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!

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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Climate change: Pragmatic solutions to a global challenge

Canada’s politicians, scientists, Indigenous leaders and youth agree we are facing a climate crisis. While there isn’t a clear consensus on what to do about it or how quickly, this is one of those rare moments when a country as diverse as Canada can rally around an objective of truly national scope. It is a cop out to say there are bigger polluters elsewhere in the world – cleaning up at home is our first and best chance to address climate change.

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Four ingredients for excellence in skilled trades training

Canada’s workforce is facing two distinct pressure points – an aging workforce and the emergence of disruptive technology.  As new technologies become pervasive, the current workforce and recent graduates alike must develop new and in-demand skills to stay relevant in the labour market.  As the pace at which Canadians are retiring also increases, the talent pipeline must become more efficient, with qualified workers ready to fill looming vacancies.  While these issues are affecting the workforce broadly, the skilled trades are facing these dual challenges faster than most.

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