Private Career Colleges Regulation Act

CHAPTER 23

OF THE

ACTS OF 1998

amended 2010, c. 2, ss. 137, 138

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An Act to Regulate
Private Career Colleges

Short title

1 This Act may be cited as the Private Career Colleges Regulation Act. 1998, c. 23, s. 1.

Interpretation

2 In this Act,

(a) "agent" means an individual, organization or company representing the interests of a private career college with respect to recruiting students or making public representation for the purpose of recruitment;

(b) "Board" means the Private Career College Board established pursuant to this Act;

(c) "career" means a profession for which a person trains;

(d) "certificate of registration" means a certificate of registration issued or renewed pursuant to this Act that is not suspended or cancelled;

(e) "Department" means the Department of Education and Culture;

(f) "Fund" means the Training Completion Fund established by this Act;

(g) "insolvent", with respect to an operator, means

(h) "instructor" means an individual registered to deliver private career college training who has met the requirements prescribed in the regulations;

(i) "instructor assistant" means an individual registered to assist in the delivery of private career college training who has met the requirements prescribed in the regulations;

(j) "Manager" means the Manager of Private Career Colleges appointed pursuant to this Act;

(k) "Minister" means the Minister of Education and Culture;

(l) "occupation", unless exempted in the regulations, includes all occupations listed in the National Occupational Classification Directory or any revised edition of that Directory;

(m) "occupational training" means occupational or career training, but does not include

(n) "occupational-training program" means a program of study or series of courses making up an occupational-training program;

(o) "operator" means the owner of a private career college which holds a certificate of registration or a person designated by the owner;

(p) "private career college" means a school or place where vocations, occupational or career training is provided to students;

(q) "student" means a person who has entered into a student contract to receive occupational training from a private career college;

(r) "student contract" means an agreement between a private career college and a student to provide occupational training. 1998, c. 23, s. 2.

Restrictions on application of Act

3 This Act does not apply to

(a) a university to which the Degree Granting Act applies;

(b) a community college governed by the Community Colleges Act;

(c) a school governed by the Education Act, by any other Act or by an Act of the Parliament of Canada;

(d) occupational training offered by an organization, where the training or instruction is a requirement or part of professional development;

(e) a school operated or provided exclusively by an employer or group of employers for employees or an employer association;

(f) a school or institution that is prescribed in the regulations. 1998, c. 23, s. 3.

Manager of Private Career Colleges

4 The Minister shall appoint, in accordance with the Civil Service Act, an employee of the Department to be the Manager of Private Career Colleges. 1998, c. 23, s. 4.

Prohibitions

5 (1) No person shall establish or operate a private career college without holding a valid certificate of registration issued pursuant to this Act.

(2) A private career college shall comply with all applicable federal, Provincial and municipal laws and regulations.

(3) A certificate of registration authorizes the private career college to offer the occupational-training programs listed on the certificate of registration at the location specified.

(4) No private career college shall offer occupational-training programs that are not listed on the certificate of registration.

(5) No private career college shall offer occupational-training programs at a location not set out in the certificate of registration without the prior written approval of the Manager. 1998, c. 23, s. 5.

Application for registration or renewal

6 (1) Every person who wishes to register or renew the registration of a private career college shall apply to the Manager.

(2) Every application for registration or renewal of registration shall be accompanied by evidence that is satisfactory to the Manager that

(a) the applicant is able to comply with the requirements for a private career college as prescribed in this Act or the regulations;

(b) the applicant has security in the amount and in the form required by the regulations;

(c) the applicant will comply with the requirements of the Fund as prescribed in the regulations;

(d) the applicant is not insolvent and not likely to be insolvent;

(e) the applicant has obtained any approvals required pursuant to any enactment or from the appropriate professional, occupational or other associations connected with the courses or programs of instruction proposed for the private career college;

(f) the private career college will be staffed with instructors and instructor assistants who meet the requirements that are prescribed in this Act or the regulations; and

(g) the private career college will have the accommodations, facilities, equipment and materials that are prescribed in the regulations to teach the courses or programs of occupational training that will be set out in the applicant's certificate of registration.

