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Canada Skills Program delivers training, curriculum and Microsoft Azure credits, enabling students to graduate with in-demand data analytics, AI and cloud certifications

Toronto, September 17, 2020 – Today, Microsoft Canada and 12 post-secondary institutions announced the Canada Skills Program. Launching this fall, the program will bolster the data & AI skills and employability of more than 4,500 students in diploma, degree and continuing education programs.

The Canada Skills program provides opportunities for students to acquire in-demand digital skills and certifications enabling them to graduate with both a Microsoft certification, as well as their institution’s credential. This is phase one of the program; Microsoft will continue to expand to additional institutions and provinces, with the goal of reaching students across Canada.

“The pandemic has accelerated digital transformation at unimaginable rates, making skills in cloud, data and AI more important than ever,” said Kevin Peesker, President, Microsoft Canada. “Microsoft developed the Canada Skills Program to help strengthen the innovation economy by building a talent pipeline equipped with the skills they need for future success.”

To facilitate the Canada Skills Program at local institutions, Microsoft is training and certifying almost 100 faculty as Microsoft Certified Trainers at colleges, polytechnics and universities, providing the fundamental skills that are in high demand as the economy emerges from the challenges caused by COVID-19.

Institutions will combine Microsoft’s curriculum alongside existing coursework to skill students in Data and AI technologies and prepare students to take industry-recognized Microsoft Certifications including Azure AI Engineer, Azure Data Scientist, Azure Data Engineer, Azure Administrator, Azure Solutions Architect and Azure Fundamentals. Students will also have access to Azure Education Hub to support hands on learning.

“The global economic recovery will be significantly rooted in innovations which require these skills,” said Anthony Salcito, Vice President of Worldwide Education, Microsoft. “As a global technology leader, we have a responsibility to ensure future generations of workers have the tools they need to succeed, and to help strengthen our economies overall.”

The first 12 post-secondary institutions to sign on with the Microsoft Canada Skills Program are:

  • British Columbia: University of British Columbia; Vancouver Community College
  • Alberta: University of Calgary; Northern Alberta Institute of Technology; Red Deer College; Southern Alberta Institute of Technology; Bow Valley College
  • Saskatchewan: Saskatchewan Polytechnic
  • Ontario: Seneca College, Humber College; Ontario Tech University; Algonquin College

The Microsoft Canada Skills Program is the company’s latest initiative aimed at giving Canadians the skills they need for the digital economy. Earlier this year, Microsoft announced a global skilling initiative to help 25 million workers who lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19, providing free training and access to learning tools across Microsoft, LinkedIn and GitHub. This initiative will also allow recent graduates to upgrade and evolve their skills with the changing economy.


“In our technology driven world, skills and experience with data analytics, AI and the cloud help set graduates apart and prepare them for success in many careers. The Canada Skills Program will provide professional development opportunities to faculty and allow Humber College to continue to provide sought-after industry certifications to our students.”

  • Chris Whitaker, President and CEO, Humber College

“As a polytechnic, NAIT’s programs are taught by experts and aligned with what industry needs most. Working with Microsoft enhances our ability to deliver both expertise and industry-relevant education and supports our students in achieving their career goals.”

  • Sue Fitzsimmons, VP Academic & Provost, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

“Saskatchewan Polytechnic is excited to sign on with the Microsoft Canada Skills Program, providing Saskatchewan learners with the skills they need to thrive in the digital economy. The nature of work is changing and COVID-19 has accelerated much of this change. This partnership with Microsoft Canada will provide learners with the opportunity to retrain and upskill to help Saskatchewan recover economically in this post-pandemic reality.”

  • Larry Rosia, president and CEO, Saskatchewan Polytechnic

“We are delighted to work with Microsoft to offer our students the digital skills they need in the innovation economy. With faculty in key programs being Microsoft Certified Trainers, our students will be equipped with the right skills and credentials to succeed in their careers.”

  • David Agnew, President, Seneca College

“It’s more important than ever that we arm students with the skills they need to succeed now and in the future. Giving University of Calgary students the opportunity to achieve Microsoft Certifications alongside their degrees will not only help them find meaningful jobs but will also provide the fundamental skills they need to create their own opportunities in the digital economy.”

  • Bill Rosehart, Dean, Schulich School of Engineering, University of Calgary



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