Colleges and Institutes Canada

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A Year In Review


Joint letter from the CEO and Board Chair

We are extremely proud to share this report, highlighting some of Colleges and Institutes Canada’s (CICan) achievements in 2016-2017. As you will see, it was a very busy and productive year, during which we launched new programs promoted our members’ interests in Ottawa, and saw big gains for our sector in Budget 2017.

The federal government’s second year in power saw some very encouraging developments on a number of our priorities, as key ministers and elected officials became more familiar with our network of colleges and institutes thanks to strategic advocacy efforts. This contributed to a 2017 federal budget that was presented as a “skills and innovation budget” and featured encouraging investments in support of skills training, reskilling, work-integrated learning opportunities, and innovation.

On the international front, we continued to pursue new opportunities for colleges and institutes by forging new partnerships and building on our past successes. Over many years of successful collaboration, our members have built a strong reputation overseas, and we continue to be the post-secondary system of choice for governments and organizations looking to develop employment-focused education and training, all over the world. This year we launched new programs in Kenya and Latin America, and student mobility partnerships that will benefit all Canadian colleges and institutes.

Exciting times lie ahead as the government focuses on the implementation of its budget priorities, and we know that colleges and institutes are poised and ready to help build a strong and innovative middle class. Our members are recognized as invaluable partners by industry and government, and we will continue to ensure that their critical role in inclusive economic growth is center stage.


Denise Amyot
President and CEO

Liane Roy
Board Chair
President and CEO, Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick


As the voice of Canadian colleges and institutes in Ottawa, we work to champion our members’ priority interests and promote the pivotal role that colleges, institutes, and their learners play in fostering social and economic prosperity.

It has been an incredibly busy year in this respect, with the government launching dozens of consultations on a wide variety of topics. The strong focus on innovation and inclusive economic growth meant that colleges and institutes had a great deal to contribute.

An important moment for colleges and institutes in Ottawa

Over the last year, we made sure that the priorities of colleges and institutes were heard loud and clear in Ottawa by taking part in consultations where the strengths of our system could be featured. We prepared a total of nine submissions for the federal government to ensure that the role and potential of colleges and institutes is considered in future policies.

We issued the following reports and submissions in 2016-2017:

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The voice of colleges on budget consultations

We took part in the federal government’s annual pre-budget consultation process, issuing eight recommendations focused on six priority areas: partnered innovation for social and economic growth, Indigenous education, essential skills, work integrated learning, international mobility and labour market information.

Our submission outlined how supporting colleges and institutes could help the government achieve its objectives, especially in innovation and inclusive economic growth. Our President and CEO, Denise Amyot, was also invited to present these recommendations before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance on Thursday October 27.

CICan’s recommendations were well received and contributed to a very college and institute-friendly 2017 federal budget, which focused largely on skills and innovation. Among many positive measures, the government invested in making post-secondary education more accessible, especially for under-represented populations, renewed the Community and College Social Innovation Fund, and allocated funding for the creation of a new national structure focused on supporting skills development. The budget also announced the creation of Innovation Canada and identified priority areas for future investments: advanced manufacturing, agri-food, clean technology, digital technology, health/bio-sciences and clean resources, as well as infrastructure and transportation.

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Engaging with key policymakers

Every year, we organize several events focused on advocacy that allow leaders from colleges and institutes to engage directly with key policymakers. Among this year’s highlights:

  • We collaborated with Employment and Social Development Canada to organize a consultation meeting on May 27, 2016, with members of our Board of Directors and the Industry-College Coalition to advise on a framework for work-integrated learning.
  • Over 50 Presidents/CEOs and their government relations advisors joined us in Ottawa for CICan’s first Fall Leaders Forum on October 3-4. The event included a reception on Parliament Hill that attracted over 125 people including many Senators and MPs as well as a series of round tables with parliamentarians and senior public servants.
  • Additionally, our President and CEO Denise Amyot, as well as our vice-president, Government Relations and Canadian Partnerships, Christine Trauttmansdorff, took part in many meetings with government officials throughout the year, including a meeting with the liberal Innovation and Post-Secondary Education Caucus on April 18.

