Qp Date
This Act has "Not in Force" sections. See the Table of Legislative Changes.

Private Career Training Institutions Act

[SBC 2003] CHAPTER 79

Assented to November 17, 2003

Contents
 1 Definitions
 2 Private Career Training Institutions Agency
 3 Objects of agency
 4 Composition of board
 5 Responsibility of board
 6 Bylaws
 7 Prohibitions
 8 Registration
 9 Accreditation
 10 Reconsiderations and appeals
 11 Certificate as evidence
 12 Inspectors
 13 Establishment and administration of Student Training Completion Fund
 14 Payments to fund by institutions
 15 Payments from fund
 16 Claims against fund
 17 Restrictions on payments to claimants
 18 Repayment of money received from the fund
 19 Money recovered belongs to the fund
 20 Confidentiality
 21 Personal liability protection
 22 Appointment of a public administrator
 23 Offence and penalty
 24 Injunction
 25 Regulations
 26–28 Consequential and Related Amendments
 29 Transitional
 30 Repeals
 31 Commencement

Definitions

1  In this Act:

"accredited institution" means a registered institution accredited under section 9;

"agency" means the Private Career Training Institutions Agency established under section 2;

"basic education standards" means the basic education standards established by the bylaws;

"board" means the board appointed or elected under section 4;

"bylaws" means bylaws made under section 6;

"career training" means training or instruction in the skill and knowledge required for employment in an occupation defined in the regulations,

(a) for which the tuition charged is greater than or equal to the prescribed minimum amount, and

(b) for which the instructional time is greater than or equal to the prescribed minimum duration,

but does not include training or instruction that

(c) is provided by

(i)   a school as defined in the School Act,

(ii)   a francophone education authority as defined in the School Act,

(iii)   an independent school, as defined in the Independent School Act, other than an independent school that offers

(A)  courses for which high school graduation is a prerequisite, or

(B)  job training courses that are not part of or ancillary to the requirements for high school graduation

to persons 17 years of age or older,

(iv)   an institution established under the University Act, the Royal Roads University Act, the Thompson Rivers University Act, or the College and Institute Act,

(v)   an institution that is authorized by a consent under the Degree Authorization Act and offers only degree programs to which the consent applies,

(vi)   an institution established under an Act and authorized under that Act to offer academic degrees, or

(vii)   a professional organization established by an Act, if the training or instruction is part of professional requirements or is provided for professional development,

(d) is provided by a post-secondary institution established in Canada that is

(i)   funded in whole or in part by the government of Canada or of a province, and

(ii)   a public institution designated by the registrar for the purpose of this paragraph, or

(e) is excluded by regulation;

"claimant" means a person who files a claim under section 16 (1);

"fund" means the Student Training Completion Fund established under section 13;

"institution" means a person who provides or intends to provide training or instruction, and includes, for the purposes of section 16 (1), a person who provided training or instruction in the past;

"registered institution" means an institution that is registered under section 8 and includes, for the purposes of sections 14 and 15, a former registered institution that has ceased to operate;

"registrar" means the registrar appointed under section 5 (5);

"standards of quality" means the standards of quality established by the bylaws.

Private Career Training Institutions Agency

2  (1) The Private Post-Secondary Education Commission is continued as a corporation under the name of the Private Career Training Institutions Agency and consists of the registered institutions.

(2) For the purposes of carrying out its objects, the agency has the rights, powers and privileges of an individual of full capacity.

(3) The Company Act and the Business Corporations Act do not apply to the agency unless the minister, by order, provides that specified provisions of one of these Acts apply to the agency.

(4) The Public Service Act and the Public Service Labour Relations Act do not apply to the agency or its employees.

Objects of agency

3  The agency has the following objects:

(a) to establish basic education standards for registered institutions and to provide consumer protection to the students and prospective students of registered institutions;

(b) to establish standards of quality that must be met by accredited institutions;

(c) to carry out, in the public interest, its powers, duties and functions under this Act.

Composition of board

4  (1) The minister may appoint not more than 10 initial board members who hold office until the date on which members are first elected and appointed under subsection (2).

(2) The members appointed under subsection (1) serve until a date to be established by the bylaws and after that date the board consists of

(a) the members elected to represent registered institutions, in accordance with the bylaws, and

(b) 3 members appointed by the minister.

