Colleges and Institutes Canada

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A Year in Review



Letter from the CEO and Board Chair

The past year was one of reflection as we imagined the future of our organization. With our strategic plan 2013-2019 coming to an end, we embarked on perhaps the most ambitious consultation in our association’s history to chart our course for the next five years.

Our Imagine the Future campaign took us online and across the country to meet with members, partners, staff, and key stakeholders in order to discuss the future of colleges and institutes, and the role of CICan as their national voice. Throughout this ambitious process, our team heard from hundreds of people.

This period of reflection took place as post-secondary leaders everywhere try to anticipate what the future of work and learning might look like, as new, potentially disruptive, technologies emerge. No shortage of ink was spilled on the topic in the past few years, but we are arriving at a point where actions are starting to take shape.

It’s no surprise then that in March, the federal government introduced a “skills budget”, perhaps the most college-friendly federal budget we have seen in years.

This only validates that the value proposition of colleges and institutes resonates across the country and is stronger than ever. As we look to the future of CICan and its members, we firmly believe that the best is yet to come!

Denise Amyot
President and CEO, CICan

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


CICan is proud to be the national voice of Canada’s colleges and institutes and has worked tirelessly over the past year to ensure their priorities are heard and understood by Canadians and key decision makers.


Representing colleges and institutes on the Hill

As the voice of colleges and institutes in Ottawa, we joined forces with other organizations this year to advance our members’ priorities, including the need to support upskilling and reskilling in order to help Canadians adjust to changes in the labour market. We worked with Universities Canada to submit proposals on student mobility and market diversification for international recruitment. We also worked with Polytechnics Canada, Tech-Access Canada, la Fédération des cégeps, and l’Association pour la recherche au collégial to highlight the need for stable research support funding for our members’ applied research activities. Finally, we partnered with the Business/Higher Education Roundtable, Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) Canada and many other stakeholders to promote work-integrated learning as a critical aspect of preparing Canadians for the jobs of tomorrow.

We also worked closely with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and consulted with members on a range of issues with relevance to international students, including the launch and expansion of the Study Direct Stream and biometrics, to ensure that policy and program criteria reflect the interests of our members

These efforts were well received by the federal government, which delivered a very college-friendly budget, on March 19, that was introduced from the get-go as a skills budget.

Budget by the numbers:

  • $1.7 billion over five years for the Canada Training Benefit
  • $798.2 million over five years to expand the Student Work Placement Program and support 84,000 new work-integrated learning placements per year
  • $147.9 million over five years for a new International Education Strategy

Engaging with policymakers

We contributed to multiple federal consultations this year, through written submissions or by appearing before committees.


Engaging the public

CICan’s 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, CBC, HuffPost, Maclean’s, the Hill Times, the PIE News, Study Travel Magazine, and Le Droit.

We also continued working with Marketzone Productions to publish Education for Employment Magazine, which is distributed with Canadian School Counsellor Magazine and Careering Magazine, as well as the Globe and Mail to produce a special feature on colleges and institutes that focused on the future of work. Additionally, we collaborated with Re$earch Money to create a special feature called Applied Research Comes of Age and a blog on their website. We also offered support to le Droit who created Canada’s first guide to francophone post-secondary institutions.

Throughout the year, we maintained a strong presence on social media, growing our audience considerably across all our platforms.

Growth in social media followership (April 1st 2018 to March 31, 2019):


Bringing a college and institute perspective to the Future Skills Council

Colleges and institutes across the country will benefit from a strong and passionate voice on the newly created Future Skills Council, as CICan CEO Denise Amyot was named as one of its 15 members.

The Council will advise government and inform the priorities of the new Future Skills Centre which was launched on February 14 by the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, along with the Honourable Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance. Operated by a consortium led by Ryerson University, the Future Skills Centre will support projects across Canada and be responsive to regional differences. It will operate at arm’s length from government and has been mandated to develop, test and rigorously measure new approaches to skills assessment and development.


