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Allegations mount against Native Education and Training College

Students accuse private college of taking tuition without coming through with the courses
The doors are locked at the Native Education and Training College. Although most courses are offered online, former staff said there are issues with students being locked out of that as well

Doors are locked at the Native Education and Training College at 147 McIntyre St. W, Suite 101. The landlord posted a sign on the glass door – “The landlord has terminated the lease” – due to “non-payment of rent” in the amount of just under $18,000.

The landlord, Europro (Main Street) Holdings, warned the tenants to remove all items by February 13 at noon. That’s when the doors were locked, leaving the Native Education and Training College without a physical home. Enrolled students have no access.

Few noticed the locked doors, as most of the courses offered are available online, with students signing in from across the country. Some students and one former teacher have said access to these online courses has also been impacted, leaving many students in the lurch.

“It’s all B.S., okay?” explained Larry Stewart, one of the college’s owners and administrators. “I’m not responding, it’s all B.S.”

Pressed for further comment, Stewart said, “The college is open and it’s fine. We had a hiccup, that was it.” Asked for details about the online instruction, “everything is there,” he said. Will the office open soon? Stewart hung up before answering, abruptly ending his brief call with BayToday.

Stewart declined to respond to further questions sent via email, as did the other administrators of the private career college.

However, those affected are not remaining quiet.

Amanda Weichel enrolled in the school in fall 2023 after seeing a sign advertising the college on Lakeshore Drive. “I liked that they were local,” she said, and looking to upgrade her Human Resources skills and earn a certificate, she contacted the school.

“They took my money right away” she recalled, $6,100 off her credit card. She asked if she could split that payment, in equal parts per semester, but that was not an option. Either way, “I was accepted.”

She wanted to fast-track the course – all good, it was all online – but soon after signing up, her “14-day trial” to the software hosting the online course expired. Right before a planned week-long holiday – time planned to complete most of her course – “my trial expires, and I can’t get a hold of the college.”

“I didn’t hear anything from December 22nd until January 11th I heard absolutely nothing from the school.” Weichel understands the holidays may have been a factor in that, but she left voicemails and emails, and only when “I said I’m going to the media and get a lawyer, and that I want my money back ASAP,” did she hear a response.

She acknowledges that Waylon Stewart – the son of Larry, also an owner-operator of the college – did reach out, but she was not granted access to the program she had paid for, was not reimbursed for her tuition, and did not earn a certificate.

He said, "Amanda, 30 days, you’ll have a cheque,’” she recalled, but “30 days come and go with no cheque. And I can’t get hold of them again. They’re ghosting me.”

“All three of us filed Labour Board complaints,” explained Tammy Jackson, speaking of the college’s three instructors. She taught for the school for three years and thought of co-owner Lee Stewart (wife of Larry, mother of Waylon) “as a second mother.”

“They haven’t been paying us,” she said, inspiring the complaint to the Labour Board. “Not for the majority of 2023,” she said, adding, “I think they stopped paying their bills last March.” However, the college did “catch up” on her pay from 2023 in 2024, Jackson said, “then stopped paying in February 2024, again.”

She recently left her position at the school. She also is concerned that confidential student records remain in the locked office, although she has not received confirmation that that is the case.

Jackson instructed the PSW course, and “I did not know any of these problems until the day the students got locked out and I went to the office and saw the eviction notices on the door. All of the teachers work remotely,” she clarified, so that eviction notice came as a surprise to her.

She clarified that all of her students “are locked out of their programs,” with no online access. Apparently, the bills for leasing the software platform were overdue, and the publisher locked everyone out. There is an older version that may be in use now, although Jackson doubts it. If it is operating, she said the material is out of date, and speaking of the PSW course, would “no longer [be] a government-approved program.”

Further, “there are no ministry-approved instructors that work there anymore.”

Both Jackson and Weichel reached out to the Ministry of Colleges and Universities, and Amanda is hoping “more students will come out and know that they have to contact the ministry” as well.

BayToday heard back from the Ministry: “The Superintendent of Career Colleges is aware of a student that has concerns with Native Education and Training College and is speaking with the parties to facilitate a resolution to the issue.”

In the meantime, Weichel stands strong, continuing to raise awareness about her issues with the college and working toward receiving a refund. “They’ve been threatening me,” she said of the college’s administrators, in the form of legal action alleging slander, besmirching the school’s reputation, “and that’s just getting really bad right now.”

However, “it’s important to get the word out,” she said.

Jackson agreed. “The school's owners knew that there were problems with the learning platform as they had not paid their bills and they continue to intake students and take their money.”

“One student in particular was taken in on a Monday and was locked out of her program on Friday morning,” Jackson recalled. “She never even got to look at the program.”

David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

About the Author: David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering civic and diversity issues for BayToday. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada
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