OPSEU calls for due diligence before Ontario college funds leave Canada

“This is a questionable and risky international venture, and we want to know why it is being pushed through in such a hurry." - Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President.

Toronto (14 May 2013) – The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) has discovered that three Ontario colleges, Fanshawe, Mohawk and Seneca, have formed a consortium planning large-scale investment of funds in a college in Saudi Arabia.

Colleges to commit $2.5 million to five year deal

According to a report by the President of Fanshawe College issued to their Board of Governors on April 25, each college will commit $2.5 million in funding. This will be a five-year deal, which will include issuing Ontario college certificates to students graduating from programs offered at Madinah College in Saudi Arabia.

“This is a questionable and risky international venture, and we want to know why it is being pushed through in such a hurry. We are calling for due diligence to be done before sending important Ontario college funding out of the country,” said OPSEU President, Warren (Smokey) Thomas.

All about making a profit

“Saudi Arabia is one of the richest countries on earth. This is not about investing in making a difference in the developing world. It is about taking money out of the Ontario colleges system, and placing bets on profiting from our colleges’ good reputations,” Thomas added.

“This plan is part of a disturbing trend to look abroad for funding. The systemic underfunding of our public education system is creating a race for possibly risky private fundraising ventures in other countries.”

Concern about damage to Ontario college's reputation

OPSEU/NUPGE believes this consortium’s plans, and other similar plans by Ontario’s public post-secondary institutions, could do long-term damage to the reputation of Ontario colleges, the value of receiving a certificate from an Ontario college, and the quality of our education system.

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 The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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