2021 – A Year In Review At The Whistler Institute

As 2021 draws to a close it presents the opportunity to look back on the year and reflect on just a few of the achievements at the Whistler Institute over the last 12 months.

The Whistler Learning Centre started off the year with an official name change and rebrand. The newly named Whistler Institute better reflects the breadth and depth of the endeavors of the organization. The Whistler Institute Board then conducted a strategic planning exercise to redevelop the Strategic Plan which in turn informed the annual Business Plan update. A local graphic designer was briefed and shortly after the new logo and website were launched.

In May, the Whistler Institute resumed the Global Perspectives Speaker Series, partnering with the Lower Mainland Local Government Association and Tourism Whistler to present, Tourism: Building Back Better, a global conversation with expert panelists. Could the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the tourism industry and on travelers’ experiences also be an opportunity for a reset and a reinvention? This event explored how the tourism industry could recover from the shock of the pandemic by being “greener, smarter and less crowded”.

As Public Health Orders relaxed, the team working on the Indigenous Life Skills and Peer Support programs began to meet in-person once again. Program development was completed in December 2021 and delivery is expected to commence in 2022. The Whistler Institute was not immune to the nationwide labour shortage and delivery of the Indigenous and Intercultural Awareness Course was delayed as a result.  An instructor has now been secured who will be making important updates to the course content based on the ongoing investigation of Residential Schools across Canada. The first offering of this course is expected to take place in Spring of 2022.

Over the summer, the Whistler Institute was nominated and shortlisted for the ‘Innovative Business of the Year Award’ at the Whistler Excellence Awards hosted by the Whistler Chamber of Commerce. The Whistler Institute Board was delighted with the recognition which helps to raise the profile of the innovative programs being developed by the Whistler Institute to benefit and meet the unique needs of the Sea to Sky community.

BCIT developed a new Accounting for Small Business course to meet the changing needs of the workforce and the pilot offering took place in Whistler during the Fall as a result of the strong relationship between the Whistler Institute and BCIT. Also delivered in Whistler was BCIT’s accredited Project Management Essentials course. A total of 20 local students participated in these locally delivered courses, gaining skills and knowledge that will enhance the local workforce.

September brought some new faces to the Whistler Institute team, including Jennifer Ford who joined the Whistler Institute as Marketing and Community Development Coordinator. The Whistler Institute Board welcomed five new Directors: Kate Covello, David Cronin, Mike Van der Loos, Prajakta Nigam and Alison Macintyre.

In October, the Whistler Institute collaborated with the Whistler Chamber of Commerce and Whistler Personnel Solutions to launch a Local Workforce Survey throughout the Sea to Sky corridor to study the current and future needs of workers and businesses in the region. The survey provided valuable data for community advocacy relating to the need for training funds, housing solutions, work permit changes and other resources. The data is being used to select courses for 2022 that will address the needs of the local community.

Finally, in December, the Whistler Institute hosted its most recent event in the Global Perspectives Speaker Series, Climate Emergency – An Action Guide for Citizens. Renowned economist Dr. Mark Jaccard presented on how climate-concerned citizens can overcome myths that hinder them from acting in time to prevent extreme climate impacts. The presentation was followed by a question and answer period which was moderated by Mayor Jack Crompton. The event was followed by a sold out dinner experience at Caramba Restaurant that provided an exciting opportunity for Founders, Sponsors and attendees to engage in further conversation.

These major accomplishments and important advancements at the Whistler Institute would not have been possible without the visionary commitment of the Founding donors, event sponsors, and support of the volunteer Board of Directors. Thank you.

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy holiday season and a wonderful year ahead.