Looking ahead to 2019

With a federal election planned in the Fall of 2019, CICan’s advocacy work has focused on preparing an election strategy to ensure colleges and institutes are heard by all parties during the campaign.

We created a brand-new committee, gathering college and institute professionals working in communications and government relations, to advise our team and further improve our advocacy efforts. The CICan Government Relations and Communications Advisory Committee met for the first time in December, building on work done by our Government Relations Network in the past two years.


CICan is dedicated to empowering members by facilitating a variety of programs and offering services that help them achieve their goals. From representing them on the international stage to providing professional development, our association is always driven by an unwavering commitment to our members.


Bringing leaders together at national events

Throughout the year, CICan members had the opportunity to gather together to reflect and discuss priority issues and did so in record numbers. Overall, our Leaders Forum and Applied Research Symposium, both held in Ottawa, from November 5-6,  as well as our Indigenous Education Symposium (October 14 to 16) were incredibly well attended.

In May, our annual national conference was held in Victoria, BC, with the theme Na’tsa’maht, or working together as one in the Lekwungen, SENĆOŦEN, and Hul’qumi’num languages. It was a rousing success with nearly 1000 participants!

For the first time this year we also organised a continuing education symposium, in collaboration with la Fédération des cégeps, held in Montreal from February 28 to March 1st. Representatives from 60 different colleges and institutes, as well as participants from universities, external organizations, and government took part in the event.

On December 7th, we also co-organized a Research Data Summit with Centennial College and Research Data Canada. This one-day workshop was an opportunity to discuss new approaches to data management and review the latest Tri-Council policy.


Providing learning opportunities to college and institute leaders

The 2018 CICan Leadership Institutes were more popular than ever, with an overall increase in participation across all eight institutes. This included a brand-new institute for international leaders in French last November.

We also offered seven different webinars over the year on a wide variety of topics, including: Supporting International Student Transitions to Permanent Residency, Mitacs Research Internships for College and Institute Students, Trends in International Mobility for Francophone Students, and Building the Car of the Future, in collaboration with the Automotive, Transportation and Digital Technologies Branch (ATDTB) at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED).


Bringing international partners together

Over the year, we also organized many events overseas along with international partners and stakeholders. This included recruitment and marketing missions for CICan members, as well as forums and meetings aimed at sharing expertise and best-practices through our different Education for Employment (EFE) programs.

  • From October 18-21, we had the pleasure of leading a delegation of 20 participants to the 19th China Annual Conference for International Education & Expo (CACIE) in Beijing.
  • In October, we led a group of 10 colleges and institutes to take part in a one-day Technical and Vocational Education Forum in Jakarta, Indonesia.
  • During the same month, we worked with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in the Philippines to sponsor a 2-day conference focusing on the themes of Indigenizing Education, Innovation/Applied Research and Agriculture /Agri-Business. Seven CICan members had the chance to discuss their specific areas of expertise with approximately 30 Filipino post-secondary education institutions with the purpose of developing institutional partnerships.
  • In March, we organized a Forum on Gender Equality and the Extractive Sector in Chile. This is part of a series of forums to be held in each country participating in the Education for Employment in the Pacific Alliance program.
  • Also in March, we organized a Marketing and Recruitment Mission to Manila with participation from 28 members from across seven provinces.

Supporting reconciliation with Indigenous peoples

Our members across the country remain dedicated to supporting reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and are leaders in this regard. Throughout the year we added nearly a dozen colleges and institutes to the list of CICan Indigenous Education Protocol signatories, bringing us to a total of 64.

We were also very proud to host our 10th Indigenous Education Symposium in Wendake, Quebec. This was our first symposium held on a reserve and it attracted more participants than ever before, with over 175 delegates from colleges and institutes across the country.


CICan is proud to serve as Canada’s knowledge hub on the college and institute system, gathering data and producing studies to both improve understanding of the Canadian post-secondary sector and support our advocacy efforts, nationally and internationally.