(3) The Manager may require changes in any documentation submitted and, in determining registration or renewal of a private career college, may

(a) request any additional information from an applicant that the Manager considers necessary; and

(b) on a renewal application, accept the college's statement that there have been no changes from the previous year's submissions with respect to the requirements.

(4) An applicant shall provide an outside review of curriculum and shall file, in the form prescribed in the regulations, a report with the application acceptable to the Manager before registration of the individual program is granted and registered programs may from time to time be required to be reviewed.

(5) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, a certificate of registration issued pursuant to the Trade Schools Regulation Act and still valid is deemed to be a certificate of registration issued pursuant to this Act, and it expires on the date prescribed in the regulations. 1998, c. 23, s. 6.

Registration

7 (1) After reviewing an application, the Manager shall recommend to the Minister that the Minister

(a) issue or renew a certificate of registration where the applicant has complied with this Act or the regulations; and

(b) place such conditions on a certificate of registration as the Minister deems necessary.

(2) The Minister may refuse to register or renew the registration of a private career college

(a) where the information supplied with the application is incomplete;

(b) where the Manager is not satisfied that the applicant has complied with this Act or the regulations;

(c) that has failed to comply with the conditions on a certificate of registration imposed pursuant to this Act or the regulations;

(d) that has previously had a certificate of registration cancelled that was not re-instated by a board under this Act or the Trade Schools Regulation Act;

(e) that has previously had a certificate of registration or its equivalent cancelled in any other province, that was not re-instated by an appeal process in that province;

(f) that has, as one of its management personnel, a person who was a manager in a private career college to which clause (e) or (g) applies;

(g) that has, as one of its principals, a person who was convicted of an indictable offence within the five years preceding the application or who is presently subject to criminal sanctions for conviction of an indictable offence; or

(h) where the applicant previously refused to comply with an order or directive of the Manager.

(3) Notwithstanding subsection (1), the Minister may, when issuing or renewing a certificate of registration, impose a conditional registration for a limited period requiring a private career college to make such changes and do such things as the Minister considers necessary to meet the requirements for registration before the expiration of that period.

(4) A private career college shall comply with the conditions imposed on the private career college's certificate of registration. 1998, c. 23, s. 7.

Display of certificate of registration

8 Every private career college shall display its certificate of registration in a prominent place at the entrance of the private career college for which the certificate of registration was issued. 1998, c. 23, s. 8.

Display of Act

9 Every private career college shall display a copy of this Act in a prominent place at the entrance of the private career college. 1998, c. 23, s. 9.

Certificate of registration non-transferable

10 No private career college shall transfer a certificate of registration to another person or organization. 1998, c. 23, s. 10.

Expiry of certificate

11 Every certificate of registration expires on a date determined by the regulations. 1998, c. 23, s. 11.

Fees for certificate

12 The fees for a certificate of registration shall be set out in the regulations. 1998, c. 23, s. 12.

Prohibited employees

13 No private career college shall employ as an instructor or instructor assistant a person who has not met the qualifications prescribed in the regulations. 1998, c. 23, s. 13.

Notification of change

14 Every private career college that is a corporation shall immediately notify, in writing, the Manager of

(a) a change in the ownership or share or equity holdings of the corporation; and

(b) any continuance, amalgamation or other material change involving the corporation. 1998, c. 23, s. 14.

Annual reports and financial statements

15 (1) Every private career college shall furnish the Manager with an annual report and financial statements as prescribed in the regulations.

(2) Annual reports and financial statements shall be provided to the Minister within the time periods prescribed in the regulations. 1998, c. 23, s. 15.

Obligation to file information

16 (1) The Manager may, at any time, request a private career college to provide the Manager with copies of completed student contracts and with any other information that the Manager may require for the purpose of this Act or the regulations.

(2) The operator of a private career college shall file in the office of the Minister all forms of contracts, agreements or undertakings to be used in making or attempting to register students.

(3) The operator of a private career college shall file in the office of the Minister such other information as the Minister may from time to time require and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, shall file statements in respect of the staff of instructors, student attendance, equipment, curriculum, schedule of studies and occupational training site details. 1998, c. 23, s. 16.

