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Private northern Ont. college accused of taking tuition, but not offering courses

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A private career college in North Bay is under intense scrutiny from students and former teachers.

The students say the school has taken money from them while aware they can’t finish -- or even start -- their courses. The school offers in-person and online classes.

Amanda Weichel said she was excited to enroll in a one-year human resource management course at the Native Education and Training College. She paid $6,100 to cover expenses, including tuition and books.

“I was supposed to start the program, but you have to have an access code for your books and your course,” she said.

“But my access code did not work.”

In a response to a critical Google review, school owner Larry Stewart blamed the issue on a “hack” to its Canvas Learning Management System, saying the school is now using a new online system and that it is currently transferring students to the new system.

But Weichel eventually discovered the school was facing deep financial problems.

Some students say Native Education and Training College in North Bay has taken money from them while aware they can’t finish -- or even start -- their courses. The school offers in-person and online classes. (Eric Taschner/CTV News)

Irregular pay

Former Health Sciences teacher Tammy Jackson sounded the alarm, saying issues began in March 2023 with irregular pay.

“I actually can't find any paystubs since August,” Jackson said.

“I thought I had one from October somewhere, but I can't seem to find it … No T4s, no T2200s, no ROE.”

Jackson, who has filed a complaint with the Labour Relations Board, said three teachers quit because of the pay issue, which left the college with no professors.

She’s aware of at least 11 students who were locked out of their studies and two students who have been waiting for graduating documents, including Robin Woodhouse.

“It's been over two months. I've been finished the program. They ignore me,” Woodhouse told CTV News from Hamilton.

“I'm out of my certificate. I can't get that PSW job.”

Jackson said the school continues to claim that it’s “up and running,” while it’s still trying to hire new professors.

“Their website, their Facebook page is active. You have no instructors. I'm confused,” she said.

“So how do you keep in-taking people with no instructors?”

An online search states the college is “permanently closed,” according to Google’s school listing.

CTV News has learned that there is a note on the door of the school’s McIntyre Street West administration office door, which shows the college owes nearly $18,000 in rent.

The note sates the locks have been changed and the landlord has repossessed the property.

Weichel said students deserve to know the truth.

Some students say Native Education and Training College in North Bay has taken money from them while aware they can’t finish -- or even start -- their courses. The school offers in-person and online classes. (Eric Taschner/CTV News)

College officials declined comment

“Do a public statement to all of your students,” she said.

“Let them know the struggles that you're going through so we all know what to do, what the next steps are.”

CTV News contacted the school several times seeking comment. But our requests were declined and we were referred instead to an April 2 statement.

“We can confirm that our institution is still operational as a private career college,” admissions and recruitment manager Lee Stewart wrote.

“We are actively working to rectify this situation and ensure minimal disruption to our services. While we cannot comment on specific student cases due to privacy regulations, we can affirm that our institution is required to adhere to all applicable laws and regulations governing fee collection, refunds and student contracts as outlined by the Ontario Career Colleges Act, 2005.”

Weichel has been trying to get a refund since January, under the college’s 30-day policy.

“On Jan. 12, I spoke to the school and asked for a refund,” she said.

“They had agreed to give me the refund (but) I’ve yet to see the refund … The school had replied and said that they would give me a credit for my course instead.”

Ontario’s Ministry of Colleges and Universities said the superintendent of career colleges is working to facilitate a resolution between the parties.

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