For a productive economy, Canada needs more polytechnic innovation and skills

Two successive federal budgets have not harnessed polytechnic talent and R&D success – against the best evidence.

The higher education institutions that feed Canada’s innovation economy aren’t who you think – and are often overlooked.

In the past, there has been a hyper-concentration of funding for university basic research and discovery science.  In contrast, the entire college sector, including Canada’s leading polytechnics, is eligible for only 1.7 per cent of over $3 billion in annual federal funding for higher education research and development.  This, despite a year-over-year increase in applied research projects involving undergraduate students, new prototypes and commercialization through industry partnerships.  As well, polytechnics report a significant jump in the number of both domestic and foreign students enrolled, apprentices trained, and bachelor degrees granted.

Canada’s polytechnics have significant untapped innovation and skills development potential that is key to remedying persistent productivity and competitiveness challenges.  Investing in, and scaling the existing capabilities of polytechnics can yield valuable benefits to the Canadian economy. 

Polytechnics Canada has released six recommendations to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance, in response to the call for measures that will enhance Canada’s productivity and competitiveness, ahead of the 2018 federal budget.

Our recommendations will right-size, re-balance, and re-tool federal policies and programs for both talent and innovation.

In order to address Canada’s productivity and competitiveness challenges, Polytechnics Canada calls on the government to:

  • Grow support to polytechnic and college applied research and innovation by doubling funding for the College and Community Innovation Program.
  • Improve business access to polytechnic innovation solutions.
  • Create a regional commercialization voucher program.
  • Invest in new labour market information tools such as a Skills in-demand Survey, and a Nationally Registered Apprenticeship Number.
  • Scale federal work-integrated learning supports.
  • Invest in prior learning assessment and recognition supports for mid-career workers.

Located in Canada’s key economic regions, the 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, Fanshawe, Conestoga, Sheridan, Humber, George Brown, Seneca, and Algonquin Colleges.


For media interviews with CEO Nobina Robinson, please contact:

Frank Tersigni                                                          
Communications Coordinator
Polytechnics Canada                                                                                                                     
Tel.: 613-656-1538
Facebook: Polytechnics Canada
Twitter: @Polycan
LinkedIn: Polytechnics Canada

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