Application for a permit for a private educational institution at the college level

In Québec, college education is the gateway to higher education. It contributes to students’ personal development and professional integration and allows them, at the end of their training, to either continue their studies at a university or enter the job market.

Any legal person or body seeking, for its own account and for profit or non-profit purposes, to operate a private educational institution in order to provide college instruction services must apply for a permit to become a private educational institution at the college level. A permit from the Ministère de l’Enseignement Supérieur (MES) is required to offer educational services leading to a Diploma of College Studies (DCS) or an Attestation of College Studies (ACS).

Private college education in Québec falls within the following legal and regulatory framework:

Submitting an application

Starting September 2, 2020, applications for a permit to offer educational services for the 2022-2023 school year must be submitted through the ETAPE system.

To obtain a permit, the applicant must follow the steps below. The program of study may be offered in either French or English. However, all forms and documents filed with the Ministère must be in French in accordance with the government language policy.

  1. Determine the level of educational services (vocational training or college) and the type of certification (attestation or diploma) for which the permit is issued by consulting the list of college programs of study or the InforoutFPT.org Cet hyperlien s'ouvrira dans une nouvelle fenêtre. website. For college, the educational services lead to a DCS or an ACS. For vocational training, the educational services lead to a DVS or an AVS. If such is the case, please contact the Direction de l’enseignement privé Cet hyperlien s'ouvrira dans une nouvelle fenêtre..
  2. Complete all sections of the ETAPE form Cet hyperlien s'ouvrira dans une nouvelle fenêtre. (in French only) and attach all required documents. The form must be submitted no later than September 1 preceding the school year the institution plans to open. A user code and password are required to access the form. To obtain them, please fill out the ETAPE system access request form (in French only) and return it by email , along with the resolution of the board of directors.

    Training videos on how to use the ETAPE system are available Cet hyperlien s'ouvrira dans une nouvelle fenêtre. (in French only). Videos 1, 2, 5 and 6 cover the college sector.
  3. Show that the institution has the required and appropriate human and material resources as well as sufficient financial resources to provide the educational services referred to in the application. The following documents must be attached to the ETAPE form.
    • Human resources:
      Include the curricula vitae of prospective administrative and teaching staff and the organization chart of the institution. The staff should include people with experience working in Québec colleges.
    • Material resources:
      Include the certificate of occupancy or an official document issued by the municipality, the fire safety certificate, the floor plan of the building and a description of the premises and equipment. If the building is leased, the lease or draft lease must also be provided. If it involves future construction or renovation of a building, the project schedule, the act of ownership or the document certifying the option to purchase the land where the building will be erected, an estimate of the cost of the work carried out by the selected construction company or by an architect, as well as the down payment or the offer of financing from a financial institution for the project must also be attached. If the building is a new acquisition, the purchase contract or offer to purchase must also be attached.
    • Financial resources:
      If the applicant is already in business, i.e. has been registered in the Registraire des entreprises du Québec for one year or more, the company’s audited financial statements with accompanying notes must be submitted, in accordance with Canadian Auditing Standards. These financial statements must be up to date (correspond to the end date of the company’s last fiscal year). The independent auditor’s report must be signed by the auditor, who must be licensed to practise in Canada. All these documents must be in French.
      If the applicant is not already in business, i.e. has been registered in the Registraire des entreprises du Québec for less than a year, the company’s audited opening balance sheet with accompanying notes must be submitted, in accordance with Canadian Auditing Standards. The independent auditor’s opening balance sheet must be signed by the auditor, who must be licensed to practise in Canada. All these documents must be in French.
      If the applicant is already in business elsewhere in Canada or in the world and has been registered in the Registraire des entreprises du Québec for less than a year, the company’s audited opening balance sheet with accompanying notes must, in accordance with Canadian Auditing Standards, detail the financial resources made available to its division in Québec. The independent auditor’s opening balance sheet must be signed by the auditor, who must be licensed to practise in Canada. All these documents must be in French.
  4. Attach other documents to the ETAPE form, including:
  5. Pay the required fee should the permit be granted. This fee will be requested once the file has been finalized and the application has been authorized by the Ministère. The amount is set out in section 7 of the Regulation respecting the application of the Act respecting private education Cet hyperlien s'ouvrira dans une nouvelle fenêtre..

Development of a program of study

The program(s) of study leading to an ACS for which a permit application is submitted must be developed according to the competency-based approach model in effect in Québec. To develop a program, you can refer to the following documents:

  • Vocational training program design and development guide
  • Balises de codification et de modification des programmes d’études conduisant à une attestation d’études collégiales (AEC) [guidelines for the codification and modification of programs of study leading to an Attestation of College Studies (ACS)] (in French only), available upon request at this email address

Issue of a permit

The Ministère processes the file and the application is generally processed between September 1 and June 30 of the school year. Additional information may be requested to complete the application, if necessary.

After a preliminary analysis of the application and if the application is admissible and complies with ministerial requirements, the main steps in the file process are as follows:

  • analyzing the ETAPE application in full
  • analyzing the program of study
  • visiting the institution
  • submitting the analysis report to the Commission consultative de l’enseignement privé (CCEP) Cet hyperlien s'ouvrira dans une nouvelle fenêtre.
  • receiving the CCEP’s recommendation
  • drafting a ministerial note
  • receiving the ministerial authorities’ decision
  • submitting the ministerial decision, in writing, to the institution

Foreign students

In order to welcome foreign students for training lasting more than six months, private educational institutions must first hold a permit from the Ministère before obtaining a designated learning institution number. This means that they must first complete the process of applying for a permit.

Should the institution obtain a permit, the Ministère will follow up on the application for a designated learning institution number.

Additional information

Should the issue of a permit be authorized, the Ministère will follow up with the college to ensure that it has the following institutional policies in place:

A college holding a permit from the Ministère is also required to submit the following every year:

  • data in the Ministère’s various computer systems, including data on student enrolment and success
  • an accountability report
  • its audited financial statements

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Dates

The deadline for submitting an application for a permit is September 1 preceding the school year the institution plans to open.

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