Quality assurance practices for postsecondary institutions in Nunavut

The postsecondary education system in Nunavut is described in CICIC's Postsecondary Education Systems in Canada, Provinces and Territories. The system can be divided into two categories of postsecondary program delivery:
  • Colleges
  • Apprenticeship
Quality assurance mechanisms in Nunavut's postsecondary education system vary by type of program. They include:
  • legislation (statutes and regulations)
  • external and internal review
  • professional accreditation


The Nunavut Arctic College Act establishes the only community college in Nunavut. Nunavut Arctic College is responsible for delivering adult and postsecondary programs, including the delivery of university-level programs through agreements with particular universities and the granting of certificates and diplomas. The right to deliver university-level programs and grant prescribed university degrees and applied bachelor's degrees has been accorded to public colleges in Nunavut through legislation. However, all degree programs delivered in Nunavut are currently offered through partnerships with educational institutions in other Canadian jurisdictions. The Minister of Education is responsible for postsecondary education, while the Minister of the Department of Family Services, is responsible for Apprenticeship, Career Development and Student Financial Assistance. A separate minister, the Minister of Nunavut Arctic College is responsible for the college, and oversees the establishment of programs and courses and determining college operational policies.

The Nunavut Arctic College Act establishes a board of governors for Nunavut Arctic College, which is accountable to the Minister of Nunavut Arctic College. The Board is also responsible for recommending to the Minister priorities for programs and courses, establishing college admission requirements, and making bylaws with respect to academic standards. The Board must submit an annual report to the Minister for tabling at the Legislature. Under the Nunavut Arctic College Act, the Minister may appoint a person to investigate any matter connected with the management, administration, or operation of the college. The Minister may also appoint an administrator of the college if it is in the public interest to do so.

External and Internal Review

College programs undergo evaluation. The framework for review follows standard evaluation practices common in the Canadian college environment and includes consultation with a broad range of stakeholders to ensure credibility and usefulness. The Department of Education is responsible for undertaking the review and designation of programs for Nunavut Arctic College for the purposes of financial assistance eligibility. There are no review organizations outside of the Government of Nunavut to which the college is formally accountable to ensure program quality; however, the President of the Board of Governors for Nunavut Arctic College is required to report to the Minister for approval of new programs and significant changes to existing programs.

Professional Accreditation

Many of Canada's regulated professions have associations that conduct accreditation reviews of college programs pertaining to their professions. In these instances, accreditation teams from the professions review reports provided by the colleges and may conduct on-site visits in accordance with the policies and procedures established by the professions.


Apprenticeship training in Nunavut comprises a combination of workplace training and educational class instruction. The Apprenticeship, Trade and Occupations Certification Act establishes the Nunavut government as the public authority responsible for apprenticeship. The Act establishes a Nunavut Apprenticeship, Trade and Occupations Certification Board. The Board's main function is to advise the Minister of Family Services on matters relating to training and the certification of people in designated trades and occupations. In advising the Minister, the Board draws upon the expertise of local Apprenticeship Advisory Committees appointed by the department's Supervisor of Apprenticeship, Trade and Occupations Certification.

The Regulations under the Act also provide the government with extensive authority to regulate apprenticeships. The Regulations address qualifications for apprenticeship, establish standards for examinations, and provide for inspection of training. The Regulations also provide the department's Supervisor of Apprenticeship, Trade and Occupations Certification with the authority to establish the contents of and standards for the in-school portion of apprenticeship training. The Supervisor must approve the location of trade instruction courses, the major pieces of equipment used in the instruction, the instructional materials, and the curriculum. The regulation also directly addresses instructor qualifications.

External and Internal Review

The Department of Family Services administers all aspects of apprenticeship training within the territory. Apprentices and tradespersons are registered in the program and monitored while gaining experience on the worksite. Apprentices attend technical training to fulfill the requirements for certification.

Quality of programming is monitored through mechanisms such as operational reviews, board reports, and graduate and employer satisfaction surveys. Nunavut Arctic College, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) and Aurora College in the Northwest Territories deliver most of the in-school educational class instruction in apprenticeship programs. The Nunavut Apprenticeship Review Board, made up of industry representatives and government conducts the accreditation reviews for all the trades training at Nunavut Arctic College.

An Interprovincial Standards "Red Seal" Program promotes and facilitates the standardization of provincial and territorial apprenticeship training, as well as the regular updating of national trades standards in order to reflect the ongoing technological changes taking place in all trades. The Canadian provinces and territories developed the Red Seal program in cooperation with the federal government (Employment and Social Development Canada) to standardize trade skill requirements and provide greater employment mobility throughout Canada. A Certificate of Trades Qualifications bearing the Red Seal provides training recognition in most jurisdictions throughout Canada. For employers in other jurisdictions, the Red Seal is an assurance of quality training and certification to nationally recognized standards.

Other Organizations Related to Quality Assurance in Colleges and Apprenticeship

Nunavut Arctic College is a member of the Colleges and Institutes Canada. Colleges and Institutes Canada does not perform quality assurance functions with respect to its members, but it does promote quality programming and the use of high academic standards by conducting research and facilitating broad discussion on quality assurance issues.

The Department of Education is a member of the Association of Accrediting Agencies of Canada (AAAC). AAAC is a national organization composed of professional associations involved in promoting good practices in accreditation of educational programs. Information on the activities of these professions with colleges and universities can be accessed through the AAAC Web site.

There are no private training organizations in Nunavut.