Saskatchewan Polytechnic, as part of an international network of post-secondary institutions, is signatory to the SDG Accord, a global initiative to further the United Nation (UN)’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Led by the Alliance for Sustainability Leadership in Education (EAUC) and supported by Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan), the accord is the post-secondary sector’s collective response to advance the critical role that education has in delivering 17 global targets for reducing inequality, ending poverty and hunger, improving health and education, protecting the planet, and enabling innovation and meaningful work for prosperity by 2030.

The UN’s SDGs are grouped in five thematic areas: People, Prosperity, Planet, Peace, Partnership.

Watch CICan’s video invitation to join signatories in making a bold, urgent and collective step towards sustainability.

SDG alignment with strategic goals

The SDG Accord calls upon the world’s colleges, polytechnics and universities to embed the Sustainable Development Goals into education, research, leadership, operations, administration, and engagement activities, and to align all major efforts with the Sustainable Development Goals, targets and indicators.

Increasingly, the work Sask Polytech advances as part of our institutional strategy, Leading the Rise, supports the goals outlined by the United Nations.

SDG reporting

Signatories of the accord report annually on their respective progress in the spirit of collaboration. 

Case studies

  • Goal 4: Quality education
  • Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth
  • Goal 10: Reduced inequalities
  • Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals
Project overview

The report of the study group on global education states that “Indigenous youth are among the fastest growing segment of the Canadian population, and Indigenous people’s share of the Canadian workforce is expected to double by 2036.” This presents a unique challenge to Canadian Post-secondary institutions where Indigenous students are underrepresented in international learning programs.

To overcome this challenge, Saskatchewan Polytechnic and Suncrest College (formally known as Parkland College) are working in partnership to support the international mobility for outbound Indigenous and low-income students. Project exchanges will occur in countries where Saskatchewan Polytechnic has partnership Memorandums of Understanding (China, India, Mexico, Uganda, Vietnam, Mexico, Ukraine).   

The partnership is vital to the success of the next generation of diverse learners living in Saskatchewan’s urban and rural settings, as Indigenous students comprise 19% of Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s and 38% of Suncrest College's (formally known as Parkland College) student population. Both institutions have multiple campuses which serve remote, rural, and northern areas of the province.

“Providing young Canadians with more opportunities to gain education and experience abroad will ensure they are better equipped for the jobs of tomorrow. This is part of our plan to grow the middle class and ensure more Canadians get that fair chance at success.” Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, January 2017 – November, 2019

  1. Improved language skills
  2. Experience a different style of teaching 
  3. Enhance relationship building 
  4. Experience cultural immersion
  5. Develop confidence 
  6. Enhance career development
  1. Low interest of Indigenous students in study abroad due to lack of travel experience.
  2. Study missions abroad are not relevant to students’ interests.

Other potential barriers identified by Wilfred Laurier University’s research report:

  1. Finances and personal commitments
  2. Complications of the process
  3. Racism and safety
  4. Lack of an Indigenous approach to study abroad

Given the speed at which the Indigenous youth population is growing, and Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s institutional commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls-to-Action, the institution owes a duty of care to Indigenous and low-income students, to decrease their barriers to participation in global learning experiences. Saskatchewan Polytechnic will support its partner, Suncrest College (formally known as Parkland College), by offering spaces (30) in its mobility programs and providing wrap-around supports to rural Parkland Indigenous students.

  • Goal 4: Quality education
  • Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production
  • Goal 13: Climate action
  • Goal 15: Life on land
  • Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals
Project overview

The “Soil from nothing”: The Effectiveness of Biochar in Soil Reclamation For Industry and Education project is a direct response to a request for further education on an environmental issue. An industry partner of Saskatchewan Polytechnic requested research on soil amendments to aid in soil reclamation after they experienced soil reclamation failure at one of their sites. The research tested the effectiveness of a variety of amendments and proved that treated biochar, a unique form of charcoal, encourages a healthy soil microbiology and helps soil hold onto nutrients and moisture much longer.

Since less than 0.1% of oilsands extraction sites can currently be certified as reclaimed, sharing findings has significant impacts. Prior to this project, biochar was a promising tool for soil reclamation, but its potential had not been sufficiently explored. Through a series of research trials, researchers found that biochar was especially efficient and cost-effective.

Besides its potential for soil revitalization, biochar also provides an effective mechanism for sequestering carbon. According to the International Panel on Climate Change, forests offer significant protection against climate change because of their ability to capture and convert CO2 to vegetation and soil. This protection can further be enhanced by incorporating carbon as part of the soil reclamation process. The potential for oil and gas producers to play a role in mitigating CO2 emissions is immense, because biochar is effective in terms of costs as well as soil amendment results.