Student contract

17 Every operator shall have a student contract as prescribed in the regulations. 1998, c. 23, s. 17.

Mediation of disputes

18 (1) In the event of a dispute between a student and an operator and with the consent of the student or the operator, the Minister may appoint and pay for a mediator to assist the student and the operator in resolving the dispute and the decision of the mediator is final.

(2) Any mediation conducted pursuant to this Section shall be conducted in accordance with the procedures prescribed in the regulations. 1998, c. 23, s. 18.

Misleading advertising

19 No person shall publish or cause to be published an advertisement relating to a private career college that misleads or tends to mislead and that does not meet the requirements prescribed in the regulations. 1998, c. 23, s. 19.

Prohibition of certain guarantees and statements

20 No operator of a private career college shall either verbally or in writing

(a) guarantee employment to a student or prospective student unless at the time of the representation there is a written contract between the private career college and an employer whereby the latter is bound to furnish employment as represented;

(b) make a false or misleading statement with respect to the earnings of any person who has completed a program or course at the private career college. 1998, c. 23, s. 20.

Age restriction

21 Subject to the regulations, no person under the age of sixteen years shall be admitted to any course offered by a private career college. 1998, c. 23, s. 21.

Prohibition

22 No person who operates a private career college shall

(a) offer instruction in a occupation not specified in the certificate of registration; or

(b) enter into any student contract other than that set out in the application for registration. 1998, c. 23, s. 22.

Power to inspect colleges

23 (1) The Minister, or any person who the Minister authorizes in writing, may at any time inspect any private career college and examine the business or affairs of that college and authorization to inspect includes any person's place of operation where occupational training is suspected and where such person has declined a reasonable request for clarification by the Department or failed to provide sufficient proof.

(2) No person shall obstruct or hinder the Minister or any person authorized by the Minister in making an inspection or examination, or shall refuse to permit an inspection or examination to be made, and no person shall withhold, destroy, conceal or refuse to give any information or thing reasonably required for the purpose of an inspection or examination by the Minister or a person authorized by the Minister.

(3) The Minister, or any person authorized by the Minister in writing, shall not enter a private dwelling without a warrant issued pursuant to subsection (4), unless the occupant of the dwelling consents to the entry.

(4) The Minister may apply to a judge of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia for a warrant authorizing an officer of the Department to enter and search any place or premises named in the warrant where the officer believes, on reasonable grounds, that

(a) an offence has been committed against this Act or the regulations; and

(b) there is evidence of the offence to be found at the place named in the warrant.

(5) A warrant issued pursuant to subsection (4) gives an officer of the Department the right to

(a) enter and search any place named in the warrant;

(b) use any machine, equipment, appliance or thing located at the place or premises for the purpose of the search;

(c) require the production of and examine any books, records, papers or documents that the officer believes, on reasonable grounds, contains information related to a violation of this Act or the regulations;

(d) remove any books, records, papers or documents examined pursuant to this subsection for the purpose of making copies.

(6) Any books, records, papers or documents removed pursuant to subsection (5) shall be returned to the owner or operator of the place as soon as possible. 1998, c. 23, s. 23.

Right to examine documents

24 (1) Every operator of a private career college shall keep and maintain at the place of business of the private career college all student files, student records, attendance records, books of account and other documents, in whatever form, relating to the delivery of programming, accounts and finances of the private career college.

(2) Every operator of a private career college shall keep and maintain copies of student transcripts, certificates or diplomas at the premises and, in the event of closure, shall surrender those documents to the Minister.

(3) The Minister may examine, audit or inquire into the financial accounts respecting any private career college or may cause such examination, audit or inquiry to be carried out.

(4) Where an examination, audit or inquiry is carried out pursuant to subsection (3),

(a) the operator of the private career college to which the examination, audit or inquiry relates and every officer of the private career college and every person employed in the operation of the private career college shall provide the person conducting the examination, audit or inquiry with such information and explanations as that person may require; and

(b) the person carrying out the examination, audit or inquiry has free access, at all times, to the files, records, books of account and other documents in whatever form, relating to the accounts and finances of the private career college.

