OTTAWA, Feb. 13, 2013 /CNW/ - Polytechnics Canada calls on Finance
Minister Jim Flaherty to consider six no-cost to low-cost measures in
his coming federal budget to help meet the government's goals of job
creation, economic growth and long-term prosperity.
"We fully recognize the need for fiscal restraint," says Nobina
Robinson, Chief Executive Officer of Polytechnics Canada. "Our
proposals would merely reallocate existing funding or make modest new
investments to enable small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to
generate the smart, long-lasting jobs of the future, whether through
innovation or the skilled trades."
Adds Robinson: "Our recommendations are aimed at supporting innovation
for small and medium-sized businesses, as well as providing skilled
tradespeople for an economy in dire need of their talents. We believe
government innovation programs should harness the potential of research
and commercialization collaboration between colleges, polytechnics, and
SMEs. As well, Ottawa needs a smarter, more targeted approach to
solving the existing trades skills crisis."
Polytechnics Canada's six recommendations are:
Launch a pilot commercialization voucher program to allow innovative
SMEs to partner with colleges and other applied research service
providers to overcome the well-documented, private sector late-stage
Through reallocation, increase funding by $15 million for the successful
and over-subscribed College & Community Innovation Program (CCIP) so
that more SMEs—and the economy—benefit. CCIP is the only federal research granting council program that supports applied research
activity at colleges and polytechnics.
Use federal tendering criteria to create more apprenticeships. To secure
major contracts such as shipbuilding and, other infrastructure, bidders
should be required to maintain a minimum number of apprentices.
Create an alternative to Employment Insurance (income bridge loans,
micro loans, automatic savings programs) for mature Red Seal
apprentices or those in the later years of their program. This would
encourage more workers to become qualified tradespeople by offering to
them the same financial support available to other post-secondary
students. Currently, apprentices are limited to Employment Insurance,
which creates a barrier for many potential and existing apprentices.
Provide tax credits to employers when an apprentice achieves Red Seal
certification in his or her trade. Employers say they are reluctant to
release employees to finish their certification because they will then
have to pay higher wages or risk losing the apprentice to poaching from
rival firms that do not invest in apprenticeship training.
Target new Labour Market Agreement funds to increase the number of
Pre-Apprenticeship Training Programs at colleges and polytechnics. This
will increase awareness of, and facilitate new entrants into,
professions in the skilled trades. Evidence shows that individuals who take pre-apprenticeship programs have higher completion
rates and finish their training in less time than traditional
"Together, these affordable measures will boost private sector growth by
creating high quality jobs and helping industry to close the innovation
gap, while supporting the government's fiscal and economic objectives,"
Polytechnics Canada is a national alliance of Canada's 11 leading
research-intensive, publicly funded colleges and institutes of
technology. Established in 2003, its members share a common focus on
advanced technical and technological education. Members of the
association are degree-granting and industry-responsive post-secondary
education providers, committed to education, training and applied
research for industry and all Canadian employers.
In 2012 alone, Polytechnics Canada's members trained more than 40,000
apprentice students, as well as assisted some 1,200 companies with
applied research and commercialization projects, utilizing the
innovation skills of nearly 9,000 of our students.
Located in Canada's key economic regions, the member colleges and
institutes of Polytechnics Canada are: British Columbia Institute of
Technology, SAIT Polytechnic and NAIT in Alberta, Saskatchewan
Institute of Applied Science and Technology , Red River College in
Manitoba and, in Ontario: Conestoga, Sheridan, Humber, George Brown,
Seneca and Algonquin.
For more details on our six recommendations, visit www.polytechnicscanada.ca/recommendations
SOURCE: Polytechnics Canada
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