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Backgrounder - April 16, 2014

The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada joins the University of Calgary in mourning the tragic loss of five young people in Calgary yesterday. On behalf of universities across the country, AUCC extends its condolences to the family members of those who lost their lives, as well as to University of Calgary students, faculty and staff.

- April 10, 2014

The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada expresses its profound condolences to the family of Jim Flaherty.

Mr. Flaherty devoted 20 years of his life to serving Canadians, as one of Canada’s longest- serving Ministers of Finance and beforehand in Ontario. Mr. Flaherty was steadfast in his work to protect and secure Canada’s long-term economic prosperity and to better position Canada globally.

“Mr. Flaherty was a champion for higher education and research throughout his years as Minister of Finance,” said Paul Davidson, president of AUCC. “We will remember him for the legacy he has built for innovation in Canada and in particular for the Canada First Research Excellence Fund.

In addition to his substantive contributions, “Mr. Flaherty took particular delight in sharing his engagement and enthusiasm for public service when speaking to university classes across the country and inspired many young people to consider pursuing public office,” said Mr. Davidson.

Media release - April 10, 2014

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo at AUCC’s spring membership meeting, April 8, 2014.

AFN National Chief, Shawn A-in-chut Atleo and industry leader Paul Soubry address gathering

WINNIPEG – The heads of Canada’s universities met this week in Winnipeg to reflect on how best to ensure graduates’ readiness for an increasingly complex and dynamic world. Under the theme “The New West, the New Canada,” nearly 60 university presidents participated in the spring membership meeting of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, April 8-9.

Presidents discussed how universities and their graduates can contribute to a diverse, integrated and globally-connected Canada.

As part of an ongoing strategic partnership between Canada’s universities and the Assembly of First Nations to improve Aboriginal access to higher education, AFN’s National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo delivered a milestone keynote address. Speaking to university presidents on April 8, Chief Atleo emphasized the collaboration between universities and First Nations communities, and applauded universities’ increasing efforts to enhance access and support success for Aboriginal students.

“AUCC is an important partner for the AFN and First Nations in creating the kind of change that will increase the success of First Nations students,” said Chief Atleo. “University presidents play a central role in generating the greater understanding and action required for reconciliation among Indigenous peoples and all Canadians. I am honoured to be part of this gathering and look forward to continuing our dialogue about key issues that matter to our people and how we can address these together in full partnership.”

A champion of the power of education in building brighter futures for Aboriginal people, Chief Atleo is chancellor of Vancouver Island University and in February reached a landmark agreement with the federal government to transform the K-12 on-reserve education system.

“Education is incredibly transformative for individuals’ lives and it has the power to sustain entire communities and cultures,” said David Barnard, president of the University of Manitoba and chair of AUCC. “As university presidents, we can help ensure that all Indigenous students achieve educational success and realize their goals. We have both a moral and an economic imperative to do so.”

New Flyer President and CEO Paul Soubry

New Flyer President and CEO Paul Soubry at AUCC’s spring membership meeting, April 9, 2014.

The role of universities in preparing students for Canada’s changing economy was also the focus of a talk by Paul Soubry, president and CEO of New Flyer, North America’s largest bus manufacturer and parts-supply company. A Winnipeg industry and community leader, Mr. Soubry shared his thoughts on what skills Canada’s employers need and the role of universities in driving Canadian and global innovation.

“About half of today’s undergraduates have a co-op or internship experience and I can tell you as an employer, that is absolutely fantastic,” he said. “I urge you to go from half to all students having some kind of “game” experience before we put them out looking for jobs.”

The membership meeting was an opportunity for Canada’s university presidents to build upon recent collective achievements, most notably the exceptional federal government investments in university research announced in Budget 2014.

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

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Media Contacts:

Helen Murphy
Assistant Director of Communications
hmurphy@aucc.ca
613 563-3961 ext. 238 or cell: 613 608-8749

Nadine Robitaille
Communications Officer
nrobitaille@aucc.ca
613 563-3961 ext. 306 or cell: 613 884-8401

Media release - April 8, 2014

Media Advisory

WINNIPEG – Canada’s university presidents will hear from Paul Soubry, president and CEO of New Flyer, North America’s largest bus manufacturer and parts-supply company, tomorrow about equipping university students for success in an increasingly complex and dynamic labour market and a changing Canada.

Mr. Soubry is delivering a luncheon keynote address at the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada’s membership meeting in Winnipeg. He will also highlight the advanced skills Canadian employers need from graduates for today’s workforce, the importance of partnerships between universities and the private sector, and the role of universities in driving Canadian and global innovation.