Anticipating the future of work and learning

This year we worked with D2L, a global learning technology leader, to produce a Canadian version of the whitepaper  “The Future of Work & Learning in the Age of the 4th Industrial Revolution”. This exclusive paper calls for a fundamental transformation in how we think about lifelong learning and skills development in a fast-changing world. It was launched on November 6 in Ottawa, during our Leaders Forum and Applied Research Symposium.


Researching emerging international markets

With financial support from Global Affairs Canada through the Global Opportunities for Associations (GOA) Program, we undertook a substantial research project on emerging markets for international student recruitment to Canadian colleges and institutes. Published in March, this work provides members with valuable insights and strategies to capitalize on emerging trends and opportunities in support of international student diversification efforts. It shows strong and growing global demand for Canadian technical and professional education.

Highlights from the report:

  • The number of international students studying in Canada has grown by 73% between 2014 and 2018 alone
  • In 2017, colleges and institutes hosted 44% of study permit holders at the post-secondary level.
  • CICan members are actively recruiting in close to 50 countries around the world.

Mapping out the college and institute system

This year we worked to gather data about the Canadian college and institute system in order to paint a more precise picture of its reach and contributions to Canada’s key economic sectors.

view map


Connecting with members and stakeholders

Over the past year we implemented a customer relationship management system using Microsoft Dynamics software. CIConnex not only helps us improve communications with members and stakeholders, but also allows us to collect high-quality information to help us adopt a data-driven engagement strategy.


Providing environmental analysis on colleges and institutes

In April we delivered an environmental scan of college and institute construction and renovation programs in order to inform the preparation of Natural Resources Canada’s new model building code. The study presented an overview of programs offered across the country and identified best practices, as well as existing gaps.

This was a first for us, as we move to produce more such environmental scans in collaboration with different stakeholders. By driving knowledge on the college and institute system, we are actively supporting sound and efficient policy-making.


Whether with members, other associations, government or industry, collaboration is at the heart of all of CICan’s activities. With multiple ongoing projects around the world, we were able to create new opportunities for our members this year, thanks to innovative partnerships, both at home and abroad.


Forging new international partnerships

  • In May, we signed an agreement with Global Affairs Canada to deliver the Skills to Access the Green Economy (SAGE) Program. The new five-year, $15.25 million program, builds on the success of our CARICOM Education for Employment project that concluded this year.
  • In March, we signed a contribution agreement with Global Affairs Canada (GAC) for the new EFE-Tunisia Al-Najah, valued at $5.8 million for the next four years.
  • The same month, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) awarded CICan with a research grant on Promoting Employment, Entrepreneurship and Industry Competitiveness in Kenya, through a new TVET innovation fund. This $1 million research grant will fund a joint initiative with two Kenyan organizations that will look at ways to improve skills and employability prospects by establishing a centre of excellence with three pillars – applied research hubs, gender equality in TVET, and action research.
  • Throughout the year, we worked on the implementation of the Pacific Alliance EFE Program in Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, including the announcement of seven new partnerships with colleges and institutes.

Collaborating with Canadian partners

  • We continued our work with the Mental Health Commission of Canada, as well as Universities Canada, in an effort to create a new Mental Health Standard for postsecondary students. As part of this effort, we created CICan’s Advisory Committee on Student Mental Health.
  • CICan also received funding from the McConnell Foundation to support our work on social and economic inclusion. This three-year, $600,000 initiative, will build on proposals gathered through a series of workshops involving over 50 CICan member CEOs and senior leaders.
  • On October 30, we signed an agreement with Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) for the design and implementation of a new multi-year work integrated learning (WIL) program.
  • March 1 marked the start of an agreement with Health Canada to develop teaching material for culinary programs that supports reduced sodium intake.
  • 2019 also saw the successful conclusion of our ground-breaking Essential Skills Social Finance (ESSF) pilot project.

Providing new opportunities through the Career-Launcher Internship Program

In August, we launched the new Digital Tech internship stream to help Canadian youth acquire the skills and experience they need to succeed in the digital economy. This two-year initiative, funded by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED)’s Digital Skills for Youth program, will allow 440 underemployed recent graduates to connect with local employers and gain hands-on work experience.

