Overview

An institution must be registered with, and have its programs approved by, the Superintendent of Private Career Colleges before they can be delivered to the public. However, not all institutions require registration and not all vocational programs require approval under the act before they can be offered to the public.

This policy directive identifies a class of vocational programs exempt from the requirement to be approved by the Superintendent of Private Career Colleges in accordance with the Private Career Colleges Act, 2005.

Effective: May 16, 2007
Re-issued format: February 2022 (no policy changes)

Authority

Section 23 of the Private Career Colleges Act, 2005 makes it a condition of registration that a private career college can only offer vocational programs for which it has the Superintendent's approval.

Section 53(1) c of the Private Career Colleges Act, 2005 enables the Superintendent of Private Career Colleges to issue policy directives exempting private career colleges, or any class of them, from the requirement that they obtain approval for a specified class of vocational programs under section 23 of the act.

Exemptions from approval

Registered private career colleges are exempt from the requirement that they obtain the approval of the Superintendent to offer vocational programs that are:

  • completely funded by a third-party
  • offered exclusively to third-party funded students

Definitions

Third-party funded programs

Third-party funded programs are programs which are funded exclusively by corporate clients such as employers or other institutions or organizations (such as the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board or band councils). These organizations contract directly with private career colleges for training on behalf of students. For a program to be considered third-party funded, the fees must be paid by the third-party's resources and the program must only be offered to third-party funded students.

Third-party funded students

Private career college students may be either third-party funded students or fee-paying students. Third-party funded students are students who do not directly contract with a private career college or pay for the provision of a vocational program with their own funds. Instead, the fees of third-party students are paid by corporate clients such as employers or other institutions or organizations.

Fee paying students

Fee-paying students are students who have a direct contract (see O.Reg 415/06) with a private career college and who are responsible for the fees paid to the private career college for the provision of a vocational program.

Employment Ontario clients or students who receive funding through the Ontario Student Assistance Plan (OSAP) are fee-paying students. Students who pay an institution, agent or a placement agency for training, and that institution, agent or agency pays the private career college, are also fee-paying students and should sign a contract with the private career college.

Programs with mixed enrolment

The exemption does not apply to vocational programs when there is a mix of third-party funded students and fee-paying students. Vocational programs which are available to both third-party funded students and fee-paying students must be approved by the Superintendent of Private Career Colleges.

Compliance and record keeping

The ministry will confirm that students enrolled in third-party funded programs are exclusively funded by a third-party. Private career colleges should keep copies of all corporate contracts on file for verification and compliance purposes.

Should it be determined that a vocational program exempted under this policy directive is being offered to fee-paying students, the institution will be required to submit the program for approval and the institution cannot enrol new students until the program has been approved. Fee-paying students who are already enrolled in the program may cancel the contract and would be entitled to a full refund of fees paid.

Impact on eligibility for student protections

There are several implications of attending a third-party funded program that private career college operators and students should be aware of. The Private Career Colleges Act, 2005 protects students by requiring training providers to follow specific rules with respect to, for example, fee refunds, training completion, qualifications of instructors, access to transcripts and advertising. These protections only apply to fee-paying students of approved vocational programs.

Third-party funded students who are enrolled in a vocational program that is approved under the Private Career Colleges Act, 2005 (for example, who are enrolled in a program with mixed enrolment) may benefit from aspects of training delivery that have been established to protect fee-paying students. However, the protections in the Private Career Colleges Act, 2005 do not apply to them.

Third-party funded students are not entitled to the following protections:

  1. The refund provisions in sections 25 to 33 of O. Reg. 415/06 of the Private Career Colleges Act, 2005 apply only to fee-paying students.
  2. Training completion or a refund of fees through the Training Completion Assurance Fund under section 3 of the Private Career Colleges Act, 2005.