Federal budget signals strong support and investment in skills and innovation

March 23, 2017 – The 2017 federal budget contains important announcements that will help Canada’s polytechnics and colleges expand their contributions to industry, employers, and learners of all ages. The budget’s strong focus on skills and innovation creates an opportunity to harness the strengths polytechnics possess across these priorities.

Saskatchewan Polytechnic, along with Polytechnics Canada, is delighted to see new investment in the budget for the extension of the Community and College Social Innovation Fund (CCSIF). “Polytechnics Canada was the principal proponent of the CCSIF, administered by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, when it was created as a pilot in 2014. The announcement of new funds for CCSIF is welcome news for polytechnics students, faculty and partner social organizations,” said Nobina Robinson, CEO of Polytechnics Canada.

Saskatchewan Polytechnic welcomes government leadership on the review and consolidation of innovation programs through the creation of Innovation Canada. Significant investments in skills training through increased funding for innovation internships and the expanded Labour Market Development Agreements will support lifelong learning for a wide range of the learners we serve: post-secondary age students, mature students and adult workers.

“Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s applied research and learning priorities align with the federal government’s focus on talent and innovation,” says Dr. Larry Rosia, Sask Polytech president and CEO. “Many of the federal government’s supercluster themes align closely with our programming including advanced manufacturing, agri-food and digital industries. Our institution is also a strong advocate for work-integrated learning and the benefits it provides to both students and employers. About 75 per cent of our programs offer a work-integrated learning component.”

As a member of Polytechnics Canada, we believe the new Innovative Solutions Canada program will enable more firms to use our technical and technological capability and experience to solve the government’s own R&D and innovation challenges.

“This is a triple win: for innovative companies, for new R&D collaborations, and for government itself, something that has been long hoped for,” said Mrs. Robinson.

Budget 2017 presents additional positive opportunities for the members of Polytechnics Canada by:

  • Encouraging participation of post-secondary institutions in the emerging supercluster innovation initiative;
  • Supporting applied research and programing in clean and green technology;
  • Making Canada Student Loans and Grants more accessible to all learners; and,
  • Expanding the Youth Employment Strategy to help our students transition to the workforce.

Located in Canada’s key economic regions, the 12 members of Polytechnics Canada are: British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU), Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), SAIT, Saskatchewan Polytechnic, Red River College, Conestoga, Sheridan, Humber, George Brown, Seneca, and Algonquin Colleges.

Saskatchewan Polytechnic serves 28,000 distinct students through applied learning opportunities at campuses in Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, Regina and Saskatoon, and through extensive distance education opportunities. Programs serve every economic and public service sector. As a polytechnic, the organization provides the depth of learning appropriate to employer and student need, including certificate, diploma and degree programs, and apprenticeship training. Saskatchewan Polytechnic engages in applied research, drawing on faculty expertise to support innovation by employers, and providing students the opportunity to develop critical thinking skills.