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Backgrounder: Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer Supports Postsecondary Learner Mobility


June 17, 2024
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ONCAT supports Ontario’s postsecondary sector through funding to drive learner mobility and transfer support across the province.


BACKGROUNDER

Established in 2011, the Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer (ONCAT) plays a pivotal role in supporting the expansion of academic pathways, working to reduce barriers for students seeking to transfer among the province's public colleges, universities, and Indigenous institutes. ONCAT partners with postsecondary institutions to help establish academic pathways, facilitate recognition of prior learning and support learners' transition into the labour market. 

ONCAT supports Ontario’s postsecondary sector through funding to drive learner mobility and transfer support across the province. In 2024-2025, ONCAT is funding the following projects: 

 

ONCAT Capacity and ONCAT Collaboration Grants support the development and implementation of learner-centric policies, practices, and pathways. 

  • Brock University: Explore ways to expand equitable admission processes by creating a new PLAR (Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition) policy and operations framework. The project aims to reduce barriers for non-traditional learners, cultivate innovative assessment practices, and increase access to postsecondary education.  
  • Carleton University: Develop an institutional micro-credential framework, guidelines, and templates. The project builds capacity for the offering of micro-credentials that will increase learner mobility and improve transitions to the workforce.   
  • Centennial College: Leverage technology to expedite admissions offers and transfer credit processes, empowering individuals to proactively plan their academic journey earlier and facilitating more efficient access to pathways into the college. 
  • Collège Boréal: This project aims to create a range of evaluation tools and new training to improve how subject experts complete file evaluations. 
  • Fanshawe College: Develop a new model for PLAR assessments that matches applicants’ vocational skills to program learning outcomes. The project will reduce the time and costs associated with upskilling and retraining learners for in-demand workforce sectors.  
  • George Brown College: Develop a series of academic tools and resources that help newcomers make informed decisions about postsecondary education and career pathways in Canada.  
  • Georgian College: Review policies, procedures, and practices related to pathways and partnerships, with the goal of making pathways more accessible and transparent for learners.  
  • Georgian College: Enhance student experience by reviewing the implementation of articulations and pathways, and database assessment to ensure students access accurate information.  
  • Humber College: Create seamless transfer pathways for Academic Upgrading students. The project will lead to quicker credential completion for these students, reducing their financial burden and expanding their access to additional pathway opportunities.  
  • Humber College: Develop a self-assessment tool that will systematically guide learners in evaluating the knowledge, skills, and attitudes gained from prior learning against relevant course learning outcomes. 
  • Lakehead University: Revise pathways with eight Ontario colleges to update curriculums and renew institutional relationships. The goal is to improve pathways to enhance learners’ career opportunities. 
  • Laurentian University: Enable learners to gain recognition for prior learning, focusing on educational and professional development non-credit credentials. The aim is to create an internal dataset that will support learners to effectively leverage their prior learning experiences. 
  • Loyalist College: Explore ways to help home care workers leverage their prior learning and experience, facilitating their advanced entry into the PSW program. The project aims to reduce barriers for mature students interested in pursuing postsecondary and career opportunities.  
  • Mohawk College: Support the development of a collaborative partnership with college stakeholders and community social service agencies. Individuals who engage in informal learning and volunteer work will have opportunities to receive recognition and academic credit that ladders to college programs.  
  • Mohawk College: Raise awareness about PLAR opportunities among prospective students and equity-deserving groups. The project involves redesigning websites to provide clearer guidance, developing a pre-assessment tool for learners, and engaging in efforts to increase the number of PLAR submissions.  
  • Niagara College: Implement new strategies to facilitate a smooth transition to postsecondary programs and create new pathway/transfer opportunities for Indigenous learners. The program provides learners with access to holistic and cultural services and supports. 
  • Sault College: Expand database of pre-approved credit equivalencies, increasing transfer credit offerings at the time of admission, strengthening student-facing self-service database, and reducing wait times at the start of each semester. 
  • Trent University: Develop an institutional transfer credit processing policy that will enhance internal efficiencies and reduce wait time for incoming transfer students. 
  • Trent University: Develop tools to assess, monitor, and improve transfer student academic success and satisfaction. The project will research and pilot skills development opportunities to assist student transition, while developing systems for tracking success over time. 
  • Université de Hearst: Implement a student mobility data system. The system will facilitate the recognition of prior learning and improve credit transfer processes for students. 
  • University of Ottawa: Upgrade the course equivalency database by adding cyclical review for equivalencies and integrating international credits. The upgraded database will increase credit recognition, expand opportunities for learner mobility, and enhance student experience. 
  • York University: Develop resources and programming that support the academic success and social connectivity of transfer students. The project will enhance the overall experience of transfer students by building academic skills, exploring career development, and fostering personal wellbeing. 
  • College La Cité: Analyze the feasibility of a pathway from a partner institution to the Advanced Paramedical Care program at Collège La Cité. 
  • College La Cité: Develop the organizational and administrative infrastructure to allow a new joint bachelor's degree in business administration program to be offered in September 2024 by College La Cité and the Université de l'Ontario français. This innovative collaboration will allow students to simultaneously take university and college courses completely in French.  
  • Lakehead University: Explore new program pathways for Registered Practical Nurses, by building connections between Lakehead University and Centennial College. In particular, the project aims to provide learners with more opportunities to receive advanced standing for their prior learning and skills. 
  • Lakehead University: Develop integrated pathways for Law Clerks, by building connections between Lakehead University and Seneca Polytechnic. The pathways enhance postsecondary access in Northwestern Ontario and provide students with opportunities to gain valuable workforce experience and connections. 
  • Lakehead University: Expand pathways to degree programs for college graduates from General Arts and Science programs, by building connections between Lakehead University, Confederation College, Fanshawe College, and Georgian College. The project reviews transfer requirements and credits to facilitate greater learner mobility.  
  • Queen’s University: Expand a network of transfer pathways from engineering technology diplomas to accredited engineering degrees. The project adds two new university partners and increases the visibility and efficiency of accredited engineering transfer pathways through cross-institution collaboration. 
  • Université de Hearst: This project explores an opportunity to create an academic pathway for French-language psychology programs at the Université de Hearst. 

