Fake Schools and Fake Diplomas 101
While the prevalence of diploma mills (fraudulent degrees/diplomas and fake higher education institutions) grows. Along with an increase in warnings about degree fraud, and attempts to track down and stop those involved/affected whether they were willing participants or unsuspecting participants. Sometimes it may be difficult to spot the difference between programs, which look fantastic on paper with a program that isn’t worth the paper it was printed on.
Canada, and the individual provinces and territories, are pretty good at protecting consumers from fraudulent universities and colleges. However, fake degrees and diplomas granted by fake private career colleges are an equal concern in Canada as they are in the United States. Due to the fact that there is a stringent process to go through before a public university/college can receive official accreditation, you may be hard pressed to find fraudulent post-secondary institutions at this particular level. Nevertheless, consumers should still be aware of unmarketable, unrecognized programs, certificates, and individual courses.
Whether fortunately or unfortunately, compared with the United States, which has a centralized organization or body governing the education system for the entire country. In contrast, due to the British North America Act, 1867, later renamed the Constitution Act, 1982 (see Pierre E. Trudeau), each province and territory of Canada by law has the right to make its own laws with regards to education in that particular jurisdiction.
So depending on where you are currently living in Canada, or depending on where you are planning to settle upon arrival to Canada. It would be a good idea to check with the governing body of that particular province or territory.
Here is an official provincial government link to an official government website for the governing bodies – departments of education – for each province and territory in Canada.
It is important to ensure that your post-secondary school of choice is recognized or accredited by a reputable, objective, review agency or governing body. Reason being, that same agency or office is charged with setting educational, quality assurance standards for colleges and universities which fall within the parameters of their constitutional powers. For example, standards are and will be set with regards to: instructor qualifications, classroom equipment, instructional materials, etc. These are mandatory requirements and stipulations by which all private career colleges, for example, by which all private career colleges will be measured in order to be recognized, and therefore deemed accredited by the governing body to which it must answer should it not meet those same standards. Again, this depends on the provincial or territorial jurisdiction.
On the other hand, choosing a program or post-secondary institution which is not accredited by a governing educational body. Or, alternatively, choosing a program which ultimately is not recognized by the employment sector, can mean personal losses of financial resources, time resources, and a degree or diploma which is unfortunately worthless.
This article is the first of three articles put together to educate newcomers to Canada on what they should be looking for either for themselves or their loved ones, when it comes to choosing a post-secondary institution (college or university, career college). This information is not only important to those where it is their first time attending a college or university, or those who already have a formal education that is recognized by Canada. It is also important to those wishing to upgrade their skills and become more marketable. Or, alternatively, for those newcomers who are looking to gain Canadian educational credentials, or those looking to switch careers (second career).
Our second article provides readers with tips of what to look for when trying to determine whether your school of choice is legit or a simply a diploma mill.
Our third article discusses private career colleges, and online schools and programs in the same context.
While this information is extremely important to newcomers, anyone, regardless of immigration status thinking of attending or returning to school needs to consider these issues and information.