A Richmond massage college – which issued a diploma to a student without giving any training - has been suspended by the B.C. government for 30 days.
The Vancouver International College of Health and Wellness, near Real Canadian Superstore, has been banned from advertising or enrolling new students in its acupressure and body massage and esthetician programs.
The college came to the attention of the authorities in 2017, after Richmond resident Zhen Qin filed a small claim lawsuit with the province’s Civil Resolutions Tribunal (CRT), claiming she received the diploma on the same day she paid $5,000 tuition to the school.
Qin, who didn’t attend one class, lost the tribunal, with the CRT stating that she should have done more research on the college before handing over tuition fees.
However, when the college was brought to the attention of the B.C. Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, an investigation was launched by the government’s Private Training Institutions Branch (PTIB), which certifies private learning institutions.
“The PTIB found Vancouver International College of Health and Wellness contravened section 40 (1) of the Private Training Act and suspended its interim designation for 30 days, effective July 5, 2019,” said a ministry spokesperson in an email.
“The institution has been ordered to remove information about its PTIB approved programs from its website.
“During its suspension, the institution can continue to provide programs to students already enrolled. It is unable to enter into contracts or provide programs to new students or to advertise its PTIB approved programs during the suspension.”
The college, according to the ministry, can request appeal the decision within the 30 days.
Qin waited a year before asking for a refund from the college - despite not attending a single class - after discovering that graduates from the college’s program could not write insurance receipts for clients under extended health insurance plans.
Reached by the Richmond News on Thursday, Qin said that 30 days isn’t enough and that “she wishes the college would be closed forever.”
“I am thankful the provincial government has kept its promise; the punishment, however, isn’t enough,” she added.
“I believe this isn’t a single case. I wish the government could do a thorough investigation of the college, in case other students are being taken advantage of.”