Budget Recognizes Polytechnics and Colleges Contribution to Innovation and Talent

OTTAWA, March 21, 2013 /CNW/ - Polytechnics Canada is delighted with today's federal budget that recognizes the key role its member institutions play in fostering innovation, creating high-quality jobs and supporting targeted apprentice training.

"Minister Flaherty's budget directly acknowledges our part in helping small and medium-sized businesses bring new technologies, products and processes to the market place," says Nobina Robinson, Chief Executive Officer of the 11-member organization that represents some of the country's largest colleges and polytechnics. "And we commend the government's recognition of the potential of college students by, for the first time, including them in programs that had been previously restricted to university students. This creates a wider talent pool for industry to draw on."

Specifically, we are delighted with the following 2013 Budget initiatives that respond to Polytechnics Canada recommendations for boosting innovation and job creation:

  • A $12-million increase to the College and Community Innovation Program that supports applied research collaboration between colleges and industry;
  • Opening the Industrial Undergraduate Research Award Program to college students enrolled in 148 bachelor-degree programs;
  • Creating a new $20 million pilot "credit note" program to help small and medium-sized businesses commercialize their products or services more quickly; and
  • Mandating the use of apprentices in federal infrastructure projects.

"We welcome the recognition that college applied research is an important priority for Canadian innovation, especially in this time of fiscal restraint," says Anne Sado, Chair of Polytechnics Canada and President of George Brown College. "Our members will capitalize on these new opportunities and deepen our innovation contributions by producing the skilled workers that Canada needs."

Sado added: "This budget sends the clearest message yet that colleges and polytechnics are the best catalyst for job opportunity in this country. It acknowledges that investment in college-based learning brings a clear and rapid return that will help us out of our current economic malaise."

For his part, Carlos Paz-Soldan, president and CEO of Toronto-based Tenet Computer Group, praises the federal boost to innovation funding for small business. "This budget recognizes the strong link between the innovation needs of firms such as mine and the skills and talent of college and polytechnic students across the country," says Paz-Soldan.

Located in Canada's key economic regions, the 11 member colleges and institutes of Polytechnics Canada are: BCIT, SAIT Polytechnic and NAIT in Alberta, Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology in Saskatchewan, Red River College in Manitoba and, in Ontario: Conestoga, Sheridan, Humber, George Brown College, Seneca and Algonquin.

SOURCE: Polytechnics Canada

For further information:

Stephanie Muccilli
Policy Analyst
Polytechnics Canada
Tel: 613 656-1219
E-mail: smuccilli@polytechnicscanada.ca

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