(3) A member elected as described in subsection (2) (a) serves for the term specified in the bylaws.

(4) Subject to the bylaws, a board member who resigns or whose term has ended may continue to serve on a committee of the board to complete work of the committee that began before the resignation or end of term even if a successor is appointed or elected.

Responsibility of board

5  (1) To serve the public interest, including the interests of students attending registered institutions, the board must govern, control and administer the affairs of the agency in accordance with this Act, the regulations and the bylaws.

(2) As soon as practicable, the board must provide the minister with information relating to the business of the agency in the form requested by the minister.

(3) Within 90 days after the end of the fiscal year of the agency, the board must submit to the minister, in a form approved by the minister, a financial report on the operation of the fund as of the end of the preceding fiscal year prepared by a person authorized to be an auditor of a company under section 205 of the Business Corporations Act.

(4) Subject to this Act, the regulations and the bylaws, the board may establish its own practices and procedures.

(5) The board must appoint a registrar of the agency and establish the functions and duties of the registrar and the duties and responsibilities of the board in carrying out the objects of the agency.

Bylaws

6  (1) The board, by bylaw, may do the following:

(a) establish the number, which may not exceed 7, of board members to be elected for the purposes of section 4 (2) (a);

(b) establish the date, manner and procedure for the election of board members for the purposes of section 4 (2) (a);

(c) regulate the time, place, calling and conduct of meetings of the board and general meetings of the agency;

(d) establish the quorum for meetings of the board and the quorum for general meetings of the agency;

(e) establish the terms of office of elected board members and the manner in which the vacancies for elected positions on the board may be filled;

(f) provide for the appointment of an auditor;

(g) establish classes of registered institutions;

(h) establish requirements for registration of institutions, including requirements relating to basic education standards;

(i) establish the circumstances under which a registered institution or an accredited institution must notify the board of any changes in ownership, teaching staff, location, equipment or course content;

(j) establish fees payable to the agency by registered institutions and accredited institutions;

(k) establish the standards of quality to be met by accredited institutions;

(l) establish requirements for renewal, suspension, cancellation or reinstatement of the registration or accreditation of institutions, including providing for the suspension or cancellation of the registration or accreditation of a registered institution for late payment or non-payment of fees;

(m) regulate and prohibit advertising or types of advertising by registered institutions or accredited institutions;

(n) establish the committees the board determines are necessary or advisable to carry out the objects of the agency;

(o) establish rules concerning access to their student records by students and former students;

(p) require registered institutions to have courses given by it approved by the governing body of a trade or profession for entry into that trade or profession;

(q) provide for the general administration and operation of the agency.

(r) in relation to a claim under section 16 on the grounds referred to in section 15 (a.1),

(i)   specifying the classes of claimants who may file a claim and the procedures that must be followed,

(ii)   specifying the procedures to be followed to investigate and adjudicate a claim,

(iii)   specifying the maximum amount that can be paid to a claimant, and

(iv)   specifying the classes of persons to whom payments may be made.

(2) Provisions in a bylaw under subsection (1) may be different for different classes of registered institutions or accredited institutions.

(3) The board must file a bylaw with the minister within 30 days after it is made.

(4) The minister may order the board to amend or repeal an existing bylaw or to make a new bylaw if the minister is satisfied that this is necessary or advisable.

(5) The board must maintain a complete and accurate record of the bylaws and must make a copy of those bylaws available to the public.

Prohibitions

7  (1) A person must not provide or offer to provide career training unless the person is a registered institution.

(2) A registered institution that is not an accredited institution must not represent itself, or allow itself to be represented, as being approved by the government or accredited by the agency.

Registration

8  (1) The registrar must grant registration as a registered institution to each person who

(a) applies to the agency for registration,

(b) satisfies the registrar that the person meets the requirements for registration under this Act, and

(c) pays the fees set by the bylaws.

(2) A person who does not provide career training may register under subsection (1).

(3) Despite subsections (1) and (2), the registrar may refuse to register or to renew the registration of an institution if the registrar considers this to be in the public interest in light of

(a) the financial standing of the institution, or

(b) the past conduct of the institution, its officers or employees.

