Prior to the introduction of the CVS, provincial government approved all programs offered by the colleges in Ontario. Along with the approval of programs the government provided an ‘automatic’ funding of the programs. With the introduction of legislation (The Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology Act, 2002) the responsibility for the approval of programs was given to the colleges (through the local Board of Governors), while the responsibility to make funding decisions was left with government.

As a result of this move to de-centralize program approval decisions it was determined that there was a need for an oversight body that could provide reasonable assurances that programs developed and approved by the individual colleges were of sufficient rigor and credibility. Under the present model Colleges develop and approve the programs that they are going to offer and, if requested by the colleges, the government will provide a funding approval decision, once the program has been validated by the CVS.