Bill 96 FAQ

Bill 96

Bill 96, adopted by Quebec’s National Assembly in May 2022, brings significant amendments to the Charter of the French Language, commonly known as Bill 101.  Certain aspects of the Bill affect English-language CEGEPs.

The information contained here is accurate as of October 14, 2022 and is subject to change. This document was originally compiled by Dawson College and made available for public use.

What does it mean to hold a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to English-language education?

In order to understand Bill 96 and its implications for CEGEPs, it is important to understand what a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to receive education in English is. Under Quebec law, only certain citizens meeting defined criteria have the right to attend publicly funded English-language schools and hold a COE. Conversely, those without a COE must attend French-language schools in Quebec, with very few exceptions.   At the CEGEP level, students with and without a COE may pursue their studies in English, but their status will determine different course and graduation requirements.

Who can receive a Certificate of Eligibility to education in English in Quebec?

At the moment, the Ministry of Education defines the criteria.  A detailed description is available on the Ministry’s website:



How does Bill 96 affect English CEGEPs?

The law sets limits on the total number of students English-language colleges can accept.

The law requires English-language colleges to prioritize the admissions of students with COEs to study in English. It is unclear at this time if this will be implemented in Fall 2023 or 2024.

In addition, students without COEs attending English-language colleges will need to pass the Épreuve Uniforme de Français (EUF) (French exit examination) to obtain their DCS. This section of the law will be applied for students who start their CEGEP studies in Fall 2023.

The law also states that all students in English-language colleges (whether they hold a COE or not) must take and pass three of their program courses (specific education or general education) in French. Those who hold a COE but who do not have the required knowledge of French will be permitted to take three additional courses of French language instead. This section of the law will only be applied to those starting CEGEP in Fall 2024.

If I qualify for a Certificate of Eligibility, how can I get it?

If a student has already attended an English elementary or high school in Quebec, then they should have already received their Certificate of Eligibility.

For more information, such as what to do if you have misplaced your certificate, visit the Ministry of Education website:

If you have not attended an English school in Quebec, but are eligible to attend under the law and wish to attend English-language CEGEP, the Ministry of Higher Education will be providing guidance on how to obtain your certificate in the near future.

How will admissions of those with a Certificate of Eligibility to education in English be prioritized?

The College is awaiting instructions from the Ministry of Higher Education. Regardless of the decision, two factors are certain:
  • Admissions for those with a Certificate of Eligibility to education in English will be prioritized
  • There will still be space in English-language colleges to admit those without a COE who wish to pursue their CEGEP studies in English

Who will need to write the French Exit Examination in order to graduate?

Only those without a COE will need to pass the Épreuve Uniforme de Français (EUF) or French Exit Examination.  Those without a COE whose French is too weak to succeed in passing the test will need to take mise à niveau courses to upgrade their level of French.  In addition, it is possible that some additional courses will need to be added and existing courses be replaced in order to add the required competencies for writing the French Exit Examination.

Conversely, those with a Certificate of Eligibility will not need to write the French Exit Examination but still need to complete the English Exit Examination as is currently the case.

How will the new requirements for all students (those with and without a COE) to take three courses in French be implemented? What if a student is not strong enough in French?

It is important to underline that these particular requirements under the law will only be applied to students admitted in Fall 2024 and beyond, and therefore will not apply to the Fall 2023 and Winter 2024 incoming cohorts of students, nor to students who are already enrolled at the College.

Under the law the courses cannot be in the language of instruction, French as a second language or Physical Education.

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