Private Career Colleges (PCC): Operating a Private Career College in Ontario

Operating a Private Career College in Ontario

Conditions of Registration


Private career colleges are required to have adequate insurance to protect their facilities, officers, employees, agents and volunteers against claims due to accidents incurred by students while attending the school or another required location (i.e. liability insurance)

Trust Account for International Student Fees

A private career college is required to establish a trust account to hold fees paid by international students if:

  1. At time of applying for renewal of registration the private carer college had more than 50% percent international students in the previous year.
  2. At the time of registration it is expected that a private career college will have more than 50% international students in its first year of operation.
  3. The Superintendent determines that there are reasonable grounds to believe that international students at the private career college will be at risk of not receiving required refunds. The Superintendent will consider the following in determining whether reasonable grounds existed:
    • Whether the private career college has failed to comply with the refund policy in relation to international students in the past
    • The financial viability of the private career college
    • The number and nature of complaints made by international students about the operation and practices of the private career college or the operation and practices of the applicant prior to registration as a private career college

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College Administration and Record Keeping

Student Contracts

You must provide a signed written contract to each student that enrols in a program at your college. It is important to note that you are not allowed to require a student to obtain a particular product or service as a condition of admission into the program. Please refer to the ministry sample contract (PDF, 180 KB) for more information on required sections and appropriate language to use in your contracts with students for approved programs. You cannot use this contract for any non-vocational programs you may be offering.

Student Transcripts

Student transcript information may be kept at the campus he/she attends or after September 18, 2007, by an approved offsite record-keeper. Students have the right to access their transcript for 25 years after they leave the college. Students may request a copy of the transcript from you or the approved offsite record-keeper.

Student Complaint Procedure

Effective January 1, 2007, you are required to have a student complaint procedure in place to resolve issues arising between your college and students.

Students must first go through your student complaint procedure before filing a complaint with the Superintendent of Private Career Colleges. Students can access the Ministry Student Complaint Form from the website.

Record Keeping

The reference chart below indicates the type, location and time period that specific records must be stored. These records should be available at all times for inspection by ministry staff.


Record Keeping Location

Record Keeping Period

Each Student File

  • full name, sex, date of birth, residential address while enrolled, permanent address, phone numbers at the residential and permanent address, any cell phone number or e-mail address
  • a record of the results of any academic evaluations
  • a copy of the signed contract
  • a copy of evidence verifying that the student has met the admission requirements
  • copies of the withdrawal or expulsion letter, any refund calculation and any refund cheque issued, if applicable
  • a copy of all receipts of fee payments issued


3 years from the date the student left the private career college

Student Transcripts

Campus or approved off-site record-keeper

Before the student leaves the private career college, keep the transcript at your campus or an off-site facility. If the transcript is kept at an off-site facility, the private career college is still required to retrieve it at the student's request.

Approved off-site record-keeper

Within 90 Days from the date the student left the private career college

Student Complaint Procedure


Always keep an up-to-date copy


  • text of the advertisement
  • the period during which the advertisement was published or broadcasted
  • translation of text, if applicable
  • signed testimonial, endorsement or opinion, if applicable
  • signed statement from a regulatory body or professional/occupational association/organization, if applicable
  • signed statement from a government representative, if applicable
  • signed statement from an officer or director of a post-secondary educational institution, if applicable

Campus or approved head office

1 year from the last date of publication or broadcast

Insurance Policy

  • insurance related to the private career college
  • insurance related to programs, if applicable


Always keep an up-to-date copy

Trust Account Administration, if applicable

Such record keeping requirements as may be imposed by the Superintendent

Program's Description

Campus or approved head office

6 years from the date of program approval

Registration Certificate


Always display the current certificate where it can be seen by students and the public

Copy of legislation and regulations


Always keep an up-to-date copy available to students if requested during normal business hours

Personal Data Forms for Instructors


Always keep an up-to-date copy for all instructors currently employed

Training Completion Plan for Each Program


Always keep an up-to-date copy

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Keeping the Ministry Informed

Substantial Changes to Approved Programs

You are prohibited from making a substantial change to an approved vocational program without the Superintendent's approval.

Change in Student Complaint Procedure

You must report and get the prior approval of the Superintendent of Private Career Colleges before making changes to your student complaint procedure.

Change in Ownership

You are required to give the Superintendent notice of any change in the ownership of the college at least 30 days before the change occurs. This includes substantial transfers of assets of the college, transfer of shares in a corporation that would impact the makeup of the corporation's board of directors, or a change in partners within a partnership. Please refer to Fact Sheet #7 – Change of Ownership (PDF, 120 KB) for more information on the requirements of the Private Career Colleges Act, 2005.

Other Changes

If you intend to discontinue a program after it has started and have students enrolled in it, you must give the Superintendent at least 14 days notice before the program is discontinued. You must also provide confirmation of the training completion plan or fee refund arrangements made with students. Contact your Program Consultant immediately if you are considering this option for your approved vocational program.

It is particularly important that the ministry have a working e-mail address in order to be able to send correspondence to your private career college.

You must give the Superintendent 30 days written notice of a proposed change in the address of the college's head office or any of its campuses. If you intend on making changes in the address for service, the operating or legal name you must notify the Superintendent at least 10 days in advance of the change.

