The Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials
The postsecondary education system in Quebec is described in CICIC's Postsecondary Education Systems in Canada, Provinces and Territories. The system includes two major categories of postsecondary program delivery belonging to two education sectors:
  • universities
  • colleges

University programs are offered solely in universities, institutes, and schools recognized under An Act Respecting Educational Institutions at the University Level. By way of illustration, institutions can be recognized under the various provisions of the act:

  • As an institution listed in section 1, subsections 1 to 8 of the Act Respecting Educational Institutions at the University Level
  • As a constituent institution of the Université du Québec established by letters patent issued in accordance with the Act Respecting the Université du Québec
  • As a program offered by institutions recognized under an order-in-council under subsection 13 of section 1 of the Act Respecting Educational Institutions at the University Level
  • As an institution recognized in accordance with an act adopted in accordance with subsection 2 of section 2 of the Act Respecting Educational Institutions at the University Level
College education is offered in four types of institutions:
  • public cégeps (collèges d'enseignement général et professionnel)
  • private subsidized or non-subsidized colleges and institutes
  • public institutions regulated by an authority other than the Ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur du Québec
  • apprenticeship and qualification programs

Quality Assurance Mechanisms


Quality assurance mechanisms in Quebec's postsecondary education system vary by type of institution and program. They include
  • legislation, regulations, orders-in-council, and policies
  • affiliation
  • program equivalency
  • program harmonization
  • external and internal review
  • professional accreditation
  • other mechanisms

Legislation


Although no specific piece of legislation defines the university system, each university was created by royal charter or by special act.

For example, the Université du Québec, founded in 1968, was created under An Act Respecting the Université du Québec that provides for the issuance of letters patent by the government.

An Act Respecting Educational Institutions at the University Level, in which Quebec's university institutions are listed, provides that the term "university" is reserved for the ends set out in the act.

Program quality control is performed via the Bureau de Coopération Interuniversitaire (BCI), a voluntary university coordinating body. Each university has created an assessment policy for existing programs. Assessment practices are reviewed by BCI's Program Evaluation Review Commission (Commission de la vérification de l'évaluation des programmes - CVEP). New programs leading to a university degree (bachelor's, master's, or doctoral) are submitted to BCI's New Program Evaluation Commission (Commission de l'évaluation des projets de programmes - CEP), which renders an opinion as to academic quality.

The Ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur du Québec reviews the opinion. Decisions on funding enrolment in new programs are taken based on the provisions in the document entitled Procédure liée à l'examen d'opportunité des projets de programmes conduisant à un grade présentés au ministre de l'Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport aux fins de financement et Critères d'opportunité utilisés par le Comité des programmes universitaires.

These complementary mechanisms are designed to assess each institution's proposed programs and to ensure the relevance of university program offerings.

University financing is largely provided by the Quebec government. In return, the government expects that institutions will use these funds efficiently and account for their management. University funding policy is designed on the one hand to guarantee the quality of training and research, taking into account the specific situation of each institution, and on the other hand to support the goals set out in the Politique québécoise à l'égard des universités. The Politique québécoise de financement des universités is reflected in budget rules set each year by the Ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur du Québec.


Affiliation


The École Polytechnique (created in 1873) and the École des Hautes Études Commerciales de Montréal (created in 1907) are degree-granting institutions that were created by special acts prior to the creation of the Université de Montréal and that decided in 1920 to conclude an affiliation agreement with the latter institution. This affiliation agreement governs and affirms the status of degrees granted by these institutions as being also degrees granted by the Université de Montréal. The three institutions have separate boards of governors. However, some institutions (either in the same sector or in different sectors) have entered into agreements covering specific programs. Such agreements are governed by protocols that the institutions concerned are responsible for applying. Thus quality control measures are the same as for new programs. Students in those programs have library privileges in all institutions involved, under a BIC-governed agreement.

Such programs exist at all levels and include the following models:
  • joint programs (involving resources from several institutions)
  • extension programs (under the responsibility of the originating institution)
  • network or associated programs (involving two faculties within an institution, or several different institutions)

External and Internal Review


Each institution is required to set a periodic program assessment policy, using its own professors and lecturers as well as students and graduates, employers if appropriate, and external specialists and international experts. These periodic assessment processes are reviewed by BIC's Program Evaluation Review Commission (Commission de vérification de l'évaluation des programmes - CVEP).

Teacher training programs must be approved by the Comité d'agrément des programmes de formation à l'enseignement (CAPFE).


Professional Accreditation


The Regulation respecting the diplomas issued by designated educational institutions which give access to permits or specialist's certificates of professional orders was adopted under the Professional Code. Professional governing bodies ensure that training is adequate to acquire the professional skills required for the practice of a profession. Professional governing bodies generally create an advisory committee on training to review the quality of training in respect of (a) the objectives of training programs leading to a diploma entitling the holder to a licence or specialist certificate; (b) the aims of other conditions for the issuance of a licence or specialist certificate; and (c) diploma or training equivalency standards set out by regulation by the executive committee of the professional governing body and entitling the applicant to a licence or specialist certificate.

