As part of Canada’s International Education Strategy, CICan was selected by the Government of Canada to administer an outbound student mobility pilot program in collaboration with Universities Canada: Global Skills Opportunity. This program provides post-secondary students with additional opportunities to study and work overseas, strengthening their global competency and enriching Canada’s economic prosperity.
Canadians need to be globally fluent and connected, especially in emerging economies, to succeed in a rapidly changing, and increasingly international, labour market. The global pandemic has highlighted the interconnected nature of today’s world. It has accelerated the changing nature of work and emphasized the need for skills like problem-solving, communication, digital literacy, creativity, and perseverance to adapt to changes in the workplace. At the same time, the pandemic has widened socioeconomic divides and highlighted systemic challenges in Canada and abroad. Global Skills Opportunity therefore serves as an integral component of Canada’s COVID-19 recovery strategy.
Global Skills Opportunity will help thousands of young Canadians, especially those for whom international experiences are less accessible, develop valuable intercultural competencies and access enriching employment opportunities. It will also diversify the destination countries where students can pursue opportunities, and test innovative approaches to reducing barriers to working and studying abroad.
In October 2020, CICan launched a call for proposals to member institutions for innovative outbound student mobility projects. This upfront investment allowed member institutions to test different tools, supports and services to build inclusive study/work abroad opportunities, adjust programming to a COVID-19 environment, and served as a stepping-stone for the full implementation of the program.
CICan and Universities Canada have convened an advisory group of leaders and experts in education, civil society, and business to provide high-level strategic advice and guidance on the design and implementation of the program. In addition to informing strategic and policy issues, committee members also serve as ambassadors to build awareness and support for the program across their networks.
- The Right Honourable David Johnston, Chair, Rideau Hall Foundation (chair)
- John Baker, President & CEO, D2L
- Perrin Beatty, President and CEO, Chamber of Commerce
- Larissa Bezo, President and CEO, Canadian Bureau for International Education
- Margaret Biggs, Matthews Fellow in Global Public Policy, Queen’s University
- Tabatha Bull, President & CEO, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business
- Seren Friskie, Provincial Indigenous Wellness & Engagement Coordinator, Foundry BC
- Zabeen Hirji, Executive Advisor, Future of Work, Deloitte
- Elizabeth Kwan, Senior Researcher, Canadian Labour Congress
- Louisane LeBlanc, Student Representative, Doctoral Candidate and Lecturer, Department of Linguistics and Translation, Université de Montréal
- Sue Paish, CEO, Digital Technology Supercluster
- Christian Paradis, Former Minister of Industry and International Development
- Ian Smith, CEO, Clearwater Seafoods
- Through the Innovation Fund, CICan funded a total of 69 projects from 46 institutions.
- Less than 3% of Canadian post-secondary students currently take part in one session or more overseas.
- Up to 11,000 Canadian students will benefit from the pilot project over its five-year duration.
Global Skills Opportunity is funded by the Government of Canada’s Outbound Student Mobility Pilot Program and is administered through a unique partnership between CICan Universities Canada, and Canadian post-secondary institutions.