31 Top Government Colleges In Canada

In this article, you will find a list of top government colleges in Canada that offer the best two-year associate degree (Diploma) programs to students. Colleges serve as a preparatory ground for four-year degrees at universities but however, some colleges grant degrees through collaboration with universities.

According to CanadaVisa, an Associate Degree in Canada which is usually 2 years or 4 semesters is a 60-credit, foundational undergraduate program in a classical area of study. Unlike certificates and diplomas, Associate Degrees comprise a breadth of general academic subjects as well as a specialization in an area of interest.

Common examples include the Associate of Arts (Business) and Associate of Arts (Science). The Associate Degree allows students to begin their studies at one college or university and transfer into third-year coursework at a university, pending recognition by the receiving institution.

Canada has some of the best public colleges that offer top-notch education to local and international students. Some of these colleges award degrees through a joint program with universities while some offer associate degrees or Diplomas with which a student can pursue a degree course in a university.

You need to know that in Canada, diplomas can be upgraded or transferred into a bachelor’s degree and you can obtain a diploma either from a college or university.

Both diplomas and associate degrees take a minimum of two years in Canada, though sometimes a diploma can take up to 6 full-time semesters.

From the list of government colleges in Canada, some of the schools are designated learning institutions while others are not. In addition, the top government colleges in Canada offer post-graduation work permits.

Can International Students go to Government Universities in Canada?

Yes. International students can study in public colleges or universities in Canada provided the school is a designated learning institution. Designated learning institutions are schools that have been approved by the government of Canada to admit international students.

However, not all government colleges or universities in Canada are designated. So, it is very important that international students find out if their choice of institution is designated before making any applications.

How many Public Colleges are in Canada?

There are about 183 approved public colleges and institutes in Canada. This also includes colleges granting applied and bachelor’s degrees.

List of Top Government Colleges in Canada

Here are the best government colleges in Canada that offer degrees, diplomas, certificates, and apprenticeship programs to students. The top government or public colleges in Canada include;

  • University of Toronto
  • McMaster University
  • University of Ottawa
  • Dalhousie University
  • University of Guelph
  • Western University
  • Queen’s University
  • Conestoga College
  • University of Regina
  • Royal Military College of Canada
  • Bow Valley College
  • University of Windsor
  • University of Prince Edward Island
  • Vancouver Community College
  • NorQuest College
  • Algonquin College
  • British Columbia Institute of Technology
  • Centennial College
  • Vancouver Community College
  • Humber College
  • Seneca College
  • New Brunswick Community College
  • Sheridan College
  • Durham College
  • George Brown College
  • St. Lawrence College
  • Mohawk College
  • Cambrian College
  • Niagara College Canada
  • Georgian College

All the colleges listed here are public colleges and they receive funding from the Canadian government.

1.       University of Waterloo

In 1957, the University of Waterloo opened its doors to 74 engineering students with co-operative education as its cornerstone. Today, with more than 42,000+ students attending annually, Waterloo is #1 in Canada for experiential learning and employer-student connections.

The University of Waterloo has 42,000 full and part-time students cumulatively between undergraduate and graduate programs. 1000-acre main campus, 100+ buildings with six faculties

With a global network spanning more than 244,000 alumni in 156 countries, Waterloo attracts world-class scholars including a Nobel Laureate, leads in providing work-integrated learning opportunities with 7,500+ active co-op employers and fosters an entrepreneurial spirit that’s created 5,000+ jobs through Velocity alone, Canada’s most productive startup incubator by private investment. The University of Waterloo continues to spur innovation to solve problems on a global scale.

2.       University of Toronto

Founded in 1827, the University of Toronto is Canada’s top university with a long history of challenging the impossible and transforming society through the ingenuity and resolve of its faculty, students, alumni and supporters. The school has three campuses.

They are proud to be one of the world’s top research-intensive universities, bringing together top minds from every conceivable background and discipline to collaborate on the world’s most pressing challenges.

Their community is a catalyst for discovery, innovation and progress, creating knowledge and solutions that make a tangible difference around the globe. And we prepare our students for success through an outstanding global education rooted in excellence, inclusion and close-knit learning communities.

The ideas, innovations and contributions of more than 660,000 graduates advance U of T’s impact on communities across the globe

3.       McMaster University

This school is one of the four Canadian universities ranked among the top 85 in the world by the global ranking system. As the home to over 60 research institutes and more than 32000 students, they pride themselves as a hub for innovation, discovery and growth.

