Working in all sectors to provide the skills, the incubating environment, and the knowledge to bring ideas to fruition, college and institute applied research and commercialization directly supports community and workplace innovation.

Textile Technologies

Cégep de Saint-Hyacinthe Centre for Textile and Geosynthetic Technologies introduced an innovative solution to the market in 2005. SilverClearTM is an antibacterial and bactericidal product for the treatment of nanomaterials and textiles. The formula can be customized for use in different sectors, including healthcare.

Manufacturing and Aviation

Red River College is implementing a College and Community Innovation Pilot Project with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. Leading Advanced Manufacturing Practices includes a "testbed" incorporating a model factory with a flexible manufacturing cell. As a demonstration project, the Red River Raycer (*r3 Solar Car) was built with contributions from industry, including Boeing Aerospace which has also been involved, with Standard Aero and Bristol Aerospace, in the College's Stevenson Aviation and Aerospace Training Centre.

Industrial Research and Manufacturing

Georgian College Industrial Research Development Institute focuses on metal stamping, plastics, machining, tribology and hydroforming.

Cégep de Saint-Jérôme Centre de développement des composites du Québec (CDCQ) concentrates on the performance and durability of manufactured products and has worked on stage structures and props with Cirque du Soleil.

Virtual Reality

The Centre for Advanced Visualization at Niagara College is involved in the applied research, service and transfer of Virtual Reality (VR) technology or real-time 3D modeling. "Working with Niagara College in visualizing traffic solutions over the past four years has put Delcan ahead of our competitors, and has given the company an increased ability to compete and win new business," said Mr. Nick Palomba of Delcan Corporation.

Information Technology

SAIT Polytechnic joined forces with Microsoft, HP, Cisco and DIRTT Environmental Solutions in 2005 to create the Centre of Innovative Information Technology Solutions, affectionately dubbed the "PlayPen," which offers a simulation pod allowing companies to beta-test new IT solutions and model their current business processes in a secure environment.


The Applied Geomatics Research Group at Nova Scotia Community College undertakes research on the environmental health applications of geomatics, including climate change, water quality and hydrogeology, habitat modeling and coastal zone management.

Renewable Energy

Aurora Research Institute at Aurora College is involved in distributed power generation systems and new energy storage technologies in the Northwest Territories.

The College of the North Atlantic is developing a prototype wave-powered pumping system which will capture energy from ocean swells.

The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology Fuel Cell Applied Research Project involves the first commercially operated high-voltage fuel cell in Canada.

Long-term Care and Aging

Fleming College and community partners built the long-term care facility St. Joseph's at Fleming which also houses the Institute for Healthy Aging. The Institute provides an intergenerational care environment; facilitates learning for students and practitioners; and, promotes best practices in geriatric and long-term care.

Agriculture and Agri-Health

Olds College School of Innovation operates a 2,060 acre farm that facilitates environmental microbiology and agronomy, livestock genetics and nutrition, as well as crops and bioprocessing initiatives with industry and public sector partners. Dan Fullerton, Olds College Dean of Business Development, says that "by using the agronomic science and technology resources at Olds College, (we) assist industry to address current and emerging consumer requirements."


The Centre for Aquaculture and Seafood Development (C-ASD) of the Marine Institute hosts a modern aquaculture research facility and the Atlantic Canada Fishery By-Products Research Centre. "The need for innovative research in fishery and aquaculture by-products utilization is vital to the renewal of the fishing and aquaculture industries. By reducing the waste in the fishery and aquaculture sectors, all parties involved will benefit by having a better environment and an economically viable industry," said Heather Manuel, Director, Centre for Aquaculture & Seafood Development.

Innovative ideas and their applications – or solutions – need places to grow and develop. As strategic partners to business and industry, colleges and institutes are those places.

Deeply rooted in the communities they serve, the business of real-life community solutions characterizes colleges and institutes. Real careers need to be built by prospective graduates, current workers require skills upgrading, and the viability of the local economy and its attractiveness to business and industry depends on a pool of local skills and talent.

