Canada and B.C. invest in new trades facility at College of the Rockies

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An artist's rendering of Patterson Hall, our new trades training facility while it was still in the mock-up stage.
Artist's rendering of proposed trades training facility

Canadians will be better equipped for the well-paying middle-class jobs of today and tomorrow as a result of a $10-million investment in College of the Rockies for a new trades-training facility.

This joint federal-provincial investment was announced today by the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett on behalf of B.C. Minister of Advanced Education Andrew Wilkinson.

The funding will support the construction of a new trades-training facility to consolidate and increase capacity by 43 new full-time equivalent spaces for a total of 325 full-time equivalent spaces for electrical, millwright and heavy-duty equipment technician programs.

The new trades-training facility will be 1,800 square-metres (19,400 square feet) with a 3,400 square metre (36,600 square foot) trades yard and an engine lab for the heavy-duty equipment mechanic and technician, and automotive-service technician programs. The new building will be designed to LEED Gold standard making it more energy efficient.

Of the total $10-million investment:
• $4.2 million from the Government of Canada.
• $3.8 million from the Province of B.C.
• $1 million from the College of the Rockies.
• $1 million from the Columbia Basin Trust.

The Government of Canada’s Innovation Agenda aims to make this country a global centre for innovation – one that creates jobs, drives growth across all industries and improves the lives of all Canadians. This investment is a prime example of that vision in action.

The funding from the Government of Canada is being allocated through the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund, which will enhance and modernize research facilities on Canadian campuses and improve the environmental sustainability of these facilities.

As a result of these investments, students, professors and researchers will work in state-of-the-art facilities. They will collaborate in specially designed spaces that support lifelong learning and skills training. They will work in close proximity with partners to turn discoveries into products or services. In the process, they will train for and invent the high-value jobs of the future. And their discoveries will plant the seeds for the next generation of innovators.

The new building project at College of the Rockies is estimated to be completed in spring 2018. Approximately 35 direct and 21 indirect jobs are expected to be created as a result of the project.

College of the Rockies offers a range of continuing education, developmental, career and vocational, trades and technologies and academic programs. The college welcomed more than 10,150 students during the 2014-15 academic year, including 387 international students. The college celebrated its 40th anniversary in February 2016.


The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

“This once-in-a-generation investment by the Government of Canada is a historic down payment on the government’s vision to position Canada as a global centre for innovation. That means making Canada a world leader in turning ideas into solutions, science into technologies, skills into jobs and start-up companies into global successes. This investment will create conditions that are conducive to innovation and long-term growth, which will in turn keep the Canadian economy globally competitive.”

Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. Minister of Advanced Education

“Our government is investing in new and upgraded facilities that will give students cutting-edge learning environments to develop skills for future careers. The new trades building at the College of the Rockies will expand space in the electrical, millwright and heavy-duty equipment technician programs to put students first-in-line for the jobs of tomorrow.”

Bill Bennett, Kootenay East MLA

“By investing in College of the Rockies, our government is investing in the success of B.C. students, families and communities. Trades careers are in high-demand and students in the Cranbrook community will be ready for these opportunities at home and throughout B.C.”

David Walls, College of the Rockies president and CEO

“I would like to express my appreciation for the funding provided by the federal and provincial governments for this new trades building. The addition of this new facility will allow us to further expand our ability to provide trades’ training that helps our students to reach their goals, secure careers in high-demand fields and to serve the needs of our communities and industry partners.”

Maya Strelloff, College of the Rockies electrical foundation trades student

“A lot of companies are looking to increase their diversity and are interested in hiring more women with a skilled trade. A new trades building that is at the main College of the Rockies campus, with all of the other students, can make it more appealing for women to consider trades training.”

Johnny Strilaeff, Columbia Basin Trust president and CEO

“Through this partnership, students will be better able to achieve their career goals locally, while our region’s employers will have a greater opportunity to hire the skilled tradespeople they need. We’re pleased to support this project that will help improve the Columbia Basin’s post-secondary options, develop our workforce and strengthen our economy.”

Quick facts

  • Canada’s Innovation Agenda is designed to ensure the country is globally competitive in promoting research, translating ideas into new products and services, accelerating business growth and propelling entrepreneurs from the start-up phase to international success
  • The targeted, short-term investments under the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund will promote economic activity across Canada and help Canada’s universities and colleges develop highly skilled workers, act as engines of discovery, and collaborate on innovations that help Canadian companies compete and grow internationally.
  • The Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund supports the Government of Canada’s climate change objectives by encouraging sustainable and green infrastructure projects.
  • Nearly one million job openings are expected in B.C. over the next decade, and eight out of 10 of these openings will require post-secondary education. In-demand occupations requiring post-secondary education or training range from professional to management to trades.
  • The Province of British Columbia is directly investing $921 million in planned capital expenses in the post-secondary sector over the next three years. The Province has invested and committed more than $3.3 billion in capital and infrastructure projects at public post-secondary institutions in B.C. since 2001, with more than 1,900 capital projects throughout the province.


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Media Contacts:

Sarah Newton
Public Affairs Officer
Communications Office, Ministry of Advanced
250 213-1703

Philip Proulx
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development
343 291-2500

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
343 291-1777

Heather Jackson
Manager of Communications and Marketing
College of the Rockies
250 489-8258