Accreditation is a form of independent, professional certification that focuses on schools and programs in a particular field. Accreditation therefore assures international students and their parents that a Canadian school or program adheres to high quality standards - that the programs are delivered by a qualified faculty and are constantly updated to follow the changes and meet the needs of the relevant industry or working world. Attending an accredited school is often thought to make you more competitive on the job market.
While there is no Canadian accrediting body for culinary, travel and hospitality studies in general, Canadian university, community college and career college departments and programs may seek accreditation from international bodies such as the UK's Institute of Hospitality. Keep in mind also that Canadian universities and community colleges must be accredited by their respective provincial education ministries, and private career colleges should be provincially licensed. In addition, private career colleges may be generally accredited by national bodies such as Canadian Education and Training Accreditation Commission (CETAC). International students can also look at whether a school or program in Canada has any memberships in, or endorsements by, discipline-specific professional associations which reflect certain standards of quality, but this is not the same as official accreditation.
Institute of Hospitality (formerly HCIMA)
Location: Surrey, UK
Previously known as the Hotel & Catering International Management Association (HCIMA), the Institute of Hospitality was renamed in April 2007. They accredit academic programs in hospitality, leisure and tourism both nationally and internationally.
Canadian Education and Training Accreditation Commission (CETAC)
Location: Fredericton, New Brunswick
As an independent branch of the National Association of Career Colleges, CETAC accredits private post-secondary vocational schools that demonstrate educational excellence. It has been responsible for institutional accreditation of private post secondary institutions in Canada since 1985.
The goal of accreditation is to ensure that the education provided meets acceptable levels of quality. Accrediting agencies, which are educational associations of regional, national or international scope, develop evaluation criteria and conduct peer evaluations to assess whether or not those criteria are met. Institutions and/or programs that request an agency's evaluation and that meet an agency's criteria are then "accredited" by that agency.