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Nobina Robinson

Policy thought leader on Canadian innovation, higher education and skills

Nobina Robinson is an expert in Canadian innovation and skills and higher education policies. In 2018, she was named Senior Fellow of the C.D. Howe Institute, and Executive Fellow of the School of Public Policy of the University of Calgary. She served as Chief Executive Officer of Polytechnics Canada from 2009 to 2018 and had worked at senior levels for Seneca College prior to that. Nobina was appointed to the Expert Panel on the Review of Federal Support to Research and Development, whose 2011 report “Innovation Canada: A Call to Action” still drives federal R&D and innovation policy. Earlier in her career, Nobina had worked for the federal government, including serving as a foreign service officer in Havana, Cuba. Nobina is a Board Member of Informed Opinions, a registered charity that seeks to amplify women’s voices in the media.
How Canada's Polytechnics Are Developing Talent For Next Generation

How Canada's Polytechnics Are Developing Talent For Next Generation Infrastructure

The goals of Canada's New Infrastructure Plan are not just to grow our infrastructure, but at the same time to harness new and emerging technologies to make it cleaner, greener and smarter. For the government's hallmark policy to date -- the Innovation Agenda -- we hear the consistent message that we need to support the people that innovate.
06/20/2017 05:01 EDT
Skilled Trades Belong In Canada's Innovation

Skilled Trades Belong In Canada's Innovation Conversation

To cope with technology's impact, those in the skilled trades are adopting models of life-long learning that merge the technical, the technological and the mechanical; the toolbox of today is brimming with technology and so too are the classrooms in which apprentices train.
05/04/2017 12:33 EDT
Demand Data Before Demanding

Demand Data Before Demanding Innovation

Weak growth necessitates that we use all of Canada's assets to reignite our economy. Yet, data are assets that have yet to be effectively leveraged. While we fixate on the numbers of startups or high growth firms, do we really have adequate data with which to build a resilient labour force or an innovative economy?
04/13/2017 02:57 EDT
This University Alternative Helps Youth Land A Job They Can Be Proud

This University Alternative Helps Youth Land A Job They Can Be Proud Of

What can be done to tackle the employment obstacles facing Canada's youth? Plenty. Too often, government reports and media accounts wax poetic over our fine universities as a source for solutions to our youth employment challenges. Our equally impressive polytechnics get lost in the discussion.
04/06/2017 10:25 EDT
Skilled Trades Will Enable The Future Of Canada's

Skilled Trades Will Enable The Future Of Canada's Economy

If our economy is shifting, how much emphasis do we really need to place on filling predicted shortages and attracting more young people to the trades? While we focus so much on the digital space, we can't forget that Canada is about to make massive investments in physical infrastructure.
01/16/2017 03:38 EST
How Ottawa Can Provide A Powerful Spark For

How Ottawa Can Provide A Powerful Spark For Innovation

The Liberals floated the idea of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) during the election campaign, but scant notice was taken by the media or the business community. But SBIR can be a very powerful catalyst for innovation and we must not allow this idea to be relegated to the policy back burner.
12/22/2016 01:14 EST
A 21st-Century Economy Needs 21st-Century Labour Market

A 21st-Century Economy Needs 21st-Century Labour Market Data

Our labour market is not evolving to help companies compete globally. Modernizing our labour market requires two things: a talent pool equipped with the appropriate skill sets, and an up-to-date approach on collecting and sharing labour market data.
10/17/2016 04:44 EDT
Canada Urgently Needs An Inclusive Talent Strategy For

Canada Urgently Needs An Inclusive Talent Strategy For Innovation

Until we open up our minds about what "talent" and "best and brightest" should really mean in the context of the labour market, we are leaving many skilled people out of the innovation agenda. Right now we have an exclusive mindset when it comes to talent, linking it too much to spending a long time in higher education.
09/30/2016 04:06 EDT