Continuing Education + Job Training // Publishing since 1999

Schools Offering Continuous Intake

By WENDY TERRY - September 17 2018

Ah, the kids have been in their new classes for a week.  You have caught up on the pile of work that greeted you on your return from holidays.  You make a cup of tea and your mind turns to what classes will you take this fall.

A couple of weeks post-Labour Day, you call a college only to find out you have missed the registration for Fall term classes. You are despondent.  Don’t be!

First of all, you may not be too late. Most college courses start anywhere from Saturday September 8th through the following week.

General Interest courses at the schools, the TDSB Learn4Life program, have later start dates. September 15th is the first start date and they extend through the following week.  They have work- related courses such as those under Business and Finance, Communications, and Computers.   

If you are too late, there are continuous intake courses throughout the academic terms for many adult education providers.  

In general, college distance education courses have monthly intake, community programs and career colleges have continuous intake, ESL/LNC programs often offered by schools and community groups have continuous intake, Literacy Basic Skills programs found at colleges, schools and community groups also have continuous intake.   We will go through these, giving you contact information.

Call the Department –best advice 

As a general rule, you should always call the department for the courses you are interested in and ask if they have courses starting mid-term since you are too late for the fall registration.   In some colleges, programs have started to offer intensive courses, starting mid-term, two nights a week.  

You used to be able to scan/browse a print calendar listing courses with a class schedule to find outliers from the Fall start dates but now you have to go on line to browse.   But browsing is not scanning as you have to drill down from program area, to course, to schedule. Often you find that the course you want has a start date that doesn’t work for you. Then, you go back up to look for another course, drill down to the schedule again, and again the time or date won’t work. And so on! That’s why our advice is always to call the department. They often have a list of courses organized by start date 

Now let’s look at where you are most likely to find continuous intake courses. 


When you see a list of academic terms and modes of offering a course on a college Continuing Education website you will see Online.  All the colleges co-operate to offer online courses through “Ontario Learn.”

Course listings on the “Ontario Learn” website, have monthly start dates. So, if you missed the September in-class mode, you can register for the October online one. 

When you click on the course you want on the “Ontario Learn} site, you will see which colleges offer it.  It may be the college you originally wanted to attend but missed the start date for or it could be another one. 

If you are working towards a Certificate though Continuing Education, just make sure that your home college will accept the course you take through “Ontario Learn” as a credit towards your program at another college.  Do this before you register!


Canadian universities that belong to the Canadian Virtual University consortium often have continuous start dates.   Athabasca University is one and is a member of the Canadian Virtual University. See page 4 for ad.  

Many universities are not members of this consortium but have continuous intake and your home university will grant you credit. Make sure you confirm with your home university first!  See Carleton University ad page 2.

No Toronto university belongs to the Canadian Virtual University consortium but Toronto universities do have distance education offerings.  Ask the department where you have been studying, if they have on-line courses. 

If you are registered for a program at a Toronto University – Ryerson University, York University, University of Toronto – just make sure they will accept the credit from another university towards your program.

It is important to understand that each of the Toronto Universities has several entry points. See  Fall 2016 issue page 7. “Where are the Doors at Toronto Universities?”  

There are part-time undergraduate degrees for which you must be admitted before you take courses. Then there are Continuing Education courses which have open admissions.  In open admissions you earn credits until you have completed all that are required for a specific Certificate.  At that point, you apply for the Certificate. 

Both areas – under graduate and continuing education programs – should accept credits from the Canadian Virtual University consortium   Again, remember that before you must make sure your home program will accept the credit. If you are registered for a program at a Toronto university, just make sure they will accept a credit from another one. 

The Chang School at Ryerson University (416-979-5035) prints a small booklet with only course names and start dates.  This is invaluable.  Some courses have start dates throughout the term.  See ad on page 8 

York University’s School of Continuing Studies (416-736-5616) has a focused number of courses so browsing through and down into their website takes less time.

The University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies (416-978-2400) has a wide range of courses but they do not publish class schedules in their calendar so you would need to drill down or just call the department. They do have courses with start dates throughout the term. 

The U of T School of Continuing Studies has three campuses: a St. George campus (downtown Toronto), a Mississauga campus and a Scarborough campus.

Northeastern University. new to Toronto, offers courses on a continuous intake basis. They refer to them as rolling intake courses. 

High school

The Adult Day Schools at the Toronto Board of Education and the Toronto Catholic board of Education and similar ones in the Peel, York and Durham regions (GTA schools), have a fixed term schedule but the Independent Learning Centre offers high school credit courses on continuous intake basis. ILC courses are free. They can be done on line. 

The Independent Learning Centre, part of TV Ontario, is the Ontario Ministry of Education’s designated partner in distance education. ILC offers a full range of accredited courses from grades 9-12. 

