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Introducing Colleges & Institutes Canada

Who is CICan?

We are the national and international voice of Canada’s largest post-secondary education network. Our work positions colleges and institutes as solutions providers for Canada’s economic, environmental, and societal challenges. 

Our members are Canada’s colleges, institutes, CEGEPs, and polytechnics. They provide lifelong, skills-based learning and training opportunities. With a presence in virtually every community in Canada, we are ideally positioned to identify, understand, and respond to local and national economic challenges. Working with governments, industries, and community leaders, we futureproof Canada’s workforce.

Around the world, one of our core areas of expertise is leading global workforce development, with a particular emphasis on supporting women and marginalized communities. We are currently active in over 30 countries, partnering with governments and the private sector to drive innovation, upskill and reskill workforces, and champion the shift to a green economy for progress and prosperity. 

To date, CICan has designed and implemented over 800 international cooperation projects using the expertise of our members to develop the workforce for key economic sectors across 105 countries, including 8 out of 10 ASEAN member countries. 

To celebrate the success of our early engagements in the region, in 2015, we co-published a book with the Asian Development Bank titled, “The Role of Community Colleges in Skills Development: Lessons from the Canadian Experience in Developing Asia". This publication aims to share the Canadian approach to skills development and its success, offering valuable insights for policy development in Asian emerging economies. 

What does that mean for the Canada-ASEAN Business Council and its members?

As outlined in its 10-year Indo-Pacific Strategy, Canada has ambitious goals to pursue new partnerships – and strengthen its existing partnerships – in the Indo-Pacific region. As the national and international voice of Canada’s colleges and institutes, CICan can leverage its network of 138 colleges and institutes to make a significant impact in supporting the workforce development needs of CABC’s over 80 private sector members. This opportunity allows CICan to become the preferred partner for workforce development, elevating its members as leading partners and service providers in the region.

How can we work together?

Like elsewhere, the nature of work in Canada has undergone a huge shift since the pandemic. What workers want and what employers need is very different from just two years ago. Now, workers and learners expect to be future-proofed, meaning they are ready for any challenge that could arise in six months, a year, 10 years, or 20 years. For CICan and our members creating market-oriented workforce training programs,  upskilling and reskilling thinkers and doers is a core priority.

Across a variety of industries, including health, agriculture, manufacturing, and ICT/telecoms, to name a few,  colleges and institutes partner directly with industry to solve their workforce needs. For example, Centennial College is currently delivering a customized avionics training program to the Mexican State of Guanajuato, introducing youngsters to the fundamentals of aircraft systems in an intercultural environment. 

Similarly, Algonquin College and Hydro Ottawa are partnering on the Powerline Technician Diploma Program. While Algonquin College’s experienced instructors deliver academic components of the curriculum, Hydro Ottawa employees provide practical instruction at their facilities that help students learn the trade by doing it with their own hands. In cases like these, colleges and institutes are responding directly to the real needs of employers. 

CICan’s strength is its members. A large part of what we do at CICan is bringing the knowledge and technical expertise of our colleges and institutes to support workforce development while ensuring accessibility for all, especially marginalized individuals like rural populations, Indigenous people, and women. 

In considering how CICan can collaborate with CABC's members and partners, we prioritize building strong interpersonal relationships as a cornerstone for deeper engagement. Currently, CICan is actively crafting a Partnership Development Strategy for the Indo-Pacific region.

CICan and its members are ready to share their knowledge and expertise, offering practical and adaptable pathways for learners and workers from various backgrounds, including those in urban, rural, and remote communities. We aim to help individuals develop and maintain the skills necessary to thrive and adapt to evolving industries. Additionally, we are eager to leverage our research and development capabilities to address real-world challenges identified by industry and community partners. Through this collaboration, we seek to support partners in developing and commercializing new products and services, thereby fostering growth and innovation.

If you are interested in learning more about CICan or exploring partnership opportunities, please reach out to Camille Khoury, Manager of Partnerships and Knowledge Development at


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