Cutting red tape for post-secondary program approvals

The new process eliminates unnecessary application requirements, enables post-secondary institutions to undertake independent reviews and improves turnaround time for program approvals. In total, government has reduced the information required for a review by 70 per cent and shortened approval times to 20 working days for new certificates or diplomas and 40 working days for new degree programs. Previously, these would take anywhere from one to two months to a year.

“Post-secondary institutions have raised concerns that the program approval process can be burdensome and time-consuming. We agree and that’s why we have taken these important steps to make the process work better for everyone. These changes will allow post-secondary institutions the ability to more readily develop and deliver new programming that will prepare Albertans for a constantly evolving job market.”

Demetrios Nicolaides, Minister of Advanced Education

Streamlining the approval process was also a commitment made in the Alberta 2030: Building Skills for Jobs Strategy, part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan. This change builds on government’s commitment to cut red tape and contributes to Advanced Education’s 15.3 per cent reduction in regulatory requirements for 2020-21 – more than three per cent above the government-wide target.

“The University of Calgary appreciates the collaborative approach taken by the Government of Alberta to reduce approval times for new programs. The University of Calgary is committed to offering innovative programs that respond to the needs of our students and prepare them for the jobs of the future.”

Ed McCauley, president and vice-chancellor, University of Calgary

“The Government of Alberta's continued efforts to reduce red tape will help to improve the ability of post-secondary institutions to be nimble and responsive in our program offerings and support Albertans. This will aid our capacity to respond to industry and learner demands as Alberta's economy continues to recover and diversify.”

Dr. David Ross, SAIT president and CEO

“We welcome the new streamlined approval process that will accelerate our ability to deliver new programming in pace with industry’s evolving needs. This government’s commitment to reducing red tape in the post-secondary sector will empower institutions to be nimbler and more innovative in our approach to preparing career ready graduates.”

Laura Jo Gunter, NAIT president and CEO

“Alberta’s universities play a critical role in supporting the economic growth and diversification of our province. Reducing program approval times will allow institutions to be even more responsive to economic and social challenges.”

Dr. Mike Mahonpresident and vice-chancellor, University of Lethbridge

“Last year, students wanted to see developments that would provide them with better opportunities in Alberta. It’s encouraging to see the Government deliver on their promise with an accelerated pathway for students to access the education they need.”

Natalie Sarzynski, vice-chair of the Alberta Students' Executive Council


The revised process for program approvals makes the following key changes, which came into effect this past summer:

  • Reduced the system coordination review template from 12 to five pages, with a more than 70 per cent reduction in the data elements collected.
  • Implemented a new service standards and responsiveness policy that will ensure predictable turnaround times for the system coordination review of 20 working days for new certificates and diplomas and 40 working days for new degree programs.
  • Introduced a delegated new program approval status to enable institutions to take ownership of degree quality oversight based on their own internal processes.