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Media release - March 24, 2015

Paul Davidson, President of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

Leveraging university resources for better business

Uncertain economic times.
Growing demand for sophisticated skills and new knowledge.
An increasingly competitive global marketplace.

Today’s businesses must be nimble, responsive and visionary in the face of emerging challenges. Partnering with universities helps companies and communities gain this competitive advantage.

Join Paul Davidson, president of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, as he looks at universities’ role in providing the skills, new knowledge and innovation Canada needs to compete, open up new markets and get fresh ideas to market faster.

Mr. Davidson will take you behind the scenes of today’s universities and illustrate how higher education is building prosperity through research, innovation and experiential learning.  He’ll talk about the many ways universities provide young Canadians with the workforce experience, entrepreneurial skills and international and intercultural opportunities employers want and Canada needs. Learn how to harness the potential of universities to make Canada’s businesses, communities and regions stronger.

Thursday April 16, 2015
7:45 am Registration and Continental Breakfast
8:15 am Keynote address

London Chamber of Commerce Meeting Centre
101-244 Pall Mall Street, London ON

Cost: $25 + HST for Chamber Members ($35 + HST for guests)

For more information on programming and tickets, please go to the London Chamber of Commerce website.

Commentary - March 6, 2015

The following commentary was published in the Saint John Telegraph-Journal  on March 6, 2015

By Peter Halpin, executive-director of the Association of Atlantic ‍Universities 

We are dismayed by the profoundly negative nature of recent editorial comments concerning the province’s ‍university sector in the Telegraph-Journal and Moncton Times & Transcript. While the ‍university sector is not above constructive criticism, the almost hostile tone of the newspapers’ opinions bring to mind a comment attributed to British author Oscar Wilde, who mused that “A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing”.

Written in response to recent enrolment trends data released by the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission (MPHEC), both editorials badly under-estimate the hard work undertaken by the province’s ‍university leaders to tackle, in partnership with others, the significant challenges confronting New Brunswick. To suggest that ‍universities have been oblivious to New Brunswick’s population challenge, particularly among the university-age cohort, is simply inaccurate.

Encouraging young people from all corners of the province (14,153), across the country (4,277) and from around the world (2,793) to pursue a ‍univer‍‍sity education in New Brunswick has been a longstanding, top priority. Despite a recent slippage in enrolments, New Brunswick’s ‍university participation rate (29 percent) ranks fourth in Canada – three percent higher than the national average.

The notion that ‍university leaders are somehow insensitive to the growing cost of post-secondary education and its growing burden on students and their families is simply wrong. New Brunswick’s ‍universities expend considerable time and effort on attracting funding from sources outside government to provide millions of dollars in student scholarships and bursaries (80 percent of which is attracted from outside of the province) and on-campus employment. It is also noteworthy that 41 percent of all students who earn a bachelor’s degree do not have any debt at all, while one-third of those with debt owe less than $12,000.

New Brunswick’s ‍universities are talent magnets that annually produce nearly 5,000 credentialed graduates who become the province’s future community, business, government and political leaders, professionals and entrepreneurs who reside and start families in communities across the province. More than half of New Brunswick’s recently elected MLAs are graduates of the province’s ‍universities, including Premier Brian Gallant and many members of the Executive Council.

‍Universities are powerful economic engines, employing more than 4,000 New Brunswickers in high-quality jobs and purchasing millions of dollars in products and services from local businesses.

The province’s ‍universities lead innovation in New Brunswick, performing more than half of the province’s R&D ($135 million annually), $84 million of which is funded from outside the province.

New Brunswick’s ‍universities play a vital role in improving standards of living; creating the right environment for a thriving arts and culture sector as well as the recreation, fitness and athletic facilities vital to active and healthy lifestyles – essential to improving health and wellness outcomes. Not to mention the important role they play in providing highly supportive environments in which young people grow into adulthood.

‍Universities are publicly engaged, playing an important role in helping build civil society. Students, faculty and staff are active volunteers in their local communities, actively supporting many charitable and community service organizations.

In short, New Brunswick benefits from having four, strong, publicly engaged ‍universities in the province.


PETER HALPIN is executive-director of the Association of Atlantic ‍Universities

Commentary - March 2, 2015

 This letter was submitted to the Saint John Telegraph Journal in response to the Editorial “Universities need complete refocus” published on February 25, 2015

By Paul Davidson
President, Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

As highlighted in your Feb. 24 editorial, sharp demographic and economic shifts require changes in postsecondary education.

In every recession we see shifts in employment outcomes for graduates that rebound as conditions improve. But even recent graduates coming out of a degree program in the midst of the economic downturn are faring very well in the labour market today. Statistics Canada’s 2013 National Graduate Survey reveals that just three years after completion well over 90% of bachelor’s graduates are employed – and almost 85% in full-time jobs. Their average income is some $53,000 – effectively at the outset of their careers. The unemployment rate for these recent graduates was just 5%.

Today’s university experience responds to demographic and economic changes through innovation and collaboration. It’s rich with hands-on learning, community partnerships, global experiences and research opportunities. Half of all Canadian university students across all disciplines now complete at least one co-op experience, practicum, and internship or field placement by the time they graduate.