(5) The costs of an examination, audit or inquiry made pursuant to subsection (3) shall, where the Minister so directs, be paid by the operator of the private career college that was subject to the examination, audit or inquiry. 1998, c. 23, s. 24.

Working committees

25 The Minister may establish working committees to advise the Minister on matters relating to occupational training programs and such other matters as the Minister determines. 1998, c. 23, s. 25.

Private Career College Board

26 The Governor in Council shall appoint a Private Career College Board consisting of such number of persons as the Governor in Council determines. 1998, c. 23, s. 26.

Terms of office of Board members

27 (1) Each member of the Board holds office during the term, not exceeding three years, prescribed in that person's appointment and, subject to subsection (2), may be re-appointed.

(2) Where a person has served two consecutive terms, that person may not be re-appointed until three years after that person's last term of office expires. 1998, c. 23, s. 27.

Chair of Board

28 (1) The Board shall choose a member of the Board to be the Chair of the Board.

(2) In the absence of the Chair, where a quorum is present, the members of the Board who are present at a meeting may appoint one of their number to preside at that meeting. 1998, c. 23, s. 28.

Departmental assistance

29 (1) The Minister may designate two persons in the Department to assist the Board in carrying out its duties.

(2) The Minister may designate one of the persons referred to in subsection (1) as Secretary of the Board. 1998, c. 23, s. 29.

Meetings and remuneration

30 (1) The Board shall hold meetings during each year at such times and places as prescribed by the regulations.

(2) A majority of the members of the Board constitutes a quorum.

(3) Each member of the Board shall be paid such reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in carrying out that member's duties as the Minister determines. 1998, c. 23, s. 30.

Appeal to Board

31 (1) Where the Minister decides to suspend or cancel a registered program or certificate of registration, the person to whom the registration or program relates may appeal the decision to the Board by filing with the Secretary to the Board, within fifteen days of receipt of the notice of cancellation or suspension, a notice of appeal in the form prescribed by the regulations.

(2) Where the Minister has received all or partial application requirements for a program or registration and decides to refuse to register, the person to whom the registration relates may appeal the decision in the manner set out in subsection (1).

(3) The Board shall hear an appeal within thirty days after the notice of appeal is filed with the Secretary to the Board and the Board may, in its discretion, permit the person to continue to operate until the appeal is heard by the Board.

(4) After hearing an appeal pursuant to this Section, the Board shall confirm, vary or set aside the decision of the Minister.

(5) Without restricting the generality of subsection (4), the Board may, where it varies a decision of the Minister, continue the suspension of the registration during such period of time as the Board determines. 1998, c. 23, s. 31.

Suspension and cancellation

32 (1) The Minister may suspend or cancel a program or certificate of registration by giving written notice including the reasons for the decision and the effective date of suspension or cancellation to the operator of the private career college where, in the opinion of the Minister,

(a) the operator has insufficient or inadequate financial security, accommodations, facilities, equipment or materials to teach the programs or courses of occupational training set out in the operator's certificate of registration;

(b) the operator is employing instructors or instructor assistants who do not meet the requirements set out in the regulations;

(c) the operator has failed to comply with any condition or requirement imposed on the operator's certificate of registration;

(d) the operator is or is likely to become an insolvent operator;

(e) the operator's Fund fees are in arrears and the operator has failed to resolve the matter as prescribed in the regulations;

(f) the operator has furnished false information in an application or by any means of communication required under this Act or the regulations;

(g) the college has, as one of its principals, partners or shareholders, a person who was convicted of an indictable offence within the five years preceding the application or who is presently subject to criminal sanctions for conviction of an indictable offence; or

(h) the operator has failed to comply with this Act or the regulations.

(2) A notice may be given to a person pursuant to subsection (1) by being

(a) mailed, postage prepaid, by courier or other means to the address of that person shown on the registration records or to such other address as that person may, in writing, give to the Minister; or

(b) delivered to that person,

and, where notice is mailed, it is prima facie presumed to have been received five days after it was delivered to the post office.

