Invitation to participate in the revision of the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) Canada

Opened: April 2024


Statistics Canada invites data producers and data users, representatives of educational institutions and professional associations, government bodies at the federal, provincial/territorial, and local levels, educational experts, academics and researchers and all other interested parties to submit proposals for the revision to the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) Canada.

Following the decision of the Statistics Canada's Social Standards Steering Committee (SSSC) on January 9, 2024, to institute a permanent consultation process for CIP Canada, proposals for changes may be submitted and reviewed on an ongoing basis. Only a cut-off date for considering proposed changes to be included into a new version of the CIP Canada will be instituted moving forward. For future revisions of the CIP Canada, a cut-off date will be maintained at about one and a half years prior to the release date of the new classification version.

In exceptional circumstances, when a consensus is reached among the data producers and users at Statistics Canada, the classification might be revised before the regular revision cycle of 5-years, as the way of 'evergreening' the standard.

In the context of statistical classifications, evergreening refers to updating the classification and the related reference (index) file on a continuous basis with the objective of maintaining quality, timeliness and relevance. Though, evergreening does not necessarily result in the release of a new version of the classification every year. A decision to release a new version (before the end of the regular 5 years revision cycle) needs to be discussed and assessed by key classification stewards considering potential impacts on data and statistical programs.


This consultation aims to gather feedback from users who have already implemented the classification, as well as other interested parties who might want to suggest updates or changes. The principal objective of the consultation is to receive input from classification users to determine if the classification remains relevant and reflective of Canadian postsecondary educational programs. This ensures that quantitative and qualitative information on postsecondary educational programs continues to be reliable, timely and relevant for a wide range of audiences.


The Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) Canada 2021 is the fourth Canadian version of this classification; others being CIP Canada 2000, 2011 and 2016. The CIP Canada revisions were accomplished through the joint efforts of Statistics Canada and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) of the United States Department of Education.

In September 2023, Statistics Canada's Social Standards Steering Committee (SSSC) made the decision to move from a 10-year to a 5-year CIP revision cycle. The next version of the CIP Canada will be in 2027 and will align with the new 5-year U.S. CIP 2025.

Nature and content of proposals

Respondents are invited to provide their comments, feedback, and suggestions on how to improve the CIP Canada. They must outline their rationale for proposed changes.

Respondents may propose virtual (not affecting the meaning of a classification item) and real changes (affecting the meaning of a classification item, whether accompanied by changes in naming and/or coding or not). Examples of real changes are: the creation of new classification items, the combination or decomposition of classification items, as well as the elimination of classification items. A classification item (sometimes referred to as a "class") represents a category at a certain level within a statistical classification structure. It defines the content and the borders of the category, and generally contains a code, title, definition/description, as well as exclusions where necessary. For the CIP Canada, classifications items are: Series (2-digit), Sub-series (4-digit) and Class (6-digit).

Key dates for the CIP Canada 2027 revision process

Here are key dates for the CIP Canada 2027 revision process:

  • Official public consultation period for changes proposed for inclusion in the CIP Canada 2027: Ongoing to the end of June 2024. Beyond the CIP Canada 2027, the cut-off date to incorporate approved changes from proposals into the new classification version will be about a year and a half before the release date of the next version of the CIP based on the 5-year revision cycle.
  • Public notice containing proposals in consideration for changes in the CIP Canada 2027: winter of 2024
  • Public notice containing the final approved proposal for changes in the CIP Canada 2027: spring/summer 2025
  • Public release of the CIP Canada 2027 Version 1.0: late 2027/early 2028

The next revised version of CIP Canada will be called CIP Canada 2027 Version 1.0.

Individuals and organizations wishing to submit proposals for changes in CIP Canada may do so at any time, in accordance with the permanent consultation process adopted by Statistics Canada with regards to CIP Canada.

How to provide feedback during the consultation?

