The sudden closure of 14 Ontario branches of Everest College stranded 2,400 students and left 450 staff without a job. The Ontario government is directly responsible for this disaster, which must serve as an important warning and wake-up call.
Ontario’s privatization scandals are adding up. The Auditor General’s report counted more than eight billion dollars squandered on privatization schemes, and this latest scandal makes that number even higher.
The lesson learned from Everest College must not be repeated.
The systematic defunding of our public post-secondary education system coupled with Ontario’s lack of critical oversight of private career colleges has opened the door to corrupt private corporations delivering substandard and unreliable education to Ontario students.
By encouraging private institutes such as Everest College to compete with our publicly funded post-secondary education institutions, the Ontario government is setting up our students for failure, and putting their hard-earned money for tuition fees in jeopardy.
There are over 50,000 students attending private colleges in Ontario. Private U.S. based companies such as Corinthian Colleges Inc. (CCI), which owns Everest College, are allowed to operate in Ontario without proper restrictions and oversight. South of the border, CCI has faced investigations for misrepresenting its graduates’ employment rates, and the business has been in trouble for some time.
Ontario’s 24 colleges and 20 universities are world-class institutions that deliver quality education, however this is the most underfunded province when it comes to post-secondary education. Strengthening the funding for our college system is a key investment in the education of Ontario’s future workforce. Ontario colleges are a driving force for innovation and a stronger economy.
It’s time for Ontario to make a serious commitment to provide appropriate funding for our public post-secondary institutions.
The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) is proud to represent more than 25,000 faculty and support staff at Ontario colleges. These dedicated workers deliver quality post-secondary education to more than 200,000 students.