Students at VIU Get Education and Training for Future Success

October 10, 2018 - 9:00am

Vancouver Island students can now access new and upgraded facilities that will equip them for careers in the health and trades sectors.

A new Health and Science Centre, as well as an upgraded and expanded Marine, Automotive and Trades Complex, were officially opened at Vancouver Island University (VIU). The event also marked the completion of a district geo-exchange energy system.

"People want to be able to get education and training close to their home community without having to travel," said Melanie Mark, B.C.'s Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. "A new health science centre and an upgraded trades complex are great news for students at Vancouver Island University. Not only will students get the skills for good-paying, family-supporting jobs, but local employers, industries and patients will also all benefit from our investments in new buildings."

VIU's new 6,855 square-metre Health and Science Centre means students can now access degree programs in nursing, chemistry and environmental science locally.

The centre's expanded research and teaching labs are enhancing engagement and collaboration with Indigenous and community stakeholders to create a welcoming space and responsive curriculum designed to reflect insights of local First Nations.

Of the $40.9-million Health and Science Centre total project cost, the Government of Canada provided $19.4 million, the Province of B.C. provided $17.5 million and VIU and community donors provided $4 million.

The $20-million redeveloped Marine, Automotive and Trades Complex includes 2,014 square metres of new construction and 1,938 square metres of renovations.

The trades building expansion has increased capacity by 128 full-time equivalent student spaces for trades that align with the needs of industries and employers in motorcycle mechanic, marine mechanic, heavy mechanical trades and carpentry programs, including an Indigenous construction program.

The trades complex includes an acceleration discovery space where students, faculty and industry collaborate on research and innovation to ensure responsiveness to industry needs.

The Government of Canada and Province each provided $9.5 million towards the total cost of the trades complex, in addition to $1 million from VIU.

The Government of Canada has also invested in VIU's district geo-exchange energy system. The total cost of the energy system project is $2.8 million, with $1.1 million from the Government of Canada and $1.7 million from VIU. By tapping into the flooded Wakesiah mine workings underneath VIU, the institution is circulating the water through a geo-exchange energy system to significantly reduce its carbon footprint by decreasing output for heating and cooling buildings to near zero. The new Health and Science Centre and Shq'apthut, VIU's Aboriginal Gathering Place, will be the first buildings connected to the system.



Navdeep Bains, federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development -

"Government's investment in facilities at Vancouver Island University is creating a better quality of life for Canadians by equipping learners with the tools they need to succeed. We are tremendously proud that future generations will pass through these new facilities and positively impact the local community with their contributions."


Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo North Cowichan -

"I'm proud to be part of a government that is doing things differently and investing in people. I'm a local and so excited that the new Health and Science Centre and new Trades Complex at Vancouver Island University is going to accelerate the Island's economy by producing graduates who will thrive and succeed in their local communities."


Ralph Nilson, Vancouver Island University president and vice-chancellor -

"We are delighted that our new facilities will continue to ensure Vancouver Island University remains an educational destination of choice for local residents, British Columbians, Canadians and learners from around the world. These facilities will ensure VIU's students will have access to exceptional learning environments and state-of-the-art technology to support a high-quality education that fully prepares them for the careers of today and tomorrow. And, our new geo-exchange energy system allows VIU to act as a model for other institutions on how innovative technology can contribute to our collective sustainable future."


Candace Boland, fourth-year bachelor of science in nursing student -

"They put a lot of thought into how the new Health and Science Centre was designed, knowing we needed a change from where we were located before. The new simulation labs now feel like a real nursing station at a real hospital. Also, there are a lot more study spaces and meeting rooms, which are critical for our program because we have a lot of group work and need a lot of space and time to practice."


Joseph Monaghan, fourth-year bachelor of science student -

"The new building will provide options to students who will benefit from the new learning spaces, including new science labs that allow the university to offer a chemistry major. Up until now, the sciences at VIU have been tucked away in a far-off corner of campus that no one but science students go to. I think with the new building being more central on campus, it will get science students more involved in the campus lifestyle."


Thomas Flegel, automotive apprenticeship student -

"Everything in the renovated automotive buildings is well-organized and designed to best reflect industry standards. Walking into the building, it is exactly as you would see things laid out in a real dealership. It's more like an actual, hands-on, living, working business now, which means as students we are getting the best, most relevant training to prepare us for our careers in this industry."


Quick Facts:

* The Government of Canada's Innovation Agenda aims to make Canada a global centre for innovation - one that creates jobs, drives growth across all industries and improves the lives of all Canadians. The investment at VIU represents that vision in action.

* The targeted, short-term investments under the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund 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.

* Federal funding for the renovations was made available through the fund.

* In B.C., 20 public post-secondary institutions and one private First Nation institution have benefitted from 30 individual projects worth a total of $691 million.


Learn More:

Canada's Innovation Agenda:

Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund: 



Jennifer Fernandes

Ministry of Advanced Education

250 889-8370


Janina Stajic

Vancouver Island University

250 618-2360


Media Relations

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

343 291-1777

Connect with the Province of B.C. at:

Tags: Announcements

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