Tuesday, April 16, 2024
Image: Ontario

“We can hope” $15M will hire more inspectors: TTSAO

Budget funds earmarked for boosting “Transparency and Accountability” in schools

“We can hope,” about the $15 million announced in Ontario’s March 26 Ontario Budget says Philip Fletcher, president of the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario (TTSAO).

“If this money can be used to improve inspections of private sector career colleges, it’s good news.”

Philip Fletcher, President, TTSAO Photo: TTSAO

Fletcher was one of several Trucking industry members watching Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy deliver the 2024 Ontario Budget. As president of TTSAO, he is encouraged by the Colleges and Universities announcement of $15 million under the heading, “Supporting Efficiency, Transparency and Accountability in the Postsecondary Education Sector.”

“Ontario is focused on supporting the postsecondary education sector in delivering high-quality educational experiences in an efficient, accountable and transparent manner. To help achieve this, Ontario will provide $15 million over the next three years to implement an Efficiency and Accountability Fund.

“This fund will support third-party reviews to identify actions that institutions can take to drive long-term cost savings and positive outcomes for students and communities. These reviews will target structural issues as well as operational policies in order to improve sustainability and student experiences. This Efficiency and Accountability Fund is part of Ontario’s plan to help build a financially viable postsecondary sector that supports student success.”

Inspections of private sector career colleges, including Trucking schools, is the responsibility of the Ministry of Colleges and Universities. Road Warrior News spent several months in 2023 working to find the number of inspectors responsible for Ontario’s 555 career colleges. Finally, in July, the Ministry provided the number in an email: eight. There are eight inspectors covering the entire province, and every school category from Trucking to Hairdressing to Massage Therapy.

The capacity of career college inspectors to identify fake truck driving schools or schools offering fraudulent credentials has been called into question in recent months as court cases against questionable operators proceed.

RWN has requested more specific detail on whether the $15 million will apply to career colleges from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities and will provide updated information when it is received.