OTTAWA, Feb. 22, 2012 /CNW/ - Canada's leading colleges, institutes of
technology and polytechnics call for concerted action in the upcoming
federal budget to improve industry innovation, increase apprenticeship
completion and stimulate entrepreneurship.
Business-responsive colleges and polytechnics are training students to
help solve industry-identified problems in real time. With more public
support and minimal investments, these institutions could do even more
to close Canada's widening innovation gap with our international
Currently, the federal focus on the knowledge economy is concentrated
excessively on the need for more people with more advanced degrees
(Masters and Doctorates). Polytechnics Canada advocates for a more
inclusive vision of the talent needed for innovation, one that
harnesses the vast skills range of all Canadian learners: college
students, existing workers, skilled newcomers and apprentices, in
addition to university graduates. The diversity of the Canadian higher
education sector needs to be better recognized by employers, parents
and, indeed, all levels of government.
"The federal government has begun to recognize the positive
contributions of polytechnics and colleges for wealth creation for
Canada's many small and mid-sized firms with recent budget
announcements that have created some opportunity for industry-college
collaboration," said Nobina Robinson, CEO of Polytechnics Canada. "The
coming budget can do more to address the innovation gap, while also
giving industry the talent it needs to succeed," she said.
Specifically, the only federal granting program that supports college
applied research, the College Community Innovation Program, cannot meet
the current demand from industry for such collaboration without the
injection of modest new funds.
Further, at no additional cost, the Government should end the
university-only restriction on undergraduate industrial research
awards, opening up eligibility to college undergraduates studying in
more than 140 Bachelors Degrees in areas such as applied technology and
Realigning existing R&D direct support programs for firms to include a
new commercialization voucher program would enable companies to choose
more colleges and polytechnics as applied research service providers to
assist with their near to market commercialization needs.
Polytechnics Canada has also proposed ways in which to harness the
talents and experience of underemployed foreign trained professionals
living in Canada by linking them to the applied research activity that
colleges and polytechnics undertake for Canadian industry.
Students of the skilled trades should be treated as integral to Canada's
knowledge economy and the talent needs of Canadian industry.
Polytechnics Canada calls on the federal government to end the
discrimination that punishes apprenticeship students who, alone among
post-secondary students, must declare any grants as taxable income.
That, in turn, will improve the shockingly low completion rates for
tradespeople and more immediately address the calls for workers from
sectors such as shipbuilding, forestry, mining, construction and
Our recommendations will have an immediate positive impact on the
Government's objective of supporting a more highly skilled, adaptable
and inclusive workforce through Smart Spending for Smart Jobs.
Located in Canada's key economic regions, the current Polytechnics
Canada members are: British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT),
SAIT Polytechnic, NAIT, Conestoga, Sheridan, Humber, George Brown,
Seneca and Algonquin.
Please see our website for other recommendations to the Federal
SOURCE Polytechnics Canada
For further information:
Director of Policy