Bill 53 undermines university autonomy in managing programs and admissions

MONTREAL, Nov. 19 /CNW Telbec/ - The Conference of Rectors and Principals of Quebec Universities (CREPUQ) appeared today before the Commission des institutions to present the position of Quebec university establishments with regard to Bill 53, An Act to create the office of Commissioner for complaints concerning mechanisms for the recognition of professional competence.

Under the proposed legislation, the Office des professions du Québec, in cooperation with the Ministère de l'Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport, is responsible for taking measures to ensure that educational institutions and professional orders collaborate so that if a professional order requires a person to acquire additional training, the training is in fact offered by an educational institution and the person is permitted by the institution to take the training.

The bill thus challenges the autonomy that universities have enjoyed for the last 40 years, and which constitutes one of the most significant factors in their remarkable success. Such autonomy is of critical importance, particularly in those areas at the core of a university's mission, i.e. the development and management of programs, and admission policies and procedures.

Quebec universities believe that, in order to fulfil their educational mission, they must preserve the autonomy they have always been recognized to have with regard to establishing and running programs, and determining admission procedures.

"Quebec universities are in favour of creating supplemental training programs and are well aware of the importance of providing such programs, so that professionals educated outside Canada may acquire the additional skills they need to practise in Quebec. However, such training must exist within a system that respects both a university's freedom to decide which programs shall be offered and its capacity to determine who shall be allowed to take them," noted Université Laval Rector and CREPUQ Vice-President Denis Brière, who is representing the universities in this matter.

"For many years, our universities have worked in cooperation with the professional orders to develop supplemental training programs. What's more, the government's objectives are clearly reflected in an agreement in principle on additional university training, which CREPUQ and the Conseil interprofessionnel du Québec are in the process of finalizing, in cooperation with the Ministère de l'Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport, the Ministère de l'Immigration et des Communautés culturelles, the Ministère des Relations internationales and the Office des professions. Under this agreement, training programs developed in partnership by a professional order and a university establishment will make it possible for people trained outside Canada to attend university to acquire the additional skills and education they need to be allowed to practice by the order in question. Given this, the legislative framework provided by Bill 53 seems superfluous," added Daniel Zizian, CEO of CREPUQ.

CREPUQ represents Quebec's 18 universities, acting on their behalf in relations with government and higher education authorities. It also fosters cooperation between universities, serves as a research centre for university administrations, acts as a centre for coordination and joint service delivery and is a resource centre and think tank for its members.


For further information: For further information: Chantal Pouliot, Director of Communications, Conference of Rectors and Principals of Quebec Universities, (514) 288-8524, ext. 244

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