NIC hosts national forum of Canadian colleges and institutes serving rural, remote and northern communities

North Island College president John Bowman speaks to a national audience at the Colleges and Institutes Canada pre-conference forum at the Westerly Hotel in Courtenay Saturday, April 29, 2018.

Comox Valley, Monday, April 30, 2018 -- North Island College (NIC) welcomed to the Comox Valley this weekend more than 80 representatives from Canadian colleges and institutes, from 11 provinces and territories.

The Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) pre-conference forum for colleges and institutes serving rural, remote and northern communities began Friday evening with a tour of NIC Comox Valley campus. The forum ended Sunday morning as delegates moved onto the broader CICan Annual Conference that will take place the next three days in Victoria.

“Rural colleges and institutes often face similar educational challenges,” said Denise Amyot, president and CEO of CICan. “This forum gives us a chance to understand our challenges, notice our differences and share our successes.”

Keynote speaker Coro Strandberg kicked off the forum Saturday morning, with a presentation on how advanced education institutions can develop their existing relationships with communities to support social infrastructure. It continued with presentations from 18 speakers from across Canada, including from Yukon College and Aurora College in the Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia Community College and the College of the North Atlantic in Newfoundland.

“Rural and remote colleges work hard to have strong relationships with the communities they serve,” said NIC president John Bowman who hosted the forum and spoke on his learnings from a four-month consultation with communities. “When you bring us together, it showcases the collective work colleges do across the country. It was an inspiring and rewarding weekend and I’m proud North Island College was a part of it.”

The forum participants included representatives from Atlantic, Quebec, Central, Northern and Western Canada and as far away as New Zealand. Each has shared their learning on how partnerships with Indigenous, business and industry and their respective regions have changed the landscape of education for students in their communities.

The forum also included presentations from Canada’s Department of National Defence, which encouraged colleges and institutes to collaborate on research as part of its new federally funded Innovation Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) program. NIC instructors spoke on how interactive TV technology, as well as land-based learning and Kwak’wala language programs in Port Hardy and the Aboriginal Eco-tourism program provide new ways for Vancouver Island students to access education.

To learn more about the forum presentations or for more information about CICan visit

About Colleges and Institutes Canada

Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) is the voice of Canada’s publicly supported colleges, institutes, cegeps and polytechnics and an international leader in education for employment with ongoing programs in over 25 countries. CICan’s members add over $190 B to Canada’s economy each year and contribute to inclusive economic growth by working with industry and community partners to offer more than 10,000 programs to learners in urban, rural, remote and northern communities.

Media Contacts

North Island College
Christiana Wiens
Media Liaison,
O. 250-334-5280 | M. 250-218-4097

 Colleges and Institutes Canada
Julien Abord-Babin
Senior Strategic Communications Officer
T. 613-746-2222 ext. 3131
Twitter : @CollegeCan 

Media Contact
Christiana Wiens
Director, Public Affairs & Communications, North Island College
O: 250-334-5280 | C: 250-207-6946