McMaster University boasts excellent academic resources for its driven students. At McMaster, they are dedicated to creating a university experience that reaches far beyond the expectations of our students. With state-of-the-art facilities, world-renowned professors and a thriving student community, they strive to create a campus their students can be proud of. McMaster University is internationally renowned for the innovative educational programming offered by each of its six faculties.

4.       University of Ottawa

The University of Ottawa is the largest bilingual (English-French) university in the world. Located in the heart of Canada’s capital, they have ready access to the great institutions of their country. The school is comprised of 10 faculties offering different disciplnes and studies. Their faculty of Art is the oldest and one of the biggest faculties at the University of Ottawa. The Faculty of Arts has evolved to be one of the leading faculties on campus.

5.       Dalhousie University

Located in Nova Scotia, Canada (Mi’kma’ki) with four campuses in Halifax and Truro, and satellite locations in Yarmouth and Saint John, New Brunswick, our broad range of academic programs attract and retain a diverse mix of incredible students, scholars, researchers and staff who work together with interdisciplinary perspective and a focus on service.

Their 13 academic Faculties expand understanding through teaching excellence and a drive for discovery that results in more than $190 million in research funding each year. As Atlantic Canada’s primary research-intensive university and a member of the U15 Group of Canadian Universities, our research and innovation includes world-leading researchers working in labs, studios and in the field.

6.       University of Guelph

The University of Guelph is like no other university in Canada. Research-intensive and learner-centred, our campuses span urban hubs and rural communities. They are known for excellence in the arts and sciences and for their commitment to developing exceptional thinkers and engaged citizens.

Their students, faculty and staff pursue active inquiry and exercise creativity across a range of disciplines — physical and life sciences, arts and humanities, social sciences, business, agricultural and veterinary sciences. Known for its beautiful, safe campuses and welcoming, supportive culture, U of G blends historical and modern architecture with cutting-edge technology.

Their living and learning environments encourage exploration and the interdisciplinary sharing of new ideas, critical for meeting challenges posed by our more complex and interconnected world. Their faculty scholars and researchers provide students with groundbreaking research opportunities in laboratories, art studios and libraries and in the field.

7.       Western University

Founded in 1878, Western University is ranked among the top 1% of higher education institutions worldwide. They are a founding member of the U15, Canada’s group of most distinguished research universities. Their 43,352 students include more than 4,759 international students from 129 countries

At Western, students learn from leading researchers and scholars across 11 faculties and schools, gaining insights and engaging with cutting-edge ideas. Professors are leaders in their subject matter, and model a commitment to excellence that inspires and motivates students in their own academic and professional endeavours.

8.       Queen’s University

Founded in 1841, Queen’s University is comprised of over 31,000 students, both part time and full time students, with over 4000 international students from over 101countries. They have 24 research centres and institutes. They stand on a strong history of scholarship, discovery, and innovation.

Their education transforms Queen’s students. Their diversity enriches the community and their research changes the world. They have 178 disciplines of study and over 2600 degree options.

9.       Conestoga College

Conestoga is a leader in polytechnic education and one of Ontario’s fastest growing colleges, delivering a full range of career-focused education, training and applied research programs to prepare students for success in the new knowledge economy and promote economic prosperity throughout our region and across Ontario.

Their comprehensive range of programming meets the needs of a variety of learners, providing multiple entry points and established pathways to ensure that individuals across our community can access the education they need for their chosen careers. Articulation agreements with colleges and universities around the world provide our students with ready access to additional post-secondary opportunities.

Labs equipped with the latest technology, project-based courses, field and clinical experiences, international exchange, applied research and co-op opportunities engage our students as they learn to connect theory, research and practice.

Their focus on technology-enhanced learning through online and mobile technologies ensures that students are prepared to excel in our increasingly digital world. Conestoga’s commitment to student success includes a full range of support and career advising services available to students throughout their learning journey.

10.   University of Regina

At the University of Regina, they believe there is no better teacher than experience. This belief led them to pioneer the first co-operative education program in Western Canada more than half a century ago. Their history of providing hands-on learning opportunities has given our institution decades of insight, allowing us to fine-tune their programs and offerings so that students reap the rewards in the real world.

Their students enjoy plentiful opportunities to gain experience in both paid and volunteer positions, as well as other opportunities, resulting in career-ready graduates who find work fast. It’s inclusive and diverse, with international students making up 17.7 per cent of total students, and 14.7 per cent of students self-declaring as Indigenous. Our programs and resources on campus are here to help you succeed.

