Financial Information of Colleges (FINCOL)

Detailed information for 2021/2022





Record number:


The purpose of the survey is to collect financial information (income and expenditures) concerning all non-degree-granting community colleges and public vocational schools across the country.

Data release - December 18, 2023


The Financial Information of Community Colleges and Vocational Schools Survey was developed to provide financial information (income and expenditures) on all non-degree-granting community colleges and public vocational schools in Canada.

This information:
-gives associations and governments a better understanding of the financial position for that level of education;
-helps in the development of policies in this sector;
-helps measure impact of increased tuition fees;
-helps measure impact of federal/provincial support.


  • Education finance
  • Education, training and learning

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The target population is all non-degree-granting community colleges and public vocational schools in Canada. Private institutions that only offer courses at the trade and vocational level are not covered by this survey. For statistical purposes, institutions are classified as follows:

1. Community Colleges
Included in this classification are the colleges of applied arts and technology (CAATs) in Ontario, general and vocational colleges (CEGEPs) in Quebec, institutes of technology and other institutions providing education in fields such as paramedical technologies, nursing, agriculture, forestry, nautical sciences, etc. These institutions offer programs at the postsecondary level (university transfer and career programs), and may offer trade-vocational level programs.

2. Vocational Schools
This classification includes Centres of orientation and training for immigrants (COFIs) in Quebec and any other public institutions offering programs at the trade-vocational level only.

Instrument design

The survey was implemented in 1982 by the then Education Division in consultation with every provincial Ministry of Education as well as with a pilot study telling us what would be available. It was eventually designed and tested by the Questionnaire Design Resource Centre (QDRC).

The definitions for the data elements comprising the variables on the questionnaire are the same as those from the Financial Information of Universities and Colleges Survey (record number 3121) done in conjunction with the Canadian Association of University Business Officers (CAUBO) as there are lots of similarities between the two surveys.


This survey is a census with a cross-sectional design.

Data are collected for all units of the target population, therefore no sampling is done.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: 2022-11-09 to 2023-09-30

Responding to this survey is voluntary.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents and extracted from administrative files.

Most non-degree-granting community colleges (except those from Quebec's CEGEPs) and public vocational schools report via paper questionnaire. Others send us only their financial statement.

Quebec's CEGEPs report to its own collection authorities (Enseignement supérieur -- Direction générale du financement et de l'équipement -- Direction du financement et du contrôle). This information is sent to Statistics Canada (STC) on hardcopy. A mapping and integration process is then done to convert the CEGEPs data into the FINCOL format database.

All material is mailed out by Operations and Integration Division (OID).

FINCOL questionnaires are returned to OID for processing.

OID conducts telephone follow-up of all institutions except CEGEPs.

View the Questionnaire(s) and reporting guide(s) .

Error detection

The CONVERT system, developed by the System Development Division, applies several edits to the incoming data to ensure they meet the main criteria (numeric, cross-reference or data carry-overs conducted properly, totals, etc.).

A Statistical Analysis System (SAS) program is run on the completed file, comparing each institution to the previous year's results. Any significant changes are investigated with the respondents.


Missing, invalid or inconsistent responses (i.e. after thorough follow-up attempts) are imputed based on historical estimation using the same institution's responses from the previous year(s) and in(de)flation based on current enrolment and/or Consumer Price Index (CPI) changes.


This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Quality evaluation

A lot of institutions return their questionnaire with accompanying audited financial statements, thus ensuring data accuracy. Nevertheless, each year a data comparability is done (percentage increases for major cells) for each community college and any major discrepancies are investigated with the respondent resulting in changes, if any.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any data which would divulge information obtained under the Statistics Act that relates to any identifiable person, business or organization without the prior knowledge or the consent in writing of that person, business or organization. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. The collected data is published in aggregated form at the provincial level to preserve the confidentiality of the financial reporting of each institution.

A covering letter is sent to each institution requesting their participation and confirming their signed permission to publicly release the data via an accompanying authorization form.

Data can only be released at the provincial level.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

This methodology does not apply to this survey.

Data accuracy

All surveys are subject to errors. Only non-sampling errors apply to this survey given that there was no sampling process used to produce the final results. While considerable effort is made to ensure that community colleges are preparing information in accordance with the prescribed Guidelines to ensure comparability of the information at the aggregate level and ensure consistency and comparability over time in institutional reporting, major differences in operations and/or funding/accounting policies and/or differences in institutional interpretation/implementation of the Guidelines affect the comparability of the information over time and with other institutions.

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