The Professional Code provides an overview of Quebec professions and each governing body's procedures. The Office des professions du Québec is responsible for implementing the Code des professions.

Some professional governing bodies (such as the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec) may be members of an association that includes several governing bodies (such as the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers). Such associations may exercise accreditation functions in respect of university training programs, based on Canadian or international standards. However, such certification practices are distinct from the quality assurance mechanisms described above.


Other Mechanisms


In addition to BIC's membership, Quebec universities are also members of the Universities Canada. Universities Canada has adopted quality assurance principles to which leaders of university institutions subscribe. Universities Canada imposes membership criteria that address the primary mission of institutions, the range of program offerings, the breadth and depth of programs, the nature of their relationship with parent institutions, the size of enrolment, institutional focus on scholarship, academic inquiry and research, and compliance with the principles of academic freedom and responsibility. Institutions applying for membership must host an Universities Canada visiting committee that reports to the Universities Canada Board of Directors on a variety of items and recommends a decision on whether the applying institution is providing education of university standard.

Many provincial and pan-Canadian professional associations of administrators and universities are also concerned with promoting quality. Student associations are active as well in ensuring that both programs and conditions of learning are at the highest possible level.

In addition to the l'Office des professions du Québec, the Association of Accrediting Agencies of Canada (AAAC) is a national organization composed of professional associations involved in promoting good practices by its members in accreditation of educational programs.

This education sector, created in 1967, is unique in the world. It provides both a transition between secondary school and university, through two-year pre-university programs, and three-year labour-market-focused technical training programs. College programs lead to the Diplôme d'études collégiales — DEC (diploma of college studies),, granted by the minister, and attestation d'études collégiales — AEC (attestation of college studies)., granted by institutions. Regardless of the DEC program they choose, students undergo a core general-stream program.

The college sector includes 48 public cégeps, 24 subsidized private institutions, 3 public institutions governed by an authority other than the Ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur du Québec, and 26 private licensed institutions. A complete list can be found on the Ministry's Web site.

The Ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur du Québec is responsible for developing pre-university and technical training based on three principles:
  • accessible training adapted to needs
  • harmonized programs between the secondary and college levels
  • sustained cooperation with community partners

The ministry is thus responsible for quality control and evaluation, including
  • defining orientations and strategies
  • identifying and prioritizing program development or review needs
  • assuming responsibility for program evaluation

Programs are delivered by private colleges, cégeps, and other institutions are governed by the quality control rules described below.


Legislation


The public college network is governed by the General and Vocational Colleges Act. Private colleges are governed by An Act Respecting Private Education. The government mandates the minister responsible for the Ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur du Québec to approve all programs and authorize their delivery. Private institutions wishing to offer a DEC or AEC program must also receive a licence from the minister. Institutions are assessed under An Act Respecting the Commission d'Évaluation de l'Enseignement Collégial.


Affiliation


Quebec's colleges and cégeps have no formal affiliations with universities or other colleges or institutes.


External and Internal Review


Quality assessment for programs offered by colleges is provided by the Commission d'évaluation de l'enseignement collégial, which assesses the following in each institution:
  • institutional policies on the evaluation of learning achievement and their implementation;
  • institutional policies on the evaluation of programs of studies, and their implementation;
  • the implementation of curricula set by the minister responsible for the Ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur du Québec, taking into account the objectives and standards assigned to them;
  • the objectives, standards and implementation of the programs of studies established by the institution, taking into account the needs these programs are designed to meet.

In addition, for general and vocational colleges (cégeps) and subsidized private educational institutions, the Commission also evaluates:
  • the activities related to their educational mission as regards administrative and academic planning and management as well as instruction and support services; for cégeps, such evaluation includes an evaluation of their strategic plan.

Quality control is provided systematically both for pre-university and for technical programs under An Act Respecting the Commission d'Évaluation de l'Enseignement Collégial. It is important to note that this process is superimposed on each institution's internal policies.


Other Mechanisms


The Fédération des cégeps is a voluntary grouping of public colleges that plays a key role in ensuring representativeness and cohesiveness in the college network. That organization, together with others including the Conseil du Patronat du Québec, helped set up the Centre de liaison entreprises-éducation, mandated to raise the profile of vocational and technical education.

Cégeps and privates colleges are generally members of the Colleges and Institutes Canadas, whose aims are similar to those of the Fédération des cégeps, but at the pan-Canadian level. In addition, Colleges and Institutes Canada is very active on the international scene and manages joint college-level international funding programs. However, Colleges and Institutes Canada largely focuses on the technical areas, while the Fédération des cégeps is also concerned with pre-university programs. Colleges and Institutes Canada does not perform formal quality assurance functions with respect to its members, but it does promote quality programming and high academic standards by conducting research and facilitating broad discussion on quality assurance issues.


