs to align with employers’ emerging needs.
  • Increase funding for Indigenous peoples to access skills upgrading and post-secondary education and provide wraparound supports for Indigenous learner success.
  • Invest in postsecondary education infrastructure to make campuses greener, more energy efficient and be better equipped to respond to future skills development needs and advance on Indigenous education, entrepreneurship development and innovation.
  • Increase support for skills development and applied research to support climate change adaptation in developing countries.

 To read more about each recommendation, download the full submission.

CICan also worked as part of the College Applied Research Taskforce, comprising seven national and regional associations, to insist on the importance of helping Canadian SMEs access the research and development resources available at colleges and institutes. Their joint submission was also shared with the Standing Committee of Finance.

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
Tel. : 613-746-2222 ext. 3131
Twitter : @CollegeCan