Strategic Plan
2019 - 2024

Strengthening the System

Advocate | Build Capacity | Drive Knowledge

In 2018, Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) launched one of the most extensive consultations in our 45-year history to have meaningful conversations and develop a plan to guide our work for the next five years. Throughout this ambitious process, our team met with members, partners, staff, and key stakeholders from across the country to discuss the future of colleges and institutes, and the role of CICan as their national voice. Hundreds of people took part in the campaign via roundtables across the country, one-on-one meetings, online polls, and more.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who shared their vision and joined the conversation, whether in person or via our online Imagine the Future campaign. We would like to extend a special thanks to the CICan Board of Directors for their leadership throughout this process, and to CICan staff for their continued dedication.

Joint message from President and CEO and Chair of the Board of CICan

On behalf of CICan and its Board of Directors, we are thrilled to share our new Strategic Plan for 2019-2024.

The coming five years will be critical for the Canadian workforce as it adjusts to rapid and profound disruptions linked to changing and emerging technologies. As our members across the country respond to this new reality, this strategic plan will position us at the forefront of the discussions on the future of skills and work

By embracing our role as advocates, capacity-builders, and drivers of knowledge, CICan will remain an essential and respected voice for the system as whole. Training the workforce of tomorrow is not just a matter of delivering credentials, it is an ongoing process that involves learners, teachers, employers, and a host of community and government partners as we embrace a culture of lifelong learning.

For over 45 years, our association has been bringing together leaders from colleges and institutes, as well as a variety of stakeholders, to support the evolution of post-secondary education to meet the needs of people and communities across Canada and around the world. Building on this legacy, our new strategic plan will ensure that we continue to strengthen the system by supporting our members in building a better Canada.

Denise Amyot
President and CEO, CICan

Michel Tarko
President and CEO, Justice Institute of British Columbia
Chair of the Board, CICan

View Video Message

About CICan

CICan is the national and international voice of Canada’s publicly-supported colleges, institutes of technology, cegeps, polytechnics, and universities with a college mandate. We are dedicated to promoting the interests of our members across the country and championing their many successes in training, innovation, applied research, and international development, among others. As an association, CICan is strongly committed to inclusion, and believes that education must be accessible to all.

CICan is also recognized as an international leader in education for employment and has worked in over 100 countries to support the development of post-secondary systems that meet the needs of students as well as local employers. CICan’s work leverages the expertise of our members to reduce poverty and inequality — especially for women, youth, and disadvantaged populations — by transforming post-secondary education systems and providing employment-focused training. CICan also hosts the secretariat for the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics (WFCP) and is the Pan-Canadian Centre for UNESCO-UNEVOC, and the lead for the North American cluster of centres.

CICan is committed to govern and manage in accordance with the Not-for-Profit Corporations Act and in the best interests of our members. This includes supporting staff both personally and professionally, making evidence-based decisions, and managing assets to maximize value. Working with our Board of Directors, we embrace our role as a force multiplier for colleges and institutes and commit to delivering on the priorities of this strategic plan in order to strengthen the system.

CICan’s is deeply committed to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and our national office is located on the traditional and unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation.

What excites me about the future of CICan is their ability to advocate for us as colleges and institutes to show value in the programs that we have as well as the students that we are producing to contribute not only to the local, provincial and national economy but to an increasingly globalized economy

Jonathan Robb, Director, Strategic Integration and Stakeholder Relations, NorQuest

Our Members

Canada’s extensive network of colleges and institutes serves students all over the country in the communities where they live — whether urban, rural or remote — thanks to more than 670 locations. In fact, 95% of Canadians and 86% of Indigenous people live within 50 km of a campus or learning centre. Together they comprise a diverse and dynamic system that is building a better country.

CICan members are vibrant community hubs where experienced educators and professionals work with employers and community partners to provide learners the skills they need to succeed in a rapidly evolving job market. They are centres of expertise in applied research, entrepreneurship, and lifelong learning, offering a wide range of credentials and work-integrated learning opportunities to ensure that graduates are career-ready in all sectors of the economy. They welcome students of all different backgrounds and work to close educational gaps through flexible pathways, supporting vulnerable learners to succeed.