11.   Royal Military College of Canada

The Royal Military College of Canada is a military university. It is a unique national military university that provides the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) with exemplary officers to serve Canada, delivering undergraduate programs in the Social Sciences, the Humanities, Science and Engineering in both official languages.

RMC offers 20 exceptional undergraduate programmes that each include a core curriculum to 1,200 students that is directly connected to the profession of arms.

The school is an important national institution living up to the tradition that sets RMC apart from other Canadian universities. It produces military leaders ready to serve with distinction, producing graduates well-exposed both culturally and academically to a military ethos, and who have the skill sets essential for success as leaders representing Canada internationally.

RMC has state-of-the-art research facilities uniquely located on its campus such as a nuclear reactor, wind tunnels, an anechoic chamber, an observatory, an ammunition lab, a civil engineering lab, and a cyber-lab, to name a few. Some of our research is sensitive or classified and is often conducted at RMC in direct support of operations.

Recognized nationally and internationally as a military university of academic excellence, RMC delivers education of the highest quality at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and in specialized professional development.

12.   Bow Valley College

Founded in 1995, Bow Valley College have been helping people reach their goals for a better education and career. They also offer a variety of resources to support student and staff success. The are comprised of different schools and disciplines of study for their students to choose from.

13.   University of Windsor

The University of Windsor is a comprehensive, student-focused university, with more than 16,000 students enrolled in a broad range of undergraduate and graduate programs, including: Law, Business, Engineering, Science, Education, Nursing, Human Kinetics, Social Work, Faculty of Art, Humanities, and Social Sciences

They have strong student-faculty relationships, exceptional award-winning faculty and innovative staff. It creates a unifying atmosphere of excellence across all of their faculties to encourage lifelong learning, teaching, research and discovery.

14.   University of Prince Edward Island

As a public institution and Prince Edward Island’s only university, the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) has a special obligation to the people of PEI and plays a distinct role in contributing to the success of this province.

At UPEI, more than 5,500 students from over 92 countries come together to learn and discover. From actuarial science to wildlife conservation, UPEI offers certificate, diploma, undergraduate, and a growing number of professional and graduate programs.

 With millions of dollars in scholarships, international exchange and experiential learning opportunities, an active Student Union, a commitment to research excellence, and outstanding student-faculty interaction, the University offers its students an educational experience designed to help them reach their potential in both the classroom and the community.

The high quality of the educational experience is evident in the increasing number of students who come from around the world to study and learn at UPEI’s campuses in Charlottetown and St. Peter’s Bay, Prince Edward Island. UPEI’s dedication to the highest standards in education is also reflected in its alumni, who enjoy success in their chosen fields and form a global network of “Panthers for Life.”

15.   Vancouver Community College

Located in the heart of the city, Vancouver Community College (VCC) offers academic, cultural, and social environments that inspire relevant real-world training. Their on campus facilities – including gourmet restaurants, an auto shop, and salon and spa – allow students to hone their skills and training while providing high-quality lower-cost services to the Downtown and East Vancouver communities.

VCC is proud to inspire a new generation of students to discover their passions, gain essential skills, and learn what it takes to succeed in a competitive workforce. With over 15,000 students, including a growing number of Aboriginal and International learners, 1,100 employees and an annual budget of $105 million, VCC is a key player in the post-secondary landscape in B.C.

16.   NorQuest College

At NorQuest, they have a unique ability to provide students with the skills Alberta needs in a supportive and inclusive environment. And with input from industry, business, and the public sector, they  make learning relevant and rewarding. Their post-secondary diploma and certificate programs offer careers in health, community studies, and business.

Located on traditional lands referred to as Treaty 6 territory, we serve 12,573 full-time and part-time credit students, and 7,894 non-credit or continuing education students, including assessment examinations. As a regional steward, we provide access to adult education in Edmonton and Wetaskiwin.

17. Algonquin College

Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology is a public English-language college in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada that was established in 1967 and is recognized as one of the top government colleges in Canada.

It offers bachelor’s and postgraduate degrees, diplomas, and certificates. The college provides students with 155 Ontario college programs, 18 apprenticeship programs, 16 co-op programs, 6 collaborative degree programs, and 6 bachelor’s degree programs.

