Ontario’s ombudsman is urging the province to crack down on “unscrupulous” unregistered private career colleges, which he says are allowed to run rampant due to a lack of oversight.

 

Andre Marin says the government’s systemic failure to ensure students are protected from such operations has, in at least one case, led to “unmitigated disaster.”

 

Marin was investigating Bestech Academy, an unregistered college offering courses in gas technician technology in Stoney Creek and St. Catharines, from 2006 to 2008.

 

He says the college preyed on innocent students, such as 57-year-old William Roberts, who paid $1,750 in tuition and complained when he learned it wasn’t accredited by the Technical Standards and Safety Authority.

Roberts received a partial refund, but the cheque bounced.

Marin says the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities has accepted all of his recommendations for improvements except his call for a compensation scheme for the students.