Proposals for CIP Canada revisions must contain the contact information of those submitting the change request:

  1. Name
  2. Organization (when an individual is proposing changes on behalf of an organization)
  3. Mailing address
  4. Email address
  5. Phone number

Should additional information or clarification to the proposal be required, participants might be contacted.

Proposals must be submitted by email to:

Consultation guidelines

Individuals or organizations are encouraged to follow the guidelines below when developing their proposals.

Proposals should:

  • clearly identify the proposed addition, change or modification to CIP Canada; this can include creating new classes, or modifying existing classes;
  • outline the rationale and include supporting information for the proposed change, such as:
    • title/name of the proposed new postsecondary educational program
    • curriculum of the proposed new program (the courses or subjects that make up the program)
    • names and number of educational institutions offering the proposed new program;
  • when possible, describe the empirical significance (i.e., field of study analysis, educational forecasting, comparing education and salary outcomes amongst groups) of proposed changes;
  • be consistent with classification principles (e.g., mutual exclusivity, exhaustiveness, and homogeneity within categories);
  • be relevant, that is
    • describe the present analytical interest;
    • enhance the usefulness of data;
    • base the proposal on appropriate statistical research or subject matter expertise.

Please consider the questions below when preparing your input for the consultation on the current version of the CIP Canada:

  • Are there postsecondary educational programs for which you cannot find a satisfactory CIP Canada code?
  • Are there classification items that you find difficult to use because their descriptions are vague or unclear?
  • Are there different postsecondary educational programs you find difficult to distinguish from each other? Are there boundaries that could be clarified?
  • Are there postsecondary educational programs that you think should have their own CIP Canada category? Please indicate at which level and why, with the support documentation about the postsecondary educational program (see guidelines above for a proposal).
  • Are there postsecondary educational programs that you are able to locate in CIP Canada, but you would like to have them located in a different 2-digit series or 4-digit subseries? And why?
  • Does the language or terminology used in CIP Canada need updating to be consistent with current usage?

Note that submissions do not need to cover every topic; you can submit comments on your particular area(s) of concern only.

The following criteria will be used to review the proposals received:

  • consistency with classification principles such as mutual exclusivity, exhaustiveness, and homogeneity of postsecondary educational programs within categories;
  • have empirical significance as a field of study;
  • data be collectable and publishable;
  • be relevant, that is, it must be of analytical interest, result in data useful to users, and be based on appropriate statistical research and subject-matter expertise;
  • special attention will be given to specific postsecondary educational programs, including:
    • new or emerging programs
    • changes related to the scope of existing programs.

CIP Canada Classification Structure

CIP Canada has a three-level hierarchical classification structure, consisting of 2-digit 'series', 4-digit 'subseries', and 6-digit 'instructional program classes'. Changes may be proposed for any level.

The Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) Canada 2021 Version 1.0 is the latest version of the classification for participants of this consultation to base their input on. Persons or organizations proposing a change should always make sure they refer to the latest available version of CIP Canada.

Costs associated with proposals

Statistics Canada will not reimburse respondents for expenses incurred in developing their proposal.

Treatment of proposals

A team of representatives from Statistics Canada will review all proposals received. Statistics Canada reserves the right to use independent consultants, or government employees, if deemed necessary, to assess proposals.

If deemed appropriate, Statistics Canada will contact the respondents to ask additional questions or ask for clarification on a particular aspect of their proposal.

Please note changes will only be implemented during planned revision cycles and that a proposal will not necessarily result in changes to CIP Canada.

Official languages

Proposals may be written in either of Canada's official languages – English or French.


Statistics Canada is committed to respecting the privacy of consultation participants. All personal information created, held or collected by the Agency is protected by the Privacy Act. For more information on Statistics Canada's privacy policies, please consult the Privacy notice.

Thank You

We thank all participants for their continued interest and participation in the various CIP Canada engagement activities.


If you have any enquiries about this process, please send them to