Algonquin College grants these degrees through a partnership with Carleton University, the University of Ottawa, and Shopify. Courses offered at Algonquin College include Commerce, Hospitality & Tourism Management, Information Technology, Nursing, Building Science, Interior Design, and Public Safety.

18. British Columbia Institute of Technology

The British Columbia Institute of Technology is one of the well known government colleges in Canada; a public-funded polytechnic in British Columbia, Canada that was established in 1964.

BCIT has an enrolment of 50,000 students out of which 5,700 are international students.

British Columbia Institute of Technology provides students certificates, diplomas, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in various full-time and part-time courses.

The fields of study where these programs are offered include Applied & Natural Sciences, Engineering, Business and Media, Computing & IT, Health Sciences, and Trades & Apprenticeships.

19. Centennial College

Centennial College of Applied Arts and Technology is one of the popular government colleges in Canada;  a public college in Toronto, Ontario, Canada that was established in 1966. The college has five campuses including Morningside, Progress, Ashtonbee, Story Arts Center, and Downsview.

Centennial College provides students with more than 260 programs including bachelor’s degrees, diplomas, certificates, post-graduate certificates, and apprenticeship programs across various disciplines.

Through its partnership with the University of Toronto Scarborough, Centennial College grants degrees to its students in the following fields of study; paramedicine, journalism, new media studies, environmental science & technology, and applied microbiology.

20. Vancouver Community College

Vancouver Community College is a publicly funded community college in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada that was founded in 1965.

As one of the best government colleges in Canada, VCC is designated and offers international students post-graduation work permits.

The college offers both full-time and part-time studies. These studies are made up of 78 certificate programs, 28 diploma programs, and 3 bachelor’s degree programs across different fields of study.

The fields of study are Academic Upgrading, Design, Hospitality, Music and Dance, University Transfer, Business, Health Sciences, Languages and Writing, Transportation Trades, Baking & Culinary Arts, Hair, Esthetics and Makeup, Instructor Training, Technology, Apprenticeship Training, English as a Second Language, Human and Family Services, Students with Disabilities, and Youth Training in Trades.

21. Humber College

The Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning (Humber College) is a public college in Toronto, Ontario, Canada that was founded in 1967.

Regarded as one of the best government colleges in Canada, the college is made up of three campuses such as the Humber North campus, the Lakeshore campus, and the Humber Orangeville campus.

At Humber College, students are administered bachelor’s degrees, diplomas, certificates, post-graduate certificates, and apprenticeship programs across different fields of study. In addition, the college offers Bridge Training programs for globally trained professionals in the fields of information technology and engineering.

22. Seneca College

Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology is a public post-secondary institution in Ontario, Canada that was founded in 1967.

The college offers full-time and part-time programs leading to diplomas, certificates, bachelor’s degrees, and graduate certificates. Additionally, it provides career search assistance to graduating students.

On the other hand, the college possesses over 70 transfer agreements with both local and international colleges and universities in Australia, England, South Africa, and the United States.

Through the transfer agreement, students have the opportunity to apply for a college education to obtain credit for a university degree.

23. New Brunswick Community College

New Brunswick Community College is a public college in New Brunswick, Canada that was established in 1974.

As one of the top government colleges in Canada, NBCC offers students full-time, part-time, online, and professional development programs to both local and international students.

In addition, the college administers a part-time program and apprenticeship training for commercial workers.

24. Sheridan College

Sheridan College is a public post-secondary institution in Ontario, Canada that was established in 1967. It has three campuses such as Oakville, Brampton, and Mississauga.

The college offers over 130 programs leading to degrees, certificates, diplomas, and post-graduate diplomas in animation & illustration, creative writing & publishing, music theatre, film & design, business, applied computing, engineering technology, community studies, and liberal studies.

25. Durham College

Durham College is a public college of Applied Arts and Technology in Durham, Ontario, Canada, that was established in 1967.

The college has campuses in Ontario Tech University, Oshawa, and Whitby, Ontario.

Durham College offers full-time and online programs leading to certificates and diplomas in business, information technology, media, art, design, general arts, science, skilled trades, justice, emergency services, health, and engineering technology.

26. George Brown College

George Brown College of Applied Arts and Technology is a public post-secondary institution that was founded in 1967. It has three campuses including Casa Loma Campus, St. James Campus, and Waterfront Campus.

George Brown College offers different part-time and full-time programs leading to certificates, diplomas, bachelor’s, and graduate degrees in different fields of study.

