They provide post-secondary education for all Canadians
Canada’s extensive network of colleges and institutes serves students from all over the country where they live, whether it’s in urban, rural or remote communities, thanks to more than 670 locations across Canada.
They provide training for a huge range of students, from recent high school graduates and adult learners, to new Canadians and university graduates.
They offer flexible, innovative learning opportunities for students in both large urban cities and rural and isolated communities. Credentials include diplomas, certificates, bachelor degrees, post-graduate certificates, and master’s degrees.
Career-ready skills training is their focus
Career-oriented programs based on applied learning approaches that enable graduates to transition to employment quickly and effectively are the hallmark of colleges and institutes. They are leaders in providing work-integrated learning opportunities such as co-ops, apprenticeship, and internships.
Their focus on student success ensures that graduates are equipped for full participation in a rapidly changing economy.
They have strong ties to business, industry, and community
Colleges and institutes have a mandate to support the social and economic development of the communities and regions they serve. As vital community hubs, they work closely with business, industry and community partners to ensure programs respond to the current and emerging needs of the labor market.
Faculty comes from industry and each program has an advisory committee of local employers that help develop and update curricula, ensuring graduates have cutting-edge knowledge and skills to bring to market.
Partnered innovation is their research strength
Solving practical problems through applied research meets the innovation needs of business, industry and community organizations. In 2016-17, colleges and institutes reported a grand total of almost 7,300 research partnerships to develop new and improved products, processes and services.
Colleges and institutes currently host 215 research centers and over 400 labs located in every province and territory across Canada.
They foster entrepreneurship
Integrating entrepreneurship skills into curriculum and facilitating student interaction with community entrepreneurs make starting and running a business a viable career option. In 2016-17, over 22,000 students took part in entrepreneurial activities, both in and out of the classroom.
Indigenous education is a top priority
Colleges and institutes have a long-standing commitment to Indigenous learners and communities across the country. They play a key role in providing access to post-secondary education and addressing skills development needs in each community. Targeted support services for Indigenous students and learning environments that reflect Indigenous cultures make learning accessible.
Many institutions have signed CICan’s Indigenous Education Protocol which provides a framework for serving Indigenous peoples and communities.
They are leaders in environmental sustainability.
With expertise in environmental technology, sustainability, natural resources management, and energy, colleges and institutes are preparing the newest generation of clean-tech employees. In 2016-2017, CICan members reported that over 375 applied research projects used clean technology.
The institutions themselves are leaders in creating greener institutions, developing and implementing campus sustainability mechanisms, practices, and protocols.
They support immigrants and refugees to integrate into Canada
Working with immigrant settlement agencies and community partners, colleges and institutes offer targeted assessment, advising and support services, second language training, and bridge-to-employment programs that facilitate newcomer credential recognition, and integration into the labor market and Canadian society.
Post-secondary education pathways abound
Colleges and institutes play a key role for students by creating pathways across Canada’s diverse education systems. They collaborate with school boards to offer dual credit opportunities, allowing students to simultaneously complete their high school diploma and gain post-secondary credits; and, through articulation agreements in Canada and abroad, they offer students mobility and laddering opportunities.
There are thousands of these agreements among colleges, institutes and universities including dual admission agreements, block transfer arrangements and joint degree/diploma programs.
They offer global perspectives and experiences
With over 40 years of experience in more than 100 countries, college and institute expertise supports the development of competency-based training tailored to local labor markets, giving youth in developing countries access to sustainable employment.
Colleges and institutes also actively promote Canada as an educational destination of choice internationally, recruiting more international students looking for applied learning experience every year. They also train Canadian students for today’s globalized world by giving them access to international experiences and perspectives, in and out of the classroom.