Government of Canada announces funds that will contribute to stronger, healthier communities

New research projects at colleges support regional community growth and development

June 17, 2016 – Toronto, Ontario—The Government of Canada recognizes the important role that colleges and universities play in providing the discoveries, innovations and experiences that result in strong social and health benefits. That’s why Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, announced today $7.4 million in federal support for colleges and polytechnics through the Community and College Social Innovation Fund (CCSIF).

The funds, delivered through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, will support 35 research projects that address a range of social issues, including childhood development, workforce recruitment and Indigenous entrepreneurship.

Today’s announcement was hosted by George Brown College, which is receiving $1.4 million for seven research projects. Chef Amy Symington, a nutrition professor at George Brown, will receive $240,000 to develop an evidence-based food guide for those living with cancer and their families.

Gary Hoyer, a professor at George Brown specializing in business and hospitality, will receive $234,000 for a partnership with Sustain Ontario to determine best practices for the Farm to School program, which uses hands-on experiences to teach students about the importance of cultivating and consuming fresh, local fruits and vegetables.


“The projects funded today will help connect the applied research of our colleges and polytechnics to the communities that stand to benefit from them the most. I am pleased these remarkable institutions, like George Brown, are leveraging evidence-based research techniques to build strong, healthy communities.”

—The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science

“We are proud to support the Community and College Social Innovation Fund. This initiative will lead to the discovery of more effective ways to engage with Canadians to help deliver evidence-based community services, and strengthen communities as a whole through research.”

—Ted Hewitt, President, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

“This funding demonstrates the government’s strong commitment to social innovation and the importance of colleges as a driver to strengthen and improve our communities. Social innovation has long been a vital component of George Brown’s applied education and research mandate. Thanks to this federal support, our students, staff and faculty will continue to make a meaningful, measurable difference in our society with an ultimate goal of empowering Torontonians to realize their full potential.”

—Anne Sado, President of George Brown College

“We are thrilled to receive this funding, and will use it to promote and enhance Farm to School programs that support local sustainable foods, healthy lifestyles, and student food literacy by carefully researching and disseminating best practices. George Brown has a long history of excellence in food and beverage research and this project continues that tradition by partnering with community leaders such as Sustain Ontario, its Ontario Edible Education Network and Farm to Cafeteria Canada. Together, we will strengthen the connection between local food systems, schools and communities, and the healthy futures of students across Ontario.”

—Gary Hoyer, faculty lead on the Generating Success for Farm to School project

Quick Facts

  • The CCSIF is providing $15 million over three years to support projects at colleges and polytechnics that foster social innovation in Canada.
  • The CCSIF aims to increase college capacity to collaborate on projects with local organizations and businesses, strengthening communities across Canada through research.
  • Social innovation is about finding more effective ways of engaging Canadians, delivering community services and strengthening communities as a whole through research. It can take the form of a product, process or program that creates positive social outcomes for communities.

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  • A full list of award recipients is available here.

Additional Links


Véronique Perron
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Science

Anne-Marie Cenaiko
Communications Advisor
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
Tel. 613-996-8373