COVID-19

Durham College renews TeachingCity partnership with City of Oshawa and educational partners

On June 3, 2022, Durham College (DC) joined the City of Oshawa and fellow educational partners – Ontario Tech University, Trent University Durham GTA and the University of Toronto, Department of Civil and Mineral Engineering – for the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU), officially extending the TeachingCity partnership for another five years.

Just as many medical centres are designated “teaching hospitals,” the partnership began in 2017 with a shared goal of making Oshawa the world’s first “teaching city.” Over the last five years, the TeachingCity initiative has built momentum, establishing Oshawa as a leader in experiential learning, applied research and innovative partnerships. Focusing on specific city-identified challenge statements, students have the opportunity to participate in the courses as part of their program, to identify urban issues and collaborate and co-design possible solutions.

“In the five years since this partnership began, more than 1,000 Durham College students have received one-of-a-kind, hands-on experiences through TeachingCity that are making a difference in our community, allowing them to apply their unique skillset in a supportive, innovative and collaborative work-integrated learning environment,” said Don Lovisa, president, DC. “These opportunities are preparing our students for success now, and in the future, as they develop valuable, in-demand skills to launch meaningful careers.”

Since 2017, DC and the City of Oshawa, along with their other educational partners, have collaborated on 55 applied research projects, creating opportunities for 1,711 students and 135 post-secondary faculty to address a number of topics, including:

  • Diversity, equity and inclusion;
  • Virtual reality training and advanced navigation technology for firefighters;
  • Digital wayfinding;
  • Active transportation for an age-friendly community;
  • Engaging local youth;
  • Supporting local culture and business;
  • Storm water management ponds;
  • Optimizing City operations routes; and
  • Corporate energy management planning.

In May 2018, the partners celebrated the first year of TeachingCity with the opening of the TeachingCity Hub in downtown Oshawa, a dedicated space for students and employees to facilitate projects with education and research partners.

Learn more about the TeachingCity Initiative online.


Durham College’s Centre for Cybersecurity Innovation wins global recognition at the 2022 WFCP World Congress

Earlier this year, Durham College’s (DC) Centre for Cybersecurity Innovation was recognized at the 2022 World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics (WFCP) World Congress as a finalist in the Cyber and Data Security category. On June 17, after competing against institutions and individuals from countries around the world, the Centre won bronze, signifying the college’s ongoing commitment to showcasing best practices in applied research and cybersecurity at an international level.

“Considering the Centre for Cybersecurity Innovation is only two years old, our success at the 2022 WFCP World Congress speaks volumes to how quickly we’ve grown and how much we’ve accomplished in so little time,” says Debbie McKee Demczyk, dean, Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ORSIE). “With the help of our expert faculty and researchers, DC is leading the way in cybersecurity innovation, and it is an honour to have that effort rewarded on a global stage among our esteemed peers.”

Launched in 2020, the Centre was created to address the increasing risks posed by cyber threats. This collaborative effort brings together current and aspiring cybersecurity professionals to develop innovative solutions that protect the business assets of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The work completed there focuses on compliance testing tools, data security and privacy impact assessments, incident response templates, cyber threats, social engineering, and more.

“The Centre is relatively young, but we’ve already built strong relationships with key industry players and are hosting and speaking at cyber forums and conferences at an enterprise level,” says Ali Hirji, manager, Emerging Technologies. “Our success at the WFCP World Congress can be attributed to the team’s proven commitment to and investment in the future of the cyber and data security industry.”

Since opening, the Centre for Cybersecurity Innovation has worked with 15 industry partners to develop prototypes and cyber solutions and hosted 30 events to generate awareness and enhance skills in cybersecurity. Furthermore, the research centre has provided diverse experiential learning opportunities for students by connecting them with real clients to devise effective, efficient and sustainable solutions.

Having received over $3.5 million in funding, the Centre anticipates exponential growth in the next five years, leading to further learning opportunities for students and advanced solutions to counter SME cyber threats.

DC would like to congratulate the Centre for Cybersecurity Innovation on the prestigious win and thank the team for their ongoing display of leadership in the field of cybersecurity.


Roger Anderson’s legacy lives on with Regional Chair’s Classic

On June 9, 200 golfers took to the links for the 24th Regional Chair’s Classic, in memory of Roger Anderson. Hosted in person for the first time since the pandemic began, the tournament took place at Durham Region’s Deer Creek Golf and Country Club.

This year’s event raised $290,000 for students in financial need at Durham College and Ontario Tech University. Funds will also go towards youth programs at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences. Thanks to the generosity of participants and supporters, the event has raised over $7.2 million since the Classic first began.

“I can think of no better way to honour Roger Anderson’s memory than by coming together as a community for a day of camaraderie and fun, while also raising money for our students in need and for Ontario Shores Centre’s invaluable youth programs,” says Regional Chair John Henry. “This year’s tournament was a wonderful demonstration of the good we can achieve when the community rallies together to help make education and mental health programs accessible to all.”