Colleges and institutes also contribute directly to Canadian innovation by working on applied research projects in collaboration with industry to solve real-world challenges, create new products, and improve processes. They also deliver professional and technical training in innovative ways: online, via simulation, mobile on-reserve, and more.

All of this makes them essential to the development of communities across the country and key players in Canada’s overall economic growth.

  • Colleges, institutes, and those they have trained, generate over $190 billion in additional income to the national economy each year
  • Colleges and institutes host more than 600 research centres labs across the country
  • Colleges and institutes reported over 7,300 annual research partnerships
  • Colleges and institutes are deeply committed to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples – over 65 have signed CICan’s Indigenous Education Protocol demonstrating the many ways they embrace this mandate

A French philosopher once said there is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come and I do sense that at the national level we have an opportunity to step up, when you think of the skills agenda and the ability of colleges to be nimble and flexible in meeting the needs of not just today but of the occupational clusters of tomorrow

Dan Patterson, President, Niagara College

Our Vision

Better futures for
peoples and communities

Our Mission

To strengthen the college
and institute system

Our Value Proposition

To be a force multiplier for Canadian colleges and institutes

Our Commitment

To uphold the principles of agility, inspiring others, and integrity in all that we do


Champion | Influence | Mobilize

As the national voice of colleges and institutes, under this strategic objective, CICan, will:

promote the strengths of our members to national and international audiences

amplify recognition of the system as the source of solutions to pressing challenges

rally members around key priorities for maximum impact

Canada’s colleges and institutes make a significant contribution to the country’s economy by training its workforce, strengthening capacities and improving employability. The country’s future depends on training and that is why we are here.

Francis Kasongo, President, Collège Mathieu

Build Capacity

Convene | Envision | Leverage

As the national voice of colleges and institutes, under this strategic objective, CICan will:

increase member interactions with other institutions and stakeholders

provide professional development opportunities for members

help members to build expertise via national and international networks

We talk a lot about this time being a time of disruption, a time of anxiety but… what excites me is that colleges and institutes are at the forefront of trying to help people navigate what this change means and where it’s going, and being the ones at the front saying ‘let’s imagine what we can do together, let’s imagine how we can build the future’. The future isn’t something that will just happen to us, it’s something that we all create together.

Kelly Jackson, Associate Vice-President, Government Relations & Strategic Communications, Humber

Drive Knowledge

Research | Enrich | Lead

As the national voice of colleges and institutes, under this strategic objective, CICan will:

collect and communicate information on global trends and priorities and coordinate shared responses

champion the use of data to inform decision-making and future directions

develop and distribute information about the Canadian college and institute system

What really excites me is the unity, the commitment, the passion the colleges have to closing the education gap between indigenous and non-indigenous learners. It’s an amazing opportunity, there is so much good work happening in institutions across Canada, there are so many best practices that we can all learn from

Riel Bellegarde, President, SIIT

Strategic Plan

2019 – 2024

As CICan’s Board of Directors, we are committed to supporting this Strategic Plan.

Dr. Michel Tarko (Chair)

President and CEO
Justice Institute of British Columbia

Yves Galipeau (Vice-Chair)

Directeur général
Cégep de la Gaspésie et des Îles

Jim Hamilton

Okanagan College

Dr. Paula Burns

President and CEO
Lethbridge College

Don Gnatiuk

President and CEO
Grande Prairie Regional College

Mark Frison

President and CEO
Assiniboine Community College

Riel Bellegarde

President and CEO
Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT)

David Agnew

Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology

Dr. Dan Patterson

Niagara College

François Dornier

Directeur général
Cégep de Rimousk

Don Bureaux

Nova Scotia Community College

Chris Power

President and CEO
Canadian Patient Safety Institute

Major-General (Retired) Eric Tremblay

Senior Product Manager
Pratt & Whitney Canada

Maggie Farrington

Chief Executive Officer
Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation

Carmen Abela

Managing Director
WindReach Consulting Services Inc.