Literacy Basic Skills 

If you want to brush up on basic skills but not work towards a high school diploma, Literacy Basic Skills programs may be the right one for you, ( writing, computers, science  math ) These courses are free and they have continuous intake. 

Upgrading courses can be found at many adult education providers. In Colleges, you will find them under Liberal Arts not under Continuing Education. Why?  Liberal Arts is where the entrance courses for Colleges are offered.  To get a College Degree/Diploma in any area, you must also take some Liberal Arts courses so this department serves all the others. In the colleges, Lthey are often just called Academic Upgrading. See Seneca ad on page 18 

The colleges have distance education options for LBS programs

LBS courses are not in the universities though they do have Academic Upgrading programs See Fall 2016 Learning Curves. page 7: “Where Are the Doors at Toronto Universities?” 

Schools have Literacy Basic Skills programs (sometimes called Essential Skills). At the Toronto District school Board they are offered through Community Education.  See ad on back page bottom banner. 

Community programs like PTP offer LBS classes. See ad page 4. See Community programs later in this article.  


Most of these programs have continuous intake.  To find them, visit the Canadian Language Assessment Centre for your region. In Toronto it is the YMCA and their four centres. Call 416-925-5462.   These Centres have lists of ESL and LINC programs offered at schools, colleges, and community associations. 

They can tell you about programs you may never have heard. like Higher Level Language Training (HLLT), an umbrella term for two federally-funded language programs. Occupation Specific Language Training (OSLT) and Enhanced Language Training (ELT).   Their provincial equivalent is called Specialized Language Training.  Most of these have a work placement after in class session- Canadian work experience.   See www,   Winter 2013 issue  front page  “ New! Second Language Assessment now Centralized: Who What Where and When.”

Career Colleges

Most Career College have continuous intake.  You can get a comprehensive listing of career colleges registered with the Ontario Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities. On their home page click on “find a school”, then click on “go to private colleges.” 

The problem is transferring credits to a home program at a community college.  Few accept Career College credits.  This is an issue between private versus public providers. Not helpful to adult students this. 

The “ONTransfer” site is helpful to adults but only if your are transferring credits between Ontario Colleges and Universities. 

“ONTransfer” is a service provided by the Ontario Council of Articulation and Transfer (ONCAT) to connect current and prospective students to transfer opportunities.

There is another note of caution some courses offered at night though College Continuing Education /Part time programs are not equivalent to day school credit courses. Usually it will say if a CE course is equivalent to a day school course. “ONTransfer” evaluates full time credit offerings to other full-time credit offerings. CE offerings, unless they have a full time equivalent, have yet to be evaluated by “ONTransfer”

You will see is a tab marked  “How Can We Help?” Choose “Find a Transfer Policy Advisor” at each college or university. Call them and get their advice. 

Community Associations. 

Most community association programs have continuous intake.  The most comprehensive listing of community association programs can be found by googling 211 Toronto   Select “Employment and Training.” Another option is to click on “Newcomers” or “Community Programs” 

Professional Associations– Overlooked gold mines for learning and jobs opportunities. 

These associations are often overlooked for courses.  They offer courses – general professional ones but also ones that are specific for a particular profession. They are often continuous intake, They also offer courses in partnership with Colleges and Universities You do not have to be a fully accredited member to join a professional association so you can be a student member or a newcomer recertifying. (There are exceptions like the Ontario Medical Association where you have to be a licensed doctor). Their job banks allow an employer who wants a certain skill set to post a job in that association’s job bank before they will post to a more general job site.  And when you go to their events you are networking with those who know of jobs not yet posted in your field. 

In the Feb March 2010 edition of Learning Curves, we made a chart of all the colleges and universities listing the Professional Associations they are affiliated with. 

See in his edition page 10.  “Professional Associations who have learning partnerships with Continuing Education Departments in Colleges and Universities.”

This is worth looking at. 

Some of these associations were: Canadian Institute of Bookkeeping; Canadian Institute of Payroll, Forum for International Trade Training, Human Resource Professionals of Ontario, Association of Production and Inventory Control, Canadian Information Processing Society, Medical Secretaries Association, Purchasing Management Association of Canada.

The information in this chart was compiled from reading CE calendars in 2010 but as the CE calendars have moved on line these listing seem to have been dropped. Colleges and universities still have partnerships but they are not as visible. Ask your program area if they have professional association partnerships. 

Finding these professional associations has become more challenging. There used to be a printed Associations Directory for Canada in every library and they may still have the old ones but now this Directory is online   You could scan in a certain professional area in the print version but  to find an association best for you, now you have to drill down on a web site.  Tell a librarian that you are trying to find a professional association related to your area of interest and let them help.  Librarians are better than google. 

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