The Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials
The postsecondary education system in New Brunswick is described in CICIC's Postsecondary Education Systems in Canada, Provinces and Territories. The system can be divided into four categories of postsecondary program delivery:
  • universities
  • community colleges
  • apprenticeship
  • private training institutions

Quality assurance mechanisms in New Brunswick's postsecondary education system vary by type of institution and program. They include:

  • legislation (statutes and regulations)
  • affiliation
  • external and internal review
  • provincial registration
  • professional accreditation
  • other organizations related to quality assurance
  • Working Group on University Accountability

Legislation


New Brunswick has four public universities and three private universities established by individual statute. The Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission Act establishes the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission (MPHEC), which has responsibility for all public universities in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. The statute provides the Commission with the responsibility of (a) reviewing all new program and proposed program modification proposals and (b) monitoring the institutions' quality assurance mechanisms. The Commission is directly accountable to the Council of Atlantic Premiers.

Besides these institutions, the Degree Granting Act establishes the New Brunswick government as the sole authority in the designation of degree-granting institutions in the province. The Act also provides the Minister of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour with the authority to conduct periodic institutional and program assessments to determine compliance with the act and regulations. The MPHEC conducts the institutional and program assessments required under the Degree Granting Act process.


Affiliation


New Brunswick's public universities have no formal affiliations with other institutions. Private universities have affiliations with organizations such as the Acadia Divinity College, the Convention of Atlantic Baptist Churches, and the Wesleyan Church.


External and Internal Reviews


The quality of New Brunswick's university programs is addressed in three additional ways. First, programs are evaluated by the universities' own processes of self-study and review conducted in accordance with internal policies and procedures. Second, the MPHEC reviews all new program proposals and all significant changes to existing programs. The Commission focuses on continuous quality improvement of programs and teaching. The overall objective of program reviews is to ascertain the suitability of the program given its objectives, structure, institutional appropriateness, resources, stated student outcomes, and their relevance. Detailed program proposal guidelines are provided to institutions.

The third quality assurance activity is the MPHEC's monitoring of quality assessment procedures used by universities. This is especially important given that the cornerstone of quality assurance is self-assessment by the institutions. The specific objective of the MPHEC monitoring function is to ascertain that the procedures used by institutions to assess the quality of existing programs are performing adequately. The process is formative; institutional policies and practices are reviewed with a view to providing assistance and advice to institutions.

The process pays particular attention to each university's mission and values. MPHEC's quality assurance procedures start with internal reviews by the universities. For details on these procedures, contact the individual institutions.


Professional Accreditation


Many of Canada's regulated professions have associations that conduct accreditation reviews of university programs pertaining to their professions. In these instances, accreditation teams from the professions review reports provided by the universities and may establish criteria for curriculum, provide some staff, and conduct on-site visits in accordance with the policies and procedures established by the professions.


Other Organizations Related to Quality Assurance in Universities


All public universities in New Brunswick are members of Universities Canada. Although the association does not perform formal quality assurance functions, it does maintain membership criteria that address the primary missions of institutions; the range of program offerings; the breadth and depth of programs; the nature of members' 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.

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.


Legislation


The New Brunswick Community Colleges Act governs New Brunswick's community colleges, while the Adult Education and Training Act governs other college-level education, including the New Brunswick College of Craft & Design (NBCCD). The Acts assign responsibility to the minister of Post-Secondary Education, Training, and Labour. The minister's responsibilities include setting policy for non-university postsecondary programs, and funding and general oversight of the College Corporations and the NBCCD.


Affiliation


NBCC, CCNB, and NBCCD do not have any formal affiliations with universities or other colleges.


External and Internal Review


As Crown Corporations, NBCC and CCNB develop new program proposals and conduct internal reviews of existing programs. Program advisory committees with external representation from industry are employed in this process. Proposals on the need for new programs and significant program changes are reviewed by the NBCC management team, according to guidelines approved by the Minister. Those programs identified for analysis are subsequently reviewed to determine if necessary resources are available to deliver the program, following which a decision is made and financial support is determined. Programs that undergo less significant change to curriculum are reviewed by the colleges in consultation with related program advisory committees.

The Apprenticeship and Occupational Certification Act provide the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour with responsibility for the administration of apprenticeship and certification in New Brunswick in designated occupations. The act also establishes the minister-appointed Apprenticeship and Occupational Certification Board and program advisory committees in designated occupations.

The board's main function is to advise the minister on matters relating to apprenticeship including the designation of occupations, prerequisites for entry to the program and guidelines for implementation of training. The department is responsible for approving programs of study; providing periodic tests; supervising all training and approval of facilities; and approving of courses of study in pre-apprenticeship programs.


External and Internal Review


The Apprenticeship and Occupational Certification Board is responsible for developing the curriculum of the in-class portion of apprenticeship training and for providing it to training deliverers. Although there is no prohibition to other deliverers providing this training, NBCC is currently the main provider of in-school apprenticeship training.

Quality of the program delivery is monitored through student surveys, on-site visits, and the success rates of technical training examinations and final examinations (Certificate of Qualifications).

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 provincial Certificate of Trades Qualification 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.


Professional Accreditation


Many of Canada's regulated professions have associations that conduct accreditation reviews of college and institute 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.


Other Organizations Related to Quality Assurance in Colleges and Apprenticeship


The Atlantic Provinces Community College Consortium (APCCC) was established in 1998 as an informal consortium of departments and institutions to enhance cooperation across the community colleges in the four Atlantic provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. The activities, initiatives, and projects of the consortium are designed to reflect the values and principles agreed to by the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) in A Report on Public Expectations of Postsecondary Education in Canada (February 1999). Key areas of performance expectations demonstrating these values and principles include quality and accountability among others. The primary activities of the consortium include sharing information, issues, and solutions and generally promoting consistency, cooperation, joint initiatives, and transferability across institutions. The impact of the consortium on program quality is indirect.

Membership in the Colleges and Institutes Canada is not mandatory for NBCC and CCNB, but they are both members. Colleges and Institutes Canada does not perform formal 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 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.

The Atlantic Apprenticeship Council (AAC) was established to share common concerns and economical opportunities for cooperation among apprenticeship programs in the four Atlantic provinces (Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island). Apprenticeship training programs in the Atlantic provinces ensure consistent standards of achievement by using the same training standards in a large number of trades and Red Seal examinations for Certificates of Qualifications.

The New Brunswick Association of Career Colleges (NBACC) represents the interests of private career colleges across New Brunswick and is affiliated with the National Association of Career Colleges.


Legislation


The Private Occupational Training Act and its regulation, administered by the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour, have been established to regulate private sector training organizations delivering occupational training in a number of disciplines. The legislation is primarily established to provide financial protection for students attending private sector training organizations. In addition to registering the organization, programs, and teacher-instructors, the act and its regulation provide for the establishment of a Training Completions Fund. This fund, administered by a minister-appointed board, may be used to complete the training of students who may be affected by a failure or closure of a registered training organization. The fund can also be used to reimburse students when they are unable to complete their training.

The legislation also provides for a mandatory contract between the training organization and the student. There are a number of elements in the contract pertaining to areas such as competencies expected, teacher-instructor qualifications, course content, maximum class size, and prerequisites for admission. The training organizations are monitored to ensure that the organization is in compliance with the act and its regulation.


External and Internal Review


Information on internal review processes may be obtained from individually registered private vocational schools.

The NBACC provides its membership with Quality Assurance and Instructor Development programs to ensure that colleges are meeting or exceeding the quality standards expected throughout the sector.