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Program Closure Procedures

Classification number ACD 1501.04
Parent policy Institutional Quality Assurance Process Policy
Framework category Academic
Approving authority Academic Council
Policy owner Vice-President, Academic and Provost
Approval date September 27, 2022
Review date September 2025
Supersedes ACD 1501 (June 2010); LCG 1127 Section 1 (August 2005); Quality Assurance Handbook (June 2011) Program Closure Procedures (June 2020); Not-for-Academic Credit Digital Badges, Microcredentials, and Stackable Credentials Policy (July 2021)


The purpose of these Procedures is to establish a consistent process for defining and documenting the closure of a Program as outlined in the Institutional Quality Assurance Process (IQAP).


For the purposes of these procedures the following definitions apply:

Faculty Council: established by Academic Council to approve new programs and courses, policies (including admissions), academic standards, curriculum and degree requirements, and long-range academic plans, at the Faculty level

Graduate Studies Committee (GSC): a standing committee of Academic Council responsible for reviewing graduate curriculum proposals and documents.

Program: A complete set and sequence of courses, combination of courses, and/or other units of study, research and practice; the successful completion of which qualifies the candidate for a formal credential (degree with or without major; diploma).

Major Program Modifications: those modifications that constitute a significant change to the design and delivery of an existing program. 

Ministry: the Ontario Ministry governing the affairs of Colleges and Universities.

Quality Council: the Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance, established by the Council of Ontario Universities in July 2010, responsible for oversight of the Quality Assurance Framework processes for Ontario Universities. The Council operates at arm’s length from both Ontario’s publicly assisted universities and the Ontario government.

Undergraduate Studies Committee (USC): a standing committee of Academic Council responsible for reviewing undergraduate curriculum proposals and documents.

Scope and authority

These procedures apply to undergraduate and graduate degree and diploma programs whether offered in full, in part, or conjointly by any institutions federated or affiliated with the University.  It also applies to degree or diploma programs offered in partnership, collaboration or other such arrangement with other post-secondary institutions including colleges, universities, or other institutes.

These procedures do not apply to the closure of a specialization, minor, Type 1 Graduate Diploma, or Micro-credential, which fall under the Curriculum Change Procedures.
The Provost, or successor thereof, is the Policy Owner and is responsible for overseeing the implementation, administration and interpretation of these Procedures.


The Centre for Institutional Quality Enhancement will provide access to an electronic workflow tracking system and electronic repository of required proposals. Individuals may use the templates provided at as a guide to assist in the planning of the changes prior to implementing proposals in the electronic system.

Program Closure

  1. When, in accordance with the Institutional Quality Assurance Policy, it has been determined that a Program should be closed, the Dean will consult with the Faculty Council.

  2. Once the Dean has received feedback from Faculty Council, a Major Program Modification – Program Closure electronic proposal is required to be completed in its entirety by the Dean or designate within the Faculty.

  3. The Major Program Modification – Program Closure will include evidence that appropriate consultation has taken place and electronic proposals must minimally include the following:

    1. A brief summary of rationale for the program removal.

    2. A brief description of the program being removed and the current Calendar copy.

    3. A brief background on the existing program and detailed rationale for its removal; the proposed implementation date and detailed internal transition plan including impact on faculty members, other academic and non-academic human resources, or external agencies; and planned administrative steps and communication.

    4. Detailed transition plan for current and potential students; planned communication; maximum number of semesters for current students to complete the program; alternative programs and process for student transfer.

    5. A complete list of any courses being closed and the transition plan for each; a list of courses which will undergo required changes but are not being removed, a transition plan for each, and attached Course Change proposals.

    6. An outline of areas consulted, including an account of the process of consultation related to Indigenous content, where appropriate.

      1. TTo be removed from the academic calendars for the subsequent academic year, the Major Program Modification – Program Closure must be received by the Centre for Institutional Quality Enhancement (CIQE) no later than the end of November. 

  4. Completed proposals must be presented to the Faculty Council for information and then submitted to CIQE. CIQE will prepare a detailed report of the impacts of the Program closure for presentation to the appropriate standing committee of Academic Council (USC or GSC) for discussion as part of the consultation process.

  5. CIQE will record any concerns raised by the standing committee and prepare a report of impacts and concerns for the Provost. The Provost will also receive a copy of the Major Program Modification – Program Closure proposal.

  6. The Provost will then submit their recommendation for Program closure, detailing the process and transition recommendations, to the Executive Committee of Academic Council, and subsequently to the Academic Council for final review and approval.

  7. When the Program closure has been approved by the Academic Council, the President will then inform the Board of Governors of the decision and the reasons for it. Major Program Modifications – Program Closure are reported annually to the Quality Council and the Ministry.

If Academic Council Does not Approve the Program Closure

  1. When, in accordance with the Institutional Quality Assurance Policy, Academic Council does not approve the program closure, Academic Council will strike a three‐person Committee of its members to be chaired by the President or designate.

  2. The Committee will seek the views of the Faculty Council, the Dean of the Faculty or School, the Dean of any related Faculty or School, the Provost, the Registrar, and at least one external assessor. The Committee will also invite all faculty members who teach in the program to comment if they wish to do so.

  3. The Committee will, within 60 days, issue a report to the Board of Governors that presents the results of the investigations and makes one or more recommendations.

    The Committee will discuss its conclusions with the Provost and the appropriate Dean(s) before forwarding its report to the Board of Governors.

  4. The Board will review the Committee’s report and reach a decision. The decision of the Board on the closure of the program is final.

Procedures for the Phase-Out of Closed Programs

  1. In consultation with the Dean of the Faculty in which the program resides, the Registrar, or designate, will prepare an official list of all students currently enrolled in the program.

  2. The Dean will prepare correspondence to notify all enrolled students of the closure and provide information on the following:

    1. The date by which the program must be completed in order to receive the specified degree from the University;

    2. A brief description of the program being removed and the current Calendar copy. The last semester and year in which each course required for the program will be offered;

    3. The availability of closely related programs offered by the University to which the student may transfer;

    4. The extent to which transfer work, substitutions, etc., may be considered in meeting the requirements of the program.

  3. Once the decision to close the program has been made, the program will no longer accept applicants and it will be removed from the website and academic calendar.

Monitoring and review

This procedure will be reviewed as necessary and at least every three years. The Provost’s Office, through the Center for Institutional Quality Enhancement, coordinates the day to day management of the quality assurance process, and works in collaboration with Deans and units to implement the procedures for developing and accessing academic programs. The Provost, or successor thereof, is responsible to monitor and review this Policy.

Relevant legislation

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Related policies, procedures & documents

Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance - Quality Assurance Framework

Institutional Quality Assurance Policy

Program Nomenclature Directives

Faculty and Staff Collective Agreements

Protocols associated with consultation/development of Indigenous curriculum