Celebrating Canada’s 150th

With Canadians across the country celebrating Canada’s 150th  anniversary, CICan joined the party to mark the contribution of colleges and institutes to Canada’s ongoing success, dating back well beyond 150 years.

A brand-new website was launched in January to present the history of colleges and institutes in a timeline, marking other events of historical importance, as well as a national anthology of contemporary achievements on many topics. The website is updated every month during 2017 with a new showcase of member stories from across the country, ranging from green facilities to achievements in applied research.

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Raising public awareness

Our advocacy efforts were supported by a variety of communications activities targeting national and regional media. Over the year, we published op-eds, provided interviews and were featured in media such as the Globe and Mail, HuffPost, Maclean’s, the Hill Times and CPAC.

We also maintained a strong social media presence and continued to improve our website, launching a brand-new homepage as well as a comprehensive and searchable innovation database that showcases some of the most exciting applied research projects at colleges and institutes across the country.

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Strong representation for our sector

Throughout the year, our President and CEO, Denise Amyot, took part in many speaking engagements, at both national and international events, where she spoke passionately about Canadian colleges and institutes. This included speeches at the Canadian Science Policy Centre Conference (December) and the Research Money Conference in Ottawa (April), as well as international invitations to speak at the Skills Future Conference in Singapore (February) and the International Summit of Education in Chile (January).


From networking events to professional development and more, we are proud to lead knowledge-sharing activities, nationally and internationally, in order to empower learning and networking for our members across Canada. This year we saw many new initiatives take shape in line with our member-focused approach.

Creating networking opportunities for members

CICan’s annual conference remains our biggest event of the year, and is one of the largest gatherings focused on post-secondary education in Canada. Our 2016 conference was especially successful, with over 800 delegates, representing 115 colleges and institutes as well as international partners from 12 countries, gathering in Quebec City. This made it one of our best-attended events since the association’s beginning.

Over 200 people also took part in our Applied Research, Entrepreneurship and Innovation forum on November 7-8, in Toronto. The event featured our first ever Student Innovation Showcase and Pitch Competition, which was judged by local MPs and put student projects front and center during the entire event. We also had the pleasure of hosting federal Minister of Health, Jane Philpott, who summarized a panel discussion on training and applied research related to health, calling us to action.

Engaging members through committees

Throughout the year, many CICan committees, including the National Research Advisory Committee, the Indigenous Education Advisory Committee, the Government Relations Network, and the President’s Leadership Network held meetings to help us frame advocacy priorities in key areas. These meetings allow productive discussions between members and play a crucial role in helping us keep track of national trends and issues.

Gathering international partners

Several networking events were organized throughout the year, at home and abroad, for members taking part in CICan’s international projects.

  • CICan played a key role at the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics (WFCP) congress which was held in Vitoria, Brazil from September 23-25. Canadian colleges and institutes made a strong impression on our partners, taking home 11 WFCP International Awards of Excellence.
  • The 2017 forum on Private Sector Growth through Education for Employment (PSG-EFE), co-organized by CICan and the Senegalese Ministry of Professional Education, Learning, and Craft (ministère de la Formation professionnelle, de l’Apprentissage et de l’Artisanat – MFPAA) was held February 15-17 in Dakar, Senegal. The forum brought together over a hundred participants representing partner institutions in Senegal, participating Canadian colleges, the MFPAA, the private sector, and professional associations.
  • In March, CICan led a delegation of representatives from over 30 member institutions to participate in a consultation session on the Canada in India Student Partners Program (SPP) hosted by the High Commission of Canada in New Delhi.

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Working together for the integration of new immigrants

The Canadian Immigrant Integration Program (CIIP) gathered many of its partners involved in offering pre-arrival services to new immigrants on September 26-27 in Ottawa. The successful meeting was attended by then-minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, John McCallum, who offered a resounding endorsement of CIIP’s pre-arrival services.