Members of the media are invited to attend Mr. Soubry’s address. A question and answer session will follow.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014
12:15 – 1:30 pm,
Fort Garry Hotel, 222 Broadway, Winnipeg

Please confirm your attendance by contacting:

Helen Murphy
Assistant Director of Communications
hmurphy@aucc.ca
613 563-3961 ext. 238 
or cell: 613 608-8749

Nadine Robitaille
Communications Officer
nrobitaille@aucc.ca
613 563-3961 ext. 306 
or cell: 613 884-8401

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

The New Flyer group of companies employ over 3,000 team members with manufacturing, fabrication, parts distribution and service centers in both Canada and the United States.

Commentary - March 31, 2014

This op-ed was published in Hill Times March 31, 2014

These connections from our post-secondary institutions to the external communities they serve are of enormous direct benefit to all Canadians.

This year, more students than ever before are studying at colleges and universities in Canada. That’s because our students and their families know that a post-secondary education offers amazing benefits. 

Those with a post-secondary education are generally healthier, happier, live longer, are more likely to land a job, more likely to keep a job and their salaries are higher than those without such an education. 

Although the media do sometimes focus on the difficulties some recent graduates have experienced in acquiring that first meaningful job, the facts associated with “staying in school” have never had more force.  

For example, over the course of their lifetime, the average university graduate earns about $1.4-million more than those with only high school diplomas, and there has been strong job growth for such graduates in spite of the economic downturn. Between 2008 and 2013, more than 800,000 new jobs were created for university graduates, while 540,000 jobs disappeared for those with no post-secondary education.

But the benefits offered to students by Canada’s colleges and universities aren’t just personal—they extend to Canadian society as a whole. 

Far from being detached from the daily economic hopes and dreams of Canadians, our colleges and universities play an irreplaceable two-pronged role as major economic drivers. They provide graduates with the skills needed to meet Canada’s employment needs, while also partnering with industry to bring fresh ideas to the marketplace faster, thus improving Canada’s competitive position in the global economy. 

This success is often the result of leveraging public-private partnerships that are creating brighter futures for traditional industries. I see this first-hand every day. 

In New Brunswick, where the forest products industry is the largest contributor to provincial GDP, new university-industry collaborations to develop more sustainable forestry practices promise a substantial economic boost. For example, UNB researchers have combined GPS and other technologies to more precisely map forest water tables. This not only allows J.D. Irving (and other North American companies that have since adopted these techniques) to put roads in places that lessen their ecological footprint, but more detailed knowledge of soil moisture also boosts the bottom line. We have seen increases in tree production leading to lower product prices and increased competitiveness. 

It’s important to acknowledge that these advances on the problems of today are anchored in the curiosity-based research of the past, just as future social and economic advances will depend on the new discoveries we make today.

The substantial and exceptional investments in university research announced in Budget 2014—the newly-established Canada First Research Excellence Fund, coupled with the largest support for the country’s research granting councils in nearly a decade—underscore the importance of knowledge and innovation for Canada.  

Thousands of college, university, public- and private-sector partnerships are at the heart of social and economic advances across the country. This culture of innovation increasingly permeates our postsecondary institutions helping boost Canada’s economy.

Our students are very much involved. They’re solving immediate challenges. And in the process developing in-demand workplace skills—all while using the advanced technologies we have on hand for this purpose.

At Canada’s colleges and universities, this emphasis on integrating real-world research and discovery into our education drives everything from the development of evidence-based public policy to its analogue, the commercialization of our research. The thorny problems of the world today demand collaboration from different disciplines.    

Our students are not only doing research, they’re developing the problem-solving, analytical, project management and communication skills today’s employers want.  And increasingly, Canadian students are gaining this experience outside of the classroom in hands-on learning experiences. 

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. Ask anyone involved in such a program and you’ll hear that it’s a huge boon to students and employers. Students start building their professional network, bridging their classroom knowledge to its everyday applications, while employers gain fresh ideas and the perspectives that point the way to new solutions, opportunities and markets—not to mention a close look at potential employees.

These connections from our post-secondary institutions to the external communities they serve are of enormous direct benefit to all Canadians. 

Today’s students are making significant investments in their own futures. It’s an investment that Canadians and public and private-sector decision-makers need to support and leverage, in the interest of the social and economic future of the country.

Eddy Campbell is president of the University of New Brunswick.


( Total - 220 )