Transfer Bridging Grants support a postsecondary institution’s development and implementation of academic bridging programs 

  • Fleming College: Establishes a bridging program that engages Indigenous learners during their transition to postsecondary studies. The program offers foundational and college-level courses that integrate Indigenous perspectives and support Indigenous learners’ educational aspirations.  
  • Trent University: Develop a transfer student-specific bridging program to support student transition centered on academic success and social integration. Consultation and design will occur with students, faculty, staff, and curriculum designers. 
  • Université de Hearst: Create a transition program to support transfer student success. This will include adapting a university refresher course into a self-guided online format as well as creating additional tools and procedures. 
  • University of Ottawa: Create a bridging program in French and English for students with advanced placement. The credit-bearing course will provide orientation to university life, competencies for success, networking opportunities, early intervention, and direct access to student support services. 
  • York University: Develop and implement a bridging course with wraparound supports for incoming transfers students. The course takes a preventative approach to addressing challenges and will build academic skills and campus connections that will set students up for academic and personal success. 

Indigenous Institutes Transfer Grants support the development and implementation of learner-centric policies, practices, and pathways at an Indigenous Institute: 

  • FNTI: This project enhances transfer operations by improving data tracking systems, liaising with postsecondary partners, and advocating for transfer students. The project ensures that the development process for any new standalone program will consider opportunities for transferability and pathways. 

MyCreds Onboarding Grants support a postsecondary institution’s integration with MyCreds, a digital platform for academic credentials:  

  • St. Clair College 
  • Ontario Tech University  

PLAR (Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition) Innovation Grants support projects aimed at enhancing the recognition and assessment of prior learning experiences, including professional and experiential learning, for academic credit. 

  • Fleming College: Support the institution’s participation in a pilot program that will test and evaluate the potential benefits of AI-powered tools to assess skills and competencies. By reducing the time and cost of PLAR processes, the project aspires to broaden access to postsecondary opportunities. 
  • Humber College: Explore ways that AI-powered language model tools could enhance the efficiency and quality of PLAR assessment activities. The project will establish a comprehensive process for the determination, development, and deployment of PLAR assessment tools across the institution. 

 Read the news release here.