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How Canadian Coding Schools Can Prosper

Without question, Canada’s tech scene is thriving—but skilled developers are scarce.

This manpower shortage has created opportunities for businesses to capitalize on this need by creating coding academies to train developers and place them in jobs. But before you run out and create your own code school, there’s a few things you should know to make sure you don’t end up in a court room or worse.

In Canada, each province and territory has a body that regulates private training facilities and career colleges. These regulators are tasked with ensuring that any training facilities within their territories are being operated according to local laws. Whether it’s a cooking school, a ballet school, or a code academy, all training facilities must be registered if their programs meet a certain criteria.

SEE ALSO: Why Canada Needs Coding Academies

Each province and territory has their own specifications and guidelines for criteria so you will need to check with your local regulator to find out what applies to you. For example, in British Columbia the criteria for mandatory registration of a training facility is running classes that exceed 40 total instructional hours and/or charge a fee exceeding $1,000. Most province’s guidelines are similar.

If the training you will be providing exceeds those values, registration is required by law. But don’t panic, registration is easy. And if you will be charging students in excess of $1,000 the registration fees are completely reasonable.

Let’s say for example that you wish to run a nine-week cooking course for 24 students that entails 40 hours per week and you charge $9,000 per student. Well you will definitely exceed the criteria for an unregistered educational facility in Canada and will be required by law to register. In BC, registration costs a mere $2,100. When subtracted from the $216,000 gross from your first class, you can see how that one-time cost is negligible.

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So what are the legal ramifications for a provider that perhaps hoped to fly under the radar or was perhaps just negligent in their due diligence? The penalty for operating an unregistered training facility within Canada can include huge fines in the neighbourhood of $100,000 (BC) or worse.

So you can see how paying $2,100 is a no-brainer. The cost to legitimize your business is clearly so negligible that it would be insane to try and avoid it. Below is a list of provincial regulators you will need to register with:

  • Alberta (Private Vocational Training Branch Advanced Education and Technology)
  • British Columbia (Private Career Training Institutions Agency)
  • Manitoba (Private Vocational Institutions and Designations Advanced Education and Literacy)
  • New Brunswick (Private Occupational Training Branch Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour)
  • Newfoundland and Labrador (Institutional Services Division Department of Advanced Education and Skills)
  • Northwest Territories (Advanced Education Division Department of Education, Culture and Employment)
  • Nova Scotia (Private Career Colleges Division Department of Labour and Advanced Education)
  • Nunavut (Adult Learning & Post Secondary Services Department of Education)
  • Ontario (Private Career Colleges Branch and Superintendent of Private Career Colleges)
  • Prince Edward Island (Department of Innovation and Advanced Learning)
  • Québec (Direction de l’enseignement privé – collégial Ministère de l’Éducation)
  • Saskatchewan (Private Vocational Schools Unit)
  • Yukon (Advanced Education Branch Department of Education)

Contact information for these regulators can be found here.

Once you’ve registered your training facility with your local regulator, you will be a legitimate training institution and subject to their oversight for the purposes of consumer protection. From there you can upgrade your status to become an “accredited institution” where students will be able to apply for Government student loans to pay for their tuition and student’s tuitions become tax deductable.

Tammam Kbeili is one of the the founder of TamTon Training which is currently offering several coding workshops that are under 40 total hours and under $1,000.

We are definitely planning on duplicating the model of successful US Code academies such as DevBootCamp and CodeFellows here in Vancouver. There’s so much opportunity. But there are hoops that have to be jumped through first however. We are currently working towards our BC PCTIA accreditation that is required to run more intensive courses but until we complete the process, we can only operate at the under 40 hour/under $1000 per class capacity. One of the goals for our business is to target Enterprise customers for custom tailored training solutions but to be a viable option they need to be able to deduct our costs on their taxes.

Canada clearly has an interest in encouraging jobs and innovation. Programs such as BC Jobs Plan have allocated $500 million per year towards student training for technical fields and advanced technologies And Canada’s SR&ED program is one of the largest and most popular incentives for companies looking to innovate in technology by giving claimants cash refunds and/or tax credits for their business expenditures.

With Canada’s booming tech industry and the wealth of available government support, Canadian code schools should thrive in the coming years.

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