(4) The registrar may

(a) suspend the registration of a registered institution for a period and subject to conditions the registrar considers appropriate in the circumstances, or

(b) cancel the registration of a registered institution

if the registrar is satisfied that the registered institution no longer complies with subsection (1) (b) or (c).

(5) If a registration is suspended under subsection (4), the registered institution

(a) may, subject to any conditions imposed under subsection (4), continue to provide career training to the students enrolled and in good standing with the registered institution at the time the suspension takes effect, and

(b) must not enroll, provide career training, or offer to enroll or provide career training, to persons who are not students described in paragraph (a).

Accreditation

9  (1) The registrar must grant accreditation to each registered institution that

(a) applies to the agency for accreditation,

(b) satisfies the registrar that the registered institution meets the requirements under this Act for accreditation, and

(c) pays the fees set by the bylaws.

(2) The registrar may

(a) suspend the accreditation of an accredited institution for a period and subject to conditions the registrar considers appropriate in the circumstances, or

(b) cancel the accreditation of an accredited institution

if the registrar is satisfied that the accredited institution no longer complies with subsection (1) (b) or (c).

Reconsiderations and appeals

10  (1) A person who is affected by any of the following decisions under this Act may request, within 30 days of receiving written notice of a decision, a reconsideration of the decision by the registrar:

(a) a refusal by the registrar to grant registration to the person under section 8;

(b) a refusal by the registrar to grant accreditation to the registered institution under section 9;

(c) the suspension or cancellation of registration or accreditation.

(2) The registrar may confirm or vary a decision referred to in subsection (1).

(3) If dissatisfied with a decision under subsection (2), a person who is affected by the decision may commence an appeal to the board by filing a notice of appeal, in the form provided by the bylaws, within 30 days of receiving the written notice of that decision.

(4) The board or a committee of the board authorized under the bylaws for the purposes of this subsection, by order, may do one or more of the following in respect of an appeal under this section:

(a) dismiss the appeal;

(b) allow the appeal and give any directions that the board considers appropriate in the circumstances;

(c) vary the decision appealed from;

(d) set terms and conditions to which the order is subject.

Certificate as evidence

11  A certificate signed by the registrar is proof, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, of the matters stated in the certificate that relate to the records of the agency.

Inspectors

12  (1) The registrar may appoint inspectors for the purposes of determining whether

(a) it is appropriate to suspend or cancel a registration or accreditation or change the terms and conditions attached to a suspension, or

(b) a person has failed to comply with this Act, the regulations, the bylaws or the terms and conditions attached to a suspension.

(2) An inspector conducting an inspection for the purposes of making a determination described in subsection (1) may, without a warrant,

(a) enter business premises,

(b) examine a record or any other thing,

(c) demand that a document or any other thing be produced for inspection,

(d) remove a record or any other thing for review and copying, after providing a receipt,

(e) use data storage, information processing or retrieval devices or systems that are normally used in carrying on business in the premises to produce a record in readable form, or

(f) question a person.

(3) A person must not hinder, obstruct or interfere with an inspector conducting an inspection or provide the inspector with information that the person knows to be false or misleading.

Establishment and administration of Student Training Completion Fund

13  (1) The Student Training Completion Fund is established.

(2) The fund consists of the following:

(a) payments made to the fund under section 14 or 18;

(b) money that becomes part of the fund under section 19;

(c) any money from a source prescribed for the purpose of this section;

(d) interest on money deposited in the fund and any earnings of investments made under subsection (5).

(3) The board must administer the fund and may delegate administration of the fund to an employee of the agency.

(4) Money paid into the fund, or received by the board for the fund,

(a) must be held in trust by the agency for the purposes listed in section 15,

(b) must be accounted for separately from other money of the agency, and

(c) is not subject to any process of seizure or attachment by any creditor of the agency.

(5) The board may invest the fund only in the manner authorized by the Trustee Act.

Payments to fund by institutions

14  (1) A registered institution must make payments to the fund through the board at the times and in the amounts required by the regulations.

(2) [Not in force.]