(3) Where a notice given pursuant to subsection (2) is received, the registration to which the notice relates is suspended effective from the date referred to in the notice.

(4) Where a program is suspended pursuant to this Section, the operator shall not, as long as the suspension remains in effect, offer the suspended program.

(5) Where a registration is suspended pursuant to this Section, the operator shall not, as long as the suspension remains in effect, operate a private career college or act as an agent of a person who operates a private career college, as the case may be.

(6) The Minister shall not refuse to issue or renew a certificate of registration, impose any terms on a certificate of registration or suspend or cancel a certificate of registration without giving the applicant or operator, as the case may be, an opportunity to be heard.

(7) Notwithstanding subsection (6), where the Minister considers it necessary to protect students or to protect the public interest, the Minister may immediately impose conditions on, suspend or cancel a certificate of registration or a program without giving the operator an opportunity to be heard, but shall give the operator an opportunity to be heard as prescribed in this Act or the regulations. 1998, c. 23, s. 32.

Training Completion Fund

33 (1) The Training Completion Fund is established as a trust fund as defined in the Finance Act Finance Act.

(2) The Fund consists of

(a) fees that operators are required by the regulations to pay into the Fund;

(b) donations to the Fund; and

(c) any income and earnings from investments of the Fund.

(3) The Minister of Finance shall administer the Fund.

(4) Subject to the approval of the Department of Finance, the Minister may direct payments out of the Fund to

(a) compensate students who have entered into a student contract with an operator who has become insolvent;

(b) compensate third party sponsors who have paid tuition on behalf of a student;

(c) pay for the expenses of administering and auditing the Fund; and

(d) do any other thing relating to a private career college that is necessary to carry out effectively the intent and purpose of this Act.

(5) The Minister of Finance may

(a) invest any monies of the Fund in any investments that are authorized for the investment of monies in the General Revenue Fund of the Province;

(b) dispose of the investments in the manner and on terms that the Minister considers appropriate and invest the proceeds in other investments authorized pursuant to clause (a);

(c) pay for the expenses of administering and auditing the Fund; and

(d) do any other thing that is prescribed in the regulations.

(6) The Auditor General or any other auditor or firm of auditors that the Governor in Council may appoint shall audit the records, accounts and financial statements of the Fund annually and at any other time as required by the Governor in Council.

(7) In each fiscal year the Department of Finance shall prepare and submit to the Minister a financial statement showing the business of the Fund for the preceding fiscal year and the Minister shall publish the report.

(8) The fiscal year of the Fund is the same as the fiscal year of the Province. 1998, c. 23, s. 33; 2010, c. 2, ss. 137, 138.

Surrender of certificate

34 (1) Subject to subsection (2), an operator who is registered pursuant to this Act may surrender a certificate of registration.

(2) An operator may not surrender a certificate of registration until the Manager has approved and registered the surrender. 1998, c. 23, s. 34.

Consequences of not holding certificate

35 (1) Unless an operator holds a certificate of registration that is in force, a contract in respect of a course in or in connection with a private career college made in the Province by or through such person or by or through an agent of such person is null and void.

(2) A private career college that does not have a valid certificate of registration as a private career college is not capable of commencing or maintaining any action or other proceeding in any court in the Province

(a) with respect to a contract made in whole or in part in the Province; or

(b) against any person domiciled in the Province, in the course of or in connection with any business carried on by the private career college. 1998, c. 23, s. 35.

Offence and penalty

36 (1) Every person who violates this Act or the regulations shall for each offence be liable to a penalty not exceeding fifty thousand dollars and, in default of payment, to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months.

(2) A corporation that violates this Act or the regulations is liable for each offence to a penalty not exceeding fifty thousand dollars. 1998, c. 23, s. 36.

