Canada: Diploma Mill Capital Of The World? How The Unsuspect Nation Dominates HigherEd Corruption

Something is very, very, wrong in the world. How do I know this?

Because Canada, home to ice hockey, low violent crime rates, and maple syrup, appears to be leading the world – overwhelmingly – in fraudulent higher education.

This phenomenon is not widely realized in the so-called “academic community” – or even among Canadians, for that matter. But ask around in countries like India, for example, where tens of thousands of students are recruited each year to study abroad in Canada, and the horror stories are widespread, consistent, and plentiful:

…and that’s from just 20 minutes of Google research.

Rampant Fraud Comes In Many Forms

The rampant fraud that has pervaded Canada education for years can be viewed through various lenses. On the one hand, there are immigrants trying to move to Canada illegally who buy whatever student visa they can find. There are also victims of human trafficking, who think they are going to Canada for a lucrative job, but end up being forced into drugs or prostitution – quite commonly while on student visas.

On the other hand, schools are hiring staff who have fraudulent degrees, and aggressively recruiting overseas students who have no idea the “university” that just recruited them is a well-known diploma mill. But perhaps the most egregious offense of all is the apparent acquiescence of the Canadian government to enable such fraud, assumedly in an effort to massively boost Canada’s GDP while scam schools laugh their way to the bank:

“We estimate that in 2010, international students in Canada spent in excess of $7.7 billion on tuition, accommodation and discretionary spending; created over 81,000 jobs; and generated more than $445 million in government revenue.” – Canadian government

To their credit – however much credit is left, that is – Canadian officials did propose cracking down on student visas last year in an effort to stop “unapproved” colleges from recruiting international students. But wait just a second – didn’t Canadian leaders promise the same thing back in 2011 – long after the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had already publicly announced in 2010 that student visa abuse was a top catalyst for human trafficking in Canada? To make matters even worse, Canada’s Citizen and Immigration Department released a 2011 public report showing that since at least 2006, their national government had been well aware of rampant fraud and ongoing crime related to higher education and student visas in Canada.

And therein lies the absurdity of the situation:

  • “unapproved” colleges in Canada have been allowed to exist at all
  • “unapproved” colleges in Canada have been able to acquire student visas
  • in fact, apparently anyone in Canada has been able to acquire student visas
  • Canadian agencies have not been monitoring foreigners that arrive on student visas
  • for years, Canada has offered empty promises to crack down on student visa fraud

…and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

America’s Trusty Partner In Crime

Many people don’t realize how conjoined Canada and the United States truly are. We are now using the same international calling code (+1) for example. We are each other’s biggest trade partners by far, with no other countries coming close. Even our intelligence services work in tandem, and – rather unfortunately – so do our corrupt highered investors.

Case in point: Eminata Group, one of the most infamous for-profit education companies in Canada who is behind schools like University Canada West, Vancouver Career College, and CDI College, was actually started by a Korean American man named Peter Chung who fled the US after being convicted in 1993 for 10,000 violations of defrauding students in California at a computer training school he established.

Another for-profit franchise, Everest College, is owned and operated by American-based Corinthian Colleges, who the U.S. government recently forced to shut down nearly all of their south-of-the-border campuses due to massive fraud. Before Everest College was re-branded, however, it was part of the CDI College franchise in fact – right before Corinthian decided to sell off some campuses to Eminata Group. In the opposite direction, Canadian-born Herzing College decided to expand into the United States in the 1990s under the (misleading) name, Herzing University. Its reputation in both countries lingers somewhere between horrendous, and extremely horrendous. Oh, and surely we can’t forget the prestigious-sounding John Hancock University, owned and operated in the United States by Temania Group, a division of – once again – Eminata Group.

Update March 2015: The Everest College franchise in Ontario shut down all campuses after having their license revoked by the provincial career college superintendent.

Here’s the point: higher education corruption is not exclusive to Canada. In fact, if I really wanted to, I could probably go out and find 10 higher education horror stories in India for every story that’s occurred in Canada. Likewise, I could probably find 100 horror stories in the United States for every Canadian college scandal.