Professional accreditation


The Association of Accrediting Agencies of Canada (AAAC) is a national organization composed of professional associations involved in promoting good practices by its members in accreditation of educational programs.

Some professional governing bodies under the Professional Code are also concerned with the quality of college-level technical training for certain professions. The Conseil interprofessionnel du Québec, under its public protection mandate, is also involved in this area.


Legislation


Private colleges are governed by An Act Respecting Private Education. Institutions are assessed under An Act Respecting the Commission d'évaluation de l'enseignement collégial.

Private institutions are required to obtain a permit issued by the minister and are subject to the same quality control mechanisms as cégeps in terms of obtaining authority to deliver programs leading to a DEC or an AEC.

Private colleges are required to make their status clear in any advertising, especially by specifying those educational services they are authorized to offer the programs for technical specialties set out in their permit. In addition, private colleges are prohibited from implying that their courses of study guarantee a job, from advertising courses in a way that implies that a job offer is involved, or from mentioning any service or program not included in their permit.

Private subsidized institutions deliver pre-university and technical training. This training is governed by the Ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur du Québec. They are represented by the Association des collèges privés du Québec (ACPQ).

Programs delivered by private colleges are also governed by the quality control requirements set out above.

Four institutions are regulated by an authority other than the Ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur du Québec:

Legislation


These public institutions are regulated by specific legislation under an authority other than the Ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur du Québec. However, the minister responsible for the Ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur du Québec approves programs leading to a DEC and authorizes these institutions to deliver them. Like all other public institutions, they are assessed under the An Act Respecting the Commission d'Évaluation de l'Enseignement Collégial.


Affiliation


These institutions have no formal affiliations with universities or other colleges or institutes.


External and Internal Review


Programs delivered by these institutions are also governed by quality assurance requirements set out above.

In Quebec, apprenticeship and qualification programs are generally governed by school boards and are part of secondary-level vocational training.

However, when required to ensure continuity between secondary-level vocational programs and college-level technical programs, the development of technical curricula takes into account the provisions of various applicable acts, including An Act Respecting Workforce Vocational Training and Qualification.


Legislation


The An Act Respecting Workforce Vocational Training and Qualification establishes vocational training and qualification programs. These programs may in particular determine
  • the activities that are part of a trade or vocation
  • the conditions for admission to apprenticeship and examinations and for obtaining a certificate of qualification
  • the subjects of the examinations and the certificates of qualification awarded upon completion of the programs
  • the fees to be paid for taking examinations and for issuing or renewing a certificate of qualification and an apprentice booklet
  • any other related or supplementary provision deemed necessary for the efficient implementation of these programs

The government may make regulations consistent with this act to ensure the efficient carrying out thereof. It may in particular
  • determine the qualification required to carry on trades or vocations
  • render obligatory apprenticeship and the certificate of qualification for the carrying on of a given trade or vocation
  • determine the conditions for admission to apprenticeship and to the examinations for qualification, for obtaining and renewing certificates of qualification, and generally for admission to the carrying on of trades or vocations
  • determine the number of persons who may be admitted to apprenticeship in a trade or vocation in relation to the number of qualified employees in an enterprise or in a given territory and determine, after consultation with the parties concerned, the rate of the minimum wage of an apprentice in relation to the wages of a qualified employee
  • determine the subjects of the examinations for qualification and the certificates to which they lead
  • fix the fees to be paid for taking examinations and for issuing or renewing a certificate of qualification
  • generally, adopt any other related or supplementary provision for the efficient carrying out of this act and for the proper functioning of the bodies which it establishes, including any exceptional provision to facilitate the implementation of intergovernmental agreements in respect of workforce mobility or the recognition of the qualifications, skills, or work experience in trades or vocations


External and Internal Review


The mandate of the Direction de l'Apprentissage (Apprenticeship Branch) is to promote the development and recognition of workforce skills to respond to labour market needs.

The branch manages the qualification plan, the apprenticeship program, and regulated professional qualifications; administers the Interprovincial Standards "Red Seal" Program to promote employment mobility; devises notebooks and guides for the introduction of new occupations within the qualification plan; devises and administers qualification exams for apprentices in regulated occupations; and provides the support and consulting expertise pertaining to management of optional and regulated plans to all the regions.


Professional Accreditation


Accreditation of apprenticeship and qualification programs is governed by the applicable acts.

Universities


Acts governing university teaching and research administered by the Ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur du Québec:

Colleges


The following acts governing college education are administered by the Ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur du Québec:

College education administered by a ministry other than the Ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur du Québec



Apprenticeship and Qualification


Provincial legislation can be accessed through the Internet.




Comprehensive review of this information: January 2019