Regulations

37 (1) The Governor in Council may make regulations

(a) prescribing the security to be provided by the operator of any private career college for the due performance of the operator's contracts;

(b) prescribing the accommodation and equipment required by private career colleges and the means of instruction to be used;

(c) prescribing the minimum number of hours of instruction in any occupation that constitutes a course of instruction in that occupation;

(d) prescribing the maximum fees to be charged or received for a course of instruction in any occupation;

(e) prescribing a tuition-refund policy for private career colleges and requiring private career colleges to disclose the tuition-refund policy to each student before the tuition is paid;

(f) prohibiting the use of any advertising relating to a private career college or requiring the discontinuance of any specified advertisement or means of advertisement;

(g) regulating the selling or offering for sale of any course of instruction offered by a private career college;

(h) designating an occupation, calling or career as an occupation within the meaning of this Act;

(i) fixing the times during which the public may obtain service in a private career college;

(j) exempting an occupation, course or private career college or any particular type of private career college or course from the operation of this Act;

(k) providing for the making of annual reports and the furnishing of information to the Minister by the operator of a private career college;

(l) prescribing the form and content of or the qualification for a diploma or certificate of any kind issued by a private career college;

(m) prescribing forms and providing for their use;

(n) prescribing qualifications for instructors;

(o) respecting professional development for the staff of and the instructors in private career colleges;

(p) fixing registration fees for the operator of a private career college;

(q) fixing registration fees for agents, courses and instructors of private career colleges;

(r) setting the annual expiry dates for registration of operators of private career colleges;

(s) setting the annual expiry date for registrations of agents of operators of private career colleges;

(t) respecting the functions and duties of the Board;

(u) requiring full disclosure to students and prospective students of such matters relating to private career college courses, including the cost of such courses and all training components, and prescribing the manner in which disclosure shall be made;

(v) prescribing minimum standards for curriculum in private career colleges;

(w) providing for a maximum student-teacher ratio in each course;

(x) providing for a maximum number of students in each private career college;

(y) requiring that accurate and current evaluation and examination statistics be kept for review by the Minister or the Minister's representative;

(z) providing for the conditions of ownership of franchised private career colleges in the Province;

(aa) providing for the establishment, operation and contribution fees of the Fund;

(ab) setting performance standards for private career colleges;

(ac) requiring fire or disaster insurance necessary to continue a course in alternate facilities with alternate texts, instructional materials, supplies and equipment;

(ad) requiring the establishment of student-related services and student complaint mechanisms;

(ae) establishing criteria for contracts between students and operators of private career colleges, including conditions for the sale of contracts and conditions for accepting all or part payment for courses before the courses are given;

(af) establishing procedures for realizing on security taken pursuant to the regulations and the manner in which the proceeds are distributed;

(ag) establishing criteria for the purchase and sale of goods and services provided by students and limiting the amount of goods or services provided;

(ah) regulating the distribution of information in each college's file and establishing a policy and procedures for limited distribution and requirements respecting privacy;

(ai) requiring the operator of a private career college to keep information respecting students and prescribing the type of information to be kept and the length of time during which the information shall be kept;

(aj) determining what constitutes a change of ownership of a private career college;

(ak) requiring the furnishing of annual reports and financial statements;

(al) prescribing the procedures for mediation;

(am) determining appeal procedures;

(an) providing for the suspension of student intakes and the procedure to be followed;

(ao) prescribing entrance requirements for students;

(ap) requiring the registration of a person, organization or body corporate that provides occupational training programs by correspondence, the Internet, direct video conference, distance education or other electronic means when that person, organization or body corporate is operating from outside the Province and recruiting Nova Scotia students;

(aq) defining any word or expression used but not defined in this Act;

(ar) respecting any matter necessary or advisable to carry out effectively the intent and purpose of this Act.

(2) The exercise by the Governor in Council of the authority contained in subsection (1) is regulations within the meaning of the Regulations Act. 1998, c. 23, s. 37.

Review of regulations

38 Any new regulations or any substantive amendment to the regulations becomes law only after the regulations or amendments, as the case may be, have been subjected to such review as the Minister considers appropriate. 1998, c. 23, s. 38.

Repeal

39 Chapter 474 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Trade Schools Regulation Act, is repealed. 1998, c. 23, s. 39.

Proclamation

40 This Act comes into force on August 31, 1999, or such earlier day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation. 1998, c. 23, s. 40.

In force - August 31, 1999

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