Payments from fund

15  Subject to the regulations, the board may authorize payments to be made from the fund for the following purposes:

(a) refunding a portion of the tuition fees a student has paid to a registered institution that ceases to operate so that the refund compensates the student for the uncompleted portion of the program;

(a.1) refunding a portion of the tuition fees a student has paid to a registered institution that, in the opinion of the board, has misled a student regarding the institution or any aspect of its operations;

(b) on request by a student, pay a refund calculated under paragraph (a) to another registered institution that agrees to allow the student to complete the program at that registered institution;

(c) paying costs incurred by the board in administering the fund, including the costs of

(i)   investigating and processing claims against the fund,

(ii)   ensuring that claims can be met, and

(iii)   recovering money paid in respect of a claim.

Claims against fund

16  (1) A claim against the fund must

(a) comply with the regulations, and

(b) in the case of a claim on the grounds referred to in section 15 (a), be filed with the board within one year after the institution to which the claim relates ceases to operate.

(2) The board may do one or more of the following:

(a) require that information in a claim be verified by a statutory declaration;

(b) receive and examine evidence and information on oath or affirmation, by affidavit or otherwise as the board considers proper, whether or not the evidence is admissible in court;

(c) examine records and make inquiries that the board considers necessary;

(d) authorize persons to administer oaths and affirmations, exercise the powers of the board under paragraphs (a) to (c) and report the findings to the board.

(3) The board has exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide claims against the fund.

(4) A decision, order or ruling of the board made under this Act in respect of a matter that relates to the fund and that is within the board's jurisdiction is final and conclusive and is not open to question or review in court except on a question of law or excess of jurisdiction.

(5) Despite subsection (4), the board may reconsider its own decisions.

(6) The board may prorate payments among claimants if the fund is insufficient to pay all claims.

Restrictions on payments to claimants

17  Payments must not be made from the fund unless the claimant has assigned to the agency all the rights in respect of the loss that gave rise to the claim.

Repayment of money received from the fund

18  (1) If money is paid from the fund to a claimant, the claimant must pay to the fund any money or the value of any other thing received by the claimant from another source on account of the loss that gave rise to the claim.

(2) If the claimant fails to comply with subsection (1), the agency has a cause of action against the claimant for the amount unpaid.

Money recovered belongs to the fund

19  Money recovered by the agency under this Act in respect of a claim against the fund is part of the fund, but the agency may pay all or part of the money to the claimant after deducting

(a) the amount paid out of the fund in respect of the claim, and

(b) any costs of recovery, including actual legal costs.

Confidentiality

20  The board, a board member or an officer, employee or agent of the agency must not disclose or be compelled to disclose any information or record, received or made in the course of duties under this Act except

(a) if disclosure is necessary in the administration of this Act, the regulations or the bylaws,

(b) with the consent of the person to whom the information or record relates,

(c) in court proceedings, or

(d) if an enactment of British Columbia, a province or Canada requires the disclosure.

Personal liability protection

21  (1) Subject to subsection (2), no legal proceeding for damages lies or may be commenced or maintained against a board member or an officer or employee of the agency because of anything done or omitted

(a) in the performance or intended performance of any duty under this Act, or

(b) in the exercise or intended exercise of any power under this Act.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to a person referred to in that subsection in relation to anything done or omitted by that person in bad faith.

(3) Subsection (1) does not absolve the agency from vicarious liability arising out of anything done or omitted by a person referred to in that subsection for which the agency would be vicariously liable if this section were not in force.

Appointment of a public administrator

22  (1) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may appoint a public administrator to discharge the powers, duties and functions of the board under this Act if the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers this to be necessary in the public interest.

(2) On the appointment of a public administrator, the board members cease to hold office unless otherwise ordered by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

(3) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may specify

(a) the powers, duties and responsibilities of a public administrator appointed under this section,

(b) the terms and conditions for management of the property and affairs of the agency during the transition period preceding the ending of the appointment of a public administrator, or

(c) how the agency will operate after the ending of the appointment of a public administrator.

Offence and penalty

23  (1) A person who contravenes section 7 or 12 (3) commits an offence.

(2) A person who supplies false or misleading information in a document submitted under this Act commits an offence.

(3) A person who directed, authorized, assented to, acquiesced in or participated in an act or omission by a corporation which is an offence under subsection (1) or (2) is guilty of an offence whether or not the corporation has been prosecuted or convicted of the offence.

(4) A person does not commit an offence under subsection (2), or under subsection (3) as it relates to subsection (2), if, at the time the information was supplied, the person did not know that it was false or misleading and, with the exercise of reasonable diligence, could not have known that it was false or misleading.

