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B.C. introduces changes to protect students at private training institutions

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 11:49 PDT, Mon May 10, 2021

Last Updated: 2:13 PDT, Wed May 12, 2021

Students studying at private post-secondary institutions throughout B.C. will benefit from changes to the Private Training Regulation and the Fees and Student Tuition Protection Fund Regulation.

Both regulations are focused on further enhancing student protections.

"With more than 300 private training institutions in B.C., it is important for students at these institutions to know this government cares about the investment they are making in their education," said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training. "Students at private institutions should be able to know their rights and benefit from more of the same protections students at public institutions have—like sexual misconduct policies. These changes will strengthen student protection, streamline administrative processes and continue to improve public confidence in the private career training sector."

The amendments will help to further implement the 36 recommendations from the B.C. Ombudsperson's 2015 report, In the Public Interest: Protecting Students Through Effective Oversight of Private Career Training Institutions, to enhance oversight and student protections. At the time, the report concluded a lack of effective oversight mechanisms for this sector left students vulnerable.

New key changes to strengthen oversight of private training institution regulations and protect students include:

• establishing a student statement of rights at every institution, ensuring it is posted prominently and provided with the student enrolment contract. This must be made available in every language in which instruction of an approved program is provided.

• requiring sexual misconduct prevention policies at all institutions.

• mandating facility and equipment inspections for all institutions applying for certification for the first time.

"As an essential service during the pandemic, private training institutions have played an integral role in continuing to train students for jobs in demand," said Michael Evans, CEO, BC Career Colleges Association. "We welcome the changes to enhance student protections and to be a partner in continuing to offer trusted and exceptional private career training in B.C."

A change in fee structures for private training institutions is being made to help strengthen the cost-recovery model to ensure the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training's Private Institutions Training Branch is adequately resourced to fulfil its mandate to protect students.

These changes take effect on Sept. 1, following consultation with the private training industry, students and affected Indigenous institutions.

Quick Facts:

• More than 55,000 students study annually at 306 private certified institutions in B.C.

• These institutions supply 50 per cent or more of the province's early childhood educators, health-care aides, home support workers, dental hygienists and licensed practical nurses.

• They offer other training opportunities, e.g., for commercial pilots, heavy equipment operators, hairdressers, registered massage therapists and traditional Chinese medicine practitioners.

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