Definitions - Affiliation and Federation

University Affiliation and Federation Agreements in Canada

Working Definitions

Affiliation:  An agreement under which an institution offering post-secondary level instruction suspends some or all of the degree granting privileges that it may have previously exercised in favour of civic credentials awarded under the academic authority of a larger established university, which becomes the primary degree granting institution.  Respective responsibility is retained in all dimensions not specifically ceded in the agreement. As specifically understood, this term does not apply to other cooperative relationships with commercial, industrial, international or other interests associated with institutions providing university level instruction in Canada.  

Agreement:  The formal documentation of an affiliation or federation relationship with a primary degree granting institution outlining the terms and conditions of that association.

Charter:  The official document or legislative recognition granted by a civil or religious authority permitting a college or university to offer post-secondary instruction leading to an academic credential.

Constituent:  An administrative component of a larger academic institution, sometimes generically identified as a college. The absence of an independent governing board and president readily differentiates these organizational units from others in affiliation or federation relationships, which may also identify themselves as university colleges. Confusion originates in universities that may or may not include constituent organizational components, but use the designation indiscriminately to identify all other institutions with which they maintain affiliation or federationrelationships.     

Evergreen:  An affiliation or federation agreement indefinite in duration, subject only to notification by either signatory of any intention to modify or terminate its terms and conditions.

Federation:  A specific form of affiliation in which college or university partner institutions join together to form a new university recognized by civic authorities and eligible for public funding. The term is erroneously employed as a synonym for affiliation in a generic sense.  

Founding:  Synonymous with mother ship or parent institution, and erroneously designating the primary degree granting institution in an affiliation or federation relationship, this term should be employed only to identify college or university partner institutions whose federation agreement created a new university recognized by civil authorities and eligible for direct public funding. The term may also assume certain parental connotations that do not exist in every affiliation or federation agreement.  

Mother: (see Founding)

Parent: (see Founding)

Partner:  Including the primary degree granting institution, colleges or universities participating in an affiliation or federation agreement.

Primary degree granting:  The publicly funded university under whose academic authority all civic credentials are awarded following completion of programs of study subject to an affiliation or federation agreement, and erroneously designating the founding institution in an affiliation or federation relationship.

Religious:  Also identified as canonical, denominational or ecclesiastical charters, college or university institutions, this term designates an academic authority or credentials conferred by a church-related as opposed to a civil jurisdiction.

Renegotiated:  An affiliation or federation agreement extending for a determined period of time, typically for five years or longer, following which existing terms and conditions are either renewed or new arrangements are concluded.

Comments and suggestions related to these definitions or to the University Affiliation and Federation Agreements in Canada Project in general are welcome via electronic mail addressed to:
The information commons database of affiliation and federation agreements may be freely accessed via its website at: