The Post-Secondary Learning Act sets out the government authority for public postsecondary education in Alberta. The Act establishes public universities, approving their mandates and restricting the use of the term "university." The Act also provides universities with the power to grant degrees for programs approved by the Minister. The authority of each university to govern itself through the operations of a board of governors appointed by the Minister responsible for advanced education, a senate, and a general faculties council is outlined in the Act. A university's general faculties council and its associated individual faculty councils are, subject to the authority of the board of governors, responsible for the academic affairs of the institution including the determination of all courses of study, the establishment of admission standards and policies, affiliations with other institutions, and academic planning. Four of Alberta's universities are in the Comprehensive Academic Research Institutions (CARI) sector.
The Post-Secondary Learning Act establishes public colleges and technical institutes, giving each college and technical institute the authority to govern itself through the operations of a board of governors in accordance with a ministerially-approved institutional mandate. With the exception of The Banff Centre, the governing boards are appointed by the Minister responsible for advanced education. The Act also requires that each public college and technical institute have an academic council. These councils make reports and recommendations to their boards on a variety of issues including academic policy on standards, programs, courses, and selection, admission and graduation of students. Colleges and technical institutes that meet certain regulation and policy criteria may establish an alternate academic council similar to a general faculties council at a university. Alternate academic councils allow for greater engagement from faculty in academic matters. Public colleges and technical institutes include institutions from four sectors of the Roles and Mandates Policy Framework: Baccalaureate and Applied Studies Institutions (BASI), Polytechnical Institutions (PI), Comprehensive Community Institutions (CCI), and Specialized Arts and Culture Institutions (SACI).
Alberta has five publicly funded private institutions in the Independent Academic Institutions (IAI) sector. They are authorized by the government to offer select degree programs and are not-for-profit, private universities. Some of the IAIs have religious denominational affiliations, students of all faiths are welcome.
The delivery of vocational training programs by private providers in Alberta is governed by the Private Vocational Training Act and Regulation. An occupation, calling, trade or pursuit is defined as a vocation if it requires the application of specialized skills and knowledge and is capable of providing the practitioner with a livelihood. Supporting the six-sector publicly funded postsecondary system, the approximately 150 private trainers offer over 800 licensed programs. Examples of licensed programs include emergency medical services, computer programming, massage, multi-media, hairstyling, acupuncture and early childhood services. The Act and Regulation, along with a link to the list of the private trainers and licensed programs, may be viewed on the Private Career Colleges Branch website.
The Apprenticeship and Industry Training Act and Regulations provide the legislative authority for the apprenticeship and industry training system. The government, through the ministry responsible for advanced education, administers the system and arranges with training establishments to provide the in-school technical training component of the apprenticeship program.
The Act requires that the government appoint an Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training Board. The board's primary responsibility is to establish the standards and requirements for training and certification in programs under the Act. The board also makes recommendations to the Minister responsible for advanced education about the needs of Alberta's postsecondary apprentices, the labour market, and the designation of trades and occupations.