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Algonquin College looks to prune their horticulture technician program

June 01, 2010 @ 00:55 By: gordon Category: Current affairs

As things like pesticides are being legislated out of existence, landscaping becoming an increasingly important part of construction projects and sustainability being on the minds of planners everywhere, all of which lead to an increased demand for horticulture technicians, one can be forgiven for wondering why Algonquin College is looking to cancel their horticulture technician program.

Obviously, Algonquin probably feels the need to cut their budget and identified the horticulture program as a low-profile program. Who cares? They’re just gardeners, right?

Wrong.

Horticulture and landscaping are growing fields (small pun intended). If you’ve gone to a nursery or greenhouse, used the services of a landscaping company, or gone to the garden centre at your local Canadian Tire store then you’ve probably dealt with a horticulture technician. The plants in your office are probably looked after by a horticulture technician as are the greens on that golf course you hacked up last weekend.

Algonquin College offers the only horticulture program in Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec. Most of the students hail from Ottawa, but many of them are coming from other parts of Ontario and Quebec. There are even students from farther abroad like the US, Africa and South America.

Graduates from the program end up working in an industry that employs over 100,000 people in the the ornamental landscaping sector in Ontario alone. In fact, there are more jobs than people, so clearly there’s a need for a program like this.

According to a report by Deloitte & Touche released in January 2009 that is found on the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association’s website, Ontario accounted for half of the $5.4 billion gross revenue by farms in the ornamental horticulture products sector in Canada in 2007 and it showed a 1.3% annual growth rate between 2002 and 2007. The same sector generated $300+ million in GST revenues alone.

This is serious money.

According the to same report, for every two jobs created in the ornamental horticulture industry sector, another job is created somewhere else in the Canadian economy as a result.

One of the roles of colleges is to produce skilled people to fill the needs of industry. So, when there’s a shortage of horticulture technicians, why are they proposing to cut the program instead of expanding it to help meet the needs of industry? If they do have to reduce the college’s budget, there are probably other ways to do this that wouldn’t result in the elimination of programs.

And why do I care? Because cutting the program is going to put people I know out of a job. And I’d rather that not happen.

Update: Earlier today (June 3rd) CBC posted a story about the program cuts being proposed by Algonquin College.

2 Responses to “Algonquin College looks to prune their horticulture technician program”


  1. Laila Golde says:

    I hope I can still be able to take this course in January I am really looking foward to getting into horticulture. I finally have decided what I am going to enjoy doing in my life as a long life career.

    Sincerly, Laila Golde

    • gordon says:

      Hi…

      Very cool! I wrote that a couple of years ago so hopefully things have stabilized since then. 🙂

      Good luck with your career choice!



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