In February, the CIIP also organized its first-ever event for Ontario alumni, hosted by program partners George Brown College and COSTI Immigrant Services. Over 50 alumni and 20 partner representatives were in attendance, resulting in a high-energy day full of connections and a shared sense of purpose.

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Preparing the next generation of leaders

Last summer, we offered seven different leadership institutes targeted at leaders of all levels looking to improve their leadership skills or prepare for a new position. These new and improved institutes included a competency guide and received rave reviews. They were even recognized with the WFCP’s 2017 Gold Leadership Award.

We also offered a series of webinars on topics ranging from the creation of educational environments that promote mental health to strengthening international education.

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Supporting international student recruitment

Throughout the year, we worked with many partners to improve international student recruitment opportunities for our members. Our capacity to offer support was greatly improved thanks to an agreement with Scotiabank that provided funding for strategic international student recruitment and marketing efforts.

Significant focus was placed on Asia, and especially China, which remains an important market for Canadian colleges and institutes looking to attract international students. We led a Canadian delegation to China in October and worked closely with the China Education Association for International Exchanges (CEAIE), which awarded CICan one of its 2016 Best Partner Awards during its Annual International Education Conference. CICan was also named as a key Canadian partner in China’s PathPro Project, which aims to bridge education resources of high quality in vocational and technical education and training between China and partner countries.

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We are proud to serve as Canada’s knowledge hub on the college and institute system, gathering data and producing studies to both support our advocacy efforts and improve understanding of the Canadian post-secondary sector. This helps us respond to the priority interests of members as well as domestic and international stakeholders.

A closer look at the value of colleges and institutes

On October 5, we shared the findings of an exclusive report by EMSI on the economic impact of colleges and institutes during an iPolitics Live Event in Ottawa. The study concluded that these institutions, along with the people they have trained, added over $191.2 billion to Canada’s economy in 2014-2015, including $1.6 billion generated by international students.

We also supported the work of the Education Policy Research Initiative (EPRI) on linking PSE administrative and tax data. Led by Dr. Ross Finnie, of the University of Ottawa, this study used tax records to track the earnings of graduates from 14 Canadian post-secondary institutions, including several CICan members. It confirmed that, though it varies by discipline, holding a college credential will always have a significant impact on the income of graduates.

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Analyzing the role and impact of Program Advisory Committees

Following a roundtable on work-integrated learning with Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), CICan commissioned a study to provide further insights into the functioning and influence of Program Advisory Committees (PACs). Prepared by Knowledge in Power Consulting Inc., the study on Academic-Employer Connections in Colleges and Institutes was submitted to ESDC in November. It provides a valuable analysis of the collaboration models that exist across the country between colleges, institutes, and their industry partners.

Download the Report

Tracking progress in Applied research

With innovation a key priority for the federal government, CICan is more focused than ever on promoting colleges and institutes’ critical role in applied research.

On May 18, we launched the results of our 2014-2015 applied research survey during a Hill Times event in Ottawa. The study shows that applied research continues to grow on campuses across the country. With over 5,500 private companies involved in applied research partnerships, it is clear that our members are their partners of choice to help tackle practical challenges in innovative ways.

We also worked with Global Advantage, a firm that specializes in data visualization, to produce a Canadian Applied Research Ecosystem Map, which illustrates the key position colleges and institutes occupy in Canada’s innovation ecosystem. The map was presented in May 2016 at the CICan Annual Conference in Quebec.

Download the Survey

Reporting on Green Skills and Sustainable Economic Growth

Given the increasing demand for green skills in a variety of sectors, and for education that is focused on sustainable development, both at home and abroad, CICan commissioned a comprehensive report on the topic. Titled Green Skills for Sustainable Economic Growth, the report released in September examines the capacity of Canadian colleges and institutes to contribute to, and partner in, what is now widely referred to as the “greening” of post-secondary education.

The findings of the report were shared with a variety of partners, and also informed CICan’s advocacy efforts, including a submission to Natural Resources Canada.


