Ontario Government Approves New Three-Year Degrees at Colleges
April 13, 2022
THUNDER BAY, ON, April 12, 2022 – The Ontario government’s announcement yesterday that colleges can develop new three-year degree programs is a historic breakthrough that ensures more students will acquire the professional expertise to succeed in their careers.
“This is tremendous news for students, employers and our community,” said Kathleen Lynch, President of Confederation College. “It will create a wealth of new career opportunities for students and will be pivotal to Ontario’s economic renewal.”
The announcement was made yesterday afternoon by Colleges and Universities Minister Jill Dunlop at an event at Conestoga College in Kitchener.
The minister announced colleges can begin developing new three-year degree programs alongside their diploma programs and can expand their range of career-focused four-year degree programs.
“Expanding the degree programs at colleges ensures more students will have access to high-quality, career-focused programs,” Minister Dunlop said. “More students will acquire the expertise and credentials to succeed in today’s job market.”
Currently, most of the programs offered at colleges are diploma programs. Prior to yesterday’s announcement, colleges were only authorized to award degrees to graduates of their career-focused four-year programs.
The announcement recognizes the success of the colleges’ degree programs and brings true equity to Ontario’s post-secondary system. It ensures every student whose education fulfils Ontario’s degree-level requirements is awarded a degree upon graduation.
Expanding the degree programs at colleges will fulfil the growing demand among employers for graduates with more highly specialized qualifications. Confederation College is excited to begin planning which programs should offer a three year applied degree for in-demand jobs.
“Local businesses really benefit when the skill sets they require of their employees to be successful are in their own back yard,” says Joe Quaresima, owner of Sencia, a web design and development business in Thunder Bay. “My business wants to hire qualified, skilled graduates from the region. More options for education not only benefits future students, but the companies that want to hire them.”
This expansion of the colleges’ degree programs also opens the door to more career options for graduates, especially graduates who are looking to advance into management positions.
As well, this benefits companies that promote themselves and their workforce internationally, as most jurisdictions outside Ontario aren’t familiar with the advanced diploma credential.
“Degree holders enjoy more opportunities in our global manufacturing world,” said Guido Benvenuto, the vice president of engineering at Flex-N-Gate, a supplier to the global automotive sector. “This will make a significant difference in our sector.”
“This is a truly historic improvement to post-secondary education,” Kathleen Lynch said. “It builds on our tremendous success and will encourage more students to enrol in programs that both benefit the economy of northwestern Ontario and lead to rewarding careers.”
Confederation College has been serving the citizens of northwestern Ontario since 1967 meeting the educational needs of students in a catchment area of some 550,000 square kilometres. Along with its main campus in Thunder Bay, Confederation College has seven regional sites located in Dryden, Fort Frances, Greenstone, Kenora, Marathon, Sioux Lookout and Red Lake, as well as a growing Distance Education division.
Confederation College delivers exceptional education and training to an average of 7,000 combined full- and part-time students per year and currently has a total of 600 full- and part-time employees. Confederation’s regional economic impact and contribution is valued at $707.3 million annually.