Don Lovisa, president, Durham College; Karim Mamdani, president and CEO, Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences; and Steven Murphy, president and vice-chancellor, Ontario Tech University were in attendance for the evening’s cheque presentation to offer their gratitude on behalf of their respective institutions.


Experienced senior leaders assume chair and vice-chair of Durham College Board of Governors

The Durham College (DC) Board of Governors (Board) is proud to announce Gary Rose as the new Board chair and Dr. Gail Johnson Morris as vice-chair, effective July 1, 2022.

As chair of the Board, Gary Rose brings over 30 years of experience in Finance and Nuclear Project Management. Currently serving as the vice-president of the New Nuclear Growth team at Ontario Power Generation (OPG), Gary works nationally and internationally to support nuclear as part of the solution to achieve net-zero climate goals by 2050. As a devoted leader in the Durham Region community, Gary spent eight years as a trustee on the Whitby Public Library Board. During this tenure with the Whitby Public Library Board, Gary served on all committees and held the position of vice-chair and chair of the Board. Gary is also a Chartered Professional Accountant and holds a Bachelor of Commerce (BComm) from Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University) and a Project Management Professional certification. Gary also has the ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors. Gary first joined the DC Board in 2017.

As Board vice-chair, Dr. Gail Johnson Morris steps into the role with over 30 years of corporate experience, including c-suite and director roles at global finance services and health sciences companies. Today, Gail is the president and CEO of LeaderLink, a boutique strategy consultancy that supports boards and executive teams in building strategic capacity. Throughout her career, Gail has established herself as an advocate of practical, applied education and life-long learning. Gail earned her Bachelor of Arts from York University, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Royal Roads University, and a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) from Walden University. Sharing her passion for learning, Gail also serves as a respected educator in the MBA program at Athabasca University and has taught many proud DC alumni at Trent University’s School of Business. Gail first joined the DC Board in 2018.

The Board is responsible for the governance of DC and is accountable to the students, employees and communities the college serves, ensuring the institution is effectively and appropriately managed to achieve its mandate.

As chair, Gary will be responsible for ensuring the Board meets its responsibilities and established directives through collaborative leadership, openness and transparency. To learn more about the roles of chair and vice-chair of the DC Board, read the Board policy.

Please join DC in thanking Kristi Honey for serving as the 2020-2021 chair of the Board. Congratulations to Gary and Gail on their new appointments.


Pre-Apprenticeship Programs strive to close the skilled trades gap and break down employment barriers

With funding from the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD), Durham College (DC) has launched three Pre-Apprenticeship programs to increase the number of Canadians who are job-ready in a skilled trade, and employment-seekers facing higher barriers to entry. The programs are offered at no cost to participants, as tuition, tools, textbooks and safety equipment are covered with the help of government funding.

“Predictions from Colleges Ontario show that the province will face a shortage of more than 500,000 skilled trade workers by 2030,” says Dr. Rebecca Milburn, executive dean, School of Skilled Trades, Apprenticeship & Renewable Technology. “In response to this anticipated gap, DC is proud to partner with YMCA Durham as we lead the way in growing Ontario’s skilled trade labour force with our Pre-Apprenticeship programs.”

The college has selected three trades facing an immediate demand for employable workers and developed programs to train students from marginalized communities who want the necessary qualifications to enter or advance in the skilled trades. The following programs are currently underway, with 60 anticipated graduates by November 2022.

Electrical for Indigenous Peoples

According to the Electricity Sector Council Aboriginal Participation Initiatives Project, attracting workers to the electrical sector is an ongoing struggle owing to limited awareness of the available opportunities. However, the report also demonstrates a need for increased Indigenous participation in the electricity sector to help fill skill gaps and build a workforce in remote locations.

Furthermore, creating trained workers in the electrical industry will be crucial in the coming years, as the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum’s (CAF) Apprentice Demand: 2021 Labour Market Information Report predicts that 61,000 Ontario workers in Red Seal trades will retire in the next decade.

DC’s Pre-Apprenticeship Electrical program will provide another pathway to directly address the unemployment and underemployment of Indigenous Peoples in the skilled trades, while simultaneously tackling the expected labour market shortage.

Plumbing for Newcomers

Reports from the MLTSD indicate there will be over 9,000 plumbing jobs available in Ontario from 2019 to 2028. While there is a demand for plumbers, increased challenges to receiving the credentials make it difficult for newcomers to enter the trades. In fact, research from the CAF indicates that despite representing 20 per cent of the Canadian population, newcomers only make up three to five per cent of all apprentices.

