University

Table of Contents

Cases

Alexander College Corp. v. Canada, 2016 FCA 269

private college providing "associate degrees" qualified as a “university” for GST purposes

The appellant was a private, for-profit college which offered a two-year program leading to an associate of arts degree. Its business depended on its students' ability to transfer their credits to public universities in B.C., which, unlike it, offered baccalaureate degrees. It was not authorized under the Degree Authorization Act (B.C.) (the "DAA") to refer to itself as a university, but was authorized under that Act to grant associate degrees.

Exemption of its fee income under Sched. V, Part III, s. 7 depended on it qualifying as a “university.” In reversing the finding below that the appellant did not so qualify, , Gleason JA stated (at paras 24 and 25):

…Had Parliament wished to define a “university” for the purposes of the ETA to mean only those institutions which are granted such status under provincial law, it would have been easy for it to have so defined the term or to have left it undefined. …

[A]ll that is required is that the institution be empowered to grant degrees by a relevant authority such as the province of British Columbia. …

Locations of other summaries Wordcount
Tax Topics - Excise Tax Act - Schedules - Schedule V - Part III - 7 private college granting associate degrees qualified 134
Tax Topics - Statutory Interpretation - Interpretation/Definition Provisions "means" definition can depart from ordinary meaning 122

See Also

SAE Education Ltd v. Revenue and Customs Commissioners, [2017] EWCA Civ 1116

"college" broadly defined

SAE Education Ltd (SEL) was an English company which provided educational training in audio and digital media technologies and had established a relationship with Middlesex University (MU) whereby BA courses in Recording and Multimedia Arts were to be taught by "SAE Technology College" at specified campuses as "validated collaborative programs" of MU. Subsequent Memoranda of Co-operation ("MOC") eventually lead in 2007 to the validation by MU of three SAE programs comprising BA (Hons) degree courses in Applied Multimedia, Interactive Animation and Games Programming. By the 2009 MOC, students enrolled on the validated courses were to be "considered members of [MU]" but were not entitled to receive university student ID cards and access to university facilities and resources was very limited.

Before going on to find that SEL did not qualify as a “college…of…a university” for UK VAT purposes, Patten LJ stated (at paras 64-65):

The word "college" … denotes a group of people organised as an institution usually (but not necessarily) in the field of education. The use by SAE Institute of the word "college" to describe its Littlemore campus could not therefore be said to be a misuse of language, but whether it can properly be described as a college of MU is a different question which cannot in my view be answered simply by reference to a document under which the University agreed that SEL should be called an "associate college" of MU or the fact that for a long time the two bodies have collaborated in the delivery of a limited range of degree courses leading to an MU qualification.

The test is whether SEL (or SAE Institute) is or was part of the University in the constitutional or structural sense… . That test is not satisfied in this case… .

Words and Phrases
college

Alexander College Corp. v. The Queen, 2015 TCC 238, rev'd 2016 FCA 269

private college was not a recognized institution, and its "associate" (non-baccalaureate) degrees were not degrees

The appellant was a private, for-profit college which offered a two-year program leading to an associate of arts degree. Its business depended on its students' ability to transfer their credits to public universities in B.C., which, unlike it, offered baccalaureate degrees. It was not authorized under the Degree Authorization Act (B.C.) (the "DAA") to refer to itself as a university, but was authorized under that Act to grant associate degrees.

In finding that the appellant was not a "university" as defined in s. 123(1), so that its fee income was not exempted under Sched. V, Part III, s. 7, Lyons J stated (at paras. 68-70, 74):

[after citing Klassen and Zailo]...I find that an Associate Degree is insufficient and that a "degree" for the purposes of subsection 123(1)...must equate to a baccalaureate degree or higher.

...[T]he fact that the appellant has not sought, nor received, ...consent to call itself a "university" under section 4 of the DAA is a factor that undermines the appellant's position that it is recognized as an institution by the provincial government.

[C]onstruing the legislation...[literally] render[s] the phrase "organization that operates a college affiliated with" a university redundant if a degree-granting institution is interpreted as a "college" in subsection 123(1). Also, incorporating and construing the word "college" in the definition of "university" makes the definition of "public college" redundant in section 7.

[T]he appellant...is a college, not an institution.

Locations of other summaries Wordcount
Tax Topics - Excise Tax Act - Schedules - Schedule V - Part III - 7 private college was not a recognized institution, and its "associate" (non-baccalaureate) degrees were not degrees 132

Administrative Policy

29 September 2011, Ruling Case No. 132884

CRA stated:

It is the Canada Revenue Agency's position that a "recognized degree granting institution" means an institution that grants degrees and meets the accreditation requirements for degree granting institutions in the country where it is based. Please note that the ability to grant degrees is insufficient to satisfy the definition in subsection 123(1) of the ETA. Rather, the institution must currently be offering programs for which degrees are granted upon completion of the program. As [the Corporation] does not currently grant degrees to its students and it is not an organization that operates a college affiliated with, or a research body of, a recognized degree-granting institution, it does not meet the definition of "university" in subsection 123(1) and therefore would not be eligible to claim PSB rebates using the PSB rebate factors for a university.

GST/HST Policy Statement P-214R

3 categories of qualifying foreign universities

Foreign-based entities which qualify as a "university" in the Excise Tax Act ("ETA")

The definition of "university" includes the phrase "a recognized degree-granting institution". The Department's position is that there are three categories of foreign-based entities which would qualify as a "university". The three categories are:

1. a foreign-based degree-granting institution that grants degrees at least at the bachelor or equivalent level and is licensed or otherwise authorized under the appropriate governmental agency or department in its home jurisdiction to do so; or

2. a foreign-based degree-granting institution that qualifies under the Income Tax Act as a "university outside Canada" for purposes of the tuition credit in paragraph 118.5(1)(b) of that Act; or

3. a foreign-based degree-granting institution whose degrees are accepted for entry into post-graduate studies in at least one recognized Canadian university.

For purposes of this policy statement, "foreign-based" includes either a branch or a wholly-owned subsidiary of a foreign degree granting entity operating in Canada.

Words and Phrases
university