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Program Suspension Policy

Program Suspension Policy Information

Date Approved: February 24, 2021
Effective Date: February 24, 2021
Date Reviewed: Fall 2020
Replaces: Version 2016


As demands and enrollment for specific programs at Cambrian College (the “College”) may change, the need to offer certain programs may also change. The purpose of this Policy is to formalize and provide clear guidelines for a consultative and transparent process by which the College makes decisions regarding its program offerings, suspensions, and cancellations.


At-Risk Program: A program for which applications or confirmations at specified review date may not be sufficient to yield enrolment greater than or equal to the average break-even financial contribution for the program.

Cancelled Program: A program the College is no longer offering and in which no students are enrolled. 3 Cancellation of a program will entail the official suspension of the program with the Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU). The program will no longer be offered by the College and is removed from the list of program offerings. The program will have an official Cancelled status with MCU.

Intake Suspension: Involves the suspension of a specific intake cycle (e.g. fall) for the program at a specific site. The program is expected to remain as part of Cambrian’s active program mix. An intake suspension does not necessarily impact intakes at different locations, modes or cycles.

Program of Instruction: A group of related courses leading to a diploma, certificate or other document awarded by the Board of Governors.1

Senior Team: Individuals who are employed by the College in a position reporting to the President, excluding the Executive Assistant to the President.

Suspended Program:A program the College has decided not to admit its first year or beginning level of students, and for which it will develop a plan to teach out those students currently registered in the program.2

Application/ Scope

This policy applies to all College Programs of Instruction and does not apply to individual courses or non-credited programs.

Policy Statements

  1. Decision to Cancel and/or Suspend a Program
    1. All the College’s programs are regularly reviewed for quality and relevance.
    2. The decision to suspend or cancel an At-Risk Program at the College is at the discretion of the Senior Team, and may include, but is not limited to, the following conditions:
      1. Changes in accreditation status of the program
      2. Changes in legislation
      3. Declining applications, confirmation, and/or enrolment in a program
      4. Program performance
      5. Changes to funding and/or resource allocation
      6. Changes to the College’s strategic priorities
      7. Recommendations stemming from Tier II reviews
      8. Force majeure (e.g. pandemic)
    3. The decision to suspend or cancel a program is typically preceded by a process of consultation with all stakeholders and information gathering, in consideration of required elements of qualitative and quantitative program performance including, but not limited to, enrolment data.
    4. In exceptional circumstances, such as severe financial constraint or Force majeure in which timelines and decisions are pressing, the full, or typical, consultation process may be expedited at the discretion of the College.
    5. Prior to the College release of offers, the Vice President Academic presents recommendations regarding identified At-Risk Programs to the Strategic Enrolment Management Committee for its review and input.
    6. The College will make the decision to suspend or cancel a program as early as possible in order to minimize the impact on applicants. Where possible, no later than 4 weeks prior to the start of a term, the Vice President Academic – upon consultation with the Registrar and appropriate Dean(s) will:
      1. Present recommendations to Senior Team that may lead to Cancelled or Suspended Programs or Intake Suspensions.
    7. The College will inform the MCU of the decision to suspend or cancel a program, in accordance with the Ministry’s requirements.
    8. Suspensions, intake or otherwise, of a program do not necessarily result in immediate or future cancellation of the program.
    9. Program suspension and cancellation decisions are to be made and communicated in a respectful, timely and considerate manner.
  2. Notification to Students and Applicants
    1. For Suspended or Cancelled Programs, the College will provide alternative program options to impacted applicants.
    2. Suspension or cancellation of a program must minimize the impact on current students. The College will develop a transition plan to enable students in the program to complete their studies at the College within a reasonable and specified timeline.
    3. There may be circumstances in which it is not possible for the College to allow students to complete the program at the College, or where the transfer of the students to another college may be more practicable for both the student and the College. In those circumstances, the College will make best efforts to assist the students in becoming enrolled in the same program offered by another institution within a reasonable distance from the College.

Responsibilities and Accountability

Senior Team is responsible for

  • Reviewing and approving proposals regarding program cancellations prior to submission to Board of Governors for final approval.

Vice President, Academic is responsible for

  • Ensuring the development, review and availability of this Policy.
  • Ensuring stewardship of the program review and suspension processes.
  • Reviewing proposals for program cancellations from a Dean and making recommendations to the Senior Team.
  • Ensuring effective and timely communication of program decisions to the College community.

Deans are responsible for

  • Ensuring appropriate information gathering, consultation, transition planning and communication has occurred.
  • Considering the following, minimal, factors during deliberations –
    • Supply and demand cycles
    • Applicant/ enrolment trends
    • Availability of space for applicants in a similar/affinity program
    • Whether the program meets a special or unique need or niche
    • Whether this is a new or newly modified program that needs more time to attract students
    • Accessibility and equity considerations
  • Submitting the recommendation and transition plan for the proposed suspension to the Vice President Academic as per process.
  • Contacting affected faculty, staff and students as per the Program Suspension Operating Procedure and appropriated collective agreements.

Planning, Institutional Research and Quality is responsible for

  • Contacting MCU with respect to a Cancelled or Suspended Program decision.
  • Managing the Program Suspension Operating Procedure.

Registrar is responsibility for

  • Notifying affected applicants of Cancelled or Suspended Programs.
  • Managing program records.

Employees are responsible for

  • Being familiar and complying with the requirements of this Policy.

Related Procedures

Related Policies / Directives / Regulations


1 Ministry of Colleges and Universities – Framework for Programs of Instruction

2 Ministry of Colleges and Universities – Program Suspension and Cancellation: Operating Procedure