We are always working to provide opportunities for our members to work with domestic and international partners in order to foster and advance the strengths of Canada’s college and institute system. With ongoing projects around the world, we were able to create new opportunities for our members thanks to innovative partnerships, both at home and abroad.

Social finance in support of essential skills

Our groundbreaking Essential Skills Social Finance project moved forward this year as the government of Canada, private investors, and colleges and institutes achieved an important milestone in September 2016 to mobilize social financing to fund essential skills training for underemployed Canadians. Since then, three cohorts of unemployed Canadians have benefited from the pilot project and obtained essential skills training at Douglas College, Confederation College and Saskatchewan Polytechnic. Regrettably, one of the colleges involved, Collège Lionel-Groulx, had to withdraw from the project due to provincial regulations.

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Providing internships in the green economy

The CICan Clean Tech Internship program filled its 2016-2017 quota of interns, matching 138 graduates of STEM programs with employers working in environmental and clean technology. The two year pilot program was so successful that it was approved for an additional two years of funding – applications are now open for the 2017-2018 program.

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Supporting fiscal literacy

We worked with four members – Holland College, Confederation College, Douglas College and Centennial College – to assist the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada in evaluating updated activities and examples from their Your Financial Toolkit workshop. This was an opportunity for our members to provide financial literacy training to their students. Eight workshops were conducted this year with a total of 114 participants.

Working hand in hand with other associations

Throughout 2016-2017 we worked closely with organizations who share our priorities and promote the value of post-secondary education in creating a healthy and prosperous Canadian society.

We contributed to a number of initiatives and working groups, including the Business Higher Education Roundtable, the Rideau Hall Foundation, the ICTC Canadian Leadership Task Force on Education and Skills, and the Chamber of Commerce Policy Committee on Human Resources.

We also continued to work hand in hand with other national associations, including Universities Canada, le Réseau des cégeps et des collèges francophones du Canada, l’Association des collèges et universités francophones du Canada, as well as the regional associations that represent colleges and institutes at the provincial level.

Bringing Education for Employment to Kenya

This year we continued to build on our proven Education for Employment (EFE) approach with the addition of a new program in Kenya, in partnership with the nation’s Ministry of Education. Launched in November, the Kenya Education for Employment Program (KEFEP) is a five-year initiative that will work with national polytechnics across Kenya to develop new or enhanced competency-based programs in the agriculture and energy sectors in order to increase employment and economic development opportunities for Kenyan youth.

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Building on our success in Central and South America

With the EFE Andes program soon coming to an end, we were able to secure new partnerships in Latin America that will ensure Canadian colleges and institutes continue to support education in the region. The Pacific Alliance program will provide a framework for new partnerships in Chile, Mexico, Peru and Colombia to provide training support and technical assistance to local post-secondary institutions that will be focused on the extractive sector.

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Promoting peace and sustainability with UNESCO-UNEVOC

We continue to serve as the the pan-Canadian UNESCO-UNEVOC Centre and the lead for the North American cluster of UNEVOC centers. We were therefore actively involved in the Week for Peace and Sustainable Development special conference which was hosted in Ottawa the first week of March. Roughly 400 delegates from around the world participated, including all three Canadian UNEVOC centers (Cégep de la Gaspésie et des Îles, Bow Valley College and CICan) and one UNESCO Chair (Cégep Marie-Victorin).

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New praise for our international projects

Throughout the year, we continued to receive praise for our ongoing international projects in Latin America, Africa, and the Caribbean. We are very pleased to report that our Youth Skills Development Programme in the Caribbean, in partnership with the UK Department for International Development (DFID), received an A+ evaluation this year.

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As a member-focused association, we are committed to adopting governance and management practices that will help us function in the best interest of our members by using evidence based decision-making. This concept was front and center this year as we undertook some restructuring to improve governance and overall efficiency within the association.

Recognizing dedicated employees

Our association would not be what it is without the contribution of our dedicated and professional staff. This year we revamped our employee recognition program to recognize long-serving staff members and reward achievements in innovation, good citizenship, and dedication.