What’s the difference? The government of Canada appears to be actively, purposefully involved in the loose higher education regulations that plague their country in an admitted long-term attempt to become an international “destination” for college students. And, per capita (percentage of student experiences), that means that Canada is one of the worst bets in the world when it comes to higher education.

Canadian Government Directly Responsible

On the surface, Canada’s education regulations are rather commendable – something you’d expect from a country consistently ranked as a top place to live in the world. Take for example, how Canada bans usage of the term “university” except for institutions directly approved by the national government (either by an Act of the Legislature or by the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities) as specified under the Post-secondary Education Choice and Excellence Act.

How wonderful, right? NOT when people like Peter Chung from the Eminata Group have been paying off Canada’s Liberal Party – and the Minister of Colleges – millions of dollars in “donations” to retain their phony “university” title.

There is, of course, a still more shocking feature of higher education in Canada: the complete lack of accreditation agencies; instead, provincial or territorial governments are solely responsible for approving an institution who wishes to issue college degrees at their own discretion. The situation is so prone to corruption, with evermore blurred lines between public and private institutions competing for students, that it lead the Chinese government to post a warning to students about studying in Canada.

And what happens when unaccredited public colleges are competing with unaccredited for-profit colleges? You get things like the University of British Columbia – arguably the most “prestigious” university in western Canada – offering $2,000+ “accelerated” online courses in things like “Search Engine Optimization” (which, interestingly, they immediately deleted from their website after being called out by Wealthy Affiliate).

Poor Quality, Transparency, And Service

Canada is the only country in the CollegeTimes database whose public colleges have just as poor – or worse – student review averages than their for-profit counterparts.

Take for example Durham College, or George Brown College, or Humber College, or Centennial College, or Conestoga College, all of which are public institutions largely focused on career training. Nowhere else in the world are there “public” colleges focused on entry-level technical skills that so aggressively market to foreign students (in the US, the equivalent would be local community colleges with cheap fees and students largely from the surrounding area). And when these international students arrive, they seem utterly shocked to find a a school with outrageous prices, teaching them basic skills, and seemingly focused on nothing but their recruiting efforts:

“Ruined!!! my life is a waste now… i am an international student from india ( Batala ) in the final year of my computer diploma at progress campus and i feel stranded mid-way. No one is listening to me. They cheated me in my CO-OP term, i wasn’t paid a penny and was told you will have a job post studies there. That was all a big LIE. I was left to suffer alone. Nor did they assist me in my CV. All my parents money has gone waste…” – Centennial College student

It gets worse. Durham College literally tried to expand into India – and Panama:

“…they once tried to expand internationally without first receiving permission from their board of governors and ended up getting sued for $3,000,000 by students who had already paid before they pulled the plug.” – Durham College student

Here’s the recently posted view of a local Canadian attending Conestoga College:

“I also suspect that although their international student numbers may grow due to sheer ignorance… their numbers will drop in respect to Ontario student applications. It is a shame because they have a beautiful facility, and a thriving community. Due to greed, and a poor, short sited, corporate model they are going to eventually loose the support of this wonderful community. Most of us in Cambridge, Kitchener Waterloo, choose Conestoga based on appearance and location but Conestoga forgets we are the community and we won’t forget how we have been treated.” – Conestoga College student

As part of CollegeTimes efforts to test the transparency of institutions around the world, our team looks for basic contact information, accurate photography, and other should-be readily available information. Time and again, Canada ranks at the bottom in terms of transparency – using fake stock photos in marketing materials, hiding their email address from consumers, and refusing to reply to information requests. I leave you with an eerie 2008 quote from the Academica consulting firm:

“According to an internal government review obtained by the Vancouver Sun, Canada places so few restrictions on foreign students that the country’s student-visa system is open to widespread abuse and fraud. The report notes that rules are so lax that students cannot be deported even if they never show up for class. The review was ordered last year after a previous audit uncovered rampant student-visa fraud in BC. Because of the problems, Canada’s student-visa system could affect the country’s reputation as a provider of quality education and pose threats to national security and safety.” – Academica consulting group

I’m sorry to say it, but the truth is that – with a few very rare exceptions – Canada has catastrophically failed at creating world-class higher education up until now. And unless they are willing to initiate a legitimate accreditation process, focus on educating Canadians first and foremost, and seriously crack down on student visa abuse, their reputation will continue to spiral downward in the face of growing competition.