In regions with declining populations and significant economic challenges, education and innovation are key to fueling prosperity. This is what New Brunswick’s universities do.

Media release - March 2, 2015

OTTAWA – Canada’s universities, the Rideau Hall Foundation and Canada’s community foundation network are pleased to announce that more than 1,900 scholarships for university students will be funded through the new Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarships. With initial investments of more than $40 million, including $10 million from the Government of Canada, this initiative will build a dynamic community of young global leaders in Canada and throughout the Commonwealth over the next four years.

Jointly announced in June 2014, by Governor General David Johnston, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, the Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarships will help develop the next generation of innovative leaders and community builders, both locally and globally. Canadian students at the undergraduate and graduate levels will participate in internships or academic study for periods of three months to one year in another Commonwealth country. Scholarships will also be available to students from Commonwealth countries to attend a Canadian university for masters or doctoral studies. The Scholarships form part of university-designed projects that address pressing local, national and global issues. Some examples of these projects include:

  • Innovative Solutions for Developing and Managing Climate Resilient Transport Infrastructure in South Asia Region: A Lifecycle Thinking Approach, University of British Columbia
  • Integrating Innovative Research and Training Methods for Improved Sustainable Livelihoods of Smallholder Dairy Farms, University of Prince Edward Island
  • Building Resilience in Coastal Communities, Vancouver Island University
  • Quantitative biology and Medical Genetics for the world, McGill University
  • The Mining Life Cycle; Discovery, Development, Remediation, Social License and the Environment, Laurentian University
  • Formation scientifique d’étudiants indiens pour la recherche en énergie durable et en sciences biomédicales, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières

The Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarships program is a joint initiative of the Rideau Hall Foundation, Community Foundations of Canada and the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. It was created through unique contributions from the Government of Canada, provincial governments, the private sector and individuals worldwide.


“We deeply appreciate each supporter who, through their tremendous generosity, will assist Queen Elizabeth Scholars as they engage with communities across the Commonwealth and create projects and actions that impact the world,” says Ian Bird, president of Community Foundations of Canada and Executive Director of the Rideau Hall Foundation. “The program’s focus on community collaboration has also created an incredible opportunity for community foundations to partner and share our philanthropic expertise with local universities.”

“The Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarships will provide students with transformative international study and research experiences,” says Paul Davidson, president of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. “By sending young Canadians overseas to study and bringing international students to our campuses, this visionary program will help build economic, diplomatic and cultural ties that benefit all Canadians.”

Key facts:

  • Students selected for the scholarships will be named “Queen Elizabeth Scholars.”
  • Through the first wave of this initiative, 34 Canadian universities will manage projects that will offer scholarship opportunities to more than 1,900 university students in the Commonwealth; 46 Commonwealth countries will be involved in this wave.
  • Successful universities were selected by an independent committee comprised of representatives from Canadian and Commonwealth academic organizations, private sector companies and non-governmental organizations.

For additional details including donors to the program and participating universities please visit and the  winning proposals.


Rideau Hall Foundation Logo

Community Foundations of Canada logo


For more information:

Helen Murphy
Assistant Director of Communications
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
613-563-3961 ext. 238 or cell: 613-608-8749

David Venn
Communications Manager
Community Foundation of Canada
613-236-2664 ext. 302 or cell: 613-266-6917

AUCC is the voice of Canada’s universities at home and abroad, representing the interests of 97 public and private not-for-profit universities and university degree-level colleges.

Community Foundations of Canada is the national network for Canada’s 191 community foundations, which help Canadians invest in building strong and resilient places to live, work and play.

Commentary - February 27, 2015

This letter was published in the Moncton Times & Transcript in response  to the editorial “Too many N.B. ‍universities, not enough young people” published on February 25, 2015

By Paul Davidson
President, Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

Yesterday’s editorial highlights the need for universities to be responsive to demographic and economic changes, and to innovate.

Students today demand choice and New Brunswick’s universities offer tremendous diversity and quality across the disciplines. In focus, languages, geography and size, they offer the choice in programs and experiences that allow students to find their best pathway to a rewarding career – be they from New Brunswick or New Delhi.

In every recession we see shifts as higher education responds to economic changes. The downturn that took hold in 2008 is no exception. Students are also responsive to change, gravitating to disciplines in higher demand. And in all fields, today’s undergraduate experience is more research-intensive, global and experiential than ever. Half of all Canadian university students across all disciplines now complete at least one co-op experience, practicum, and internship or field placement by the time they graduate.

While the population of youth 18 to 21 is projected to decline by a little more than 10 percent in the region between 2015 and 2022, it stabilizes after that point. Small increases in participation rates and attracting more international student and greater interprovincial mobility can erase the impact of that decline. And as we have seen in provinces like Saskatchewan, projected population declines can themselves be reversed if the economy grows.

New Brunswick’s universities today are hubs of innovation, increasingly connecting with partners in the private sector to help companies grow and give students hands-on experiences. They’re working with industry and other partners to develop more sustainable forestry practices, advance research on aging, and learn how ocean ecosystems relate to climate change.

In the face of sharp demographic and economic changes, innovation is vital if our communities are to rebound and thrive. And universities are at the heart of innovation.

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