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International Study at Public vs. Private Schools in Canada

Studying at a Designated Learning Institution


To apply for a Canadian study permit, you will need a letter of acceptance from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada. Graduation from a DLI is also usually required for those who apply for a Postgraduate Work Permit (PGWP), and for those who wish to gain an additional 15 or 30 points for studying in Canada in their Express Entry profile.


You may be wondering what a DLI is and why it’s important to have studied at one to become eligible for immigration programs.


First, we will briefly explain the Canadian education system.


Public vs. Private Schools in Canada


In Canada, there are two types of post-secondary institutions: public and private. Public institutions receive funding from the Canadian government, which subsidizes the cost of education for students. Private institutions do not receive funding and rely solely on tuition fees to operate.


Most of the public colleges and universities in Canada are on the DLI list. Many private institutions, however, are not included in the list of DLIs.

Choosing a College or University in Canada

What is a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada?


A DLI is a school approved by a provincial or territorial government to host international students. Most public universities and colleges are on the list of DLIs. Provincial governments, however, do not necessarily regulate private schools. It’s important to make sure that the private school you apply to meets provincial education requirements and is recognized by the Canadian government as a DLI.


You may be granted a study permit to study at a non-DLI. Many clients approach us with an interest to apply for a PGWP after completing a program at a private institution that is not listed as a DLI.


Unfortunately, this Canadian study experience will not allow you to become eligible to apply for a PGWP upon completion of the program. In rare cases IRCC does issue a PGWP as they overlook the rules, however it does lead to issues regarding being awarded points in Express Entry for education level, as well as study in Canada points.



Applying for a Post-Graduate Work Permit


The Post-Graduation Work Permit Program allows students who have graduated from eligible Canadian DLIs to obtain an open work permit to gain Canadian work experience. Permits are issued for the length of study if study is under two years, and for three years if study is for 2 years or more.


Skilled Canadian work experience in National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill type 0 or skill level A or B that is gained through the PGWP helps graduates qualify for permanent residence in Canada through the Canadian experience class within Express Entry.


It can be tempting to study at a non-designated learning institution, particularly if the program is shorter in duration and tuition fees are lower than other programs at DLIs. However, if you wish to stay in Canada after your studies to work and apply for PR eventually, we strongly recommend studying at a DLI.


Other blog posts you may find helpful:

Designated Learning Institutions in Durham Region


Our Services


Calver and Associates is a leading provider of Canadian Immigration services in Durham Region. We serve clients in Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, and beyond. Our Registered Canadian Immigration Consultant has over 10 years of experience in Canadian Immigration law and over four years of experience serving those in the Oshawa area.

We can provide assistance with applications for both temporary and permanent residency in Canada. We handle applications for study permits, permanent residency, family class sponsorship, visitor visas, work permits, and Canadian citizenship. We also handle criminal inadmissibility cases by developing remedies for refusal.



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Calver & Associates

PO Box 20001

Newcastle, ON

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