For example, New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) in Miramichi worked with community leaders on a shared journey to diversify the local economy. The College added an innovative Multimedia Learning Technologies Centre of Excellence to its roster of programming, and according to Miramichi Mayor John McKay, "an illustration of NBCC Miramichi's importance to the community over the years has been the development of an information technology cluster, with the program offerings from the college creating more than 50 IT businesses."

Worker shortfalls in Vancouver's hospitality sector were addressed by Stars4Success – a program conceived by Vancouver Community College (VCC), the Vancouver Hotel General Managers Association, top hotels and a local consulting fi rm. Covenant House, a drop-in centre, identifi ed stable, committed street youth who were then provided with hospitality training by VCC and the industry. Says John Nicholson, Former Chair, Vancouver Hotel General Managers' Association "this initiative is not about job creation; rather it's about opening doors through entry-level positions already available within hotels, while showing commitment to being part of the solution to a very real problem facing the hospitality and tourism industry in downtown Vancouver."

In Newfoundland, the Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOCC) turned to College of the North Atlantic, Labrador West Campus to establish a Mining and Mineral Processing Technician program that would help meet IOCC's forecasted workforce shortage of 300-500 new skilled employees during 2003-2008. The program has been adapted to the needs of other companies in a number of mining communities.

Red River College, the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology, Algonquin College, Nova Scotia Community College and SAIT Polytechnic are working with the Women in Media Foundation to deliver Girls' Television and New Media Camps. Young girls from Aboriginal, immigrant and disadvantaged backgrounds learn how to make a short fi lm tackling diffi cult topics such as gangs, politics and foster families. The film screenings are a major accomplishment for the participants, their families and the communities that support them.

Nestled against the Niagara escarpment, the Niagara College Winery and Viticulture Program is tied to the economic priorities of this wine-growing region. The fully-licensed Niagara College Teaching (NCT) Winery acts as a learning and living laboratory, with 30 industry leaders in winemaking, winery operations, viticulture, vineyard operations and sales and marketing contributing to the program. Awardwinning and innovative, the NCT Winery is literally growing community knowledge and learning from the ground up!

In the area of Information Technology, nine colleges and institutes (Holland College, Collège Communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick - Bathurst, Cégep de Jonquière, Cégep de Saint-Hyacinthe, La Cité collégiale, Humber College, Collège Boréal, Red River College and Okanagan College) are involved in the Industry Canada Student Connections Program. In 2005, 257 college students reached out to 8,267 participants, including seniors and small and medium businesses, to improve their effi ciency in the on-line world.

The economies of the Gaspésie and Îles de la Madeleine regions of Québec are transforming due to mine and paper mill closures and a diminishing fishing industry. Cégep de Matane and Cégep de la Gaspésie et des Îles are implementing training programs for career redirection and prosperity. Programs include a wind turbine installation and maintenance program that will support the deployment of wind farms as well as a new wind turbine equipment factory in the region.

With their social, cultural and environmental responsibilities at play also, colleges and institutes are integral to the health, longevity and prosperity of Canadian communities.

Canada's colleges and institutes are distinct from each other, but share common values in their deep connections to their communities. A plethora of programs, exciting variations and enterprising curriculum make a community's college or institute a true "go-to" for sustainable socio-economic development solutions.

Colleges and institutes contribute over $106.3 billion to the Canadian economy and provide a remarkable return on investment. (2006, study by Association of Canadian Community Colleges )

In The Economic Contribution of Canada's Community Colleges and Technical Institutes, the independent research firm CCbenefits Inc. described these institutions as engines of economic growth and used four major analyses – national economic benefits (job and income formation), student perspective (higher earnings captured by exiting students), taxpayer perspective (a collection of social benefits and avoided costs) and investment analysis (the return to taxpayers for their support) – to provide the foundation for this ground-breaking report.

Colleges and institutes affect the national economy in two ways: through purchases from local suppliers and wages paid to employees; and, through a human capital effect stemming from an increase in the skill base of the workforce. The combination of operational expenditures and the effect of past student productivity represent an annual contribution of $106.3 billion, or 7.9 percent of current Gross Domestic Product. Colleges and institutes account for nearly eight percent of all direct and indirect workforce-related income in the national economy, which is approximately equivalent to 1.25 million jobs. Their activities encourage new business, assist existing business and create long-term economic growth by enhancing worker skills and providing customized training to local business and industry. It is estimated that the presentday Canadian workforce embodies around 467.7 million hours of past and present college and institute training.

