New program to create sustainable growth in rural, remote, and northern communities

Ottawa, August 16, 2023 Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) is thrilled to announce the launch of the Green Pathways for Small Communities (GPSC) program, a transformative initiative that helps rural, remote, and northern communities strengthen their economies and prepare for a sustainable future. Funded by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), the program will enhance green workforce planning, equip residents with in-demand skills, and enable businesses to thrive in emerging sectors. 

Over the next nine months, colleges and institutes will collaborate with employers and community organizations in at least seven rural, remote, and northern communities to identify skills gaps and create tailored training solutions to support the transition to a greener economy. More than 120 individuals from communities with populations under 10,000 will receive free skills training, equipping them with the in-demand skills needed to secure sustainable and local employment. Businesses will benefit from a skilled workforce that enhances their ability to grow and remain competitive in emerging sectors, contributing to the long-term sustainable growth of small communities. 

GPSC is committed to promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion. To ensure a diverse representation, 75% of participants will be from traditionally underrepresented groups in the workforce such as women, racialized people, Indigenous people, and people with disabilities. Additionally, the program will include a dedicated working group to ensure the training solutions developed are accessible to all individuals. 


“As climate change poses its greatest threats to rural, remote, and northern communities, the launch of the Green Pathways for Small Communities (GPSC) program comes at a critical time. With their extensive presence in these areas, colleges and institutes are uniquely positioned to play a pivotal role in developing sustainable solutions. The program’s strong focus on collaboration with employers and its emphasis on accessibility sets the stage for a greener, more prosperous future for small communities across the country, and I’m excited to see its impact.” – Denise Amyot, CEO and President of Colleges and Institutes Canada. 

Economic diversification helps communities thrive and creates opportunities for people where they may not have existed before. We’re ensuring that communities are driving their economic future while helping workers to develop the skills they need to find and create new opportunities right in their own backyard.” – Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages.

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