Starting in 2021–22, $8 million over two years will be provided by the Government of Canada to the GNWT to support the transformation of Aurora College to a polytechnic university.
Minister of Northern Affairs Daniel Vandal says the funding is to help create new opportunities in the NWT and provide greater access to quality education, build healthier communities and support a sustainable and dynamic economy.
Aurora College President Andy Bevan says as well as increasing access to post-secondary education for Northerners, this transformation will also advance the growth of research beneficial to Arctic and Northern communities and people, and all Canadians.
“Federal co-investment continues to be key to maintaining quality teaching and research programs in the North, and helping to ensure those programs can be tailored to Northern priorities,” he adds.
Minister of Education R.J. Simpson says the transformation of Aurora College into a polytechnic university will bring wide-ranging economic and social benefits to generations of Northerners.
“Through the establishment of a polytechnic university, we will be increasing access to quality programming for residents in all communities, providing more equitable opportunities for Northerners to reach their education and career goals,” he adds.
Simpson says supporting post-secondary education in the NWT will benefit all northern residents, especially youth and Indigenous Peoples, who represent over 50% of the population in the territory.
“Investments in education also benefit lower-income individuals and families through increased access to degree programs along with applied training in order to obtain skills needed in the workforce,” he adds.
This funding is in addition to the $40 million over five years given to northern communities in 2019 to support options for post-secondary education in the North.
That funding included $1 million to establish a task force to study post-secondary education in the Arctic and the North; and $13 million to help the Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning meet the high demand for their Indigenous-led, northern land-based learning.