The new internships will be offered through CICan’s successful Career-Launcher Internship program.


Launching the next phase of CIIP

On January 22, CICan hosted the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, who announced the renewal of the Canadian Immigration Integration Program (CIIP).

This new phase for Planning for Canada represents an $18 million investment over four years and builds on CIIP’s past success in pre-arrival support services.

CIIP connects newcomers with a variety of services and supports, including those offered by colleges and institutes, to accelerate their integration into communities and in the workplace. Under the new Contribution Agreement with IRCC, CIIP will continue to operate field offices in India and the Philippines and will deliver online programs worldwide.


Engaging members and partners

Throughout the year, we excitedly welcomed both new and returning members.


As a member-focused association, CICan is 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 centre this year as we implemented new processes to improve governance and overall efficiency within the association.


Imagining the future together

In 2018, we launched one of the most extensive consultations in our 46-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 heard from more than 250 people, through online consultations and meetings 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. This included six regional roundtables hosted by our members across the country, one-on-one meetings, online polls, and more.


Adopting new corporate strategies

We created or updated several internal strategies in 2018-2019, that will help make CICan more efficient and responsive to the needs of our members.

  • New web and social media strategies will help our communications team ensure that CICan maintains a strong online presence.
  • A new internal communication plan will help improve the flow of information across CICan divisions.
  • We carried out an assessment of data maturity in order to further implement CICan’s Data Management Strategy and drive efficiencies across the organization.

Renewing our focus on international business development

As part of our new international strategy, launched in January 2018, we adopted a series of measures to further develop our international presence. These will help diversify sources of funding for our different projects and find new international opportunities for CICan members. Among the steps taken this year, we hired a Business Development Coordinator and created a project pipeline monitoring tool to systematically track and seize opportunities.


Modernizing internal processes

Having adopted a new Quality Policy in 2018 to align our processes to the ISO 9001:2015 standards, our ISO designation was successfully renewed. This included a big push to modernize the treatment of most financial requests by implementing online forms to replace the old paper-based system. Going forward, we are now able to treat most transactions, including contracts, online, making processes more efficient, saving both time and paper!

Financial report

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 15, 2019, 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 24, 2019 and approved the financial statements.

Denise Amyot
President and CEO

Ramon Lashley
Vice President, Corporate Services


May 24, 2019


Colleges and Institutes Canada

Summarized Statement of Financial Position

March 31, 2019, with comparative figures for 2018



Current Assets $ 20,448,734 $ 14,389,856
Investments 2,530,677 2,457,568
Capital Assets, net 797,536 898,523
Intangible Assets 164,728 255,063
$ 23,941,675 $ 18,001,010
Liabilities and Net Assets
Current liabilities $ 19,608,431 $ 14,202,635
Lease Inducements 157,795 179,313
Net Assets 4,175,449 3,619,062
$ 23,941,675 $ 18,001,010
Summarized Statement of Operations
Year ended March 31, 2019, with comparative figures for 2018



Project Revenue $ 23,627,064 $ 27,983,313
Less: direct Project Expenses 17,193,517 21,263,705
Net project contribution 6,433,5478 6,719,608
Membership fees 2,983,929 2,873,017
Other 404,564 288,447
9,822,040 9,881,072
Human resources $ 8,275,272 $ 8,160,102
Amortization of capital assets 193,863 226,856
Other 1,805,100 1,358,258
10,274,235 9,745,216
Excess (deficiency) of revenue over expenses
before undernoted items $ (452,195) $ 135,856


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Thank you!

All of the achievements listed in this annual report would not have been possible without the continued support of our members and of our many partners in industry, government, and from other associations in Canada and around the world who share our commitment to excellence in education.

Thank you also to the remarkable members of our Board of Directors, for sharing their time and knowledge, as well as to all the individuals involved in our various advisory committees whose input ensure we continue to meet the needs of our member institutions.

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