Educational institutions

The information below may be of specific use to educational institutions and organizations.

Designated Learning Institutions – Introduction

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) recognizes that international education is at the heart of Canada’s current and future prosperity. By inviting international students into Canada's classrooms, we create new jobs and opportunities for Canadians, and create a pool of immigrants for Canada.  

CIC works with the provinces and territories and the various stakeholders within Canada's international education community to deliver the International Student Program.

To be able to host international students in Canada, educational institutions must be accredited by the province or territory that they are located in and be on the Designated Learning Institution list.

How to become a Designated Learning Institution

Educational organizations who wish to host international students must be a Designated Learning Institution (DLI).

Provincial and territorial governments are responsible for:

  •  education in Canada, and
  • designating institutions for the purpose of hosting international students.

The designation criteria differ depending on the province or territory. Please consult the relevant provincial or territorial authorities to obtain more information on becoming a DLI.

The DLI list is updated regularly.

How to enrol in the Designated Learning Institution portal

Once a post-secondary institution has been designated by the relevant provincial or territorial authority, someone from Citizenship and Immigration Canada will contact the institution and ask them to enrol in the CIC Portal for Designated Learning Institutions.

An institution will receive their DLI number and an online account for the Portal once they have successfully completed the enrolment process.

The DLI enrolment guide gives step by step instructions for users to enrol and use the CIC Portal for Designated Learning Institutions.

Note: Post-secondary institutions located in Quebec are not asked to complete the enrolment process. Their DLI numbers are available on the DLI list.

Compliance Reporting

What is compliance reporting? 

All Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) at the post secondary level, with the exception of institutions located in Quebec, must complete regular reports on the academic enrolment status of their international students to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), using the DLI Portal.

Reporting is scheduled for every April and November, starting April 15, 2015. The primary contact at each post-secondary DLI will receive an email notification from CIC when a report becomes available for completion.

The DLI Guide for Compliance Reporting provides step-by-step instructions on how to complete a reporting request.

Note: For Quebec, it is expected that compliance information regarding the enrolment of foreign students destined to designated learning institutions in the province will be provided by the Ministère de l’Éducation, de l’Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche. Discussions on how this information will be processed and transmitted are underway between the Government of Quebec and CIC.

How will the information collected through compliance reporting be used?

Information collected through the DLI Portal allows CIC to assess whether study permit holders in Canada continue to meet their study permit conditions, including whether they are actively pursuing their course or program of study at a DLI. Students who do not comply with these study permit conditions can be subject to a removal order.

Questions about compliance reporting

The primary contact at DLIs may send any questions concerning the compliance reporting process to CIC by e-mail.

Please write either “Technical question” or “Compliance Reporting Process question” in the Subject line.

Please include in the e-mail:

  • Name of DLI
  • DLI#
  • Name of Requestor
  • Phone number of Requestor

CIC will aim to respond within five business days.

General best practices

DLIs and study permit application process

Prevent fraud

To discourage fraudulent applications, educational institutions should not offer financial rewards to education agents or international student advisors for submitting study permit applications.

Letters of acceptance

International students are required to submit a letter of acceptance from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) when submitting a study permit application to CIC. A template letter of acceptance is available for DLIs. Using this template facilitates the study permit application process.

DLIs at the post-secondary level are encouraged to include the DLI number (which starts with the letter “O”) on all letters of acceptance. This will make it easier for students to complete their study permit application.

Keep up to date on CIC policies and procedures

Stay up-to-date on study permit and visa requirements. Check for updates, or subscribe via RSS feed  to have all the updates sent to you.

CIC instruction manuals are available online. They detail how CIC processes all types of applications, including study permits.

Who can offer advice on immigration to international students?

Education agents or international student advisors who advise on immigration matters related to student recruitment, such as applying for a study permit, re-entry visas, or status extension, must be an authorized immigration representative.

An authorized immigration representative must be a member in good standing of one of these organizations:

  • law society of a province or territory, including paralegals and students-at-law, if they act under the supervision of a lawyer or a notary in Quebec; or
  • Chambre des notaires du Québec; or
  • Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC).

Designated Learning Institutions

Consult the Designated Learning Institutions list
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