Canadian colleges collaborating on cannabis

EDMONTON – Five Canadian colleges and a national advocacy body have formed the Canadian College Consortium for Cannabis, an entity that will serve as a first-of-a-kind in the post-secondary sector.  

NorQuest College, along with Niagara, Durham, and Okanagan colleges, and Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick (CCNB) have been tapped as founding members. A sixth seat will go to Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan).

Cannabis is a rapidly growing industry. Creating this consortium is a great example of how post-secondary institutions from across Canada can join forces and leverage coordinated efforts to solve problems and drive education and innovation in the economy,” says Marian Gayed, Vice President of Business Development at NorQuest, Edmonton’s community college. 

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) has been signed by all partners.

“The consortium MOU will allow us to advance and action four key areas of focus,” says Brad Arkison, Director of Continuing Education and Partner Solutions at NorQuest College. “We will generate a cohesive picture of the cannabis market, develop workforce relevant courses and programs, establish a cluster of subject matter experts, and pursue shared funding for applied research.” 

NorQuest, which also receives input from its Western Canadian Cannabis Industry Program Advisory Committee, currently offers an online trimming and production course with practical hands-on experiential learning. The other consortium members are also well-position to serve as subject matter experts. Each college has cannabis-related programming, industry partnerships, and advisory committees to identify a need and professionalize the training and education available to employers and learners. 

In June of this year, Canada’s first-class in commercial cannabis production graduated from Niagara, while Okanagan, Durham, and CCNB all have cannabis-related courses ranging from cannabis cultivation to pest management for cannabis production and medical cannabis fundamentals for business professionals. 

It expects that the consortium will grow in size as more colleges enter the world of cannabis programming.

About NorQuest College: 

NorQuest College is Edmonton’s community college serving 18,381 students annually throughout the province with full-time, part-time, online, and face-to-face learning options. NorQuest helps learners with diverse educational backgrounds complete or further their studies through foundational programs. Our post-secondary diploma and certificate programs and continuing education options offer rewarding career paths in health, community studies, business, environment, technology, hospitality, firefighting, and diversity and inclusion training. Our suite of customized and corporate training options ensure organizations and their workforces are preparing for the demands of the future. By collaborating with business, industry, government, and communities, we ensure our learners receive workforce relevant, inclusive, and transformative educational experiences.