Membership criteria

Three categories of membership

Institutional members

Institutional members shall be those universities and colleges named in the Schedule to the Act of Parliament incorporating the Association and such other Canadian universities and university-degree level colleges as are from time to time approved for Institutional Membership by the Board and subsequently approved by a vote of the Voting members, provided that each of such universities and university-degree level colleges, including those federated with, affiliated to or a constituent portion of a university, shall satisfy the following conditions:

1. It has the powers it purports to exercise pursuant to authority granted by the Crown or by Statute or by formal agreement with its affiliated or federated university, or the university of which it is a constituent portion;

2. It has governance and an administrative structure appropriate to a university, including:

  • Authority vested in academic staff for decisions affecting academic programs including admissions, content, graduation requirements/standards, and related policies and procedures through membership on an elected academic senate or other appropriate elected body representative of academic staff;
  • An independent board of governors, or appropriate equivalent, that:
    • is committed to public accountability and functions in an open and transparent manner
    • has control over the institution’s finances, administration and appointments
    • includes appropriate representation from the institution’s external stakeholders (including the general public), from academic staff, from students and from alumni
    • and uses the institution’s resources to advance its mission and goals.
  • A senior administration normally including a president and vice-presidents and/or other senior officers appropriate to the size of the institution and the range of its activities.

3. It has an approved, clearly articulated and widely known and accepted mission statement and academic goals that are appropriate to a university and that demonstrate its commitment to:

  • teaching and other forms of dissemination of knowledge;
  • research, scholarship, academic inquiry and the advancement of knowledge;
  • service to the community.

4. It has as its core teaching mission the provision of education of university standard with the majority of its programs at that level.

5. It offers a full program or programs of undergraduate and/or graduate studies that animate its mission and goals, and that lead to a university degree or degrees conferred by itself or, if federated or affiliated with, or a constituent of a university, by the parent institution. Indicators will include:

  • Highly qualified academic staff holding the PhD or other appropriate terminal degree, and relevant professional experience where appropriate
  • Undergraduate programs taught by senior academic staff
  • A quality assurance policy that results in cyclical or continuous assessment of all of its academic programs and support services, and which includes the participation by those directly involved in delivery of the program or service, as well as by other institutional colleagues and external experts and stakeholders
  • Provision for the periodic evaluation of the performance of academic staff including a student assessment component
  • Access to library and other learning resources appropriate to the institution’s mission, goals and programs
  • The periodical monitoring of graduate outcomes, and established and transparent processes for disseminating this information inside and outside the institution
  • Academic counselling and other student services appropriate to its programs
  • Financial resources to meet its mission statement and goals

6. Its undergraduate degree programs are characterized by breadth and depth in the traditional areas of the liberal arts and/or sciences, and first degrees of a professional nature – such as medicine, law, teacher education, engineering – have a significant liberal arts and/or sciences component.

7. It has a proven record of scholarship, academic inquiry and research, expects its academic staff to be engaged in externally peer reviewed research and to publish in externally disseminated sources, and provides appropriate time and institutional support for them to do so. Indicators of this commitment will include policies and programs pertaining to the creation of knowledge, the development of curriculum and the execution of research projects.

8. Its approach to the protection of academic freedom respects the spirit of the Universities Canada Statement on Academic Freedom which was approved by the membership on October 25, 2011 and as may be amended by the membership from time to time.

9. If it is a constituent of an Institutional Member, its application for membership is supported by its parent institution.

10. It operates on a not-for-profit basis.

11. It satisfies the Board, after receiving a report by a visiting committee appointed by the Board, that it is providing education of university standard and meets the criteria for membership in the Association.

12. With respect to all institutional policies and practices, the institution affirms its commitment to equal treatment of all persons without discrimination, on the basis of race, religious beliefs, colour, gender, physical or mental disability, age, ancestry, place of origin, marital status, family status, sex, and sexual orientation, or other grounds identified in applicable human rights law.

An institution that does not meet all of the criteria for membership may not re-apply for a period of three (3) years.

(Universities Canada members are invited to reaffirm their adherence to the criteria for membership in the association every five years commencing in 2005.)

Regional and provincial members

Regional and provincial members shall be the Association of Atlantic Universities, the Bureau de coopération interuniversitaire, the Council of Ontario Universities, the Council of Western Canadian University Presidents and such other regional and provincial organizations that are from time to time recommended for membership by the Board and are approved by a vote of the Voting Members, provided that each of such organizations has region-wide membership in the area it purports to represent.

Associate members

Associate members shall be national organizations of university and college personnel that are from time to time recommended for associate membership by the Board and are approved by vote of Voting Members, provided that each of such national organizations shall satisfy the following conditions:

1. it has objects consonant with those of the Association

2. it is not a government department or agency

3. it has a Canada-wide membership

4. it represents major academic or administrative divisions or interests within universities and university-degree level colleges.

Universities Canada