There is a lot happening at Canada’s polytechnics. Our blog offers perspectives on the exciting work underway on campuses and in Ottawa. Do you have a polytechnic story to tell? Share it with us!

Getting back to sunny ways: The role of education in Canada’s new agenda

This week brought a buzz to Ottawa that was absent for most of the summer. On Wednesday afternoon, the Governor General delivered the Speech from the Throne, outlining the government’s agenda for the foreseeable future and formally opening the second session of the 43rd Parliament. A few hours later, the Prime Minister delivered a prime-time address to reiterate this plan and speak to the collective public health efforts required in the weeks and months to come. In the best of times, this would be a moment of excitement and new beginnings. But, of course, these are not those times.

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Back to school in a pandemic: A student perspective

The COVID-19 pandemic has created complex challenges across nearly every facet of society, students included. As the pandemic emerged through the spring and kept its grip into the summer, there has been no shortage of emotional and financial turbulence. In March, post-secondary students experienced the panic of packing up and storing their possessions at a moment’s notice when residences and campuses shut down. The summer has proven difficult for many financially; students who thought they had summer jobs had placements postponed or eliminated. As we look toward fall, the turbulence has yet to abate. 

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Virtual work-integrated learning: A student’s perspective

I have always understood the importance of hands-on learning. Growing up in southwestern Ontario’s Perth County – home to farmers, millwrights, nurses, plumbers and mechanics – my hockey team was organized by an electrician, an operating room nurse and a nursing home dietary manager. My parents were both healthcare professionals. What the people who worked in my neighbourhood had in common was an applied, hands-on education. A polytechnic education.

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Polytechnics key to climate agenda

Less than a year ago, thousands of protesters marched through the downtown Ottawa streets demanding climate action, while hundreds more watched through their office windows. Today, with offices empty and large gatherings restricted, the global pandemic has grabbed the headlines and our collective attention is focused elsewhere. It remains to be seen whether climate change will take a backseat to economic recovery and other urgencies of the day, as it has so many times before.

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Partnership Beyond Trade: A North American Workforce Development Agenda

Amid a flurry of activity focused on COVID-19, Canada passed legislation to implement the new North American Free Trade Agreement in mid-March. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement has now been ratified in all three countries. NAFTA was initially implemented in 1994 and has led to economic integration across the continent, with trilateral trade now worth approximately $1 trillion annually.

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Leadership through crisis – Polytechnics and COVID-19

Canada’s polytechnics are best known for deploying a just-in-time talent pipeline, solving pressing business innovation challenges and for offering agile solutions that respond to emerging needs. The COVID-19 crisis offers a case in point when it comes to community leadership, flexible problem-solving and delivering the talent Canada needs.

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Applied research: Developing the next-generation workforce

The global talent race is heating up and countries that aren’t ensuring their best and brightest have skills for the next century will be left behind.  This race is largely driven by the changing nature of work and significant advances in technology, which are expected to impact businesses and social organizations in every sector of our country.  In my previous blogs, I highlighted how applied research drives innovation activity in Canadian businesses, and how applied research is tackling some of Canada’s most pressing social challenges.  In this third blog, I highlight a lesser known but no less critical role of applied research:  building the resilient workforce of tomorrow.

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Applied research: Leveraging innovation know-how to drive business performance

In a recent report jointly written by former advisers from both the Liberal and Conservative parties, two people who might have traditionally disagreed found common ground on the action necessary to Canada’s future prosperity.  In A New North Star, Sean Speer and Robert Asselin recognize that, among other things, global competitiveness will be essential to the long-term health of the country’s economy.

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