This project resulted in ongoing knowledge sharing to improve the industry as a whole, along with unique research opportunities for students to create experienced, innovative employees in future soil reclamation work.


This project resulted in direct benefits for the soil reclamation industry. Our project partners not only received an answer to their question, but the research also provided ground-breaking new commercialization opportunities for cost-effective soil reclamation.

Our direct partners have taken this knowledge and provided further education to other industry members. Education has focused on providing research and accessible practical solutions to the industry’s questions about soil reclamation in boreal forest regions.

Hands-on learning opportunities extended beyond coursework for Sask Polytech students, giving them real world, employable fieldwork and data analysis skills. Planned education efforts for the next phase of the project, beginning this summer, will also include student researchers developing presentations and workshops for high school students in the region where additional research is taking place. Both levels of students will have the opportunity to learn about environmental protection careers in oilsands regions.


Research projects of this scope take time. Sask Polytech began the initial project with one partner as a 10-week research project in summer 2019. The project was continued in 2020 with a second project partner, who supplied biochar for a second phase of research.

Research funding was required to undertake both project phases. Sask Polytech project partner provided some research funds up front. Additional funding was sought and granted by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP).


Educational partnerships with industry to solve real-world problems that address sustainability yield opportunities that go beyond research. In this case, the partnership between Sask Polytech researchers and industry helped solve a specific problem related to soil reclamation. Extending the project into a second phase with an additional industry project allowed for longer-term test results and the identification of a viable solution for soil amendment that will yield benefits to both industry and the environment.

Additional project benefits include the training of students and sharing of information beyond project partners. By pairing research with unique student opportunities and industry knowledge sharing, all participants in the research are now better positioned to develop new approaches and technologies for incorporating biochar into a variety of other sustainability initiatives, whether in industry applications or in ongoing research.

Quote from research partner:

“We found that the applied research team in the Natural Resources Technology (NRT) program has a wealth of field experience, making them well equipped to ask relevant questions and enhance the rigor and application value of the trial. Overall, partnership with Saskatchewan Polytechnic and access to Hannin Creek Educational and Applied Research Centre (HCEARC) has allowed us to refine and improve our field methods, thereby improving Reclaimit’s ability to provide forest reclamation solutions that are both reliable and sustainable.” -Andrew Carpenter, Owner, and Deanna van Muyen, GIS Administrator, Reclaimit Ltd.

  • Goal 4: Quality education
  • Goal 5: Gender equality
  • Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth
  • Goal 10: Reduced inequalities
  • Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals
Project overview


Young Africa Works-Kenya: Youth Employability through TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) project is a partnership between Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICAN), the Mastercard Foundation, the Kenyan Ministry of Education, and the private sector. The project aims to build capacity in hospitality and trades programming and create opportunities for underrepresented groups, specifically women and youth at the three partner institutions in Kenya.  The project will also stimulate the Kenyan economy by supporting entrepreneurs and enterprises of various sizes to meet labour market demand.

Saskatchewan Polytechnic plays a key role in the project by building capacity through trades programming. As part of the partnership, Saskatchewan Polytechnic will work with Weru Vocational Technical College (Kilifi, Coastal Kenya) to assist in improving its Automotive and Welding programs.

A particular focus of the Young Africa Works-Kenya project includes competency-based curriculum development, pre-service and in-service training of trainers, prior learning assessment and recognition, delivery of life skills/employability curricula, and establishing work placements for trainees. The project also addresses the need for safe learning spaces to increase the participation of youth, specifically young women, in training that leads to employment. 

  1. Saskatchewan Polytechnic will impart high quality Competency-Based Education and Training (CBET) courses linked to labour market demands.
  2. Technical staff will ensure up to date curricula.
  3. Pathways created from unemployment through training to employment.
  4. Increased participative safety for all dimensions of diversity.
  1. Lack of enforcement by government and partner colleges of gender equality policies and practices.
  2. There is risk of conflicting interests from project stakeholders.

Saskatchewan Polytechnic will play a key role in creating an economically stronger, Kenya. The project will help to build capacity in trades programming and create opportunities for underrepresented groups, specifically women and youth. The project will educate 5,000 male and female learners, train 150 instructors and school administrators, and assist in the creation of and or upgrading of six programs provided by Kenyan partner colleges.

SDG news


Contact us

SDG initiatives are overseen by Sask Polytech Strategy. For more information, please contact:

Lucy Pereira
Associate vice-president