"The economic benefit of Ottawa's two major colleges and their contribution to the health and vibrancy of the community are immeasurable," said Ottawa Mayor Bob Chiarelli. "Ottawa's francophone college, La Cité collégiale, and Algonquin College provide our community with a culture of discovery, a culture of research and a culture of partnership."

From a student perspective, colleges and institutes are an excellent investment of time and money, providing an annual return of 16.2 percent. A graduate with a one- or two-year certificate earns 35 percent more than someone without a high school diploma and 12 percent more than a high school graduate. With an additional year of college education, earnings jump to 54 percent higher than someone without high school and 29 percent higher than those of a high school graduate.

"Today, Canadian individuals, businesses, and governments are under investing in their future prosperity. By limiting our investment in post secondary education, Canadians are under investing in themselves. More education increases people's productivity and capacity for innovation – and helps them earn higher wages," said James Milway, Executive Director, Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity.

For every dollar a student invests in a college or institute education, he or she will receive a cumulative $4.57 in higher future earnings for the next 30 years and recover all costs for his or her education in only 8.8 years.

For every credit completed, a student will earn on average $128 more per year, and for every full-time year they attend additional annual earnings amount to approximately $3,800. These higher earnings total $3.7 billion per year for college and institute graduates for each year they remain in the workforce.

"There's no question that Keyano College makes a substantial contribution, both economically and by building a skilled work force, to the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and to the Province of Alberta," said Mayor Melissa Blake. "Keyano helps drive this region's job and investment opportunities, improve local business revenues and inject more public funds into the market. At the same time, successful students benefit from increased earning power and enriched lifestyles. I know – I'm a Keyano College graduate!"

Canada's colleges and institutes are a sound investment from multiple perspectives. Students benefit from increased earnings and improved lifestyles. Taxpayers benefit from an enlarged economy and lower social costs. And society as a whole benefits from increased job and investment opportunities, higher business revenues, greater availability of public funds and an eased tax burden.

The Economic Contribution of Canada's Community Colleges and Technical Institutes can be found at :

Canada's workforce growth and stability will depend on the contribution of immigrant skills and those of the Aboriginal population – the two fastest growing demographics in Canadian society.

Several colleges and institutes, such as the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT) and the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology are Aboriginal-focused institutions. At least 60 other urban, rural and remote institutions are implementing programming that supports Aboriginal peoples' culture and heritage while providing the skills required to succeed in careers of choice. For example, the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST) recently signed agreements with the Montreal Cree Lake Nation and the Kawacatoose First Nation and, according to the Aboriginal Human Resource Development Council, "is (a) leader in terms of education equity, with a current Aboriginal participation rate of 18 percent. SIAST has established an 18-member council of advisors to build on the success of its Aboriginal student recruitment and retention services."

Colleges and institutes identify training needs in partnership with Aboriginal leaders, First Nations bands, Aboriginal organizations and School Boards to ensure they refl ect real community needs. According to S. Brenda Small, Dean, Negahneewin College of Academic and Community Development, "a profile of Northwestern Ontario ten years in the future suggests that the Aboriginal share of the total population will be at least 20 percent and as much as 50 percent. (It) is immediately apparent that Aboriginal communities will be integral to the long-term sustainability of the entire regional economy. Negahneewin College is a communitydriven educational centre within Confederation College. Programs are open to all and relevant to Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal students who seek the knowledge and skills necessary to work with and among remote, rural and northern communities. For example, Negahneewin is in the process of developing a web-based Bachelor of Applied Human Services degree in Indigenous Leadership and Community Development."

Randell Morris, Vice-President, Institutional Advancement, SIIT, says "all programs strike a balance between the required technical and educational skills and the cultural traditions and knowledge of the students. Most programs are (delivered) through joint-management agreements with Tribal Councils and independent bands. As First Nations and Aboriginal communities continue to grow, an increasing proportion of new entrants into the Canadian labour market will inevitably be First Nation or Aboriginal. Further educational programs must be made available and accessible to these communities."