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18 thoughts on "Canada: Diploma Mill Capital Of The World? How The Unsuspect Nation Dominates HigherEd Corruption"

  1. Marxist says:

    Studying in Canada is a terrible experience as an international student!

    International students are being used as cash cows to enrich the lucky few Canadian elites.

    Cash Cows: Foreign student recruitment crisis at Canadian universities | W5 INVESTIGATION

    CTV W5 investigates claims that Canadian post-secondary institutions, like Cape Breton University, are cashing in on the over-enrolment of international students.

  2. Marxist says:

    Studying in Canada is a terrible experience as an international student!

    International students are being used as cash cows to enrich the lucky few Canadian elites.

    Cash Cows: Foreign student recruitment crisis at Canadian universities | W5 INVESTIGATION

    CTV W5 investigates claims that Canadian post-secondary institutions, like Cape Breton University, are cashing in on the over-enrolment of international students.

  3. Ravi Singh says:

    Study in Canada is one of the best option for a higher study for many reason like, there is a huge opportunity after study in Canada for Jobs. Thanks for sharing this information, subscribed your blog.

    1. Marxist says:

      Lies. International students are struggling a lot in Canada. There are no good jobs. A lot of back breaking general labour jobs and young girls are forced into prostitution in Toronto and Nova Scotia.

  4. kate says:

    I truly agree with the writer. We have no honest Government that will stop CDI from ripping us off, from mocking and discriminating.
    That is how works when Chung pays donation to Government.
    The Justice system will help CDI as well, so that is wonderful life of meaning nothing to Canadian Governmnet.

  5. N H Nielsen says:

    All I see is a bunch of allegations.There is no rebuttal, response from the schools. So one has to wonder if that opportunity is provided. If it is not then you are just listening to a bunch of bitching. There are scams in every business. Who has not received a call from “Windows” originating in India. To say you have a virus but it can easily be fixed by providing your credit card and access to your computer online?

    My guess is that where there may also be some legitimate complaints, many are from people who failed to understand that if you pay for an education, your seat in that program is reserved, and like an airline, refunds require a period of advance notice. My guess is that in many cases the foreign student neglected to arrange a student visa in advance or was not qualified for one reason or another. All schools in Canada are regulated, highly regulated in most cases. Read the rules carefully just like you would any contract and prepare yourself well in advance.

    1. I went to CDI College. Owned by Mr. Chung for i.t.. I can tell you that in my industry in Western Canada, if you see CDI on an application it is thrown in the trash. Mr. Chung runs a discredited and in recognised group of colleges.

      If you want proof. Google CDI College. See it for your self.

  6. justine says:

    You have to consider these advices before you register George Brown College any Business programs, Accounting programs, and DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY.
    1.George Brown college was sued by students for misleading students about international business programs, and students won the case, George Brown college lost the case. The program promised students to be qualified professionals by association but it was not.
    2. They get very less transfer credits from university. Business program, and accounting course outlines are very poorly done, and there are so many mistakes for many years, they do not change it.
    3.If you look at the program courses, and course outlines, majority of the courses are general courses kept repeating same subjects, so when students graduate, they barely take major courses to be qualified. Watch out.
    4. Management force teachers to pass some students who are not successful. Management do that so that students do not leave the school. Truth is management get money from government per student registered. They no longer care to give honest or good quality of service, they do it to secure their money from government.
    5. Part-time faculties treated poorly and they do not have place to meet students, they do not have offices. They think their contract more than they think students.
    6. Management assign major courses to teachers who have no clue about subject. Do not waste your money.
    7. They always do false advertising to public, their recent advertising is that “WE KNOW WHAT EMPLOYER WANTS” Don’t get fooled by that they do not treat their own staff with respect, they are treated very poorly. They need to learn it themselves before they teach you. It is a false advertising.
    8-Managment do not care about students need, administrative department work very poorly. I heard with my own ears that administrative staff at accounting program swear at students.

