English | Français
Join CAFCE Today

Co-op Program Directory

The Co-operative Education Directory is a comprehensive listing of the post-secondary co-operative education programs of member institutions in Canada.




Documenting the History of CAFCE in Canada

Andrew Crichton
Formerly Co-operative Education Co-ordinator
Memorial University of Newfoundland

CAFCE - From Impossibility to Reality (March 2009)

"This is the story of the Canadian Association for Co-operative Education (CAFCE)/Association Canadienne de l’Enseignement Cooperatif (ACDEC). CAFCE was formed on September 26, 1973 when 29 representatives of 15 post secondary institutions from across Canada met at McMaster University and Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario , formally adopting a constitution and electing a board of directors. However, to fully appreciate the role of CAFCE and the context within which it was formed, we need to step back a few years to 1957, arguably the most significant year in the history of co-operative education in Canada"  

Click here on the title "From Impossibility to Reality" to download a .pdf copy of the full story.


Bruce A. McCallum
University of Guelph
James C. Wilson
University of Waterloo


“The community of Kitchener-Waterloo in Ontario, 65 miles west of Toronto, was a diverse manufacturing, business and insurance community. There was a small Lutheran liberal arts college located in the city of Waterloo providing the only post-secondary education for a large and growing region. A number of businessmen had a vision that a technologically oriented university was needed. Many of these businessmen had been transferred from head offices to subsidiary companies in the area and they were familiar with the cooperative education as then practiced in the U.S.A. The idea was attractive to them as the best way to serve the growing science and technology needs of the community and, indeed, the country. 

This group of businessmen did some investigating and decided to found an institution with an engineering program based on the concept of cooperative education. Once the decision was made little time was wasted, and by July 1957, 75 co-op students were admitted to a new institution which would later become the University of Waterloo.

The founders were immediately visited by delegations from nearby institutions who came not to praise them and find out more about what they were doing, but to criticize their efforts. They were told cooperative education would sully the academic program; the comfortable academic year system would require dramatic change and; the economy would not support such a venture. The uniform message espoused by these academicians was "it wouldn't work." Meanwhile, employers of co-op students judged co-op programs to be a success. Students were well received and give practical and challenging learning situations during their work terms. Supervisors of students became aware they had a unique opportunity to be a part of the educational process of future leaders of Canadian industry and business.”

(Click here for a pdf of the original article printed in CEIA's Journal of Co-operative Education reprinted with permission from the Cooperative Education & Internship Association Inc. USA)