TakingITGlobal awarded $2.5 million Government of Canada CanCode Funding to create programs aimed at nurturing IT Skills in Indigenous communities and underserved regions

Code to Learn and Create to Learn programs will empower students and educators with crucial coding and digital skills.

April 4, 2018 – On January 22, 2018, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED), announced an investment of $2.5 million to TakingITGlobal. The funding is part of the CanCode program, the Government of Canada’s historic investment of $50 million to support digital skills development in over one million young Canadians from kindergarten to grade 12, and their teachers. The investment supports the launch today of TakingITGlobal’s two new programs, Code to Learn and Create to Learn, aimed at fostering much-needed IT skills in Canadian youth, primarily in Indigenous communities and rural, underserved regions across the country. Programming will also reach students currently participating in Connected North, a program founded by Cisco Canada and now managed by TakingITGlobal, that digitally connects students in the remote north with opportunities and experiences otherwise unavailable to them.

Today, Adam Vaughan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development (Housing and Urban Affairs) and Member of Parliament for Spadina-Fort York, celebrated the launch of Code to Learn and Create to Learn programs. Joining remotely by Cisco TelePresence students and educators discussed their enthusiasm for the new programs and some of their planned projects with TakingITGlobal and its partners: Cisco, LCSI, the National Basketball Association, the Inclusive Design Research Centre at OCAD University, Deloitte, C21 Canada, and Fair Chance Learning.

Code to Learn

Code to Learn will bring together educators from dozens of Canadian school districts in rural, remote and underserved regions to create lesson plans and professional learning resources that bring computational thinking and coding into educational institutions across subject areas and grade levels. The teachers will become practice leaders within their districts, disseminating the learning tools and facilitating adoption of the coding curricula. The focus of the curricula will be on workforce preparedness in the digital economy, including digital skills and the creative thinking that is required for today’s workforce.

To effectively teach coding, the program will feature LCSI’s MicroWorlds EX and JR coding software free of charge, allowing students in English, French, Cree, Ojibwe and Inuktitut languages to learn both icon-based or syntax-based coding, based on their age and skill level. There will also be an online community of practice to showcase educator resources and student work examples for broad distribution.

In order to further engage with students, through Cisco’s partnership with the NBA, all league logos can be used within the MicroWorlds software. This will encourage students to develop sports-based coding projects with real NBA team branding.

Create to Learn

Create to Learn will support 80 First Nations, Inuit, and Metis youth in developing workforce skills, including digital skills, project planning and writing. They will also be able to share their creative works, culture, and community stories across Canada through Whose Land, a new digital platform and mobile app, launching in the coming week.

Training will take place at the Inclusive Design Institute at OCAD University. Once trained, the youth will return to their communities and deliver training to their peers, spreading skills throughout the community. In this way, all project participants develop not only digital skills, but also skills in teaching, project planning and mentoring.


“Coding is the next big job. Industries ranging from automotive and agri-food to the life sciences and clean technology need coders, given their increasingly digital nature,” said the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. “That’s why our government is equipping Canadian youth with the digital skills they need for the jobs of the future. By teaching kids to code today, we’re positioning Canada for future success across all industries and sectors.”

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

“We all know how critical information technology is to modern life. From school to work, to unleashing the imagination, access to technology is fundamental to us all. Today’s announcement is a bold step towards making sure all Canadians, and in particular Indigenous youth, are wired in to a future where they can learn, contribute and benefit from innovations in technology.”

-       Adam Vaughan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development (Housing and Urban Affairs) and Member of Parliament for Spadina-Fort York

“Cisco Canada is determined to close the IT skills gap in the country by equipping future generations with the necessary tools and knowledge to succeed in an increasingly digitized world. As the founder of the Connected North program, Cisco has a powerful partnership with TakingITGlobal and we share a vision of empowering Indigenous youth through initiatives such as Connected North and now Code to Learn and Create to Learn. We will continue to support and work with TakingITGlobal to help Canadian youth reach their full potential.”

-       Rola Dagher, President, Cisco Canada

“TakingITGlobal’s mandate is to empower young people to become agents of positive change in their local and global communities, and we strongly believe education plays a huge role in this process. Technology is playing a greater role in people’s lives more and more each day, so it has to be a part of the education process. This is something the Government of Canada recognizes as well and with the CanCode program it is demonstrating its commitment. We are honoured and proud to be one of the CanCode recipients.”

-       Michael Furdyk, Co-founder and Director of Technology, TakingITGlobal

About TakingITGlobal

TakingITGlobal is one of the world's leading networks of young people learning about, engaging with, and working towards tackling global challenges. Our mission is to empower young people to understand and act on the world’s greatest challenges. With over 25,000 educators engaged with TakingITGlobal for Educators (TIGed) programming, form over 5,000 schools in over 150 countries, including over 3,000 Canadian educators, we connect hundreds of thousands of students worldwide.