Andre Marin, Ombudsman of Ontario, released a report on the Ontario government’s handling of private career colleges and he held back nothing calling the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities “incompetent.”
Marin uploaded video of his news conference at Queen’s Park today which provides a good summary of the report.
A couple of things jump out at me that raise serious questions related to the Ministry, my thoughts after the video.
1) The complete lack of empathy and ability to think outside of the box to assist the victims of the Ministry’s “incompetence.” The Ministry hires intelligent people, so why do they lose this intelligence when they walk into the MTCU?
2) The complete unwillingness to protect students and fulfill the oversight role of the Ministry. This is not a problem limited to private colleges. We see this Ministry and Minister turning a blind eye to illegal fees at public colleges and universities. I often ask why the Minister’s title includes universities when he doesn’t seem to do anything beyond ribbon cuttings related to them.
3) The Ministry hired the owner of the illegal college after it went belly up. The Ministry was more than willing to assist her, but has done nothing for the students.
4) The most disturbing, for me at least, part of this fiasco is the initial criticism of the Ombudsman by Minister of Training, Colleges, and Universities John Milloy. The fact that he criticized the Ombudsman prior to reading the report from Marin is a serious mistake of judgment. Milloy is one of the most intelligent and educated Ministers in the Ontario government. The time is long overdue for him to start showing better judgment and acting as Minister instead of a glorified ribbon-cutter.
The Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities is lurching from slamming report to slamming report. Last year, it was the Auditor General. This year, it is the Ombudsman and Marin is not done investigating the domain of the Ministry.