    Choose it wisely. Be smart. Some students choose it because of downtown, be smart investor, and choose it carefully.

  7. Alec says:

    I just finished Recording Arts Canada (audio school) and let me tell you they are everything that is said in the article and more. Diploma mill. Scam. Bogus statistics (95% Success Rate, 90% employment rate?? Really??). Half of the classes taught by unpaid interns who have no idea. 16.000$ for 3 semesters. Lies every step of the way. If you dissent they call the cops, period. After the first semester is over they will actively try to fire you AND keep the tuition money. Gear not upgraded in over a decade. Exams are grammatical nightmares, written by interns. No complaint is taken into consideration, and people are rather encouraged to shut the f**k up and “just get through it” by the staff. This was a scam in all its glory. In my class (there’s 4 classes) over 20 people started and only 6 finished, none of which are happy with the school. RAC basically lives off of its 1st semesters milking them of grant & loan money, then letting them gradually get pissed off and leave over the subsequent semesters. Over 12 courses, 4 where taught by interns. Practical labs are all teacher-free as well, taught by interns. In fact, most of the exams are written & corrected by unpaid interns. The teachers have a purely tangential role in the school, and most of them don’t teach there for long. Over only 1 year, I’ve seen 5 teachers quit. For one of my last exams, the teacher just decided not to show up, ever again. The whole thing is a mess & they seem to be allowed to do all of this, because they’ve been open for over a decade, not a single student has been properly trained in Sound Engineering yet there they are, scamming away. Like so many others.

    1. August Smith says:

      I had a similar experience at the Victoria college of art. The administration has the website set up so that they can change it every three months or whenever they feel like it. Subsequently the administration can tell the students they need to take more classes in order to graduate whenever they see fit. Many students never graduate in order to finance their trips around the world. Quite literally while I was there the administration flew to Paris and Honolulu on vacation while the students were forced to realize that they weren’t going to graduate because they never did find out which classes they needed in order to graduate. The students trust the administration is overseen by a legitimate accreditation body but even pctia(private career training insttute)seems to be in on the scams this article describes as being rampant in canada.They ruined what was once a good college. Apparently you can graduate if you decide that you need two diplomas and /or a student loan. The closure of everest college is a good first step in order to return the country to legitimacy in it’s quality of education. What people who can close these colleges but aren’t ignore is that often the families that pay for the tuition aren’t wealthy enough to laugh about financing some greedy disgusting conscience-less couple’s trips around the world. All I can think is that the real reason these types of colleges exist is in order that people who are too lazy to work or too stupid for real colleges and universities can have diplomas.

  8. Al says:

    Americans Beware. The University of Toronto is Tuition greedy. They scammed me out of my first tuition. I became ill and was hospitalized the week before my initial course start date. The online (blackboard) instructor never bothered to contact me to find out why I hadn’t matriculated. When I did contact the school, after several sessions of online ques, I finally talked with a very rude person in UT admin. office. She was apparently a work study person. She informed me that I had lost my tuition and there was no recourse. I sent an email to the extension school requesting that I take the course the next semester. I didn’t receive a reply for three weeks. I then went through the long online waits to speak to someone in the extension school administration. I again spoke with a clerk, and demanded to speak with a supervisor. I was told that I must submit a detailed doctors, and hospital report, and still there would not be a guarantee to return of my tuition. I stated that I would file a complaint in small claims court, and she said good luck, and hung up. I researched and found that I can’t sue a canadian entity through the small claims system through any state in the USA. A check with Canadian laws revealed that to file a small claims complaint in Canada that I must file in the City in which the complaint originated, in this case Toronto. I get permission to enter Canada for the purpose of going to court. If I should loose, I must pay court costs plus legal fees of the defendant. Can you imagine my getting a visa to go to Toronto to sue their largest entity (The University of Toronto). My Visa, Legal fees, court costs, and defendant costs would be three times the tuition that they have no intentions to return. I may even have another heart attack worrying about this so I am going to let it go, and write and talk about it to anyone who will listen.