You are required to notify the Superintendent in writing of any change in the person responsible for the administration of the college or in the e-mail address, phone number and fax number for the college's head office and for any of its campuses within 5 days of the change occurring.

You are also required to notify the Superintendent within 5 days of making changes to your Training Completion Plan.

In all cases, fill out the Notification of Change Form available on the website and submit it to the ministry.

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All instructors employed by a private career college are required to:

  • Hold a Bachelor degree from an Ontario university or an equivalent degree, or
  • Be a graduate of a College of Applied Arts and Technology or equivalent, or
  • Be a graduate of a registered private career college or equivalent, or
  • Be the holder of a Certificate of Qualification under the Trades Qualifications and Apprenticeship Act or the Apprenticeship Certification Act or equivalent Canadian certificate, and
  • Have 24 months occupational experience in the vocation to be taught


  • Have 36 months of teaching experience in the vocation for which instruction is given and
  • 24 months occupational experience in the vocation to be taught


  • Have 48 months of occupational experience in the vocation for which instruction is given

A person employed as of September 18, 2006 and who was qualified to teach under the old Private Career Colleges Act can continue to be employed as an instructor even if they are not qualified under the new Private Career Colleges Act, 2005.

If the vocation is governed by a regulatory body that specifies the qualifications required of instructors, the instructors at the private career college also have to meet those qualifications. The Superintendent will also be able to approve other instructors that are deemed to be proficient in the subject and/or vocation to be taught. If you would like to seek approval for an instructor that does not meet the qualifications listed above submit the Instructor Personal Data Form detailing their credentials to the Superintendent. Private career colleges may employ substitute instructors that do not meet the requirements as long as the total amount of the program taught by all unqualified instructors does not exceed 10%.

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Fee Schedule for Private Career Colleges

Effective April 1, 2018*

PCCs are required to pay fees in respect of various services provided by the Ministry, such as reviewing registration applications and program approvals. The following is a schedule of fees set by the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development under section 7 of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Act:

Activity Itemization Total Fee
Application for Registration to
Operate a Private Career College
Application fee of $1,955 (including
one campus and one program) plus facility inspection fee ($490 + HST)
Application for Registration of a
New Campus of a Private
Career College
Application fee of $1,221 (including
one program) plus facility inspection fee
($490 + HST)
Notification of change of
college location
Facility inspection fee ($490 + HST) $553.70
Approval of a New Program Approval fee for a new program $733.00
Approval of a program offered at
an existing campus
Approval fee if the program is already being
offered by the private career college
Application for renewal
of registration
Annual renewal of registration fee including
one campus and one program
Late application for renewal
of registration
Penalty fee at 50% (if application is submitted
six months + one day after the PCC's
fiscal year-end)
Application for renewal of programs Annual renewal of programs fee for each
additional program
Late application for renewal of programs Penalty fee at 50% (for each additional
program if application is submitted six months
+ one day after the PCC's fiscal year-end)

*Fees are non-refundable with the exception of inspection fees, if an inspection has not yet been conducted.

Fee Schedule for Private Career Colleges (PDF, 25 KB)

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Fee Collection and Refunds

Fee Collection

All compulsory fees in relation to a vocational program are published on the website. You are only allowed to charge or collect a compulsory fee for a program that has been published on the website. All fees you charge or collect for a program must be in Canadian dollars. You are only allowed to charge an optional fee in relation to a vocational program that was disclosed at the time of your program approval or has since been authorized by the Superintendent.

Before an enrolment contract is signed you are prohibited from collecting any fees from prospective students, except 20% of the total fees for a program or $500, whichever is less. These fees must be collected in relation to processing an application or conducting any admission tests or assessments. Effective September 18, 2006 when you enter into contracts with international students you can only collect up to 25% of fees payable in relation to the vocational program before the program begins.


Students are entitled to a full refund if they withdraw from a program within 2 days of signing their enrolment contract. After this two day period, a student withdrawing from the program before it begins is entitled to receive a full refund of fees paid minus 20% of the total fees for the program (to a maximum of $500).

To ensure that there is a clear understanding that a student has withdrawn, the student should notify the college in writing. Students do not have to give a reason for their withdrawal from a program. The letter can be sent by e-mail, fax, registered mail or delivered in person. This action eliminates any disputes or confusion over the effective date of withdrawal, which in turn can affect the amount of refund due to the student. Being told that an international student has been denied a study visa is the same as receiving a written notice of withdrawal.

If the student withdraws from a program after the program begins, the student may be entitled to a refund of fees paid for the program, depending on how much of the program has been delivered by a private career college. In most cases, the college is allowed to retain 20% of the total fees for the program or $500, whichever is less, plus the fees paid with respect to the portion of the program that has been delivered by the college.

All refunds must be paid in Canadian dollars. Refunds must be paid within 30 days of a student's notice of withdrawal from the program or within 45 days of the start of the program if a contract is cancelled because a student does not attend classes.

For more information on refunds and collection of fees, including examples of refund calculations, please consult the Private Career Colleges Act, 2005 : Fact Sheet #2 – Collection of Fees and Refunds (PDF, 79 KB).

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Renewal of Registration

The Private Career Colleges Act, 2005 requires that private career colleges renew their registration with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities on an annual basis based on their fiscal year-end date. Additional information regarding the renewal process will be provided as soon as possible. Thank you for your continued patience during this transition period.

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