Overview

A private career college seeking approval of a vocational training program must provide the Superintendent of Private Career Colleges with information about the appropriateness of a program's content, delivery, resources, practicum etc. The superintendent may request additional assessments as needed to support and maintain program approval.

Program assessments can come in two forms:

  • a report by an accrediting body or a regulating body which confirms that a quality assessment of the program has been completed
    or
  • reports completed by third-party experts who are familiar with the subject matter of the program and familiar with the principles of adult education

Assessment of regulated programs

Some programs, such as dental hygiene, lead to jobs in regulated vocations. The Superintendent of Private Career Colleges requires the private career college to maintain good standing with any organization responsible for the regulation and oversight of the vocation, and to have their program quality assessment performed by an assessor recognized by the regulating body.

In most cases, private career colleges will need to:

  • submit documentation that confirms the program delivered by the private career college meets the requirements of the regulating body
  • produce graduates who are eligible for registration or licensing by the regulator

You will need to submit this documentation to the superintendent along with the program application.

Note: Private career colleges that train commercial pilots, flight engineers and/or flight instructors may submit a copy of their Transport Canada Flight Training Unit Operator Certificate to satisfy this requirement.

Assessment of unregulated programs

Section 11 of Ontario Regulation 415/06 under the Private Career Colleges Act, 2005 requires that private career colleges must have an evaluation of a program conducted by a person who:

  • has expertise in the evaluation of such programs
  • has been approved by the superintendent

All evaluations shall be based on a complete copy of the program application and conducted at the expense of the private career college.

Third-party assessment reports make up part of the application for program approval in the Program Approval and Registration Information System (PARIS).

Program assessors

The superintendent must be satisfied that a vocational program will:

  • provide the skills and knowledge needed to prepare students for employment in the vocation
  • be delivered in a way that works for private career college students

Assessments by third-party experts help to confirm these essential features of vocational programs for the superintendent.

Finding an assessor

Private career colleges offering programs that do not lead to regulated vocations may select a third-party assessor of their choice ensuring they meet the criteria outlined below.

One or more individuals may be required to evaluate the programs depending on their qualifications.

The private career college must make initial contact with the program assessor before they send an invitation through the Program Approval and Registration Information System (PARIS).

Program Approval and Registration Information System (PARIS)

If you are a private career college operator and need access to PARIS, contact the ministry:

 PCC@ontario.ca

Private career colleges are not required to engage an assessor identified in PARIS. However, in some cases, names of assessors who have completed reports in the past will be identified in PARIS. Private career colleges are welcome to contact these individuals to arrange a review of their programs.

Subject matter experts

The superintendent must be satisfied that the subject matter components of the program will provide students with the skills and knowledge needed for employment in one or more of the vocations described in the National Occupational Classification.

A private career college shall engage a person to provide a subject matter assessment who meets all the following requirements:

  • at least five years of experience
  • experience gained within the last 10 years in the field of study being assessed
  • experience must not be in a related field (for example, a dentist shall not evaluate a dental assistant program)
  • relevant professional credentials
  • good standing with the relevant regulatory body or recognized professional association (if applicable)

In addition, subject matter experts must also confirm there is no conflict of interest:

  • in connection with the program they are assessing
  • with the private career college requesting the assessment

Adult education experts

The superintendent must be satisfied that a program will be delivered in a manner that is considered effective for adult learners.

A private career college shall engage a person to assess the suitability of a program for adult learners who meets one or more of the following requirements:

  • a degree in adult education
  • a diploma or certificate in adult education and training
    (a full-time program of one academic year, or a program of approximately 450 hours) and five years of recent teaching/program development for adult learners
  • a diploma or certificate in adult education and training
    (a full-time program of one academic year, or a program of approximately 450 hours) and a professional trainer certification (such as Certified Training and Development Professional Certification awarded by the Canadian Society of Training and Development)
  • at least 10 years of employment experience in a position where the person's major and primary responsibility is or was adult program development and design, for example, a corporate training consultant agency

In addition, adult education specialists must also confirm no conflict of interest exists:

  • in connection with the program they are assessing
  • with the private career college requesting the assessment

Choosing other assessors

If a private career college finds assessors who do not meet the requirements listed above as subject matter experts or adult education experts, the private career college must contact the Superintendent of Private Career Colleges for permission to engage the assessor. Otherwise, the assessment may not be accepted.

