Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Bill 48: Post-Secondary Education Act, sponsored by the Department of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE), received second reading in the Legislative Assembly on March 14, 2019 and was referred to the Standing Committee on Social Development (committee) for review, the results of which are reported below.
Bill 48 proposes to create a structure for recognizing post-secondary institutions within the Northwest Territories (NWT). In summary, Bill 48:
- prohibits the establishment or operation of a university without the consent of the Minister and an act of the Legislative Assembly;
- prohibits the granting of a degree or the offering of any degree program without the authorization of the Minister;
- allows a college to be recognized under the act if its establishment or operation has the consent of the Minister and is authorized by an act of the Legislative Assembly;
- provides, with exceptions, that, before a consent or authorization can be given for any of the above, the Minister must have received a recommendation from a post-secondary education advisory committee or a quality assurance body;
- provides for the recognition and regulation of private training institutions and vocational training programs, including the issuance of certificates of registration and providing for the appointment of a director of private vocational training;
- requires reporting by public post-secondary institutions that receive regular and ongoing funding from the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) and by other institutions, including those that receive grants or contributions;
- requires public institutions to seek ministerial approval of tuition fees, regularly evaluate programs, prepare a mandate statement as well as strategic and corporate plans, and prepare and submit annual operating and capital budgets; and
- contains provisions with respect to information sharing, enforcement, and offences and penalties.
The term "consent" in Bill 48 refers to agreement from the Minister in response to a request from an applicant that the entity may move to the next step of being established as a post-secondary institution, specifically a college or university. On receiving the Minister's consent, an entity may then seek "authorization" for its establishment as a college or university in the form of legislation passed by the Legislative Assembly setting out the details of the particular institution. In the case of other institutions, such as an out-of-territory university, authorization would be required from the Minister rather than the Legislative Assembly.
At this time, Mr. Speaker, I would like to turn it over to the honourable Member for Yellowknife Centre. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.