The courses offered at George Brown include Early childhood leadership, Art and Design, Business Management, Community Services, Construction and Engineering Technologies, Health Sciences, Hospitality, and Culinary Arts, Nursing, Finance, and Preparatory Studies.

Through its partnership with Ryerson University, the college offers eight-degree programs in Interpretation – American Sign Language – English, Applied Arts (Early Childhood Leadership), Early Childhood Education, Nursing, Commerce (Financial Services), Commerce (Culinary Management), Applied Business (Hospitality Operations), and Technology (Construction Management).

27. St. Lawrence College

St. Lawrence College is a public college of Applied Arts and Technology that was established in 1967. It has three campuses in Eastern Ontario, namely; Brockville, Cornwall, and Kingston.

St. Lawrence College provides students with part-time and full-time programs leading to certificates, diplomas, and advanced diplomas.

Through its collaboration with Laurentian University, the college offers Baccalaureate Degree programs in Nursing and Business Administration.

28. Mohawk College

Mohawk College is a public college of applied arts and technology in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada that was founded in 1966.

The college has three main campuses including the Fennell Campus, the Stoney Creek Campus, and the Mohawk-McMaster Institute for Applied Health Sciences at McMaster University.

Mohawk College offers over 130 full-time programs, apprenticeship programs, and over 1,000 continuing education courses leading to diplomas, advanced diplomas, and graduate certificates. The college also offers degree programs jointly with McMaster University.

29. Cambrian College

Cambrian College is a public college in Ontario, Canada that was founded in 1967. The college has campuses in Sudbury, Espanola, and Little Current.

Cambrian College offers degrees, certificates, and diplomas in over 80 programs. The certificate programs offered at the institute include Business Analytics, Community & Health Services Navigation, Human Resource Management, International Business Management, Mobile Application Development, Organization Management, and Public Relations.

The institute as one of the best government colleges in Canada offers full-time and part-time learning to students.

30. Niagara College Canada

Niagara College is a public College of Applied Arts and Technology in Ontario, Canada that was founded in 1967. It comprises three campuses including the Welland Campus, the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus, and the Taif Campus, Saudi Arabia.

The institute offers more than 100 post-secondary diplomas, baccalaureate degrees, and advanced level programs to its students.

Under these programs, the following fields of study are administered; food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, English as a second language, applied health and community safety, horticulture, and esthetics.

Furthermore, the college offers a University Transfer program that allows its diploma graduates to pursue a degree through its partnership with:

  • Brock University, Canada
  • Niagara University, U.S.A
  • Sanda University, China
  • University of Santo Tomas, Chile

31. Georgian College

Georgian College is a public post-secondary institution of Applied Arts and Technology in Ontario, Canada that was founded in 1967. It has seven campuses such as Barrie, Orillia, Owen Sound, Midland, Muskoka, South Georgian Bay, and Orangeville.

The college offers academic upgrading, apprenticeship training, certificate, diploma, a graduate certificate in the automotive business, business and management, community safety, computer studies, design and visual arts, engineering technology & environmental studies, health, wellness and sciences, hospitality, tourism and recreation, human services, Indigenous studies, liberal arts, marine studies, and skilled trades.

Through its partnership with Lakehead University, Georgian College offers students combined degree-diploma programs. Online programs are also available at the college. This makes Georgian College one of the best government colleges in Canada.


Publicly funded or government colleges in Canada offer high-quality full-time and part-time studies to students in different fields of study. The courses that they offer lead to the award of associate degrees, diplomas, certificates, advanced diplomas, and graduate certificates.

They also offer apprenticeship training and four-year degree programs through a partnership with universities. There is also an option of an online study for students who wish to study from anywhere at their own pace.

Public colleges in Canada that are contained in this article will prepare you for the workforce as well as meet all your meets as regards a two-year program.



  1. Let me clear up a few things:

    First off, they’re not ‘government colleges’, they are publicly funded. This means that the government does provide some of the college’s funding, but they are not run by the government.

    Canada does not offer associate degrees – this is an American term. Sounds like you’re referring to two-year diploma programs. Many of these programs have transfer agreements with degree programs that will allow you to receive credit for your diploma-level learning.

    Colleges in Canada do not need to partner with a university in order to offer degrees (though lots offer collaborative programs where you study with both). Many of Canada’s public colleges offer dozens of excellent degree programs and have done so for over 20 years.

Comments are closed.