Working with an assessor

  1. Find an individual to assess your program

    Read Finding an assessor

  2. Invite them to review the program

    The invitation must be done through PARIS.

    The invitation will provide the assessor with login credentials for PARIS.

  3. Assessor completes a review and submits documents

    The assessor uploads documents directly into PARIS.

Details on this process are available in the PARIS Reference Guide for Assessors available once the assessor has set up their profile in PARIS.

Note: Private career colleges should always connect with the assessor in advance to discuss:

  • their qualifications
  • the requirements of the assessment

This discussion is necessary even when an invitation has been facilitated through PARIS. If the assessor(s) does not meet the qualifications at the time you wish to engage their service, the invitation can be cancelled.

Assessor profile

In PARIS, the assessor will be asked to create a profile. To confirm the individual's qualifications for the superintendent, the assessor must upload all the following documents to their profile:

  • an up-to-date resume
  • a copy of any relevant credential
  • proof of membership in or affiliation with any relevant accrediting, certifying, or regulatory body

The ministry may contact the third-party assessor to ensure the individual meets the criteria and has the appropriate experience or credentials

Assessors only need to submit these documents with their first assessment report if they are not previously approved. Once an assessment has led to an approved program, and if the assessor has agreed, the ministry will keep their information for future assessments.

Preparing your assessor

The private career college must provide documentation and information to the chosen assessor so that they can confidently answer the relevant questions in PARIS.

Assessors will have access to the complete application in PARIS and should be provided with any training standard or superintendent's policy directive that applies to the program.

If your private career college plans to offer a vocational program for which there is no standard or policy directive in effect, the private career college must provide the assessor with the full description of the vocation as it appears in the 2016  National Occupational Classification (NOC). The 2016 NOC is the version relevant for the purposes of the Private Career Colleges Act, 2005.

The assessor may request further information or ask for changes to the program to meet the training requirements of that vocation.

Conflict of interest

Third-party assessors will be asked to confirm that no conflict of interest exists which may influence the assessment of a private career college program, as outlined in the Superintendent of Private Career College's conflict of interest policy.

Conflict of interest policy

A conflict of interest includes, but is not limited to, any situation or circumstance where an assessor's previous (within the last seven years), current, or future commitments, relationships, or financial interests:

  • could or could be seen to exercise an improper influence over the objective, unbiased, and impartial exercise of the assessor's independent judgement
    or
  • could or could be seen to compromise, impair, or be incompatible with the effective performance of the assessor's obligations as an assessor

Responsibilities of third-party assessors

Within the last seven years, individuals approved as assessors cannot have any previous, current, or future connections to or interests in the programs they review or the private career college that is requesting the review.

Connections or interests that are not permitted include, but are not limited to:

  • program development
  • teaching
  • employment
  • other business or personal relationships related to the program or private career college

Assessors must formally declare that they are not in a conflict of interest in their applications to be:

  • placed on the ministry's pre-approved list of assessors
  • accepted as assessors for every program assessment that they submit to the superintendent

Should a conflict of interest arise during the review process, assessors are asked to inform the superintendent in writing and to cease reviewing the application while the superintendent determines if a conflict of interest exists.

Assessors can contact the ministry at any time to discuss an actual, perceived or potential conflict of interest. Whether an actual, perceived, or potential conflict of interest exists will be determined solely by the Superintendent of Private Career Colleges.

Responsibilities of applicants

The superintendent's decision to register an applicant to operate a private career college is based, in part, on whether the past conduct of the applicant provides grounds for the belief that the applicant will operate a private career college in accordance with the law and with integrity and honesty.

Prior to each program review, applicants must declare that they are not in a conflict of interest with the assessor(s) engaged to review their program and have not had previous (within the last seven years), current or future connections or interests which relate to the assessor.

In addition, should a conflict of interest arise during the review process, applicants must immediately inform the superintendent in writing regarding the nature of the conflict so that appropriate steps can be taken. Failure to immediately inform the superintendent of a conflict of interest may lead to enforcement or other measures being taken under the Private Career Colleges Act, 2005.