In a dramatic change of policy, the provincial regulator of private career colleges has levied its first fines — totalling $36,000 — on an unregistered college.

The Toronto School of Music on Bayview Avenue has also been ordered to stop advertising unapproved vocational programs and issue refunds to students who were enrolled in those programs.

The crackdown under the Private Career Colleges Act comes less than two months after the Ontario government increased fines and promised tougher policing of rogue career colleges in the province.

Those new rules followed a Toronto Star investigation that blasted the province for not protecting students.

At that time, the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities was criticized by provincial ombudsman André Marin for practising what he called “wilful blindness” in its enforcement of the act.

Colin Yip said he was unaware the Toronto School of Music had to register with the ministry because it was not a requirement in 1997 when he founded the school.