DC’s new Pre-Apprenticeship program will help newcomers succeed in the industry by providing quality training and addressing the barriers faced such as a lack of knowledge of skilled trade opportunities and limited access to resources such as business networks or employer connections.

Welding for Women

The Government of Ontario’s labour market research shows that men make up the overwhelming majority of workers in the welding (95 per cent) trade. As an increasing number of Red Seal trades employees are set to retire, there is a demand to train unrepresented and underrepresented groups of Canadians, such as women. With the help of DC, those interested in pursuing a welding career will be given the support required to overcome gender-related barriers of entry while gaining the technical knowledge and hands-on skills needed to pursue a career in the industry.

For those interested in learning more, please visit our Pre-Apprenticeship program page.


Durham College FastStart leads six student entrepreneurs to Food Truck Frenzy

By Andrew Neary, first-year Journalism and Mass Media student

The Rotary Club of Whitby’s 2022 Food Truck Frenzy gathered thousands of Durham Region residents to support local charities while providing student entrepreneurs with a platform to sell products and share their brands. Often missing markets due to the expenses of purchasing table space without guaranteed sales, six Durham College (DC) student entrepreneurs were recently given the opportunity to attend, as a result of FastStartDC’s purchase of vendor spaces – and I’m grateful to have been one of them.

With more than thirty food trucks and over 20,000 visitors in attendance, I spent the preceding weeks preparing enough cold brew coffee to serve hundreds of customers. At 7 a.m., on a brisk Saturday morning, I arrived at Iroquois Park to help the Rotarian volunteers and organizers set up (and to claim the most premium location for the student market tents). In addition to paying for the students’ tent space, DC also provided the tables and tents themselves, which are additional financial barriers that can prevent students from accessing markets.

The market preparations were ready to go at 9 a.m., when FastStart students started to arrive. Vidhi, of Art Blizz, travelled from London, Ontario with luggage cases packed with resin masterpieces from as small as a bookmark up to frame-ready canvas works. Melissa, of Nature’s Beauty By Queen, shared a luxury body care products table with Esther of Made in Shade. Next to them, Nicole and Stella offered handmade dog bandanas, collars and service dog patches under Sewing with Stella. Neighbouring Vidhi, Shantel’s L’Amour Jae displayed an exquisite range of candles in unique shapes and scents. Finally, while sharing information about the FastStart experience with prospective Durham College students and the community, I sold cold brew coffee that I roasted as Kettleboy.

During the two days, we bonded over discussions about operations and business needs while supporting each other through the unexpected. If a payment terminal froze, someone was quick to share their own. If anyone grew low on change, I acted as the bank and broke bills for customers. We pushed each other to engage with customers and share our stories as curious neighbours drifted by our stations, picking up exciting foods along the way. We learned from each other’s experiences and grew as owners, just as our businesses grew in exposure and sales.

At closing time on Sunday, everyone chipped in to help pack up the generously lent Durham College gear, shared links and resources. For the community, Food Truck Frenzy was an incredible success. It raised more than $75,000 for charity and marked the return of a landmark event that, like many of its kind, was forced on hold as a result the pandemic. For us, the Frenzy reinforced our belief that DC cares about the success of its students, inspiring hope for the future and gratitude for the present.

If you are interested in starting or growing your own business, please sign up for FastStart’s free services. The FastStart team genuinely wants to support you on your journey towards building a future as an entrepreneur with the skills you are learning as a student.


EnactusDC wins big at National Exposition

By Andrew Neary, Journalism – Mass Media student

Enactus Durham College (DC) is the proud winner of this year’s RBC Future Launch Accelerator and ranked in the top 20 of all social initiatives at the Enactus Canada National Exposition. Over the past year, the DC team maintained and grew three primary initiatives, which they presented at the online Canada-wide competition.

The lead project of the year, ConnectUs 4 Community (CU4C), saw DC students and faculty volunteers create an online platform that taught young people in grades 9 to 12 how to launch social initiatives in their communities while addressing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Through CU4C, EnactusDC inspired more than 800 students across 15 high schools to launch 100 social projects. As a result, RBC Bank recognized CU4C’s success with its $4,000 Future Launch Accelerator prize, ranking it as the best project in Canada for supporting youth.

Alongside CU4C, EnactusDC fostered innovation through Rcycle, an app aimed at educating people about recycling properly and rewarding them with points to spend at social businesses. The app is expected to be piloted at the college later this year. The Enactus DC team also promoted tools to manage mental health with the True Grit 21 Day Wellness challenge, which offers emailed motivational messages and activities every day for 21 days.

Under Heather Brown’s leadership, Enactus DC prepared a comprehensive competition submission which included a 12-minute video presentation and a detailed annual impact report to highlight this year’s projects. After receiving positive feedback, the team faced two rounds of panel questions, judged by a table of Canadian industry leaders and executives. Their work at the National Exposition paid off when EnactusDC tied their “best-ever” result from last year’s competition.

