CBU traces its roots to 1951 when the “St. Francis Xavier University Sydney Campus”, also referred to as “Xavier Junior College” (XJC), was opened in downtown Sydney as a satellite campus of St. Francis Xavier University. Growth during the 1950s saw several buildings opened on this site.

In 1968 the “Nova Scotia Eastern Institute of Technology” (NSEIT) opened in 1968 on the Sydney-Glace Bay Highway, immediately east of Sydney. This institution focused on business technology and trades and its development was largely enabled by federal and provincial funding at a time when the coal and steel industries in Industrial Cape Breton were facing serious challenges.

In 1974, the first university college in Canada was established on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia through an amalgamation of the Nova Scotia Eastern Institute of Technology and Xavier Junior College. The Xavier Junior College was affiliated previously with St Francis Xavier University. The University College of Cape Breton became a public degree-granting institution, and retained technical and vocational programs from the former Nova Scotia Eastern Institute of Technology. Cape Breton University was established by the Cape Breton University Act.


To provide leadership and employ partnerships that assist learners and their communities to meet their educational, cultural, and economic needs.


To be Canada’s best University, understood and respected for its uniqueness, sense of purpose, creativity in learning, and the capabilities of its learners and the quality of its educational, training and discovery models. These put learners first in a community-based educational environment that identifies and celebrates humanistic values while embracing creativity and innovation for the common good.

The University will realize its vision by:

Providing the learner with access to high quality learning programs and experiences which reflect, integrate, and develop knowledge traditions of the liberal arts, sciences, technologies, and trades; Ensuring the continued pursuit of excellence in education, scholarship, service, and innovation, while recognizing the diversity of learners and celebrating the contribution of all learners to the community of scholars; and Emphasizing partnerships with the people, cultures, and communities of Cape Breton and expanding connections to the wider global community, its peoples and cultures.


Shared values are fundamental to the success of the University in achieving its mission and realizing its vision. When pursuing its mission and vision, CBU will share values such as people, process, partnerships and flexible education, training and discovery models.


CBU accepts that the principles of academic freedom, accountability, integrity, innovation and obligation to society are fundamental to effective transfer of knowledge, scholarship, creativity, discovery, quality teaching and learning experiences that are of benefit to learners and their communities.