23 July 2015

GBC Receives funding from FEDDEV Ontario for Food and Beverage Research

Yesterday saw the announcement of $7Min funding for Food and Beverage Labs at George Brown College from the Federal Economic Development Agency of Southern Ontario. The announcement was made by Wladyslaw Lizon, Member of Parliament for Mississauga East - Cooksville at Furlani's Foods, also a recipient of FEDDEV Ontario funding. 

The GBC investment is focused on expanding the Food Innovation Research Studio (FIRSt), an NSERC-funded Technology Access Centre, which for the past four years has led research in the food and beverage sectors. It is part of a $14M renovation at our Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts in our King Street East Culinary Innovation District.

The project will establish the following:
  • Expand and enhance the Food Innovation and Research Studio’s operational capacity; 
  • Create a Culinary and Large Quantity Lab to enable process and product development for scaling up and large batch manufacturing of new savoury food products; 
  • Create a Bake and Large Quantity Lab to enable companies to develop large-scale baked goods manufacturing processes;
  • Create a Beverage Research Lab to support product development, sensory testing, scale-up and launch for beverage-specific industries;
  • Create an Industry Engagement and Interaction facility to support business-to-business food product introductions and launches; and
  • Engage with SME food and beverage client companies to:
  • Improve on or create new food and beverage products, including prototype development, testing, and refinement;
  • Improve on or create new manufacturing processes; and
  • Provide manufacturing scale-up preparation assistance.
Investments such as this are helping to encourage industry to invest in R&D and get new products and services to market. The Food Innovation Research Studio, one of GBC's flagship research labs, has been active in supporting the GTA Food and Beverage Cluster.

13 July 2015

The importance of labour market information

Polytechnics Canada CEO Nobina Robinson was quoted in a recent Globe and Mail article about the importance of labour market information (LMI) and nascent efforts by federal and provincial governments to produce these data for the Canadian economy. Polytechnics Canada has advocated for more effective LMI for the past year+, and the Institutional Research offices of the 11 members have compiled useful data on connecting supply and demand of education and skilled talent for the labour market. Many have been advocating for an independent, arms-length Labour Market Information Council, which is the name chosen for this group, though it is made up of provincial and federal government officials. It is likely that many will take a wait and see approach to this new LMIC and give it the benefit of the doubt - anything may be better than the current state, which is akin to driving a car without a dashboard. Having a coordinated approach to LMI will help guide investments in education - at the political and the personal level.

Last January George Brown College launched Career Coach, an online service that is designed to illuminate for potential students the gaps in the current labour market and which programs prepare graduates for these fields. It is a powerful application that draws on StatsCan data and links programs, pathways, and job openings with salary information. This follows on an excellent report the Toronto Board of Trade commissioned last last year, which GBC, along with our GTA college partners Centennial, Humber and Seneca, along with Colleges Ontario and the United Way, sponsored. This report - Closing the Property Gap - has the best LMI available to date; you can download the data cube and execute your own analyses on it. And while it is focused on the GTA, it offers a good start to what is needed to ensure that regions and regional economies can enable citizens to best respond to present and future labour market conditions.