DC congratulates the Enactus team for their success and would like to thank the faculty for providing ongoing guidance to help lead students’ entrepreneurial efforts to national success.


The Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship celebrates its 10th year with 2020-2021 Annual Report

Durham College’s (DC) Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ORSIE) has proudly released its 10th Annual Report, a summary of the impactful work accomplished by ORSIE staff and faculty members. From hosting #TechTalksDC to receiving funding for DC’s first-ever postdoctoral fellow, it was a year of impressive accomplishments.

“At the heart of ORSIE, we strive for innovation,” says Debbie McKee Demczyk, dean, ORSIE. “Through the work we do, we support student learning, work with community agencies to resolve societal challenges, help businesses hone their competitiveness and collaborate with external partners. Despite obstacles posed by COVID-19, we continued to establish DC as a leader in applied research.”

ORSIE encompasses four key areas, as highlighted in the annual report:

  • Institutional Research and Planning
  • Applied Research
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Experiential Learning

“The pandemic continues to shape our priorities and the way in which we operate, but ORSIE is poised for the challenges ahead and laser-focused on supporting the success of our students, local businesses and community partners,” says McKee Demczyk. “We are proud to support DC in leading the way in transformative education, applied research and social innovation.”

Over the course of this year, guided by the college’s Strategic Research Plan and Academic Plan, ORSIE will continue to support the research needs of our stakeholders, and explore increased experiential learning opportunities, while building our students’ entrepreneurial success. Through applied research, ORSIE will also seek to provide more local businesses with pandemic recovery strategies and develop creative solutions to complex community challenges through social innovation.

Read more about ORSIE’s work in the annual report.


Durham College students lead the way to Skills Canada victories

Facing off against 300 student competitors from all regions of Canada, five Durham College (DC) students were awarded medals during the prestigious 2022 Skills Canada National Competition (SCNC), in Vancouver, British Columbia on May 26 and 27. In addition to the student competitors, more than 3,000 visitors, industry leaders and government officials were in attendance.

Bringing home silver from SCNC was Holly White in the Aesthetics category, Abigayle Hamilton and Emma Pace for Landscape Gardening and Jared Toomey for IT Networking. Christopher Santoli also received bronze in the Photography category. Prior to claiming their silver and bronze medal victories, all students competed at the 2022 Skills Ontario Competition and won gold or silver in their respective categories, allowing them to advance to the national competition.

“We are incredibly proud of these talented students – whose practical knowledge and dedication have just been rewarded at one of the most prestigious skills competitions in Canada – and their faculty mentors who supported them throughout the competition,” said Dr. Elaine Popp, executive vice president, Academic. “These victories and the recognition at both the national and provincial level are further proof that Durham College programs prepare our students for career success as they become the industry leaders of tomorrow.”

Skills Canada was founded in 1989 as a national not‐for‐profit organization that works with employers, educators, labour groups and governments to promote skilled trade and technology careers among Canadian youth. SCNC is the only multi-trade and technology competition for students and apprentices in the country. By providing a forum where young Canadians can compete at the national level, SCNC provides hands-on work experience related to skilled trade and technology careers.


Durham College now accepting applications for compressed Early Childhood Education program

Following the Ontario and federal government’s recent child-care announcement, Durham College (DC) is pleased to share it is accepting applications for a new compressed Early Childhood Education (ECE) program, with an intake beginning in July.

The tuition and ancillary fees for students accepted into the program will be fully covered, and students will be able to graduate with full credentials within 14 months; the standard ECE program at DC is two years in duration.

This opportunity is funded in partnership with the City of Toronto, The Region of Peel, The Region of Durham, The Region of Halton, the Province of Ontario and Government of Canada under the new Canada-Ontario Early Childhood Workforce Agreement, which provides one-time federal funding to support the retention and recruitment of a high-quality child care and early years workforce.

“The compressed version of the college’s Early Childhood Education program is a direct response to the emerging trends we’re seeing in the industry and the evolving nature of the work employers are looking for our graduates to fill,” says Dr. Elaine Popp, executive vice president, Academic, Durham College. “By embracing these changes, Durham College is proud to be a post-secondary leader in education, fostering economic and social success for our students, graduates and community along the way.”

Over 14 consecutive months, DC’s compressed ECE program will include approximately 1,645 hours of training offered through a hybrid model that combines synchronous and asynchronous delivery components as well as the opportunity to complete a practicum in a variety of settings.

RECEs play an integral role in promoting children’s development from birth to age 12 within the following five domains: cognitive, social, emotional, language and physical. DC’s dedicated faculty, enhanced curriculum and experiential learning opportunities will ensure students graduate well-prepared, with the career-ready skills they need to be successful.

Additional information about the compressed ECE program, including admission requirements and details to apply, can be found online.