Under the Quebec Charter of the French Language (commonly known as Bill 101), only certain people holding a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) have the right to attend publicly funded English-language elementary schools or high schools in Quebec. Under Law 14 adopted by Quebec’s National Assembly in May 2022, there are new amendments to the Charter that impact English-language CEGEPs.
Today, at the CEGEP level, all Quebecers regardless of their status can still attend English-language CEGEPs. However, whether they hold a COE can mean different admission, course, and graduation requirements.
This document was originally compiled by Dawson College and made available for public use.
Who can receive a Certificate of Eligibility?
For more information on who has a Certificate of Eligibility or how to obtain one, visit the Ministry of Education’s website.
Important: All English CEGEPs have been granted access to the provincial government’s records to see who has eligibility, so you do not need to submit a copy of your Certificate with your application.
How does Bill 96 affect English CEGEPs?
Several aspects of the law impact English CEGEPs and come into effect at different periods outlined below. They relate to:
- Exit tests of French language skills required to graduate for those without a COE
- The prioritization of certificate holders in admissions
- A requirement for all students to take three program courses in French OR three French as a second language courses (applies as of Fall 2024)
When are these changes coming into effect for Fall 2023?
As of Fall 2023, all CEGEP students in the province must pass either an English Exit Exam or a French Exit Exam to receive their Diploma of Collegial Studies (DCS). Under Law 14:
- Students with a COE attending an English CEGEP will need to pass the English Exit Test to graduate (no change).
- Students without a COE attending an English CEGEP will now need to pass the French Exit Exam, whereas before they wrote the English Exit Exam.
What are the changes coming in effect as of the Winter 2024 semester?
As of Winter 2024, priority will be given to certificate holders during the admissions process. Priority of admission should not be interpreted as a guaranteed admission and all applicants must meet the minimum admission requirements.
When are these changes coming into effect for Fall 2024?
- Students with a COE will have to take three program courses in French OR three additional French language courses.
- Students without a COE will have to take three program courses in French.