Focus on planning and statistics

Following some internal reorganization, we created a new team dedicated to leading the design and implementation of integrated strategic and operational planning processes, as well as the development and implementation of an improved corporate data strategy. This new team provides a focused approach to a series of functions that were previously distributed across the association.

Welcoming a new VP International

In February, we were pleased to welcome a new Vice-President, Alain Roy, who took over the leadership of our International Partnerships division, bringing with him over twenty years of experience working with various international organizations and funding agencies. He replaced Paul Brennan who retired after a long and distinguished career at CICan, spanning over twenty years.

New Board members for a strong governance

CICan’s Board of Directors ensures the good governance of our association and provides strong representation for our members from across the country, as well as key partners. The Board also supports our advocacy efforts, this year even meeting directly with Deputy Ministers and high ranking public officials during a full day of meetings.

This year we welcomed four new board members:

  • David Agnew, President of Seneca College joined as our newest representative from Ontario.
  • Paula Burns, President and CEO of Lethbridge College joined as a representative for Alberta and the Northwest Territories.
  • François Dornier, Director General of the Cégep de Rimouski joined as a representative from Québec.
  • Major-General (Retired) Éric Tremblay of the Canadian Armed Forces joined as one of our three Elected Public Directors.

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Colleges and Institutes Canada


The accompanying summarized financial statements of the Colleges and Institutes Canada are the responsibility of management.  They have been derived from the Association’s complete financial statements which have been prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles using information available to May 17, 2017, and management’s best estimates and judgements.

Management has developed and maintains a system of internal controls to provide reasonable assurance that all assets are safeguarded and to produce relevant, reliable and timely financial information, including the accompanying financial statements.

The Board of Directors discharges its duties relating to the financial statements primarily through the activities of its Audit Committee.  The Audit Committee meets at least annually with management and the external auditors to review both the financial statements and the results of the audit examination with respect to the adequacy of internal accounting controls.  The external auditors have unrestricted access to the Audit Committee.  The Audit Committee also considers, for review by the Board of Directors, the engagement and re-appointment of external auditors.

The financial statements have been audited by Deloitte LLP on behalf of the membership. The Board of Directors met on May 29, 2017 and approved the financial statements.



Denise Amyot
President and CEO

Ramon Lashley
Vice President, Corporate Services

May 29, 2017


Colleges and Institutes Canada

Summarized Statement of Financial Position

March 31, 2017, with comparative figures for 2016



Current Assets $ 16,180,024 $ 16,073,613
Investments 2,385,801 2,313,340
Capital Assets, net 1,049,954 1,103,825
Intangible Assets 235,728
$ 19,851,507 $ 19,490,778
Liabilities and Net Assets
Current liabilities $ 16,167,471 $ 15,934,829
Lease Inducements 200,830 222,348
Net Assets 3,483,206 3,333,601
$ 19,851,507 $ 19,490,778
Summarized Statement of Operations
Year ended March 31, 2017, with comparative figures for 2016



    Project Revenue $ 25,810,466 $ 24,418,546
    Less: direct Project Expenses 19,801,170 18,612,431
    Net project contribution 6,009,296 5,806,115
    Membership fees 2,729,152 2,558,514
    Other 413,912 339,881
9,152,360 8,704,510
    Human resources $ 7,567,248 $ 6,635,294
    Amortization of capital assets 241,757 221,828
    Other 1,607,850 1,576,750
9,416,855 8,433,872
Excess (deficiency) of revenue over expenses
    before undernoted items $ (264,495) $ 270,638
Project adjustments 414,100
Excess of revenue over expenses $ 149,605 $ 270,638


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Thank you

We are grateful to our members whose innovative spirit and countless success stories never cease to amaze and inspire us. Thank you also to the remarkable members of our Board of Directors, for sharing their time and knowledge, as well as to our many partners in industry, government, and other associations in Canada and around the world who share our commitment to excellence in education.

Finally, thank you to the entire staff of CICan for their continued hard work and dedication.