Bill 96 FAQ (Day Division)

Updated Jan. 13, 2023

Bill 96

Bill 96, adopted by Quebec’s National Assembly in May 2022, brings significant amendments to the Charter of the French Language, commonly known as Bill 101.  Certain aspects of the Bill affect English-language CEGEPs.

This document was originally compiled by Dawson College and made available for public use.

What does it mean to hold a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to English-language education?

In order to understand Bill 96 and its implications for CEGEPs, it is important to understand what a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to receive education in English is. Under Quebec law, only certain citizens meeting defined criteria have the right to attend publicly funded English-language schools and hold a COE. Conversely, those without a COE must attend French-language schools in Quebec, with very few exceptions.   At the CEGEP level, students with and without a COE may pursue their studies in English, but their status will determine different course and graduation requirements.

Who can receive a Certificate of Eligibility to education in English in Quebec?

At the moment, the Ministry of Education defines the criteria.  A detailed description is available on the Ministry’s website:



How does Bill 96 affect English CEGEPs?

The law sets limits on the total number of students English-language colleges can accept.

The law requires English-language colleges to prioritize the admissions of students with COEs to study in English.

In addition, students without COEs attending English-language colleges will need to pass the Épreuve Uniforme de Français (EUF) (French exit examination).

If I qualify for a Certificate of Eligibility, how can I get it?

Eligibility Certificates: Access to a database that compiles the names and permanent codes of students with English eligibility certificates will be available to CEGEPs before the March 1 application deadline, Higher Education Minister Pascale Déry confirmed.

This means if you have a certificate of eligibility, you do not need to submit it to the college as part of your application.

If you are eligible but do not have a certificate on file, the Ministry of Higher Education provides guidance on how to obtain your certificate.

When are these changes coming into effect?

Find below information detailing the latest changes:

  • Students without a certificate in the fall 2023 cohort will have to pass a French exit exam. However, preparatory courses can be delayed until the winter 2024 session.
  • Students who are strong in French would have to take only two French (langue commune) courses instead of three as originally planned, which means they would not lose a complementary course (which also will have to be taken in French.)
  • These students could take the French exam in December 2024 or May 2025. The ministry will notify universities that some students will receive their marks later than usual.
  • Admission priority for students with certificates will start in January 2024 instead of the fall of 2023.

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