Canada and Yukon unveil new learning space at Yukon College

Innovation Commons Opening

$3.057 million joint federal and territorial investment is creating jobs, expanding research and fostering innovation in Whitehorse.

Whitehorse, Yukon

Yukon Member of Parliament (MP) Larry Bagnell and the Honourable Tracy-Anne McPhee, Yukon Minister of Education, were at Yukon College’s Ayamdigut campus today to celebrate the grand opening of the Innovation Commons. This project will ensure Canadians are equipped for the well-paying middle-class jobs of today and tomorrow.

Yukon College received $1.528 million through the Government of Canada’s Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund. Investments through this fund are used to modernize research facilities at Canadian universities and colleges as well as improve the energy efficiency of these facilities and reduce their impact on the environment.

The Government of Yukon provided a matching investment of $1.528 million and Yukon College invested $531,528, for a total investment of $3.59 million.

The Innovation Commons is a multi-use student gathering space that will support and enhance student learning, writing, research, numeracy and the use of technology that embraces and encourages ever-changing teaching and learning methodologies.

The new space features 10 break-out rooms, accommodating between two and twelve people, a second-level mezzanine, an immersive learning theatre seating up to 40 people, a variety of open space, café-style and individual learning station seating, a central service-focused staff nucleus, and an additional access point directly into the Kinnikinnick Kaff— improving traffic flow and safety, as well as more flexible uses of important student learning and social gathering spaces.

Yukon College will also receive an upgrade to its power supply to support its future growth.  

The Government of Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan 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 at Yukon College is a prime example of that vision in action.

As a result of these investments under the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund, students, professors and researchers will work in state-of-the-art facilities that advance the country’s best research. 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.

That is how the fund will jump-start a virtuous circle of innovation, creating the right conditions for long-term growth that will yield benefits for generations to come.

These investments provide important infrastructure upgrades as the college expands its learning, research and scholarly activity while meeting the diverse educational needs of Yukoners. The college is working towards offering its own degree programs, while continuing to maintain a focus on diploma and certificate programs, adult basic education, trades and vocational training, second language support and high school upgrading. This range of programs will ensure all Yukon students will continue to have the opportunity to achieve their educational goals in the territory.


“This once-in-a-generation infrastructure investment, by the Government of Canada, will create the right conditions of innovation and long-term growth, jump-starting a virtuous circle that will yield benefits for generations to come. Through the Strategic Investment Fund, our goal is to make every Canadian “innovation-ready”—ready to spot opportunities, to imagine possibilities, and to discover new ideas.”

– Larry Bagnell, Member of Parliament for Yukon

“This historic investment by the Government of Canada is a 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.”

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

“Encouraging scientific awareness in Yukon and across Canada depends on supporting our world-class scientists and researchers. Through investments such as those under the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund, we are continuing to lay the groundwork for making Canada a global leader in scientific excellence.”

– The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science

“The Government of Yukon is proud to partner with the Government of Canada to support Yukon College’s goal of being an exceptional educational institution that meets the diverse needs of students from Yukon, Canada and around the world. Enhanced learning opportunities and research will be the foundation for this vital and growing institution as it moves towards becoming Yukon University.”

– The Honourable Tracy-Anne McPhee, Yukon Minister of Education

“The Innovation Commons has been designed to prepare learners for flexible, collaborative learning experiences – necessary skills for the 21st century.  This revitalized space will be the cornerstone of inspired creativity, collaboration and innovation amongst the student body at Yukon College and the future Yukon University. We’re excited with the possibilities this space will provide.”

– Dr. Karen Barnes, President and Vice-Chancellor, Yukon College

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan is designed to ensure Canada 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.

Associated links


Follow Minister Bains on Twitter @MinisterISED

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Susan Moorhead Mooney

Office of Hon. Larry Bagnell, MP, Yukon


Media Relations

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada


Sunny Patch

Cabinet Communications


Jason Mackay

Communications, Education


Michael Vernon

Communications, Yukon College