Wednesday, November 21, 2012
George Brown grads win class-action suit over misleading course description
It is quite extraordinary for a college or university to be held liable -- this is a remarkable case:
A group of graduates has won a class-action suit against George Brown College for a course description that promised three credentials it was not qualified to deliver.
Of 118 students represented in the case, two-thirds came from other countries and paid $11,000 in tuition each for the eight-month International Business Program, which delivered none of the three added industry qualifications — international trade, custom services and international freight forwarding — promised in the course calendar.
It was these specialized industry designations that attracted students in the first place when the program launched in 2007, noted Justice Edward Belobaba, of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. None of the students wanted another college certificate, but they were excited by the idea of a fast track to three credentials that usually take two years of work and study — resulting in starting salaries said to be as high as $60,000.
But just before final exams, students discovered the college had no deals with the industry associations that are required to be partners for such training, so no designations would be earned.
“The students were, to say the least, disappointed. Some were devastated,” reported Belobaba, who found the college guilty of “negligent misrepresentation” and a breach of the Consumer Protection Act.
“George Brown College is highly regarded, and deservedly so. But on this one occasion they were careless and made a mistake,” Belobaba found, “and they should be held accountable.”