News and Insights

CRA Issues a New Publication on the Meaning of the Term “Public College” for GST/HST Purposes 

Tax Development Apr 22, 2014

The Canada Revenue Agency recently issued GST/HST Policy Statement P-186, “Meaning of the Term “Public College”” to clarify which organizations qualify as public colleges. 

Based on the definition in subsection 123(1) of the Excise Tax Act(ETA), in order to qualify as a public college, an organization must meet all of the following requirements:

  1. operate a post-secondary college or a post-secondary technical institute;
  2. receive funding from a government or municipality to support the ongoing delivery of educational services to the general public; and
  3. have a primary purpose to provide programs of instruction in one or more fields of vocational, technical or general education.

A qualifying public college may make exempt supplies pursuant to Schedule V, Parts III and VI of the ETA.  If such an organization is established otherwise than for profit, it is considered a ‘selected public service body’ and may also be entitled to rebates under section 259.  If it operates on a for-profit basis, it will not qualify for these rebates. 

The document includes five examples which illustrate which organizations meet the criteria and which do not.