Accessibility is also of paramount importance to the proactive integration of new Canadians into the workforce. Colleges and institutes work with community organizations, local settlement initiatives, municipal and provincial governments to provide tailored, results-oriented language and workplace orientation and bridging training for new arrivals in Canada. For example, Kwantlen University College offers an English-as-a-Second-Language Program for Nursing to prepare graduate nurses from other countries to write the Canadian Registered Nurse Examination. Through the Canadian Immigration Integration Project, a government pilot initiative managed by the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC), educational and language assessment, credential recognition and work culture counselling are being offered to those approved to immigrate to Canada from China, India and the Philippines, prior to their departure.

Colleges and institutes are actively championing educational accessibility. In addition to delivery formats which allow those facing time constraints or living in rural and remote areas to reach into the post-secondary education system - colleges and institutes are also reaching out. For example, the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in Motion brings mobile training to communities, and ACCC recently partnered with the National Institute for Rural Community Colleges in the United States to build an international community college alliance serving rural and remote communities to ensure that the socio-economic, cultural, environmental and productive workforce capacity of the rural Americas is realized.

Reaching in and reaching out – whether in downtown Toronto or northern Nunavut, accessibility can help make Canadian potential a reality.

Colleges and institutes, with their roots in over 900 communities, are embracing traditionally under-represented groups.

To upgrade their skills, change careers or respond to the requirements of employers, a large number of Canadians opt to attend their local college or institute on a part-time basis. When employers determine that on-site training is viable, they can contract the local college or institute to design and deliver workplace-based learning. Employees remain on-site and skills taught are customized and immediately applicable.

For example, Suncor Energy Inc is working with SAIT Polytechnic in Calgary to prepare 150 Suncor employees to take their Project Management Professional Certification Exam over a two-year period. This unique corporate training program was tailor-made to incorporate Suncor terminology, processes and documents into SAIT courseware. "SAIT was open to customizing the program to Suncor's needs and has shown flexibility in relating to the way we do things," says Art Wood, Director of Project Management for Suncor's Major Projects Group.

To keep pace with technology and a shifting economy, workplace-oriented lifelong learning is no longer optional. Canada's largest trade and industry association, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, states that "(people), properly trained, are Canadian companies' most important assets. Manufacturers are looking towards Canada's colleges and institutes – with their industry ties, focus on employability skills training, forward-looking attitude and ability to respond quickly to change – as key partners in meeting the skills challenge."† In 2005, the Public Policy Forum projected that "over 40 percent of federal public servants will be eligible to retire by 2012. And a particular skill set and work culture will be retiring with them."

To encourage lifelong learning, many colleges and institutes are forging new pathways in on-line and distance education. "New learning technologies are enabling education, business, and government sectors to collaborate and to implement customized lifelong learning solutions for learners. In this networked, knowledge world, demand-driven e-learning emerges as a dynamic means for both individuals and communities to achieve their social and economic development goal," says Marquis L. Bureau, Chief Learning Offi cer, Novasys.

For example, Nova Scotia Community College houses the Virtual Campus for Apprenticeship which relieves some of the pressures of time, travel and economic considerations faced by apprentices and their employers. Humber College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning jointly developed the Canadian Medical Device Industry online certifi cate with MEDEC, the national trade association for the industry. "This program gives small- to mid-sized companies the ability to offer costeffective training for sales, marketing and customer service employees," says Dave Enns, President, Canadian Hospital Specialties Ltd. and Chair, MEDEC Education Committee.

Colleges and institutes are continually improving access and diversity through collaborative on-line portals, such as OntarioLearn (22 institutions offering 750 courses), Contact North (14 institutions), eCampusAlberta (15 institutions) and Campus Saskatchewan (14 institutions). Judy Adams, Manager, Distance Education Support Services at SAIT Polytechnic, a member of eCampusAlberta, says "online access to courses is improving, with most technology schools offering about ten percent of curriculum online. Online training and education programs are enjoying phenomenal growth, driven by corporations looking to cut costs and improve skills training."

To make on-line or new degree/diploma certifications – such as the applied degree, which combines practical skills and theory – apply directly to the fast-paced world of work, colleges and institutes are actively involved in networks of employers, civic groups and governments. For example, Bow Valley College in Calgary introduced TOWES – Test of Workplace Essential Skills – in response to an identifi ed need for skills in communication, reading, literacy and numeracy.

Essential skills are the Velcro to which all other training sticks.

"(Many) employers have been using years-in-school or other credentials as proxies for ability. This can be unfair to other qualified individuals, some of them foreign-born, who have the skills but not the educational credentials in Canada. The key dimensions of essential skills have been found to be closely linked to success in the workplace," says Conrad Murphy, Manager, Workplace Learning Services at Bow Valley College.

With all the characteristics of a win-win solution applicable across all sectors, the growth of college and institute workplace-based training shows no signs of slowing.

† Honourable Perrin Beatty, President and CEO, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters. College Canada Vol. 10 No.1

Inside the shiny new campus of the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade, Douglas College of New Westminster, British Columbia, is offering a joint degree/diploma program in Financial Markets and Investment Management. Nearby, Centennial College of Toronto, Ontario is working with the Shanghai Pharmaceutical School. The Sichuan Ganzi College for Nationalities, the China Management Training Centre, the Sichuan Forestry College and the Sichuan Light Industry College are partnering with Algonquin College of Ottawa, Ontario. Fourteen Canadian colleges and institutes are actively involved in various initiatives across China while others, such as College of the North Atlantic, Georgian College and SAIT Polytechnic which have campuses in Qatar, India and Kazakhstan respectively, are working in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Central and Latin America.

In addition to overseas campuses, Canadian colleges and institutes have been involved in 400 international development projects in 70 developing countries and are leading exporters of educational services overseas that support the sustainable adaptation and application of human resource development and technology transfer. Many developing countries want to improve income generation, sustainable labour market skills and employment prospects for their populations through formal and non-formal skills development – areas in which colleges and institutes excel.

A direct result of the continued export of our learning reputation and our track record in high-quality, results-oriented post-secondary education and training, is the ability to attract international students to Canada. International student recruitment, as well as international mobility and articulation agreements, in turn contribute to the export marketing of Canadian post-secondary expertise.

Success stories abound in the 27-year history of college and institute involvement overseas. For example, the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology is one of four institutions working with CIDA to build a community college in Tra Vinh, one of the poorest regions of Vietnam. Cambrian College, Cégep de l'Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Cégep de Trois-Rivières, Cégep de Thetford, Keyano College, Northern College, Algonquin College, Cégep de Saint-Hyacinthe and Bow Valley College worked with the Chilean government and mining companies to create the respected International Centre for Training and Technology Transfer in the Mineral Industry, located in Copiapo, Chile.

In India, more than 13 colleges and institutes partnered with Indian Polytechnics to transfer and adapt knowledge in developing curriculum to meet the demands of industry and business. A rural nurse practitioner program in Ghana run by the former Okanagan University College helped alleviate a lack of access to primary health care and reproductive health care. In Mexico, colleges and institutes partnered with Grupo Iusacell of Mexico and Northern Telecom to provide training supporting technology sales. Romania and Ukraine are home to several adult re-training systems which utilize Canadian college and institute curriculum development and skills training expertise to re-integrate adults into a post-Communist labour market.

Aside from its humanitarian value in developing countries, some may see the export of Canadian educational services and products around the world as benefiting only a few. This is not the case. The breadth of benefit is immense; sharing knowledge creates a classic win-win environment for all involved. International partners benefit from improved workforce skills and productive capacities, while the majority of Canadians benefit from the economic impact of job creation and the introduction of new ideas, awareness and international marketplace knowledge into the Canadian curriculum by faculty, administrators and students involved in international projects. Importantly, international revenues can also offset domestic costs and lower tuition fees.

The impact of internationalization and international involvement on our campuses results in graduates entering the workforce with skills which can translate to a deepening of the national economy's capacity to compete in international markets and an acceleration of our competitive advantages.

International awareness and appreciation of the real world – beyond the world of text books – can only help in an age when the wider our vision and awareness, the broader our career options and choices.

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