General Complaints and Tuition Refund Claims

Make a General Complaint

Anyone can contact the Private Training Institutions Branch (PTIB) to make a complaint about a private training institution in BC. You may file a formal claim asking for a tuition refund (described below) or simply make a general complaint.

To make a general complaint, contact the Student Claims Officer.

You may report:

  • An institution that appears to be offering career training without being certified.
  • Concerns that a certified institution is not operating in compliance with the Regulatory Standards.

If you make a general complaint, PTIB will review and decide whether to take action, but is not able to provide an update on the resulting investigation, if any.

Tuition Refund Claim Based on Being Misled

If you believe you were misled about a significant aspect of an approved program and you are unable to resolve the issue through the institution's dispute resolution process, you can file a claim with PTIB. If you are unable to exhaust the dispute resolution policy with an institution due to lack of response or delays, please contact PTIB for guidance. If your claim is successful, you may receive a full or partial tuition refund from the Student Tuition Protection Fund.

You must file the claim within one year of completing, being dismissed or withdrawing from your program. Claims cannot be accepted after the one year time limit.

Being unhappy about a program does not mean you were misled. For a claim to be successful, you need concrete evidence you were promised something significant that the institution did not deliver.

Examples which may constitute being misled:

  • Your student enrolment contract provides for a certain length of program and you find, when you begin classes, the length of the program has significantly changed without your consent.
  • Significant aspects of the program content, equipment or facilities are not as advertised.

Examples which likely do not constitute being misled:

  • You fail an exam.
  • You dislike an instructor.

Tuition Refund Claim Based on Institution Ceasing to be Certified

If your institution ceases to hold a certificate before you can complete your program, you can file a claim with PTIB. You must file your claim no later than one year from the date the institution ceased to hold a certificate. Claims cannot be accepted after the one year time limit.

You may be able to complete your training in a comparable program offered by another institution appointed by PTIB (known as the "train-out institution"), in which case, any tuition refund will be paid to that institution. If there is no comparable program, or if you are able to show special circumstances that would prevent you from attending the comparable program, any tuition refund will be paid first to the government if you have provincial or federal student loans, and the balance to you.

For more information, contact the Student Claims Officer or read more about making a claim.

How the Claim Process Works

The PTIB Trustee makes decisions about student claims. The tables below outline the processes for claims against the Fund for each of the two allowable grounds.

For the claim to be accepted for filing, a student must submit all of the information and records specified on the claim form by the deadline for filing a claim. The trustee cannot extend this deadline.

Who

What

When

Student

Files a claim using form available on the PTIB website

Within one year of completing, being dismissed from or withdrawing from the program

Trustee

Gives a copy of the claim to the institution

Within 15 days of receiving the claim from the student

Institution

May respond to the claim

Within 15 days of receiving a copy of the claim from the trustee

Trustee

Gives the response from the institution, if any, to the student

Within 15 days of receiving the response from the institution

Student

May reply to the response from the institution

 

Within 15 days of receiving the response from the trustee

Trustee

Must give the reply from the student, if any, to the institution

Within 15 days of receiving the reply from the student

Trustee

Adjudicates the claim to determine whether any refund should be issued, and provides written reasons to the student, the institution and the registrar.

Who

What

When

Student

File a claim using the Tuition Refund Claim Based on Institution Ceasing to be Certified Form

Within one year of the date of institution closure

Trustee

Give a summary of the claim to the institution

Within 15 days of receiving the claim from the student

Closed institution

May respond to the claim

Within seven days of receiving the summary from the trustee

PTIB

Determine whether a comparable program is available at another institution (the train-out institution).

If no comparable program is identified – including as a result of the student not meeting the admission requirements established by the train-out institution – PTIB will forward the claim to the trustee.

 

If there is a comparable program

Student

May:

  • Accept enrollment in the comparable program at the train-out institution, or
  • Reject enrollment at the train-out institution, citing special circumstances; this is done by submitting a form to the registrar.

PTIB

If PTIB determines that special circumstances prevent the student from attending the comparable program, the claim will be forwarded to the trustee.

If PTIB determines that there are no special circumstances, the student may still elect to accept the train-out option and file a claim on the Fund.

If the student signs an enrollment contract with the train-out institution

Train-out institution

Provides a copy of the contract to the registrar

Trustee

Pays the appropriate amount to the train-out institution

Institution

Reimburses the Fund for the payment to the train-out institution

If there is no comparable program, or the registrar has accepted the special circumstances cited by the student

Trustee

Adjudicates the claim to determine whether any refund should be issued, and provides written reasons to the student, the institution and the registrar

Before accepting a claim on the ground a student was misled by an institution, PTIB will conduct a review to make sure the claim:
  • Has been submitted within the required time
  • Is within PTIB's jurisdiction
  • Includes evidence that you exhausted the institution's internal dispute resolution process
  • Includes all supporting documentation

Use the Tuition Refund Claim Based on Being Misled Form to file a claim on the grounds that you were misled by an institution.

For more information, contact the Student Claims Officer.

Make a General Complaint

Anyone can make a complaint against a private training institution in BC. General complaints do not lead to claims on the Fund and PTIB will not provide an update on the resulting investigation. You may report:

  • A non-certified institution that is providing programs that require approval
  • Concerns that certified institution is not operating in compliance with the Private Training Act or regulations

All complaints should be submitted to the Student Claims Officer.

Useful Contacts

Please contact the Student Claims Officer for more information about filing a claim or complaint.

Email:PTI.StudentSupport@gov.bc.ca

Office of the Ombudsperson

The Office of the Ombudsperson can help determine whether B.C. provincial authorities have acted fairly and reasonably – and whether their actions and decisions were consistent with relevant legislation, policies and procedure. If you wish to contact the Ombudsperson’s Office, visit: https://www.bcombudsperson.ca.