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Expansion and Renewal

Climate change strategy should include investment in colleges

Kitchener - Ontario’s public colleges are calling on the federal government to invest in expansion and renewal projects at colleges that will support Canada’s fight against climate change.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to transform our campuses and contribute to Canada’s efforts to reverse climate change,” said Conestoga President John Tibbits. “Investment in new and existing facilities will allow colleges to reduce our own carbon footprint as well as deliver the specialized education programs that will help Canada transition to a greener economy.”

According to Smart Prosperity, a new national committee charged with harnessing new thinking to accelerate Canada’s transition to a high-efficiency, low carbon economy, the global economy is moving quickly toward a new, low-pollution model built on clean innovation. Demand for clean-technology goods and services is expected to reach $2-trillion by 2020.

Addressing the challenges and opportunities of the changing economy will require a workforce with the specialized skills and knowledge required to help businesses transition to greater resource efficiency for a more prosperous and sustainable future.

“As colleges, we have an established track record of working with our government, business and community partners to create quality programming to address labour force needs,” Tibbits continued. “As our economy evolves, and the nature of work changes, colleges have an essential role to play in ensuring that individuals across our communities can achieve career success and our businesses remain competitive.”

College campuses should be a priority as Ottawa looks to invest in infrastructure renewal. In Ontario alone, public colleges serve more than 500,000 students and clients each year. Many college buildings in the province were built close to 50 years ago and require significant upgrades as the result of deferred maintenance.

Conestoga’s newest campus in Cambridge, opened in 2011, is a model for sustainable campuses. Focused on the sustainable use of energy and materials to reduce generational waste and carbon, the campus was awarded LEED silver certification by the Canada Green Building Council. The construction of the campus was made possible through an investment of $38.1 million by the Government of Canada through the Knowledge Infrastructure Program and a contribution of $34.2 million from the Government of Ontario.

The Cambridge campus is home to Conestoga’s School of Engineering and Information Technology, including such programs as Environmental – Civil Engineering Technology, Environmental Building Sciences and Environmental Engineering Applications as well as Ontario’s only college-based engineering degrees accredited by the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board. For more information, visit www.conestogac.on.ca

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