    My apology for the long discourse, but it does me good to get the whole story out to the public. It is very humiliating when you are requested to submit your personal medical records in response to a verbal telephone request rather that a written request. We have many outstanding Unversities in the USA with reasonable tuition, and who will treat you with honest respect and dignity, because they are fully aware remedy via civil law if they dont.

    1. Rusty says:

      In Toronto, it is a cold fast world. Nobody here cares, it is not the US where the social fabric much more developed and better. Ppl come here from all over the world, some of them come off boats, tankers, etc…Canada is Not the US & never will be. Our exPM Harper wanted to make Canada like the US but knocked down. The ball game is quite different here. And believe me, I am on your side. I am too fed up with the piss poor quality of education this country has to offer. To anybody who is reading this, I am not writing to please but to be frank. What has become here is the phenomenon of greed, corruption and laziness. Just another case where the government does NOT care about humanity or its own people for that matter.


      Le gouvernement fait ça pour compromise notre liberté c’est comme ça le gouvernement sait que nous ne pouvons pas partir le pays sans payer. Pendant la dernière décennie, Harper a vu que le pays a perdu beaucoup d’argent a cause des voyageurs qui paieront les tarifs des autres pays quand ils achètent leurs services et produits. Mais, comment on peut corriger ce problème? Ah oui, c’est clair, a travers les coutes de l’éducation! C’est simple. Et comme ça, ça déroule.

  9. amana says:

    Lambton college is the biggest scam. the one in tornto. why do you believe no north American students are there? they fool unsuspecting poor migrant students dying to et to canada. this is terrible. they will pay for al heir sins.TELL everyone you know to not go. they really should be locked up.

  10. Michael Pyshnov says:

    Don’t miss this fraud perpetrated and repeated by Univ. of Toronto, then three times by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) – the watchgog, and spread to US and Britain. All documents are here:

  11. Augusto Lejuste says:

    CDI College is a big scam…

  12. isabelle says:

    pourquoi personne ne fait rien pour les arrêter????? j’ai beaucoup perdu a cause du cdi, mais personne ne veut m’aider.

  13. Amit Panda says:

    I agree with the writer as I have come across a similar letter circulating all over and I quote it below. I know how bad is University Canada West(UCW) based in Vancouver and Eminata Group headed by convicted Peter Chung assisted by another crook Lawyer Drew Lawernson, who is their General Counsel:- Here is the letter for your review written by an Indian student.

    Dear Sir,

    I have been pursuing this matter with University Canada West (UCW) more than 3 years and now they have stopped communicating with me after knowing that they have defaulted on refund of my tuition fees. I had also send them legal notices and copies to Ministry of advance education proving my point. But unfortunately ministry officials also did not help me to resolve this matter.

    Now I see on ministry of advance education website widrawing the consent to use the word “UNIVERSITY” to University Canada west. This letter was sent to Peter Chung on July 23rd 2014. (Please see the advance ministry website) I am also quoting few lines of this notice for your convenience.

    In consideration of the long term best interest of students, I am extending the consent for use of the word University and the Master of Business Administration degree until Feb 9,2015 to allow for completion of required quality assessment process.

    I am also amending the terms and conditions attached to all of the Learning Wise Education Inc.’s consent pursuant section 4(3) of the DDA indicating that University Canada West must not enroll any new students in any program pending the outcomes of the required quality assessment process for reconsent.

    One more Link :

    I hold the senior persons Randy Cox, Verna Maggie Shephard, Darren Handcott, Ben Thappa etc. completely responsible for debacle of university. They are morally and legally responsible for spoiling the career of hundreds of students from India because UCW degree has less worth than the toilet paper.

    The Erstwhile students from UCW should claim the complete refund of their tuition fees and compensation for university’s official irresponsible behavior which has caused the debacle of UCW.

    As an individual I appeal to BC government to order a detailed investigation and help students to get compensation from UCW.


    Harshdeep Shah

  14. Canadian Bloke says:

    this would not happened if corporations and society didn’t force people to attend these institutions of failure, alcoholism and inequality to get jobs most of which only require a few days/weeks of training.

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