Home Page News Opinion Foreign Policy Politics Policy Legislation Lobbying Hill Life & People Hill Climbers Heard On The Hill Calendar Archives Classifieds
Hill Times Events Inside Ottawa Directory Hill Times Store Hill Times Careers The Wire Report The Lobby Monitor Parliament Now
Subscribe Free Trial Reuse & Permissions Advertising FAQ
Log In
Opinion

The federal government’s $221-million investment into innovation internships must include colleges and polytechnics

By Denise Amyot, Nobina Robinson      

There is ample evidence that Canada’s R&D workforce requires a far more diverse set of credentials, with a strong need for skilled technicians, technologists, designers, and developers capable of translating theory and ideas into tangible innovations and real outcomes.

Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains. The authors write that new graduates have been trained on the latest equipment, software, and tools and are full of new ideas and fresh approaches which can fuel innovation and make companies successful. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade
Share a story
The story link will be added automatically.

When parliamentarians return to their ridings for the summer recess, they will have many opportunities to congratulate this spring’s crop of post-secondary graduates, proud of their achievements and eager to take their place in the workforce.

Students with a credential from one of Canada’s colleges, institutes, or polytechnics—be it a diploma, a bachelor’s degree, or a graduate certificate—have plenty to offer prospective employers. Their skills have been honed in programs designed explicitly to meet industry needs and in educational settings that prioritize hands-on experience and exposure to the real-world demands of today’s jobs.

These graduates have been trained on the latest equipment, software, and tools and are full of new ideas and fresh approaches which can fuel innovation and make companies successful. The federal government’s quest for inclusive growth and building a strong middle class will be well-served by the class of 2017.

Now it’s time that parliamentarians supported this group by ensuring that students of colleges and polytechnics are not shut out of a promising federal fund set aside to further develop post-secondary graduate skills.

Measures in the most recent federal budget promise to accelerate the integration of this year’s graduates into the workforce, unleashing the innovation skills that Canada’s business community so urgently needs to remain competitive in the global economy.

The members of our associations—comprising more than 125 educational institutions located in every province and territory—especially welcomed the government’s investment of $221-million in work‑integrated learning placements for post-secondary students and graduates. These placements are to be provided through Mitacs, a not-for-profit organization offering research internships that connect students with industry.

While details are still being worked out, the 2017 Budget language appears to open the Mitacs door to college and polytechnic students and graduates for the first time. Until now, companies that wanted to access the research talent in Canada’s post-secondary institutions have been —to their frustration—restricted to university students in master’s, doctoral, and post-doctoral programs.

There is ample evidence that Canada’s R&D workforce requires a far more diverse set of credentials, with a strong need for skilled technicians, technologists, designers, and developers capable of translating theory and ideas into tangible innovations and real outcomes.

Opening Mitacs research internships to colleges and polytechnics will accelerate innovation and growth in three important ways. First, it will provide students and graduates with the chance to play a lead role in an applied research project supported by both an employer and college faculty, a form of work experience that goes well beyond what they would get in a typical entry-level position. Second, it will give companies—especially small and medium-sized enterprises—access to highly-skilled individuals who have the capacity to develop products and solutions that can be commercialized in the short-term. Finally, it will deepen the connections between industry and our colleges and polytechnics through the sharing of facilities, equipment, and expertise.

These exchanges create and strengthen the inter-personal and inter‑organizational relationships that form the bedrock of leading innovation ecosystems around the world.

Both Colleges and Institutes Canada and Polytechnics Canada have long advocated for Mitacs programming to be opened to our members, their students, and their industry partners. We congratulate the government for the inclusive signal that funding for innovation internships will be open to “postsecondary students and graduates.” The eligibility of college and polytechnic students for Mitacs is an all around “win”: for business, for our students and for the government’s inclusive talent strategy for innovation. And, above all, for Canada.

Sponsored Content

Supporting a Digital Public Sector

By Schneider Electric’s Secure Power Division - Canada

Politics This Morning

Get the latest news from The Hill Times

Politics This Morning


Your email has been added. An email has been sent to your address, please click the link inside of it to confirm your subscription.

Feds to miss 2021 target to lift remaining boil-water advisories, pledge to redouble commitment

News|By Beatrice Paez
The $1.5-billion funding boost is being framed as an assurance the government is committed, over the long term, to lifting those remaining advisories and preventing new ones from coming into effect. 

Centre Block renovation budget tops $655-million as post-holiday stonework nears

News
PSPC has settled on leaving intact the bullet holes left behind after a fatal shootout involving RCMP officers, security, and Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, who claimed allegiance to the so-called Islamic State.

NDP, Bloc push for Boeing 737 Max crash inquiry as Liberals, Conservatives block effort

‘In order to have closure, you need to have truth come out,’ says Chris Moore, who believes an inquiry is the best way to get answers about his daughter’s ‘needless’ death in the 2019 crash.

BOIE approves nearly $12-million in new annual House spending

Plus, the House administration recently published its first-ever disclosure reports, detailing a combined total of more than $9.6-million in expenses.

‘Very important’ embassy inauguration bash, which attracts influential Washington power brokers, up in the air

News|By Neil Moss
A PMO spokesperson wouldn't say if any cabinet members will be headed to Washington next January for Joe Biden's inauguration.

Vague on details, feds’ fiscal update dangles possibility of spring election, say experts

News|By Beatrice Paez
The withholding of specifics in the economic statement is part of a longer-term fiscal and electoral strategy to assure different groups the government has their back, says McGill University professor Daniel Béland.

Race to replace MP Kent as Thornhill’s Conservative on the ballot a chance to ‘bring Conservatives back into the fold,’ sign of ‘generational shift,’ say early candidates

News|By Mike Lapointe
Two names have emerged stating their intentions of running for the party’s nomination in the riding so far, including long-time Conservative staffer Melissa Lantsman as well as Progressive Conservative MPP Gila Martow.

Feds propose pumping $100-billion into economy to stimulate recovery, as deficit on track to soar to $381-billion

News|By Beatrice Paez
In the absence of a fiscal anchor, Ottawa said it intends to use 'several indicators' related to the labour market such as the employment rate, hours worked, and level of unemployment.

‘That’s a tough one’: potential prolonged delay in COVID-19 vaccines for Canadians would be politically ‘explosive’ for Trudeau Liberals, say politicos

News|By Abbas Rana
If Canadians are behind other countries in getting inoculated against COVID-19, the Liberals would not want a spring election, as speculated, since it would mean losing the government, say politicos.
Your group subscription includes premium access to Politics This Morning briefing.