(5) A person who commits an offence under this section is liable to a fine of not more than $100 000.

(6) Section 5 of the Offence Act does not apply to this Act or the regulations.

Injunction

24  (1) On application by the agency, the Supreme Court may grant an injunction

(a) restraining a person from contravening this Act, the regulations or the bylaws if the court is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the individual or organization has contravened or is likely to contravene this Act, the regulations or the bylaws,

(b) requiring a person or organization to comply with this Act, the regulations or the bylaws if the court is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the individual or organization has not complied or is likely not to comply with this Act, the regulations or the bylaws, or

(c) requiring a person or organization not to hold themselves out

(i)   as a registered institution if they are not registered under this Act, or

(ii)   as an accredited institution if they are not accredited under this Act

and, until disposition of the injunction proceeding, the court may grant an interim injunction.

(2) A contravention may be restrained under subsection (1) whether or not a penalty or other remedy is provided by this Act.

(3) In an application under subsection (1) for an interim injunction

(a) the court must give greater weight, importance and the balance of convenience to the enforcement of this Act than to the continued operation of the person or organization,

(b) the agency must not be required to post a bond or give an undertaking as to damages, and

(c) the agency need not establish that irreparable harm will be done if the interim injunction is not issued.

Regulations

25  (1) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations referred to in section 41 of the Interpretation Act.

(2) Without limiting subsection (1), the Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations as follows:

(a) designating institutions or categories of institutions for the purposes of the definition of "institution" in section 1;

(b) defining the occupations for the purposes of the definition of "career training" in section 1;

(c) excluding training or instruction from the definition of "career training" in section 1;

(d) prescribing the minimum amount of tuition charged and the minimum duration of instructional time for the purposes of the definition of "career training" in section 1;

(e) prescribing sources of money for the purposes of section 13 (2) (c);

(f) prescribing the payments, whether flat rate or graduated according to an assessment of risk or otherwise, to be made by registered institutions to the fund and the due dates of those payments;

(g) [Not in force.]

(h) in relation to a claim under section 16 on the grounds referred to in section 15 (a),

(i)   specifying the classes of claimants who may file a claim and the procedures that must be followed,

(ii)   specifying the procedures to be followed to adjudicate a claim,

(iii)   specifying the maximum amount that can be paid to a claimant, and

(iv)   specifying the classes of persons to whom payments may be made.

(i) to (k) [Repealed 2008-42-111.]

(3) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make different regulations under this section for different classes of persons, matters, transactions, events or things.

Consequential and Related Amendments

[Note: See Table of Legislative Changes for the status of sections 26 to 28.]

Section(s)   Affected Act
26   Financial Information Act
27   Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
28   Public Sector Employers Act

Transitional

29  (1) A valid accreditation certificate held by an institution under the Private Post-Secondary Education Act on the coming into force of this Act is deemed to be issued under section 9.

(2) A valid registration certificate held by an institution under the Private Post-Secondary Education Act on the coming into force of this Act is deemed to be issued under section 8.

(3) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations considered necessary or advisable for the purpose of more effectively

(a) protecting tuition paid by students protected under the Private Post-Secondary Education Act to an institution that is not a registered institution or an accredited institution on the coming into force of this Act, and

(b) applying this Act or the regulations to an institution that

(i)   is registered or accredited under the Private Post-Secondary Education Act on the coming into force of this Act, and

(ii)   continues as a registered institution or accredited institution under this Act.

(4) A regulation under subsection (3) may suspend, for a period the Lieutenant Governor in Council specifies, the operation of a provision of an enactment.

(5) Unless earlier repealed, a regulation under this section is repealed one year after the regulation is made.

Repeals

30  (1) The provisions of the Private Post-Secondary Education Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 375, may be repealed by regulation of the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

(2) The Supplement to the Private Post-Secondary Education Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 375, is repealed.

(3) The Private Post-Secondary Education Amendment Act, 1999, S.B.C. 1999, c. 17, is repealed.

(4) Section 15 of the Degree Authorization Act, S.B.C. 2002, c. 24, is repealed.

Commencement

31  This Act comes into force by regulation of the Lieutenant Governor in Council.