The authority to establish colleges of applied arts and technology is set out in the Ontario Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology Act, 2002. The Act identifies each college as a corporation without share capital and consisting of the members of its board of governors. The board of governors governs each college on behalf of the public. Colleges are Crown agencies, and therefore subject to provincial legislation.
Good governance requires that policies, processes, and structures are in place to promote effective operation of the college and to allow it to fulfill its mandate and meet its objectives. Essential elements include organizational integrity, financial management, communication with stakeholders and clients, collecting and reporting of information, and good management practices.
In 2007, the Durham College Board of Governors adopted a policy governance approach to governance of the college. This approach means that the Board sets the guiding principles and strategic direction for the College and provides an effective framework for structuring Board governance processes, while clearly articulating outcomes and processes for the President to achieve those outcomes.